Aug 29, 2011

Midpoint Review Presentation Book

I love this Scribd site and it's ability to let me post PDF files to my blog!  Since I had my Midpoint Review book sitting around already in PDF form, I figured I'd upload it and share with you fine folks.

For those who don't know, one of the many aspects of a Midpoint Review for a Graduate student is the proposal book, which includes a production breakdown and timeline for your Thesis project.  As I may have mentioned, my review went over quite well with minimal changes to my proposal.  Flipping through the "book" here, you'll find the synopsis descriptions, sketches, and sample storyboards that I presented for each of my three stories.  You can compare this work to more recent postings and see how much has changed already.  It's an ongoing work-in-progress.
Midpoint Review Presentation Book

And for the record, no, I will not be following the timeline at the end too terribly closely.  Hopefully, I will actually have my final review at the end of next summer!

Aug 28, 2011

RETAILiation: Rough Storyboard

I have given it some thought, and I truly feel that the Midpoint Review is a lot like making the trailer for your movie before you've even written the script for it.  By that, I mean that you present your story to the  panel/audience in a very vague but hopefully appealing way in an attempt to whet their appetite so that they'll "green light" your thesis project (and to keep the metaphor going, some trailers definitely reveal more of the movie's plot than others do).  Then, they tell you what they expect to see from you based on what you've just shown them.  Presenting your thesis at the final review is, therefore, really showing them the final movie, and you'd better give them all they wanted and more.  For myself--with a Storyboarding focus--I actually had to present three different "trailers".  And they all went over very well.  Which is good.  Great, really.  But now I have to write the script for three movies, so to speak, and it's pretty daunting.  Luckily, I only have to storyboard a single sequence from each story.  I find myself trimming a lot of "fat" from the overall story lines and focusing instead on the specific sequences that I actually have to board and turn in.  The trick is finding that balance of developing the overall story enough so that the sequence actually has some weight to it on it's own while avoiding bogging down the sequence with unnecessary details that are not essential for the sequence to play out.

With that in mind, I decided to first work on my most self-contained sequence.  Primarily this summer, I focused my thesis work attention to RETAILiation, my 2D television animated series.  This show would theoretically be on Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, etc.  I first developed the idea over a year ago, and a lot has changed since I originally conceived the story.  I have given up a lot of story elements that I loved in an attempt to find that aforementioned balance and keep the sequence lean.  Minimizing characters, using one location, cutting comical running gags I conceived for the show that wouldn't have the time to recur.  The woes of being a creator, I suppose.

All that having been said, I think I was able to put together a fun and funny little sequence, and I'm pleased to be able to share it here (in rough form, of course).  Below is a PDF file of my first draft for "RETAILiation: The Day We Got Fired".  A few changes to be made and the boards need to be cleaned up, but the story's all there.  Check it out and let me know what you think!
RETAILiation - Rough Storyboard
The drawings were all done digitally on my Cintiq using Toon Boom StoryBoard Pro, which is a fantastic program for storyboarding.  I also intend to make this into an animatic, as I am required to turn in one animatic, and this story is the one I feel most suited to take that leap.  For those that are interested in my thought process while I created these boards (you poor souls), below are my thumbnail sketches for the sequence.  The first pass, followed by a revised one, with plenty of staging changes along the way...

RETAILiation: Rough Character Designs

As I've often said, I don't consider myself a character designer.  I doubt anyone else does, either.  But I do what I can, and my design work for RETAILiation is no exception.  These are some rough model sheets for the characters seen in the sequence.  The designs have changed greatly from their original conception (some more than others), and plenty of refinement is still needed.  I also have to create prop sheets and layout designs as part of my final deliverables.  Overall, though, I feel they're on the right path to completion.  Sometimes the best thing to do is shelf a project and come back to it later with fresh eyes and ideas. :^)

Aug 25, 2011

Fuzzy Fury Rescue Friends: Character Concept Design

With the Fall Semester here at AAU quickly approaching, I'm finally taking a moment to breathe and reflect on the thesis work that I've created over the summer.  Still miles to go in the coming year, but I'm pleased with the progress I've thus far made.

Here is a collection of scanned pages from my sketchbook as I was developing the characters for my Fuzzy Fury Rescue Friends story.  The idea is that these characters would be CG in a feature length story (in the vein of Pixar, DreamWorks, modern Disney, Blue Sky, etc.).  At Sherrie Sinclair's request, I have abandoned my previous design ideas where the characters were all of similar basic shape with specific animal characteristics attached to each design.  Those designs were done with a 2D project in mind, and apparently simply won't work in a 3D environment where characters have to be rigged to move.  I've drawn a lot of influence from the work of T.S. Sullivant and classic four-legged Disney.  That having been said, I'm definitely not a character designer.  Eagle-eyed visitors may also notice that I replaced the Donkey character with a Rabbit.  This was done in an attempt to make a more visually interesting character lineup.  I'm definitely looking forward to refining these designs and beginning to flesh out the story sequence!

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