There’s been idea in my head that I’ve wanted to storyboard for a while. I’ve begun drawing thumbnails, but before going any further today I decided to get down some rough character designs. A dog features in this story, specifically a Border Collie, so I did some very loose drawings inspired by my own dog Elsa. She has the most wonderful ears.ElsaCollie_02

Last month I got to take part in a fantastic two-day masterclass with Wouter Tulp and John Nevarez. On one day we came up with different character poses and situations for someone saying ‘Go ahead, I’ll wait.’

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The drawings above were my first rough ideas. I wanted to show a little girl waiting outside her house for a friend. I felt I couldn’t get the leaning-on-her-scooter thing right, so I changed it to a railing. Perhaps this is peculiar to where I live but I remember swinging round, leaning on, and falling off of many railings while waiting for friends and parents as a child …

sketches

Here you can see the ‘finished’ leaning-on-the-railing drawing in the centre. This, and the reading ones at the bottom, were my favourites. I thought there was a nice balance between the passive-aggressive child, who really doesn’t want to wait at all, and the young woman reading who would quite happily spend an hour or two more as she is.

I designed, storyboarded and animated this video for trypraying. The trypraying booklet is a seven-day prayer guide which encourages people to try praying for a week and see what happens.

Some of my concept art for the project is below.

CharacterDesign

I began with some rough character sketches from the script. From the outset I wanted designs that were simple but attractive.

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BGDesign

I also began to explore the background environments and colour design. For the background, I wanted to have a very flat, “false” perspective. I wanted to tie the colours to the trypraying booklet.

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I created colour keys using the storyboard, finding a range that would work through each scene.

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Once the storyboard and animatic were complete, and the colours approved, I made last-minute changes – like the policewoman’s new hat – and then began building the characters and backgrounds in Illustrator and Flash.

Characters

Characters2

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I drew some sketches of how the characters would need to be broken up for animation.The minister only needed to wave his hand, whereas the main character had to be able to turn, walk and move his arms. The main character’s trousers were simplified as a result.

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Here are some of the final scenes in the video. I’m really pleased with how the colour and designs came out. This was a fun project to make!

And here’s a little extra: I added a caricature of myself sitting on the bus!

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This is a walk cycle WIP from a short scene I’m animating. It’s the first time I’ve animated with the Mery rig (available from meryproject.com) and it’s been a lot of fun to use.

Bee

BeeTest2The freelance project I’m working on is very serious, with no colour … so I wanted to draw something completely different today! I’ve had an idea for a short, or perhaps a series of shorts, in Flash. I’d like to keep the characters really simple, like the birds in my “Good Morning!” short.

Sketches from The Sound of Music

SoundOfMusic copyI love this movie.

I’ve seen lots of sketches from other people who’ve doodled through films, and I’ve always wondered how they can do that. Well, now I’ve tried it I see the appeal! I loved capturing the lighting in the central drawing, and trying to catch likeness while the shot remained on screen (with varying success). I also filled several pages of my notebook more than I normally do when I sketch – I think the changing images helped me try lots of different things as well as work more quickly. Though I’m not sure this would work with every film – “The Sound of Music” has reasonably long shots compared with many modern movies …

Lunge and Baseball Swing Exercises

Animation by myself, characters provided by Aardman.

I’m now about to begin my fourth week on the Aardman course. This video’s made of the assignments I completed over the last two weeks.

The lunge is the first character animation I’ve done in Maya. I had lots of helpful comments on how to improve it, and after a week on the other assignment I now see other things I’d change.

We began the baseball exercise using the stepped function in Maya, something which felt familiar to me after 2D! I felt much more confident with the controls this time around. I’m really pleased with the result. (Let’s see what I think in a week … )

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