Originally posted on the MA Character animation course blog, published March 13th 2016.
This week has been great!
I finally had the character designs ready, my background style and my firstyears on hand, so this week production started for real. I’ve mainly spent the time keyframing the first shots of the movie. Since the most technical shots, the ones where all the foxes walks together, are early in the movie I decided to start from the very beginning, work my way through and hope that it would gradually get easier. It took my four days to do the first three shots of the movie, but from then it got easier and now I have seven shots keyframed.
To make sure that I or my firstyears don’t get lost in which character is which I remembered a trick Francesca showed my when I worked on her movie a year ago. I gave each character a specific colour, a separate layer and a layer colour to match. This will stay with them throughout the movie. This meant that the characters could be animated separately, it was easier to keep track of who was in front of each other and it will also make it easier to clean up later.
I’ve realised that even though I’ve got as many as 52 shots in the movie about ten are without animation, four are the same shot on repeat and there are only four shots that are longer than four seconds. Therefore I’m hoping to finish a good chunk this upcoming week as well.
My firstyears are doing good too. Even though, unlike when I had my work placement for Becca and Francesca they now have several tutorials and workshops during these two weeks, I had none. Still they work very hard at any free time to help me out. I try to balance out how much I can expect from them and how much work I give them as I want them to enjoy working on my project and not feel as they are falling behind. Luckily they are very eager to help me out so I’m not that worried.
Juliette is making backgrounds and have so far finished the backgrounds for two out of four shots that I’ve given her. She is getting the hang of the style now so I guess she will need more work to do soon! I’ll probably go back and work on the colours and lighting of the backgrounds afterwards when the movie is starting to come together, but she is making things much easier for me.
Judit and Shiny are doing inbetweening. I’ve given Judit the shot of the movie where the foxes first appear, mainly because she is so good at animal walks I was sure she could do it. And from what I’ve seen so far she is doing a great job, I’m so pleased with having her on my team Shiny is also doing good, she has been animating on one of the close up shots and will probably move on to the next shot now on Monday.
Before we all started keyframing and animating I made a few more “model sheets” this time with the basic shape of the body of the foxes in the different age stages.
Even though I have this and the other model sheets the main problem when drawing the foxes is their snout. Since foxes have a long snout the foreshortening and perspective in almost every shot is hard for me to get my head around. Therefore I’m also making one of the foxes heads out of clay. I might make two more to give to Judit and Shiny as well to make the inbetweening a bit easier for them.
All in all, I’m just so happy to finally get started and to see my foxes gradually come to life. And so glad that I have my firstyears for another week!