Our group (Robert Welland and Oscar Artini) decided to create our presentation on Microsoft PowerPoint. (Note the language shown on the presentation is not all that was told, Que cards were integrated highly within this pitch)
The following images show the feedback sheets given back to our group members (Oscar Artini and Robert Welland) by the audience analyzing this pitch. We have looked through them and analyzed how we could possibly make our presenting skills soar.
Justification of chosen idea
As aforementioned within our presentation we just conducted, our group had decided to follow though with idea #3 (shown below) this was due to it having the largest potential on helping us achieve our main goals for this project. Which was creating an animation for Crisis that stresses their main target as an organisation, as well as making it appealing to teenagers.
From the storyboard below it shows our idea, the main levels of material will be Lego for this idea. This will be extremely helpful to our group as they are already freestanding characters and so it will be much easier to create stop motion with them, this will be much less time-consuming than our other chosen material Clay. There may be a negative side with using Lego in terms of generating a serious matter that is important. However our group made absolutely sure that we could create a very realistic 'street environment' set which helped gain back the importance element of the charity. For example the brick wall with the Crisis logo spray painted onto it or the general public walking by and taking no notice of the homeless character. These small elements help maintain the charity's importance to many people across the United Kingdom. Our group feel that these points justify why we have chosen this idea and also think this idea shall look professional.
The images shown below are all of our test shots for our animation, such things I shall discuss within this piece of work shall be the steadiness of shot, lighting and smoothness of movement.
Regarding lighting within these test shots the two images below clearly indicate a large difference in their lighting. The one on the left showing a more clear natural light and the one on the right showing more of a glaring orange light. Our main purpose with this animation is to make it seem very realistic and shot as if it were in a real street environment. So, our group have decided from these test shots we would like to use a similar light to what is shown on the image on the left. This was done using natural lighting shooting the animation near a window, with clear skies. This gave us much more of a clear light and less of a dark glare (shown on the right) The light on the right image was done using a portable lamp borrowed from the RavensWood School media department. Our group tried many different angles when placing this lamp however we still gained the dark orange glare from each one.
Steadiness of shot
In this test shot sequence, we decided we wanted to camera to pan from left to right, to almost set the scene to the viewers watching it. We did this by freehand, using no tripod. This unfortunately showed us in a small sequence that the camera jolted over to a new position every shot which looked very rugged and not the smooth pan we had wished for. Our group then decided that for when this animation is being filmed properly we shall use a tripod and a wide enough angle to set the scene without having to move the tripod with the camera from position to position, we are deciding top stick with one angle. The two test shots below show how we wanted to also add a zooming effect to the set in order to try and pick up the homeless characters emotion, however due to our group shooting on a steady table, the tripod reached a point where it came in contact with the table and couldn't be moved forward anymore. So this is also when we took it to freehand shooting which gave a very unsteady look to it when it is watched.
The image on the left shows our first idea for setting the scene, and the second image on the right shows us attempting to zoom in towards the characters to pick up emotion, the images do not do much justice, however when watching our first test animation shown on this blog, you can see the extreme levels of the camera being unsteady.
Smoothness of movement
Concerning the smoothness of our Lego characters within this test shot sequence, we analysed when watching our first test animation, our group came to the conclusion that the movement of the characters was actually done very well however what let it down largely was the unsteady camera. This made us focus more on how the camera was moving and not the characters themselves, two images that support this below are the ones with the green car making its way passed the camera, this was one of the only still points in this test shot sequence which supported our assumption the movement of the characters and props was done smoothly.
The group, decided to use blu-tac in order to keep the Lego characters standing steady so they didn't jump forward or backwards each time a test shot was taken. Blu-Tac also contributed to making the Lego characters walking movements seem much more realistic and not too sudden. We have decided that the blue-tac shall definable be used when properly filming for this animation due to it proving itself successful within this test shot sequence.
There are many different visual effects that are used in animation films such as Wallace and Gromit. One example could be if one character falls off of something, they would attach the character to a piece of string and slowly move them closer towards the ground. Then the string would be edited or 'Rubbed' out in a program such as Photoshop. Within our animation we didn't use any Visual Effects, due to them not actually being needed as we didn't have any complicated motions with our characters or sets.
Visual effects can be found in a number of different formats such as miniature sets and models, matte paintings, live action effects: actors being placed in front of a green screen or blue screen. In this intro of this work I explained one such animation film that used visual effects, this was Wallace an Gromit. There can be downsides to visual effects due to it sometimes being extremely costly depending on how large the visual effect is. For example using a green screen to shoot an entire scene can be extremely costly in terms of editing programs, computers etc. As aforementioned, in our animation we didn't use any visual effects as they weren't necessary, but this next section is a guide to creating a visual effect could be for one making a character fall from the sky.
Step one (Materials, props and equipment) Find your characters that you want to use for example lego, collect your materials for your background props etc. Find a clamp like structure that could hover above your animation, the last piece that you would need to create this effect would be string (preferably a ball of string) as this will help you understand the required length much easier. You will also need a camera and a tripod, a camera such as an SLR that takes photos only would be the best. The tripod is essential in order to keep a still shot throughout the animation.
Step two (setting up) You place the clamp so that it cannot be seen in the shot of your animation, then you shall need to cut your string to the acquired length so that you can lower it each time a photo is taken of the character, you will lower it closer and closer to the ground of the set. Next you shall tie a knot around the lego character securely to hold it in place. The final stage should be to set up your background props however you desire and then move onto the next stage.
Stage three (footage)
The most important part of this stage is deciding where you would like to place you tripod ad camera for your angles. After you have decided your positions then you may start taking photos of the gradual change of the character moving closer and closer to the ground. I would suggest that each time you change the characters movements you take at least 3 photos as this will make the movement look smooth and not too sudden. After you have completed your movement that you wished to create (Once the character has reached the ground)
Stage four (editing)
The first part of this stage will be to located a computer that has an editing program 'Final Cut' found within it. After this you will need to start uploading your images that you have taken by attaching your camera to the usb lead it comes with and plugging it into the computer. Once the images have then been uploaded to the desktop of your computer, then you highlight the images and drag them into a program called i stop motion, then export the file as a .mov and then import it into final cut. The images will already be in order so that you don't need to sift through them in order to place them into the correct order. You can then save this piece as something recognizable such as (Animation FINAL) as you will need to come back to it.
Stage five (photoshop) As you have used string to hold the character in place you will need to rub the string out in order to make it seem the character has actually floated into the shot from the sky. Going back to why its important to use this slr camera, it makes this stage much easier to rub out the string as it is a photo, when it is filmed footage it is much harder to edit in within photoshop. You will need to place each image into photoshop and click n the rubber image to then start rubbing out the string which will make the character eventually look as if it is floating. You will need to save these images a JPEG, and as before you will need to place it into Istop motion and then import it into your final cut piece. Next you will need to locate the image within this edit and replace them with you new and improved images with no string showing. Once you have watched the animation through you will then see you have created a Visual effect that shows the lego character floating down from the top of the shot all the way down to the floor of the set.
Within this animation there was not a huge amount of editing that needed to be done to generate it. Due to all of the photos that were taken on the SLR camera were already in order and so not much placing the clips in the correct order was conducted. However the main piece of editing that was done to this piece was the audio. We had placed in a backing track as well as a voice over. At the end of the animation we placed a Crisis logo as well as a website link below to show where people could donate. I shall elaborate on these further on in this work.
The first stage of editing was placing the photos onto final cut express and then exporting the clips into final cut, we had to do this as the animation had to be edited on final cut. After this, due to the clips being in the correct order already. Our group searched for a backing track that sounded ambient to place behind a voice over. Once we found the correct track we dragged the file into our final cut timeline. At the end of the animation we wanted have the music fade out slowly to not give an abrasive cut, we made a smooth transition of audio to end the animation.
After that, our group member Rob then made a voice over for this piece, again similarly to the music being dragged in as an audio file we did the same with the voice over once it was completed. We placed this voice over in the correct place in the animation as we didn't want it to start too early or finish to early as this wouldn't give an importance effect on the viewers. The decision was made to place this over the smooth ambient music due to stress the importance and seriousness of homeless people, and how important Crisis's cause is to stop homelessness.
The next piece of editing that was done to this was placing the logo and website link at the end of the animation. Our group did this by writing the website link into live type and then saving it. We then dragged it into our final cut piece, we thought this link would be important to those who would wish to donate to the charity's cause. With the logo on top of this we simply, found the image off of google images and saved it onto our desktops, from there we then dragged it into our final cut piece. We did this as we thought it gave off a powerful image to show the audience its important cause.
As aforementioned in a previous piece of work, our animation had to be re-filmed due to the camera movements being extremely unprofessional. The camera shook so much that it was impossible to actually focus on how the characters themselves are moving. Therefore the piece not looking like a stop motion animation. So the animation was re-filmed and a tripod was used to ensure the stillness of the camera. This piece of work shall be based on this re-filmed animation. Each image is as close as I could get to show the gradual movement as you cannot gain a screenshot every half second.
The movement within this piece looks much more professional that the previous animation. The first image shows the homeless person sitting in the street and the characters around him start to move. The timeline shows the gradual movement of the characters. Our group feel that the movement looks smoother and much more professional in the second time this has been filmed. The second image shows the gradual movements of the two characters either side of the homeless character. The character on the left moves out of the shot walking to the left. The character on the right gradually makes his way to the homeless person to place money into the cup. Again the third image shows him walking towards the homeless character. Moving towards the fourth image you see a number of different changes. The character in the black has now made his way to the homeless person and you see a characters hand on the left gradually making its way into the shot. The third change is spotted in the right corner which is green. This is the front of the car the rolls through the shot. We thought this would be a good representation of how you would actually see this happening in the street standing of the other side of the pavement.
Moving onto the 6th image, you can see the the car is now fully made its way into the middle of the shot. Also the character in blue and red has now started to cross the road to get out of the shot eventually. At this point you can see behind the car the character in black is talking to the homeless person and bends down to place money into his cup. This then switches to the human hands animation which I shall talk about in the next image. The seventh image shows the human hands section representing the actions the character in black makes to create a clear description of what he is doing. The 8th image shows the same thing happening jut showing a gradual movement of the hand making its way to the cup to drop the money in. In this next image number 9, if you look very closely at it you can see a dark part between the cup and the hand, this is the money being dropped into the cup, it is much clearer when you watch the video of the animation.
The tenth image then shows the character has placed the money in the cup and gradually shows the character move his hand to point up towards the Crisis graffiti on the wall. Moving on onto the 11th image on the timeline. It then switches back to the lego characters. The movement is still just as gradually smooth as it was before. It picks up from where it left off before it transferred over to the human hands section of the animation. The is still in the center of the shot and moves to the left to get out of shot. The character on the left is also in the same place as before waiting for the car to pass so he can cross. The movement here is still very smooth yet gradual. Next image number 12 shows the same process as before the movement is smooth and very gradual, the character on the left has now almost made it out of shot and the car also.
Moving onto image number 13 you can see now that the car has made its way out of the shot and so has the other character in red and blue. You now see one of the main characters (in black) start to turn around and walk out of shot to the left. Image number 14 in the timeline on the left shows now that the homeless person has stood up, and as mentioned before the other character starts to walk out of shot to the left. The character is standing up to turn around and look at the wall behind him. The next shot shows the homeless character gradually turning around as the other character dressed in black walks out of shot. Making the homeless person stand up was most likely one of our most challenging parts of creating movement as the Lego characters have trouble themselves standing up without help and so we had to use blu-tac. The next screenshot is of the homeless person standing facing the wall, here he is very still so no movement really took place except when he stood up to turn and look at the Crisis Graffiti.
After this it moved to the homeless person cleaned up in the Crisis bedroom. The movement picks up from when he is facing the brick wall, except he turns towards the camera this time after he has faced the bedroom wall, he slowly turns around to look at the camera, the only movement in the 3 screenshots of the
bedroom is him turning around and slowly starts to move his arm up. I shall explain this for the final screenshot. The last screen shot shows the main character hand start to wave, if you watch closely in the animation you can see his hand move from left to right to create a waving motion. We did this by taking a photo each time we moved his hand left to right, we thought this made him show a happy emotion to show Crisis had saved hmi from homelessness and will start to get him on the right track
For our animation project we may decide to create a small lighting rig in order to place lighting in the right places, when we need it for different angles or shots that may happen during the animation. An animation lighting rig is a small structure that holds lighting in place where you need it to be. Lighting rigs can also be on a bigger scale for things such as concerts etc. However for this project we possibly may need a small lighting rig. The main reason for this are purely because the natural light may not be sufficient enough to show different characters emotions or looks. Lighting does hold an awful amount of power regarding things like this.
What our group has decided to do?
For the production of our animation, we have ran test shots with our animation using the natural light and a small lamp that was raised on a rig like neck over the top of the set. The test shots below show a difference in the color of light, our group decided that with the raised lamp it made the whole set turn into an almost orange looking light which didn't suit the kind of mood our group wished to set for a charity advert, instead we wanted something much more plain but not depressing for viewers to look at. So we then decided to look at how well the natural light presented itself aesthetically and what kind of mood it gave off when looking at it. Our group decided that the natural light, looked exactly like what we had pictured in the storyboard stage of generating an idea for this project.
The test shot on the left shows the orange looking light if you look in the left corner which makes the bricks look a little unreal it looks too nice to present itself as a charity advert whereas the one on the right gives a realistic but not too sombre feel to it.
The next time that we film create this animation as our actual piece, we shall use the natural light to set off a realistic look to our set and generally the animation. We also thought that choosing this light would link in extremely well with the part of the animation that splits from Lego characters to real people, due to the natural light being poured onto the set of our animation, it is going to have the same look when we film outside for the human hands section of the animation. It is going to much easier to get the correct lighting outside if we just use natural light otherwise we would find ourselves trying to use different pieces of equipment to get the right light which will end up being very time consuming. The light that is pouring through the window onto our animation set is going to be exactly the same when filming outside for the human hands section.