• Charles Breach

Term 2 - Week 18 - Character Bestiary

This Character Bestiary was one of the last things I finished up on this unit, and I noticed near the end how natural the process of working had become. I wasn't having to think about what I should be doing, rather I knew I had to start by roughly blocking out the movements for my characters, then how I should be creating the inbetweens (which I find more or less a process of looking at the same point on two frames, and drawing on the line between them based on how your character is presently moving, the line can be curved, of course, but I don't think that makes the process particularly more complex). I feel like I put a lot of time into the character performance project, and left myself less time with bestiary project, where I wanted to use this project to focus on making the animation as clean and believable as I could, and found it lacking slightly at the end. I wanted to create shadows and lighting on my characters, but found I didn't have time to accomplish this, and the character's have been left sticking out from the more complexly shaded backgrounds. I added a film grain effect and a filter over the final footage to make the colours a little more coherent, and the characters seem a little more blended with the world. I think this works particularly well with the last night time sequence, where I created gradient layers above the characters, that created something like shading that the other two sequences are missing. My style tends to have me draw quite thick outlines for my characters. I don't think that style transitioned very well into the final product, and adds to the standing out effect my characters have, that prevents them from blending with the world. I did intend to in the early stages of the project to create the characters as solid colours, but I left that characteristic for the character performance project instead, opting to outline the characters for the bestiary, favouring efficiency.

The final product is also in a less conventional aspect ratio, which is both a mistake, but not one I've come to dislike. The original photos I took for the backgrounds were shot in a 4:3 aspect ratio, which didn't occur to me as I took them. As I got quite far into working with them, I realised that a 16:9 aspect ratio wouldn't have allowed for the shots I planned, limited by the size of the rooms, and how far I could move back from the focus. The living room for example, required the tall door frame was entirely in shot, as well as the full length of the couch, which wouldn't have been possible in a 16:9 ration, without an extreme wide angle lens. I don't think the final background would have looked as appealing in an extreme wide angle, and would contain extra information that wouldn't really be necessary. Instead the 4:3 photo, which still required a wide angle lense, but to a lesser degree, efficiently contains everything that's required, no more or less (except a bit of the door frame), and in a composition that I was aiming for, allowing for the character to sit entirely in frame in the bottom left of the shot.

The shadowed character in the last sequence (what I intended to be a thief, but I realise could be quite ambiguous regarding their identity- which I didn't think was a problem so long as you thought whatever it was, human or demon, was up to no good) was quite sloppily drawn between frames, consequent of the time I had, but I also gave myself some leeway, as I knew the scene would be pretty dark, the abnormalities would show up less, and although still noticeable, I don't think are that off putting. I would, in the future, still aim for more coherence between the lines.

I was pleased with the movement I had created in the first sequence, which came out more or less like I envisioned, which is an occurrence difficult to achieve. I think I could perhaps have worked at 24 frames a second, with the frames on 2s, so I could create frames between particularly drastic movements, making them perhaps more fluid. Alternatively, I could have done the whole animation at 24 frames a second, but, I would probably still be working on the animation as I type if that were the case; I, however, definitely think the final product would look fantastic if it were at such a frame rate. Overall, the first sequence contains a pretty complex movement, that I think I tackled pretty well, with good coherence between each frame. It isn't perfect, and was definitely a significant stepping stone in my early career of animation, to create something so bizarre, that I'm proud to have completed.

In the inanimate objects project, I stated in the evaluation how I disliked the perspective I utilised, an aspect I skipped over in that project. I have since considered perspective thoroughly in all my projects, making guides and taking care to make everything fit and move as if it were really in the scene, being looked at from whatever angle. I also focused on creating depth, making the scenes dynamic to the eye, creating interesting perspectives. The first lounge sequence was quite flat, but I think managed to counteract the shortness of the room, by using the wide angle lens, that created weird curved lines of movement off to the sides, kind of creating an interesting side ways movement in the shot. I think the last shot, following the Slenderfiend's crawl down the wall, was one of my best uses of perspective, creating a drastically different shot that encapsulated the position of the thief, and the sneakiness of the Slenderfiend.

Final animation:

Experimentation reel:

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