Monday, December 13, 2010

End of the First Semester

As we enter the final week of the semester, I take a step back and look at everything I've accomplished thus far. 
  • I've trimmed my film to roughly 3.5 minutes
  • I've completed the rough animation for scenes 2-3 save for a few effects shots
  • I've recorded my final audio and have received the rough soundtrack from Rachael Milobar (she did an incredible job)
But more importantly, I'm much more confident in my traditional animation and am very excited to begin inbetweening and cleaning everything up.

While there is still a long road ahead, I'm sure that it will be exciting.  So now I prepare to start tackling scene 4 and I look forward to a bit of relaxation over the holidays with family and friends. 

I will post my most recent work reel on Wednesday after our presentations so I don't spoil the surprise. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

New Work Reel...again

Here's my latest work reel as of December 2nd.  I'm still keying away on scene 3 and have only about 24 more shots to finish and then I can move on to scene 4. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

So, after putting this shot off as long as I could, I finally decided to tackle the shot in Scene 3 of the ghosts running to attack Izumar and Korra.  I found some awesome video reference of track runners and that helped immensely.  I'd appreciate any feedback too.  These are just keys at this point. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Updated Work Reel

Here is the updated version of my work reel with more shots from scene 3. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010


After struggling with this shot for 3 days now, I finally got something that will work.  The problem was that the shot's initial composition broke the 180 rule, so Josh suggested adding another move at the beginning of the fight to correct the issue.  So, after much frustration, I shot some video reference which helped immensely.  So, here is the shot, feedback is much appreciated.  There is a small jump that I'm aware of and I will fix that now, but I still wanted to post it as is to show the progress.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pencil Tests

So today I focused on reworking Korra's walk from the tent to the rock by the campfire from scene 2.  The old version was very stiff.  There are more breakdowns at the beginning of the test and then I mainly stuck to keys to make sure I got the positioning correct and she got to where she needed to on the rock.  I will continue to tweak this shot further down the road, but I'm much happier with how this one is turning out.

 This is the fight from shot 9 of scene 3 where Korra is fighting the ghost.  I need more breakdowns for the ghost at the end and the proportions are a bit wacky at this point, but I really like the motion.  I took video reference for this shot and it really has helped my animation a lot. 

This is another of the fight scene shots that I took video reference for.  It was very helpful yet again.  I'm really happy with the motion that I'm getting out of just the keys so far.  The fight scenes have been my favorite thing to work on so far.  

Finally, I got the keys done for 03_020: where Korra cries out in pain when she is struck by the ghost at the end of the fight.  Just keys at this point.

More pencil tests to come throughout the week I'm sure.  My main focus at this point is getting the entire film in rough key form so I can go back and begin to polish and tweak everything.  By doing it this way, I hope that my drawing of the characters will continue to become more consistent. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Work Reel

Here is my new work reel with more animation roughs. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Making Progress

It's been a while since I've updated everyone, so there's a lot to cover!

First, I'm almost done with all the keys for scene 2, just a little tweaking, polishing, and adding a few breakdowns  before I start on any of the in-betweens.  I did a little color test of one of the shots from scene 2 as well so I could test out my clean up and color process.  Scene 3 is well on it's way in the key stage as well.  I've shot a lot of video reference which is really helping with the fight shots. 

The way I will be cleaning, coloring, and compositing my film begins by shooting all of my tests in iStopMotion and then exporting them as images instead of as a video file. I will then take those images into Photoshop where I will do my final linework and color.  Once colored, the images will be taken into After Effects where they will be placed into the scenes. 

I also hired Rachael Milobar to create the music for my film.  I was impressed with the music she composed for her senior film last year and am very excited to have her working on my film. 

Over the weekend, I will continue to work on keys, both on new shots and tweaking the ones I've already done so that I can add them to my work reel.  I will post the updated animatic with the keys as soon as it is done. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Layouts Done...on to animation

I finished the background and character layouts for scenes 2 and 3 over the weekend and finally got to try out my new animation table.  I worked the rough keys for the first few shots of scene 2 as well and I'm really happy with how everything is looking.

The only major hang ups I've come across so far is trying to paint my backgrounds.  I am not a painter, never pretended to be one, but I think that with some patience and trial and error. I'll be able to come up with something that will work and give the film the style I'm going for.  Also, I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to do for my music/soundtrack.  I still have a few options still so hopefully one of them will work out.

In the mean time, back to animating!!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

New Animatic

This is the new animatic with very rough audio.  I am now deep into backgrounds and will begin animating very very soon.  I am also going to do a litmus test on one of the shots to get a preview of what the finished style will look like fully animated and colored.  I'm so happy at how everything is falling into place.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Animation Equipment

Over the summer my fiance, Mark, and I worked on building me a mini-animation studio in the spare bedroom.  I can now do basically everything I would need to do in the comforts of my own home.  Everything turned out great.

My animation desk and work area, already with old Passage of Shadow character sheets

Animation table with the light on.
My new downshooter, capable of sliding the camera up and down, left and right, as well as shooting with underlighting.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Here are my updated character designs and character sheets for Izumar and Korra.  I am much happier with the proportions and overall look of these designs.  I've completed another version of the animatic which is linked below.  I have also finished the script.  Now I am getting the backgrounds sketched and finalized.  I'm looking forward to beginning animation in a few weeks. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Production Schedule

The Passage of Shadow
Production Schedule

Things to Accomplish
(Week 2)
o   Finalize Animatic and Create final shot list
o   Polish dialogue and get to near final state
o   Refine and finalize character designs
(Week 3)
o   Get animatic green-lit by instructors & complete any needed changes
o   Complete background & character layouts for Scenes 1 & 2
o   Complete Artist Statement  & Bio (Due 9.22)
(Week 4)
o   Continue/ Complete background & character layouts for Scenes 2,3 & 4
o   Double check all layouts and prep for animation
o   Finalize script and prepare for final audio recording
o   Update blog and prep for web 1:1 Check-Up
(Week 5)
o   Record final audio
o   Shoot final video reference for fight scene (or download from Youtube)
o   Begin Key outs for Scene 2: 001-008
(Week 6)
o   Key outs for Scene 2: 009-16
o   Finish Resume and Cover Letter (due 10.13)
(Week 7)
o   Key outs for Scene 3: Beginning to Start of Fight Sequence
o   Phase 3 Presentation/Critique (10.20):
- Final draft of script,
- Concept art
- Storyboards/Shot List
- Work Reel
- Production Book/Blog
(Week 8)
o   Key outs for Scene 3: Fight Sequence
(Week 9)
o   Key outs for Scene 3: Fight Sequence
o   Revise Demo Reel with Passage of Shadow shots
(Week 10)
o   Key outs for Scene 3: Fight Sequence, Healing Sequence
o   Work on Demo reel and update blog/website for 1:1 Check-Up
(Week 11)
o   Key outs for Scene 3: Castle entry and Scene 4:001-015
(Week 12)
o   Key outs for Scene 4: 016-028
o   Finish Demo reel rough cut for critique (11.24)

(Week 13)
o   Key outs for Scene 1: 001-014
o   Improve Demo reel and update blog/website for 1:1 Check-Up (12.1)
(Week 14)
o   In-between Scene 3: 001-Fight Sequence
(Week 15)
o   In-between Scene 3: Fight Sequence
o   Phase 4a Presentation/Critique (12.15)
- Work reel w/ Scratch Track
- Production Book/Blog
(Winter Break)
o   In-between Scene 3: Fight Sequence
(Winter Break)
o   In-between Scene 3: Fight Sequence, Healing Sequence
(Winter Break)
o   In-between Scene 3: Castle entry and Scene 4: 001-015
(Week 1)
o   In-between Scene 4: 016-028
(Week 2)
o   In-between Scene 2: 001-14
(Week 3)
o   In-between Scene 2: 15-16, Scene 1: 001-014
(Week 4)
o   Cushion time for any remaining in-betweens
o   Clean-Up Scene 1 & 2
(Week 5)
o   Clean-Up Scene 3 & 4
(Week 6)
o   First Look at the Press Kit/Electronic Press Kit & Demo Reel
o   Clean-Up Scene 3
(Week 7)
o   Clean-Up Scene 3
o   Phase 4b Presentations/Critiques
- Work reel w/ final sound edit
- Production Book/Blog
- Updated Production Schedule, Demo Reel & Web Presence
- Press Kit/ Electronic Press Kit (in progress)
(Week 8)
o   Final Line: Scene 1 & 2
o   Updated Resume & Cover Letter Due
Spring Break
o   Final Line: Scene 3 & 4
(Week 9)
o   Final Line Wrap Up
o   Begin color
(Week 10)
o   Color Scene 1,2 & 4
o   Demo Reel & Trailer Check-Up
(Week 11)
o   Color Scene 3
o   Begin compositing
(Week 12)
o   Wrap up Color
o   Continue compositing
o   Demo Reel & Trailer Rough Cuts Critique
(Week 13)
o    Editing/Compositing
o   Website, Demo Reel, & Trailer Check-Up
(Week 14)
o   Finish Compositing
o   Finish Editing
o   Finish Demo Reel
o   Finish Press Kits
o   Finish Production Book
(Week 15)
o    Finish anything that needs to be finished!!!!!
o   Phase 4c Presentation/Critique
- Present work to class
- Production Book/Blog
- Data disk containing thesis project (hi-res, full version)
- Playable disc for presentation
- Pres Kit/Electronic Press Kit
- Web Presence
- Demo Reel & Written Components
o   Review Week!!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Passage of Shadow Treatment

The Passage of Shadow
Story by Shelbi Allen
The Passage of Shadow is a traditionally animated short film.  The film will be colored using Photoshop and edited and composited in After Effects.  This fantasy adventure tells the story of Izumar Blacksoul and his quest to save his home city from the evil plot of his father, the reigning King of Stonehaven.  Izumar must find a way to overcome his fear of the uncertainty of his future and gain the courage and confidence to do what must be done.

The theme of the film is that you can accomplish anything as long as you have confidence in yourself and aren’t afraid to take a chance.

Izumar Blacksoul – Izumar is 22-year-old a half human, half Draekan male.  Izumar is the reluctant prince of Stonehaven.  He hates his father, the king, who killed his mother died shortly after Izumar was born.  Izumar is of average human height and has an athletic build.  He has dark blue yes, black medium length hair, a short, neatly kept goatee, and very handsome features.  As Izumar got older he became aware of how evil his father really was and he left the castle to join the mage guild.  Izumar also has strong feelings for Korra, who he befriended shortly after she arrived in Stonehaven. 

Korra Shadowblade – Korra is a 20-year-old Draekan female.  She is slender and has an athletic build.  She has petit, attractive features, dark blue eyes, and medium length dark hair.  She is very agile, and deceptively strong for a woman of her size.  Korra was orphaned at the age of 10 and found refuge at Stonehaven at the Mage Guild.  Korra cares deeply for Izumar and has very strong feelings for him, but she is too shy to let those feelings be known to anyone.

Izumar and Korra leave the city of Stonehaven early in the morning, just as the sun is rising.  Eventually they reach the entrance to an ancient tunnel.  Izumar and Korra make their way through the tunnel to a dark underground cavern where they decide to camp for the night.    

Later that night, Izumar is sitting alone by the fire, deep in thought.  Korra joins him at the fire and reassures him that they will destroy his father.  Izumar then shares his deeper concerns about possibly having to become the new king and the possibility of losing her because of it.  Korra again reassures him, saying that she will never leave his side.

The next morning, Izumar and Korra are perched on a cliff that overlooks a massive cavern that houses the ancient Draekan castle.  As they approach the castle, four ghosts of ancient Draekan warriors appear.  Izumar and Korra draw their weapons and prepare for battle.  A Draekan ghost delivers a brutal cut to Korra’s arm and she passes out from shock.  Izumar unleashes a magical attack upon the ghosts that he never knew that he was capable of.  Izumar rushes to see if Korra is all right.  She is badly wounded but Izumar heals it with a simple spell.  Izumar and Korra approach the entrance to the castle and Izumar reveals the hidden door with another spell.  Izumar and Korra enter the castle.    

Izumar and Korra make their way through the castle’s hallways searching for the archive room.  When they find it, it is filled with artifacts from centuries of Draekan history.  Izumar enters the room and makes his way to the pedestal that holds the crystal.  When Izumar picks up the crystal, it emits with a blinding light.  Korra rushes into the room and knocks the crystal from Izumar’s hand.  He collapses against the pedestal and Korra kneels down next to him.  Korra asks him what happened and he tells her that the crystal showed him his future and that he knows how to save Stonehaven.  The hugs her tightly, then says that it is time to return to Stonehaven to set everything right.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Character Designs


Welcome to my blog about my senior thesis film The Passage of Shadow. The film will be a traditionally animated short film. The story is based on me and my fiance's characters from Everquest 2, and online massively multilayer roleplaying game made by Sony Online Entertainment. It was through Everquest that I met and fell in love with my fiance.

The Passage of Shadow tells the story of Izumar Blacksoul, the prince of Stonehaven and his quest to find an ancient crystal that he believes is the key to saving the city from the evil plots of his father, the king. Along with the help of Korra and Desair, Izumar realizes that he has had the ability to defeat his father all along.

 As I move forward with the film, I will update my blog with concept art, backgrounds, and animation tests, and anything else interesting that I want to share.