It's been a long ride hasn't it? I was brainstorming ideas for what this animation was gonna be about, back in September of 2016, and now I'm all done with A Shadow in Need just 8 months later. I have to admit, while I am not in any hurry to get into another year long project like this one, I can say in the very least that I will miss those days. Hell, it seems like I'm almost done with everything else here at Bradley University, let alone in the Interactive Media Department, as graduation is just one week away. I'm very grateful that I was able to experience this tremendous journey, I certainly have a new found respect for 2D animators now (more than I have ever known).
So if anything this is going to be last update to this production blog. To anyone reading this, I'd like to say "Thank you" to all of you. If you've been following A Shadow in Need's production from the very beginning, you're my favorite kind of person. Anyway I realize this is starting to get overly long, so I'll just stop here, and show you the final cut of A Shadow in Need, and once again, thank you!
4.11.17 At long last, it's finally done. The animation done. The Sound design done. The editing done. Everything is now done. Looking at the final product now, I couldn't be prouder. All that I have to do now is create movie poster for it by the 17th, and then I should be all good. There is still one more entry in this production blog, and that will be coming soon.
3.30.17 So a lot has been done since last time, and the end is coming in just 12 days. Also my birthday is tomorrow, so happy early birthday to me! But anyway, I only have 7 scenes left to animate. Once I'm done with that, which should be all done by next week, I'll have to go into After Effects to add in the shades. Speaking of After Effects, I went back to add in the music, and the rest of the SFX for the entire reel. I even added a title animation for the start and the end credits, so a lot has been done. Yet there is still more to finish up.
3.23.17 Managed to get a lot done during the Spring Break. And by a lot, I mean a total of 6 scenes have been taken care of, and that leaves me with 11 (with the one I'm finishing on today, 10) scenes left to go. One of them proved to be one of the more strenuous shots I had to do, as it required a full reworking. I'm talking about change in perspective, determining a character's motion path, and timing. I managed to take care of all the concerns from the last critique, and have been going gung ho on it ever since.
I will have at least one scene done by the end of today. In fact if I can get a scene or 2 done each day, then I may be able to finish all the animations before April 1st.
3.9.17 Just a quick update, I was able to get a decent amount of work done this week. I am now at a minute and 17/20* seconds of the final animation. Aside from a couple tips needed later on, I'm almost clear to go onto the next stage in the short. If anything the shadows and Amelia, has something in common. For Amelia, it took so much work, time, and effort go it, as her form was soilid and definite. While the shadows have to be taken "frame by frame" giving them a sense of fluidity in motion and a more freestyle design. Also I should mention that I was also able to get a time lapse going when working on Umbra. In fact I had even made an imprint of Umbra on my tablet as I was tracing their design so much.
3.2.17 So I just finished the first 7 seconds of animation in the second section, and so far everything's running smoothly. Right now however, I only have Amelia animated. Even so I got her arms to lift up to get Lumos dog to come over to her, so at least she won't be completely still for a few seconds. Now I just gotta animate Lumos jumping into her arms, and Umbra slowly slinking into frame in the last part of the scene.
2.21.17 Big news today! As of today, I have just completed a full minute of animation. SFX and all. This may not seem like much when saying it out loud, but honestly I have hit a major milestone in the final animation. What happens now, is that I will continue the animation in a brand new file, working straight to the fight scene. A majority of these scenes will use the shadows instead of Amelia, so hopefully the process should go at a faster pace. Hopefully.
2.16.17 So just a quick update, I managed to get my tweaks done for the scurrying animation, adding weight to the shadows, and the shoulder movement for Amelia. I've carved a little further in completed footage. Although not as much as I would have liked, I had to take some time away to focus on an exam and a presentation for other classes. Just felt that I should report why there hasn't been as much progress this week as opposed to the other weeks. Hopefully I should be done with a full minute of completed footage by the end of this week if all goes smoothly.
2.9.17 Recently I've been going back and tweaking my animation. Specifically, I added an animation technique called "In-Out-In" which is applied to the legs of a character in order to give them more weight and thus presence. I also toned down Amelia's shoulder movement so they seem more natural. Overall, while there hasn't been any new scenes being done, this week was focused more on retouching past work.
2.2.17 With this week's update coming up, I'm happy to announce that I now have a solid idea of what music will appear in my animation. They consist of two variations of Water's Edge and Demon Slayer, which will offer a smoother transition compared to the original mix. Also I now have reached 47 seconds of completed footage! Now with that being said, my Photoshop file that I have been using is almost at 3GB. So what I'll most likely do is break the animation process by each minute. That way the file won't eat up so much memory, while at the same time being able to easily attach the three clips together.
1.26.17 So, this update is gonna be a bit different from all the others that I have made so far. Mainly because this one wasn't focused on getting more animation done (don't worry, I will get back to that as soon as possible), but rather on the sound design of the animation itself.
In terms of the sound design, for the most part it's been pretty smooth. I've been following my animatic as a guide to where certain sound effects go in the timeline. Now it's just a matter of syncing them up with their corresponding actions and events, so nothing too complicated there. What is complicated however, is finding different music for the animation. After discussing the state of my animation with my advisor, he mentioned that it would be best to try to find three songs for this one, as they can be divided separately for their moods. In that regard, it's going slowly; as the more I search, the more likely it is that my style of music may change to something more orchestral based as it seems to fit better with the context. Below will show the test animation with audio, and below that one are the links to the potential songs that I might use.
Opening Sequence and Ending Sequence
Fight Sequence and Climax
Feed (Start at 1:24)
1.18.17 Happy New Years everyone! So it's been quite some time since the last update, and since December I have made significant progress. From the 13 seconds I started with back in 12.13.16, I am now sitting at a good 38 seconds* of completed footage. Here are some of the changes that were made throughout the month: the title has been revamped, the lamp flickers before it blows out, Amelia's movement have been smoothed out and refined, Lumos and Umbra are now seen in the animation (in their full forms), Amelia places her hand on the lamp and moves it slightly to transition to the next scene, a few scenes have been trimmed down to reduce unnecessary animation, and finally I reduced the amount of smoke the lamp emits once it burns out.
Currently I am working on Amelia's reaction to the shadows, leading to ther falling back on the bed. Ideally I hope to get to at least 45 seconds of completed footage by the end of the week. Until then, here are the test animations that I rendered throughout Winter Break.
12.13.16 It's been a long finals week. With enough exams and final projects to work on and keeping my grades afloat, it has unfortunately pushed me back a bit. Yet despite that, I have managed to get some decent progress done. Now it should be said that while I haven't reached my personal goal of 30 seconds right now, I felt it be just as important to refine the animation I have so far. So that means that the past few days were spent just revising the timing and flow of the animation. It may not be as spectacular as getting a chunk of time in the project done, this focus on the overall timing of how the character moves would go a long way. Plus my work ethic has been geared more towards getting what I work on, as finished as it can get.
So until then, here is what I was able to get done in the gaps between my finals.
12.7.16 Today marks the begining of Finals Week! This is both a good and bad news for me. Good news is that the semester is almost over, and I can go back home to enjoy the holidays with my family, and give me enough time to get a whole bunch of stuff done for the animation. Bad news is that for this week, and a little of next week, I will not be able to make as much progress as I would like. Carving out a massive milestone in the final production would be fantastic, but not at the expense fo potentially failing my other classes (which I really need to graduate for next semester) is unacceptable. So from now until the next milestone on Tuesday (12.13.16), I do not expect to get that much done, until all my other final exams and projects have been finished. Now back to more good news. As I get ready to head home, I will continue to keep this production blog updated, so at least all of you will not be left in the dark of whether or not I'm working on it. Don't worry guys, I'll still be alive! It's just a matter of shifting priorities temporarily.
11.28.16 This is just a brief update. Yeah, I don't have much to show this week, but due to unforeseen circumstances, there will be a delay in production. Now that may be detrimental towards the schedule, but I'm confident that with a little determination, I can square everything away by Wednesday.
11.26.16 For this week, I don't have much to show for in terms of animation. I do have all my sound effects that will be used in the final animation, so I guess that's something. Hopefully by Monday I'll have some more progress done, probably a few more seconds of animation done.
11.21.16 Production, production, production... That's what's on top for this week onwards. I have been utilizing a free 1 week trial to get more refined sound effects, so that should be done shortly. If I manage to get the ones I'm looking for in by Wednesday (with a 20 file download per day limit) then I should be okay. As for animation, I was able to get the first 5-7 seconds done.
Now this is NOT the finished version of this small part. It's gotta go through several critiques and adjustement periods before it's anywhere near ready for April. Until then I can give you what I have so far.
11.16.16 Breakthroughs! That is what's on top for today. As I have just finished working on the last batch of the final backgrounds, and as such marks the point where I will officially get started on the ACTUAL animation. No more beating around the bush, no more getting side tasks for the art done. They are all done. The only thing I have to focus on is animating the characters on top of these backrounds for the final animation.
I figure using this plan of attack, it might make my job animating all this, all the more simplier (if that is even possible), and then I only have to worry about characters and their lighting.
11.13.16 Not much to really report this week. I currently have around half of my final backgrounds done. I plan to have the rest of the backgrounds done by this Wednesday, as the past week had seen various setbacks. Sit tight for now, and while the rest are on their way, take a look at the others that are finished.
11.6.16 Still working on the final backgrounds for the animation. My plan here is that I will complete all the backgrounds for the animations, then I will trace over them with the characters. Hopefully this should make it easier for me in the long run as well as faster to get this done on time.
11.2.16 Currently reworked my production schedule. After careful analysis and reflection, I've set a more realistic timeline for myself from now all the way up to when I come back from Winter Break.
10.28.16 I've finally finished the animatic! It took way longer than it needed to, and now I NEED to get started on production like yesterday. At least I'm happy with how this cut of the animation has turned out. All the music that was used was provided by Audionetwork.com, and the sound effects provided by Freesound.org. Now that I have a finalized animatic to use as reference, I'm going to get started on making the backgrounds for all the scenes. Once that's done, I'll place the characters right over them so it should make my life a little bit easier.
10.22.16 Recently progress towards the final animatic and therefore the beginning of production has been delayed for a bit. Unfortunately the lower amount of sleep I have been getting throughout the week (even lower than my standards) has taken a toll on my health. I realize that as more time passses, my progress slips further and further behind, which is depressing, but such is life! I need to keep working at this, and hopefully I will have something of note to showcase on Monday (I hope...). Until then, production will be slowed down a bit, just so I can recuperate, and maybe then I will be get enough done to put myself back on track.
10.12.16 Currently the rough animatic is rendering out, so in the meantime, I can make a short update on this. Getting the timing down for each scene as well as syncing up the sound effects to be used later, is more of a hassle than I once thought, but it's still manageable for me all the same. Part of me kind of likes how the animatic plays out. Yet without any music, transitioning shots, or having overly repeating sound effects, it makes it painfully obvious to me that this is still rough animatic, and not a fully digital (somewhat animated) animatic. Hopefully with the rough animatic now done, I can focus on getting the finalized version up sometime this week or next week. After all, I need to pick up the pace like yesterday since real production work begins on October 24th, I just gotta keep working at it is all.
A Shadow in Need - Rough Animatic from Jake Camara on Vimeo.
9.25.16 I just got three pages of thumbnails done. Unfortunately, I feel that because I'm unofficially extending the animation time by about 1 minute and 30 seconds at least, it means that more thumbnails have to be done. I'm not even sure that I will get all of them done by tomorrow's milestone, but in the very least, I can show everyone else what I've been working on. Show them that I'm still making progress, even if it may be at a slower pace compared to everyone else. I just gotta stay positive in all this. Hopefully I will get the last page (and a half) done by tonight or tomorrow afternoon at the latest.
Oh yeah, almost forgot (not really), midterms starts tomorrow as well and goes on all the way till Thursday. So that most likely will affect the production schedule a bit, but once I get it all done I can resume my progress.
9.21.16 I just told my story and animation to a couple of people I knew. Their feedback was pretty useful, and gave me some new ideas of how to add some extra emotional weight. That being said, there are a few major changes that I'll have to work in, like adding a birthday scene in the beginning. One thing that did stand out was that this animation may be likely to go beyond the 3 minute mark that I was originally intending for. However one of those people mentioned how, "because the story is good and the characters are so cute and likable, it may be better to make this thing longer." After looking through it, I agree. Hopefully my advisor will think the same. In the meantime, I aim to get the thumbnails done so I can get a better idea of what will be added into the animation.
9.19.2016 Started working on Umbra's character design, and the breakthrough that I made with Lumos actually makes the process so much easier. There will be some noticable differences between these two shadows, mostly with the head shapes, for the sake of the distinctive silouette. Lumos's head shape is a large tear, while Umbra is a male electrical plug (if that makes any sense). Umbra's body type will also be different, in that their body will be more leaner (and muscular) to give off a more strong and intimidating appearance. Their eye color must also be a different color compared to Lumos's blue.
Something else to note, is that while Amelia's color is more solid and pronounced, the shadows will have a more sketchy look to them. This is done to convey constant changes motion, as well as a sense of unease when looking at them, because at the end of the day, they are still living shadows. It also makes shape shifting more plausible since their bodies are not completely solid (like that of a human's) and on an animation aspect, can make them seem more fluid and spontaneous.
9.18.2016 Lumos's character design was actually a little deceiving. Something that I hadn't realized at the time, was that since both Lumos and Umbra were living shadows, being able to animate them posed some significant issues. The first one being, that since they are LITERALLY shadows, it would make their color solid black or gray. Meaning that if they move into a three-quarters view or a side view, they could look very odd or just flat out wrong, thus breaking the perspective. So in order to address this, I decided to make certain body parts a different shade of grey that way it becomes eaiser to distinguish their body parts and eliminates that perspective issue. This might also come in handy whenever they change shape throughout the short.
9.16.2016 Amelia's character design has just been completed. Getting her color scheme up to par actually a little tricky, considering how she will be in darkness for a majority of the animation. I was thinking of having the butterfly on her shirt glow in the dark, but that's up for debate. Her hair style may also change but at least I now have a more solid idea of what she will look like, both as a silouette and a colored animation.
9.11.2016 I finished making a production schedule, that should not only keep me on track, but also keep me motivated to keep working. However, the weeks it goes up to end around December, which I know for a fact that I'll still be in production. If anything about half of the definite timeline has been fleshed out, while the other half is still up in the air. Like this website the production schedule is also open to periodical changes, I would be just checking in to complete something. Later on I intend to fill in the other half of the production schedule once things start to solidify.
9.10.2016 Just finished my character designs for Amelia and the two shadows, Lumos and Umbra. While this is a rough idea of what they may look like. I plan on releasing a digital version of it soon, along with a color scheme to go with it.
9.4.2016 I have just finished the narrative treatment for A Shadow In Need. Everything from character descriptions, synopsis, and story structure have been detailed out in the PDF provided.
A Shadow In Need: Treatement
Aside from that, I plan to continue working on the concept art for the characters and background tomorrow morning. If all goes well, I might be able to jump ahead of schedule, and start building up the storyboards.
9.3.2016 Started drawing up some concept art for the animation. Although it's not finished just yet, the first rough drafts should be done this Wednesday. While I'm planning on making this a 2D digital animated short, I have gotten a couple suggestions that the backgrounds themselves could be made with 3D modeling software like Maxon Cinema 4D. I will have to look into this a bit further... Until then, the first drafts will focus on the characters, then move up to the environment.
9.2.2016: Just finished a logline for the story, I even came up with a working title for the animation. While the title itself may or may not be the final title used in the reel, it at least gives me some ideas I can toss around as pre-production starts to ramp up. As for the logline, hopefully this should adequately pitch the story.
A lonely little girl uses a magic flashlight to bring her shadow puppets to life, but with one shadow intent on hurting her, it is up to the second shadow to help her fight back till sunrise.
9.1.2016: The narrative for my animation has been decided. A short story of a girl's shadow puppets that come to life seems to offer a great deal of flexiblity in terms of both animation and storytelling. As opposed to the alternative of a Lovecraftian tale of a sea captain leaving home in search of a treasure that could potentially save his family from financial ruin. To me, the shadow puppet story seemed more concise and easy to digest, while the other is more of a slow burning story, that had a few narrative faults, and a running time that could easily take up 90 minutes or more.