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So this is it, my first ever short film. Sorry about the picture quality, I couldnt get it looking right, I had to compress the file alot.
So yeh, 5 months, and 2,500 drawings later, Cecil the Penguin was born. Creating a film is such a stressful process. So as the film loads up, you can read about it here. The film totals 1,618 frames altogether for all you stats fans.
Thanks very much man.
First of all I needed a concept before I could do any sort of film. We didn't have long to come up with a film idea. I had 3 that I wasn't too sure on any, and a week to finalise the script. Cecil the Penguin was picked.
I then had to storyboard the film, firstly using thumbnail sketches. I would then film the thumbnails, putting together an animatic. Our brief said the film had to be 60-90 seconds, and my film seemed quite epic. It clocked in way over 2 minutes, and so I just had to keep editting the storyboards, getting the most streamlined story I could get. Originally, the eskimos played a HUGE part of the story, and Cecil learning from them.
Every character has to designed, from the main characer Cecil, to the Polar Bear, Eskimos, even the fish! I take a long time deciding on designs for characters, and so each character evolved over many drawings. After the initial designs were done, I had to produce turnarounds, expression sheets, hand sheets, model sheets, colour models of each and every character. I also had to design the all the props the characters used aswell. The Eskimos, originally playing a big role for the film, had a very sinister look to them. They were the baddies. But with script changes later on in production, the were cut to a simply design that left them neutral.
Every background had to be designed. I had about 40+ scenes, and about 20+ backgrounds originally. I cut it down slightly, reusing some backgrounds, but still, all backgrounds had to be thumbnailed, roughed, pencilled, inked, scanned and coloured in photoshop.
Every single aspect of the pre-production and design process was researched. I had to research animation and character design style, penguins, ploar bears, eskimos, what do eskimos wear, what type of arctic animations have been done before, what type of cartoon characters are similar to my own, what colours are best, what does the arctic look like, what colour is the snow, sky etc....
Next was animating every scene. When doing the rough animation, you start off with the key-frames and checking they work. When they do, only then do you continue animating the rest of the scenes. I had about 50 scenes rough animating.
Clean Up Animation
This involves drawing over every single piece of rough animation, so that you have a clean, crisp outline. imagine lineart when you draw a character, and then doing it 1,265 times. It is a dull, mind numbing process that makes you hand sore and made my finger swell from rubbing against the paper.
Every scene then needed to be scaned into the computer. Luckily I had access to a feeder scanner and the program Animo. However, the feeder scanner only feed 30 drawings at a time, and still took a while to do that. Plus you have two classes of animation students trying to scan on one scanner, so there was always a que. The scanner would usually crash or not scan in drawings aswell. When time was cutting short, I managed to use my own home scanner to help aswell.
Next I had to recreate the colour models on Animo, and then colour every single frame of animation, watch it back, and if I missed something, fill it back in. Sometimes the scanner didnt read that you connected all your pencil lines, and the paint bucket tool fills the screen, so you have to then link up all the pixels so it doesnt do it. It was very much sitting at a computer all day and not moving. Luckily it didnt take too long to complete as I literally worked all day on the computer.
After I coloured each layer, I then had to compile them together, including background, setting the right camera size and position, adding any effect, zooms, pans. I had to put the right frames together, and time them out following my dope sheets. Some characters were made up of 2-3 layers, some about 8. They all had to be timed out and layered correctly. the Polar Bear for example, had a seperate layer for his body to breath, his head to move, his hand, his entire arm, eyes, mouth, nose, all seperate, and then in one frame, they would all move at the same time. It was a very confusing and stressful point of the project, and the program would crash often. Then the scenes had to be outputted. Depending on the length of the scene, 40 frames was an ok waiting time, but scenes over 100 frames took a while.
With all the 40 scenes outputted as seperate video files, I then had to edit them all together, add sound effects for everything, put in a music track, make title credits, and submit it into various different file sizes with low resolution and high solution. The output length was about an hour, maybe more. If one thing had to be changed or moved, then it had to be outputted again, for another hour. it was a lengthly process.
After all that, it was ready to go, my film was finished, and I could watch it up on a big cinema screen. I hope you all like it, and appreciate the difficulties in making a film. I never reliased how much work it was before, but now, I take my hats off to all the independant animators out there.