Monday, November 06, 2006

Useful Marker Sketches or Just Bad Animatoon?

(1) Cottage Interior: Daytime; Rana and Kyra inside the cottage, upon hearing a clamorous yet muffled peeping overhead, we look up to see a beautiful hatbox sitting in a nest with decorative hats hanging on various branches.

(2) The twitter continued and was increased with the arrival of a tiny blue-green birdie flying through the open space in the roof. We noticed the hatbox lid shifting a little as though something were inside.

(3) The tweeting grew more active as the little bird began to land and we swung around to get a better look at what he was after.

(4)He landed near the hatbox and we notice there were more hats hanging nearby, along with a miniature hand-mirror. The box lid still fluttered and rocked.

(5)Mr. Blue-Green picked up the mirror to admire himself in his newest purple silk Tophat without noticing the box lid rumbling.

(6)He delighted in seeing how the shiny green leaf he's just added to the satin sash matched his feathers handsomely, as he flitted around in excitement.

(7)All at once, the hatbox burst open, just as Mrs. Orange and Brown popped up from inside chirping loudly in exasperation Mr. B-G's annoying knack for removing the mirror from where she had obviously left it for her use. She had given Mr. B-G quite a start and the glass tumbled right down.

(8)Mrs. O&B took hold of it with the tips of her wings just as the mirror was about to fall out of the nest.

(9)Her happy chirping let everyone know she was pleased with the chapeau she had selected from her collection inside the box.

(10)Little B-G felt quite put out at losing the chance to look at the glass and protested the matter with his noisy chirrups.

I was able to complete the now 10 panel storyboard for this sequence. (I hope I made the images low res enough so as not to bog down viewing the page, please let me know.) Again, it was very valuable for planning the animation to create this storyboard. But, in future, I think I should try doing simpler line art drawings by hand like the terrific floating ones Sven has been doing to develop one of his film exercises. I like the way his drawings look as finished art even though I think for Sven it was more about exploring the action more freely and quickly. Making this storyboard in Photoshop took too long to be practical for future scenes, I'll see. I have to go pack my eyes and mouseing arm in ice for the night.

At Sven's suggestion, I also downloaded a trial of Macromedia Flash (Basic 8) along with print outs of relevant instruction for creating 2D animation with it to see how making the storyboard into a little 2D clip would work. Let's find out.


  1. Two more notes for you: I uploaded my more refined illustrations of the initial character sketch here in case you'd care to see them.

    And I did upload the pdf of the blank storyboard sheet, even though I didn't need to use it for this. I plan to print one or two sheets out tomorrow and try to do another board for this scene, only this time, just with simple lines for the speed of it. I'll report back. In the meantime, feel free to download this (below a bunch ads, sorry) to use for your own project.

    storyboard blank

  2. Treasure map to the pdf: (note: there are NOT any apps or accounts to sign up for)

    The download is two clicks away by selecting:

    "Download for free with File Factory Basic"

    (written in plain type on a page filled with ads)

    Then select, "Click here to begin your download"

    (after scrolling down through still more ads.)

    The page will open in a new window.

    (If anyone knows a better way to host pdf's from a Mac, please fill me in!)

  3. Anonymous1:19 AM

    Hot damn! You made some fan-tas-tic progress today! Congratulations!

    I can see how this must have been immensely time consuming... I'll be really curious to see how floating storyboards work out for you.

    What you did, though -- it conveys an episode from Halfland to me better than I think anything else I've seen so far. You told a story, and I got to see a little bit of what the images inside your head look like.

    Good luck with Flash, too! It's been a quite a while since I've done anything with it... But I'm hoping that once you try it out, turning the work you did today into a 2D animation is just a small leap.

    You've already got backgrounds, you've got objects to move around... The way you work with PhotoShop is just so durned simpatico with the Flash workflow...

  4. Wow.... $400.00 just to make animatics? Isn't there some other software you can use for that? Like maybe just slide cutouts around in a normal framegrabber program? It can be crude.... you don't earn extra points for making a beautiful animatic. In fact, if you put too much effort and time into it I suspect you'll run out of steam for the actual stopmotion.

  5. Anonymous10:54 AM

    400? Hm. I wonder if it's the demo version I used... Like I said, it's been a long while. Not trying to push expensive aps on anyone!

  6. Shelley, I love this sequence...personally I like the photoshopped frames, I think they :) Floaty sketchy storyboards are cool too, quick and dirty, but these are so elegant, and fitting for Halfland....I'd like to see more like this, with Rana, and Tarn, I think it'd help you show off their personalities a bit without necessarily having finished puppets or sets, know what I mean?

    Just these images made me smile, can't wait to see it come to life!

  7. Awwww?! Thank you, Ubbie!! It's my version of thumbnail sketches as I hoping the real characters are more detailed and charming. But making a storyboard is where it's at for sure!

    I'm planning on making them for everything now, you bet!

    I just need to find a way that is quicker.

    Duh, and I finally see the difference between animating the storyboard panels, say with iMovie, and CREATING the panels, in say Flash! I couldn't resist importing the gifs above into iMovie this morning and it was such FUN to see the scrub-through now I HAVE to make it a little clip! hee.

  8. Oh Nooooooo! I was just looking at the more finished illustrations at the flickr page and had the thought the one of the hats falls off the branches during the bnh scuffle and lands directly on the head of Bosq, the snoring cat with the human nose!!! So it would be a quick cut-away to Bosq sleeping under the branch in question so now I know where to position that character in the film too! You guys, this is the most fun, ever.

    I decided to go ahead and make a short clip of the sequence based on the storyboard sketches but using the finished illustration! I'll add panels for the cat/hat gag and some sound effects. Then, if it's as ohmagawdijuspeednmapants cute as I think, I'll order it up as...wait for it...FLIPBOOKS!!! yay!

  9. Anonymous5:14 PM

    Oh! Oh! Oh!

    Something that you CAN do with just iMovie: Make the storyboard panels at the same quality of the ones on Flickr... Have iMovie crossfade from frame to frame... And Have a storybook reader do a voice-over!

    Voila! It's no longer just a planning tool -- it's a finished product that you can put on YouTube (or the like) for the world to see!

  10. Here's the latest, the birds continue to squabble (squab, get it?) and have a tug-o-war over the mirror during which one of the hanging hats falls off the branch and lands below smack dab on top of Bosq (the cat featured on the first Halfland commemorative limited edition highly collectible button)'s head! Cue him to wake up with one eye, raise his head and blink with the woolen cap sitting cock-eyed on his noggin, not understanding what just happened. Blink blink.

    And lo, my peeps, that is how we TRANSITION out of the sequence back down to the action on the cottage floor!! w00t!

    I am very stimulated by all this exciting progress in the story and boarding, and it's just beginning. I owe it to Mike for suggesting another thon. And also to Sven, and each visitor, for giving so much time and encouragement. (That isn't meant to sound like an award speech because it's all in process. I just thought it a good idea to let you know how much I appreciate the support now. Why wait until the project is over to thank people, am I right?)

    AND YES!, Sven. I had the exact same thought about using the less charming storyboard sketches as the basis for creating the full sequence with the actual finished illio on Flickr!!! Not only using the Ken Burns pan and zoom effects (which look great when I tested them earlier, but also the liquefy filter in Photoshop to move the pixels within the panels themselves! That's what got my goat, as it were.

    Your voiceover idea is wicked good, thank you. 1/2 L. is esasupposed to be pantomime however, I may sperimint with my hubs cool English accent for this? Not sure, first the film.

  11. Excellent! I love the "cat in the hat" transition!

  12. Thank you! Corey and Mike!!!


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