Thursday, 30 May 2013

One day I'm-a get me one o' them Tumblr things...

Here are some design bits'n'pieces for a recent project, "Fantasy Office Episode 2: Storage Problems", my first non-WobbleBox short for Channel Flip. This one had an insane turnaround time but it was good fun to knock out. I was given carte blanche in terms of style except to use clean lines and keep things basic. I didn't want it to be too much of a departure from episode 1 (which I wasn't involved in) but it's definitely different. Design-wise the characters are sort of in the "Bullies" style:

I also got to knock out some griffins and unicorns, the latter I aimed to make as nauseatingly cutesy as possible.

The personal highlight was one small shot I put some time aside to do some full animation on. Drawing upon my childhood fondness for the Games-era "Ren & Stimpy" years, the shot's of a warehouse worker getting his face torn off by a death bat.
It's amazing how simple Toon Boom makes the whole process. The lightbox and page rotation features make line tests a breeze. Ditto clean-up, between Toon Boom's intuitive controls and my gorgeous li'l Cintiq my line work is so much smoother than them bygone days of using actual pens for inking in.
The full short was written by Sarah Darling and went up today, if you fancy giving it a watch:
I quite like that the boss character talks a bit like Bane.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Riders on the Storm

Yesterday saw episode 4 of "Wobble Box", the Flip/HuHa animated sketch show I do some bits and pieces for go live. Here it is:

I did the animation for the final skit, "Discharge", which was a lot of fun to design. It's a little unfortunate that there wasn't a budget for some proper full animation as I would've loved to go proper Kricfalusian on it.

I'd planned to animate the 'money shot', so to speak, but was urged not to for whatever reason, possibly some YouTube content rule. Maybe by actually showing it it would've been overkill and taken some of the impact away from it, but here's what I'd had in mind:
The other segment I worked on was "23 Hour News", which was good timing as I've been watching a lot of "Powerpuff Girls" of late (as men do) so I was in the right headspace for some city-destroying monsters:
The highlight of this was getting to do the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Again, the budget was small but I came up with a pretty effective cheat, drawing on Eadweard Muybridge's photos of horses in motion:
Muybridge photography: The CliffsNotes of the animation world

Using these for reference I rigged up a rough horse drawing using the After Effects puppet tool. This works a little differently than boning in CG programs or other 2D applications, essentially placing joints on each still drawing of the horse's legs (which occupy their own layer). If placed correctly they can be moved and animated with some approximation to real life. This motion test shows what I came up with - you can tell there were some cartooney liberties taken but it has more or less the desired effect:
Then, using the rough sketch for reference I came to the really fun bit, coming up with detailed drawings of each demonic horse to match their respective horsemen. Then it's just a matter of applying the rigged animation to each design:
Fully composited with separate motion paths and timeline placement, it makes for a nice little payoff visual:
 Something tells me this won't win me much by way of appreciation from the Brony community.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Ben The Bully

I'm in what I sincerely hope will be the final stretch of the production of my fourth short "Bullies". Making this film has been a sporadic, on-again-off-again affair over the last couple years, chipping away at it between commissions, Skwigly taking off and "Throat" turning out to be more of a dominating force in my life than expected. But my sincere hope is for "Bullies" to be doing the rounds before the end of the year, as I've already started work on my fifth and sixth shorts and can only have so many plates spinning at any one time without losing my mind entirely.
So as it nears completion I'm putting together a series of webisodes on the making of the film. Episode 1 went up this week, documenting my spectacularly professional approach to voice directing. The gentleman being bullied is old paisan and bromance partner Chris Richardson, who plays Liam. Watch in actual awe below:

More to come.