I was successful on all counts, although the trip was emotionally draining. It was really hard being back at the house (the witch's hut) where I spend 2 years re-landscaping, to find all the gardens choked with waist-high weeds, and the lawns covered in that awful 4' tall grass.
I was especially happy to catch the fish, since one of them was the goshiki koi, the one I bought as a living memorial for my grandmother who died a year and a half ago. After releasing them in my parent's pond, it gave me a sort of closure, which can only be a good thing.
At my parent's house, I went through my old animation stuff, which my mom had diligently boxed up and saved. It was a lot of fun going through everything, and I took a few pictures with my phone:
For each program, you had to make a short animation (aprox. 2 minutes) for your final grade. When I first started planning for my classical masters program short, I was going to make a crocodile-hunter-styled mockumentary of a guy *hunting* suburban women, so, like, soccer moms, cougars, etc. I ended up halting planning and switching to something else, but that first picture is the preliminary sketches of the 'host'.
The short piece I wrote for FFF 3.2 was something I wanted to draw... 'cause aren't naked-chicken-dragons both hilarious and cute at the same time?
intentional. For all these exercises, you designed/used all your own characters. I just like drawing critters/beasties better than humans :p
This is an example of storyboarding. We were given a list of characters with basic descriptions/backgrounds, and a script. We had to design characters, then storyboard the script. The plot was a post-apocalyptic setting, and the two characters shown here are Odd (male) and Even (female), a set of twins who were the only child characters. The rest of the cast consisted of adults and robots. For our final demo reels (including the required short animations), we had to do all this kind of prep work, following the exact rules of the industry, because you use different coloured lines to note camera moves, FX, background/foreground layers, etc.
Now, to give you a brief breakdown of the work involved in a 1.5 minute animation... there are 30 frames per second. At an absolute minimum, you would draw a new pose every 3 frames, but for fast movements, you would draw every frame. So, the absolute minimum starts at 1,800 drawings. Then, you have to consider that one pose may be drawn on multiple layers, like, if the body of the kitten is still, but the paw and tail are moving, those are three different layers, so you can easily double that absolute minimum number of drawings to 3,600 drawings.
Plus, there are background/foreground layers, FX layers, and I had a second character (the catnip mouse)... so you can see why it takes a couple months for one person to make a 1.5 minute animation... AND, we haven't even gotten into timing, or lip syncing (more on this later), or all the design/prep/planning/storyboarding/etc.
Another timing sheet that I was doodling cat designs on. At this point, the design wasn't finalized.
Yes, I threw them all away. The thing is, animation paper is such a weird size that you need a specialized oversized scanner to scan them into a computer, so I know I will never spend the money to track one down just for the purpose of re-scanning in ameteur work I did while in school. If I ever do get back into animating (for fun), I would buy a Wacom tablet or something.
The paper (and light table) are still great fun to draw/design with though :)
Okay, the BANE of classical animation is lip syncing. For my first, prerequisite course, we had to do a short lip sync piece. I chose a scene from the Parker Posey movie, "Party Girl", which is sort of a cult classic. There's this great scene where she's chewing out her ex-boyfriend in front of a club (he's the bouncer), for pissing in her shower when he was drunk. I animated a turtle and goldfish in a fishbowl to the dialogue, which I thought (at the time) was pretty funny. Anyways, you have to take the sound recording, and you scroll through it over and over again so you can actually time to see how many frames each sound takes... it's freaking tedious!
Because I hated lip syncing so much, that's why I decided against the mockumentary piece for my final demo reel short... since the siamese kitten still required meticulous timing, but I didn't have to draw individual mouth movements as well, which would have added another entire layer, approximately doubling the number of drawings. Since time was an issue, I was smart about it, since doing the mockumentary meant I would have to write script, record it, and do all the folly (sound effects)/etc, which was unnecessary for the assignment.