Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Character Design: Character Tweaks

Image 1 - Outline
I've been pretty happy with the design of my character for the last couple of weeks but I felt that it might need some tweaks to change some parts of it that could make them look boring. These would only be small changes to the design as the over design fits in with what I have been trying to get across with the feel of the character, these included editing the lab coat, the style of the hair and the look of the shoes.

Image 2 - Colour

I've also been thinking about the colours for my characters as I have been giving it that much though. I did a quick mock up of some ideas that I could use or later on tweak if need be.

On a side note, the design of the pages are also a test for the background for my character bible. I was thinking of basing it on a pin broad as if it was in the lab.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Film Review - List

The Hero's Journey


Act Structure

Exploitation Film

Character and Stroytelling

Film Review: Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron - Character and Storytelling

To be able to build a believable character you have to think about a number things that will help to make them less 1 dimensional and generic but also help to build the world around them. Sometimes you can't plan out certain parts of the character from the start and only find the answers as you are going along the story or when it has finished.

For this I will be looking at two opposing characters from DreamWorks' 2002 western-drama film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron - The lead character Spirit and The Colonel.


Personal History
Spirit is a wild horse born in the American west. He is the leader of his herd, a title he inherited from his father.

Personal World View
We get an understanding of Spirit's views about the world when the film starts as he is heard saying about his home " my kind the land was ageless. It had no beginning and no end, no boundary between earth and sky. Like the wind and the buffalo grass, we belonged here. We would always belong here..." (Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, 2002) This shows that he believes that everything should be free and wild from start to finish. He also believes that there are no set boundaries in the world and that everything can come and go as it pleases with nothing stoping them.

Inherited World
I would say that the Lakota village that Little Creek, a native American who helps him escape after being captured by the Colonel's men, takes Spirit to would have to be the Inherited World. While he is there Rain, Little Creek's horse, shows him around and Spirit start to see that there are some humans that are not as bad as the ones that captured him and that they also believe in being free and having no boundaries saying how they live.

Wants/ Goals
To go back to his herd and family and to also drive out the humans that are making their way across the west, and who are taking control of everything in they path.

To be free and wild.

Internal vs External Traits
When looking at Spirit's Internal Traits, what he is on the inside, it can be said that he is free and wild along with maybe being a little stubborn with his thinking. This shows up when he is tied to Rain so that he can look round her village, he is seen confused when he sees other horses being happy working along side humans as he can't understand how they like being controlled. It comes up again when Little Creek tries to paint some markings on to Spirit, like the ones that are on the other village horses, only for him to kick the blow back all over Little Creek. This shows that he doesn't want to become part of their world as it is not what he believes in.

But on the outside, his External Traits, he is shown as being brave, determined and daring. The viewer first sees this near the beginning of the film when Spirit has to save two fouls from a large wild cat along with the way that he out smarts the wranglers when they are chasing him. It also shows up again at the end of the film when he dares to jump over the gorge showing how far he is willing to go for his freedom.

Spirit's flaw would have to be that he is not have accepting of other's culture or that others can be happy living in a way that seems strange to him.

Overall Story Arc
Spirit has lived being wild all his life but when humans start to move in to the west he is captured. The US army try to break him in but he breaks free with a native American, Little Creek. After meeting Little Creeks horse, Rain, Spirit starts to enjoy a new way of living by having fun and also sees that not all humans want to control the world they live in but after being captured again by the US army Spirit seeing that he has to stop them before they destroy his home land and Little Creeks' people's way of living, as they themselves are just as free as he is.

At one point Spirit can't choose between being where he wants to be and where he needs to be. This is shown when he starts to question about staying with Rain in her village or going back home to his family as this was his main goal to start off with.

The Colonel

Personal History
We don't know much about The Colonel in the film but we can guess that at some point he join the US army on the side of the Union. He made all the way up to the rank of Colonel and clearly respected by his men.

Personal World View
It can be guessed that he believes that he is always on the right side of things. This can be noted when he says that Spirit can be broken in like "any other horse" and that Little Creek is nothing like a pesty native who keeps getting in the way of things.

Inherited World
I can't says for sure what The Colonel's inherited world be but thinking about it I could say that it might be the war that he is fighting. It can also be say that it might in the environment that they are traveling in as it is most likely that many of them came from small towns and cities to fight in the war.

Wants/ Goals
For his side to win in the war and for nothing to stand in his way as his people cross the wild west.

To be in control of the situation.

Internal vs External Traits
His Internal Traits is clearly that he is determined and also thinks that he is chooseing the right action and that it is justified. As said before he believes that Spirit is just another horse and that there is no thing special about him and that he will be broken in given some time. He even tries him self at one point to show to his men that he is in control.

The Colonel's External Traits is a quit different from all that has been said before. At the end of the film, after Spirit and Little Creek have jumped the canyon to get away from the Colonel and his men, he seems to except that Spirit is one of a kind. He stops one of his men from shotting at them before smilling and nodding his head to them to show that they have bested him and won his respect.

The Colonel is stubborn and believes that all other ways of live are below him and his way of life.

Overall Story Arc
The Colonel at the start of the film is seen as a man of as man of power that is always right and in control, but when Spirit and Little Creek show him up he is agained when ever they cross paths again he sets out to kill him so they are out of the way. But by the end of the film he starts to see that they are his equals and that sometimes he can be wrong about somethings.

The Colonel's conflict happens briefly after Spirit throws him when thinks that he has been broken. The other horse that had been watching start laughing and mocking him, to the Colonel he has lost control and been made a foul of.

  • Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. (2002) Directed by Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook [DVD] United States: DreamWorks Animation.

Film Review: Mad Max: Fury Road - Exploitation Film

The film Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) directed by George Miller is the 4th in this set of films that are an example of an exploitation film.

Exploitation films where a type of B-movie that started about the 1930s and 1940s. One of the main trends of this type of film was to play around with the audience's fears at the time or to focus on subjects that would end up being banned by the censors. The only way that they got round the censors was claim that the films where in someway meant to be educational.

Also the plots for theses types of film are very staightforward and in someway don't really play a key role in the film as the audience would only be watching for the act and not paying any really attension to the story, so any big indeeph backstory or reasons are not mentioned. It basically goes from A to B.

The plot of Mad Max is an example of this as the main point of the film is that Max comes across Furiosa as she tries to out run her gang's leader, Immortan Joe, and bring his 5 wives to a safer place away from him. However, they end up going back to where they started in one big u-turn. It's every easy to work out the plot from the start of the film as it not that hard to follow and none of the characters talk about the world they are in and what they are feeling about it.

Another thing that the film does that is a key point of exploitation film is that the characters are not expanded upon. The plot of a film is meant to help in being a key factor in the characters' story arcs, however, if there isn't much of a plot then there isn't much character development. The only way that the characters in Mad Max change as the story goes on is that they learn to trust each other but even that doesn't seem to have much drama behind it, it's as if the characters only spoke to each other by nodding their head. You would expect Max to stay behind with the others at the end, as that seems to be the norm in films if the main starts out as a Lone Wolf, but he walks off with out giving reason.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Collaboration: Reflective Statement

Our collaboration project was designed to give us an understanding of what it is like to work with other people on an animation similar to working at a studio. We had to work together and relay on eachother to complete the tasks that we were each given so that we had a finished animation at the end of the project. I feel that the project has helped me see how much you have to work with other people in the animation business as well as how much pressure you are under to deliver on time.

This project was a lot of fun to do but was also a challenge that has made me think about my strengths and weaknesses and how they might impact my future projects, along with making me think how far I've come and what else I need to do to show that I can create high quality work.

I think that my main strength was that I was able to finished my jobs pretty quickly and was able to help out the others in my group when they needed someone to take off some of the load of their work, such as with the animating of the skits. I also took on some smaller tasks that I noted might have been over looked abit, like creating influence maps for our character and the title cards. However, for some part of the project I felt that I wasn't doing anything as most of the roles that I was given, such as storybroad artist and script writer, were conpleted early on and I didn't want to seem lazy.

I know that the finished skit that I created could have been done alot better but time and lack of experience lead to me facing a number of problems that held me back. It seems that the over all problem that I have is that I don't ask for help when I'm trying to animate or when I have a problem. This has lead to things looking like no throught has gone in to them and it not being fit for purpose. I guess this comes from me feeling like if I keep asking for help that I'm bothering people too much and that they might tell me to stop asking for help, along with them telling me that I should know the answer to fix what has gone wrong.

Collaboration: Finished Skit

When Not To Swim: Waste from Rhia Crouch on Vimeo.

This is the skit that I worked on for my group's animation "When Not To Swim". The skit that I worked on was "When Not To Swim - Waste" in which our character swims out of the water but comes out covered in the goop that was in the water.

I know that the animation is a little fast near the end and that I could have moved the camera to a different spot but I had a number of technical issues that ate in to my time, like Maya crashing to the water moving off screen for no reason.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Character Design: Lesson 9

 In this lesson we were looking at Animation layouts. These are used to lay out the final screens of animation so that it is made clear what the characters are doing, what way the camera is going to be moving, what the characters look like and what the background will be like.

To get an idea of this I had a go at doing the layouts for the film Hercules when he meets Pegasus for the first time. I still think that I need to have some more practice at this before I have a go at trying it with my own characters.
Image 1

Image 2
Image 3
I've also been thinking up screens for my character's story and how it might play out.

@Alan Collaboration: Walk Test

Walk Cycle test from Rhia Crouch on Vimeo.

Been trying to work on Moom's walk for a skit but I'm not sure what else to do before I put him in to the screen so I can work out him swimming and coming out of the water. He is meant to walk as if he is weigh down by the goo and also wobbels a little bit.

I know the eyes are off and there seems to be a phantom animation going on with his right hand that I can't work out.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Character Design: Lesson 8

Image 1
I have been thinking about the kind of side kick that my scientist and the first idea that came to mind was for them to have a smail robot with them. (Image 1) I thought of using a robot that would fly around with them but after some thourght I decided to drop the flying idea. I think a mouse like robot might fit best with my scientist.

For our lesson we looked at using storybroads to tell the screen that our characters are going to be in. This involves looking at different camera angles, the way that we frame the shot along with what really needs to be in included in the shot as that viewer is left in some kind of suspense. I still need to work on the way that I do my storybroads as I have a habit of going overbroad with my panels along with the way that I show them as people can become confused when they look at them. (Images 2 and 3)
Image 2

Image 3
After this I tryed this I had a go at doing a storybroad with my characters in the scene I have been given. (Images 4 and 5) I was also trying to work out some of the smailer elements of the scene and how much it would play a part in the story. This is not the final idea but it is something to work from.
Image 4

Image 5

Maya Tutorial - Head Modeling 6

Monday, 20 November 2017

Perspectives: Postmodernism Words 5

The Canon - The set of rules that are put in place that determine how something should be. This can also be what something is judged against to see if it fits in with what it is trying to be or if it is what is excepted at the time.

DWEMs - Meaning 'Dead White European Males' are seen as the ones who set the canon that other pieces of work are judged against. The reason why it is called Dead White European Males is because that the rules of the canon are set by who ever is the most dominant group in society, this is most commonly the white european male. The reason why they are considered dead is because that their way of thinking is now out dated with modern thinking.

Phallocentrism - The idea that men are the stronger gender and should be the ones that set the rules for others to follow, including men in the lower classes and women.

Eurocentrism - The team is used when describing the way that the European or Western worlds have disregard the history and cultures of other countries, like those in Asian and African, or only see them as lacking European values.

Postcolonialism - Used to describe countries in the modern era that were once ruled by another country but have now gain their independence.

Multiculturalism - When a number of different races and culturals live side by side and have equal rights and are not discriminated agenst. Sometimes the different culturals can influence each other in each day life such with architecture and art.

Feminism - The word feminism is used to describe the equality of women to men in a number of areas in society such as in films and art.

Maya Tutorial: Key Frames

Weight Lift Animation from Rhia Crouch on Vimeo.

Collaboration: Wave Deformer Test

Wave Deformer Test from Rhia Crouch on Vimeo.

 This is a set of tests I have done to try out the wave deformer in Maya. This was so that my group could figure out a way to show the water in our animation. I did a number of different ideas that we had had so that we could get an understanding of how they would look as well as showing the inner works of the deformer.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Character Design: Lesson 7

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In our 7th lesson on character design we looked at the ways that sign kicks and props can relate back to the main character and how they are used to move the story along. To understand this we were each given a character and had to design props for them to use. I got Tigger and as I watched the Winnie the Pooh cartoons when I was little I quickly understood the way that the props would be put together and what they would be made for. (Image 1) This lead to me designing things like a Heffalump trap and something that Tigger could jump on to help blow bees away when Pooh is trying to get honey.

I also throught about what Tigger would use if he was going on an adventure (Image 2), this was also easy for me as I throught about the items that little kids would use when acting out their own adventures. The pillow shield idea came from an image that I remember seeing of Pooh having a pillow tied to his back for safety.
Image 3

Image 4
 We were then given an theme and had to design a sign kick character that fitted with that. I got Aboriginal and quickly got the idea for using the dot art work and body paint that they are known for. As for character them self's I choose to use a baby Kangaroo, a Joey, as this would fit in with the Aboriginal theme.
Image 5

Image 6
I've also been working on my main character trying to put each thing that I have learnt so far together (Images 5 and 6).

Monday, 13 November 2017

Collaboration: Water Test

Water test from Rhia Crouch on Vimeo.

This is a test for the water that will be used in my group's animation. The wave effect was created by moving the vertices up and down at different points. The water will sit at the front of the screen and act like an image plane, we got the idea from the water that is used in stage shows.

The plan I had to make to work out how the vertices would move

Friday, 10 November 2017

Collaboration: Storybroad 3

Waste Storybroad

Tsunami Storybroad
 Waste - For the waste skit our vicorian gentleman is swimming along to shore but when he gets out he is covered in goop. He tries to walk off screen but it is clear that the goop is weighing him down abit.

Tsunami - In the tsunami one the vicorian gentleman is getting ready to jump in to the water but suddenly a large wave comes in to shot and knock him backwares off screen. After the screen has been filled with water for a few seconds the vicorian gentlman comes back in to shot swimming along as normal.

Collaboration: Script

This is the script for my group's animation. The main point of the script is to out line what is happening in each screen, such as what the characters are doing, along with saying what types of shots and transitions are going to be used.

Character Design: Lesson 6

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 I started out by trying to think about the poses that my character would make and drawing out the basic flow of the action to see how it would work. This might need abit more work to it as I need to think about the screen that my character will be in.

In to day lesson we looked at facial expressions and how it would affect the shape of the face. We had to draw each other pulling different facial expressions to try and understand the different lines that appear on the face along with how the eyes and mouth can grow and shrink.
Image 5

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Image 7
We later were given a character and had to try and draw them making different expressions, I got Obelix from the Asterix series (Image 6). After this I found that I had to look in to how to break the head in to two different parts so that I could place the neck correctly (Image 7).