Sunday, 13 June 2010

What project report?

I should have done a write up of the What project aaages ago, but I've been mostly asleep since it was finished... here it is

Once a concept and plot had been decided on, Darrien and I went went to Truro to take photos of the town to be used as reference in environment design. I took photographs of shop fronts, bins, bus stops, and basically anything else in the street, as well as close up photographs to create a catalogue of objects and textures for him to use in his environment concept drawings. Working from his drawings I was able to create a selection of prototype 3D models.

In parallel to making this I was responsible for the creation of the animatic, which required me to work from Sian's storyboard.

I started by laying out each frame of the storyboard onto the flash time line, adding a few extra details and working some simple animation into the original drawings. There where some points where I felt some more detailed animation was necessary to properly demonstrate the scene, such as when the old man hits the hooded thugs with his cane and the victory twirl he does with it afterwards. I used a Filipino stick fighting style called Kali or Eskrima as reference for stances and some of the movement in the scene where he shows off his stick fighting skills. The storyboard took longer to complete than anticipated, and several computers crashes resulted in the loss of sound and much of the timing, at this point we where too close to the animatic deadline to out the audio back in, although it was complete enough to work from and feedback from presenting it was positive.

A day or two to catch our breaths and then back to work... I resumed work on the backgrounds, this time working with Alan, we split the workload between us, I made the majority of the models, which he then used in conjunction with his own models to build the final set, apply lighting, cartoon outline effects and cameras, we swapped the environment file between each other until we where both satisfied with the outcome. There was a minor setback during the rendering stage involving the panning background for a walk cycle sequence but it was eventually resolved when we collaborated on it. The end of the environment design and rendering stage overlapped with the animation and colouring, which was the most laborious, sometimes tedious and often repetitive part of the project. We opted to do this stage in flash, using a traditional frame by frame method of animating, in the hope that using flash would make it easier and push the project along a bit more quickly than using paper, which it probably did, although it still took quite a long time. I volunteered to animate most of the fight scene, a roughly 12 second section of character animation with lots of annoying action and foreshortening, but having done a rough version in the animatic, and being fairly familiar with the movement in martial arts I was confident that I could do the scene well. I also ended up colouring it and a couple of other sections in the rush to finish the project and meet the deadline. Other than being borrowed for a quick voice recording this is where my involvement with the project ended and post production began.

This project really took its toll on the group, there where lots of sleepless nights and strained friendships, I think because of some communication and timekeeping problems along the way, but everyone pushed through and I think we made something we can all be proud of.

Can I go back to bed now?