Monday, 15 January 2018

Minor Project | Revised Reflective Statement

Going into the minor project, I knew that I wanted to create an animated short that was personal to me and helped give an insight into the craziness of my little six-year-old brother, Jayden.

With this in mind, I went and spoke to Phil to try come up with ideas on how to extrapolate Jayden's personality into a feasible piece that would work on screen.

We decided I should catch Jayden unaware and record him reenacting a fantastical story or an anecdote of his day or night. To follow on from this, I travelled back to hometown to reveal what absurdities Jayden would tell me.

Within one recording session, I had over 40 minutes of sound files where Jayden would talk about many things from the Aliens next door to bowling with transformers. Admittedly a lot of what Jayden said was repeated, but he did get very into his storytelling and needed very few prompts to reenact his 'night before.'

After coming away with the files, I decided to make a 'new' audio file where all of Jayden's ramblings could collate into one story highlighting the best bits.

It was when the audio file was completed that I knew I had something funny and different on my hands. For the animation to not lose the charm from the recording, I knew that I would have to find an art style that both sympathised and worked with my drawing style.

After my different style attempts, I couldn't find the one that fitted. At first, I wanted it to look much like the style from 'The JCB Song'. The animation was to be made entirely in 2d using Maya. This idea soon changed as I still felt that it might not work very well on screen.

After discussions with Phil about the project, we thought it would work best if the world in which the animation plays out were 2d and 3d. Much like how the old Paddington Bear animations looked.

I thought this was brilliant; I could now involve Jayden further in this project. So this time, I had him travel to Rochester to see me and have a few days of being spoilt in return for the many drawings of his adventures.

Although scratchy and sometimes hard to understand, his drawings were great to work with and helped me solidify the nature of this world. I knew the pictures themselves would have to be recreated or transformed into something that helped bring the characters to life.

These drawings would be presented on animated 2d planes on 'badly cut out shapes' within Maya. 3D aspects would be the environment and Jayden. All other characters may have to be 2d, but it will be testing that helps me to figure out what and will not be 3D.

After completing drawing up Jayden's designs, I wanted to have something visual for the interim pitch that was approaching. I tried to translate how the 2d in the world will work. I made an animatic to try and explain this point. It seemed that was received better than I expected.

It became clear after the pitch that I had proposed to get too much done in the time I was given.

For the end of the minor project, I wanted to have had a previs completed, a fully modelled, rigged and skinned Jayden and some animation cycles for him.

I managed to complete the Jayden model and the rigging and skinning for him also. Many issues occurred during the procedure of making of Jayden.
A dead laptop, corrupt hard drive and repeating skinning where mistakes had happened. Nonetheless, I am happy with what I have accomplished, and I am proud that I have got a character at this stage for the first time.

It may have come with its difficulties trying to get him completed, so much so that the other aspects of the project couldn't be finished. On the other hand, it came with a lot of lessons that needed to be learnt, that the whole character creation process in Maya is not a walk in the park. A few parts on Jayden still need tweaking before I texture him properly and add normal maps to him, then he should be good to go.

Overall I feel I have applied myself to this project well after finishing on quite a low note for the second year. Had there not been some issues and an underestimation of Maya by myself I feel I could have been further. I have at least a somewhat finished model to go forward with now and an art direction and ideas from my animatic.

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