Tuesday, 28 April 2015

2 Characters and a setting/the narrative project

So I have finished the narrative project/ the two characters and a setting project! All in all I think the film turned out better than I thought. It's a little hard to tell because I myself am sick to death of the sight of it! I've been looking at it for so long. :S I'll put the link in here so you can see it before I start talking about it.

Ok so to star off with I think I'll talk about the things I thought went well in the project. I think most of the stop motion went well. I think my strengths came from good planning into the stop motion so when it came to the actual film there was very little left to be figured out. In fact if it wasn't for the fact that he was too heavy to stand on one leg, everything would have gone exactly to plan and there would have been no compromises made during the filming. However he was too heavy and I had to quickly edit some of the script while filming because I had very little studio time. In the end though I think having to re edit the script was a blessing. It is at the moment a little longer than had been asked for and if it had included the parts of the script it was meant to before it would have been much to long. I also think that the parts I removed were unnecessary anyway and I think they might have confused the viewers a little. The whole thing seems less cluttered without it. So in terms of defining the plot I can't really complain about that haha.

Now to get into specifics. I'm really pleased with the opening shots of the film - 

I think it sets up the film really well. We see he's in his pyjamas and he's getting ready for going to bed but we're also seeing from the point of view of the thing that's in your closet or hiding under your bed. I think it's a good touch seeing as the shadow character doesn't appear that often in the actual film. It sets him up to be there and means I can build his character in other ways. It also means we get to see a bit of the setting and also our other character. We know he's checking for monsters through the rest of the context of the film. He's very young looking and he's wearing his pjs. Lastly I think it's a good move because you do wonder who's eyes you're seeing this out of and why, it adds enough suspense. 

So nextly I'm actually just going to mix this now and talk about good and bad. So the shadow character -

So to begin with I wanted this shadow to move entirely with the after effects puppet pin tool however like I mentioned in a post below that didn't work at all. So in the end I'm not to pleased with his appearance. I think he looks out of place wight the rest of the animation. A little to typical cartoon in comparison to the stop motion half of the film. The other problem was that he looked a lot better as a dark character against a lighter background but because of the way I had the set lit there are a lot of absolute blacks in there which meant that the shadow had to be lighter to see it. So he's really not what I wanted, he's not that bad! He's just not at all what I aimed for. I really wanted a fluid and shifty character. I maybe should have experimented with oil paint on glass to see what that got. Always learning though!

The other part that annoys me is the parts where there's just the shadow on black. It doesn't look like it's got any weight to it. It just looks flat and shitty. So thats annoying. 

Also it really bugs my mum that I didn't put the hinges on the door right but those are normal sized hinges on a tiny door. Putting them on properly was going to take a lot of effort and time that I could expend on it because I was a day into my 3 day filming slot and I hadn't even started. So that's just a compromise everyone's going to have to learn to live with.

This scene I am really happy with -

Like I said earlier this character is top heavy and does not stand by itself. I did not have to use a rig to create this scene and it only took me one take to do it in. I'm pretty sure it was jut dumb luck really but I'm still very proud of the way it turned out. 

There's not really any pictures left to post to explain things but I feel like my biggest achievement this film is the script and the visual storytelling. From the angles at the beginning to the symbolism of the window and the light. The way the shots are lined up I think looks good too. I'm really proud of the way the entire thing was written. Just not so proud of the way I executed it. I can't wait till the film I see in my head and the film I'm capable of making become at least close to each other, if not the same thing. 

Anyway I guess to break that down I'm pretty happy with the way I have written the story and storyboarded it but I've let myself down with the shadow character. 

Sunday, 19 April 2015

All the problems of 2 characters and a setting

I just thought I'd make a post here where I catalogued all of the problems I had through out the two characters and a settings project and what I have done so far to solve them because honestly there have been so many and I don't want anyone to think my film is less than I wanted through my own choice. There's still some things I want to work on and that I'm unhappy with but I'll get to that once I've finished the film. Which will definitely be by the end of the week because of the final hand in on Friday.

Ok so the first problem I had was that my characters needed to inhabit the same space while not being anything similar in composition or style. Initially I thought that it would be as simple as one live action character and one photoshop drawn character. So that's what I did, however at this late stage in the game I still don't think they look quite right and It really didm't turn out that simple.

My next problem came when I tried to animate the shadow using the puppet pin tool on after effects, which typically gives this great warping appearance that worked perfectly on my text shadow earlier but it really didn't work as well on the real thing because I couldn't actually apply a mask to create the pins on a transparent image like the shadow mostly was. Following this I knew I had some options;

  1. To draw him out frame by frame in photoshop and just attempt to get the same shifting effect I wanted.
  2. Create a small mostly opaque background to stop the layer being transparent and try the pin tool again.
  3. Or rearrange the scenes so that I could still use the pin tool.
I immediately avoided the last idea as I really didn't want to not have my characters on the screen at the same time as each other because that would entirely defeat the point of two characters and a setting. I didn't really want to try the second either because I was 100% sure that it would either not work or it would change the light balance at certain points of the film that would be difficult and time consuming to re adjust.
So I opted for mostly option one and a little bit of option two (as I had one scene where this would apply without trouble.) However the problem now seems that these two options don't merge together very well. I've watched it back 100 times now and I'm still not sure that I like the part where I use the pin tool as against the parts where I just hand draw it. It's a shame really because that was the original plan and due to it's mostly impractical nature, the only place I actually used it looks wrong now. So I'm going to show it to a few people and see what they think before I remove just to check I'm not being to harsh with my editing decisions. 

In addition to this I had one major problem with my stop motion animation. He was to heavy to stand on just one leg. Which meant I had to remove a part of the script where he kicked something and gave himself a fright and lead to him seeing his own shadow as a threat. I pretty much improvised on the spot for this one and I'm still hoping the entire film made sense in the end. But in actuality because it's inside this child's head I don't know how much logic you can apply to a child's imagination to make it make sense. Also I'm not sure it needs explained until the end. So that's how I got around that one.

My biggest concern at the moment is that the whole thing doesn't actually make any sense. I'm still worried about the big reveal not being pushed enough but that's another thing I'll ask some people tomorrow when I see them and hope I can fix all the problems by the end of the week. As that's all the time I have for this. 

I still don't have music as well. I'm really hoping I can get Andy's help or someone else's because it's a very small piece and not all of it needs music and really it need not be complicated as it just needs to change tension levels with the character. That's all I need and hopefully I can get someone to help me out...

All in all at this point I'm still a bit stressed.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Ferrofluid jewellery


Check it out yo! I finished the film and honestly I'm pretty happy with it. Turned out good. Maybe runs a bit long in a few places but I'm actually very pleased with it. Go us for being awesome! I think it feels intelligent, it's not long enough that you get bored with it. The language isn't too complicated so it's understandable. Yup definitely pleased with it. I think the style is very sophisticated as well. I was a bit worried it might look childish if we were using black plasticine so the textured grey background adds a bit of sophistication. I also thing limiting the colour pallet means that you can concentrate on the actual content of the piece and not get distracted by bright colours and pretty pictures.