Monday, July 24, 2017

Animation Post Production

Post Production for Animation



Animatic Workflow, Visual Development and Production Schedule

An Animatic is a rough animated blueprint of your final film and is created from your final storyboard. This Animatic can have temp or final dialogue and music. Sound effect elements can be added later.

Animatic Workflow and Visual Development

These two elements of production should be happening at the same time, one is creating the story and the other shows how key scenes will look in the final film before the animation process takes place.

Animatic Workflow:
 
1) Lock Picture: Once you have a "locked" Animatic, this is the point beyond which the edit cannot change. It’s necessary to lock picture so while you are replacing rough animation with final scenes, a sound designer and composer can score directly to the picture at the same time. If you change the timing too much or add extra scenes later, you must notify your sound designer or composer of these changes right away before they do too much sound work.

2) Scene Breakdown Chart: You need to go through your final Animatic, count all the scenes and make a Scene Breakdown chart. This should be a sheet or two with a column of Scene #s on the left hand size and a row showing each week at the top. You can come up with a color code to show the different phases of production on each scene. This will make it easier to keep track of where you are in the production.

3) File Naming Conventions: If you are using a program like Maya or Harmony, you need to name your files to keep them easy to organize in the computer. You must do this with Maya, since it sometimes can get confused if the files are labelled incorrectly.

Take the first 2 or 3 letters of your project's title followed by an Underscore.
Example: If your project is called " An Epic Film", then your 
Production code would be AEF_
And Scene 01 would look like this:  AEF_SC01_001, the last 3 digits would be your version number. So you would be able to make 999 different versions of Scene 01 if you had to, but hopefully not.
4) Scene Breakdown:
If you plan to use Toon Boom Harmony to complete your project, you will need to convert each scene from your animatic into a separate Quicktime file. These Quicktime Animatic Scenes should all be on one folder called Animatics_Scenes. 

5) Importing Quicktime files into Harmony:
You can importing these scenes into either Harmony, After Effects or Premiere. With Harmony, you can import an Animatic Scene as a movie into the timeline. Harmony will import the visual frames and sound file onto different layers, which can be moved on the timeline. 

Before importing an Animatic Scene, you need to move the red line on the timeline on frame 60, the default setting. The red line can move back and forth on the timeline, moving it to the right allows you to add more frames to your timeline. If you don't do this first, you incoming sound file will be cut off at frame 60.

After importing sound and animatic frames, you can pull the red line back to determine the end of the scene. You can add another drawing layer to make your clean up drawings from the animatic frames. Save the new Harmony Scene file as AEF_SC01_001 in a folder where you will keep all of your Harmony scenes.

Each Scene = a separate Harmony file

Once you have all your Harmony Scene files labelled and a Scene breakdown sheet filled out, you may now begin animating each scene. When scenes are completed, you can import them as quicktimes or as a TGA sequence into other programs like After Effects or Premiere.

Since writing this, I recently worked at a studio where they imported their Storyboard Pro timeline as one long scene into a single Harmony file. This was an imported animatic where they add their puppet rigs onto each scene.

This is a risky way to work since if anything happens to this file, all the animation will be lost. At least with the scene by scene method, there are more scene files to keep track of, but less risk of losing the work.



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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Michael Dudok De Wit

This was one of Michael Dudok De Wit's first animated films from 1994 called "The Monk and the Fish". Here is the entire film with a short documentary where the filmmaker explains his process.


Later in 2000, Father and Daughter won an Academy Award, the BAFTA award, the Grand Prix at Annecy, the Grand Prix at Animafest Zabreb and many other festival awards that year. 



De Wit continued making short films and made dozens of animated commercials like these...




In 2016, "The Red Turtle was his first animated feature and was nominated for an Academy Award. Below is a very good review of the Red Turtle won't any spoilers.



And here's a very interesting interview with the director of all three films.

If the real Michael Dudok de Wit would like to contact me for an interview, please email me at heyjimr@gmail.com.

Did you like this post? Where you educated by the animated process show above? Follow this blog and let us know you like it or leave a comment below.

 

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Freelance Animation 103

Sometimes a project you are working on might be cancelled or the Client might change their mind about your work. I'm reminded of this from Dr. Suess's "Oh the Places you will Go!", when things don't go the way you thought they would.
Except when you don' t
Because, sometimes, you won't.

I'm sorry to say so
but, sadly, it's true
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You'll be left in a Lurch. 

It happens every now and then, but sometimes its good for both you and your client. And as long as you are both in agreement, there shouldn't be any problems when things don't work out. 

With all freelance jobs, you need to find out certain things from your Client. When you first meet them in person, in email or on the phone, you need to find out what they need from you. You need to listen and take notes if needed. If the job is something you have never done before, its ok to be honest with them now, rather than say you can do it when you really have no clue. They even might ask if you know of someone else who can do this job.

After this stage of the meeting is over, the Client will want to see your portfolio and ask you questions about each piece. Sometimes they are in a hurry to meet with you and a list of 20 people behind you. Don't take it personal if they rifle through your art and animation samples while asking you, "How much did this cost to do? What about this one? Can you give me a ballpark figure?"

The above situation recently happened to me. the Client had a roomful of people to see, 1 every 15 to 20 minutes. The guy is in a hurry to see people and hopefully find someone he would like to work with. All interviews are different, some may be short and simple. 

"Do you know Illustrator and Cinema 4D?" 
"No, I don't but..."  
"Thank you for coming in, Next!"

If you feel rushed during your interview, you can also send a thank you email and include links or answers any questions that you couldn't answer during the interview. You still might not get the job, but this may be enough info to help the Client remember you. 

Need Content for Freelance Animation 104

Have you ever had an awkward interview or did you have an interview that you learned something from? Any Interview advice? Please share your bad or good interview memories. You can email me heyjimr@gmail.com

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Animation Visual Development 1

Visual Development: Is a way to explore and figure out the look and style of your final film before beginning the animation process. Visual Development isn't just the background images, but the characters, the props, ways of moving a character or object, the environment and the world that the story takes place in.


Here are a few early VisDev designs for Disney Pixar's "UP". Here are a bunch of simple head designs of an old man... An idea of the House in a different location by Lou Romano.

Another Lou Romano design, Its night and the two characters are talking about what is shown on the right of the image. Your eyes start in the middle, drift to the left to see the horse and night sky in the window and then over to see the house on the mountain with a waterfall.
What starts off as simple concepts and drawings, eventually becomes more visually defined.

As the storyboard is locked and the Animatic is being assembled, Visual Development begins about the same time the storyboard is being created and Character Designs are coming together. Visual Development keeps on going through the rough animation process to figure out how the rough props or environments will look. The Director is the one who is approving what the visual look will finally be.

Your visual development must be explored to make it as interesting to look at as possible and which fits the story in general. 

Here are character designs from "Inside Out" by Chris Sasaki. See how the character designs for Disgust evolves into her final look.

From a Cartoony look...
to a little more realistic...
 A combination of both...
 After all the revisions, redesigning and tweaking, we finally get to our final design!

____________ 

LEARN SOMETHING NEW?  

Did you know Animateducated is about to hit 25,000 views? We need to do something big for this occasion, don't you think? Let us know your ideas!

Subscribe to Watchcat Films!
Visit our Youtube Channel Watchcat Films and click to become a subscriber to see future episodes and show your support!
And Thanks for Clicking! 
Did you know that by clicking on the ads, Google will give us money that we can donate to a local animal shelter. Everytime you visit this blog, click away on the ads to show your support and help us help some animals in need! 

This week, we got 4 clicks which yielded .39 cents which is the most clicks we have had in a while. Right now, were only at $26 bucks and Google won't write us a check until they get $100 or more in clicks. So click the ads whenever you visit this blog! Thank You!



Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Story Graph


Making a story for an animated or live action short film takes a lot of time and thought. Below is a Story Graph which helps show how your story is constructed. While you are working up a story, use this story graph to place the parts of your story before you begin drawing the storyboard. You need to see how your story will fit together and make sense, otherwise you will jump into boarding a story that doesn't make sure or has other problems.

Take a look at the commercial below and then study the Story Graph underneath to see how everything fits together and builds to the conclusion.

The story graph sets up the beginning of your story by establishing the normal world and introduces your main characters. The first thing that changes the "normal world" is called the Inciting Incident, which sets the story in motion. The character then encounters the first plot point, which is the first turning point in the story. Conflict occurs to stop or delay the character from their goal. Without Conflict there is no story and we don't get to see how the is something the character must overcome or solve to get to the next plot point. When we come to the 2nd plot point, this is where something happens to the character which is the lowest point in the story and it looks like the character will not get what they want afterall. However, this is where the character might learn from his past mistakes or there is a twist and we come to the climax, the highest point in the story! And now, we have the end to our story called "the Resolution,"




















Here is another story breakdown for a short called "The Saga of Bjorn".

Here is the actual film which is broken down showing the plot points below. 


Use the Story Graph to help figure out your story first, before moving onto boarding it. Its a great tool for building a story with a solid beginning, middle and end. You can also use this formula to plot story points in other shorts as well.
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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Animation Dailies and Review

I like animating, but unfortunately, you have to do a lot of tweaking after the broad strokes have been done. This is true for all forms of Traditional and Digitial animation while our Stop Motion friends, have to get it the first time.

Rough Key Poses

A lot of studios have "Dailies" at some point during the workday to check the progress of each animator's scene. Usually a small team will meet with the director or Supervising Animator, which could also be a one on one situation. Your job as Animator is to take notes on what the Director wants you to do. This is where you can ask questions or bring up any problems you are having with the scene.

For Animation Professors or Instructors, we need to review our student's work as if we were making a feature film or commercial. This will help students get use to the work flow and understand that every project has a "pipeline" throughout production.

Clean Up Final
 When reviewing animation, you need to find a way to look at individual frames in order to take out the bad key frames to add better poses. In the past, a supervising animator would flip through animation drawings to find the problem, but now we do it digitally.

Here are two free programs which allow you to upload your scene and send it to someone else to review it and add notes to your work. If you know of a better program, please let me know and I will add it to this post.

SyncSketch, https://syncsketch.com/  

Allows you to review notes during a real time session which is very helpful in online teaching situations. The free service allows 5 uploads a week and you get more features if you pay for them. It doesn't

RGB Notes, https://rgbnotes.com/features 

Allows you to upload a scene which you can open and make notes to and send back to the student. RGB has added the ability to add extra layers on top of the original animation, allowing you to send different versions of notes. You turn on all the layers or only the ones you need, this helps to see how the scene has been revised over time.

 

2 things I don't like about both softwares.

There is a lot of things I like about both of these softwares, here are only two things I'm wondering both companies might add to future versions.

1) There is no text tool option. All your notes have to be written with a mouse or stylus

2) Once you drew some notes on one frame, you cannot adjust the positioning or copy/paste the info to another frame. When making notes, you have to be as accurate as possible. This can be a bit embarrassing if you are watching this live and the notes keep changing.

Whoever animated the above clips, please let me know your name and I will be glad to give you credit in this blog. 

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Thanks,
Jim