Friday, April 30, 2010

Splurge - Flash Project

Here is that flash video. It's basically a glorified animatic, so don't go judging that character acting too much...

Music: Music: War of the Worlds - Horsell Common And The Heat Ray

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bit o Art

As always, click for full res
Here's some art stuff for my uni flash project, will be finished tomorrow.
I had fun with this long Paris background, it's like a big bookmark. We needed an establishing shot, so I figured I should go all out and establish the planet within the universe too.

This flash thing is proving to take much longer than originally anticipated. It's almost like a micro pitch with proof of concept. Animatic, environments, characters, model sheets, animation, lip synch. It's got it all.

I've also starting to cook up a new pixel project and have been in contact with an awesome local chiptune musician Dot.AY. So that will most likely be my main side project. (and some game sprites!)

I got a pair of Creative Sound Blaster Arena headphones today, I'm very happy with them, great for gaming. So you know, if I ever need to go pro I got the gear. I'm going to try make an exciting Starcraft 2 shoutcast series with my house mate doing the commentary, despite him barely knowing anything about Starcraft, should be fun.

Also starting to plan a short Pixel Art/Animation documentary for a uni research project.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Working through my Flash assignment. I need a character (or 2) moving through an environment with some degree of lip synch and editing. I'm using 2 characters, an Alien father and son. They come to earth under the guise of Jupiter's moon Diplomats, but the Father actually takes over the earth in a few days, having actually been banished and shot towards the sun as a horrible criminal from his planet. The son is kinda bummed though because he was enjoying human school. It's mostly set in France, because turns out they had been stockpiling super weapons since World War 1.

*Shit... When telling a uni buddy this just now he explained that this is basically the plot of invader Zim, something I've never watched. SHITTY SHIT SHITS!*

Anyway... HEY LOOK! I'm going to draw all the visuals in Photoshop and import them into Flash to make the characters. I'm not so keen on this style of Flash cutout animation. (OH COOL! Upon bringing it all into flash I have discovered that: You should not make characters out of images (even high res) if you want decent quality)

Hows that unoriginality feel Simon? CRUSHING!

Also Rule has been going well! It was on the front page of
Also here is another image for a project I'm helping out with!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Room - Eye Animation

Here is that eye animation exercise to the amazing Tommy Wiseau film, The Room.

Animated in Animate Pro.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Flash and Eyes

I'm currently working on an eye animation exercise, animating eye movement and expression to dialogue. Ive decided to use this master dialogue to do it.

If you haven't seen the Room, you simply must.

I'm also working on a flash exercise, with environments and characters. Here they are!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What's Next?

So Rule is done. I've gotten a little press for it and a decent(ish) view count so far. Rule Post
Kotaku Australia Rule Post
So what NOW?!
I've currently got a bunch of animation assignments to do
  • Eye expression animation
  • Flash environment and character animation
  • Character key poses animation
  • A research project on a topic (I'm thinking of making a video/documentary about Pixel art)
  • A short script for an Animation
I may also be making sprites for a cool little indy game project soon, we will see how that pans out. I also just got a StarCraft II beta key... bad timing.

Here are some facial expressions for a recent assignment. (Blog posts without exciting pictures are booooring)

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Woo! done. Here is my experimental animation made completely in Jason Rohrer's Sleep is Death.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Creation of a Scene Time Lapse

I decided to try something new and make a time lapse video of the creation of a scene!
This is about an hours work played at 1000x speed.
Song is Chopin - "Raindrop"
Now you can see how arcane my process is.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mid Point Update

I think I'm about 60% of the the through now. I've got 3 more full days I can work on it before hand in, so it's going to be pretty intense. Things are speeding up though, as the 2nd half of all the shots are adaptations of previous ones, which is a relief!
Here's one!

This weekend I'll tackle music and "animation". Due to coming up with this technique so late in the game I'm handing mine in Monday rather than the due date Friday... While awesome this means that all my fellow animation students are going drinking Friday as a little hand in ritual, while I will be slaving away in the lab.
I've been listening to This American Life podcasts while I work, it's been great!
Tomorrow I am going to try recording the creation of a scene, then I can create a time lapse video so you can see how tedious it can be for such a simple scene.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Production is fully underway now, none of this dickin' round with the software business! I've ironed out all my pipeline issues and complications (touch digital wood) and it's now as simple as creating my shots.
My first shot took a few hours to compile, I'm hoping that's due to me figuring out how to actually do it. I've also planned out all my shots carefully and think I have some nice and subtle visual story hooks. Here is shot 2: Love (there are 15 in total)

Click to see full res! Here it is in the editor

So what I am doing is making these shots using only a widescreen portion of the frame. I've changed some settings in the game so that it displays at a pretty huge resolution, so that I can crop the frame in around the image without losing any resolution.
I'm still not sure if I will attempt animation within the software. If I did it would be as simple as... say those leaves moving a little. Man I probably should shouldn't I... Dammit! If I did just do some background stuff, such as a candle, dust particles and the like it would make it much more visually engaging. FINE I'LL DO IT. GET OFF MY BACK. I started this post with the intention of informing you that I wouldn't... virtual imaginary peer pressure.

Hey! I remembered another great short film that must have really stuck with me, as this project is fairly similar. Check out Last Day Dream:


Monday, April 12, 2010

logistical issues

I have spent some time now messing around with the editors seeing what kind of results I can get, I have discovered there are a few logistical complications I have to deal with.
For starters, it's going to be a challenge getting the footage I need at 1024 x 768 resolution, due to the nature of the game and interface. I also need to figure out a good system for capturing the footage, because currently the images I do capture are strangely dark. This might be as simple as tweaking the image settings in the final edit to make it more vibrant.

To capture the footage I think I'll need to do the following:
Run the game at a really high resolution on a computer that can support that, then capture the non widescreen footage of the game and interface and crop the footage just around a widescreen portion of the game window, cutting off some of the image. This means that when I create my sets I have to be aware of that cut off and mentally frame it with that in mind.
It's also going to be interesting creating the images themselves, as it isn't as simple as just drawing it in. Just to create a character you have to do it on multiple layers and combine them.

Here are some initial character style tests.

(I only made the characters)

This guy is made up of 7 elements. Head, chest, legs, shoes and 2 arms. You have to create these parts separately, so in a different window from the other parts. It's pretty cool though, because it means you can customise and easily recycle character pieces.

I get that I could get this result from an animation package (and probably more easily), but I enjoy the challenge of adapting software beyond it's initial intention. Also it's a neat way to get a video noticed!

How to do it

Ok! All systems go with this new animation, I have one week to do this thing and I'm generally excited to give it a shot.

As of now this is how I plan on creating it:
The animation style is going to be SUPER limited, if any movement at all. I will do some experimentation if I can get some actual animated character movement in, but at the moment it might be as simple as static shots.

So how can I make an animation using the indy game Sleep is Death? Within it I can:
  • Create stylised pixel characters and backgrounds
  • Music with a very simple editor
  • Some degree of character movement and text
I will create sprite sets and characters that I can arrange shots and scenes with. The convenience is I can easily reuse and recycle them, like lego.
Here is a shot of the editor. I plan to use it to make much more visually interesting scenes than this...

It will probably make more sense when I start showing some of experimentation.
I've got a narrative idea, which is partly inspired by Jason Rohrer's Passage (he is also the creator of Sleep is death!) This is a play through of it:

And SuperBrother's Design Reboot HD (I'm a huge fan of his pixel style)

It will be a simple story chronicling the life and death of a King. I've always been interested in the concept of a nobody becoming King (ala Conan) and the weight of it. The actual themes present will be of attempting to achieve something in your life time, and ultimately how the overriding factor and importance (even being king) is living and dying. Here is a drawing of mine on the very subject! Click it for full resolution.

So imagine this but in an exciting stylized pixel form!

I always do this

So I was just watching a little tutorial video on using these graphic editors within this really neat little indy game called Sleep is Death by Jason Rohrer. It's basically a simple online interactive multiplayer story tool. What made my brain spasm was this tutorial on one of the graphical editors within the program.

I am a big pixel art fan. Last year I made a pixel art music video for the band The Model School|.

Check it out HERE! (Stupid thing can't be made small enough to fit into this tiny blog)

And I got thinking about experimental animation. It's user experimentation and medium experimentation. I must say I have been experimenting with this stop motion stuff, more as just an exercise in new mediums, but it wouldn't be experimental for the viewer. SO. What if I made a really experimental animation, using all the graphic editors within Sleep is Death? Captured digitally, then edited into an animated narrative? That would be experimental... It would be like a crazy retro pixel Machinima film. OK! I'm going to mull this over today. But I think it would be a really neat thing. Heck. I'm a digital baby. Who reads the paper anyway?

Friday, April 9, 2010

quick 'n' asty

Just a real quick and nasty animationy test.

Still not comfortable with the tempo and timing of stop mo. Check the bit where I bump the camera! Because my set up is so stupid and unpracticle there is a good chance I will do that often.

Funny thing, I stupidly picked up double sided tape thinking it was normal tape, but the double sided tape has proved to be vital for holding my sets together!
OH, here are some lighting tests as well. Using 2 LED key chain lights. Seems I can make some moody noir search lights. Fiddled with some fire too, just to see what happened.

Newspaper Animation and You (me)

I'm starting to discover some interesting hurdles with using newspaper as my medium, which could also be why when I search on youtube for newspaper animations I find only about 3. I'm guessing this is because everyone else was more sensible. What I initial thought was a production shortcut has probably turned into the kind of shortcut where you blindly drive through a corn field screaming and into a lake. Newspaper is very temperamental, almost alive. It's light and loves to float about, surprisingly hard to pick up and even harder to get to sit flat, when painted it curls like a dead flower, tears very easily and my entire work station is susceptible to be blown away with a sneeze. God bless it, no wonder it's a dying form of news media! Here is a picture of all those things happening to me at once

Experimentation is trial and error right?
I thought I was being very clever with the sticky tape building windows though. This would all be much easier if I had a multi-plane glass thing going on, but it's one dimension for meeeee!
With the feeling that this animation isn't going to be visually interesting I'm starting to think of backup plans, such as throwing the footage into an animation package and animating things over it, to give it a bit more life and be experimental with the mixed media. I've been checking out some of my fellow student's blogs about their production and I think it's put me into this little unconfident state. Man who am I trying to fool, this animation is gonna change lives.

I think I have my theme worked out though! Over saturation of useless media, information and a bit of globalisation.
Here are some other newspaper animations I found:

Haha I just gave out a big sigh at my prospects and blew over a bunch of cut outs. DAMN YOU PAAAAAPEEEEER!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Experimental Cutout animation DAY 1

I have started "production" on a silly experimental cutout style animation. This blog is actually part of the requirement for this specific uni project, but I plan to keep it going long after!

I've decided to use newspaper cut outs as it's a sure fire way to layer in some "depth" for little actual work, haha. Also I like the idea of modifying existing visual content into something a little more twisted, something this project will surely have.
I'm making this from home so I've made myself a "ghetto-rigged" work station.
Masking taped a suspended webcam from a camera tripod, lighting it with some odd lamps.

Here is my initial setup test

And a shot of my workstation

I've done a few software tests (I'm using a very simple free program) and have decided to shoot on 2's and have my storyboard v1 ready to go. Tomorrow I will try tackle the sets and characters and hopefully begin shooting!
I'm not very confident this will turn out well as it's really new territory for me.