Creative Strategies: Recording Of Ideas

Ideas:

Idea One:

The Techno Spider

Original basis of the idea:

It’s that time of the year where we’re getting these relatively large spiders in our homes, and its rare if there’s a day where you don’t hear someone saying

” There was a spider in my room last night and it really freaked me out, you should have seen the size of it! Had trouble sleeping after that “

Or something along those lines anyway.

But whenever you’re being told of the spider being a nuisance, you know it was just running about the walls or the floor of  the house and that’s it but its relate able because its happened to all of us.

But what if the spider was doing something that has kept us awake before, like someone playing redundantly loud music for example.

Story/Script:

  • Scene opens with an office environment, by a coffee/water dispenser
  • A male character stands by the water/coffee dispenser: blood shot eyes, looks exhausted.
  • A female character walks into the scene, goes to the dispenser, notices how rough and tired the male character looks.

Female Character: ” WOAH! You look awful! Are you ok? What happened to you?

Male Character: “Yeah, I’m fine: theres just this giant spider where I live, and I can’t sleep or get settled because of it…”

Female Character: “OHHHH, I can’t STAND spiders! Exactly how giant is it?”

  • Close up on the males face, looking disturbed 

 FLASH BACK TO THE PREVIOUS NIGHT

  • We see the male character, laying in his bed, eyes open, blood shot and twitching.
  • Loud music can be heard from the next room.
  • The camera pans across to the next room, where we see a giant anthropomorphic spider, raving to loud music.
  • Cut to black-Credits.

Idea Two:

Chunder Blunder

CHUNDER– ‘To vomit’

BLUNDER– ‘To make a stupid or careless mistake; act or speak clumsily’

Original basis of the idea:

With a heavy influence from the animated series Puffin Rock and various nature documentary, it’s a play or twist on the feeding process from a mother bird to a baby in which the mother bird regurgitates or vomits into the baby birds mouth in order to feed it. Typically whenever we see the feeding process in a children’s cartoon like Puffin rock or a Nature documentary like Planet Earth,  it’s shown in a respectful and tasteful way.

So, (taking influence some shorts like ‘Daddy Christmas’ where we as the audience are built up to expect one thing to happen and then are thrown or taken somewhere completely different in terms of narrative.) what if the feeding process isn’t shown in a particularly ‘tasteful’ or ‘respectable’ way?

Story/Script:

  • Scene opens a baby bird sleeping in its nest.
  • Its awakened by the silhouette of its mother flying into the scene
  • The baby bird, hungry, starts to cheep at its mother for food, the mother looking at the baby, attempting to figure out why her baby is so restless
  • POV shot from the mothers view, of the baby cheeping up at her
  • The mother, having figured out that her baby is hungry, starts to quietly and slowly build up the regurgitated food. Neck and cheeks start to swell.
  • Another POV Shot of the baby chick from the point of the mother, we hear the mother birds graceful ‘build up’ turn into a violent gut churning build up in the throat, the babies pupils dilate from the realisation of what’s about to happen. (complete, uncontrollable, projectile vomit)
  •  Shot cut to a side view of the baby bird and mother bird, the baby bird being completely drench and overwhelmed by the vomit being emitted from the mother.
  • Cut to a far out distance shot of the environment, in the distance we see the mother flailing and vomiting everywhere, and the mother bird bobbing about in a panic.
  • Cut to a close up of the mother bird having finished vomiting, she looks at the baby bird, as if what just happened was completely normal, as standard feeding process
  • Cut to the baby bird, completely inflated and swollen from all the vomit it’s taken in, eyes twitching, vomit seeping from its mouth, moaning in pain.
  • Cut to black-credits

As described above, and mentioned previously I really like the idea of leading people to think the story is going in particular way and then twisting their expectations by doing something they wouldn’t expect.So when coming up with the narrative for these short ideas, that’s something I wanted to include in the final draft.

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Creative Strategies: Personal research

When researching with the idea of simplicity in mind and looking for influences in style I remembered taking part in a workshop with a studio Cartoon Saloon based in Kilkenny.

As a studio they’re known for their work on:

  • Skunk Fu (animated series)
  • The Secret of the Kells (Feature film)
  • Song Of the Sea (Feature film)
  • Somewhere down the line (short film)

But the workshop I was involved in promoted their new animated children’s series called PUFFIN ROCK

“Set on an island off the coast of Ireland inhabited by puffins, Puffins Rock is a playful animated natural history series for pre-schoolers and their parents. Puffins Rock follows the lives of one family of puffins and in particular the adventures of Oona, a young puffin exploring the world around her in the ways that any young animal would.”

What I love about the series is it’s style, simple looking characters,playful and harmless narrative. It looks like a moving children’s book which I find very appealing, almost hand drawn or painted in style.

Kinda becoming a simplicity nut with this project so earlier when I was commenting on the character design of ‘PANTS’ a mention that the character seem to be made of simple shapes and they look awesome, so doing a little research into the character designs of Puffin Rock, I came across these,

These are some designs for the baby bird character called Baba, the thing I love about the design of this character is that, (can you guess? That’s right!) IT’S SIMPLE! Its a sphere with eyes, but still incredibly appealing.

puffin-rock3

some more character designs from Puffin rock.

I think this would be a really nice direction to take the design of our characters.

(Just a bit of research that interests me personally, below is a video going though how the characters are animated in Anime Studio Pro by cartoon Saloon, i didn’t know the charaters were animated with 2D rigs, something I wouldn’t mind looking into in the future.)

Creative Strategies

Again, looking into the work of others, I love the idea of our short having a humour based narrative and whilst looking up shorts or animations with a similar narrative I came across these, made me laugh.

Blowing Chunks (Minecraft Animation)
The Cyanide & Happiness Show – S01E01 – A Day At The Beach

They may seem really random at a glance, but I’ll explain why I thought it is relevant to post these. With regards to a narrative based around humour, I love the idea of making a animation where the joke isn’t something the audience would initially expect.

So, for example in the minecraft short ‘Blowing Chunks’ one character asks for sticks, and instead of simply handing him sticks the second character throws our expectations and projectile vomits them everywhere for a prolonged amount of time, causing the secondary character to freak out which adds to the humour.

In the Cyanide & Happiness Show, the joke of the humans and insects existing in reverse roles,again, threw my expectations but still made the situation relate able and funny.

So the idea of building the audience up to to expect something and then at the last second making a joke that they had no idea was coming seems like a really nice way to deliver a gag, which is something I’d love us to incorporate into our final animation.

Creative Strategies: Research-The influences of others

Last semester, during our 15 second short assignment, the animation that really stood out to me was an animation called ‘PANTS,’ created by our courses own Dylan Cooper, Katie McQuilan, Natasha Walsh and Amiee K’P.

The reason I like it so much, other than it’s awesome narrative, is that it’s:

  • Cute
  • Simple
  • Incredibly Appealing

To be more specific I really love how it all fits together visually, when looking at it, the design is really intelligent.

The jungle consists of a simple green, with a pond, a tree and some bushes uniquely placed around the scene to convey distance and perspective. They modelled only what they needed to tell the story which is something I feel like my last team and I messed up on. Our scenes consisted of assets that wouldn’t even have been seen during most of the short, taking up time in both scene creation and render time.

I also find the character design in the ‘PANTS’ short be be brilliant.

-Keeping it simple with simple shapes-

Toby the tiger looks like a Maya pre-set cube with bevelled edges and Freddy the frog looks like a sphere that has been cut and extruded and it works so well in my opinion! 

Definitely the direction I’d love to take our  characters for our short.

Looking into the work of others outside the course, we found this really nice short called ‘Shave it’

A short by 3dar Studios: Faced paced, an animation that was made to be enjoyed rather than to be understood.

We really liked the colour scheme and style of this short, its use of bright, bold and vivid colours really caught our attention. A particular shot at 00:39 seconds into the animation really stood out us; shot shown below.

shave_it

We just though the angle was interesting in how it made the characters head come to the forefront and body almost diminish in scale, emphasising it facing expressions to the viewer.

Another short we came across was ‘Computer Glitch’ by BLUE ZOO

“An experimental animation made collaboratively by 30 Blue Zoo artists, but without seeing what each other has done.”

We liked this for its animation and narrative, the animation is quirky and flows well from shot to shot and its narrative is simple.

The next short by Blue Zoo had us on our backs from laughter, a short titled: DADDY CHRISTMAS

“A festive mixed-media animation using CG characters combined live-action environments and liquid effects, written & directed by Rory Cooke & Daniel Cripps”

This short ticked all the boxes for the team, it’s narrative is funny but takes us somewhere we weren’t originally  intending to go, (shock value) and the characters and style are very cute and appealing.

I found this really nice breakdown article on the creation of ‘Daddy Christmas.’ It takes you through from start to finish the processes that were involved in the making of the short, from simple character designs, modelling shots, storyboards to sound design. A really nice read.

https://www.behance.net/gallery/22116885/Daddy-Christmas

I thought these were really nice finds for the team and for us to gain a little bit of influence off with regards to narrative. Overall I get the impression that we’re going for a narrative based around humour but we’ll see how things develop over the course of the assignment.

Creative Strategies: THE POWER OF THE CLOUD!

Rendering


A while ago, a link regarding a cloud rendering was posted on the animation Belfast page which intrigued me, the rendering stage of the animation short pipeline is quite a lengthy and time consuming process, so the idea of submitting our animations to be rendered out, delivered in a high quality and in a quick time was really appealing.

The service is provided by Google and is called Zync. Link provided below

https://www.zyncrender.com/

“Two things will always remain the same in visual effects and design: project schedules will fluctuate, and the effort to get to final will continue to be impossible to predict accurately. ZYNC was developed as a mission critical in-house tool to address these very issues. Our users require flexible solutions that allow them greater creative freedom, while decreasing long term overhead and startup costs.”

“This is where ZYNC was born and where we live. At the edge of change, bringing unmatched burst capacities to existing facilities and enabling new ways for smaller creative teams to excel. Allowing both groups to deliver higher quality work than they could before while enabling them to build their future organically.”

So as said above, its a service that has been used to great extent by industry but also enables smaller creative teams to render their work quickly, simply and in a high quality and you get 60 hours worth of rendering for signing up which is great!

However it only uses the following renders: NUKE, SOLID ANGLE and V.RAY, and all my previous rendering experience involved mental ray, which may to something to consider when deciding whether or not to use this service, but it seems really promising and I wouldn’t mind looking into other renderers anyway for future projects and to just extend my own knowledge in general.

Creative Strategies: Team Findings

Through out the week we’ve been looking at the work of others for either their visual style or narrative; Christian, Zoe and Pete came up with a nice variety of finds.

‘MUTE is an animated short about a world populated by people born without a mouth. When a gory accident leads to the discovery they are able to create their own mouth by cutting themselves, this releases an enthusiastic chain reaction among the population.’

Job, Joris & Marieke, a Dutch studio for animation, illustration, character design and music. In 2011 Job

I really like the dark, almost twisted sense of humour shown in this animated short, definitely something i’d definitely be interested in implementing into the narrative of our short. Awesome find Christian!

‘This narrative short is the culmination of some playful experiments with 3D character rigging on a live action, camera-tracked scene. It all came about when our 3D animation specialist Russ Etheridge noticed that his bathroom sink was shaped like a perfect half-pipe, and began to wonder how a tiny skater might interact with it. After toying with a few ideas, the spider was settled upon as a pretty apt creature to win the starring role in this domestic bathroom-based adventure.’

Created by Animade; a combination of 3D character animation and live 
action using CINEMA 4D.

Really nice find by Zoe! I hadn’t considered animating 3D characters in a live action setting, it could really save us some time in terms of creating environmental assets for our sort and I’ve been looking to study compositing and visual effects since I started the course so this could be a really cool way to create our short. The only thing that would concern me is that it’s a method of visual creation that none of the team is particularly confident in, so it may not be the most practical method to use with the time frame we’re given, but i’d be up for learning the ‘how to’s’ in a heart beat.

‘A short clip from the stop motion animated film Old Czech Legends’

‘The Kitsune wedding procession.’

Pete went down a more abstract route with regards to his research, coming away from relatively western themes and focusing on themes of Asian heritage and ceremonies to Czech Legends. I thought there were some really interesting ideas emulating from the videos Pete posted with regards to Narrative themes. I think a battle may be difficult to emulate and fitting it to our brief big and small may prove difficult, but there were some shots from the clip of ‘Battle With the Luczans’  that I really liked, maybe something to remember when we’re coming up with shots in our final idea.

BWTL

Creative Strategies: Brain Storming

To begin with, we started looking into the options we have to work with in terms of narrative. Asking each other questions like:

‘What narrative would we enjoy working on over a 7 week project?’

‘What sort of narrative would be easy to achieve or pull off within the time frame provided?’

‘Would it be easier to achieve a joke within 15-30 seconds as opposed to a serious or ‘deep’ narrative?’

As a result, I wanted to refresh myself with the concept of narrative structure within film and I came across this relatively handy and informative presentation on the exact topic.

I found the information on slide 5 to be particularly interesting. it basically breaks down the Narrative structure to it’s bare essentials,


Exposition – Rising Action – Climax– Falling Action – Resolution

Exposition – meeting the characters, establishing the setting, setting the tone         establishing the normal of the film world.

Rising Action – the central conflict is introduced and the tension between the protagonist and the antagonist begins to mount.

Climax  The climax is the turning point, which marks a change, for the better or the worse, in the protagonist’s future.

Falling Action – The major action has happened, this is the aftermath,this is the sorting out of the major conflict’s resolution.

Resolution  the creation of the new normal. The conflict is resolved.


Narrative elements to consider when thinking about our final idea. The simple way in which each major part of the narrative is broken down and presented here should help us lay out the basic foundations of our story when we decide on one.

A list of possible narrative structures we can explore:

  • Humour
  • emotional
  • romantic
  • Action
  • Educational
  • Twisted humour
  • Horror
  • Sci-fi
  • Fantasy
  • Western
  • Apocalyptic
  • Post Apocalyptic
  • Adventure
  • Musical