Thursday, 23 May 2013


So, to sum up what I have learned I will put a little summary here.

Over these few months its been a series of realizations that I had bitten off more than I could chew.

The first thing that I realized was that I prefer 2D animation to CG and I promptly changed the my film to 2D. I think this gave me a lot more more motivation to complete the film and I could play with the style of it more easily. 

The second big thing that I realized was that traditional animation was going to take too long so at about a 3rd of the way through I swapped to an all digital way of animating.

Then the last thing that made an impact was to work a lot rougher than I had been doing. This gave me a much greater sense of achievement as I managed to get through the shots much faster. 

The experience I had working with a voice actor and sound designer was pretty painless, there was a bit of trouble at first getting the right voice for my film but in the end I found someone who was the right fit. The sound guy was very obliging and took my constructive criticism  without complaining.

So overall, these key moments helped me to get the film finished and they were a lesson in time management and work ethic. At some points it didn't even seem possible that I could finish, but being open to more economic ways of working helped me to get through it.

Finally I would say the biggest thing I have learned from this experience is look realistically at what you can achieve and be honest whether its possible or not.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Post Production/DVD/Sound Post

I thought I would put a bit of information about the style of post production I was trying to achieve.

Fight Scene

I watched a variety of martial arts films to try and see how cameras moved while the actors were fighting.

I watched a lot of Van Damme, even though it is horrendously cheesy, Bloodsport was pretty helpful.

I noticed that the shots were quite tight on the actors and to create a bit more excitement, they make small movement that track the general movements of the fighters.

The same is true in the fight scene in The Bourne Ultimatum where the fight with close quarters combat and the camera is really tight and very disorientating. This was a bit extreme for the style of my film as my characters were fighting outside but nevertheless it proved to be a useful reference.

The way I actually implemented this was to render the image sequences out and then in after effects i would zoom in slightly and use the motion tile tool so I can play with camera movement on what is effectively a still shot. I thought this was a great way to get a bit more action and movement in.

Boulder Scene

Post production wise, the boulder scene was for me my greatest achievement. I wanted to create the feeling of darkness before he lifts the boulder then as he lifts it the light comes pouring in and floods the shot with a kind of lens flair. Then the light recedes as your eyes adjust to the level of brightness.

To do this I first duplicated the shot of him lifting the boulder, then I colour keyed out everything besides the sky part of the layer. Then I changed the brightness,opacity and blur level which gave this great glowing effect on the layer beneath. Then to finish it off I changed the brightness as he lifts the rock so it has a gradual increase when it goes up and then I set a key frame to bring the light back down to a normal level. VoilĂ 

I used this glowing effect on most of the other shots with lasers and explosions in. It was a very quick and effect way of making it look more realistic.

Camera Shake

The majority of effects in the rest of the film were varied styles of camera shake.

All I did was use the wiggler tool in after effects combined with motion blur and the motion tile effect. It added a lot more impact to the punches and falls.


I finally put my film on a dvd as well this week. After many problems and errors I managed to get it working.

here are a couple of images showing the cover and dvd menu


The sound wasn't really a problem for me, we cut it a bit close towards the end but overall I had a pretty easy experience sending files back and to with my sound guy.

The only input I had was to send him some references at first such as Avatar and Samurai Jack. Hercules was also useful for the boulder scene.

As the project went on I would give him crits and tell him what needed changing, to which he was very obliging and easy to work with.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Research Post 8

I recently Watched the 3 series of Avatar the Last Airbender and thought it was brilliant. It combined amazingly high production values with an equally awesome story line.

The effects from this show are fantastic as they all fight using a combination of chinese martial arts and magic elemental powers. For me this is about as awesome a tv show could get, and I used a lot of the episodes for study regarding animated effects as well as the kicks and punches.

Also it is an obvious fusion of western and eastern animation styles. Which is something my film is a parody of.

On another note, I also used the show alongside Samurai Jack as a reference for my sound guy (Jonathan Mcloughlin), as it has the right kind of fight sounds and explosion sounds that would work well in my film.

Research Post 7

I think the most research in my entire film was done for the backgrounds. I tried so many variations and styles before I settles on a nice clean retro look.

I put a lot of this research into the preproduction part of this year, however it continued into the production stage after not being completely satisfied with the outer space backgrounds. So after christmas I started looking a lot deeper.

I began to study the Pixar UP art book, looking hard at the simplistic yet texture rich style of backgrounds. Mary Blair seems to be a big influence in this style of art which is still very popular in modern cartoons.

I then began studying Emilee Timmermans' work. She is a brilliant animator/illustrator

This blog post in particular probably helped me the most out of everything

I may have posted some of these before but they are some really crappy designs I did leading up to the final style.

As a last note, I saw this film towards the end of my time working on my own film. At one point in my life I want my work to look like this.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Research post 6

13 assassins

I watched this film recently and thought it was worth mentioning. It's really brutal and really epic, which is something i wanted to inject in my own work


Also Batman Dark Knight Rises was a big influence, particularly the scene where batman fights bane for the first time and he crushes his skull/mask

Also the bit where he breaks his back on his knee right at the end gave me some ideas as well.

Keeping with Batman, I have been watching a few of the Batman animated films. Gotham Knight is definately my favorite one i have seen so far, as it is a showcase of different animation styles that really capture the personality of batman. All of the films are very well drawn and packed with fight scenes and dynamic movement which is a great resource for me.

This short is my personal favourite. It is made by Studio 4°C
They are responsible for Tekkon Kinkreet which was one of my initial inspirations for making my film.

The batman animated series is great too, it borders the line of great animation with limited animation. It has great art direction and it has a interesting tone for a kids television show.

I also watched a couple of Marvel Superhero films such as the Avengers, these were good for taking the stereotypes and making fun of them. But generally speaking I prefer darker story lines, bur characters like spiderman and the hulk are bit lighter.


Another collection of animated shorts worth mentioning is the Animatrix collection. It collects a series of animations that explore different concepts surrounding the Matrix. My favorite short from this collection is 'World Record' 

(this is an edited version)

It's just another great example of dynamic movement and animation.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Research Post 5


I drew inspiration from this film for one point in particular, when hercules saves two children from beneath a boulder. When approaching the shot in my film where Dweeb1 picks up the rock to throw at dweeb two, I had the challenge of getting a character of his size and shape underneath such a giant rock to lift it above his head. I watched how they did it in Hercules and they used a cutaway reaction shot so I decided this would be the best way to do it.

Also the effects animation in hercules is pretty awesome.

samurai jack

To aid in my special effects animation I began studying a variety of shows but the most helpful one was Samurai jack. Although it is very stylized it offered me great insight into the timing of effects animation. I found that it was perfect for me because a lot of the fight scenes take place in a desert environment so a lot of dust was being kicked up. Plus all the enemies are robots so they generally explode in a fiery blast, which is was I was after in my own film. I loaded clips into after effects and scrubbed through them and took notes on where the key points took place.

From this show I picked up this technique of having 2 frames flash right before the effect takes place. It creates what seems like a blinding light and increases the impact of the explosion.

I also really like the silhouette style from this episode. It gave me the idea for a shot in my film where the two characters run at each other in silhouette

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Research post 4

Some flash animators have also been a helpful to observe their work.

Zeurel has a great cartoony style that mixes amazing line quality which still baffles me how he achieved them in flash.

I looked at a lot of his work to see what could be achieved in a flash based program.

Another great flash artist I have been looking at is Mike McCraw.  I first saw him on when he made a series of fan animations for the power rangers series.

His work was a great help when it came to simplifying moving perspective. He has a really cool style of animating the ground and characters as the cameras move.

Finally the last person I would like to mention for a similar reason to mike McCraw is Animbowz. He is an animator at Dreamworks by day and a flash animator by night. I first discovered his work on the Skyrim parody and I started following him on youtube and I then watched his late night streaming videos where he shows his animation process. Needless to say it was very helpful to me.