I think this is my favourite ‘story’ episode so far. “The Nightclub”, “The Park” and “She Breaks Easily” are visually more exciting, but this episode propels the narrative forward. This is the first time we have seen Bloe and Pirk together (even though they aren’t specifically ‘together’, as such.)
I feel the characters have really fleshed out well – you can understand what is happening, even though the simple visuals mean you have to use your imagination as well. I like the coffee shop and I like the bus and I love how Bloe’s little face is pressed up against the glass. Even the music seems perfectly synchronised with this particular episode.
My one concern is the amount of cuts I’ve been making recently. I think, used in moderation, those cuts are a valid way of navigating the action, but I also feel it’s making me a little bit lazy. The cut from the shot of Pirk’s back to the close-up of the leaflet on the table, for example, feels a little forced. I think it would have been better to have zoomed into the close-up, however, one thing I’ve learnt from this project is that my Photoshop resolution needs to be higher than my final output resolution. I’ve been using 1280×720 for both, but this means the drawings become pixellated when I zoom into them. It’s a valuable lesson.
This episode also marks 5 minutes of total animation time so far. It might not reach the 10 minutes I originally imagined, but that’s OK.
This is episode 8 of the animation project. As far as the narrative goes, I imagine there will be around 15 or 16 episodes in total, so we’re approximately half way to the end.
In the last episode, I mentioned that I was struggling to perfect one of the techniques I was trying to incorporate into this episode and I never did manage to get it spot on. It’s the part where the pages turn.
Getting the pages to turn was simple enough, but it was putting images onto the pages that I couldn’t figure out how to do. I could get images on the top side of the pages, that was easy, but when the pages flip over, the underside would have been blank. I experimented with a few ideas, but none of them did the job, so I decided to leave the pages completely blank rather than have them half filled. Maybe it’s something I’ll revisit in the future.
Other than that, the rest of the episode is mostly narrative, with no new animation visuals to discuss. Oh, except I’m going to change the colour of the girl’s dress in the final version, as I thought it clashed with Pirk’s.
This is suppose to be a Bloe episode, but I’ve been struggling to get it right, so I’ve skipped ahead a little. In this episode, we learn that Pirk isn’t always the person she might appear to be on the outside.
Again, the vision I had for this episode was to build an exciting environment. I wanted to zoom through the city during the rain and in through Pirk’s window, emphasing her isolation and her mood. I cut the zoom for the sake of timing – in an ideal world, the camera would weave through busy streets as cars flashed past underneath, but that goes against the whole “simple and efficient” mantra. In fact, I like that this animation requires the audience to use a bit of imagination – for instance, why specifically is Pirk feeling so sad? It doesn’t get explained in the episode, but I like the think that people will be able to project their own thoughts and ideas onto the story.
All in all, a reasonably simple scene, but I like the rain effects and I like the way Pirk just breaks halfway through her slump. There are some elements that don’t work quite as well, like the shape of her body as she bends, but I think the message gets across.
Oh, working title for the final animation: Bloe Me the Pirk Away. …No?
It’s been a long time coming, but my bedroom/office/cave finally has a legitimate source of fresh air.
I spend a lot of time in my chamber. As a self-employed freelancer, I tend to work, sleep and pursue leisure activities all in the same place. I don’t have a problem with this level of constriction – my personality matches my freelancing tendencies – however, I do tend to find this has repercussions on my health. For one, setting foot outside my house will virtually guarantee catching a cold, even if I don’t so much as lay eyes on another human being. Another drawback is the fact that my social skills have degraded to the point where a 15-minute conversation will leave me blowing as if I had just run a marathon (although, to be fair, I am a fast talker.) By far the biggest problem, however, is the overwhelming sense of lethargy that haunts large portions of my days.
I have a lot of electrical equipment set up in my room and very little natural airflow. I refuse to open the window for fear of cold and insect invasions, so for the past three years, my life-hub has accumulated a quite astonishing amount of electrical funk that has probably left me with some serious superpowers. Air pollution isn’t something that I’ve ever really considered a problem, what with the fact that I can’t see it and all, but having researched house plants, the Internet has taught me that our homes contain more air pollution than the outside world. In hindsight, it makes complete sense.
I don’t know if owning a plant will specifically reduce my lethargy, but I feel it can’t harm anything to inject a little bit of freshness into the air, heroically stabbing pollution in the heart in the process. I may not suddenly feel like embracing the day with song and dance, but as long as I can look at my laptop screen without feeling like my eyes are going to transmogrify into black holes, it’s an improvement. Plus, Plant looks quite dashing on my bedside table, standing proudly, like a teenager at a wet t-shirt competition.
If all goes well and Plant survives the radiation levels, I may even bring home some friends for him to talk to. Because I’m not going to talk to him. I don’t care what anyone says. It’s a plant.
This project has come a long way in just a few short days. I’m really happy with what I’ve achieved here. Although simple, it’s more than I thought I’d be able to achieve – it’s coming together quite nicely.
I had a bit of trouble getting the composition right for this episode. As mentioned in my last update, I wanted to play around the the environment a bit more, adding a bit more depth and movement to the scene. The idea I originally had didn’t work, which left me stumped for a short while. On the plus side, I was able to discover a new technique that makes the scene feel more dynamic and the best part is, it’s really simple to do.
There’s nothing really new in terms of the animation, here. I’ve put a bit more effort into the walking/running animations, but aside from that, it’s all stuff we’ve seen before. The trip and fall worked quite nicely, which I’m happy about and I like the lighting effects that I’ve added into the scene. I don’t know if that made it too dark, but I guess that’s how lights work – they are shiniest at their source.
I’ve got ideas for the next 10 episodes and I imagine the final piece will be about 20-ish episodes in total, which should put it at between 10-15 minutes of animation. That’s not bad. I’m OK with that. Remember, my initial project objectives were always, ‘learn, with focus on efficiency.’ I feel I’m doing that.
In some ways, I want to go back and improve earlier episodes, but I think that would take away from the heart of the project. I guess, if anything, it shows how much I’ve improved with each episode.
Took a few attempts to get this one right. It’s the opening shot I struggled with the most, not because of the animation – that was reasonably simple – but I couldn’t figure out the composition of the shot. I was twisting the table and the pencil case in all sorts of directions before I finally got it to look right.
I also had trouble when it came to Bloe writing on the piece of paper. Again, the actual writing was simple enough, but twisting the pencil so that it looked like Bloe was holding it was difficult to get right. Remember, the pencil is a 2D object, so it’s not simply a case of putting it in the right place. I’m not happy with how that turned out, but it’s still clear what is happening and that’s the main thing.
The rest was reasonably simple, even though the close-up of Bloe’s face looks a bit…’suspicious’. He’s just concentrating very hard on writing his letter.
Although I’m happy with what I’ve got so far, I don’t feel like I’m really pushing the boundaries of what I can achieve. I want the scenes to be more dynamic – more camera movement, more animation, sharper cutting, etc. I’m interested in building environments that are more 3D, rather than simply flat backgrounds. I’ll try that next time, but it might take a bit longer to produce.