Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pre-Finals Week Update and Reflection on the Project

It's been a while since I last posted, but that time has been put to good use.  As of last night, April 22, 2011, my entire film is animated, inked, scanned, colored, and now animated in After Effects.  All I have left to do is add the remaining backgrounds and the special effects.  It is very exciting to see how far everything has come.  When I began the film, the ultimate goal was to finish before graduation.  But I knew how daunting of a task that was and wasn't sure if I would make it.  I am quite confident now that my film will not only be presentable by our Senior review on May 2, it will be complete. 

As I said, I knew how hard the film was going to be when I decided to do a fantasy film with realistically-moving characters, fight scenes, and lots of drama and lip sync.  But what I never could have predicted was how much I learned while making this film.  When I think back to the end of Advanced Story this time last year, I was super excited about the project and thoroughly enjoyed reworking my storyboards over the summer to create what I hoped would be the perfect film.  I entered Senior Studio with a newly polished and "trimmed" (it was still about 5 minutes long!) animatic, excited and nervous.  The next few weeks were spent further refining and cutting the story, getting use to blogging to track my progress, and creating a plan of attack to get this bad boy finished.  Along the way there were many bumps and snags that caused me to doubt my ability to manage a film on my own and threatened to stop the project dead in its tracks.  But it caused me to learned one of the best lessons: GET HELP on the things you are uncomfortable with doing yourself.  For me that meant hiring Rachael Milobar to create the incredible music and sound effects, recruiting members from the animation 3 classes to assist in inking and coloring frames, and handing my backgrounds off to Jayna Shropshire and Kevin Slawinksi who are much more capable than me at creating the beautiful environments that will support my characters. 

The best pieces of advice that I can share with those about to enter Senior Studio next Fall, or to anyone else wanting to take on an independent film is:
  • Keep your idea simple and be realistic with your abilities to realize that idea.
  • Create a realistic schedule for yourself and stick to it as best as possible.  
  • Test your work flow early to make sure it will work and have the desired look - take one simple shot and take it to the final look of the film.
  • Keep working - don't get slowed down when something doesn't work the first, or second, or third time - keep trying or move on and come back to it later with a fresh set of eyes.  
  • Get help with the tasks you are not comfortable tackling on your own.
But most important of all, remember that the film is ultimately your project and you get to make the final decisions.  

Unfortunately, I will not be posting the finished film on my blog in its entirety right away.  I will, however, be creating a trailer to promote the film that will be posted here and on my website.  The reason for not posting the finished film at this time is because I hope to submit it to film festivals and they often have restrictions against the film being available online prior to being screened at any festivals. 

The next steps for me is getting ready for Senior Review, setting up for the Senior Show, and then Graduation, followed (hopefully) by getting a job . 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Scene 2 Complete(ish)

Scene 2 (technically scene 1) of my film is now cleaned, colored, and composited.  All it needs is the backgrounds to put behind the characters and it is finished.  Shots are being cleaned up quickly and I hope to have everything ready to color by next week.  Thanks again to all the help I've received from Steve's Animation 3 classes and Josh's Animation 1 class.

So here is a preview of the final look of the film.....

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April Update

As of right now the status of my film is as follows:

Shots Remaining to Ink: 16
Shots In Progress of Being Inked: 4
Shots Remaining to create in After Effects: 5
Shots Ready for Scan/Color: 19
Shots Colored: 2

Total Shots: 46

Thanks so much to Mark for helping scan all the shots as they finish being inked and for helping with the coloring process.  Also thanks to the students from Steve and Josh's animation classes for helping with the inking and coloring. 

Here is the finalized poster.  I will updload the most recent work reel soon once I can get some of the colored shots edited in. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Work Reel and Title Sequence

Here is the newest version of my work reel.  All the animation is finished and the rest of the minor tweaks will be completed during clean up and color. 

Also, here is my title sequence that I made for my after effects class. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Post-Spring Break Report

Well, I knew my spring break would be dedicated to attempting to finish all animation for my film.  My goal was quite successful.  As of right now, the only animation left to complete is minor tweaks that need to be made to previously completed shots, one shot that needs the second character and ending animated,  and the effects animation. I'm hoping to dedicate this week to completing all those tasks and preparing to begin clean up and color.

Here is the mash up of progress from spring break:

As we are nearing the end of the semester, I'm starting to look for people to help with the final stages of production.  Specifically, I am looking for help with clean up, shooting/scanning frames into the computer, coloring single frames, and coloring backgrounds.  The backgrounds are drawn, all that is left is the color.  Color Keys will be provided for characters. 

Anyone willing to help, please email me at and let me know what you would like to work on. 

Here is the new work reel for my film.  It's amazing how much this film has transformed over the last year and a half.  The film has been cut from roughly 5 minutes long to a nice, tightly edited version of just under 2.5 minutes.  I am hoping that the film will be completely finished all the way through color by the end of the semester, now only 6 weeks away.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Poster Design

Here is the tentative design for the poster.  I may add some particle effects to the crystal and shading to the characters to match the background still.  This was also Mark's first time coloring my characters in Photoshop and I can say I'm very pleased.  Let me know what you think and any suggestions you might have.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Demo Reel 2011

Here is my current demo reel.  It has clips of my 3D animation from computer character animation, as well as some of the traditional shots from The Passage of Shadow that are now in tie-down form.  Enjoy, and let me know what you think.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Long Time, No Updates

Well, I've been very busy working on the in-betweens for scene 3 of my film.  I'm making good progress, with around half of the shots finished and ready for clean-up minus a few minor tweaks here and there. 

I'm also in the process of cutting the film down a bit in order to finish it before the end of the semester.  I would love to see the film come in under 3:15, but I will be happy if the final running time is 3:30, not including title/credits.

Speaking of title sequences, I was able to use one of the projects from my Advanced After Effects class to create the title and credit sequences for my film.  It needs a few tweaks, but overall I'm very happy with how it will look. 

So, I guess things are moving right along.  9.5 weeks left of  Back to work!!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

First Shot at In-Betweens

Here is my first shot that I've in-betweened and tied down so far.  It was really fun going back to the shots I've keyed and adding the clothes and making sure he's on model.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Updated Work Reel: Winter 2011

It's not perfect by any means, but this is my updated work reel for the beginning of the Winter 2011 semester.  It shows a few tweaks I've made to timing and the changes I've made to the last scene of the film.  There are also a few shots that have been cut for redundancy and time's sake. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Second Semester...FINAL Semester

So winter break wasn't the most productive time for my film, but I had some well needed relaxation and spent time with family so it was nice.  Now that school has started back up, I'm pushing to finish revisions on scene 3 (formerly scene 4).  Once the revisions are where I want them, I will finish the backgrounds that go with them and begin keys for that scene, and then on to in-betweens and tie downs.

I've updated my production schedule to reflect where everything is currently at.

The Passage of Shadow
Production Schedule

Things to Accomplish
1.10 – 1.16
Week 1
o   Finish revisions for Scene 4
o   Finish backgrounds/layouts for scene 4
1.17 – 1.23
Week 2
o   Keys for Scene 4
1.24 – 1.30
Week 3
o   Finish Keys for Scene 4
o   Begin In-betweens for Scene 3: Fight Shots
1.31 – 2.6
Week 4
o   In-between/Tie Down Scene 3: Fight Shots
o   Work on editing final sound effects/audio
2.7 – 2.13
Week 5
o   In-between/Tie Down Scene 3: Fight Shots
o   Work on editing final sound effects/audio
2.14 – 2.20
Week 6
o   In-between/Tie Down Scene 4
o   First Look at the Press Kit/Electronic Press Kit & Demo Reel
o   Finish final audio track
2.21- 2.27
(Mid Terms)
Week 7
o   In-between/Tie Down Scene 4
o   Phase 4B Presentation/Critiques
o   Work Reel w/ final sound edit
o   Production Blog/Book
o   Updated Production Schedule, Demo Reel, Web Presence
o   Press Kit/Electronic Press Kit (in progress)
2.28 – 3.6
Week 8
o   In-between/Tie Down Scene 2
o   Updated Resume/Cover Letter Due
3.7 – 3.13
Spring Break
o   In-Between/Tie Down Scene 2
o   Wrap up any remaining In-Betweens
3.14 – 3.20
Week 9
o   Clean up Scene 2

3.21 – 3.27
Week 10
o   Clean Up Scene 3
o   Demo Reel & Trailer Check-Up
3.28 – 4.3
Week 11
o   Clean Up Scene 3
4.4 – 4.10
Week 12
o   Clean Up Scene 4
o   Demo Reel & Trailer Rough Cuts Critique

4.11 – 4.17
Week 13
o   Begin compositing in After Effects
o   Demo Reel, Website & Trailer Check-Up
4.18 – 4.24
Week 14
o   Finish compositing and editing in After Effects
o   Finish Demo Reel Final Cut
o   Finish Production Blog Final Updates
o   Finish Press Kits
4.25 – 5.1
Week 15
o   Finish anything that needs to be finished!!!!!!!!
5.2 – 5.8
o   Final Review in Auditorium: Wednesday, May 4th at 9:00 am
o   Phase 4C Presentation/Critique
o   Present work to class
o   Production Book/Blog
o   Data disk containing thesis project (hi-res, full version)
o   Playable disc for presentation
o   Press Kit/Electronic Press Kit
o   Demo Reel & Written Components
o   Web Presence

o   Prepare materials/artwork for senior exhibition
5.9 – 5.14
Student Exhibition
o   Prepare for Senior Exhibition
o   Prepare for Graduation

After presentations today I will post the updated version of my work reel.