Title & Opening Sequence

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This is part of Jules and Phil’s lesson, but the more I look into this the more I see potential in adding to my actual final piece that could help the narrative and also feel the 2D criteria.

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Part A

My plan is to make use of this opening sequence both as to set up the themes and tone, but also establish the story and what’s happened before the arrival of the two protagonist: it will set up the apartment, a person entering (this being the actual intruder though the fact isn’t clear yet) and making his way upstairs, then the tension can build as we see the weapon being raised at him from behind before culminating in the shot being fired. On this gunshot the title can show and the scene can transition into the arrival of Nick and Ford.

This works in that it gives the viewer some more establishment of what’s happened bringing them up to pace with the protagonists–we know someone has broken in, and someone has been shot. The intrigue is given in that we don’t know who’s who, as in, who’s the “good” guy and who’s the “bad” guy.

This entire sequence will be no more than 10, maybe 15 seconds long, and will be entirely 2D rotoscope with a harsh black and white colour palette. Some already existing title sequences inspired me:

Batman

What I like from this is the use of edits, the screen going black is to showcase a title card, being the name of the film or members of the production staff but at the same time in my animation this can allow me to cover ground more quickly for the limited time scale: a shot of the man entering can cut to him on the stairs, searching, then the gun being raised and so and so on.

Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

This one works similar to mine; we know from the start this is a murder and the rough drawing in the background emulates the chalk drawing often seen drawn around the bodies in crime scenes. The music does for the most part the work and creating the tension, with it’s slow parts that quickly get louder before mellowing out again.The pieces of the body are also used to show production names and the name of the film itself. I personally don’t see much that I would like to use for myself, the drawing and the way different pieces keep moving in and around the shot work to give, in my opinion a sense of campiness (for lack of a better word), but also charm. Personally there isn’t much I would want to emulate or take inspiration from except maybe it’s use of stark colours, but it has certainly helped influence me in how I would do things differently.

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

This title sequence covers a massive scale in terms of the narrative; it immediately sets up the characters and the story before we’ve even seen the living characters themselves as well as setting up their arcs in the overall story. We see Leonardo’s character standing outside of the crowd before passing through a barrier and come out like one of the characters, and then Tom Hanks character in following him. This is a great way to set things up, and if my animation was feature length, or even the original ten minutes this would be an approach I would want to take but alas this wont be.

Part B

The only existing material that can fill this part is the set, seeing as this is where everything is going to be happening.

Part C

A storyboard is on its way. Should hopefully be done for tomorrow.

Research

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Cartoons

Cartoons inhabit a wide range of genres, themes and styles that have stayed relevant over the decades. For my current project I have to take a cartoon and either reboot, reimagine or remake it in a style of my choice for modern audience and more specifically a mature audience. In the brief it is stated that the cartoon of my choice has to be selected from the Golden Age of Cartoons but it has been clarified that my choice can be from any era so long as my output fits the learning outcomes.

There are a massively wide range of choices for me to pick from, including styles and genres and the storytelling that go with it, as such below I will create a list of possible ideas and a brief explanation on why I like it;

Choice 1 — Popeye The Sailor

About

Popeye has come in many iterations over its history starting as a comic strip, a theatrical release and a television cartoon and even on the radio. The one I have aimed to follow specifically though is Popeye the Sailor as it was the first in the series of cartoons for the Popeye Franchise. This series ran from around 1933 to 1956  and as such has been out of production for over half a decade. Each episode was more a short film, each featuring to an extent a similar plotline as the ones before it with the villian Bluto making a move on Popeyes gal Olive Oyl and then ‘clobbering’ Popeye till he eats some spinach and becomes super powerful winning the day.

Lead Artist

Having come in several different forms of media the artist team has obviously been different each time round but the original artist who created the Popeye character known and loved today was Elzie Crisler Segar. The artists who created Popeye The Sailor was a New York-based animation company Fleischer Studios run by the brothers Max and Dave Fleischer.

What I Would

As aforementioned this series has been discontinued for decades and as such in a perfect opportunity to reboot for a new age and audience. A brief summary of what I can possibly do for this series is either a reboot in itself taking the stories, art styles and such and cleaning it all up, or taking some chances with new stories fleshing out his origins or setting and so on.

Choice 2 – Wacky Races

About

Running from just 1968 to 1969 Wacky Races was an animated cartoon series broadcasted on television for just one season depsite being well recieved from its viewers.Each episode ran through the same plotlines as the others much like Popeye with all of the large cast of 22 racers and cars competing against each other to get from start to the finish line though with some variation in locales, who won and such.

Artists

Hannah-Barbera and Heatter-Quigley Productions.

What I Would Do

Wacky Races, as the name implies was all about its quirkiness and slapstick over -exagerated comdey as characters and their cars were massivly over designed, built around particular stereotypes and such forth. I wouldn’t neccesarily change much of this as it was what made the show work, instead build upon it, exagerating the exageration even further and inlcuding some more violence or character archetypes that are more relevant in this day and age.

Choice 3 – Rugrats

About

Airing from 1991 to around 2004, Rugrats followed the lives of around 5 young toddlers in their daily lives using humour and adventure to tell the stories.

Artists

Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó and Paul Germain

What I Would Do

One common idea explored with Rugrats is showing their characters at different stages in their lives though still keeping the show at its core centred on the same characters and their relationships. I would simply either reboot, or just show a new age mainly because the audience that grew up with this show, including me have matured and grown up since it stopped airing; as such having the characters around our age can be more relevant to its original viewers than before and the themes and storytelling being updated.

Choice 4 – Authur

About

Authur followed the lives of several anthropamorthic characters through their school years and acted as a sort of comedy/educational cartoon for children to watch and learn from.

Artists

Cookie Jar Group

What I Would Do

My ideas for Authrur are very similar to those for Rugrats, taking something a lot of children grew up with and ageing the original cast and their storylines to fit our lives. As well, I would possibly reboot the series as a whole introducing new storylines that can educate the children of today on matters that are more relevant.

Lastly I want to clarify on what the differences between reboot, reimagine and remake are and decide on my final choice.

Reboot

In serial fiction, to reboot means to discard all continuity in an established series in order to recreate its characters, timeline and backstory from the beginning.

Reimagening

To reinterpret (an event, work of art, etc.) imaginatively

Remake

To take a film or program and film or recorded it again with not much change to the stories, the characters, or art style.

I personally want to go with the idea of a Reimagening, taking one of the cartoons mentioned above and building something new that incoprates a variety of elements while at the core keeping it faithful to the original works. This allows me to explore my imagination with an idea and encourages me to think about what would like to do.

Plan, Design, Execution

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The Plan

The aim of this project is to use sequential images to create the illusion of movement, more specifically having an animation of words either displayed 2D or made 3D with a voiced recording of a speech laid over it, the emphasis of this project to have the two run in rhythm with each other in a way that flows nicely and adds something to the speech.

I’m on the fence on whether to go 2D or 3D with my animation as each provide their own unique style to typography that I can make use of, with 2D I feel I can make better use of speed and rhythm making this the focus point of my animation, but with 3D I can introduce elements like weight, varying camera angles and more elaborate animations but at the cost of being time consuming depending on how far I want to go like if for some of the characters or objects in my recording I wanted to have instead of words but a visual representation, think instead of putting the word bear I instead wanted to create a 3D bear, I need to create it in the already limited time I have, whereas for 2D I can draw a quick rough sketch, or use an image of Google though it wont have the same kind of impact or look that can be given by 3D models.

Some example videos of both 2D and 3D that makes use of typography in way that appeals to me;

In the Kendrick Lamar lyric video, what stood out to me most that I want to recreate is the sense of flow in the wording especially during the verses like at 1:58 – 2:05.

In the tutorial on typography the use of colour to emphasise words and expressions to have a more striking visual effect on the viewer and the choice of fonts and arrangements to express the tone and manner.

The Cox n’ Crendor video while not a specific use of typography had the elements of where they used visual gags to enhance the recording, making what was just a laugh in the recording come across as a variety of different things such as a phone vibrating, a dolphin and polishing a vase.

The Execution

The video I am using is one of two done between me and my girlfriend Kia where she was reading from a book for the sole purpose of this animation. I went with the one where she doesn’t quite get to the end and I have some input mainly because it fits the 30 seconds brief, and it also offers a lot more in turns of different sounds, rhythm and pitches and volumes which in turns give me more to create an animation from.

The audio comes in at around 30 seconds, so with an additional ending credits it may come to around 35 seconds in the final form which is a little over the set amount but not by much, and if I can, I’ll edit it down further.

Effects outside of the typography itself may be limited in a sense that I want all the attention on the words and not something that could break the flow by being distracting, essentially I want the viewer to see a clear and consistent animation that wont cause them to pause or feel like they missed something.

The primary software I will be using is TvPaint to create the animation, and then Premier or After Effects for post-production, syncing the recording and animation and adding an finishing touches to spruce it up.

Practice Attempts

Before making my final animation, I made two practice videos, one really short, the other much longer than the brief-specified time.

This animation was made for me to get back into understanding TVPaint and get a hang of things after not using the software for so long and doesn’t feature any creativity or audio.

The second animation was a much more professional attempt at using TVPaint now that I was once again familiar with the software, and features audio from a song. In this animation I was able to make use of elements like rhythm, syncing the words and creating more flair with my typography, though during the post-production in Adobe Premier the audio I put in wasn’t really syncing with my animation, and the final outcome is just slightly out of sync.

Script

As my final animation isn’t reading from a script, I had to go through the audio and make out where I and Kia spoke and what we said;

Kia – “Ooh hear the dog

Kia – “Ooh she’s done a lil’ bit of a (Pause/Page flick) Genisis

Kia – “Some Christian shit

Kia – “But of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil, tho shalt not eat of it

Me – “(Laugh) I’m sorry, I can’t take you seriously when you read (Laugh) Just can’t do it

Kia – “Whyy?

Me – “You change your voice n’ everything, it’s so wierd

Kia – “I know”

Me – “(Laughing) It’s too funny

Kia – “I never gave too much thought to how I’d die

Kia – “The

Me -“(Laughing)

Sources

Cox n’ Crendor – Youtube Channel

http://kitkatkia.wordpress.com/ – Kia Martin WordPress

 

Planning & Research

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Planning

My plan for my Zombie v Robot is to show their competition with an arm wrestle between the two, through this I will make use of small details in their movements to show a difference between how the Robot arms animated compared to the Zombie. The Robot arm will be more rigid, composed of very solid and clean movements, the Zombie on the other hand will be more fluid and less predetermined. As well as the two arms I need a location for where this will be set; To keep a sense of consistency I plan to have it set somewhere people would tend to fight it out like how you see in movies and TV programmes.

At a minute long the animation needs to be interesting enough to keep the viewers attention, as such I’ll give with around 30 seconds of the arms actually wrestling, with fifteen seconds at the start devoted to the arms setting up and the last fifteen for showing off the winner or something that gives a satisfying ending.

Research

Zombies

In all types of media zombies seem to come between two extremes; one where they look more or less uninfected with some splatters of blood and their actions obviously being what makes them zombies, and then there’s the rotting or half eaten zombies. Going the ‘untouched’ look would make a more realistic looking animation in terms of it being able to put in an effort against a robot without crumbling, but the more rotted idea would make a more defined zombie and give something more interesting to look at and model

The more fresh version of a zombie.

The more rotted version of a zombie.

Robots

Futurama

Bender from the cartoon Futurama uses arms that allow more fluid movements while still retaining that look of some mechanised, the three-pronged fingers are also interesting to me as they will show a clear distinction compared to the Zombie. Complications come from figuring out how the grip of this type of hand would work with the Zombies grip. As well as the fact this design gives a more loose arm rather than the more rigid and uniform type.

Cranes And Digger Hydraulics

What inspiration I have taken from diggers is the use of hydraulics, it gives the very rigid movements I’m looking for as well as a more authentic look for my Robot arm, in that when it moves you will be able to see the entire arm work together.

Action Figures

The way joints work for action most common action figures is also something I would like to explore; for shoulders especially it will add a level of flexibility while still keeping that rigid movement. How it works is that the shoulder is a ball shape that connects into the body with a rod that allows it to be twisted up and down in place a full 360′, the biceps connects to this with a second rod that isn’t a piece of the shoulder ball but connected on a hinge that allows it to move the entirety of the arm up and down depending on the direction its twisted only 180′. This design will help me to give my robot some freedom of movement while staying with that rigid and formative look and multiple-piece design means I can some interesting animations as the arm works, with each part working in unison.

Setting

Bar/Pub

Would either be done on the bar itself, or a table with the bar a clear sight in the background so people have a clear indication of where the animation takes place, this could also be achieved with just having pint glass filled with beer be within sight. I could get away with a simple 2d background of the bar, blurring the details in post to make the entire scene seem focused the arm wrestle.

Street

Set in some undefined quiet street, this could be at night to remove any need for other details except only the really needed ones that give away the location and the scene lit up with street lights that help to focus the wrestle with distant sounds of cars and sirens to add some atmosphere.

Car Park

Can either be in a exterior car park or in one of the multi-story types, either way this would provide an interesting location to set the wrestle as like with the others this it fits with the theme of one of the common areas you see fight scenes. the only problem comes from the background, 2d cars could be done but it wouldn’t be that interesting to see, and making the 3d would require more effort.

Project Research

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For my essay I have decided to go with the man who many consider the father of animation Winsor McCay, as the brief tells us to create the essay in the style of the chosen animator, I have decided to pick and choose the elements I find myself most able to recreate from his work, for instance the neat and consistent layout for my text boxes and drawn images as well as the use of dark lines and black and white to emulate his drawings like can be seen in Gertie the Dinosaur and other projects.

Winsor McCays life story beginning to end (Collected Notes)

  • Born – 1869 to 1871 – 1934 (some believe Canada, others think Michigan). Full name Zenas Winsor Mccay.
  • Though not going straight into animations Winsor began drawing at a young, with by the age of 13 having work of his like a picture of a shipwreck drawn on a blackboard being photographed and copies of that photograph being sold. His attention to detail for his drawings is what attracted his audience with the extra use of colour and perspective to bring the worlds he created alive.
  • Traded techniques with neighbouring painter Jules Guerin while living in a shared studio in 1889 with Guerins use of eye-catching techniques, direct visual messages and charismatic characterization in his work on pamphlets and posters for the National Printing and Engraving Company having some influence on Winsors earlier drawings.
  • Despite his obvious love and ambition for drawing at a young age, his family, more especially his father, when Wensor was at the age of 19 in 1891 enrolled him into business school in order to push him into what they considered a proper career much to the dismay of Winsor, who ended up rarely actually attended any of the schools lectures.
  • Instead of attending lectures at the business school he enrolled at, Winsor instead spent that time in the nearby city of Detroit, working his first job at the Dime Museum creating portraits of customers who came for the price of 25 cents a piece; his keen eye for observation and quick speed at drawing making his one of the go-to popular attractions, though not yet animating, this kind of push to continue drawing and honing his expertise made him become even better at his passion, with him starting to push into the fringes of a role as a commercial artist with crowds often gathering to watch him work.
  • As talk of his skill started to grow, word spread to an important and life changing figure in Winsors life; a professor of drawing at Michigan State Normal School by the name of John Goodison, who went on to provide the first ever formal lessons Winsors had ever had with private lessons focused mainly around the use of perspective, an understanding of geometry and a sense of substance that would influence the rest of Winsors subsequent work.
  • Though Goodison urged Winsor to attend the Art Institute of Chicago, he instead took the job of an apprentice for a local printing company, spending the next two years moonlighting in another dime museum until moving to Cincinnati, Ohio where he would go onto work as a billboard painter. It was here he yet again attracted the attention of crowds, with his unique way in drawing, something he continued to enjoy with his love for performing.
  • As life went on Winsor would go onto marry and have two children, and to help support his family got extra work in painting signs and not long after started to make drawings for a local newspaper, the Commercial Tribune.
  • While working for the Tribune, Winsors skill for producing quick and accurate drawings of events and people, most of which would be just from his talent of drawing from just memory, put him ahead of his competition in a time when newspapers did not have the technology to reproduce photographs.
  • Winsor got to show his more lighthearted humor when working for the premier humor magazine at the time, Life, which was a collection of cartoons and short pieces, with Winsor contributing single panel cartoons to the magazine. All the while taking influence and inspiration from fellow Life artists, one such artists being A.B. Frost, whose sequence cartoons (a series of panels captioned with text that would tell a story) would later be employed as a technique by Winsor.
  • At the turn of the century in 1900 he was employed as the head of the Cincinnatis’ Enquirer art department.
  • Working as the head of the Cincinnati Enquirer art department, Winsors work begun to flourish, with him being allowed to experiment new ideas; gag cartoons in the Enquirer and sequential strips in Life, by the year 1903 creating works like The Tales of the Jungle Imps; a series of 43 hand-coloured illustrations based on poems about pixies and the imaginary animals they encounter throughout the story written by the Sunday editor George Randolph Chester. The Tale of the Jungle Imps featured three imp protagonists; Gack, Boo-Boo and Hickey, each representing primitive natural forces, the strip also featured a lot of the racial stereotypes common for the early twentieth century publications.
  • By 1904, Winsors work had caught the attention of James Gordon Bennett, owner of the New York papers the Herald, and the Evening Telegram, who got Winsor to work drawing editorial cartoons and illustrating news stories for both papers.
  • It was when Winsor was working for the Herald that he first began to employ the comic strip form, which at the time were still new and extremely popular to audiences, with comics beginning to start selling the papers, something that appealed greatly to Winsor.
  • While his first three attempts; the Mr. Goodenough, Sister’s Little Sister’s Beau and The Phurious Phinish of Phoolish Philipe Phunny Phrolics failed to gain the attention Winsor expected, it was his fourth piece, the Little Sammy Sneeze that became his first successful comic strip, followed later in the year with the Dream of the Rarebit Fiend and what would become is most well known strip the Little Nemo in Slumberland, published later in 1905. With Little Sammy Sneeze, it was his use of finely detailed and highly accurate persistent repetition with the positioning of Sammy (the consistent character in each of these strips) that caught the eye, as well as the use of shattering fourth walls which extended to the strips panel boarders themselves.
  • His most successful strip was the Dream of the Rarebit Fiend, this strip contrast greatly with the Sneeze, this being aimed at a more adult strip with themes built around adult nightmares and phobias.
  • Alot of Winsors comic strips were all made around a specific formula – a new setting for Sammy to sneeze, a new nightmare to exaggerate, and so on, it was with this use of a formula that Winsor was able to focus all his attention and creativity towards the art and drawing, so at the height of his career in the 1904 to 1905 he was able to run three seperate strips each week within two newspapers, as well as other cartoons and drawings daily for the Herald.
  • In October of 1905, when Winsor was at the age of 38, he would come to create what many consider his masterpiece with his use of experiments with the form of the comics pages, the colors, timing, pacing, the shape of the panels, the perspective, and many other details; the Little Nemo in Sumberland comic strip, it was so well received it manage to run weekly in the Herald from October 1905 to July 1911.
  • Not satisfied enough with creating all this work for two newspapers, Winsor also began to take part in Vaudeville performances, more specifically in what is called chalk-talk artists – where an artist would stand in front of an audience and draw onto a chalk board. Not surprisingly he became a hit with his work here too, balancing his work for the newspapers with his touring, often taking to create many of strips in the backstage dressing rooms or hotels as he would tour.
  • It was during his time in New York for five years that Winsor, who at the time was one of the biggest artists and performers in the city, began to combine all his works; the comic strips, the drawings and the chalk-talk art, all of which were based around pacing and movement, into one new art – the animated cartoon, said to have been inspired flipping through his sons flipbooks and the early films of Emile Cohl.
  • Though animated cartoons weren’t anything new, it was with Winsor that it became a more defined industry, and something he would continue to dominate with an understanding of the medium and pacing that was far ahead of his time.
  • In conjunction with his newspaper comic strips and drawings, Winsor would draw each of the individual 4,000 cells for his first animated film, Little Nemo, himself, along with his second film, the even longer 6,000 strong animation called the How A Mosquito Operates to be released in theaters.
  • Things started to change for Winsor in 1911, when, after conflictions with the Herald over taking time off to perform in Europe, he decided to move over to the Hearst paper, The American, after his contract with the Herald was up.
  • At the time it was clear to his audience and contractors that Winsor wanted to move more into animation following the release of strips like In the Land of Wonderful Dreams (the same comic strip as Little Nemo, with a title change due to Herald owning the rights to the name Nemo). His comic strips released for the Hearst from 1911 to 1913 featured a lack of attention to detail and a blandness in coloring that was very apparent to the viewers, the reason at the time being that Winsor become more devoted to focusing his energy of his next animated release Gertie the Dinosaur. In December of 1913 he was told by his employer that he was to give up on his comic strips and focus on more “serious” editorial drawings.
  • Gertie was his biggest work yet, featuring 10,000 drawings that not only included the character, Gertie the Dinosaur, but also for the first time, backgrounds, making use of what he called the “McCay Split System”, in which instead of the usual animating from beginning to end, he would instead create the start and the finish of the action, then fill in the movements inbetween, a technique used by animators to this day under the name “In-Betweening”. Meanwhile backgrounds would be handle by his assistant, John A. Fitzsimmons, he would trace the background from master drawing onto each cell. What made the film appeal most to its audiences was Winsors play on the fourth wall, by drawing the sequences to near perfection of timing in order to allow him to take part in the act himself, directing Gertie to do various actions, and eventually have him walk into the animation to say goodbye to the audience and finish the film with Gertie carrying Winsor away.
  • The conflict between Winsor and his boss, W.R. Hearst, would start to take an effect on Winsors career, as by 1918 Hearst had begun to prohibit him from taking part in his vaudeville performances, though he was still able to create editorial cartoons, and even went on to make six more animated short films, none of which reached the impact of his previous efforts.
  • Winsor would go on to work until the age of 54, continuing his career with Hearst creating editorial works as well as drawing illustrations for advertising until on 1934, after a failed attempt to bring Little Nemo back to comic pages he died in July 26, 1934.

What will I draw?

My ideas for what drawings will compliment my essay are;

Two comparison images of the man himself at the beginning of the essay, and another at the end, the first will be a real image of him at any particular age of his life, the second image though will be a drawn sketch of him like how he appears in Gertie the Dinosaur and this will be at the end of the comic as a sign off. My thought process behind this being that the drawn image at the end will be as if to show him becoming the animator he is at the height of his career.

An drawn illustration to show him skipping lectures at school to go to the dime museum in Detroit and one of him at said museum sketching paying customers to go with his childhood.

Draw him sketching but have the sketch be half of himself as if to represent him beginning to create his own life.

http://www.bpib.com/illustrat/mccay.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winsor_McCay

http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Winsor_McCay.aspx#1

https://guliverlooks.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/the-work-of-winsor-mccay/

http://cartoons.osu.edu/digital_albums/winsormccay/imps.html