Thursday, 29 April 2010

Slime Mold Mock Poster

The theme i am working on towards applying to this project is the theme of retro 1950's horror movies such as 'The Blob'. I feel as though using this theme has given me an exciting and intriguing way of bringing across information, and will not be boring to watch unlike your standard life cycle diagrams. (i will post a more in depth reason for the retro theme later)

Here's a quick mock poster i done last night, i am yet to do some concept art seeing as i believe a more in depth knowledge of the life cycle of the mold is needed. But i thought i would spend some time creating a quick poster which would advertise the animation. (but mainly bring across the overall feel and theme of my animation)

I felt as though i needed to make a ceative post, and to get my head away from writing this theory essay. Its not finished and it just a quick mock up of what the final poster could look like, and to show people the direction i am going with this project.

Slime Mold Question

Ive got mold on the brain, after a hefty amount of reseach i found myself asking the question, are we being asked to recreate the life cycle of a 'Plasmodial Slime Mold' or a 'Cellular Slime Mold'. From looking at the diagram provided to us be Peter Klappa i assumed it was Cellular Slime Mold, but upon further research i discovered some resemblence and am now not sure.

Or am i right in thinking that Plasmodial Slime Mold is the Asexual from and the Cellular Slime Mold is the Sexual reproductive form.

If it helps i found this piece of information on...

Slime Mold, an organism with some characteristics similar to those of fungi, and other characteristics similar to those of protists. There are more than 500 species of slime molds. They creep on decaying wood and in moist soil, ingesting bacteria and decaying vegetation. There are two major groups of slime molds: plasmodial, or true, slime molds and cellular slime molds.

Plasmodial Slime Molds:
The body of a plasmodial slime mold is the plasmodium, a thin, flat mass of protoplasm as long as 12 inches (30 cm). It does not have any cells, but its protoplasm contains structures similar to cell nuclei. The plasmodium is slimy to the touch and may be yellow, red, purple, or colorless. In response to adverse conditions (such as a lack of moisture), the plasmodium produces sporangia, typically round structures borne on stalks. Through an asexual process, sporangia produce structures called spores. The spores are scattered by the wind. When there is a sufficient amount of moisture, the spores develop into reproductive cells called gametes. Through a sexual process, the fusion of two gametes produces a new plasmodium.

Several species of microscopic, parasitic slime molds known as plasmodiophorans are classified with plasmodial slime molds by some biologists. Plasmodiophorans cause club-root disease in cabbage roots and powdery scab in potato plants.

Cellular Slime Molds:
The body of a cellular slime mold consists of many cells. They form a sluglike mass called a pseudoplasmodium. The pseudo-plasmodium eventually transforms itself into a stalklike structure called a sorocarp, which releases spores. Amoeboid cells emerge from the spores. After feeding for some time, the amoeboid cells gather together to form a new pseudoplasmodium. A cellular slime mold does not usually have a sexual stage in its life cycle.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Scenario 04 - The Life of a Fern

The Second scenario of interest to me was 'The Life of a Fern'. Peter Klappa mentioned this as being one of the hardest, but to me i believe it looked like the most simplest. The idea that initially pops to mind would be to go from the 'New Sporophyte' to 'Meiosis' or if achievable go for the whole cycle, which is highly suicidal.

I believed this would be most simple, but the animation would switch from the real world to the biological world of the inside of the fern.

If i was to follow this idea through, my target audience would be undergraduates and i would carry out the animation to have a very professional aesthetic. I would base this animation to look the same as my initial idea for the slime mould. Which was to use high end visuals similar representing what the cells look under a microscope as closely as possible, and i would also use the idea of 'Squint Opera', which was to use floating text and diagrams to show information.

I would also use techniques such as high speed zooms and camera shakes to show fast movement within the animation. When information is needed, i would freeze frame the image, rotate around the model being shown with a 360 degree pan, and show the information needed using the floating text. Sort of like a 'Matrix effect'.

I'm still not entirely sure which one to go with, its between scenario 02 (the slime mould) and scenario 04 (the fern) any suggestions???

Scenario 02 - The Life of a Slime Mold

As mentioned before, during the time of the presentation, it was this scenario 'The Life of a Slime Mold' which intrigued me the most. I believe this is because of the stunning visuals in which Peter Klappa showed us, and because of the potential within modelling some of the molds in CG.

My initial development thoughts for 'The Life of a Slime Mold' were scientific based, which would be aimed at undergraduates. I was thinking of using high tech visuals aswell as text explaining the process. Some thing similar to...

Jonathan Thiry's 'Dream Avenue'

With its stunning and realistic visuals.

and Squint Opera's 'Model Home 2020'

With there floating style of text and diagrams which is a prouctive way of informing the viewer with information.

I cannot find a video to embed so heres the link...

Squint Opera 'Model Home 2020'

After further thought into the world of the slime mold and a thought about the right target audience. I soon realised that a 1950's SciFi/horror movie would be a suitable way to present 'The Life of a Slime Mold'. I would do this by presenting it in a classic retro SciFi film fashion using the likes of 'The Blob' as reference. I would also aim this interpretation to the juniour/GCSE students.

Heres a video clip to show the scientific side of the life cycle...

John Bonners Slime Mould

and heres a video clip to show how the retro SciFi genre could interpret it...

The Blob (1958)

I feel as though this could have great potential and would work well as an informative, yet interesting and fun to watch CG film to show 'The Life of a Slime Mold'.

The Scenarios

Here are the four scenarios given to us by Peter Klappa at the time of our briefing. Knowing that we have to create an animation which tells the life cycle story of one of these scenarios, it is vital that we choose the right one and the right target audience to do so. Having missed the briefing for scenario 01 (apologies for that) i have decided not to go for this one. Scenario 02 initially intrigued me the most, so there is a possibility for this one being my choice. Scenario 03 is interesting by does not interest me as much as the others. Finally scenario 04 also intigued me, leaving another possibility for my choice.

So out of the four scenarios given to us, i have rounded my options down to scenario 02 'The Life of a Slime Mould' and scenario 04 'The Life of a Fern'. I am still not sure which scenario to go with so some careful thought is needed in choosing the final one. I have an idea for each of these scenarios so hopefully after some further research into each subject, hopefully it will become clear which one to choose.

Fantastic Voyage (1966)

Fantastic Voyage was created in 1966 and directed by Richard Fliescher, the film features a group of scientists taking part on the 'fantastic voyage' through the human body, the first film of which to dive into this genre.

The film follows a group of scientists voyage through the human body in a miniature submarine to save a scientists life. Whom of which has crucial information in the development of the 'shrink ray', which the United States and the Soviet Union both need to complete there experiments within the miniaturization of objects. Through out the voyage, the crew come across various different obstacles which hinder them achieving there goal and saving the scientists life, but all of which are soon overcome.

This film was quite joyous to watch but also during the beginning of the film quite anticipating. The film takes a long time to set the scene which allows the viewers to understand the reason behind the film, but as a viewer waiting to know how they portrayed the inside of the human body, the film became very anticipated and quite exhausting to watch before the crew enter the body. The reason behind this simply lies within the lack of patience, but also the fact that the scientists preparing for the operation take a long time to complete everything.

None the less this film portrayed some fantastic visuals of the inside of the human body and did prepare me for this project, showing some possibilities of the way parts of the body or any of our chosen scenarios could look.

A good film to watch for the start of this project.

Unit 06: Commision

Last project did not go as smooth as i would have liked so for this one there needs to be some changes. As we all know this one is the big one, the last project of the year and also our first dive into the real world.

Unit 06 is more science based which is quite a downfall for me, but none the less a hell of a lot is research into my chosen topic is going to be needed. Soon after our lecture with P.Klappa, and some talks with Phil i gathered a few preliminary ideas and directions i want to go with this project.

Knowing this is the hardest project of the year, i hope to break that barrier of the 2-1 and aim for a 1st, good luck to everyone.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Monday, 26 April 2010

Maya: Character Rigging/Walk Cycle Mechanics Tutorials

Here's the character rig we had to produce for this project, all went well with no problems, and it was as fun as rigging can get i suppose :)

Here's the first of the walk cycles we have had to produce, all went well with this one except some minor foot slips.

Alan, i have not managed to produce the rest of the tutorials for this project, i know this is a problem and i will complete them tomorrow after the unit 06 briefing. Apologies for this.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Animation Timeline: Entry 22 - Avatar (2009)

Avatar was created and directed by James Cameron which was then released in 2009. The film has been in development and production since 1994 and has had the high budget of $237,000,000. Avatar is the most recent film to be released in revolutionary timeline of animation and has used the mixture of CG and motion capture to create it. The majority of the film was created using CG andthe rest using live action footage and motion capture to create the movement of the characters.

According to James Cameron the filming of Avatar was delayed for many years in the 1990's due to the fact that the technology available back then was not sufficient enough to create the effects Cameron was imagining. This soon proved to be a good idea due to its excellence in motion capture and its award winning visual effects.

Animation Timeline: Entry 21 - The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is the second of the films based on J.R.R Tolkien's series of books titled The Lord of the Rings. The film was created in 2002 and directed by Peter Jackson.

What makes this film significant to the history of animation is its extensive work on motion capture animation. In the film there is a character named Gollum, who originally was going to be entirely CG, but soon was created using motion capture and voice of the actor Andy Serkis.

Not only does the film feature extensive work within motion capture, but also features detailed war scenes constructed entirely from CG.

Animation Timeline: Entry 20 - Toy Story (1995)

Toy Story was created by John Lasseter and the team at Pixar animation studios in 1995. It was the first ever fully CG feature length film, which then lead the way for many more to follow. Due to Toy Story's popularity the film managed to produce an gross income of $362,000,000 to date and then went on to produce 2 sequels and was named as being the biggest revolution in animation since Disney's Steamboat Willie.

The film features a fully CG environment and characters based on a story of a child's toys coming to life when there owners are not present. The film also was the first animation created by Pixar to use famous voice actors, which soon became a trend within animation feature lengths to follow.

What helped Toy Story be a success was of course its extremely modern graphics, but also its never out dated and genius storyline. Since the creation of Toy Story Pixar has managed to produce 9 other feature length animation which have all been of great success due to there wacky story lines and graphics.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Animation Timeline: Entry 19 - A Grand Day Out with Wallace and Gromit (1989)

A Grand Day Out with Wallace and Gromit is the first stop motion animation produced by Aardman Studios to feature Wallice and Gromit. It was created in 1989 by Nick Park and was the inspiration for the many to follow animations featuring Wallace and Gromit.

A Grand Day Out with Wallace and Gromit was award nominated and started life as an graduation project of Nick Park for the National Film and Television School. Since its creation, it has been very popular within the United Kingdom and has become a house hold name.

Animation Timeline: Entry 18 - Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

Who Framed Roger Rabbit was directed by Robert Zemeckis and Richard Williams in 1988. The film features the combination of both traditional animation with live footage. It was one of the first feature length blockbusters to use this combination and has influenced many more since, some for example include 'Space Jam' and 'Looney Tunes Back In Action'.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit also featured various different characters from the likes of Mickey Mouse to Bugs Bunny, which was all then wrapped into a nice feature length blockbuster combining live footage and classic animation.

Animation Timeline: Entry 17 - Luxo Jr. (1986)

Luxo Jr. is the first ever animated short created by Pixar animation studios, the animation short was created in 1986 by John Lasseter, and today is known as the 'steam boat willie' of computer animation.

Luxo Jr. features a lamp which comes to life through the movement of the lamp head, which takes place as a human head, which then interacts with a child lamp and a bouncy ball. What makes this animation so successful and memorable is the fact that Pixar had brought an inanimate object to life and gave it a likable story and meaning.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Animation Timeline: Entry 16 - The Adventures of Andre and Wally B (1984)

The Adventures of Andre and Wally B is the first ever animation short to come out of John Lasseter. Lasseter created the short in 1984 and which features the worlds first CG animation with characters and a story. At the time of production the short was created by Lasseter and the Lucasfilm computer graphics project, which then eventually became PIxar.

It was this groundbreaking piece of animation which inspired many more animations to be produced using CG. Not only did this short use characters and a story in CG for the first time, it also used motion blur and the fundamentals of hand drawn animation.

The Bilious Spinning Top - Final Animation

Here it is, the outcome of this project (or shall i say the last week). For me this has definitely been the most difficult project, but at times quite joyful. Overall I'm happy with the way my animation has came out, its a tad short and i had to overcome various different problems but i got there in the end.

Animation Timeline: Entry 15 - Tron (1981)

Tron is a film which was released in 1981 and directed by Steven Lisberger. Tron features some of the first computer generated imagery within films. Lisberger was interested in using the technique which was used to light up logos for TV, and then apply this back light to a character.

Tron was created as a risk taker, like Disney's Fantasia which did evidently not do so well, but tron on the other did.

Animation Timeline: Entry 14 - Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope is the first installment of the epic trilogy directed by George Lucas. The film was released in 1977 and is one of the highest grossing films of all time. This is due to its ground breaking special effects, its unconventional editing and its great futuristic story.

This film takes part in the uprise in the animation film industry and does so with a high amount of talent. Its high detail of animation makes the movie what it is today, a remembered classic.

Animation Timeline: Entry 13 - Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

Jason and the Argonauts is a film directed in 1963 by Don Chaffey, which features some of the most famous stop motion sequences in film. The Stop motion animation was created by famous animator Ray Harryhausen who specialised in creating mythological creature animations.

Throughout the film there are various different scenes which include different mythological creatures, these range from creatures which fly to a whole army of fighting skeletons.

The stop motion sequence which features an army of skeletons attacking the Argonauts, is a scene which has been long remembered for being a great piece of animation for its time, far advancing any other stop motion animation.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Progress So Far...

Okay, since i started to do my project again on Monday i feel its needed just to do a quick progress post. I have finished my essay, although some alterations are needed, I have successfully completed my storyboards and animatic last night, which i feel clearly shows the story and direction of the animation. Today i have completed a piece of concept art to show what the character (the spinning top) looks like and have also key framed up 45 seconds of my animation. So this leaves me with needing to do the last 15 seconds of key frames and a long day of inbetweens tomorrow. I will then scan everything in and do all the post production on Thursday and finish all the bits and pieces.

So far i am happy with the progress being made, but do need to see whether the animation flows well on screen.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Spinning Top Character Concept

This is my character concept for the spinning top, i have not differed too much from my reference images, as i feel they have quite a child like quality to them.

Animatic - The Bilious Spinning Top

Here's the animatic. At the minute theres no sound, I'm still not entirely sure what sound should go with it. But at the end there will be a sound effect of someone being sick which will be heard over the credits

Also there is a frame missing at the beginning, it was just the floor with an arrow showing that the camera pans across the floor to the right and over the packaging to the spinning top. I would have put it back in but YouTube has only just decided to process it.


Okay, so here's the storyboard of the original story in which i have gone back to. For this story i have decided to keep it simple, so i think the plain white background with the black lines works very well.

This is the story of the Bilious Spinning Top, the spinning top is just a child fresh out the box and is about to experience its first spin. All doesn't go to plan for the little one when he fails twice to make himself spin, but alas on the third spin he gets the hang of it. The spinning top soon gets dizzy form his first spin which leaves his first spinning expericene with a bad end with him heaving as though he is going to throw up.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Epic Backtrack

Okay, so i have now decided to go back to my original story, i feel as though the one i have chosen is going no where and its really frustrating. This probably isn't what you want to hear on the week of the crit Phil :S

I feel as though my original story is much more effective to tell the story if the Bilious Spinning Top and that i will be able to create a far better animation out of it.

Animation Timeline: Entry 12 - Fantasia (1940)

Fantasia is a feature length film created by Walt Disney in 1940. This feature length combines the mixture of cel-animation with the soundtrack of a live orchestra. What makes the animation from Disney well remembered is its eastern European influence with a darker, more evil sense of story and animation.

The animation was designed with the idea in mind that it would be completely silent, with the only sound being from a narrator and the live orchestra. This in turn worked very well with the animation, but not so well with the viewers due to its great difference from the classic Disney produced cartoons.

Fantasia features a series of animations ranging from live action footage of the orchestra to cel animated cartoons of mickey mouse, at the time of the animation Disney's fading character. The more memorable animations within the feature would be 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' and 'Night on Bald Mountain', which are certainly the more darker animations.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice:

Night on Bald Mountain:

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Animation Timeline: Entry 11 - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was created by Walt Disney in 1937. Its was the first feature length cel-animated movie ever created and was of great success. Previous to Snow white and the Seven Dwarfs, Walt Disney had focused on creating animated shorts which featured well known characters of today such as Mickey Mouse.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs features the characters of a princess named Snow White, and a set of seven well known dwarfs named, Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey, Doc, Happy, Bashful and Grumpy. Snow White is ordered to be killed by the queen due to her being 'the fairest of them all' through jealousy, the queen believes that she is dead, but little does she know, Snow White is secretly living her life with seven mining dwarfs in the woods.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs trailer link

Due to its success Walt Disney then went onto create many more feature length animations which are still of great success today, just as they were when they were on release.

Animation Timeline: Entry 10 - King Kong (1933)

Willis O'Brien is back with his most famous stop motion creation King Kong. King Kong was created in 1933 and features one of the most known monsters of all time, King Kong, the great ape and 'eighth wonder of the world'.

King Kong featured the work of Willis O'Brien as the special effects artist and was world renowned for its high quality animation. O'Brien created the entire movement of the great ape and the dinosaurs throughout the film using small sized models and the technique of stop motion animation. This animation was then applied to live action footage, which worked well and had a high amount of quality for the time the film and animation was created.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Animation Timeline: Entry 09 - Steamboat Willie (1928)

Steamboat Willie is a short animation created by Walt Disney in 1928. It was the third animation which featured Disney's most famous character Mickey Mouse and was the first animation to feature synchronized sound.

Disney set up a showing silent Steamboat Willie as a silent movie which was shown to employees and their wives. They then set up a bed sheet with a microphone behind it and began playing the music themselves as the film played, thus creating to first animation with sound.

Animation Timeline: Entry 08 - The Lost World (1925)

The Lost World was directed by Harry Hoyt in 1925 and featured a considerable amount of stop motion animation created by special effects artist Willis O'Brien. The Lost World was O'Brien's first Hollywood feature, which then led on to O'Brien's most famous pieces of work in King Kong (1933). The Lost World is a silent movie which features stop motion animation using clay models as dinosaurs.

Aniamtion Timeline: Entry 07 - Alice's Wonderland (1923)

Alice's Wonderland is an short black and white silent animation which was created by Walt Disney in 1923. This animation is the first ever to feature the combination of live action and traditional animation. It was also the first to feature Walt Disney in one of his own films.

Alice's Wonderland (1923) Link

Friday, 16 April 2010

Another Essay Question - Phil

Hey Phil, i have finished my essay now and am pretty pleased with it :)

I was just wondering whether you could check it over again with some feed back. I was going to show you some time in the week but i realised your not in until Thursday.

Ive sent it to you in email again,

Cheers, Rich.

Animation Timeline: Entry 06 - Felix the Cat (1920)

Felix the Cat is a silent cartoon which was created by Pat Sullivan and Otto Messmer and it the first cartoon based characted to be shown to a large audience. Felix the cat features a cartoon cat which finds him self in various different situations. Felix first came to screens in 1920 in his tv show 'Feline Follies'.

But by the end of the 1920's the success of Felix soon faded due to its then dated silent cartoon. With the introduction of Disney's Mickey Mouse and its cartoons with sound, this soon became more popluar than Felix. It was then aired again but soon proved to be a failure.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Animation Timeline: Entry 05 - Winsor McCay (1867 - 1934)

Winsor McCay is one of the most known early animators in the world, the work in which Mckay was producing at the time was incredibly well done and set the level for future animations to come, to this day its still hard to believe how old these animations are.

McCay is most famous for creating his animations 'Little Nemo' and 'Gertie the Dinosaur', both of which feature a character and personality built out of animated line drawings.

Little Nemo (1911)

Gertie the Dinosaur (1914)

Seven years later McCay produced an animation named 'The Sinking of the Lustintania'. This animation features an explanation of what happened to the boat and why it sank. Essentially its an an American anti-German animation shot in a documentary style to inform the viewers of the event and is created using 25,000 drawings.

The Sinking of the Lustintania (1918)

Animation Timeline: Entry 04 - J. Stuart Blackton (1875 - 1941)

James Stuart Blackton created Humorous Phases of Funny Faces in 1906 which is generally considered as the first animated film.

The animation is made up of chalk drawings of faces drawn on a blackboard which then react with each other. As well as using line drawings to create animations, it also uses cut-out drawings made to look like chalk line drawings which shows some of the first examples for stop motion animation.

Animation Timeline: Entry 03 - Charles Emile Reynaud (1844 - 1918)

Charles Emile Reynaud was a french scientist and was responsible for creating the first ever animated film. He done so by using the Praxinoscope which he created in 1877 and the Theatre Optique which he created in 1888.

The Theatre Optique is a large scale Praxinoscope combined with a glass viewing screen which allowed a larger audience to view the animation at one time. Reynaud first showed this invention in a public showing on the 28th October 1892 at the Musee Grevin in Paris.

The show was named Pantomimes Lumineuses and it consisted of three cartoons, Pauvre Pierrot, Un bon bock, and Le Clown et ses chiens. Each of these animations consisted of 500 to 600 individually painted images which lasted about 15 minutes, each animation was accompanied by a piano player.

Animation Timeline: Entry 02 - Eadweard MuyBridge (1830 - 1904)

Eadweard Muybridge, is an English photographer and one of the founding fathers of animation but is better known for his pioneering work within the animal locomotion.

He proved that a horse at one point in its run cycle has no feet on the ground. But little did he know it at the time, he hadn't just proved that all of a horses feet are off the ground in its run cycle, he also worked out that with the right amount of frames you can produce the illusion of a flowing walk cycle. This today has given us the fundamentals of animation.

Muybridge found this out by taking a quick succesion of photographs of a horses gallop using multiple cameras.

Animation Timeline: Entry 01 - Victorian Parlour Toys

Victorian parlour toys are some of the earliest inventions and forms of animation which still exist today, these toys consist of:

The Zoetrope (180 AD; 1834)
Was invented in China 180 AD by the inventor Ting Huan, but was then reproduced in 1834 by William George Horner and is now known as the modern zoetrope. The invention worked by placing a series of images inside a cylinder with slits, the viewer would then spin the cylinder and look into one of the slits, which creates the illusion of a moving image.

Thaumatrope (1824)
Was invented in 1834 and is credited to three possible inventors; Charles Babbage, Peter Roget, and John Ayrton Paris. The invention worked by having an image on either side of a circular disc, which was attached to a piece of sting. Once the string was twisted in between a person fingers, the piece of card span round which created the illusion of an image combing together.

Flip Book (1868)
Was patented in 1868 by a John Barnes Linnet. The invention worked by having a series of pictures which ran one after the other in time, the pictures where then flicked through at a high speed which created the illusion of movement within the images.

Praxinoscope (1877)
Was invented by French scientist Charles-Émile Reynaud, it simply was a more sophisticated version of the zoetrope. It used the exact same mechanics of animation as the zoetrope, but instead of viewing the animation through slits in the side of a cylinder, the viewer would see the animation through a series of mirrors within the cylinder.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Question for Phil - Essay

Hey Phil, i was just wondering whether you could check over my essay, i have been writing it over the last couple of days but i think I've wrote too much about John Lasseter's childhood, i would cut some out, but i think its important to know about Lasseter's life.

I have sent you a copy of my essay to your email, would be great if i could get some feed back,

Cheers, Rich

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Character Concept # 01

Here's some concept art for the male and female spinning top characters together. As you can see i have really tried to show the difference in the sex between the spinning tops by using classic boy vs girl colours (pink for girl and blue for boy), and used the 'dress shaped' spinning top for the female and a more straight masculine shape for the male.

Sunday, 4 April 2010