Rude Awakening

Character (Morpheus) from here: http://www.joshburton.com/projects/morpheus.asp
Chair prop provided by Aardman
All sound effects from http://www.freesfx.co.uk

This is a short animation I created while a Trainee Animator at Aardman. I wanted to push my animation and go for a more cartoony style. For reference I watched a lot of Tex Avery takes! However I still struggled to push the rig (even Morpheus) to get the same exaggeration as a drawn figure while keeping it looking good.

I’m glad I tried to replicate part of the Popeye test a few months ago, because what I learnt doing that (see here) was very helpful with this.

Here are some of my favourite frames:

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 20.51.25 Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 20.51.43 Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 20.51.49 Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 20.52.14

Small and Scared

 

I’ve been working on one page for a while and it was only yesterday that I finally understood what I was actually trying to say. The words for this spread read “Liffey was a big dog who thought she was a small dog.”07_rough_01

My first few sketches were all using the same idea. On the left, Liffey looking down on a smaller dog; on the right, her surrounded by the “scary shadows” of her imagination.
07_rough_02 07_rough_03Using the sketch I started to play with colours. But it never felt right. I wanted the scary page to be full of clashing colours and conflict, but it never sat right with the other page.

07_inprogress_01_copy

I am not proud of this page, and it was never really meant for general consumption, but it’s needed here – so I apologise for its crumminess!

Next I changed my colour scheme for the dogs a bit, bringing them into a more natural realm. However I tried to keep the bright green and blue.

After completing it I wasn’t happy and left it for a while, wondering how to fix it. I knew it didn’t work as I wanted it to – painting technique aside, Liffey looked sad rather than scared, and the monsters seemed like an afterthought. So I started sketching out ideas in my notebook giving the monsters more precedence.

07_inprogress_02_copy

So this is what I painted yesterday. I’m pleased with it as a piece (though of course there’s always things to nitpick) but I still wasn’t happy with the page. Liffey sure looked scared, but it felt TOO scary. After all, it’s supposed to be a light-hearted children’s story …

It was when I was taking a bath yesterday evening (baths and walks are fantastic for coming up with ideas) that I finally realised where I’d been going wrong. Somehow I’d forgotten all about the words on the page: “Liffey … thought she was a small dog.” I’d moved away from “small dog” to “scared dog”, even though her fear of other dogs is addressed on the next page in a much clearer way.

07_inprogress_03_copyThis is my latest idea: much simpler and, I think, much clearer. It fits so much more with the words and will sit better with the other page in the spread.

Now just twenty-one more pages to go …

 

 

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