N E X T | a rough animated short

By chaz on February 20, 2009, 2:25 am in animation, shorts
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The premise behind NEXT was essentially a fight scene between Super and Baddy, something that I could animate quickly, and leave in the rough stage. With that in mind, I pretty much knew the end result would lack quite a bit of luster: sound, cleanup, color, layout drawings to name a few. But, I’ve been content with that decision allowing me to do exactly what I wanted and needed: to finish.

I came up with the idea of the fight sequence the week that Ensemble’s closure was announced in September. I thought that I wanted to “wow” potential employers when they visit my website. Having the video be on the home page making that the first thing people saw. I was pretty ambitious and wanted to get the animation finished ASAP. Over the next few days I drew large extreme drawings for Super and thumbnails for Baddy for only the fight. (I’ll scan those drawings and post them at a later date.) Utilizing timing charts, I got a rough idea about the timing of the entire animation and each individual action that was going to take place.

After about a week of working on my extreme and thumbnail drawings I was ready to animate, or so I thought. I naively told coworkers that I would finish the animation over the weekend. Lofty goals for someone that had only done a few hand drawn animations over the past three years. When that weekend hit I, for some foolish reason, essentially redrew my extremes starting to tie down the drawings. At the time I thought it would be a good idea to have cleaner extremes and work with rough inbetweens. Needless to say, I wasted my time that weekend and accomplished nothing.

Somewhere between that weekend in September and January, I drew Super’s extremes into the computer. That would be the last time I touched the short until January.

So, fast forward a few months to January, and I finally start animating full-time, on average 6-7 hours a day four days a week. For the fourth time, I redrew my Super extremes, and drew my Baddy extremes into the computer. From there, I pretty much ignored my timing charts and animated straight ahead (within the extreme poses). For the most part I knew where I was going, but that didn’t stop larger or smaller drawings from cropping up: straight ahead animation can be tricky.

Somewhere along the line, I realized that the short needed a little story. Animating a fight scene that has no purpose to it can only be so fulfilling; so, I can only imagine how boring it would be to watch the fight without even an inkling of story or characters. Initially, I was going to have the fight scene loop: Baddy would get vaporized into some sort of smoke cloud, reform, and it would start all over again. Though this was in the planning from the start, I hadn’t actually thought about how I would animate the smoke. Since I don’t consider myself an amazing effects animator, I promptly ditched the smoke idea. This is where I came up with the idea for Super to say “Next!” at the end of the fight.

My mind started rolling, and I came up with an idea of fallen enemies in the background. But, I didn’t want to do a background layout drawing. Then the line formed (pun intended) for the first shot. A bunch of baddies waiting in line to get a crack at Super. It was a gamble: pay some cashola, and if you beat Super, you reap the huge rewards. Then Wes Boddie, a brilliant story man who always comes through, thought of the end where all the Baddies scatter after they witness the biggest baddest being vaporized with ease. But there’s still one left peeing his pants, while the booth attendant motions; insinuating that he’s next to fight.

About a month and a half later, I’m done. The drawings are terribly crude, there is no sound or layout drawings, but I want to move on. I set a finite goal with what I consider smart limitations, and I feel as though I accomplished everything I set out to do. As unpolished as this short is I feel happy knowing that it’s complete. I hope you enjoy my little rough animation!

Here are some specs:
12fps (shot on ones)
580×247 highest resolution
running time 1m26s

Visit my website, chuck-o-rama to see the full resolution version!