Sunday, 13 November 2011

Advertising task- beginning the animatic

This weekend, I am working on an animatic for our Bruce Lee/Volvic mineral water themed advert. Based directly on the script and story detailed in previous posts, this task is useful in many ways. Since this is just a test, the individual assets are being drawn quickly, and naturally the final style will look much better. For the animatic, I felt it would be best to practice with Adobe After Effects, the program we intend to use to animate our motion comic inspired piece. 

The main reason this practice is important for me is that I will be using the same technique to complete my other current project, for my narrative module. After Effects is a program that I have never really used up until this point, and so exploring it for these two concurrent modules serves to fill a void in my animation skills.

At the same time, my group for the narrative project and I are working on a second animatic with After Effects to better gauge timing, although that one is taking a bit longer. It will be posted in due course! With our advert on the other hand, there are many short scenes filling the thirty-or-so second slot, which is a great opportunity to work on each one individually, and composite them at the end. As follows, you will find the first of these scenes that I have created- the moment just before the fight:

Expect the final style to look more like this!

Before approaching this task, I had some idea of how I would approach the animation. Having learnt many basic techniques from working on my narrative animatic, I was able to use these skills to create this piece with few difficulties. The assets were created in layers, and imported into After Effects as separate PNG images, with alpha channels enabled. I utilised the program's 3D capabilities to position the background, ninjas and Bruce Lee at particular distances from the camera such that the scene has some depth, making the scene far more immersive. 

The most difficult part was creating the animation for Bruce Lee, where his eyes squint. For this, I decided to create the animation directly in Photoshop, something which I have never actually done before. At first, I found it a little tricky to understand (I was teaching myself, learning through trial and error with little help from guides found online). Once I understood that the frames can be individually edited through the image layers however, I quickly got the hang of the animation and saved the squint (comprising of just the eye section) as a video.

Back in After Effects, I imported this video and layered it over the Bruce Lee drawing, beginning once the camera zooms in. This was a relatively easy way to judge the timing, as I was able to pause on the still image as long as necessary and begin the squint animation where I felt it would be best, since the two were separate assets.

All in all, I think the process of creating the animatic should speed up significantly now. This is one of the longer scenes, and the practice with drawing, Photoshop animation, 3D space, key framing in After Effects, adding virtual cameras and rendering the resulting videos has been invaluable. I will post the full animatic once complete.

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