Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Step by Step

Years ago at the CTN Expo in Burbank, I met Pixar story artist, writer and director Jim Capoblanco
and director of "Leonardo", an animated film which took him many years to create. He described working on his personal film project as if it was a shark. "You have to keep work on it even if you have small amounts of time in order to keep the production moving and alive," he told a large roomful of people at the conference.

And so, I thought I would take you through a shot that I've been working on this week.  Here's the original storyboard panels...

Its an important shot, but its one of those shots where it needs to be shown quickly, simply and in an interesting way if possible. Sometimes a storyboard panel can be a good placeholder, but when you start working on it, you have to find the best way of doing it in 2D without getting to complicated.

During this shot, there is a lot of dialogue until we get to panel 3, then the camera has to zip pan away. The problem, I discovered was getting the cop with boots, into his car, showing the Police Car door info and then panning over to show the cop and his dog in the police car. This would be find for 3D, but I'm working in 2D and I don't want to spend a lot of time animating the cop getting into the car. How can I simplify this shot, but still keep all these key details?

This is when you have to revise your shot. It happens and storyboard artist do it all the time. For me, it takes time to see the shot from a different angle or perspective. Sometimes, I walk around all day with a shot problem in my head trying to figure out how to do it. Of course, your audience has no idea how long each shot takes to make. They only get to see the final results of all your hard work.

Ok, back to the shot at hand... Only 5 to 6 seconds in length, camera pans over title on side of car which reads, "Metro K9 Patrol". Next the camera trucks in to reveal a cop and his dog sitting inside the car, the cop looks to camera and then we pull away to look at something else.

I researched images of Police cars until I found one that suited the shot. I took it into Toon Boom

            Research Police cars...                                                 Cartoon version of car.

 Here's a rough test of the shot with the guard dog and the cop turning his head...

SC04 WIP from Toondini on Vimeo.

What do you think of this shot? Watch it a few times and let me know if you notice anything that may look odd to you. As an Animator, we have to watch our work and be our own critic. We have to ask our ourselves, is there anything we can fix or add to make the scene better.

When adding the dog to this scene, the drawing was drawn at a larger size and when I scaled down it down, the lines double in thickness. This happens in this software, but also in Flash and is a problem, but I'm hoping I can get away with. Did you notice it at all or do you have animator eyes as well?

Here's your chance to direct a scene! I've got 25 scenes to finish, 2:20 in running time and I would appreciate any comments you may have and if I need to change this shot or let it be.

Thanks, Jim