Friday, 30 October 2015

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Male Character // Thumbnails 19 - 39

We distributed the required elements between the group today, I will be working on the male character from concept to a fully resolved 3D model. Here is a page of thumbnails that I did tonight, still early stages but I quite like 23 and 37, I'm still playing with shapes and proportions.

Thumbnails and Reference images

These are a few character ideas I'd had. Because they are toys I liked the idea of using simple shapes. I see them as made from wood, quite elegant with painted faces. Their clothes would be very bland at the beginning of the story, but as the characters change, I imagined their outfits more flowing and colourful and made from fabric, rather than painted onto the body of the toy as they are at the start.

Quick environment sketch to show the inside of the factory. Needs more work.

 For a bit of research and something to springboard from, I gathered some images together of how I imagined the style and look of aspects of the animation. I went with a Russian theme as this is something the group have dipped in and out of throughout our discussions. 

Russian costume, once the characters have transformed during their dance. I see this kind of style with patterns which could be mirrored in the environment once the mood of the story changes.

Some quick reference material for factories. These show both men and women at work, what they would have worn and the working conditions they would have been subject to. Lots of monotonous lines of machinery, lots of repetition.

A quick look at some Russian architecture for when the couple are dancing. The buildings and scenery would change and grow as their love builds. Again, I've gone with the theme as the colours and style would all complement each other. I like the shapes of these buildings, which would tie in nicely with the cogs and twirl of the female character's dress as she is dancing.

These images are Russian designs again which I thought could work well in transitions, or in the costumes or music box design. The image middle-right is a Bird of Freedom which I thought also links to the story nicely, though I can't easily see how we could include it in the animation.

Storyboards (incomplete) and Character thumbnails

Monday, 26 October 2015

Alternate Storyboard

My take on the storyboard (I reckon some steps would need to be enriched) 

Some character design drawn whilst the idea for the project was still changing/in its early days:

Environment // Thumbnails

I did some environment thumbnails today, trying to create a big cluttered factory space.

Character 1 // Thumbnails

I started making some thumbnails for one of the characters today, I tried playing around with his shape and proportion while trying to make sure it still resembles a wooden toy.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Story Breakdown

We thought it would be useful to write down the main steps of our story, so that we can use it to work towards.

  • Shot of cogs
  • Camera slowly zooms in through cogs
  • Establishing shot of characters in factory
  • Characters look at each other and smile coyly
  • Characters look back at their work and Character 1 has a soppy smile on their face
  • Character 1 misses the beat of their work
  • Sound of something breaking or going wrong
  • Reaction shot of character 1 realizing he has created a new sound
  • Character 1 starts to make music with the machinery
  • Character 2 carries on working until she realizes what the other is doing.
  • Character 2 joins in
  • Shot of both characters looking at each other while making music
  • Background characters start to join in
  • Char 1 & 2 leave workstation and come together by jumping onto conveyor belt
  • They start to dance on conveyor belt
  • They dance through the factory while interacting with it (pulling levers etc)
  • Environment begins to change
  • Transition into different clothing
  • Music paper being written in background
  • Climax
  • Transition to outside the music box, characters ascending on top, becoming the two main dancing figurines

Influence Map

Final Story Idea?

Following our tutorial with Alan this morning we have worked towards finalizing a story idea. This is the one that seems to have the most potential and the idea which we are all happiest with.
The story is set inside a music box, though the audience doesn't know this until the end. We see cogs turning and hear the sound of rhythmic machinery working. The camera zooms in through the cogs and we are in a factory. Two main characters are working robotically in the factory which creates the sound we hear. We can see there are other characters in the room. (These could be in the form of silhouettes as they aren't important). The two main characters often look at each other, and we see they clearly have an interest in one another. Because they are distracted, we see one of them has made an error with their work and the machinery starts to break. We hear a change in the repetitive sounds when this happens and this starts the beginning of a different feel for the factory. The other character joins in to create more of these pleasing sounds with the factory machinery and the two come together and start to dance. They jump onto a conveyor belt and dance along. The music is more flowing and the couple's movements are more fluid than their repetitive working actions. As they pass through the factory, they interact with the machinery, pulling levers etc which transforms the background and music to show how their love is building. At one point the couple disappear behind a part of machinery and as they come out the other side their clothes have changed from their factory uniforms to beautiful and colourful clothes to suit the mood they are in and the dance they are carrying out. The camera zooms out to reveal that the factory is actually a music box and show how the characters have ascended to the top, still dancing.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Rough Storyboard #2

I tried to explore another option for the story, without the complication of war.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Rough Storyboard #1

This is a rough storyboard for one of the story ideas that we have as a group, the camera work will need some editing to make it flow more but I was mainly focusing on getting the events down to see if the story works.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Further Story Ideas

We got together today and discussed further ideas for our story. Any feedback/comments would be most welcome!

  • Set inside a music box/display, showing small figurines ice skating.
  • Two characters bump into each other and exchange glances. The keys which make them work start to turn slowly.
  • One is less stable on the ice so the other helps them by holding their hands. This transforms into a dance and their keys turn faster.
  • The background changes as the couple dance and the music builds to reflect their love.
  • They kiss as the cityscape builds up around them.
  • Fireworks follow the motion of the building and the camera follows the fireworks into the sky.
  • The fireworks explode transitioning into explosions as war breaks out.
  • The characters separate in a frenzy and the buildings start to fall down.
  • Army marches through the scene.
  • Building in the foreground falls down obscuring the screen.
  • As the camera lifts up, we see the dust settling to show casualties and wreckage.
  • Our characters appear slightly damaged and come together. They sound different from before as their parts are broken.
  • As they embrace they slowly dance as they did when they first met.
  • The keys that turn to make them work begin to turn again and they no longer sound broken.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Story Ideas

After discussing our ideas with Alan he suggested that we focused more on the editing style to help us formulate a narrative.

This led us to think about how we could use the camera to tell a story, our studio got 'No Cuts' as the editing style so one of the ideas we had was to keep the camera static, focusing on a display in the shop window. Below are a few ideas that could be told by the display:

- Two characters dance around happily together while in the background their home and dreams are building. One of the characters is called to war and leaves the set, shortly follows the destruction of everything they hoped and dreamed about due to the war. Eventually the character returns, a bit beaten up and stumbling, the character is then helped up by the other one and they begin to slowly rebuild their life by supporting each other.

- Toys trying to understand love by watching humans in the street or shop, but they can't grasp the concept as it is a human emotion.

- A young child keeps coming to the shop looking at a particular toy in the window, every day he comes back to the shop and looks at the same toy, checking if he has the money to buy it yet. One day the child notices another child is fixated by the same toy. Eventually after a little while passes the child has enough money to buy the toy, once he has it he walks outside the shop to see the other child looking sad so he gives the toy to the child.

- A young girl walks past and looks into the shop everyday, it becomes like a routine. There is a toy in the window that she wants but can't afford. years pass and the young lady still keeps the same routine of looking into the shop as she walks past, although she notices a child looking in the shop at a toy, a few more days pass and everyday the child is there looking inside. One day the child gets there and the toy is gone, the child looks sad as it walks away from the shop, but it is stopped by the young lady who presents the toy to the child, spreading the joy of the shop.

Another idea to tackle the editing style was to have the camera circle around a music box, this gives a completely different setting and these are a few of the ideas we had for it.

- In the front of the music box two characters walk out of a little house and kiss, looking like they are in love with each other, they then walk back into the house. As the camera circles behind you see that all is not as it seems, the characters go their separate ways and spend their time with different 'people'. 

- A tiered music box has a damsel in distress at the top and a young knight attempts to reach and save her, as he runs around the tiers different obstacles pop out to stop him, he storms forward reaching the damsel and saving her.

We also had the idea of having the camera possibly following characters as they walk around the shop, with this we could tell a story about a couple coming in to find a toy for their child, but they can't agree on anything causes them to argue, this conflict could either be resolved by them finding the perfect toy or it could ultimately end in them destroying their love.

There is also the potential to make the animation Christmas themed, so the toy shop would become Santa's workshop, here the camera would focus on a conveyor belt. Two elves would be there making toys for the festive season, both of them would be competing for Santa's love.