Fruit animation progress..

The kitchen is complete and ready for animating, although it’s not perfect and it’s probably a bit too clean and too sharp and simple, but it should work for now anyway. I used some products and slightly tweaked them to fit the room out with objects, like cereal boxes and things; random objects to give the room more character. This included dice, coins, bowls, cutlery, a red ball, a key, some glasses, boxes, Leonardo Da Vinci’s shopping list, a few cans and some drawings of mine as well. I think that the kitchen has come out pretty well, but i still feel like i have a lot to learn about Maya!

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“Final” script adaptations…

Cherry – They’re going to come back and eat us!

Orange – Yeah i know.

Cherry – Well I’ve got to get off this island before they do den!

Orange – You know there’s no way man

Cherry – Yeah there is way man!

Orange – How? Nobody can jump that far and the fall would probably kill you anyway.

Cherry – No way man! I’ve got a plan.

Orange – Oh yeah?

Cherry – You’re gonna throw me

Orange – THROW YOU?!

Cherry – Yeah you’re going to throw me over there and i’m gonna eXcape out that window.

Orange – I’m gonna throw you?

Cherry – Yeah. I don’t want to be eaten bruv and i know you can do it.

Orange -Lemme see what banana says,  yo banana, what you saying?

BANANA – I’M A FRUIT!

Cherry – Bro, it’s my only chance man..

Orange – ok

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As you can see it has been a total work in progress this whole time, changing little bits as i go. I’ve recorded a few different version and in Adobe Premier i was able to edit them together. I will still need to think about foley once I’ve begun animating as well, but for now I’m totally focused on animating.

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The Kitchen.

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The lighting is always one of the most challenging things to feel happy with, as I always want to tweak it and try other lights and intensities, etc, to see how it lights the scene  – as it can really bring your environment and everything to life, so I want to make it look as good as possible – so I spend a long time on it and I’m never really completely happy with it – definitely something i want to work on and become proficient in as I continue to animate in 3D.

I made a gif of some tests i’ve been doing in Maya with lighting and it doesn’t really show things properly so i made a quick video of different shots with progression (although not in order or anything).

gif test.gif

test kitchen stuff from Matthew Stephen on Vimeo.

Getting the lighting exactly how i wanted it has been a challenge. I wanted the kitchen to be bright and everything to be colourful and daylight basically, but also making the scene interesting and shadows where i wanted them. If i had been able to i would also have liked to experiment more with air particles and things, but I’ve run out of time to keep playing around with that for now, i feel like it would bring the scene to life a bit more, but its something for later anyway.

There are a few things i have not had time to fit into this animation, like, I wanted to make the clock tick and move as well (and might still fit that in once i’ve set everything up and done everything else). The kitchen doesn’t all the objects i had originally planned, but hopefully enough to make it visually interesting and believable. I would have also made the fabric blinds texture better and worked on the objects I’ve made a bit more, some came out really great but some didn’t. I really like the swirly wood effect i created when experimenting with textures and materials, although maybe i overused it a bit, i just liked the way it looks and feel like it makes the kitchen that bit more interesting, without taking the audience out of the short story that is being told.

Edit/Update:

The audio i’ve gone with.

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This banana is more in keeping with the style of the other characters, and he’s SUPER CUTE!!! They’re all kind of cute in their own way – not the usual style for having to deal with troublesome issues like cannibalism – maybe a bit of juxtaposition there. He just pops up and hopefully makes everyone laugh and then grumpily sods off!

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The below picture shows that i don’t know how to light the scene properly as the shadow should not look like that. Although I still think the wood counter tops came out really well, and the flooring looks good.

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The scene was so difficult to light properly. I wanted it to be bright without being over-exposed and too bright. Definitely a fine art to lighting in Maya and something i need to devote more time to getting right. When trying to put 2D characters into 3D environments with lighting and shadows, with darker areas, etc, its a whole other thing that needs to be considered. I was always going to do pretty simple cartoon characters, so very limited shading if any. So i really want a bright kitchen that they can be bright and colourful, with a simple 12 o’clock shadow directly underneath them for ease of animation. (Although it would be great to animate them casting long shadows on the walls I should probably try to walk before i try to run).

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Getting my finished rendered images into TvPaint as sequences is not working how i had planned, so I have had to animate my characters (as time is running out) in TvPaint without the aid of the background, which i spent so long working on… I am not going to give up making them work, with some effort and more time it should be no problem, just a bit of a hurdle i shouldn’t be trying to jump this late in the race if you follow the metaphor…

The animation is coming along anyway, but my planning was all over the place and this project has definitely reminded me the importance of a few things. First impressions for the characters is good, i think they look about right and seem to be talking somewhat, although it’s a bit jumpy in parts it looks really good in other bits. I think had i not spent so long on the story and design and 3D stuff, i would be able to tweak my animation more and more to make it look more polished.

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Originally i had planned to just render my 3D bits and then insert them as a sequence into TvPaint, but having problems with the way i learned to do this. So it looks like i may have to find another way, and with time running out it seems unlikely i’ll get it done in time, which is not good, at all. So I’ve roughly sketched the kitchen background layer so it is easier to follow the action and get a feel for perspective and where the characters are, but it really changes the overall look of the animation and doesn’t fulfil the 2d/3d hybrid part of the brief. Hopefully it will be a simple fix and i can get the 3d stuff in and complete the look of the animation. The shots are basically all rigid and don’t really pan so it should be easier.

I think the style of the characters has developed into something pretty nice in the end. If i think about it, the story idea will have come about because I wanted to do these kinds of characters. Although people have compared it to Sausage Party a lot, and i get it don’t get me wrong, i sometimes wonder if I had done human characters or animals, would anyone have compared the idea in the same way? Either way I want to be an artist who does things my way even if they’re different and the same. It doesn’t really matter i just want to make cartoon characters look like they’re alive.I have really enjoyed animating in 2D, even though i’m still experimenting and getting a feel for it, I definitely want to try more styles and bring more cartoons to life!!

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Over all my planning and management needs work. I need to probably show my research in the blog more effectively, and its been difficult to show evidence of processes in 2D, but i will aim to put together a post which shows the process later. I decided to simplify the cherry and not give him pronounced hands and feet, just little stalks to walk on (similar to bananas) and I think that worked really well (perhaps the reason that cherry doesn’t just find a way to get down on his own is he literally can’t and needs help).

The way I’ve done the dialogue is pretty loose and I’ve not just cut and paste pre-drawn mouths, I did this to try and create a more fluid movement when they’re talking – i’m not sure how well that’s gone for me, but i like the way it looks right now – if i’d more time i would then be able to make it look more finished/less rough. Even so, it works for the first dialogue I’ve ever animated for a character I think.

cherry orange sheet 1

The design of the characters warped a little bit at almost every point in this project, right up to animating. I made oranges eyes smaller. Their limbs are different and the same colour as the rest of their bodies. Cherry has similar eyes to orange instead of just pupils, which i liked but i think the emotions read better and once it came to animating i had to work fast.

Storyboards for the animation. At this point i don’t have much time left so i have to work smart. The dialogue has been trimmed down and the animation is going to be shorter than planned, hopefully still going to be a readable story for the audience though.

I guess this animation is supposed to be a story of characters trapped somewhere and one of them is not happy about it at all, while the others don’t seem to mind. So he has a plan to get out with the help  of another. He convinces the other character and is thrown towards freedom – and is very happy.

I think that’s about as far as i can take it with the time i have left. I will still be able to animate dialogue and the throwing action. The orange sneaks up on the cherry in the end and quickly accepts and launches the cherry towards the window.

STORYBOARD FRUIT PAGE 1STORYBOARD FRUIT PAGE 2

I’m not sure if there is a sufficient establishing shot that shows the kitchen so i’ll see what it looks like and then if it have time ill add some in and cut them in in premier. With this animation i hope that the characters stand out and move realistically, and i hope ive planned it so that it flows and the audience knows where everything is in relation to each other with each shot. The ending has been changed to be quicker and easier to animate, or i would have had the orange walk over to the cherry and maybe the exchange between them could have been longer and the cherry could have braced for the throw and suspension could have been built up. Either way it is what it is now..

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