Monday, July 18, 2011

animation in 48 hours?

So last weekend was WAMBAM, a 48hour competition run by Wanimate to produce a short animated cartoon based on 3 words.

My team from last year was sick, busy and interstate.  This was the film we made last year

So this year I decided to try and make a film by myself using toonboom.

I did have a story idea that Rose and I were kicking around for the operahouse Graphic competition and I thought what the hey, "2 birds one stone" and they even shared the same deadline. Both had theme words the Graphic comp had the words 'escape' and wambam had three words 'photograph, blue and love'.

So here's the film (it looks pretty great at 1080 over on youtube)

now here's how it all went down...

On friday night I was late to the event where the words were drawn (the event happened in Joondalup which is nearly an hour and a half drive from my house. As far north as our freeway goes). So I missed all the speeches and the organisation of groups. I could have joined a group which was an all female team but I kind of liked that they were an all female team and I wanted to see what they came up with. I was also thinking about this 'graphic comp' and since I was late I didn't want to try to take over another group and push them in that direction.

So I got my three words and I thought about the story Rose and I came up with and how the words could fit into it. The original idea was there were 2 soldiers in a 'terminator judgement day future'. One was a girl and one was a cat. They fight their way to a time machine and travel back into the past but they inhabit their past selves bodies. So the girl becomes herself as a baby (the baby was based on Roseline's niece 'Sophie') and the cat soldier as a devolved cat (based on a stray cat that we looked after in Hobart named 'Milky'). The idea is they still have the same memories just not the intelligence or the same motor controls as their future selves.

The graphic comp had a time limit of 30 seconds so the main story was they teleport back in time into their new bodies inside of a cot (which looks like a prison at first) but so does the nemesis that was chasing them who inhabits a teddy bear. They're trapped with the teddy-nemesis and they struggle to escape the cot (being the comedy).

Now since I had to work the three words into this story "Blue, photograph and love" it actually helped a lot in the shaping of the story. I'd use blue to stylise my colour pallet, photograph meant the girl became a war photographer (added some depth to her character) and love... This actually is what gave the idea heart. They're escaping a holocaust where everyone has been killed or is running for their lives so if the girl is transported back in time and she see a lost parent, that would be a pretty moving experience.

So on that friday I had got the ideas together and I started doing some scribble ideas of design, shots and backgrounds. here's a few

One good thing about working by myself and is that I didn't have to explain jokes like some of the other teams around me were doing (this was the ONLY positive thing) and could jump right into those designs. I really liked the cats gun, it was sort of a tetris block. I was able to use that city scribble as the final design.

So with all my basics done I decided to take the long trip home (yeah I'm going to go on and on about how far it is haha). When I got home I decided to give myself a head start and draw up my backgrounds in photoshop. I was working a bit too slow on these and only got 3 done.

As I was drawing them I thought what if I used toonboom to animate in. The computers at the event had the adobe suites so I could have used them and animated in flash but I thought this would give me a good chance to skill up and play a bit more with toonboom animate pro.

My computer case is a small black box that is quite portable (it's been great when I have been travelling across Australia working) my cintiq 21 is not. There were wacoms to use there so I thought just bring my computer case over plug in and BAM! I'm away and animating.....


....for some reason I could not get toonboom (and just toonboom, photoshop and flash were ok) to recognise the wacom tablet, which meant no pen pressure. I wasted over an hour trying to reinstall the wacom drivers but I couldn't win. Eff it I've wasted too much time I have to start animating and of course my first shot got over worked (animators know what I'm talking about) and a lot of time was wasted. It was that satellite image of Perth exploding (my Akira and Perth tribute).

At this point it was evening and I jumped right into the next shot. This came together really well. Doing multiplane setups in toonboom animate pro is the best!! It looks hot and the focus effect blends the colours perfectly. The animation is a bit hard to see but I thought on a projector it would work really well. I did mean to add in flashing arrows above the characters but I forgot. I tried to render that scene but it looked like it was going to take awhile so I decided to head home earlier and continue working on scenes and try to make up for wasting time getting the wacom to work.

An hour and a half later I'm home (haha I can't let it go) and I'm digging under my table and reconnecting all the unplugged usb cords (I have no idea why there is so many), thankfully everything works fine. Toonboom likes my cintiq and pen pressure is back. At this point I decided that all the future scenes would be done in toonboom and the past scenes would be done in flash (how's that for a subtle opinion? haha) that meant I could do the toonboom stuff at home and then use the 'event computers' to do the last half of the story. I was able to finish one more shot (the landing behind the box and firing focus pull scene) and then decided to call it a night. I set my alarm for 8am the next day.

The next day, the final day for the competitions I was up working on the last shot that I would do in toonboom. It started out all right but then it fell apart. I couldn't get the timing or the movement to work right, I had somehow forgotten how to animate. It's a form of writers block, it's a bitch when it happens and you just have to power through it and rely on techniques. It does cost time though and time wasn't something I had. that shot took till about 2pm so I was pretty screwed at this point and I had to think about how I was going to wrap the story up with the minimal amount of animation.

The second part of the story I had some loose boards that Rose drew when we were planning to enter the graphic comp.

Rose had over the weekend cleaned up a few of the drawings so looking at what I had I decided to end the film as I did. It wasn't great but it was done

A few 11th hour computer problems (that's just a given) but animation is all done at 4:30pm and everything is in premiere with a very rushed sound mix... Now to get it out of premiere

I've used premiere enough to know all the work arounds and I don't hate on it as much as my friends do (with the exception of that cs one that had the flash file memory leak) but I just had all kinds of crazy problems with the exporting. It randomly changing the frame width and height being my main problem, but lots of messing around and all I ended up with was an HD mp4

It is now 5:45pm I'm not going to be able to have my film there in time for the 6pm WAMBAM deadline since Joondalup is....ok ok I'll let it go.

I wanted to at least make the screening and see what everyone else made (there were some great groups so I was pretty excited) so as I was leaving home I set the film uploading to youtube and drove over to Roseline's house to bring her along. It of course took too long to head out to Roseline's place (no luck today) and we quickly made our way off the Joondalup (sigh)... there was something nagging me...something I was meant to do. We reached Joondalup and there was roadworks and a detour. We then get lost into that black hole of a suburb.... DAM YOU JOONDALUP!

We finally work out where we are and reach the college that the event is at. This is one of those colleges that is environmentally conscious and doesn't waste electricity... IT WAS EFFIN DARK THERE!!! Rose and I walked around for awhile, but we were there very late and we were starting to see people look like they were leaving the screening so we gave up (also since Rose was recovering from a bad flu, I didn't want her getting too cold) and decided to go home.

Rose saw I was feeling a bit down so she said that we should go check out the latest Harry Potter movie. I thought that sounded like a good idea... I still couldn't shake the feeling I was forgetting something. We went to the Inaloo cinemas and grabbed something to eat at retro Bettys. While we were sitting there I remembered what I forgot. The dang Graphic competition! I tried with my new phone to work out how to submit my film (all I know what to do on my phone is play sims 3 and take photos and tweet them) but I was dammed if I could work it out. Well no big deal... after the movie I'll submit it at Roseline's place on her computer.

Harry Potter... that movie was crazy. The wizard war thing was mental. Giant spiders, stone statues come to life, giant ogre things, wizards doing the pew pew with their wands. I've always found it funny in Harry Potter everyone is amazed when they do magic or when they watch people who do magic. It never comes natural to anyone, it's always "Holy shit I can do magic!" "Whoa you totally did magic!". Also all the magic is pretty impractical, there's a scene at the end that sums up the entire Potter world (don't worry it's not a spoiler) with this guy trying to sweep up a giant amount of rubble with a normal broom. hah it will probably make more sense when you see the scene. It was enjoyable though and great to complete the Potter films.

After the movie we get back to Roseline's place and I decide to check the graphic comp andddddd I have missed the deadline. 11:58pm sydney time. DOHHHHHHH! So I killed myself all this weekend and missed both competitions.

hahaha goddamit oh well. I made something new and there's some ideas in there that Rose and I are thinking of developing. So not a complete loss but definitely not a win either. So no birds but something that looks like a stone.

Well that was my adventurous weekend of animation...
...and Joondalup.... we are not bros


cleggy said...

Holy shit dude! That is one epic weekend, and very admirable regardless of the outcome, which looks great by the way.

Timothy Merks said...

Ha I thought it was crazy enough to write a long post.

cheers dude