This was a pretty big day in Halfland. It started early this morning when I realized that Sven was suggesting I create the storyboard panels in Flash while I was thinking about importing ready art into iMovie to test the animation. Once I figured the difference, I threw yesterday's gifs right into an iMovie project and started playing around. It felt good use something I already knew a little. The pan and zoom effects looked great, the scrub through looked pretty animated, enough for an animatic anyway.
Later, while admiring the finished character sketch posted to Flickr, seen above, that was finessed with an elaborate combination of Photoshop filters to look more like a painterly, storybook illustration, that I thought--hey, why should I go through the effort of creating an animation with the less charming sketches when I could use the sketches as a guide to create the panels with the finished illustration instead?! I looked at how difficult that would be, not very. I added some chirping, crickets, and thumping audio files to the test clip, that'll work fine for a quickie clip.
I realized that the sequence will end/transition with one of the hats falling down onto a sleeping cat below after the birds go into a proper tug-o-war, something that I love and could only have been thought of by working on the action like this in earnest.
I realized that I want to use giant projected sky scapes behind my sets (possibly on white sheets attached to the floor and curved onto the ceiling (just thought of that and how it could be done) rather than green screen compositing, for two reasons. One, I love the way projection gives an illumined quality to an environment perfect for the Halfland world, such as the sky seen in Adam Bizanski's (brilliant) Pink Bullets music video. And two, I love the idea of actually advancing the sky's frames every few film frames, almost like they did with Nightmare Before Christmas' fireplace flames, to give the sky more breath and life.
I realized that I'll need to make metal rods jutting straight down from under the bird puppet's feet so the rods can be inserted into the tree branch as "tiedowns". I realized that I'll need to wire the wing feathers very securely in order to articulate them for picking up and holding the hand mirror. I realize that if that doesn't work I may have to switch to having them use their legs and claws as hands. I realized that the hat that falls onto the cat will be a woolen cap with tassels as that would be the funniest style to see land crookedly on his head. Woompf. (Comedy will ensue--in my head. Alone.)
I realized that this sequence will be entitled, "Quarrel". (Even though there won't be any written language in the film itself, I will have special, single-word titles for each sequence on the files.)
I realized that the mister bird will have feather markings that look like an ambassador breast sash and the lady bird's will look like the decolletage of a gown.
And finally, I realized that I cannot draw a free form sketch for sure! I tried drawing little quick line art renderings by hand tonight and it came out worse than I care to admit (notice I'm not showing it.) I even tried making postage stamp sized thumbnails of the now extended and completed action but it was impossibly tedious to do, especially since I'd already worked most of it out with the other version yesterday. I may try that method again for story ideas that I haven't thought out at all.
And I also realize that anyone who has read this far in this post is either as nuts as me over stop motion or is married to me.