Background

Eventually I decided to choose an extravagant theater/stage as my background and setting. When I thought about my character the only thing that really suited him was a setting that was as extravagant as he is. Maybe he is older and fatter than he was 20 years ago, but that doesn’t stop him from believing that he has changed.

I first didn’t want to go for the cliché red curtained-theater. I wanted something fresh. However, cliché would accentuate the clichéness of my character. The viewer should immediately understand where it could be taking place, see how Lockhart has presented himself and therefore already understand what his character is.

Screenshots of the scene:

At first I thought of putting my character on a dark stage, maube in like a small cafe. I added a neon sign, but it didn’t seem to suit his character. Lockhart would never accept being in a place like that. With the lighting and all it almost looked like a TedTalk as well. So I decided to change it.

Lockhart_Marv.183 Lockhart_Marv.387 Lockhart_Marv.336

Final:

This final one suits his character way more! As extravagant as he is. His way to show off his ‘magnificence’.

Lockhart_Marv.729

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Research: Annecy

Annecy was a week of inspiration. Everyday there was something different, a different style, different animation, different story, and different kind of inspiration. It was an overwhelming amount of animation. It’s difficult to name all the things that inspired me as in probably every film there was something – sometimes small, sometimes big – that inspired me to start creating my own stories and animating, and sometimes even inspiring me to just make something better than what I was watching. Yes, there were films that were not to my liking, but they also inspired me, but in a different way.

If I had to name the films and/or people that inspired me the most or the ones I could relate to and loved, then I would have to name Pixar’s presentation of The Good Dinosaur and Sanjay’s Super Team presented by Peter Sohn and Sanjay Patel, Cartoon Network’s From Short to Series with Elizabeth Ito, George Gendi and Daniel Chong, Long Way North, and the Commissioned Films. Of course there were many other films and people who inspired me, but these are the ones I immediately think of and the ones I’m so happy I saw.

Pixar’s presentation of the Good Dinosaur and Sanjay’s Super Team was the first screening I saw in Annecy and it made my day and week. It was so inspiring to see how Peter Sohn and Sanjay Patel created such touching stories and kept it close to themselves by using elements from their own lives. That’s something I also believe I will want to do. I love making my work personal. Maybe this is why I find commissioned projects less fun to work on. However, as I will mention later commissioned projects can also be fun and personal.

Not only were Peter Sohn and Sanjay Patel’s inspiring and touching, the work they produced was amazing, especially Sanjay’s Super Team! The colors used, the movements of the characters, the camera positions, everything was amazing. It was especially cool to see the research that Sanjay and his team did for this project. He really went deep into his story and the reason why he’s telling this story which is also how I like to do research: I like to really go in deep into my story and character and figure out why I’m making this film/story, why my character is the way they are etc.

Pixar works with 3D animation. I couldn’t see myself working with 3D, but after seeing this presentation and working with 3D some more, and doing some research on 3D, there is so much possible with 3D. I’m not saying that 3D is what I want to work with from now on, I only know that 3D is also an option. (At the festival 2D animations were visually the most inspiring for me anyway.)

Cartoon Network’s From Short to Series was amazing! At this presentation were three amazing artists who made/are making shorts for Cartoon Network. After hearing about how they came to work in the animation industry and at Cartoon Network we got to see their work and there motivation behind it, and it was so awesome. I really, really loved Elizabeth Ito and Daniel Chong’s style, story, and motivation. They both spoke of stories they way I think of them as well, as the most important part of a project, and strong if you keep it personal. Of course the one thing that really made me love their shorts and almost want to immediately strive to work at Cartoon Network was humor. Humor plays a role in everything Cartoon Network does and Ito, Gendi and Chong always want in their stories. This is exactly how I feel about humor as well. I want humor to always be a part in my work. I could relate to everything that was said at the Cartoon Network presentation, and everything shown was so beautiful. After the presentation I also started thinking about storyboards and if being a storyboard artist and focusing on the story is more for me than animating… I’ll still be thinking about it in the future.

Long Way North was my favorite feature film I saw at Annecy. Visually the movie was amazing, the story was okay, not amazing, but after the story-based presentations I saw of Pixar and Cartoon Network, I didn’t mind. Music is also something I find extremely important and the soundtrack of Long Way North was really nice, apart from a random song that popped up near the beginning.  Visually this movie really inspired me: the colors were amazing, the movements, the style. Everything was really nice and soft, and that got me thinking about my own style and how I’d want my style to be. I love soft colors and soft images, so it was really nice to see this movie that had a style and color-scheme that I really love. I know it’ll be a couple years before I find a style that suits me. Until then I can be inspired by movies like Long Way North.

The final thing that I loved from Annecy were the Commissioned Films. It was really nice to see these films and the different ways you can approach a commercial project. I’ve been shying away from anything commercial, because I have the feeling that my own style and input gets drowned out by the client’s wishes. I had this feeling with the Metropolis assignment. We were bound to certain things from Metropolis, and it felt like we couldn’t really get our own input into the project for a while. However, after seeing these commissioned films, I see that you can approach a commercial project in so many ways – if the client is willing to let you do that. It seemed that ever commissioned film had a personal touch from the artist and had an autonomous approach to it. It made me think that for any commissioned project you receive certain building blocks that you need to use, but you can use them in any way you want and add to them. If I think about Metropolis again, we weren’t bound to anything. We had building blocks to work with and we had the opportunity to add to them as freely as we wanted. I think differently about commercial animation now. Maybe commercial is a path for me? Who knows?

Annecy. Such an incredible week. It has inspired me so much. I want to start my own projects and create worlds, stories and characters. I want to experiment with colors and styles. I want to do so much and Peter Sohn, Sanjay Patel, Elizabeth Ito, Daniel Chong, Long Way North, and all the Commissioned Films have inspired me to do so. Of course there were many others, but these were my favorites. They may actually have an effect on my future path. We’ll see…

3D animation, rig, character

When looking for a rig I stumbled across one of a slightly overweight man. This sparked a new idea in me about my character. I already wanted to have a cocky character showing off his magnificence, but I couldn’t think of why. I needed a backstory also to be able to create the surroundings for my scene. With the overweight rig and an Elvis clip as inspiration I came up with ideas for a backstory that could help me with his surroundings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gj0Rz-uP4Mk

The first thing I thought of was making my character like a fat, retired Elvis who was still popular among some people. Maybe he still tried to show off his moves. For a surroundings I then thought I could have him come out on stage somewhere and have a couple fans screaming as he blows kisses and shows off his ‘handsome’ self. I also thought of making him a retired actor who used to play a superhero. Kind of like a Birdman-Incredibles combination. I would therefore give my character a cape that doesn’t look good anymore, maybe it’s too small, and have him jump onto stage with a huge grin on his face – still thinking he’s as young as he was 20 or so years ago.

I’m still not certain which one of these backstories I’m going to use, possibly a combination of them both. It all depends on the poses I use and how the animation works out. I’m already thinking of making a stage for my retired ‘celebrity’ to show himself off on. I would like to have a crowd as well, that you don’t see, that you hear cheering. A stage as a setting seems like a great idea.

When you look up ‘stage’ the most common thing you see is a stage with red curtains. I don’t want to make a cliché stage like that. I want to use different colors than the standard red, and different shapes. I would also like to use lights. I want it to really look like this guy’s a big shot. He may be old and fat, but he is still loved by some people. Of course, I could choose to make the stage cliché and lame, signifying how old my character has become and how he doesn’t want to accept that he’s older and not (as) popular anymore. Only a couple of people know him. I’ll have to decide between these two ideas.

My rig also has no face, so I can focus more on the movements rather than the face. I first really wanted to animate the face and show all the emotions and smiles my character would’ve had, but I think it’s better to focus on the body. That’s what this entire assignment is about. I should be able to get his character across with only the body movements. Now, I can try to do that.

Character Animation – Animatic

There are things I’d like to change on this animatic, but because of time I’m going to make those changes when animating. I’ll be using this animatic as reference.

After watching and analyzing all of the videos I previously posted about, I acted out my scene. Pretty early on I kind of had an idea what kind of poses would work for the individual lines, but I found the transitions between these poses difficult. There wasn’t really a flow in the moves. In the second half of the animatic you can also see that it doesn’t flow as well as the beginning. The beginning could still do with some changes, but the second half is slower and more static. So, I’ll have to work on the flow when I start animating. I’ll research movements a little more to get the flow.

A clip I have in mind when thinking about smooth transitions and movements is from Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2:

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs (2) has such smooth animation and really nice character animation. Compared to what I what this animation may be too fast in the transitions, but I can use a clip like this as inspiration for my own animation and tone it down to the speed I like.

Character Animation: character research

To understand how my character would move I did some research on arrogant and cocky characters, but also on regal characters like princes from ballets. My character need to think that he is above everyone else, move around smoothly and regally, but not be too over-the-top with his movements. Big movements don’t seem to fit with the monologue, but maybe that’s because I have the original clip in my head. I’m going to try out different movements and see what’s appropriate.

Gaston, Beauty and the Beast (1991):

Gaston is such an arrogant character. He truly believes that he is the best and most amazing person in the world, and in a way my character also feels that way. My character shouldn’t care about others. Maybe only about others’ opinions, but other than that he should only think about himself. Gaston’s way of moving and checking his reflection is exactly the kind of character that I want.

Miguel and Tulio, The Road to El Dorado (2000):

Miguel and Tulio are very expressive in their movements, and that may be what I could do for my character. In the original clip Gilderoy Lockhart doesn’t express himself in body-movement as much as he does with his voice. I may try to make him more expressive with his body. Miguel and Tulio are great examples for that, especially when they pretend to be gods.

Prince Charming, Shrek 2 (2004):

Prince Charming is cocky, and just like Gaston he believes he’s the best and most beautiful person in the world. In this clip he doesn’t move that much, but his facial expressions and the power he has in his voice can be used as inspiration for my character animation.

I chose a couple clips from ballets, because the way the dancers move around is so regal and beautiful and is how I may want my character to move: regally. The arm movements are what I like the most in these dances. I would like my character to also use his arms a lot to express his ‘arrogance’ and ‘awesomeness’.

Prince Florimund, Sleeping Beauty (ballet):

Manuel Legris, Sleeping Beauty (ballet) (1999):

Character Animation: Gilderoy Lockhart’s monologue + emotions/subtext

“Gilderoy Lockhart. (I’m amazing! You must’ve heard of me. *smirk*)

Order of Merlin, third class. (Yeah, I’m still amazing. How can anyone be more awesome than me. *smug look*)

Honorary member of the Dark Force Defence League (I am respectable. I am honorary. This is serious…, but have you heard of my best achievement, what I’m most proud of?), and five times winner … (Yeah, I am even more awesome than I thought. Everyone loves me. I’m the best!)

of Witch Weekly’s ‘Most Charming Smile’-award.” (Just look at this smile. No one has a smile this beautiful! You may now faint/worship me.*smug smile*)

Scene (0:12 – 0:31): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gxYEcNPkQo

Mind map scene Monologue, Character: Gilderoy Lockhart

I had multiple dialogues/monologues that I was thinking about for this assignment:Thumper from Bambi; Alpha, Beta and Gamma from Up!, Darth Vader’s famous ‘I am your father’-scene from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, a scene from the BBC Sherlock series. When looking for dialogues and monologues I noticed I especially liked ones that were funny, probably because I like humor in movies and especially in characters. That seemed to be the kind of character I wanted to animate: a funny character. So, eventually I went with a monologue from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Gilderoy Lockhart was going to be my character. When trying to think of a scene I wanted to put my character in I made a mind map. With this mind map I also researched his character a little more:mindmap lockhart

While making this mind map I was thinking of different ways I could show my character and if I should change his character slightly: I could keep his character and have him showing off his house and himself, or if I changed his character I could make him a villain. For a while I was set on the latter. I wanted to have my character in a office (or something like that) talking and introducing himself to someone he had tied to a chair. I would change his character through his movements and surroundings. That seemed really interesting, but I started thinking again and I really wanted to return to my ‘fun’ character. I think I was initially afraid I’d (unconsciously) copy the original. However I knew I could make it without it looking like the original. Of course I wouldn’t copy it.

So, Gilderoy Lockhart is a cocky, self-absorbed, charming (to some), show-off. With this in mind I continued researching movement. I was planning to let the movements guide me and the creation of the surroundings.