Monday, 23 February 2009

Graduation film update

Progress on my graduation film began to stall last week, and having spent the last 4 days avoiding the issue, I think I may be about to go into reverse... But fear not, for I am hopeful that this reverse will lead to a better destination.

I had only 2 shots left of the female character to rotoscope, and I had also begun the tedious colouring process (I am colouring large parts of every single frame black with a ballpoint pen), but the combination of a very repetitive colouring process, an aesthetic that I was not happy with, and the extreme isolation of being stuck at home for the last 10 days made this a horribly depressing situation that put me off the film as a whole.
I have always harboured reservations about the rotoscoping process because I felt that it didn't add much to the story, and some shots looked too lively or realistic for what I wanted to achieve with it. I have also struggled to maintain the excitement of my storyboards in the final rotoscoped drawings, which is dragging me down further. I read a quote in a blog a couple of years ago about storyboards and concept art having more vibrancy than the final animation, which the author found really disappointing, and I have found that quote quite inspiring ever since...

Lots of people have been interested in and have praised the look of my rotoscoping, and although I like the look of some shots, it does not look anywhere near as interesting as I had hoped my film would look when I began. Although the colouring process is very tedious (which is exactly what I set out to put myself under at the beginning of the project), I do not want to leave college having survived an epic endurance battle if it means I have a film I'm not at all happy with.
I also have an issue with my shots and the atmosphere of my film. It was supposed to be a slow and atmospheric film, but my longest shot is only 4 seconds, and I use cuts way too often. I wanted to have really slow shots that stay with the protagonist and barely cut away, but it would be torturous to animate (because I attempt to rotoscope at least one shot every day), and I feel that I could achieve a much more effective film if I made it solely in live-action with a purpose-built set and with no animation involved... But I don't think live-action would be suitable for my degree in animation...(?)

So my plan now is to return to the storyboards, re-draw them all as if I was going to make my perfect live-action version, and then re-start the animation process from there (using the 1" storyboard frames as the frames of animation). The reason for this is that I have always felt that the storyboard animatic tells the story clearly and that the animation sequences just fill the time by making obvious the character's movements - so in my opinion the animation is not enhancing the story in any way.
By re-doing the storyboards I can hopefully re-tell the story in a more effective manner with the stimulating aesthetics of my original storyboards (which I struggled to get into my rotoscoping).
By in-betweening the storyboard animatic I can have clearer motion for a general audience who are unfamiliar with storyboard animation, but it will hopefully maintain the atmosphere of the original storyboards, while the new jerky/limited animation technique should create a creepier motion and environment for the overall film...

If I do decide to go with this process it will mean I've wasted the time of Darryl, Annalise and Ewan who all worked on the live-action for my rotoscoping, and although they will all still get credit in my final film (regardless of what it is or contains), I want to make a film that looks interesting and that I am happy with so that they are not credited for some piece of rubbish that means nothing to me (otherwise I would just go to the bin and sign a piece of litter for you!)....
So here's to experimentation.

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