Saturday, 12 January 2008

An excuse to leave the attic

On the 16th we have a screening in which the full-time students will showcase their films. As a part-timer, 'House Guest' isn't due to be finished until June, and at the time of writing is still in bits and pieces. I'd like to include some indication of my progress as part of the screening and figured that a trailer would be an ideal way of cobbling said bits and pieces together. This has motivated me to get some footage completed for scenes other than the attic/trophy room sequence that has dominated the last couple months. Going through the animatic I decided to focus my energies on some shots that would look good if thrown in the mix for my trailer.

The above are shots that aren't especially difficult to animate and don't necessitate line tests as such. Their execution is fairly simple through limited animation and a lot of the work is in the editing. Here are a couple other shots that require somewhat fuller animation:

A fairly simple reaction shot, for when the Prospective Lay first sees the Duck. This is only a handful of frames but to sell it in terms of convincing acting (and to refine the secondary hair movement) it's worth doing a pencil test first.

After a few passes to get the hair and mouth action right I ended up with the above shot. Here's how it looks inked-in and coloured:

The following shot is also dependent on facial expression, although it's a little longer:

In this one, the Creepy Kid prepares to finish stitching the Duck together, guivering with eerie glee, only to be snapped out of his unsettling reverie when his offscreen mother calls him for dinner. Here's what I came up with for the pencil test:

I wanted him to switch from docile to anticipatory quickly, and then to snap back just as fast. To emphasise this I used a mild 'smear' transition going in and an extreme one coming out.

With a slow zoom and some moody lightning applied to the colour version I'm really happy with the end result:

The remaining shot requires some full-body acting, from a scene in which the Duck melodramatically unveils his partially-decomposed body.

The body acting in this shot is determined by the dialogue, which means the movement has to be specifically timed and lip-synced. Here's the test animation after all the dope-sheet transcription was done:

After tweaking the lip-sync a bit (that's another reason these tests are so crucial - the erasability of pencils can really save some heartache) I wound up with one of my favourite shots in the entire film so far:

Special mention has to again go to Jo Hepworth who did all the inking-in for these shots and thus ensured their completion. As I've said before, her line work is far smoother than mine, and if I'd worked on these shots on my own they would not only have taken far longer to do, but also wouldn't have looked half as professional.
Knock wood by the next entry I'll have the trailer finished. Shazizzle!

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