Sunday, 28 August 2011

Two-Way Mirror video: scaling scene

I recently helped out on a music video directed by Matt Layzell.

I'd like to spotlight a scene that I thought was rather nicely done, the "scaling" part where the universe seems to be shrinking to sub-atomic size around the girl character.

I got to see the rough animation for this scene, which Matt did, and when I saw the final version done by Joe Sparrow I thought he'd finished it really nicely.

He added lots of nice touches like the slickly animated pigtails, and plenty of little cushions and extra in-betweens to smooth out the actions, but there's also lots of specific little "Joe" touches that really add life to it.

Joe really likes to use smears in his animation. At first (at least, the first time I saw him doing it) he kind of overused it, but here he just adds it subtley in the eyes.

He makes use of those funny duck-lips for a couple of little elastic bounces. You only really see them subconsciously, but they're pretty funny. They're also a nice timing contrast with the slower-moving pigtails.

There's even a very subtle bounce on her pupils at one point.

The way he changes their shape is really clever, too. It implies she's paying a bit more attention to what she's looking at. Reminds me of a part in Eva where Shinji's in a cinema, watching with lifeless eyes, then when he sees a couple making out in the front row the highlights come back in.

 It's also nice how the ducklips are sometimes drawn in and sometimes not. In some cases Joe was just interpreting the mouth shapes of the rough drawings literally, but he makes good decisions to keep the expressions varied and cute.

And isn't the way he interprets the arms on this bit appealing?

He also does something very neat with the pigtails here.

He allows them to float on 3s, 4s, and even a 5 at one point. It's an aspect of timing that I think I've mentioned before and that doesn't get used enough. Having movements on slower in-betweens makes them feel slower than they actually are, compared to if they were completely on 2s or 1s. Anime tends to have alot of stuff in-betweened on 3s, and sometimes this results in a nice, sedate feel, but mostly it's just because anime production is dirt cheap. These pigtails may or may not have been intentional on Joe's part, but I like them so I'm including them anyway!

(also why did I make 3 gifs before figuring out I could get a cleaner result by just using the image sequence out of Flash instead of the shit Quicktime? Oh well, I'm not remaking them)

This whole scene is also a testament to how great it is to just get extra help when you're really struggling for time on a job. This video was done at a very bad time and went way past deadline, and Matt was pulling his hair out about getting it done. He really hated the idea of bothering other people to help, but in the end he got Joe to do this and a few other scenes. Apart from the obvious alleviation of some of the workload, the fact that Joe was coming into the project fresh, rather than bleary-eyed after seven consecutive all-nighters, just let him do better stuff than I think the rest of us were (that and the fact that he's talented and hard-working). In fact, Matt was so pleased that he used Joe's style as the model for everything else afterwards!

The result is that a good bit of animation got the chance to be turned into a great bit of animation.

Here's some more treats I thieved from Flash files foolishly given to me by genius man Matt Layzell.

"I like this frame" - Matt while drawing this frame.

I hope Matt and Joe don't mind me posting all this stuff. Guess I'll find out soon enough if they don't.

Here's something that I actually did.

This one moves too but it's too wide so you'll have to click it.

I used one of those kaleidoscope paint flash things. Not to do the gifs, though, that was just plain-old obsessive copy-pasting in Photoshop and After Effects until 5 in the morning for no reason other than that I wanted to solve this problem I'd given myself. Yeah.

I recently saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Super 8. Apes was serviceable but not much more. Super 8 was pretty good, as long as you can accept the fact that it is literally E.T. crossed with Cloverfield. The child actors were actually good, which I feel is a rarity these days.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Happy Birthday Joe!

Today marks the day of birth of my good friend and fellow blogger Josef Sparrow!

He is a big meme-spouting loser just like me so we get on very well. (just kidding, he's actually much cooler than I'll ever be) He's an extremely talented draftsman, designer, animator, and all-round artist. He maintains TWO awesome blogs and actually updates at least one of them on a semi-regular basis at any given time, which is more than can be said for me. Check them both out. He also plays a mean Wario, Dedede, and Ness in Super Smash Brothers Brawl, and Terran in Starcraft 2 (which he might also be good at but I haven't 1v1ed him since he made it to Platinum league).

This completely-not-related-to-birthdays birthday e-card commemorates the love that all Terrans have for walking up to your front door and just bloody sitting there shelling your expansion with searing volleys of white-hot explodey death knowing full-well you can't do a damn thing about it, the bastards.

Here's to 23 years more of YOU, Joe.

[EDIT] Recent events indicate that I should replace the Hatchery with a Nexus and add some Banshees killing Immortals. 1-1-1 ftw.