I finally finished my volleyball net. The project is going as planned though I am leaving a lot of work for the last week. I am loving the experience of this project and I keep learning everyday. I feel like I am pushing myself every day, in a good way.
Now I am looking at some videos before starting the animation… As I researched, it really helps if we have a video of a person making the same gestures we want the bird to make so I asked my dad to make some video with different gestures and expressions for the different lines of the Bird. And so he did!
(just a screenshot of the video)
With this I intend to study the movement so the bird looks more natural! I also asked Lucy Barlett (my voice), to film herself talking so I could study her lip movement so it would be easier to sync with the Bird’s beak.
I am getting closer to animate and it has been a long long journey. I think that technically, the project is working but my problems will appear while making the animation and I won’t have a lot of time to fix them. Perhaps the plasticine moulding could have gone better but I still have time to fix it. I am truly excited to start “shooting”
To do list (next):
- improve bird, soften the plasticine
- paint clay volleyballs
- paste backdrop onto the set
I’ve looked through several lipsync videos and tutorials and I’m highlighting some research related to that. All my technical notes are on my small journal. However, I had to decide whether I was going to animate the beak in order for it to say every word or if I was just going to open and close it. I took the second option (even though I didn’t start the animation that’s my plan). A helpful video:
I also did a lot of research on mouth shapes and understanding lip sync. In the end, I concluded that I would be safer with just opening and closing the beak of my puppet.
Eye movement and blinking
Since the mouth won’t move a lot I thought that giving blinking to my character would help her be more life like. I researched and there are several types of blinking and took some notes:
- Normal blinking – 2 frames to go down (close the eye) 1 hold frame, 3 frames to open the eye again. Apparently, we are slower opening our eyes than closing them.
- Fast blinking – 2 frames down, 3 up (usually used when staring at something)
- Long blink – 3 frames to close, 1 frame to hold, 4 frames to open – used when thinking (slow)
- Flirty blinking (fast blink) – 1 almost closed, 2 to open
With this, I can really give life to my puppet. I now have to think of a better eye mechanism.
Regarding eye movement, I took some notes on
- changing eye direction: no more than 3 frames, eye movements are really fast
- When talking with someone: Eye moves from left to right ( just one frame)
- When looking around: eye makes a triangular shape – 1 left, 1 down, 1 up.
That is my research so far regarding these aspects and I am saving all the video and websites links on a word document so I can evidence my research.
Notes on my set design and voice recording.
Yesterday I called my dad and asked him to take pictures of the indoor gym of the club because I will try to draw it and make it my set. My idea is to remake the gym and draw it with watercolors. I would also like to have a volleyball net on the set and a few plasticine balls on the floor. As Helen suggested in our last tutorial I researched backdrop animators and designers:
- Paul Julian – Warner Bros.
- Barry Kooser – Disney, Worker Studio
- Brice Mack – Disney
- Maurice Noble – Warner Bros., MGM Animation
- Kazuo Oga – Studio Ghibli, Madhouse
- Walter Peregoy – Disney, Format Films, Hanna-Barbera
- Tyrus Wong – Disney, Warner Bros
- Kōji Yamamura – Independent
- Yale Gracey – Disney
I’ve quickly looked thorough these and saved a few images that inspired me. I might do a sheet with them.
I have now a draft of my script. With that, I started imagining my character’s personality and her potential voice. I wrote a few notes that say her voice has to be:
- Happy, excited
- Young and fun
I will be able to edit the voice so I can play with it but I wouldn’t want to go too far from the original.
During the morning I researched through some stop motion and plasticine artists.
- Rich Webber – the director of Purple and Brown, Shawn the sheep and Wallace and Gromit. He works with Aardman animations and in one interview he gave he stated that their focus on animating usually lies upon the detail and expression of the eyes and eyebrows. I also found his Instagram page that can be helpful for inspiration
- Corky Quakenbush – a worker in American motion pictures and TV series in a wide variety of different jobs, including camera work, writing, and production. One of his specialities is in stop-motion animation. They produced “Rudolph the red nose reindeer”.
- Charley Bower – One of the stop-motion pioneers. He made a short film with a bird eating metal. The animation is not so smooth in some parts so it allowed me to observe exactly how he moved some objects.
- Lou Bunin – Puppeteer Lou Bunin created one of the first stop motion puppets using wire armatures and his own rubber formula. Bunin went on to produce a feature-length film version of Alive in wonderland with a live-action Alice and stop motion puppets portraying all the rest of the characters.
- Di Conway – Wellington sculptress Di Conway is widely known for her ‘fat-lady’ sculptures created in her converted “shed” at her home. It is through these quirky, humorous figures and the underlying social commentaries about life, and empowerment of women that they embody, that Di has established a cult following in Wellington. Creating works in both bronze and clay. This artist is not an animator but I found her work really interesting because her sculptures all like slightly cartoony.
This research helped me visualising different methods and approaches to clay modelling and stop motion animation.
This morning I finally photocopied the pages of the books I am researching. It took me much more time that I was expecting, it basically took me all morning to print all I wanted and cut the pages on the guillotine. During the rest of the day, I was chasing time to keep up with the tasks I had planned.
I did a lot of sketching today. I was observing birds and they’re movements so my drawings were quite fast and sketchy. I was really happy with the outcome because the final pieces were all really expressive and it helped my project moving forward when it comes to understanding how birds fly and move.
I then mounted the drawings into an A1 sheet. I was happy with but I still have to finish it because it looks too white or empty…
With the drawings I’ve made from animators research I came up with an A1 sheet to make it more visual. It turned out to look quite busy but I like it.
I finished the day by organising the next sheet I’m going to make, which is about the bird’s anatomy. I just cut some pictures and starting making a plan of how I want it to look like. But I also bought plasticine for my project. To be honest it was not an easy task… I don’t have experience, I don’t really know the amount of plasticine necessary to make one model so I just hope I bought enough.
To sum it up, my project is moving forward to a considerably fast rhythm. For now, the only thing that is bothering me is my last sheet, there is something missing but I don’t know what… Besides that everything is working really well because I managed to complete all tasks I planned and I’ve been being too optimistic but for now it’s ok. I am happy with my work so far. Sheets are looking good, research also and I am now ready to move on with CHARACTER DESIGN!!
For my artist research I started looking at animation with birds on it. I found
- “For the birds” pixar
- “The ugly duckling” Walt Disney
- The character “Zazu” from “the lion king”
- The character “Lago” from Aladin
- And two illustrators named Danielle Brown and Chris Ayers that have some interesting bird
This research helped me understand a lot of animation aspects when animating a bird. I drew a few cartoons that will be mounted on a sheet later. At the end I understood that the foot, head and mouth moving together can softly express different emotions. However this artist research is not enough because I am doing a plasticine model so all its needed next is research on stop motion plasticine animators and animations.
For my research in Copenhagen I started looking into an official site for tourists –
I firstly look through the top 30 attractions and I found a few interesting places I would definitely would like to pass by.
- The Alternative Christiania – a car-free neighborhood where a different life style was establishes in 1971 by a “group of hippies”. It is a mix of homemade houses, workshops, art galleries, music venues, cheap organic eateries and nature. The are is open to the public but they have their one rules and apparently we have to take them seriously such as “not film or photograph”. Photo
- The National Aquarium Denmark, Den Blå Planet, it’s Northern Europe’s largest aquarium and the architecture of the building just looks breathtaking! They have several activities and are open all days of the week but the ticket is about 20 pounds so it is wuite expensive. Photo
- ARKEN Museum of modern art, It has contemporary exhibitions and exhibits known artists but also “new” ones and the museum itself is an attraction due to its architecture.
- The Botanical Garden in the center of Copenhagen is free! I looked into the list of “free things to do” in Copenhagen. It has 10 hectares and loads of different species of plants, which reminded me of the Eden project and how much I loved to go there. But putting the plants aside I am really excited to visit the Glasshouses that exist inside the garden, they look amazing!
- Elmegade street is where the young people are! It has a lot of bars and boutiques and a lot of students hang out there on the sidewalk. It sounds nice for spending one of the evenings.
- Straædet street, it had a lot of design and retail shops, it should be a nice place to relax during the Monday we arrive or the Friday we depart!