Class notes – Visual Grammar

There are many elements to a story, and when you are trying to tell a story they are things you must consider first. The script, sound, music, visuals. We discussed and explored some of them in class today. The plot, character and dialogue are all important to the script, they are the bones of the piece. And if they are the bones though, there are many other elements or body parts that make up the whole animal..

When it comes to sound you can vary volume, bass, treble and sound effects. The music can be broken down into the instruments, notes and melody. All of which can complement or jar with a scene, character, etc. When it comes to the visual there is a lot to consider; space, line, tone, shape, colour, light, movement and rhythm.

When it comes to lighting we can control what is in the frame – what will be lit, and the light itself. Objects and textures will have different reflective properties – how you play with exposure will be an important element to controlling the tone.

Coincidence and no coincidence is the relationship between the tonal balance of the shot and the subject of the shot – like a character stepping out of a shadow into the light. Using the different between those two ranges to reveal the subject.

You can use tone to show contrast or affinity –  this is often true for all the elements.

Colour: Hue, saturation, value (brightness). In animation you have total control of what is in the frame so all these elements should be considered when decided what goes into each frame/animation.

When thinking about Movement we have to think about the object, camera, and the viewers point of attention.

With Object movement – focus on Direction, Quality, Scale, Speed.

And with Camera movement look at the direction, scale, and speed of the camera. The cuts between shots are important as well and the camera movement combined with the right cuts can be very effective when telling a story. Chase scenes are normally good examples of where filmmakers will use movement to its full to tell the story.

A camera pan is a 2D movement, movement is at a uniformed rate. Track is a 3D movement because it has scale – things closer change scale quicker than those further away.

Parallax is a displacement or difference in the apparent position of an object viewed along two different lines of sight, and is measured by the angle or semi-angle of inclination between those two lines. The term is derived from the Greek word παράλλαξις (parallaxis), meaning “alteration”. [1]


Point of attention – where the viewer looks and why they might look there. Movement and brightness are what the eyes are drawn to. The viewer’s attention will move within a shot and also from shot to shot.

Rhythm. We can only discern a rhythm between its silence and a beat. Its that repetition that allows us to identify it is a pattern and tempo allows us to tell the changes to that rhythm.

How things enter and exit the frame, moving in front of each other, changing direction, starting and stopping.

Every frame a painting – Akira Kurosawa : Composing movement

When you’re judging a shot what’s the first thing you look for? Movement! Shots have visual interest with the weather elements that Kurosawa uses in most of his shots.Even with a still subject the frame is still visually interesting with the movement of rain or snow, etc. Kurosawa using individual movement in a bit of an exaggerated style. Every camera move has a very clear beginning, middle, and end. Kurosawa cuts on movement – the audience is focused on movement and the rhythm is changed to keep them guessing.

When animating a character, how are they feeling? Can movement help to convey that to the audience. What about other objects in the frame, how can their movement enhance the shot? For kurosawa lots of variation and subtlety is key, matching the right motion with the emotion can lead to some amazing cinema.

George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola all called Akira Kurosawa “The Master.” [2]

I was reading a random blog (it’s in my references) about Kurosawa and came across this video of the man himself giving advice to aspiring filmmakers:

He says if you want to make films – write screenplays. You only need a pencil and paper. It is not easy though, and takes hard work. Patience is essential (even more so for animators imo!) You cant create something nothing – you must have something inside yourself -so live and experience and read and explore.

I suppose when you are writing a screenplay you must considers all the different elements of the piece and what will work and write it down – you must create that world and put yourself in it – and the more you do it the more realistic the world will appear to the audience and yourself.


 Wes Anderson – Mise en scene and the visual themes of wes anderson

What it adds up to be is always sort of a surprise, you know, even if you planned every thing, when you add it up it’s never what you quite expected because you never could quite fully picture it. -Wes Anderson

I think here Wes Anderson is talking about how he worries about all the smaller elements, he knows those elements and what is needed/ what eh wants, but its very difficult to imagine all those components and how they will work – he knows that they will work.


Wes Anderson goes on to say he is drawn to long takes – seeing the actors play the scene through – not having cuts, like the theatre, it creates a tension and excitement. He uses a flat look to create a sort of storybook feeling, almost a theatre set look in his movies.

Wes actually made an animated movie adaptation of the Roald dahl book – Fantastic Mr Fox. And btw its brilliant! It seems that Wes is turning his attention back to animation with an upcoming film about dogs! From imdb it is starring Bryan Cranston (malcolm in the middle, breaking bad), Edward Norton (Fight Club, American history X ), Bill Murray (Groundhog day, Zombieland) and Jeff Goldblum (independence day, Jurassic park). [3 & 4] So get hype people!



1a-“Parallax”. Oxford English Dictionary (Second ed.). 1989. Astron. Apparent displacement, or difference in the apparent position, of an object, caused by actual change (or difference) of position of the point of observation; spec. the angular amount of such displacement or difference of position, being the angle contained between the two straight lines drawn to the object from the two different points of view, and constituting a measure of the distance of the object.






The Little Prince 2015

So I just watched this amazing little film today, based on the 1943 novel ‘Le Petit Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900–1944). It was really enjoyable with some absolutely beautiful stop-motion & 3D animation, fantastic characters, an amazing and well worked story and i would highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it.

The voice actors in The Little Prince:

Jeff Bridges, James Franco, Benicio Del Toro, Ricky Gervais, Paul Rudd, Paul Giamatti, Albert brooks, Rachel McAdams and Mackenzie Foy.

There’s some spoilers in this post so if you haven’t then please go and watch it before reading anything here, if you want to learn more about the film, its design or how it was made or whatever, then please read on!


If you are familiar with the original novel you will notice the film starts where the novel starts, with the pilot, who is telling the audience the story about his drawings of boa constrictors and how adults do not understand things and need everything explaining to them, which shows the audience a lot about the pilot already – he is not like other adults..

“One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eyes.” [1]

Its a story that can be enjoyed on different levels, and will entertain young and old alike. A story about the meaning of life..  The Little Prince novel is made for a child’s imagination, where reality and truth are not important, only what is possible in the realms of your own imagination matters. The author was a pilot, On December 30, 1935, at 02:45 am, after 19 hours and 44 minutes in the air, Saint-Exupéry, along with his copilot-navigator André Prévot, crashed in the Sahara desert. He also flew missions in WW2 and sadly disappeared during one of those missions, but the book and his legacy lives on in – 2 million sales world wide yearly, literary awards, multiple adaptations, the little Prince even featured on the 50 Franc note before the Euro and the French people voted The Little Prince the most important book of the 20th century.


In the film the pilot or ‘Aviator’ is an old man who we meet through the eyes of a young girl who lives with her mom. When the young girl does not get selected for a prestigious school her stressful mother moves them to a new house so she will go to that school anyway – the girls life is completely mapped out, every year, every month, every minute every day. Her mother works all day and late into the evening and the young girl does well to keep up with the schedule of work. Anyway the house they moved into has a very interesting neighbour, the old eccentric pilot in his old eccentric house – its very different from all the identical modern boxy houses in the area. The girl learns a lot from the old man and they become good friends – getting into all sorts of trouble together! The pilot tells the girl about a little prince he once met who travelled from an asteroid and his adventures. Its a really well made little film. I loved it.

Behind the scenes featurette:

The Stop-motion animation

Warm, charming and simple, represents the memory that the pilot has of his time with the little Prince, or perhaps how he wants to remember his time with the Little Prince, who might have profoundly affected his life.


A photograph of one of the stop-motion animation sets during filming:


The colouring and lighting in the film was fantastic, mirroring the mood and feel of the film as well as enhancing it and not staying the same all the time. The warmth of the pilot and princes world contrasts next to the more diverse real world.


The 3D Animation

Simply beautiful character designs, the fox was my favourite, the cute 3D toy and the paper stop-motion one as well.



He looks grumpy here (below) but he’s the nicest guy ever, although perhaps a little lonely, and hes odd for sure, but in a great way. Like he tries to fly his broken airplane in his back garden – its how he introduces himself to his new neighbours in fact!





[1] – The little Prince (1943) Novel  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

[2] –

[3] –

Monologue vs internal monologue researching

In the project brief we have been asked to use both 2D and 3D elements, so i’m going to explore some animations that do just that.

Hybrid or 2D/3D animation examples can be found in many films, such as the Iron Giant in the Iron Giant, the cyclists in Triplets of Belleville, and Disney’s Treasure Planet. In some cases the 2D characters were drawn and then 3D appendages rendered to match the 2D portions after. Like John Silvers character in Treasure Planet:

Off his Rockers – Walt Disney

In this adorable animation the 3D rocking horse attempts to get the attention of the 2D child playing video games. The environment is also 3D, i think, at the end the desert bit is definitely 2D. I think this is an example where the hybridity really works well.

Technological Threat – an early hybrid animation example (1998)

Meet Buck

This animation uses mainly 3D – although its totally stylised so that it resembles a 2D animation – there are even 2D touches like smoke added to the animation.

It’s great being able to see the 3D model without the finished render as a model. The character is squared-off in shape in places and it really adds to the characters individual look.

Chapter 12 – Meet Buck

Interesting notes:

  • They made a resizable rig that could be retrofitted onto each of the characters – and in fact shared with other animating groups for their own projects (e.g. Salesman Pete)
  • Backgrounds were Photoshop paintings projected onto flat scenes.
Muffin Jack and jeremy

2D style + 3D modelling and rigging + flat painted backgrounds = awesome!

I’m really liking this style, not sure i’d accomplish it using Maya yet.. *-*

The character design for this little guy is awesome!! We are currently working on rigging a full character and the one we’ve been using is not very heavily stylised, something i want to explore a lot more with my 3D modelled characters.

Salesman Pete

Pixar behind the scenes…

Jinxy Jenkins & Lucky Lou Short Film” by Mike Bidinger & Michelle Kwon

Research for Monologue vs internal stuff

Well, a monologue is someone speaking aloud, often to themselves. It’s almost like thinking out loud. So “Interior” monologue is the same thing, but it’s internal. It’s silent. It’s the thought process that we don’t let past our lips.

Why is this helpful for animators? Well, because if our hardest job (and it IS our hardest job) is to create a believable feeling that our characters have an internal thought process, then figuring out the interior monologue of a scene gives us actual thoughts to key off of, and actual changes in though process to base our acting decisions on.

Let’s say that in the scene, a man and a woman are arguing, and he’s jealous of the way she’s been flirting with a friend. Her line is “I love YOU,” with the emphasis on “you.” So we know that what she means is “I don’t love him, I love you.” When you are animating to that line, you could say that the monologue is “I love YOU,” and the *interior monologue* is “I don’t love HIM! How could even think that? Don’t you even know me?”

Now, when you are working out the acting decisions, you can treat the interior monologue just like actual lines of dialogue, and you can time your head shakes, blinks, searching eye movements, etc – you can time all that stuff off of this imaginary line that isn’t ever heard, but through your animation, we will FEEL it.

And *that* stuff is the meaty stuff that will bring your character to life. [1]


Meet Chloe – The secret life of pets.

She wants to eat all the food but knows she shouldn’t and is conflicted about it – after a little back and fro she just has to eat all the things!! Which is funny for the audience.


Creature comforts – Aardman

I really love this series, the voices are recorded and then the animations come later. Its stop-motion animation, the character designs are fantastic and the expressions and range they have is fantastic.

Inner Monologues – Robot Chicken



[1] –

More monologue vs internal monologue

So ive been going over my ideas for this project, here are some pages from my sketchbook:


A character is given some really lovely looking food and told not to eat it when they clearly want to eat it. This is a difficult situation because the person who says don’t eat it leaves for a while and the character is left alone with the food. Will they eat it or not?

This is like the Haribo advert where kids can’t wait to eat the sweets in an experiment style thing –  it’s almost a total rip.


Sounds more and more silly and crazy and the kid trying not to be super proud of himself. Could be interesting..



So i kinda like this idea. I need to plan it out properly and make sure that those monologue vs internal monologue moments happen and the audience can see his true feelings about  what is happening. I expanded on the idea a little bit:


In this version of the idea Keith is a monster who lives with a human family but still has to have visits from the scientists who created him in the first place, which he doesnt like. His family tease him about it because it’s not a big deal? Still seems kind of mean when they are supposed to be caring for him.. Or is it? hmm..

Some doofy sketches:





So Keith is now a Panda? Maybe.. This idea is kinda funny because its playing on the fact that pandas are endangered and don’t reproduce so much, and the reason is because Keith doesn’t want to go procreate he just wants to be lazy. I have a feeling this idea is not original to the point of being made already..

So i’m gonna simplify..

Beginning (equilibrium): Introduced to Keith as hes spoken to by an offscreen voice, find out he’s going on vacation (or its just christmas holidays) and very happy about it. (looking forward to santa coming and getting presents and all that good stuff)

Middle (disruption): He learns that someone he doesnt like is going to be coming with him on vacation (coming to stay for christmas) and they will be forcing Keith to do things he doesn’t like. He tries not to let it dampen his mood.

End (new equilibrium): Keith cannot contain his displeasure anymore and is visibly upset about it while the offscreen voice is finding it very funny.

So Keith doesn’t have to be a panda – I need to decide what he is and design something..

Off screen voice is Keith’s dad who is making fun of him. This is more focused on Keith being not bothered more like a teenager, but pretty quickly he is unable to suppress his inner feelings so well. And in the end the offscreen voice manages to annoy Keith so much he storms off.

Things that keith doesn’t like to do that ‘she’ (his aunt) will make him do:

  • Karaoke because it embarasses him – other silly games he doesn’t like..
  • Pinch his cheeks and give him kisses all the time! – “it really hurts my cheeks” *rubs cheek from memory of pain there before.
  • Cook her famous bread pudding he hates! “eww!” *sticks tongue out!
  • Have to watch whatever she wants on tv – always boring shows.
  • Tag him in loads of awful pictures she uploads to the internet for everyone to see. (possible example of these photos)
  • He will have to wear the itchy sweater she made him wear last year! Or maybe shes made him a whole new one – even itchier than before!

When he storms off at the end Keith says ‘Forget christmas this year!!’ or something like that. “Christmas is cancelled! Tell her not to come this year!!”

Could be an end credits scene where the offscreen voice reminds Keith that she will bring him a present probably and Keiths pops quickly back on screen looking all happy and excited shouting “PRESENTSSSS!!”

Rough Script:

OV – “Hey Keith are you looking forward to the Christmas holidays?! Not long now!”

Keith – “mm yeah sure.”

OV – “Santa will be coming and the reindeers and the snowfall aaaaaand your Aunt Mabel is going to be coming again as well! How great is that?!”

Keith – *rolls his eyes “great” still sorta smiling though.

OV – “She’s looking forward to seeing you again! Do you remember what a good time you had last year!! You’ll  get to wear your amazing christmas sweater again!!”

Keith – *not looking happy.. “Cant wait..”

OV – “It might be itchy but you have to wear it or she’ll be upset..”

Keith – *scratches himself “fine” (its clearly not fine from the tone of his voice and gritted teeth)

OV – *laughing “Don’t worry buddy, i’m sure she wont be that bad this year..”

Keith – *perks up a little

OV – Just remember how much she loves you when she’s giving you lots of kisses and pinching your cheeks! *laughing

Keith – *rubs his cheek  “bah!” *throws his arms up and walks off!

OV – “Aww don’t be like that buddy..”

Keith-  *Offscreen: “CHRISTMAS IS CANCELLED!”

OV – “Shes probably going to bring you some presents as well!”

Keith – *Appears quickly back on screen “Presents??!”

The end

Its not quite finished but this is the basic animation idea finished. The banter is not quite there yet but it shows some of the internal vs external moments that i wanted:

Like when Keith is trying to act like he’s not bothered that Aunt Mabel is coming, but he really is – and its pretty obvious in the end.

It progresses  – still light family teasing – and Keith is more visibly bothered and perhaps embarrassed (maybe the Offscreen Voice reminds Keith of something he did that was silly or embarrassing and it was all caught on camera and shared around the internet – ‘people still talk about that now!!’) which results in him storming off declaring christmas is cancelled! – which is supposed to be funny, the audience is supposed to be enjoying the discomfort that keith displays – because he is overreacting and it’s silly, but have to make sure it appears that way and not like he is just being bullied or something. Its supposed to be light hearted fun, and a little but comical because Keith’s reactions are funny.


goll u.jpg

Remember that scene in Lord of the rings when Gollum is talking to himself and having an argument with himself – that could be a  really funny and interesting way to approach this animation – a character who’s a bit crazy arguing with themself.

So it would be the same character with jump cuts between the two ‘identities’ that they have as they argue with themselves. One is kind of over the top emotional and upset (in a ridiculous and silly way – over dramatic) about something and the other is sarcastic and unforgiving. The first cannot see a way forward, the second offers a bunch of different option.

A forgetful character learns that they have foolishly eaten all the chocolate spread after already toasting the bread.

“How could u do this to us?!”      –    “I was Hungry!!”

“But now i’m hungry!!”    –      “If you’d bought more the other day this wouldn’t be an issue!”

“We’re going to starve!! Now what am i going to eat?! Ive already toasted the bread!”   –    “You could use some other spread.. or beans on toast?”

“ARE YOU SERIOUS!!”   –   “You could eat it plain!”

*shocked speechless    –   *chuckling “Or you could have a bread toast sandwich..

The aim of this animation is to show a character that is having a bit of a meltdown but one that is playful and even though they are talking to themself, in fact sort of arguing, they are not really crazy – more just weird. When you are alone you sometimes can have conversations with yourself. At first the audience wont realise that there is only one character – they should think that perhaps these are identical but different people, then realise that its just one dude talking to himself – working through a problem.

(this can be done with camera angles and shots as well)

Its a silly – comical – bit ridiculous story about a guy who talks to himself to the point of having silly arguments.

Ending ideas:

  • Turns out there was chocolate spread all along.
  • He decides to have something else instead
  • He storms off while the other one finds it hilarious (were they one character..?)
  • It gets turned around onto the smug one for some reason?!

I like this idea for the silly aspect and the dialogue would be over the top and funny with bigger than life characters – or character anyway..

Monologue – I want!

Interior monologue – Well you can’t have!

Its like one side of him has no sympathy for the other – a strong personality and a weak one. He likes seeing himself suffer… lol Well he likes to take the mickey out of himself when something doesn’t go his way – it’s odd behaviour but potentially funny!

Just like with gollum this is a way to show the interior thinkings of the character. The Dialogue can be mostly spoken in his head or out loud.. Will have to storyboard the idea and really get a feel for what will work and what i want.


Project 1- Monologue VS Internal Monologue

Using both 2D and 3D animation techniques create a conflicted character, where what they say and what they think and feel differs wildly. Using body language and facial expression to communicate one thing whilst language and speech says something else.

So this is going to be a character animation at roughly one minute in length at 24FPS (FPS=frames per second). I am planning on using Maya to model and rig a 3D character and then animate it.

Understanding performance and how characters communicate with the audience is a core animation skill and understanding. This project will encourage you to develop subtlety in the way you present your story ideas.

So this animation is all about the character performance.                                                           The character could be speaking out loud and/or in their head but out loud to the audience and their emotions and actions/gestures are the opposite of what they are saying. They don’t obviously have to be conflicted the whole time!! It is more about the changes of emotion and body language and stuff, and making that performance believable and natural. This is my basic understanding of the monologue vs internal monologue anyway. e.g: the character is afraid but they are putting on a brave face, or the character is unafraid but is acting afraid..

So i have to decide who is the character? What are they conflicted about and how am I going to portray that. So here’s some initial thoughts:

Who is the character: The character can be a human, or an animal or anything really. The story may inform the character in some ways, so i’m going to come back to this.

What are they conflicted about: 

Sad but they appear happy – so the character is trying to convince someone (maybe themselves) that things (what things?) are not so bad. This one is sad, obviously, which is not the best really.. on the flip-side a character could be happy their mother in law (or something) is forced to leave early but has to pretend they are really not happy about it while basically jumping for joy! Could be fun..

Confident but they have no idea what they are doing. So convincing someone they can do the thing, but they can’t do the thing, maybe they don’t even want to – that would have to be set up somehow, but they have to act like they aren’t worried about what will happen if they cant get out of doing the thing – could be trying to talk their way out of it somehow. I’m not sure about this one right now..

A character (a dog) being told off for something – maybe eating food they weren’t supposed to. They are happy about what they did but must act like they are sorry and did something wrong (conflicted feelings) when really they are happy. The owner (a voice off screen) notices and berates the dog who actually ends up being upset – but then the owner breaks and ends up offering to give the dog a big dinner after they go for a WALK!!! to which the dog is overjoyed literally jumping up and down.

Some lonely person, who pretends to be happy and whatever to people that he comes across but finds that difficult. This ones a bit depressing even with a happy ending so probably not going to really explore this as a stand alone idea..

Friendly but really menacing – so i’m actually thinking about a spider for this one. A spider who catches a fly in its web and then proceeds to be friendly to the fly as it captures and wraps and then sucks the blood of the fly. Saying things like “oh look a friend for me! we’re going to be such. good. friendsss” so there would be a menacing tone on the last three words and a pause between them. I imagine the spider giving away its true feelings towards the ends of its sentences, which would give the audience a clue that the spider is not a good guy – remember to be subtle as well, not just blatant though. The fly could believe the spider at first, or want to, but realises it is not getting away and tries to make a break for it at the end when its too late. This is two characters though rather than one, which the brief asks for.. But i like the idea and i can imagine the cobweb set being really fun to model in 3D..

Scared but they appear fearless – with this they would be giving away their fear a lot and having to make themselves not scared. I’m thinking of a character lost in the woods trying not to break down ‘Blair Witch style’ but jumping and shrieking at various woodland nighttime noises (an owls hoot,a  twig snapping, etc..) Lots of atmosphere and potentially a really cool set – imagine it set in the limbo forest or something like that..


*Note the fading layers of trees and background in Limbo. (It’s kinda like shadow puppet art..) I like the mood in this game, which or course is aided by the music and atmospheric sounds, but also the design of the characters and locations.


I could make my animation in this sort of style in Maya in 3D and make it appear to be 2D – but be able to make interesting camera movements and set-ups easily. Would have to think about how many details the character would have; in Limbo the character only has their eyes picked out, but it think at least a mouth as well for mine so that i can convey more feelings using more than just body language or whatever. The characters eyes can become larger when afraid as well for example. Anyway..

With a lost in the woods character, they could have gone into the woods as an adventure of their own volition. So at the beginning they are happy and sure of themselves, but quickly and steadily they are more and more afraid and unhappy about the situation. So its not just one or two conflicting emotions or feelings, its really many. Maybe the character is introduced and its light and happy, then a quick cut to night and its darker, and the character reacts and realises abruptly and ‘jumps’ after – shows shock. Then they would be slower and more careful – opposed to their original confident walk. They could be afraid of noises and shadows, maybe a scary figure which turns out to be nothing, making the character relax – and then a final jump scare? Maybe the character could be left at the end with eyes moving in around them and the shadows closing and they pull themselves together one last time then right just turn and run screaming from camera? I’m going to have to give this idea more thought to flesh out the idea fully.

Anyway here’s some videos of characters and stuff:

The first character seems conflicted, shes happy for the guy behind the camera but seems to be hiding her true feelings..

There’s a couple of fantastic moments in this clip from the feature film Rango starring Johnny Depp, where his chameleon character pretends to be tough when met with a scary big badguy! The subtle facial expressions are fantastic, especially when he is shocked at his own brave-but-stupid actions.

In this clip from the animated feature Tangled, Flynn manipulates Rapunzel and pretends to be doing her a favour when really he’s just trying to get his satchel back. He’s a bit smug, and very sure of himself, so he’s not trying very hard but he’s acting one way and thinking another. When he says “Oh bother…” he acts like he is upset and disappointed, but he is really – very obviously – not actually upset. A lot of this is really conveyed through the tone in his voice though – and the audience already knowing what he’s up to.. but its a good study for characters displaying emotions, especially Rapunzel going through a roller coaster of emotions in this clip! 😛

The above video breaks down the process that someone went through when they were creating an animation for the 11 second club (i think the sound is out of sync but still interesting going from a very simple sketched storyboard to key frames to a more finished animation – although i don’t like the style that the final 3D animation has..)

Another 11 second club progression animation, but the sound is in sync this time! 😛 The character is making some food, stirring the pot, seasoning it and then tasting it – he’s involved in a  task and hes also talking to an unseen audience. The finished animation looks really pretty good as well, compared to the last one anyway.

This is a video from youtuber ‘Every frame a Painting’ about the lateral tracking shot (like a 2d video game) and he talks about its use in movies. I’m just putting this in here because i really like these videos and a reminder that with my animation i could use the lateral tracking shot but would want to use lots of other shots as well. He says that its not easy to make this shot intimate, so its good for starting a scene or tracking a character moving or running along.

In this video youtuber ‘Channel Criswell’ studies and talks about the Movie ‘Her’ starring Joaquin Phoenix. He says the out of depth/focused background creates a disconnect between the character and its environment, although this is somewhat of a theme in the movie. I could still use this idea to help isolate the character in moments of fear/sadness and bring the background more into focus when they feel safer or happier. Its an idea anyway. It can be a minor tonal shift, something subtle that the audience doesn’t even notice.

I really like the style used in this 2005 Australian animation. The photo-realistic backgrounds and the shadow characters are really interesting, although its not a consistent style and sometimes i don’t think it works that effectively there are some really great designs and shots in this little film. Sometimes it just looks so simple and you don’t get too intimate with the characters – they never gain more detail or convey much emotion on their blank faces – not good for character animation really! The effective shots are when they are pulled out in a long-shot when they are travelling for example.

The animation production style was essentially ‘anymation’, using anything that served the purpose. Scenes featuring characters were composed out of a variety of materials, including card cut-outs which were then scanned and manipulated in Adobe Photoshop, and also various found objects. The backgrounds are actually 2D, consisting of many layers to simulate 3D. These background layers were later selectively blurred in the compositing application, to simulate distant views. Certain sequences (notably those featuring airships) are entirely computer-rendered 3D scenes using an assemblage of parts from a variety of commercial 3D models of vehicles and ships in the Despona 3DS Max series, textured and animated using 3DS Max. The final product consists of all of these elements brought together using the compositing program Combustion (software). Combustion added the particle effects for smoke and similar, while cloud layers in certain scenes were rendered using Maya.


This short animation has some great 2D falling leaves, thought id stick it in here, in my animation i might do some 2D stuff over the top of the 3D as in the brief it does say to use 2D AND 3D in your animation. Its something to think about anyway..

‘Coda’ by youtuber ‘and maps and plans’ is a 2D animation about a man who dies. I really like the style, the leaves and bushes in the park. Also when the body id surrounded at the beginning i was thinking about my character lost in the woods – a shot from above them with shadows around them, reflecting how they feel – small and enclosed by outside forces/scary things!

The tale of three Brothers, a 3D animation that looks inspired by shadow puppets – similar to what i was imagining for my animation.

I like the extreme window we get at the beginning of this video with the title. That is all.

A video about the Oscar winning short ‘Paperman’ and how it used 2D and 3D animation techniques:

This behind-the-scenes featurette demonstrates some of the techniques used to combine 2D animation and 3D animation. The technique uses traditional hand drawn 2D animation by carrying the information with the 3D CG using a program dubbed “Meander” created by Eric Daniels.

Note from 2012:

2D animation has, for some time now, taken a backseat to 3D computer graphics but John Kahrs has stated that although he does not believe they are ready to do a feature length film using the technique that it is a direction that they are eventually going to move toward and that Disney believes there is a strong future ahead for this

Ratatouille Progression reel. This is just interesting and Ratatouille is the best! 😀

I wanted to post this video by Ross Plaskow because i could potentially model something in 3D and then add the 2D face over the top- utilising both animation techniques. I’m not sure of the technique but i really like the look of using recorded footage and then animating onto it – maybe this is not the project for it but its worth a look. I just find this guys stuff so funny..

Anyway I’ve got nine weeks to complete this animation in, so i’m going to rough out a plan of what i’m going to do each week.


Research!! Styles and ideas.                                                                                                                       Come up with ideas and a story!                                                                                                                   Finalise ideas for Monday – create pitch.


Present Pitch Monday!                                                                                                                       Finalise story -create storyboard – finalise scenes and timing and everything.                         Character design – finish!!


Record dialogue and sounds.                                                                                                                         Model character and set.                                                                                                                                 Begin animating scenes.










Finish animating..                                                                                                                                             Begin Editing..


Finishing up stuff and making everything perfect.                                                                                Start the next project…


So anyway that’s a loose plan right now – its obviously not exactly fleshed out – as i decide how many scenes there are and how they are broken up i can fill it in with more detail. But i want to be animating asap. There’s potentially 6 weeks of animating here, so that’s 10 seconds a week which is 240 frames per second. But modelling and rigging a character (and the set) in Maya could take me longer than i have put in my plan – which would push everything back. Its something to aim for anyway..