Friday, 8 January 2016

Narrative Unit- Animation Development

Storyboard and Narrative 

I began storyboarding, with the idea that the story would be about daily life in the trench. 
Storyboard V.1

Storyboard V.2

However, after more research and finding out about the Clay Kickers (from this link I decided to change my narrative. I did this as I felt it was a more interesting and less known story. Middle aged Miners, too old to fight in the front line, were used to tunnel underneath the trenches. 

I then did a small animatic, showing my general idea for the animation.


The Process 

I chose to create the animation in a 3D animating program called Blender. This is because I wanted to create a Digital Set where I could light the illustrations to create an interesting atmosphere. Below are some early tests I did for the models.

3D Model Tests-

Above, you can see the drawing, as well as how it looks on the model. I was really pleased and excited by how it looked, and felt that it gave the character a war-weary look.

Building Out the Model.

Once the base of the model was built, I began to test out different textures.

Storyboard V.3

Once again, I went back to the storyboards, as I had some more ideas about what I wanted the animation to include and show.

Then, I began on the Character designs. I wanted them to look older and dirtier. As they wouldn't have worn full military uniform, I looked at lots of photographs of clothing during this period as well as Mining records and documents. 

Here is a link to some of the research pages -

I planned on having 3-4 characters. I wanted them to have a very similar look as the Tunnellers would have worn regular work clothing for the time.

Here, I created some textures that would be used on the model to create the clothing texture. I varied and created different types of mark making to do this.

Then, I began to create the faces for the characters. As the program mirrors the human models, I only drew one side as It would then be reflected.

Once I was happy with the face of the first soldier, I took some screenshots to test out different lighting styles.


Storyboard 4.

I next drew up some storyboard and scene notes. This helped me refine my shots and understand how they would look.


More faces.

Now that my models were textured, I had to rig (create a skeleton) so that they could be moved and postitioned. I found this quite challenging at first, as it became very very technical. But I was able to create a very basic Rig which would work.

Below I had to add weight to the model so that it the body wouldn't get tangled up or broken when I moved it. 

I then created a 3D Set, which was a hollowed out cuboid and textured that to make it very dark and muddy.

Once the set was made, I placed and positioned my tunnellers into the set. 

I then Lit it using lights within the 3D Program.

And Finally rendered it to make it look crisp and finished.

Here for example, I played around with the lighting. Of course the tunnel wouldn't be lit with a blue light, but it did remind me of moonlight. However this was more just a test.


Final Images

Below are the final images that are used in the animation.


For the sound I used the AUB sound library (as recommended by Gabrielle) and as well as that, am currently working with a composer to have a short soundtrack created to go along side.

Final Animation

The Title ' A Game Of Cat And Mole' is a play on the phrase ' Cat and Mouse'; which is all about close encounters and constant pursuit. The mole represents the tunnelling aspect and so is a play on words.

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