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  • This was our groups final animation,  0:19-0:50 is the part that Sammy and I produced. Despite the fact that a little bit of our animation isn't in perfect sync with the words, both Sammy and I were quite content with out final outcome! 

  • In this studio, we were challenged to create an animated video to go along with a poem, written by Harper, about Syria. To complete this task everyone in the studio picked a stanza from the poem that they liked the best. Julia and I chose the stanza about Sleeping Beauty:

    If you looked up

    just once

    you would see

    Sleeping Beauty

    the little girl, so restful she seemed

    if you don’t as how she died

    if you looked at her hands, her hair, her face

    and refused to look away

    If you lengthened your drifting attention span

    you would see her

    and us.

    This stanza is about a little girl that was killed in Syria. She was compared to Sleeping Beauty because of her striking resemblance to her.

    For our video, we created a completely 3D animation of Sleeping Beauty and the Syrian girl. We wanted to show how horrible and gory the death of this little girl was. We used an image of her face to help us create a realistic morph from the clean Sleeping Beauty into the bloody one.  

  • While Sammy did most of the animating I edited and made photos for our animation using Adobe Photoshop. Sammy and I had it all figured out, I would make the photos on photoshop and she would then take them and animate them!  Here are some of the photo's I produced using Photoshop over the 2 weeks of this studio!  

  • When Chrissy and I started working together, we realized that neither of us had any drawing skills. Neither of us had ever animated. We were, however, both very determined to make the best video we could.

    The first week of the studio was full of research and brainstorming. On the first day, each person was responsible for drawing out 16 frames, flip-book style. By the end of the day, our studio had created a mini movie. This showed us how simple animation worked.

    We also watched a lot of videos in the first week. The videos were about the revolution in Syria or about animation strategies. The videos of the Syrian children were difficult to watch. It made us all the more determined to make a great piece. The animation technique videos lightened the mood. We learned the rules of Disney animation and how a single frame can change the meaning of all other frames. For example, if a film shows a mother and baby and then cuts to a man smiling, the viewer may think the man is nice. If the second frame stays the same but the first frame shows somebody punching a kid, the viewer may think that the smiling man is a bully. We also watched the To This Day video, which was the inspiration of the style of our piece of art.

    We then created simple animations in After Effects (the program we edited our final video on -- it is like a more complicated iMovie). For example, we created a bouncing ball animation. We made it so that the ball squished when it hit the ground and stretched when it went into the air. This made it look more realistic.

    Next, we started to work on the final project. Harper created a poem about the situation in Syria, and each group was assigned a stanza to animate. This was our stanza:

     

    If you looked up

    just once

    you would see

    Sleeping Beauty

    the little girl, so restful she seemed

    if you don’t as how she died

    if you looked at her hands, her hair, her face

    and refused to look away

    If you lengthened your drifting attention span

    you would see her

    and us

     

    The first thing we did after receiving the stanza was storyboard; we did a lot of tracing to compensate for our lack of drawing skills.  After we presented our storyboard and listened to feedback, we started to create a digital draft of the video.  We used After Effects for this.  By the end of the first week, the first draft was complete. In this version, Sleeping Beauty was represented by photographs of Julia.  

    After the first prototype was complete, we selected the three most important scenes of our video: the rotation and morphing of Sleeping Beauty, the close up shots of her hair, face and hands, and the shot with the other children.  With a little help, we then began to work in 3Ds max (the program we used to create our camera angles and 3D figures). We started by taking a 3D model of a woman from a 3D warehouse and setting up all of our camera angles.  Using a “dummy” for the Sleeping Beauty at first was important because the final files would take hours to render.  We knew we would be able to easily switch in the real Sleeping Beauty.  We struggled at first because we had never used the program before, but we improved each day. We created a camera to rotate around the model’s body for our first shot.  Once this was perfect, we rendered the file as a sequence of PNG files. Then we imported it into After Effects.  We repeated this step for all our camera shots.

    While we were setting up all the cameras and edits, we were also looking for the perfect body for Sleeping Beauty.  We knew we did not have enough time to make one from scratch.  Luckily for us, one of our coaches, Derek, helped us find a model that would work perfectly after a few adjustments.  For example, we needed to add blood to the figure and edit her clothes.  Fortunately, everything in 3Ds max can be exported as a jpeg and edited in Photoshop. Then it can be placed back on the 3D object like a sticker. To create the bloody skin, we exported our model’s body as a jpeg and added blood to it on Photoshop.  We were also able to re-design Sleeping Beauty’s dress on Photoshop.  After finishing the final touches on our Sleeping Beauty, we rendered the files. We did this overnight to avoid wasting the work time during the day. Switching in the new Sleeping Beauty from the dummy was pretty easy. We then edited and organized the video and audio on After Effects.  Finally, we were able to render the final video and combine it with all of the other segments.

  • Finishing the project was an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. We really liked this studio, and we are incredibly proud of the work we produced. We are now a true believers in the art of animation.
  • The first week we were introduced to animation. We learned about Disney’s 12 animations rules (here’s the link for them) http://minyos.its.rmit.edu.au/aim/a_notes/anim_principles.html. We then got our stanzas and came up with a storyboard with our ideas for what we could do. The stanza that we had was” “They soon understood that first comes and exhalation jubilee that ecstasy of that introductory spark maybe soon there will be fireworks inhale one long inhale swallowing the spark whole i wonder if they understood when they pulled of their fingernails torn flesh burned cigarettes on their skin, when they drove them into the cold and blackness”

    When first reading this stanza we immediatly had a vision of how we wanted to set this up. We then drew out a story board consisting of all the scenes we wanted to add in our final piece. We then layed out the story board and had Derek and Amro cretique it. After we had our main idea set up it was time to create an animated story board on after effects that would generally capture the idea and timing of what we wanted to do. 

    Learning after effects was a difficult process at first, but we were quickly able to pick it up. After storyboarding we felt very confident with my after effects skills. We set up a general animation that began with a person blowing away the bars of a jail cell, and ended with a hand being burned by a cigarette. For the most part our ideas were great, but we still needed some tweaking. After taking out unnesessary things we were finally able to create this video for real. We then began redoing all of the scenes and making them perfect for the final product. 

    One challenge that we had was the fireworks scene. Originally, on the story board, we just had a bunch of fireworks getting sucked into a hole, but we found that that idea was too literal. We needed a setting for the fireworks. We started with a silhouette of a group of people celebrating infront of the fireworks. Then, we changed the idea to hands moving side to side. Once we watched the hands, it was very difficult to tell what they were doing and it did not look right so we decided to change the idea again. Finally, we came up with the idea to use a silhouette of a Syrian skyline which ended up really benefitting the overall project. The skyline was able to subtley set the scene. 

    Overall, we had a great experience creating this animation. After all of the time and effort we put into only 30 seconds of a video we now have new respect for animatiors. 

     

  • We are beginning an animation project about the children of Syria during the revolution. Harper wrote a poem about it and Molly and I are in charge of animating the last stanza. Saeed showed us gruesome pictures and videos on the first day. They were upsetting. What a world we live in.

    We began story boarding. We came up with ideas first about what the poem meant and then decided if it was a literal or abstract interpretation. Then we went through the poem again and came up with ideas turning each abstract interpretation into a literal one, and vice versa. We took the best interpretation of each section of the poem and went with it, regardless of whether it was a literal or abstract interpreatation.

    I am in charge of the music for the animation. A solo cello line has been requested. My mom came in and helped Harper record the poem on Garage Band. Then the three of us discussed where we thought the high points of the poem were and what kind of music we thought should go underneath it all. I used my electric cello through Garage Band to explore ideas with them. Then I went home and later that night improvised music to run underneath the poem. It was going to take some time and I didn't want it to cut into my animation time. Ultimately it took about two hours to record the cello part. We adjusted levels several times. We were going for a "hint o' cello" to add to the emotional experiene but not detract from the poem. Voilà. It's done.

    We are using Photoshop and After Effects to make our animation. I am familiar with both programs, so you would think it would be easy, but its not. First we scanned in all the story boards I sketched, then we began animating them. It was extremely frustrating because it takes forever to do one scene but we got better at it. We have 20 scenes to do, which translates into 50 seconds. That's a lot of animation time. This studio is so heavily computer oriented that there is hadly any time to blog!

    On the last day we turned in our scenes and Amro combined them and put them to time. The video came out great. It was powerful. When we all watched it the room went silent. After the silence we watched it again. It took twelve people 45 hours each to make a two minute video. Wow.

     
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