For this project I was to create an animation up to 90 seconds long for a short film and animation competition conducted by the production company Elstree film design. The animation had to revolve around the theme of hope, had to be produced using industry standard procedures and techniques. It also had to include effects and soundtracks.
My animation was a frame-by-frame animation about a homeless boy who encounters a magic ball.
When creating my animation I went through many different stages. Before even starting to animate I had to do a lot of research on both the concept of hope and also method of ideas generation, development and production when creating and animation. I looked at the concept of hope what it means to other and what it could mean for me, how hope is expressed in different visual and non visual pieces of work. This allowed me to see how hope can be portrayed in many ways some more subtle than others and how I can attempt to incorporate hope when creating my own idea. I also looked at examples of 2d animation and production methods and specifically frame-by-frame animation, as that was the style I had intended to use from the beginning.
I had the idea to use frame-by-frame animation early on as it was one of the animations styles I felt more comfortable using and had knowledge about. I had considered many other animation styles but decided to stick with frame by frame.
For my animation I used Photoshop to create and animate most of my frames individually. I used a Wacom into us pro drawing tablet and pen to draw directly onto the PC. This meant I didn’t have to draw it on paper and then scan it in saving a lot of time and taking away some risk, as the pages could be easily lost. i chose to use photo shop as it was the program i was most comfortable and had the most experience using. i had used Photoshop before for animation and felt i could make better use of it than if i had used a program such as after effects or adobe animate. i also felt that Photoshop was the most versatile allowing me to use many different techniques such as rotoscoping which i used in some of my animations scenes all on Photoshop.
The process in which I developed my animation consisted of first creating my back ground so that I could then animate my character directly into the background allowing for better special awareness when animating. This differs from studio procedure where usually depending on the scene the studio will animate the character first separate from the back ground and then add it later on into the process. I felt that for my circumstances it was easier to do the opposite way to the usual. After this I would then animate my character for each scene but they way I animated or how I did depended on the scene. For some scenes I incorporated camera turns and techniques such as rot scoping to create a more fluid animation during scenes with a lot of motion. I split each scene into different folders, which allowed me to export them into premiere pro where I could edit in transitions in between scenes and add video effects.
After I finished my animation I then went onto developing a sound track for the animation. I used a copyright free soundtrack, which I found online and was allowed to use. I then went on adobe audition and edited its length so it fit perfect with the animation when I exported it into premiere. I then went and recorded sounds outside for construction noise sound effect in my first scene. U also recorded a friend to create a wind blowing effect for when my character is flying. Then went into auditions and added a distortion and reverb so it sounded like actual wind blowing when you are flying as when I first attempted to use it with no editing the sound just sounded a bit silly. I also got free sounds online for my dragon roar and then put it all together on adobe premiere.
As I developed my animation at this point and earlier I went though changes with my story although the core premise of the idea didn’t change. I had to remove a scene due to time constraints and its difficulty to animate but I also added another scene which I thought would add to the world building a bit more.
My animation compared to a lot of professionally produced animation is very rough as I chose to go for a rough sketchy art style which does then later develop into something more refined towards the end. My animation also lacked dialogue and colour. While evaluation my work I decided to compare my work to the cult classic Japanese animation “Akira” which came out in 1988. Which consisted of some of the most fluid animation of its time and even now. One example of the excellent production is that when producing they would records the voices and then animate to match the dialogue which was something very uncommon in the industry at the time due to the cost to do so. Compared to works such as Akira my animation requires some polishing although I believe that some of my scenes came out quite fluid even compared to some professionally produced western and eastern animation.
To further improve my evaluation of my animation I conducted a survey to receive feedback on my animation. I asked 15 people 10-12 different questions in attempt to receive feedback in different areas.
For the first question I asked “do you understand the story of the animation” the results were clear completely positive the pie charts shows how of all the people who answered 100% understood the story of the animation indicating my story was clear.
I then went onto ask that “in a few word explain the story of the animation” the reason I asked question even though there was no right answer was to see what my audience understood of my animation. The answers were different in some cases as shown but the audiences response was very detailed and gave me a good understanding of what they took from the animation which from the most part around 75% of the people answered what I wanted to hear with this question
For my next question I asked if the theme of hope was apparent in my story. The structure of the answer was short but open allowing the audience to answer more than yes or no. for this question though everyone answered yes which is positive and meant that I was able to meet the requirement of the brief. Although not everyone a lot of the audience also chose to add a bit more their answer displaying their opinion further, which was very useful as for example one member said that they could see the theme of hope but felt it was a bit vague.
my fourth question was if the ‘story incites any sense of hope or other emotion and if so, what emotion?’ the response I got from this question was very insightful as there was a range of answer going from simple 1 worded responses to some with more detail. Everyone answered that they felt some type of positive emotion which is good as it means that in that category my animation met its target. Most of the answers for this question were quite short and didn’t go into too much detail.
My fifth & sixth question moved onto a different topic for my first question I asked the audience if my animation looked fluid the answers were meant to be a yes or no answer. And the results came back in a pie chart; the pie chart shows that every single person thought my animation was fluid with no exception. My sixth question was then does my animation show good animation techniques. The option for this answer were yes, no or maybe. The pie chart shows that 92.9 percent said yes while 7.1 said now this means that for the majority of the audience they felt that the animation showed good techniques while there was a small percentage who thought there could maybe be some more improvements which I think in certain area are actually true.
I then went on to ask what could be visually improved within my animation. This was an open question in which I got multiple open and somewhat detailed answers which I found very useful. A lot of feedback said that they would like to see colour or that I could’ve cleaned up the visuals. Which I agree that I could’ve cleaned up my drawing a bit but I do also believe it fit the tone and the style I was going for.
I then went on to ask the audience if they like the art style of my animation which surprisingly 100%said yes as displayed in the pie chart. I was also surprised with the consensus as previously many people said they felt I should clean up my drawings which I though meant they also wasn’t a fan of the art style but with this result it proves that was not the case.
My 9th question was posed on sound. I asked the audience if they would’ve preferred sound effects or background music as at the time of m asking these questions I had not added any sound effects to my animation yet. The results on the graph show that the majority preferred having a sound track to just sound effects although there was or two people who said they would have preferred if there was sound effects. I took this advice on board and then went onto add sound effects at certain scenes on my animation while still keeping the sound track.
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My final two questions I asked what they would’ve liked to have seen more of. This was an open question I got some very interesting answers from the audience, the most popular answer was to make the animation longer and include colour. I agree completely with most of the criticism and feedback offered with the colour being the only issue I chose not add colour on purpose as there was symbolism behind that choice and I felt certain scenes would look better without it. I then made sure to ask my audience who were acquainted with the brief if they felt my animation met the requirements of the brief and the competition. The majority answered yes some offering suggestions as well such as they felt the story telling could’ve maybe been a bit clearer. I took on board everything the audience said making some changes along the way and I found their answers to very helpful and insightful.
If I had more time and could go back and change or add something I would’ve have made my animation longer and would’ve animated the scene I had decided to cut out. This animation to very long to make but I felt I used my time efficiently with this project. I wouldn’t make any adjustments to how I would produce this animation both materials and programs. In the end I believe my animation works for its purpose and meets the requirements of both the brief and the film competition.