For People Crazy About 2D Animation!

Acme Punched! is for people crazy about 2D animation. It may be enjoyed by beginners and others, but it is aimed at animators who know already something about the process of animation and the basics of character animation. In large part, it will attempt to provide a deep look into the problem solving that goes on in my head as I work out a scene, often in step-by-step posts that I will sometimes enter in "real time", without knowing in advance what the outcome will be. Mistakes and false starts will not only be included but emphasized, so that the creative process of animation will be portrayed realistically. And, while my own bias is for 2D drawn animation, many of the effects and principles discussed here can apply to CGI 3D animation as well. I hope the blog will prove useful and instructive for all.

-Jim Bradrick

Monday, January 21, 2013

No. 28, Problem Four: Forty Seconds In Two Weeks (Part 4)

After inking the scanned drawings, I blocked in the color with flat fills in a monochromatic palette, then began working up the final colors in both flat and gradient fills.  Here is an early version of the bar, with many elements still showing in various shades of flat blue.

Next is a screenshot with more detail and color worked out; the beer labels, seats and beer pulls have been done.

And here is the finished artwork of the same scene.  The fireplace is done and the lamp cord extended.

Next, a shot of the mantle closeup with all the props in place.

Below is the master background for Scenes 3, 5 and 7.  Notice the wreath, shown as a scanned line drawing in Part 3, now in place above the fireplace mantle.  This is a completely new rendering of the fireplace and floor, but the back wall with windows, clock and poster is reused from the bar shot.
You will also see in the shot above that one of the hanging lamps is lighted; it is supposed to be the only light source in the room.  Due to time and budget constraints, I decided to not put in any cast shadows.  These would have added to the drama and effectiveness of the lighting.  For example, the wall just to the left of the fireplace would have had a strong shadow cast by the column of the fireplace itself, and the objects on the mantle in the closeup would have cast shadows off to the left.  However I was able to get a pretty good effect with gradients indicating the source of the light.

Finally here is one more still shot showing the "beauty shot" of the fermenter for Scene 7.  The fermenter was modelled using multiple gradients, and on the conical lower portion, the gradients were set at various calculated angles to fill a series of wedge-shaped areas.  The client was pleased with the result.

Each of the seven scenes I made into a separate Animate Pro file; this is always recommended to keep layers and file size manageable.  Putting all your scenes in one file can otherwise be a nightmare to work with, partly because the timeline becomes so long it it hard to navigate.

My part was now about done.  I exported each of the scenes into a folder of png frames and sent them to my partner,  Don, for assembly and post production.  Because he had a plug-in that would create a good snowfall effect in Adobe After Effects, I had left the window panes transparent, and the png format supports the transparency.  Don then brought all the scenes together in Aftert Effects, added the fades and dissolves, and put in the snowfall effect both behind the windowpanes (for which Don requested a snowbank background to match the snowbanks in the exterior shot) and in the opening exterior shot itself.  There were some technical problems with the transparencies, but finally it all came together visually.  Don then added music, sound effects and the closing logo and titles, staying up most of the night since we were a day behind schedule.  He delivered the finished movie about noon the next day.

And now, all done in about two weeks time, here is the final 40-second movie:

Next:  Problem Five: The Fox Comes Down

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