September Entry

By chaz on October 1, 2009, 5:23 pm in animation, production diary

Every now and then, since I don’t get to do it at work on a regular basis, I get an urge to do some acting animation. The 11 Second Club is a perfect chance for that. The competition gives animators the opportunity to challenge themselves with an eleven second sound clip that typically contains dialogue. What’s perfect about the 11 Second Club is that you get great feedback on your work from all sorts of animators with different backgrounds, and there is a time limit. Constructive criticism is invaluable, but without the drive, motivation, and that all important deadline (and submission showing it to a community of animators); then you’ll never get the feedback you need to push yourself further.

I’ve entered the competition once before here. This time around I decided to do a bit of 2d animation. That alone made it enough of a challenge to complete, but the other kicker was that I started working on it only one week before the September deadline. I really had to push myself, and work as hard and as fast as I could to complete the animation in time. Especially since I only had my spare time, which included after work hours and twelve hour animate-o-thons on both Saturday and Sunday.

After listening to the dialogue a billion and one times, I drew out some thumbnails for my idea of an upset nun dealing with an unruly child in a harsh way. I tried to figure out the highs and the lows of the dialogue, and what I could do with the pause. From the start, I thought that the nun needed an outward action (something for her to react to) during the pause, to justify her hauling the girl off to detention by her ear. In the image below of my thumbnails, I thought of the child blowing a bubble and it popping.

That idea of a nun and a child interacting came quickly for me, and I moved just as quickly to get some seriously rough blocking ideas down and timed to the dialogue using my thumbnails as a loose guide. Despite my idea of having something for the nun to react to during the pause, I didn’t put it in the blocking because the pause was too short for the timing I had in my head for the bubble gum bubble. So I scrapped that idea.

From there, I really tried to clean up my drawings (nothing perfect, especially since I’m such a poor draftsman and I didn’t have a model sheet.) I also worked with the blocking making it a bit tighter. My wife also gave me the great idea to have the child stick her tongue out at the nun during the pause. I thought it was perfect, so I added it in right away. This stage moved really slow for me, because I had done all of the blocking drawings in Photoshop, but (long story short) after I imported the drawings into Animate (the 2d animation software I use) from ToonBoom I had to redraw and trace all of the blocking. Lesson learned on that one.

After I was happy with the blocking, I moved onto adding in my breakdown poses.

Then my inbetweens.

After that I added the overlap/drag/followthru for the hair and backpack of the child, and the robe and habit for the nun; which is shown in the first video. Along with the help of my friends, I tried to direct myself along the way in an objective manner to keep everything concise. There are things I wish I had done, such as add a background layout drawing; however, considering the time limitations, I’m happy with what I produced.

Technical tidbits:
shot on twos and some ones where necessary
after blocking it was pretty much straight ahead animation the whole way
slightly larger version available here under personal @ 480×270