Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rob Twizz - Milfs ft. Bizarre of D12 (making of)

Well here's the videoclip I've been working on for the last couple of months that I made for Rob Twizz

So a little bit about the production and I'll begin with the technical aspects. I storyboarded the clip in Toonboom Storyboard pro, did the backgrounds in photoshop, animated it in Toonboom Animate pro and graded it in After Effects.

Now when I say "storyboarded" I really animated it as you can see

This probably wasn't that bright as it pretty much doubled the amount of work I had to do.  I originally thought that the art I exported from Storyboard would import into Animate as vectors and that it would have layers but it turns out that it was the next version of 'Storyboard' that did that and that version was an extra $400+ LE SIGH!!

I think this is the problem of approaching a board as an animator and just working straight ahead in the timeline view where I could see the entire song. It's not a bad way of working for a music clip but I could have done things simpler and just had A and B poses and not spent time doing things like lipsync.

I did thumb out my shots (in an only Tim can understand these scribbles sort of way) but I've always wanted to do that professional wall of postit notes. Postit note walls look so pretty

(This is the Bizarre take off and flipmo scene to the child care)

I should also say this was my first time using Storyboard and it's a pretty great program. It's as straight forward as you can get. It does help though at the start to customise the shortcuts to what you want or what you're used to.

Planning what was going to happen in the clip though was tough mostly because I was struggling with ... I guess a moral balance. I wanted to take this clip on because it was super pulpy and that would give me a lot more freedom with the animation but at the same point I want my partner and my female friends to also enjoy it. A favourite director, Hiroyuki Imaishi, once wrote that there is nothing worse than only going halfway and that he'd rather go too far than to only go halfway with his work. So that is a quote that I always have in the back of my mind, I didn't want to pussy out but I did want that female audience so I had to make up some ground rules.

1. The women must never look like they are in situations against their will and in most cases initiating the situation
2. The design of the women must look unique and have a little thought into who they are. They must look like real characters not something from DC comics

There were some other rules but there's a few contradictions that I made haha. Oh another thing is there is no female nudity there's actually some male nudity. A couple of penis and ass shots but no one has spotted that haha. Oh one of the random comments I got on my art facebook page was from a wonderful girl who wrote 

"Glad i found you, Love your art work on the Milfs video ^_^ to awesome had to find you and show support" 

That to me felt like I achieved my goal. That I had hit my mark. I should point out however after the video was released there were 2 almost instantaneous dislikes on youtube, no bad comments but those 2 dislikes made me feel like I dropped the ball. So it was great to receive that comment a few days later. 

Anyway I've jumped a little ahead here but I should mention the design of everything. The design did happen as I was storyboarding so my post is still sort of in order. 

The sketch of R Twizz, the milf and the kid is what gave me a direction with how I was going to approach the whole clip. I thought it was pretty wrong and hilarious.

When I finished my film Porcelain someone challenged me that it was a little too 'fanime' that they'd be more interested in seeing what my own style was. So I started trying to draw every day and try and find and develop what I was comfortable with... I still am not really sure what my style is and to be honest all I think I ended up doing was adding on more influences (Robert Valley, Scott C, Kate Beaton and the most influential Yasuo Otsuka Lupin designs) onto my drawing style. I am developing something I think though.

This is the first film I made to test my new drawing style

This was done a while before I was even offered the videoclip job but I did like the drawing and animation style. Mixing solid strong poses with rubber hose animation, modulating frame rates and photoshop painted backgrounds. I've been developing and pushing this style a bit though the loopdeloop competitions but it was time to give it a serious go and this videoclip was my chance to try it professionally.

With the background art I wanted to be a bit more expressionistic and the first few shots that I did had very little detail and just painted mess but somewhere along the line I fell back into my usual style of lots of little details. That cost me so much time and effort. I'm happy with the results but it really did add 4 extra weeks onto my production.  So need to streamline my background work and not get so worn out by it.

This background that I made a night and day version for was my attempt at doing those old cartoon network style backgrounds. I'm actually a bit over this sort of stuff haha so I'm not sure why I wanted to do it. It was just what I pictured in my brain when I was thinking of a suburban neighbourhood with a lot of desperate house wives.

This background looks a little plain without the mothers and Bizarre in it but I tried a trick on this one that worked pretty well. I duplicated the top half of the childcare and then flipped it and overlayed and blended it on the ground as a slight reflection. It is a simple trick but it's a good one

I posted this before but this was the first colour test for everything. The R-Twizz colours where based on a photo he sent and I just eye dropped the image. They were a little quirky with shades of pink, blue and purple. Cool sort of colours. Because of that I tried to base all my colour choices on a cool pallet.

I recommend when trying out colours to work really rough and try out all stupid ideas. Do have a goal but don't be too literal. Don't think apple red, tree brown, leaves green but think of the mood/feeling you are trying to create and know that your animation is going to go on top of it so you want everything working together not a whole bunch of individual items.

(there's a little detail of the spiked drink in this that I'm not sure if anyone saw)

This image I think is my most complex and I had to grade it in After Effects to simple and blur out areas and blend the colours a bit more. There's some cool leading shapes/lines in that pic like how the pictures are staggered. It leads your eye to where I want it to be. Once again tricks like these are needed due to the nature of how quick these shots move also it's pretty pleasing on the eye

Now due to balancing other work, the time I spent on the backgrounds and animating in Storyboard pro instead of Animate and really needing to get this clip done (I kept having to push back when it would be done by) I had to reluctantly call in some help to trace, clean up and colour. Luckily I have some talented people to work with who even more luckily for me were free.

Roseline Lau my wonderful partner took on the first scene and the cookies scene she also helped me bounce ideas back and forth and it was good to have her knee jerk response to some of the ideas.

Dean Swanton who me and him go way back (to the first cartoons I ever produced) took on a whole bunch of scenes because he's awesome and super crazy fast. Mostly he did all the scenes of Bizarre but he also did that shot of the milf with the cake mix.

Christien Clegg another friend who's worked with me on a few short animations before had some horrible scenes of a certain American political lady that he had to redraw and ended up adding even more impact (haha) to the animation. He also did the appearing in the church shot where R-Twizz's face turns into a certain wedding crasher celebrity. It was great to have his drawings in this as I love his style.

Finally my last friend who helped me out was Jamie Anderson who took on the chatting up the donkey to ridding the donkey like a crazy person scenes. We worked next to each other on a tv animation (pixel pinkie) where we used to draw on our notepads coming up with a whole bunch of extreme and different expressions so I thought he'd be best at taking on the drunk face (that pic above). Jamies line work was probably the best out of all of us due to his many years producing his webcomic...and I made it all wavy in after effects so you can't tell (TAKE THAT JAMIE HAHAHA ...I'm really sorry). Oh and check out the crowd drawing he did for the donkey riding scene

It was great working with these guys and even though it was mostly clean up they did bring their own style to clip and that makes me super happy. I hate working on productions where they try to stamp that out. I'd rather anything I produce to show the individual artists handwork.

With the animation (I know I'm all over the place here) I really tried to push the drawings to make the pose sell 90% of the animation. To jam it full of character and to not be bland. I still feel due to working commercially (having to scale back a lot of my stuff) and not putting enough time into developing my drawing skills my drawings are still a bit too conservative and held back. I still have so much more room to push the drawings more than I have.

I've always wanted my drawing/animation style to reach the level of Chuck Jones/Ken Harris stuff. Strong amazing poses with absolutely perfect expressions. From my studies of their works it really comes down to the importance of your line. Every line must convey the weight and strength of the pose and like the backgrounds it must be part of the pose not an individual useless line. Well that's the theory.

This sequence of the run take off I think was the closest to what I was trying to achieve. I'm pretty sure this was inspired by the dumb sonic running meme that was happening at the time.

 (I flared the little red dot on his shoes and used the smoke to show the speed and direction)

 (I turned the flare into the sonic/road runner sideways 8) 

(Antic pull back to explode forward. Finding that timing sweet spot for this is always the hardest.)

The video did ok on R-Twizz's channel nearly 5,000 views and I got a couple of views on my youtube just over 2,000 (I made $4 off the adds haha profit) and there's a new clip for me to do so I'll be posting about that one in a month. (In case you were wondering, I'm currently producing an animated short about aliens that break in and probe a guy for fun).

All in all I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I've had some nice feedback on this and my friends who worked on it actually enjoyed working in this style (or at least said they did haha). I do hope I can find a way to leave the horrible unfun world of nested symbol flash animation and make traditional fun hand drawn cartoons that embrace the fact that they are hand drawn.

I also should look at reference when drawing a donkey. Haha that thing is crazy


Super Aska said...

Hey Tim

This is great!
I think it's almost impossible to really see your own style when you're experimenting and expanding all the time, as you are, but that's what audience is for - feedback.
I love the way you animate movement and I think there'll always be something Merk-esque about it, no matter how you decide to draw the characters.

mrmerks said...

Thanks Aska!

yeah I do think I have a recognisable style with how I approach movement. Well more than one person has said this to me. I think that's cool.

I do want to find a nice comfortable drawing style that people react well to though. I don't think I'll ever be satisfied and I'll probably be changing and searching for my style until I die but then I'm ok with that. That sounds fun