Originally posted on the MA Character animation course blog, published July 9th 2015.
So the first individual project is over and I’m quite happy with with the result, even though I hope my final film is going to be even better.
I thought I would write this post to remember what I’ve learned while working on this project as I’ve done a lot of notes and got a lot of feedback and tips for later.
First of all, finding a way to tell a story that is both easy to understand and entertaining is not a simple task and in this project it took too much of my time. I really struggled and lost so much time because of it. For my final film I need to come up with a story quicker and try it out on more people to get feedback as this was what I needed to find my story, or more than anything, my ending. I’m not entirely sure what I could have done different though as I had all the elements of the story ready quite early, it was just the matter of fitting it all together.
2. I use a long time on layout and finding the right colour palette. Until this project I had never made a film completely on my own and never really drawn backgrounds or worked much with colour. I found this so complicated and used well over three weeks on thirteen backgrounds! But in the end, I feel a bit better about it now, and I will try to teach myself more over the summer. Some of the second years recommended me that for my next project I should work out a colour palette earlier, and also try to draw a picture which included both the background and the characters in the style I’m planing so I know what I’m aiming for.
3. I want to make my animatics even better. Mostly because when I started working on the backgrounds I realised how much easier it would have been if my animatic was more detailed. I think I should ad more pictures to my animatics as well, not only to make it more understandable, but also to easier figure out the timing. I really like drawing storyboards anyway.
4. I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback through the year that when I’m animating, I work really quick. And I realised that I do, I did all the rough animation in one week and even though the animation in this film is not my best I see that the animation part is my biggest strength. So for my next film I’ll keep working fast and precise with my animation, probably give myself at least twice as much time, but focus more on the parts that I don’t enjoy as much like clean up and colouring.
5. Draw layout first then animate! Don’t animate first and then try to draw a background that fits the animation, it’s not a good idea…
6. Clean up is fairly easy to do, but it takes a lot of time to make it look good. I found it very easy to do in TvPaint, but I takes more time than what I had for this projects. Also remember, don’t use less than a two pixel brush in TvPaint, the program will mess it up when exporting!
7. Oh my god, colouring is a pain in the a**! It takes a LONG time! If there is anything I’m taking with me from this project, it is that for my final film, I’ll try to have three or four weeks just to colour the animation, cause it takes a long time to make it look good.
8. I need to get better at time management. Even though I made a schedule there were some parts of the project that took longer or shorter time than I expected. I’ve done some notes on this for my final film so I can hopefully plan better next time.
9. If I need someone to help me out I will ask earlier! Since I started animating so late the actor students where unable to help me out with dialogue and reference, due to their own projects. I also could have kept more in contact with my composer to see how he was getting along. I managed to sort it all out in the end, but I’ll remember this for later.
10. The importance of music. Even though I didn’t get an original score I learned how much influence music has on a movie. I’ll try to include music in my future animatic both to give myself and a composer something to work from.
11. Expectations vs reality. Probably the most important thing that I learned and the tip I got the most, don’t aim too high. I might not be able to make the fantastic looking movie I have in my mind, and at sometime I have to settle on that the best I can do is good enough.
So, lots of experiences from this project, but it was actually really funny and I enjoyed doing research and working for a costumer. I have a lot to improve before starting on my final film, but I think it can be done.
I’m ending this post with the movie itself, enjoy!