Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Bigger Picture- USP

Before closing the project, this is where I justify the USP of the concept.

Why this method and how does it relate to students?

On the basis of the 3 main features provided in the brief (Savings, Overspending & Budgeting), I tried to figure out what would be the primary message being conveyed by merging all the 3 features together. Hence, I came up with the idea of Balance. In spite of being given some eminent examples in the brief like that of piggy shopping or rolling in money etc, I decided to go for something from a totally different perspective yet conceptually relevant. 


Also, based on all the material research of ASK Student Services,  I collected excerpts and brochures that talked about the services offered and why as students, we require financial assistance. (ALL RESEARCH INCLUDED IN RVJ). 


Hence, my concept narrowed down to the point of view of a student. What his major expenditures comprise and the mistakes one makes in relation to money management. Again based on research, it all came down to housing tariff, education fees and social life expenditure. As students, they can relate to this scenario and understand the effect of calculating and budgeting their day to day finance which in turn affects their lives and help them recognize their priorities.


Based on opinions taken from certain acquaintances from the University, why the concept works is because it is factual in nature, appealing in terms of stylization and is legitimate.

So far...


In the midst of the whole production process, I began to understand and utilize techniques that really helped speed up my animation, apart from patience! The idea of hand drawing each frame gave me cold feet because there was no way I could meet the deadline by adopting such a tedious method. Hence, I decided to stick to 'motion tweening' not only for the balancing scale but for the pig as well. I must say, it really put me on the fast track. However, initially while using, it took a lot of mistakes to get it right. But I was affirmative of the whole idea of generating a different style of animation with this technique. 

It wasn't just a plain discovery for a tool I learned to love but as it turned out, I required a non realistic form of animation. Considering the round form of my character, I attempted to give it a very bouncy style of animation which required quite some amount of squash and stretch. Hence, motion tween helped serve the purpose for this effect. Also as the character had to match the movement of the balancing scale in most of the shots, tweening made it all the more easier to animate the eyes, bandaid, ears etc.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Video referencing

As cliched a piggy bank mascot would be, it has however been incorporated really well in certain commercials that I've found online. I'm looking more towards the animation oriented piggy banks and not just something that's conceptually strong.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Before we conclude...it's Critical Commentary!

Seriously feels like I had just arrived yesterday. But the term is nearing completion! It's my first submission tomorrow for this module. 

The narrative module was probably what I most looked forward to every week as storytelling and conceptualizing has been one of my dormant interests. In addition to my prior knowledge of film making, I have learned a lot from my tutors and fellow classmates. This module has been an intense revision for me in the areas of screenplay writing and visual storytelling. The sound clip exercise in particular was a challenging one which had great scope of finding several loopholes to a story. I myself, in particular spent a large chunk of my time in developing the story alone till the very end. It is because as you thumbnail your shots, you simultaneously detect the glitches in your storytelling sequence. My screenplay would have undergone approximately 3 drafts in 'real time' and most of the changes encompasses not only the story itself, but the staging and elements/props in the story. After all, the screenplay is your entire movie in which each word counts because every frame of your movie counts.

I admit my story didn't turn out exactly the way I conceptualized it to be. However, I do feel that the narrative is more complete. Based on the animatic I worked out for my concept, I personally feel I could add more close up shots of certain elements which haven't been stressed on enough. And I may have mentioned this is one of my posts that a storyboard is equivalent to blocking your first stage of animation. Because if the actions/visuals don't deliver, it might just ruin a potentially great story.

To conclude, my special thanks goes to:

TASK 2 Contd- Beat Boards

Below are some really basic and quick color concepts I worked out from some of the key shots of the story, each scene being very distinct from one another in terms of colors.

TASK 2 Contd- Casting my Protagonist!

After a little bit of doodling, I finally narrowed down to my final design. What made it easier for me was the fact that I knew exactly what kind of character I was wanting to flesh out from my story.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Computer Effect!

An illustration I made for a magazine article.
A digital illustration based on an article that discusses the ill (psychological) effects of a computer on a child. 
My concept here indicates 2 siblings; a brother who is violently engrossed with his computer game by having a tight grip on the joystick whereas the little sister who is naturally close to her brother, feels neglected and dejected. All she is left with is her little teddy bear as her only playmate.

..just a world away

My entry for deviantart's 'James & the Giant Peach' Competition

My interpretation for escaping the real world transcends into a magical landscape where everything in the surrounding is life size and vibrant with pleasing colors and great contrast that creates a serene ambience.

The concept comprises of a Peach which is an 'Incubation chamber' for those children in the real world who are longing to be nurtured, sheltered and protected . These incubation chambers also manifest itself not only as a Peach but also like a Mothers' womb where the child is afloat and secure. These chambers are found in abundance in this magical world, which indicates the number of children in the real world whose souls are seeking happiness, all in the same place in their respective chambers as embryos.

- You will notice the detail of the Peach/Incubation chamber hanging from a branch in the foreground that contains an embryo with tiny nerve detailing.
- The peaches on the ground indicate the empty chambers.
- Orange glows in the BG which indicate the chambers in abundance.
-The earth in twilight space.
-A tiny little girl in the far BG shows the human proportion to the surrounding.
-Not a very cluttered path, since the focus is on the FG and BG

Friday, December 3, 2010

That's the way they roll! - PIXAR ANIMATIC

I remember watching an animatic clip from PIXAR'S 'Toy Story' long ago which was very interesting and moreover a good lesson on selling a narrative. If the visuals itself aren't successful enough in delivering the story, forget the verbal pitch. I personally feel storyboarding is equivalent to blocking your first stage of animation. Of course, mine aren't perfect but I've learned with every new storyboarding project. Drawing each panel to complete a single action can be tedious.
There's a dearth of inspirational references out there and below is an animatic from one of PIXARS finest, 'Ratatouille'. Apparently, it's a deleted sequence from the movie.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Working on Flash

It's my very first time using Flash and to top it all I've jumped to CS5! It's was beyond intimidating and still is to an extent but thankfully tutorials are saviors! Apart from that I've had some really helpful classmates like Leshika and Richard who've helped solve my technical difficulties. I've made some progress since, however I do get stuck every once in a while but I've actually been learning by the mistakes I've made. Hope to clarify some doubts back at Uni tomorrow. 

But before beginning any of the animation, I got myself a big mount board on which I've put up my whole Plan of Action, the scenes, the shots, the type of shots etc. This in turn helps me cross check my contents and elements as I work on each Scene, making sure I don't miss out anything. I'm starting off by working on the animation of my Balancing scale and the objects that move along with it. This is because I'm using 'Motion Tween' for it's animation which helps work progress faster. Hopefully right after that's done, I get on with animating the Pig. 

Because I'm just learning the software as I work on the assignment, I really need to ensure I adopt a technique that helps put my animation on the fast track. 

It's all about the 'Look'!

Below is a basic concept art for the project that I made. 
From what one can gather, it's:
- Simplistic 2D
- Comprises solid colors
- Colors like that of Yellow and Blue that are of significance to BCU.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Prepare to Board!

Animatic for my concept

In a nutshell, Student Service Piggy is engrossed making calculations of his ‘student finances’. He has to maintain a balance in major expenditures between his housing costs, tuition fees and his social life (movies, parties etc). 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Visual Spark!

In order to get some conceptual inspiration, I find stock images really helpful in triggering some great ideas. After all, a single piece of imagery can be worth a thousand perceptions. Below are some interesting images that helped catapult my idea to the next level.

MAJOR PROJECT - Student Services Live Brief

Having gone through the given brief and after vital background research(through leaflets and pamphlets) on student services, the 'key objectives' of my concept are:

- Recognizing major student expenditures.

- Wise budgeting by understanding priorities and irrelevant spending.

- Learning to organize student finances.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

TASK 4- Story structure & Theme


My Pick- A Christmas Carol (1983), which is my personal favorite since I was a kid. A lovely Disney adaptation of Charles Dickens masterpiece.


1) The archetypes in the characters
- The story mainly revolves around Ebenezer Scrooge, a miser who is a perfect prototype of a wealthy and greedy individual who eventually turns over a new leaf caused by a chain of harrowing events.
- Bob Cratchit, an overworked but underpaid employee of Scrooge whose character arc remains consistent throughout the film as a blue collared employee who works in fear of his boss but yet a sober personality.
- Isabelle, who plays the former love interest of Scrooge, devotes herself to Scrooge for years but is unfortunately shunned by him over his love for money.
- Another archetype would be Fred, who plays a brief role as Scrooges' jovial nephew.

2) The character’s personality traits, life and motivation
- Scrooge is manifested as a person who doesn't give anyone a reason to appreciate him but despite that is never judged by others. As a stingy individual, he overlooks the misfortune of the poor and needy. Even at the time of Christmas which is the season of giving and merriment, to him happiness is reduced to 'humbug'. His motivation prior to encountering the christmas spirits was to dwell in his own wealth-driven world of selfishness. However, the confrontation by the 3 spirits and Jacob Marley, his deceased employee, brings about a major alteration in his life. Bound by the chains of greed, Marley's ghost heeds warning to Scrooge about the adversities of his selfishness. It is during his confrontation with the 3 spirits that brings him to realization the need to turn over a new leaf in order to make life better for everyone around him by learning from his bright past and oblivious present that is likely to follow up by an ill fated future.

3) How does the film keep the audience engaged? What do you think the key factors are?
- The message conveyed by depicting Christmas, the season of giving, holds great moral value which makes the movie a learning experience. Also the character arc of Scrooge holds great appeal. The journey of his transformation through a look into his past helps the audience to penetrate into Scrooge's background followed up by his present which leads to speculate about the possible outcome of his future. It is the visit of the 3 spirits which act as the catalysts for Scrooges' realization which draws empathy from the audience.

4) What are the elements or patterns repeated throughout the film? At what points? And what do you think is the purpose or intention?
- In the lines of colors, theres a very stark contrast between the beginning and towards the resolution of the film. The constants use of various dull shades of blue indicates not just a suppressed environment at the counting house and Scrooge's home but it also explains his state of mind which is that of a cold natured person. However, from the moment Scrooge is awakened to a new dawn after his nightmare, the colors illuminate to pleasing shades of yellow manifesting his realization and drastic change in heart.
- The phrase 'humbug' is used by Scrooge throughout the first act of the film, which shows his ignorance and depiction of anything pleasing or related to Christmas is insignificant and rubbish.
- Another element used to show the the passage of time is the clock.

5) Throughout the form of the film, try to establish the plot and sub-plot. How does the revelation compare from the beginning to the end?
- The main idea carrying the story forward is the journey of Scrooge who is in the process of learning from the self-destructive mistakes of his past and present in order to eliminate the unfortunate events likely to occur in his future which also includes the ill-fate of Tiny Tim, the youngest son of Scrooge's underpaid employee, Bob Cratchit. 
It is the heart-rending sub plot of Cratchit's impoverishment that runs parallel to Scrooge's conflict. Unless Scrooge fails to concur with Cratchit's deprivation, he will be single handedly responsible for the untimely death of the incapacitated Tiny Tim. However, the resolution ends on a positive note when Scrooge is given a second chance in his life to reconcile with his temperament and change his negative outlook towards the less fortunate.

Friday, November 19, 2010

TASK 2 Contd- Conceptual Referencing

Right after a countless series of looping my sound clips day and night, I finally narrowed down to a genre for my concept. I decided to go with horror comedy. With that in place, I clearly knew what my references would be...
- Things that go bump in the night
- Monsters Inc
- Courage the cowardly dog
- Coraline
-The Nightmare before Christmas


TASK 2 Contd- Visual treats

To get into the rhythm of this task, I decided to look for some inspiration to ignite that spark (Rhyming sheerly unintentional!) . Below are some of the videos from which each gave me something to critique and think about.

What I love about this short is the interpretation of the 'bumping' sound from 2 'extreme' points of views. The protagonist (child)  comprehends it as a paranormal source, whereas the storyteller makes the revelation of a 'raunchy' activity. Therefore, I enjoyed the contrasting interpretations.

One cartoon which always had a marathon of sound effects and follies.

One of the most brilliant stop motion animation short  I watched at a screening back in India. I couldn't imagine how beautifully an inorganic object like that of a 'sock' or a pair of 'jeans' could emote without dialogues but just sheer mumbling! 

TASK 2- Developing narrative through use of sound

Below are snippets of the sound clips that have been provided in class. On the basis of these sounds, we have to develop a story idea following up with a proper screenplay narrative supported by storyboards and an animatic as the final output.
NOTE: Unfortunately I can't upload all the sound clips provided as the formats are not supported by DivShare.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A fresh start towards the end

It's been over a month since I've joined the Birmingham Institute of Art & Design and to be honest, adjusting to the system wasn't surprisingly a cakewalk. Unlike my previous Film Institute in Mumbai, which I attended 7 days a week during my 2nd year, BIAD and the city itself has it's own unique functionality. University is shut over weekends, lectures run only 2-3 times a week which gives us ample time for 'self directed' study, shops start closing around 5 pm and yes, I've started chasing buses! But all in all, it's been a learning experience every single day and I hope to adapt wholly to the independent lifestyle.

 Living in a student household with my brother and other friends, I walk a tightrope of responsibility between daily chores( cleaning,cooking etc) and college assignments. It's a laborious balancing act specially after being really pampered but it's the only way one can learn to be self reliant at times. Of course, I've been homesick very often when the day and city seems bleak at times. But thankfully, home is just a 'skype' away! 

But coming back to my purpose, University has been fun in terms of work. The assignments are constructive to the extent I'm likely to break open my head like a Spanish 'Pinata' which may or may not always produce the goodies. Like today for instance, the creative juices just didn't seem to flow. So in order to feel less guilty of having wasted my time, I'd rather do something else productive that could help accelerate my thought process. Hence, I decided to update my blog. Now, that's another story. It was only after a few weeks of and adjusting to the college system and sleepless nights that I realized the importance of a blog...yeah, today of all the days when I have a submission due about almost 4 weeks from now. But better late than never! I'm glad I took this night off to organize my 'ancient but not so extinct' blog. It's been a long night and I have an early day tomorrow, so might as well crash in! Work in progress to be updated A.S.A.P. Yallah bye! :)