Concept Q5

I found it difficult to create a story or have a point of view on bankers and portray that in an animation. I needed to find my own way to show the theme of this assignment. For my keuzevak I’ve been researching the Japanese ‘Ma’ which means ’emptiness’. The Japanese really appreciate emptiness in their lives, work, in their everything. Without this emptiness there is no value in things or life. I wanted to use this principle with this assignment and my concept.

I wanted to show the busy, chaotic world of someone working at the office of a bank, analyzing stocks or graphs of some kind. No one can function without some peace, or in this case, ‘ma’ in their life. I wanted to show people change because of ‘Ma’. With that in mind, I did some more research and then came up with two ideas.


Research: Ma

Ma is the emptiness full of possibilities, like a promise yet to be fulfilled.

E.g.: a tea break in a busy day has to be in a quiet place, away from the routines of work — so that one can soak in the serenity of Ma before getting back to busy life.

Ma is what creates the peace of mind (called ‘heijoshin’ in Japanese) we all need, so that there is room for our thoughts to exist properly, and to thrive.

https://wawaza.com/pages/when-less-is-more-the-concept-of-japanese-ma.html

In nothingness, Ma enables. The empty boundary provides a place for everyone’s version of reality or imagination to exist. The further my text spreads out the more you wander away from my message and in fill with your own thoughts.

Ma reminds us that what isn’t there provides the ability for everyone’s story to co-exist. It is the boundaries of space that allow us, and all our ideas, to exist side by side.

http://www.mascontext.com/issues/17-boundary-spring-13/the-potential-in-nothing/

Everyone needs Ma in their life. It’s important to take breaks from work so you don’t stress. Without a moment of emptiness/nothingness you can reflect on other things, appreciate other things around you and let appreciate the work that you’ve done.

Ma gives meaning to things.  E.g.: where there is clutter, even valuable things lose their value. Where there is too much, nothing stands out.

Emptiness, Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu

We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel;

But it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the wheel depends.

We turn clay to make a vessel;

But it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the vessel depends.

We pierce doors and windows to make a house;

And it is on these spaces where there is nothing that the usefulness of the house depends.

Therefore just as we take advantage of what is, we should recognize the usefulness of what is not.

Bankers need Ma just like everyone. Without it they might turn into psychopaths because of the horrible system in banks (Luyendijk/Het brein van de bankier). They need balance in their lives.



Ideas:

1.

There’s a banker who is having a tough time at work. There’s a lot to do, it’s loud, his boss keeps yelling at him, his pay is low, there are too many people, he’s always cranky at work… Everything’s chaotic at work and he doesn’t seem to calm down soon.

We see him waiting outside somewhere with his back to a building, looking across the road at the people and cars passing by. He has a cigarette in one hand and he’s pinching the bridge of his nose with his other hand. You can clearly see that he’s stressed and cranky. He probably also has a headache. People around him give him weird looks, avoiding his gaze, keeping their distance.

While he’s looking at the rushing cars and chattering people passing by, events of the day flash by: the stacks of paperwork/documents, the chaos on his desktop/table, the looks of co-workers, the many footsteps, the yelling, the spit flying out of his boss’ mouth and landing on his face… While these images flash by, his face twists and turns, his headache only seems to be getting worse, the sounds around him keep getting louder, his boss’ voice keeps on drumming on in his head. The image keeps switching from the banker’s face to the events playing on repeat in his head, building up.

It looks like he’s about to lose it but then we hear a soft, high voice that breaks through all the chaos in his head. Everything seems to slow around him. His mind is clear. He turns and sees his son/daughter standing next to him, looking up at him with a smile on their face.

He notices the smallest details of the child: the breeze moving their hair, their smile with missing teeth, every little detail in their eyes.

We see the banker’s face: his scowl is gone, we can see him relax, forgetting about the events of the day. (Maybe his eyes are even a little watery.) He sighs and smiles. He’s found his Ma.

(He takes his child’s hand and they go home/He kneels down, gives his kid a hug and the kid starts telling him about everything that happened at school…)


2. 

(Setting: Office building, part of bank, City park – Japan.)

(Time: early afternoon, Summer)

The main character’s a man at the (office of a) bank, working behind a crowded desk. The rest of the room is filled with other bankers/accountants/brokers and people working. There is no break in the phones ringing, the people walking back and forth, and the tapping on keyboards; there’s no peace. It’s visible that the main character is exhausted and has a lot of weight on his shoulders but he stills has a lot of work to do.

As he stares at his screen analyzing graphs e.g., a co-worker opens a window close to the main character’s desk. Being so close by, the light Summer breeze ruffles through some of his papers and touches his face. The breeze carries a light fragrance of flowers and grass. He instinctively looks outside.

Next to the office-building there’s a small garden in the heart of the city, like an oasis. He sees the different kinds of flowers and trees and notices someone sitting alone under a tree. It’s a woman, maybe in her 30s. Her eyes are closed, her legs stretched out, hands on her lap. She looks at peace. She’s not doing anything, just sitting there enjoying doing nothing and being away from the busy city and work life. The breeze lightly ruffles through her hair. It ruffles through the main character’s hair as well. He doesn’t feel like he’s in the office anymore. He feels like he’s in the garden, enjoying the breeze, the fragrant flowers, the sun shining through the branches and leaves of the trees touching his face. He forgets about the world around him. All the sounds of his surroundings fade away. He hears the leaves rustling in the wind, a wind chime, a gentle stream and birds singing in the distance. He closes his eyes. For a moment there’s nothing. Just peaceful emptiness and the distant sounds of the garden…

He slowly opens his eyes. His surroundings look different to him. Everything’s clearer. He looks rested. He sighs and smiles. Looks out the window one more time and gets back to work. We keep looking at the window, getting closer. All background noises fade away. We see the sky. There’s nothing but silence, peace…, Ma.


Out of the two ideas I have I like the second idea more because it portrays Ma more clearly. I want viewers to be able to understand Ma and it may not be as clear in the first idea as I feel it is in the second idea.

So, number 2 it is!

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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: 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.

Metropolis Festival: final idea!

2015

Na onze vele andere ideeën, gingen we weer kijken naar de poster en naar onze eerste idee van de kubus. We wilden nog steeds de verschillende genres laten zien en ook de diverstieit van de festival. We vonden het een goed idee om nog steeds een kubus als basis te gebruiken maar ons eerste idee te dan wel te combineren met elementen van andere ideeën. Het idee waar we op kwamen was een kubus die steeds verandert naar andere vormen en dus andere muziekgenres. Rondom de vormen wilden we elementen hebben die kenmerkend waren voor de genres. In plaats van zelf weer allemaal concept art te maken vonden wij het een goed idee om een paar van de elementen op de poster te gebruiken.

Schets Folk:

folk sketch

Met de andere ideeën waren we misschien soms vergeten dat het voor Metropolis was waardoor we verder verwijderd raakten van de Metropolis Festival als onderwerp en herkenbaar ding voor onze promo. Met ons nieuw idee wilden we dat vermijden. Daarom focusten we ons op de poster. Ons promo zou als het ware de poster zijn die tot leven komt.

De vijf genres die op de poster staan, die we ook gebruikt hebben, zijn Folk, Rock, Hip Hop, Electro en Pop. Bij elk van deze genres hadden we aparte vormen gemodeld in Maya: (vlnr: Folk, Rock, Hip Hop, Electro, Pop)

folk rock hip hop electro pop

Animatic: 

In onze animatic zie je dat we dergelijke effects willen gebruiken. Deze effects willen we in 2D hebben om het wat diverser en dynamischer te maken. De effects zullen ook kenmerken zijn aan de genre waar ze bij horen.

Tests 2D effects (door Jonathan):

1234 Folk Pop Rock

Toen we begonnen met modellen wilden we de kleuren van de Metropolis Festival gebruiken, maar toen we uiteindelijk met de modellen klaar waren en al begonnen waren aan het animeren besloten we om andere kleuren te gebruiken. Door andere kleuren te gebruiken zou het alles nog diverser maken, maar ook leuker en spannender.

Aan het einde van het modellen twijfelden we of we karakters erin wilden zetten. Omdat we bij de vorige ideeën karakters erin wilden zetten omdat ze de promo misschien ‘relatable’ zouden maken, dachten we er bij dit idee weer aan om karakters erin te zetten. Eerst dachten we er aan om karakters met 2D in de promo te zetten, maar na advies van docenten kregen we het idee om in plaats van de vormen die we voor elke genre hebben, hoofden te gebruiken van karakters die dus karikaturen zijn van hun genre. Daarmee waren we begonnen met modellen:

Begin van Electro-hoofd:

electro head

Maar, door tijdgebrek besloten we om weer naar de vormen te gaan die we al hadden. We konden onze promo nog steeds ‘relatable’ maken door middel van de beelden die we hadden, en kleurgebruik, en muziek; karakters waren daar niet voor nodig.

Toen we uiteindelijk de 3D animatie afhadden, konden we aan kleur en lichten werken. We hadden een tijdje moeite met kleur, vooral dat het te donker leek. Maar uiteindelijk hebben we een balans gevonden waar we alledrie blij mee zijn.

Van veel mensen kregen we te horen dat onze 3D animatie te ‘clean’ was; sommigen zeiden dat sommige gedeeltes te langzaam waren. Dit wilden we al veranderen met 2D. Met 2D konden we beweging creëren. leven geven, en ook de 3D animatie een wat ruwer uiterlijk te geven. Dit hebben we ook gedaan met 2D!

Na de 2D wilden we nog wat filters gebruiken voor een paar genres zodat er nog wat meer variatie in beeld is. We hebben voor Rock en Electro dus nog een filter toegevoegd. In After Effects hebben we uiteindelijk ook nog de kleuren iets aangepast zodat ze wat sterker zijn.

De Metropolis kleuren komen aan het eind tevoorschijn met wat effects en de Logo.

Metropolis Festival: Idea #2 + 2.1

Na het kubus-idee zijn we richting een promo gegaan met een verhaal. We wilden dat de promo spannend zou zijn en een verhaal leek ons leuk. Willekeurige beelden achter elkaar was niet iets waar we voor streefden.

Met ons nieuw idee wilden we van de verschillende muziekgenres karakters maken. In plaats van verschillende werelden hebben op verschillende vlakten van een kubus, wilden we ons focussen op één van die werelden en zo ook beginnen met één karakter/muziekgenre. Dat werd Folk nadat Jonathan deze schets had gemaakt:

Folk

We kwamen eigenlijk op het idee om karakters te gebruiken na het eerste kubus-idee aan te passen en de kubus los van de werelden te maken, zoals de schets hierboven ook laat zien. De promo moest wel ‘relatable’ zijn voor kijkers. Met karakters vonden wij toen dat we het ‘relatable’ konden maken.

Na heel veel zitten brainstormen kwamen we op een idee: we zouden een steeds-veranderende vorm hebben die symbool staat voor de festival waar karakters – muziekgenres dus – naartoe getrokken worden en uiteindelijk samen komen in een explosie. Omdat we de schets hierboven hadden besloten we op Folk te focussen. Folk zou ons hoofdpersoon worden. Hij zou naast een kampvuur zitten in een ‘Folk’-omgeving, met een gitaar, om vervolgens opgezogen te worden door iets. Later blijkt dat hij opgezogen wordt door de Metropolis Festival. Hij ziet andere karakters/genres de vorm ingaan. Hij gaat er zelf ook in en de festival begint. –> logo.

Hier de script: scriptMETROPOLIS.docx

We waren best blij met dit idee en waren hard aan het werk gegaan met pre-productie:

Background design door Lia:

METROPOLIS BG 1

Props door mij:

cube-2

props promo

Sketch van eerste scène, door mij:

sketch landscape promo

Character design door Jonathan: (vlnr: Pop, Folk, Rock)

Characters

Color script door Jonathan:

Metropolis Color Script - Final

Ons idee was best ambitieus: we wilden een hele wereld maken, props, en karakters! De karakters wilden we met 2D doen, omdat het met onze huidige vaardigheden slimmer leek om niet een karakter te riggen. We wilden ook 2D en 3D combineren omdat het ook weer de diversitieit die we wilden versterkte.

Met de concept art die we hadden waren we goed op pad. We hadden een planning gemaakt en een taakverdeling en we hadden zin in de animatie.

Planning2 + Tasks

We waren goed op schema en voor de eerste presentatie voor een Metropolis medewerker hadden we onze animatic klaar:

Na de eerste presentatie hadden we goede feedback gekregen waardoor we weer aan ons idee gingen denken: het verhaal was niet echt duidelijk, de karakters waren ook niet lang genoeg in beeld om te begrijpen waar ze voor staan, en het moest allemaal herkenbaar zijn. De steeds-veranderende vorm waar de karakters invlogen was neit echt herkenbaar als Metropolis.

Met deze feedback gingen we weer over ons idee denken. We moesten een manier vinden om het allemaal duidelijk te maken. Dat vonden we moeilijk. Het was voor ons moeilijk om een manier te vinden om dit idee duidelijk te maken zonder teveel te veranderen, omdat we al zoveel tijd aan de pre-productie hadden besteed. Na een periode van twijfelen en een staat van ‘we weten niet wat we moeten doen!’ kwamen we op twee andere ideeën waarvan één de uiteindelijke versie is geworden.

De eerste nieuwe idee was gebaseerd op wat we al hadden: het zou beginnen met een karakter in de stad. Alles zou donker en depressief zijn. Op een of andere manier zou de karakter omhoog zweven, door de wolken, naar een wereld boven de wolken: Metropolis Festival. De camera zou door de festival heen zweven. We zouden ondertussen van alles zien: verschillende karakters, muziekgenres, vormen, kleuren etc. De camera zou inzoomen op een drummer op een podium. De drummer zou aftellen en zodra hij de drums zou raken, zou de camera zich naar boven richten. Vuurwerk is afgestoken met de slag van de drums. Na heel veel explosie zou uiteindelijk uit de vuuwerk de Metropolis logo tevoorschijn komen.

Snelle schets van Metropolis boven de wolken (door mij)

Festival above the clouds

Maar, we hadden niet veel tijd meer en om dit allemaal te modellen en te animeren leek ons iets te ambitieus. Na weer wat feedback te hebben gekregen en over ons idee na te denken besloten we om alles weer te veranderen. We hadden niet veel tijd, maar deze keer hadden we een idee dat goed zou werken en haalbaar zou zijn.

Planning

Week 1 (5 jan.)

  • animatie: keyframes, beginnen met animeren
  • animatie: walk cycle (3/4 persp.)
  • muziek: verbeteren

Week 2 (12 jan.)

  • animatie: run cycle (3/4 persp.)
  • animatie: keyframes af, 30 sec. geanimeerd
  • research: recensies schrijven

Week 3 (19 jan.)

  • animatie: dance cycle
  • animatie: 50 sec. geanimeerd

Week 4 (26 jan.) ZELFSTUDIEWEEK

  • animatie afmaken
  • (animatie kleuren)
  • editing

5 feb.: PROJECTBEOORDELING