Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Work in Progress

I am planning to be done animating this project by Thursday. I am ready to move on with other things. There are only minor revisions and additions needed for the project and I know I will have those done because I'm ready to be done.
Over the break, I enjoyed filming my family on Thanksgiving Day. I filmed breakfast, lunch, dessert, and the Saints game. I think it's some good footage and filming that day made me realize all the traditions my family has.
So, I will definitely meet my mark on Thursday, because I want my DVD portfolio to be exquisite.
Screenshot from my final

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rough Draft and Edit

I dedicated this whole entire past weekend to getting work done. At first I thought I was going to be behind, but I'm exactly where I want to be at right now, maybe even better. I made sure that I got plenty of rest this weekend so that I would be able to be fresh and awake while working.

I have my comps laid out in order, roughly edited and not paced out yet. It was hard to judge real time in the project file until I rendered a quicktime. The some of the animation is also rough. There are a few comps that still need to be animated, but I believe to have at least half of my animation completed for the project. The remaining animation depends on have much cut-out and hand-drawn animation I want to add. I have found the puppet tool to be very helping in this piece. It seems to me like a middle ground between the cut-out and the hand-drawn techniques and marries them together.

I believe that I can finish this project in another highly productive weekend.
I'm ready for plenty of feedback, for I'm sure there is plenty to fix.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Final Project Progress

Even before instructed to in class on Thursday, I was already working on a work schedule for finishing my final project. The process is taking me a little longer than I thought, but I should be caught up by Friday because that's when I want to start animating. Whatever the case is, I'm going to start some animation on Friday and just animate the entire weekend. Mac Lab 3 will become my home. I'm a little irritated because it's hard trying to find time to work on this final around working and studying for other classes. I was hoping to have all my assets done by this morning, but it's looking more like the end of the day. That's not too bad, but I really need to work on my BFA. Creating the assets are taking longer than I had thought. All I had do is keeping working hard during every minute of the day like I have and pray.
I'm planning to animate as much as I can from Friday the 19 through Tuesday the 23. I also need to pack Tuesday b/c early Wednesday, I'm heading home for Thanksgiving break. The break will be a good time to get other class work done so I can have more time to work on this project when I return to school.
I'm not going to worry. It is a lot, but I always get my work done.
I'll probably will need the Sunday I get beck to work on BFA stuff, but I should return to animating on Monday the 29 and I'm planning to be finished with the animation by Wednesday, December 1. Next, I'll start working on my class DVD. I really need that following weekend to work on other classes work.
The only time I wasn't working on assets yesterday was when I ate lunch, dinner, was in class and taking a shower.
I'm just gonna keep on trucking. I have the endurance to get this done.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I really appreciate the feedback I received in class today.
I'm redoing the tree so that it resembles a crepe myrtle and I'm putting more contrast in the character outlines.
The tree needs less detail and the characters need a little bit more.
I need to focus on my points of focus and where the eye needs to be drawn.

Look and Feel

Here is an example of what my final project will look like.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

After Thoughts

So, I've been thinking on the first plot point of my narrative and what craziness I can get out of it when it comes to conveying the egret's growing aggressiveness when he becomes dependent on humans for food. So besides being feed bread, the egret will feed off human litter, snatch bread fed to other animals, steal from picnics and tail gating parties, take booze from hobos, and stealing french fries from little kids. I want him to become annoying and a nuisance and I want his actions to be comical. During these events, the weather gets colder, the egret gets older and very fat, and he becomes more and more alone.

3 Act Structure Revised

Act I (Setup)
Exposition: A mother egret is teacher her young how to fish in the canal. Three of her young are involved with the lesson and they successfully learn to fish by their mother's example. However, the fourth baby egret is uninterested with the lesson for he is distracted by what is happening up on the neutral ground. He sees the ducks being feed bread by humans and the egret rather get food from humans rather than fishing from the dirty canal.
Inciting Incident: The young egret decides to leave his family so he can join the ducks on the neutral ground.
Plot Point: Over time, the egret grows dependent on humans for food in any way he can possibly find, whether it is the children and elderly feeding him bread, stealing from picnics and hobos, and human left-overs that are littered onto the neutral ground or in the trash. This food flow does not last.

Act II (Confrontation)
Obstacles: The egret can no longer find humans to get food from for it is now the cold season. The only people he sees are driving by in cars. The egret has a hard time helping himself because he has become fat and lazy and all alone.
First Culmination: The egret sees a man in his car eating french fries and sees him as an opportunity for food. The egret has to walk over the the car because he is far too over weight to fly. The egret spooks the man as he jumps onto his opened window, but the man does not feed the egret for he wants to eat the bird itself! The egret fights and gets away beaten up and exhausted.
Midpoint: The egret has no choice but to return to the canal hoping to find help. The egret sees his brothers in the canal fishing and catching fish. Because he is ashamed of his poor condition, the egret does not want to confront his brothers so a goes behind their backs and steal their fish, but is caught in the act and he is rebuked. The egret then goes to a nutria for he sees him eating roots. The nutria gives the egret a root, but he cannot stomach it and spits it out disgustedly.
Plot Point: The egret is then all alone and helpless.

Act III (Resolution)
: The egret has no choice but to try to get food for himself so he tries to catch fish. The egret struggles to catch fish, for he never learned how and his condition doesn't help his situation. Day becomes night until the egret is able to catch a tiny minnow. Right as the egret is tossing the fish into is beak, the egret is abruptly swallowed whole by an alligator.


There were many conflicts in my story that were pointed out today, and the feedback should make the story stronger.

I think I'm going to not have the nutria entice the egret because some thought that element was conflicting to the character. Instead of a time lapse of environmental change while the egret feeds off of bread, I'm gonna have him do more than feed off of bread, but have him receive food in other ways where he does not have to work for it. The egret will get so fat that he won't be able to fly. I need to show him becoming more aggressive with his lazy habits.
During critique, someone suggested that the egret needs a strong low point in the piece and I agree. I was thinking that while the fat man tries to eat the egret, the egret gets hurt. That's one idea. I think I should consider other ideas for this bird's all time low.
Now, I need to rethink the third act of the piece. I am taking consideration of the feedback I received today. I am thinking that once the egret is wounded and at a low point is where he finds his brothers for help. This is where I'm having trouble with the story since I'm no longer am going to have the egret be rebuked by his own brothers. Someone suggested that the egret becomes greedy and while his brothers are fishing and collecting fish, the egret doesn't help them catch fish, but he eats what they catch anyway and that's when he gets rebuked and he has no where else to go to for food.
I still want the egret to go to the nutria and be given a root for food but can't get himself to eat it. I still want him to be eaten by the gator, but it may be because he cannot fly away that he gets eaten. I really want the gator's eating of the egret to be a surprise factor though. I wanted the focus to be on the egret eating the fish that the gator is totally unexpected and the gator's consuming of the egret is in sync with the egret's consuming of the fish. I think I'm going to stick with the latter because I can show the egret's inability to fly in the second act.

3 Act Structure

Act I
Inciting Incident:
Baby egret is uninterested in learning how to fish and nutria shows him that the "grass is greener" up on the neutral ground.
Plot point: The egret leaves with the nutria to have the easy life up on the neutral ground.

Act II
The egret grows so dependent on being feed by humans that he has no means to find food once the humans stop coming to feed the animals on the neutral ground.
The egret tries to get food from a human in the car, but the human tries to eat him.
The egret goes to the nutria for food, but all the nutria has to offer are roots to eat, and the egret can't stomach that.
Plot point: The egret goes to his siblings for food, but they rebuke him.

The egret tries to find food for himself, but he struggles to fish because he is fat and unskilled. Once he does catchs small minnow, he himself is consumed by a gator.

Good Morning!!

I be feeling good! I feel like I'm ahead of the game. I finished my story board early and have already started working on my assets. I have all of my backgrounds sketched out. Next, I'm going to sketch out my characters assets. I've done a little bit of hand-drawn animation where I'm going to need it, but a lot of that really isn't needed because most of the character animation can be easily done through cutout in AE.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Story Board

This is the establishing shot, mother egret teaching her young, and uninterested egret.

Nutria shows egret the free food being given up on the neutral ground.
Egret sees the happy ducks eating on the neutral ground.
Egret looks at the dirty canal then leaves with the nutria to the neutral ground.
Time passes as the egret grows dependent on humans.
All the people have left and the egret's food flow stops. He sees a car in the U-turn.
The egret approaches the driver, hoping to get food. The driver is startled, but he tries to eat the egret!
The egret fights off the man and gets away.

The egret is exhausted. He looks towards the canal and sees his nutria friend eating roots.

He goes the the nutria hoping to get food or help towards free food, but the nutria only has roots. He gives a root to the egret but the egret doesn't like it and spits it out.

The egret is all alone and hungry, for he has to one to go to for food, or can he provide food for himself. He sees his siblings with plenty of fish. He goes to them hoping to get some.
The egret is rebuked by his own brothers and sent away to find food for himself. The egret struggles to catch a fish.
The egret finally catches a fish and as he is about to consume it, he himself is consumed.
The egret is eaten by the alligator.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Story Revised

So instead of the nutria being adopted by egrets and being the odd one of the bunch, I'm going to remain with a family of a single species and sticking with a family of egrets and there being an odd egret in the family. I want to keep the nutria character in the story because he is a compelling character so, I've decided that the nutria can be the character who entices the young egret to deviate from his family and his fishing lessens in the canal, to join the nutria and the ducks up on the neutral ground, where they fed free bread by humans.
This neutral ground haven of free food, seems to be the easier and better way to go for the egret, so he follows the nutria up to the neutral ground and that is where the egret begins his life-long dependency on human hands.
The egret is obviously out of place among the ducks and the nutrias. He is tall and stands out, for an egret usually doesn't rely off of people, but hunts on its own for food.
Time passes and the egret grows lazy and fat. The ducks and the nutrias return to the canal to live an eat for themselves, but the egret does not, because he doesn't know any other way.
The people are gone, for it is cold, and the egret has no way of getting food.
He goes to the nutria for help, but he cannot help the egret for he eats roots and grass.
So, he goes to his siblings who are now avid fishermen. He sees that they have a surplus of fish and he goes to them hoping they will give him some, but they rebuke him and the egret is left alone to defend for himself.
The egret cannot find any bread or people willing to give him food, for people just drive by in their cars not caring about this egret's well-being.
His last option is to fish for himself in the canal. The egret struggles to catch a fish because he is fat and unskilled. After much failure, the egret finally spears a minnow with his beak, and right in the act of consuming this catch, the egret becomes prey himself as he is swallowed by a gator.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


The story will be set in a canal in the city.

Character Design

Here are some character designs for my final project.

Nutria and Egret

I know, the bird's legs need to be longer...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This Idea I have Brewing

Since my final project is based on Sloth, I look up the fable of The Grasshopper and the Ants. The narrative I am working on strongly follows the morality of that fable.
I want to focus on a nutria and a family of egrets. The egrets are hard working fishermen and the nutria is a lazy scavenger of stale bread thrown to the ducks by humans.
So, that's where I have started and then I moved onto what is going to be happening in this narrative. I asked myself: How will I introduce these characters? How do they become the way they are?
Here is the story that I came up with...
Perhaps the nutria becomes an orphan and a family of egrets adopts him. The mother egret teaches her babies and the nutria to fish in the canal, but the nutria does not pay attention to the fishing lesson because he is more interested in the free food being feed to the ducks up on the neutral ground. So, the nutria never learns to fish and he gets fat and lazy as he feeds off of stale bread. His egret siblings are successful fishermen and have an abundant supply of delicious fish. The nutria sees how the egrets are eating much better than he is and he wants a share of their food. The nutria goes to his siblings for food, but they rebuke him. So, the obese nutria goes into the canal to try to catch fish for himself but he does not know how. As he struggles to catch a fish, the nutria becomes prey himself and is eaten by an alligator.

Of course the story may be modified before my pitch, but this is what I have so far. I'm now also working on character designs, style, color palette, and environments so I can start making assets as soon as possible.
I'm not sure if the nutria getting eaten by the alligator is the best form of death to deliver my message, but starvation seems like it would be hard to strongly portray in animation, while expecting a strong reaction.
I also need to find a way to show a time lapse of the nutria becoming fatter and lazier over time.


The ending to my piece is obviously not going to be a happy ending as in the Disney short of the Grasshopper and the Ants.

Here are some character sketches.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Effects Experiments/Final Project Ideas

The effects experiments are never ending. I've learned that there is so much layering that can be done with these effects. That's what I kept doing. I will play with some old footage I have with effects then go back to what I've made and then add some more effects right on top. I've been experimenting with key framing these effects and exploring their possibilities. In my experiment with my old stop motion project, I was fascinated by the abstract shapes the effects I used was making.
My first experiment probably consists the most layering and exploring of effects. My process began by going through each effect's options and playing with key frames.
I used footage for most of my experiments because I could benefit from already moving forms and images in the footage.

One of the ideas that I have for my final project relates to the project I did for midterm. I'm staying with my theme of destructive pleasure and now focusing on sloth. That is all I know at this very moment so far. I'm thinking about setting and what kind of characters to use. I'd like to set the story in a nola setting again. I've been thinking about all of the weird creatures and places back home. I'm thinking about nutrias and egrets that spend there days in canals and on the neutral grounds. People feed these animals on the neutral ground all of the time. I can perhaps focus on how these animals become dependent on the stale bread people come to feed them and they become unable to find food for themselves or defend themselves. In, consequence, they can get eaten by an alligator. The story could reflect the story of the grasshopper and the ant. The egret could be a hard worker then the be nutria lazy. For those who don't know, a nutria is practically a beaver with a rat tail and and egret is a white crane like bird. So, that's one idea I have brewing in my mind. I think there is more I can get out of this idea. I don't think the story is deep enough. I have to do a lot of time thinking about it. I honestly get some of my best ideas while taking a shower. I'm gonna have to take that old sketchbook out and jot down some random words and draw random pictures. I'm not worried. I'm always lead to something.