Completed Hope Animation and Evaluation

My Hope animation is the first ever animation I’ve ever done, meaning that, in my opinion, there was a lot that went wrong however it was a very good learning experience as I learnt how to use Adobe Animate well, including the key shortcuts Animate has.

The feedback I got from my class after I finished version 1 of my animation was very insightful and helped me to finish the final version seen on my blog. The main complaints were about a lack of foley and the music not being very good which I agree with, my first piece of music I put together in just half an hour and I reused a lot of tracks which didn’t blend well together.

To follow my feedback and improve the music I restarted my music entirely and spent an hour and a half coming up with the new music, one specific complaint I got was that the pitch and volume went much too high at one point which was not a pleasant sound to hear, so to fix this I kept an awareness of how high the pitch was going and how loud the notes were getting at certain points. To follow my other piece of feedback on adding foley, I went around my house and recorded numerous sounds to use in the animation which brings me onto my next criticism of my final production, one of my sounds near the end, while audible when putting in headphones seems to be a much lower volume without headphones, if I was to have more time to I would have liked to go back to Premier Pro or Audition to put the volume of that sound piece was high enough to be heard over the music better without headphones.

For my foley work I used a Pringles cylinder container with some dried rice in it to create the sound of rushing waves, this was my favourite, in my opinion, most creatively made sound, I put the sound into Audition and gave it a louder volume and added an echo effect to simulate when the sea crashes into rocks and reverberates off of them. The other sounds I created were the loud crash of the plant pot hitting the table which I made using a thick and heavy china bowl and hitting it against the table, the bowl wasn’t damaged in the impact but created the closest sound I could get, I would have liked to use a real plant pot but that could have been much more dangerous and would have been more likely to lead to a smashed plant pot.

I used the sound of water droplets in a sink of varying quantity to create the sounds of the watering can pouring different amount of water, it took many attempts at getting the sound right because the droplets kept causing a different sound upon impact with the material of the sink than what I wanted, meaning it was imperative I had small droplets that hit the basin. I couldn’t use actual rushing water because that created the sound of water hitting metal on the sink’s hole as well as being too fast and harsh for what I had in mind so to create the sound I had to turn the tap on and then turn it off and record the few droplet of water that come out after it’s turned off and rinse and repeat that with different amount of water numerous times till I got my sounds.

In terms of my actual animation I personally feel, for a first attempt I did ok, I went with a frame by frame style of 2D animation which increased the work load but also gave me full control of everything that happens on screen meaning I was easily able to show squash and stretch as well as timing.

I had the characters bounce a lot when moving, especially the character Mari who had a lot of smear frames in her movement as well as having the more squash and stretch applied to her to exaggerate her expressions and movements; such as when she begins smiling, her cheeks will rise and squash to make her face more squashed together, this was to emulate how face’s in real life squash and stretch when pulling expressions, both Mari and Bea had moments of stretching out exaggeratedly, such as when Bea leaps back in surprise at Mari or when Mari appears next to Mari near the beginning of the animation.

The reason I had so much squash and stretch was because my hope animation is supposed to be at the foremost, a comedy, particularly a slapstick style, so I took inspiration from numerous well known animated slapstick comedies such as Tom and Jerry as well as Loony Toons and studied how they used squash and stretch to emphasize and exaggerate movement for comedic purposes.

One thing I disliked about my animation was the timing; I’m still learning how to do timing well enough to create the effect of force behind something, such as when Bea threw the flower or when Mari smashed the watering can onto the plant pot, I know that to put more weight on to an action you should hold on the positions longer and have more of an arc in the movement, with more frames for reeling back before the contact and less once the contact is about to happen, I was unsure of how to do this for some movements, such as Bea throwing her flower and as well as that I felt the time could overrun if I did, if I could redo the animation I would have liked to spend more time on the timing to put more weight on some of the movement.

Style wise I was ok with the art style my animation took, it was a very general stylized look that wasn’t too realistic that slapstick and squash and stretch would look weird but realistic enough to know that we were looking at people, personally I would have liked to spent much more time making the models stay accurate more, with the change of expressions and head positions I had to redraw the characters a lot to fit the expression or movement they were doing, causing the character to go off model a bit, and to even change position slightly when they should be staying still.

As well as this there were a couple of mistakes where I accidentally left something uncoloured, such as Mari’s eye at the end, or a more obvious one, the plant pot disappearing before the tree trunk has had time to wipe the screen and change backgrounds, this was because of me putting the plant pot frames on a layer where they couldn’t go too long, or they’d ruin another frame’s timing, a solution to this would have been to simply put the frame on a different layer and if I had more time I would have liked to.

I personally feel like my style was ok and from the feedback I was given a majority agreed with me, giving it a 5 out of 5, the others giving it a 4 out of 5. So I felt no need to change it in the second version I made.

In terms of the actual character I personally had a lot of fun writing what would happen with them as well as creating the distinct personality difference between them, I wanted their personalities to be a lot like what the two general outlooks on hope are, with Mari being optimistic and trusting in hope full heartedly and Bea being more pessimistic towards the idea of hope and much more sombre in attitude.

I thought a lot about the designs of the characters and how it would have connotations on hope and them, for example, the reason I made Mari’s dress green was because green is a colour usually linked to growth and Spring, which has its own connotations of rebirth happiness and nature. The reason I picked this colour for Mari was because she’s trying to help Bea grow her plant, albeit unsuccessfully but was also helping Bea to grow and become less pessimistic towards hope.

I made Bea’s colours much dark in contrast to Bea, with dark blues and purples, this is because darker colours have the connotation of being sadder and generally more pessimistic compared to greens and I felt it would be a good colour to contrast against Mar’s green dress.

The flowers I had in the animation are both used to represent hope, with the first plant, the blue iris, meaning general hope and the snow drop meaning hope and friendship, I felt it would be good symbolism to have Bea throw away her old dead flower that meant hope for a new, still growing flower that also meant hope but also had a strong symbolic meaning of friendship.

In terms of colours I think I did pretty well, I had the colours of Bea and Mari change in each scene, with the first scene having their colours be more dull and ark, to represent the sad and hopeless feeling at the time, then when the next scene happens of them at the Cliffside, Mari and Bea’s colours are more saturated and bright because 1: when you’re facing the sun directly outside your colours would be affected and it would be weird to have kept the same dull unsaturated colours when they were outside in the sun. 2: It was supposed to represent how Bea and Mari make up and find a new flower, i.e. hope and become more optimistic. The last scene is in the middle of the other two colours schemes for Bea and Mari in terms of saturation, this is because I wanted it to be a good parallel to the first scene where their colours were much more dull as the mood was more sad but now the mood is happier the colours are brighter and more cheerful.

In summary I feel, for my first attempt at animation I did pretty well at it, my animation was mostly smooth and I enjoyed creating it greatly and also took the feedback given to me by my classmates to improve it, and while there are a couple of things I would like to change if I had had the time I’m pretty content with how the final piece came out.

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