We have arrived at P2 – the end of preproduction and the beginning of production! I’m really excited to start moving on animating some of this work, and the first step will be to see how I can time it out, and what the arc of the story will look like when it moves from graphic or illustrative to a time based form. My first steps will be to scan the completed storyboards, and to edit them into individual frames that will accompany a voice over recording in a movie timeline. In a certain sense, I believe an animated film is made in the animatic. Unlike more traditional moves of cinematic creation, animators do not often have the luxury of making their narrative in the editing room, as cutting painstakingly animated sequences, while sometimes necessary, is an expensive and potentially wasteful way of working. Film and narrative is all about timing, so I will begin my second project’s course of study by finalizing the timing of the film before anything is animated.
During this time, I will also be reading over the generous list provided by Michelle with regards to storytelling, participatory design, reality and narrative. I’m sure that these works will provide inspiration moving forward, especially as I hone the arc and timing of this (very) short film.
Once the animatic is established, and I am confident that none of the shots or movement feel out of place I will begin the animation process – one which will be done on a tight deadline on a project such as this. Having three weeks to complete this phase of development means the animation will be rough, and focused more on gesture and movement than final aesthetic.
As the deadline for the final show is yet unknown, I will wait to do “final look” or “proof on concept” tests until I know exactly how long I will have to do the final illustrative pass on the film, and if there is time following completion of rough animation I will then step into that next phase.
It is also true that while animation is, for all intents and purposes, a visual art form, that good sound can elevate a film project, and bad sound can ruin it. Part of the animatic phase will include the recording of voiceover, as well as sound design and any musical elements I may want to include. The music, if any, will be ambient rather than a song, designed only to enhance the narrative arc rather than be a stand-alone piece. I may use the ukulele for this – but only time will tell ☺
Technical Specifications for P2
Throughout this second phase in development I will be animating on paper at 12 frames per second, but to save time I will not animate any moving holds (that is to say the boiling line we sometimes see in animation when a character is standing still but not frozen), which makes the movement look more energetic and the line more lively, but ultimately is a final treatment choice rather than a necessity.
Digital animation will be completed in TVPaint, and the animatic will be compiled using Photoshop, Premiere, and Protools for the sound design.
While I expect the final film will have at least 720 frames this preliminary iteration could have as few as 500 – depending on how many pauses occur in the film, and where I let the camera settle. I will continue to meditate on choices in technique as I work through the rough animation.