NEW BLOG AND BUSINESS

Hi to anyone that follows my blog, I am creating a new blog for my next year of university, these will feature all the work I do for uni as well as my new business project.

For anyone interested, especially my follow students please look at my new blog:

https://davidkirkdesignblog.wordpress.com/

I am currently uploading all the work that I did over the summer holidays and I will write this up shortly.

Thanks for reading.

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ZOMB-BEAR – POWERPUFF GIRL REDESIGN

This project involves taking one of my existing character designs and redeveloping it in a certain style, the previous post can be found below:

https://davidkirkconceptart.wordpress.com/2015/04/29/style-redevelopment-project/

I had done several different sketches to explore how I wanted my Powerpuff girl influenced design to look, I decided on the different parts of each sketch that I did and did not like and continued to the next stage of creating a finished character design. With the aiming of this brief being to develop something in a certain style I studied the art of the Powerpuff girls once again, looking at images that were particularly character based. Some of these can be seen below:

as well as some with backgrounds

for me to consider for the style of my final concept background. From the pictures I looked at the shapes and also lineweights of the characters, one of the things I noticed was that the external lines/outlines were thicker than those on the inside (eyes/mouth/details etc) and also the characters have simple flat colours. Other things that were particular to this style are the huge eyes (mentioned in previous posts) and also the vector style forms of the different body parts. With these things in mind I created a character that can be seen below, I created several iterations with differing colours so that the “producers” would have a choice.

powerpuff redesignpowerpuff redesign- version 2 colourpowerpuff redesign- version 3 colour

I originally was going to give the character dark eyes like in the first two images, however the bear is supposed to be a zombie character and thus I needed to differentiate it from other characters. One of the ways zombies are represented in other media is having white or grey eyes, so I created the 3rd version with that in mind. I actually think it was effective in communicating that the character was a zombie.

I took this character design and made several changes to it, I added a shadow around the eyes, this is not particularly something you would see in the Powerpuff girls but I felt that I needed something to make it more “zombified” and different to the other characters. Once I added the shadow around the eyes I felt that I needed to change the colour of the character, I picked a darker brown and was happy with the result. Although I had added several details that I hope made it look like a zombie teddy bear (biten eye, grey eyes, sewn up mouth etc) and also like the original design I didn’t think it was enough. I liked at my old design and noticed that the bear has bits of stuffing/fluff coming out of it. I decided to include this in the redesign. I created stuffing coming out of the leg in the same vector style as the rest of the image, I was really happy with the result. Finally to complete the “proof of concept” image I decided to add a background, I looked at the backgrounds of the Powerpuff girl imagery and created something similar, at the same time replicating the colour scheme of my original character design. I obviously stayed away from designs such as love hearts and stars as my character is a zombie, for that reason I went with a simple version as seen below:

FINAL IMAGE - POWERPUFF

I was very happy with how the final “proof of concept” and character designs turned out, you can see the difference between the redeveloped and original character design below.

redeveloped demonstration

FICTION PROJECT REFLECTION

Theme development/ Idea generation / Research / Elements
􀂌 What was the theme / title of the unit?

The purpose of the brief was to create a short animation that would be a piece of fiction, unlike the previous module where we created something on an existing story, here I had to come up with every aspect of this animation. I wanted to do something different from the previous story and decided that I was to create something comic book inspired. At the moment I have been looking at a lot of comic book art, especially some of the more darker toned, I decided that I wanted to tell a revenge story, the story of a vigilante. With the project being fiction I wanted to come up with an idea that allowed me to tell a full narrative in a short two minute slot. This is where I decided on the simple narrative of wife gets killed, husband takes vengeance on killer and then becomes a vigilante, Thus the story of “The Reeper” was born.

􀂌 How did you get started on this unit of work? 

With this project I decided I was going to try and address some of the short comings from my Ninja animation, with the previous project I had pretty much jumped straight into the animation with little planning. I decided with this project that I would plan more fully and ensure that it had much more direction. The first thing that I decided to do was create spider diagrams exploring all the potential ideas that I had, this allowed me to see which where the most accessible in terms of creating a narrative. Once I had decided on the final idea for the storyline, I brained stormed further, looking at things such as era and mood. Originally I decided to set the animation in the modern era but upon doing research and deciding that I wanted the animation to be a film noir I decided to reset the animation in the 1930’s as I felt it lends itself to that tone better. however during the course of the project I did revert back to the modern setting. One of my concerns for this project was ensuring that I met the outcomes for the brief, I wanted to ensure that I fulfilled what was required for the narrative, next I brainstormed again how I could get a decent story into such a short space of time. It was during this process that I decided to use the newspaper articles to further the story and give information. Once I had written the script the next part that I concentrated one was the visuals, like mentioned before I planned a film noir in the 1930’s so I created several moodboards that would help me with developing that aesthetic. I was very pleased that I created the moodboards as they were very good reference, I particularly referred to the visual film noir moodboard constantly to help achieve the look that I wanted.

􀂌 How did you make use of your Sketchbook? 

Once I had developed my narrative and done the research into the style and aesthetic that I wanted the next stage was to start further developing some of this into visuals and designs. The first thing that I really explored was character design, i originally created six characters based on the 1930’s era, these were done with consideration on what types of armour and weapons the character might have had access to. To do this I consulted my moodboards again. I was happy with the character designs that I created and also the variety. I also did a more modern character design that I was very happy with, however at the time I was still keen on setting the animation in the 1930’s era. The next thing that I utilised my sketchbook for was the storyboard, in the previous project (non-fiction) I considered this to be my biggest failure. I didn’t really do any storyboarding and although I had an idea in my head it wasn’t put done on paper and I didn’t know how it would look until I created it for the animation. I consider this to be a big detriment to that project and I wasn’t happy at all with the result. With this project I did several storyboard versions and planned out exactly how I wanted it to look and also how the animation would work. I am very glad that I made the storyboards as it allowed me to plan out all the shots, for example in some scenes there are several frames of action in the shot at once and it allowed me to plan how these would look. It is interesting how close my final animation is to my original storyboards.

􀂌 Did your research / investigation work help you with the development of ideas?

Although my original intention for this project was for it to be set in the 1930’s I am still happy that I did the research, although I didn’t really use any of the research that focused on era for the final piece it was really useful for the character designs that I had produced. One area that the research was really useful for was the aesthetic, I had wanted to create a piece that was film noir style, I did lots of research and it allowed me to explore what would look best for the project, I was able to see what animation styles would look suitable, from my research I decided that I would try a pseudo 3D experiment where I utilised Google Sketchup, I was very happy with the result of this. Also animated comics like Batman Black and White and also the film Sin City helped me to get inspiration for my final animation. It was looking at the visual style of Sin City that persuaded me to add the accent colours to make certain parts of my animation stand out.

􀂌 List the media and skills that you used throughout the unit?

I was already very familiar with Adobe Photoshop and After Effects so I didn’t really learn anything new on those programs throughout this project, however I wasn’t at all familiar with Adobe Flash and one of my aims for this project was for me to gain some familiarity with it. I definitely improved on Flash  and learnt how to use some of the new functions as well as increased dramatically in speed and efficiency. The main animation was creating using Photoshop and Flash and the two different programs give a different look of animation, the photoshop was used for parts that were going to be zoom and pans, or more mechanical parts, whereas flash was used to animate the organic parts. This gives the final animation a mixture of animation styles that I was initially unsure of. However with the way that the final animation is constructed and the even amount and distribution of different styles I think it works well.
􀂌 Explain how successfully you used the media and skills. Did you find difficulty with anything in particular?

I think I used the different media very well, because the project had been planned out I knew exactly what needed to be created and how. I was able to decide which software and techniques to utilise for the different parts, I am already familiar with most of the Adobe suite and so I had very little difficulty, the only time I struggled was when using Flash, there were several moments where I had simple problems but these were rectified easily and quickly by consulting YouTube for the answers. If I was to do this project again I would like to include some more drawn animation using Flash, it definitely gives the animation a more “alive” feeling, this is definitely my weakest area and something that I will concentrate improving over the summer period. I don’t particularly have difficulty with it as my drawing skills are okay, it’s just the unfamiliarity with the program slows me down and puts me off using it. But now I have improved in that area and also seen work that I am happy with I plan to practice more and implement more of this into my work.

􀂌 Which of the following art elements predominant in your early work?

With this project I wanted to create something in the style of film noir, to do so I would be concentrating on line art and tone. Much of the work would be line art and colour either black or white, I decided early on that I didn’t want to try shading objects/characters but instead wanted them to be flat black or white, for this reason the line art was particularly important. I used different line weights when drawing the characters/objects to give them more form and to give the illusion of being 3 dimensional. Even though the art style is just line work and flat black or white I really think the subjects have good form, this is because I concentrated on one of the principles of animation which is solid drawing.

Art appreciation and criticism in context
􀂌 Did you look at the work of other artists? Which artists and how their work influenced you?

I had decided that I wanted to do something in a comic book style, I am a big Batman fan and was looking at Batman black and white at the time, I was definitely influenced by the different artists who worked on those comics. Another comic that I looked at was HellBoy, with art by Mike Mignola, I thought that his style of art would be suitable for my animation, with its dark colours, strong line work and flat colours this is something that I really wanted to achieve. If I had more time I would have tried to create something more in this style, but I didn’t think it would be achievable in the time frame. To replicate this it would have all been hand drawn and that would have taken an exceptionally long time to create what I wanted, Another artist that influenced me was Robert Valley and his animation Shinjuku Nights. I thought that this was a beautiful piece of animation and if I decided to create an animation for my FMP then I would definitely want to create something in this style. Although this is much more complicated than my fiction project there are definitely parts that influenced my work, areas that I tried to replicate but to a lesser degree.

Art making

􀂌 How did your ideas develop towards the final work? 

I came up with what I consider to be a pretty strong idea pretty quickly, I did come up with numerous but I think I went with the strongest for the brief of the project. I planned it out thoroughly before I even started on any art making, for that reason it was pretty straightforward and quick when progressing with the making part of the project. I decided on the style of the animation very early on and that never changed, I definitely think it was the best solution to the brief.
􀂌 Did you make any changes as the work developed? What were these, why did you
make them and how did they improve your final ideas?

I didn’t make any changes, it was more of an evolution, I did initial tests where I liked the style but decided to improve upon it, the only real change that I made was in terms of the setting/era deciding to change it from 1930’s to present day.
Your opinion/ evaluation
􀂌 Describe your final outcome. Do you feel that it was successful? Why?

I was reasonably satisfied with the outcome of this project, I definitely meets the targets that I had for the project as well as the learning outcomes of the brief. In terms of having a fictional narrative I think I told quite a story in such a short amount of time. I think that it was successful in achieving the aesthetic that I wanted as well as the tone. I think part of the reason that I consider the project to be a success is because I compare it to its counterpart, the non fiction project. I think this is  a definite improvement in every way, in storytelling, art style and also execution. I think the main reason behind this success is that it was planned out better and I had much more direction,
􀂌 If you had time, what improvements might you make to this work? Is there anything you might have done differently?

There are several areas of the animation that I consider to be weaker than others, for example the section with the protagonist boxing and then seeing the villain in the alleyway, If I had more time I would definitely make these scenes lot more detailed. I would also liked to have included some more hand drawn animation, obviously this is very time-consuming and many of the parts that are zooms or pans would look a lot better if they were replaced with full animations.

I think the main thing that I would improve would just be making everything more detailed and polished, I like the final product and I am considering spending more time on it over the summer.
􀂌 How did you develop as an artist by producing this work?

I think that I created something in a style that I wasn’t familiar with, I really enjoyed it and will explore differing styles more in further projects. I think the other development from this project was that I improved in terms of animating, I think this is an improvement over my previous animations/animatics.
Future targets
􀂌 What are your aims with your artwork now?

Although I do prefer creating concept art and that is the career that I want to pursue, this project has definitely invigorated my desire to do more animating. I done plan to concentrate on concept art but now I aim to add more animation into this, whether this be through animated concept pieces like I have experiment previously, or animated key scenes from something I am designing as part of a game. For my FMP I am considering creating something which is a mixture of different media.
􀂌 Is there any media / theme that you are very keen on pursuing?

I aim keen to continue with more work in this art style, I have been looking at the recent work of Sparth a lot recently and he has been producing work with line and basic shapes so I would like to evolve this into something like that.

􀂌 Is there any particular aspect of your work that you would like to improve upon?
I particularly want to carry on improving my drawing, I think that my use of line improved during the course of this project and I would like that to continue. I am becoming quite good on all the software, however that is secondary to being confident with the art fundamentals. I will continue to try to improve those and during the summer work on exercise that I have seen on conceptart.org, level up as well as been shown while at uni.

FICTION ANIMATION – FINISHED

The version that I posted previously had part missing, I didn’t realise at time that I didn’t have the training scene, for some reason I had just forgotten all about it. With deadlines fast approaching and also needing to catch up on my blog posting I decided that I would test how my “boxing” test animation looked in place. I think that it did a decent job and so decided to use it as the final thing.

FICTION PROJECT WITH AUDIO

I did consider the animation below to be the final version, however there is a small part missing, I will address this in the next post. I added the remaining scenes (minus the missing one) and once this was done I decided to add some music and sounds effects. It took me ages to find a soundtrack for the animation, I search music that could be used on none commercial work for free. I must have listened to dozens before I found one that had the dramatic tone that I wanted, I think that the music I used has the dramatic sound and pace found in crime/revenge films, luckily the music also changes at a point where the animation starts to come to a conclusion so it was very lucky. As well as music I decided that I would add some sound effects, I only included ones that would be obvious and add to the animation, once again deciding not to add any dialogue. I watched the animation with and without the sound effects and decided it was better with them.

I was happy with how the animation turned out and will reflect on the project in a future post.

FICTION PROJECT – DRAFT

I have created a basic edit of the final animation, there are several little scenes that need adding but the majority of it is here. I had watched the previous version and decided that the viewer might not fully understand the narrative and perhaps may need some prompting. I had already decided that the animation was a title sequence, like an introduction to the story, there will be no dialogue but simply music. Without having any dialogue to help the narrative along I had to think of other ways, I had been looking at similar animations online but couldn’t really find anything suitable, but then when I thought about it being a animated comic I realised my nest option would be speech bubbles. You can see the upto date progress in the video below:

I had to give consideration to what I had In the speech bubbles, it is also basic dialogue and only really there to drive the narrative. The next step is to continue with the animation and finish the final few scenes needed, once that is done I can begin to add a soundtrack and limited sound effects.

FICITON EARLY DRAFT

This is another animation showing the progress, there is a section in the middle that I haven’t done yet, I effectively missed that out and went onto the following scenes. I mainly created the shot in which the vigilante shoots the criminal, I don’t want the animation to be violent so I decided to instead suggest what happens. Here the vigilante has just confronted the criminal (not shown) and he cocks his gun then raises it, at the moment there is no sound but in the final animation what will happen is the gun shots will happen as the screen fades to black. I once again tried to give the animation a adult comic book type appearance, by having multiple shots on the screen at the same time, I think that this type of sequential imagery works well with what I am trying to achieve.

I also animated the final newspaper clippings, once again using the technique that I used on my previous Ninja project, I think it is effective in not only helping with the narrative because each newspaper gives you information, but because the pages turn I think it suggests a passing of time, like the events haven’t all happened at once but over a period. Finally I put together the title, I looked through the free fonts on website dafont,com and found one that was available for use. I chose it because it is gritty and typical of what would be found in a action/crime type of film. The texture of the text also suggests crumbling concrete, showing that the narrative is set in a urban environment and because the text is decaying it suggests the falling apart of the city.

FICTION – FIRST 40 SECONDS

I had previously created the “skeleton” for the first 20 seconds, I was very happy with how it was looking so far and decided to continue with the next section of the animation. I had already created so of the assets and animations for the next part of the animation so it was fairly simple and straightforward to progress to this level. I am very glad that I planned the project out better than my previous one, it has enabled me to concentrate better on the narrative and that the animation is nice and cohesive and visually appealing. Below is the draft version of the first 40 seconds:

I was happy with the progress of this animation, although I am not particularly happy with the gavel part, I will consider ways to change this. I just don’t think that it looks very good, I will either re draw the scene in more detail or I may even abandoned the scene altogether in favour of something else.

There is something that I am a little unsure about and probably won’t be able to tell until I get towards completing the animation, the thing is there are several forms of animation here, the rotoscoped, the animations that are made up of zooms and pans and then the psuedo 3D animations created with the aid of Sketchup, I am uncertain as to whether these mix well. I think that if I have a equal mixture of the different types and spread them evenly amongst the animation then I wont find it to be an issue.

Next I will begin working on the next part of the animation.

NEW FICTION TESTS

Now that I have finalised my storyboard and script ideas, I am beginning to work on a draft/skeleton version of the final animation. With the story being fully storyboarded and planned I am able to create the animation in a straightforward manner. I think that the approach that I am going to take is do it in order, starting from the beginning. I have created a quick animation for the first 20 seconds.

I am happy with how this test came out and I will use this as the “skeleton” for the beginning of the final piece, I kept as close to my storyboard as possible, it was definitely a time saver and also allowed me to see the whole animation as a whole, knowing how this test will fit in the final thing.

I want the finished animation to be like an animated comic book, I have thus decided to arrange the animation in a way that reflects that. For example, here I have several frames on the screen at the same time. I have chosen a simple black and white style to create an film noir kind of aesthetic (as discussed in a previous post). I am definitely happy with the way this initial test worked out and it gives me confidence to continue with the rest of the project in this way. My next step in the project is to animate the “skeleton” of the next scene or section.

In terms of how I created this animation, after seeing the film Renaissance (2006) I wanted to try and emulate something in this style for my animation. I have no experience in 3D software and so creating something in a 3D program wasn’t realistic as I wouldn’t be able to learn the software in the timeframe. So I decided to experiment with a different option, I used Google Sketchup and turned the models in a wireframe, then I used the scene animation option. Once I had the type of shot that I need I then exported the animation as individual frames, I then coloured each one of these frames in Photoshop before exporting to Flash to animate. The frames already had a 3 dimensional form and so to create the effect that I want I played around. To begin with I tried shading but this was too time consuming and didn’t give the appearance that I wanted. I then experimented with simple flat black and white, with accent areas of colour. This gave the aesthetic of some of the Batman Black and White comics I’d been looking at.

FICTION CAR TRANSITION

There is a section of the animation where I want there to be a transition where the shot of the police car freezes and then transforms into a newspaper article (which explains what has happened). It can be seen in the storyboard below, its the 4th, 5th and 6th frames.

fiction storyboard new

I have experimented and created an animation below that I think successfully captures what I wanted.

I think the way that the image freezes and then transitions into the picture on the newspaper looks really effective and is quite a seamless way to transition, I think that the way in which I have created it does the job very well. This will be a technique that I will use where appropriate throughout the rest of the animation.