The presentation on Friday the 16th of December was definitely a low point for our team. We had struggled to gather enough polished to present something that we were proud of to the class, yet despite the amount of work and passion that we had put into the piece, there was very little.
So little, in fact, that we could not be provided feedback related directly to the project. Instead, Conann and the other tutors gave us some advice to address the situation that we now had to face – the very likely potential that our project was going to fail, especially now that we appeared to be permanently one team member down.
The feedback was very kind, considering. We were advised to outsource for some extra help with the animation – although I am aware that one particular member of the group is a very proud person, this is a very pragmatic decision.
One very vital point that Conann made was that the environment seemed to have lost connection with the conceptual designs. This is something that both Katie and I have been aware of for a short period, as we had only recently begun to see the environment set after weeks of the creation period. The fantasy element was not being communicated through the scene at all – it was too realistic, losing the essence of the story.
(E.1 – Shown above, the forest mural that Katie had painted for the therapy room)
The mural that Katie painted went down very well with the tutors – they felt that it was a true representation of a childlike imagination, capturing abnormal colours and evoking a sense of playfulness and youth. Conann expressed that with the two-dimensional talent skill within the team would be able to create a stunning environment using alpha planes and careful composition, which would enable us to regain the quality of the original concept design and lighten the workload by the drastically reduced rendering time.
(E.2 – Shown above, an animation short with the 2D planes in parallax composition)
That idea really stuck with me – so during the weekend, I decided to conduct some independent research into multiplane, parallax style animations. The one that stood out for me was Contre Temps,” which is featured in example two.
The animation implements the two-dimensional environment with three-dimensional assets, creating a unique hybrid style that compliments the aesthetic appearance. It reassured me that if we were to proceed down the path of recreating the environment using the alpha plane technique, it could be created in such a way that would enable us to reinstate the fantasy elements within the forest, without the characters appearing out of place.
(E.3 – Shown above, the concept piece created in response to the alpha plane suggestion)
To help myself envision the animation with the alpha plane technique, I created a concept piece that was influenced by the shapely style and colourful charm that featured within Katie’s mural painting.
The outcome was interesting – but I think it could be done, and done successfully. It will definitely be a drastic visual adjustment from what Rachel has created, but that could be a positive result in the long term. I have had concerns about the presentation of the forest from the render passes that I have seen so far, as it feels very mature and realistic – the details are too crisp, and it seems a bit far fetched that a boy of such a young age could create such a world with that level of natural construct. However, Rachel has explained that what she has presented so far is not how the finished product will look, so for now, I feel that I should wait until she has had the ability to present her most recent work. At that point, if the team feels that the forest environment is still unsuitable for the animation, we will have to investigate the option of exploring the alpha plane approach.
However, that cannot be said for certain until we reconvene together during the week and review the current situation of the project. I will present my concept piece to the rest of the team, and together we can begin to plan the best approach forward.
The Contre Temps Team, (2013). Contre Temps. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVJxlWMy7kc [Accessed 19 Dec. 2016].