Thursday, September 15, 2011

Forgot to mention

Forgot to mention a slight problem I've had over the last week is the uni has updated their edition of cs from 4 to 5, Photoshop has been fine but I need to update the software at home before I can work on any of my after effects projects. Hopefully I can get CS5 asap

Where I'm up to ATM

I've finished all my backgrounds with the exception of in-larging my shot 1 canvas slightly so when the camera move happens there is no blank space in screen. Currently I'm importing all my backgrounds into the running comp after effects project, I've almost got them all in ready to start the zooms, camera moves and moving the clouds and shadows around. I'm 1 week behind where I aimed to be at the start of the semester, Im hoping I'll make this up and make some additional progress with work over the holidays at the end of next friday. I'm very aware and a bit worried about running out of time for the actual animation of the project.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I'v basically meet my milestone of having a rough sound track and backgrounds complete. I'm slightly behind as I don't think I'l get the last shot completely done by the end of tomorrow but who knows with a bit of luck I might.

Having a song already sorted is great, I'm really glad I put the effort into this early not only because I didn't need to try get sounds or songs in a rush now when I'm trying to do my backgrounds but also because having a song to work from has been great in coming up with the imagery and setting the pass and feel of the animation.

Here's some more thumbnails of the backgrounds:

Thoughts for sound

Doing the essay on sound design has lead me to re-listen to the track that I got the rights to use for the animation (Brian Jonestown Massacre's - You look great when I'm fucked up). Having my backgrounds near complete and flicking through them to the song is giving my a clearer idea of what the final thing is going to feel/look like.

I'm thinking of trying to get the rights to the Arcade Fire's track- My body is a cage, its really dramatic and I think it would add to the tension and release of the animation when the Sheriff is shot, its got a great kick in it, but I don't like my chances of getting the rights so I'll see how that goes.

I picked up a folder of great sounds from Darren the other week, I haven't sorted through them all yet but there is a lot of explosion sound bytes I'm sure I'l find 1 or 2 for the gun shot and tear explosion which will save me hours and hours of searching the net. I've already spent a few all up searching the net for sounds. Finding quality free samples is pretty hard.

Last background Trouble

Trying to complete my last background image but its proving difficult, the foreground, mid ground, background trick to create depth in the image is what I'm trying to achieve but I can't find any images or draw anything that seems to fit. I put a couple of hours into this yesterday to no avail, I'm going to ask Jack for some help in tomorrows class.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

More Backgrounds

2 days left to try meet the milestones. I have all my backgrounds complete except for 1 (shot 1) I'm finding it hard to get a good amount of detail and to decide what exactly to draw on the ground to achieve this.

I have decided not to use the horizontal gradient change of color in the sky backgrounds - which was from a strong yellow with an increasing layer of pink. Now all the sky backgrounds are the same and with only a vertical gradient change of color. I think some shots did look better how I had them originally but on a whole the majority of shots look better with a strong yellow in the background of the sky.

I touched up almost all of the clouds hugging the horizon of the shots as they look too straight and not much variance in them.

I finished off shot 15 - the shot with the camera move, I thought I would have had more trouble than I did constructing this shot as it needs to be near double the size and stretching/skewing the ground texture was at risk of looking pixelated but came out fine with just a bit of mucking around.

I'm not sure if the seems between the hills and the ground in a couple of the shots can be seen too easily I might ask someone tomorrow and come back to it as getting shot 1 done is alot more important.

Heres some thumbnails:

This is the shot with the camera pan in it, hence the wider canvas

Shot 16a was never going to be hard to get done

One of the shots where I touched up the clouds that hug the horizon

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Image Ordering & Construction

Not that I spent too much time ordering and numbering the layers for my backgrounds as I am nearing the completion of them I have found it increasingly important for myself to get this side of things under control. On average each shot as around 20ish layers. I have started using folders for each main element of the shot, these have been: Character, Clouds, Mist, Cloud Shadows and Ground. Outside of these folders I have kept the standard gradient color for the background of each sky and a complete black layer which is very using in flicking back and for from to gain a good understanding of the varying levels of opacity in the mist and clouds, inspecting the edges of them and the hills, working out exactly where things sit and getting a brief preview of the change in look of the image I will get as I am planning to tweak the colors in a 1 or 2 of the shots to make Izel look very formidable and evil.

Thumbnail of how I have organized the layers for shot 2

Slight change to Shot order

Forgot to mention the other week Darren had a great suggestion for me. In shot 3, it was to have the Sheriff step into the shot rather than already be standing in it. Asminor as this action is I think it goes along way in showing that he has just reached Izel rather than have him already standing in shot and leaving it up to the audience to decide.

In addition to this as Shot2 shows the Sheriff standing in front of Izel I have swapped shot 2 and 3 around so it still makes sense.

This is Shot 2

This is shot 3 where the Sheriff, standing closest to the screen will step into the shot

Getting the backgrounds complete by friday is looking very achievable, in general im almost happy with them except for the opening shot its not as slick as all the others, I'm not too sure what to do about it at this stage. Most recently I have been working out the correct aspect ratio for shot 15 of my animation as when I drew up the storyboards they where at 16:9 but later I decided to give the animation a more cowboy widescreen look and went for the 23.5 ratio so that took a little more mucking around as the photoshop canvas sized I worked out needed to be roughly 1.6 x 2538 wide and 1.18 x 1080 high.

I've added to my skys a bit more. So now I'm not just placing pre-made clouds onto the sky but also adding multiple layers of mist with varying opacity using the colors from my cloud palette. This has been great in blending the horizon hills into the sky, adding a very soft texture/difference in color to the sky and I also created a thin line of cloud close to the horizon.

I haven't had any more trouble with my hard-drive but have backed up my work every time I've made any changes just in case.