Thursday, 24 March 2011

Testing the angles, movement and speed for the bauble bounces

The bouncing baubles are going to be a very important dynamic area for my animation so I want to get this looking at effective as possible.  I once again wanted to finalise the best frame rate to use for the animation, I really wanted to do 8 frames a second so I could finish the animation early and have time to move things around but I prefer 12 frames a lot more. I'm very pleased with this exercise and with a some improved drawings, I could always use this in the animation.

Next task is now starting the animation! I may however start with doing some extra key frames on top of the ones that where done for my animatic.

An experiment in Flash

I wanted to do a test shot on the bouncing baubles, but I had two problems, one was the angle and two was the speed. So two solve this problem quickly I used flash for a quick animation. I changed the frame distances and the frame rate to get faster and slower movements of the ball. I plan to do my animation in 8 frames a second so I worked from that.

These first three were played on 24 frames per second.

I realised that the frame rate was on 24 way after doing the first three but it all goes to development, as you can see this one was way too fast. 

This one was 16 frames long but only had 8 frames with information on them, so its ever 2 framses. I thought that this was a nice speed.


This was 24 frames with the same 8 information frames.

This one was 8 frames with 8 frames a second and this definitly works which is what I wanted to know.

Animatic Edited

So here is the result for the edited animatic. It is now dead on a minute but there is room for more improvements but now that I have this it will become a lot easier to time my animation. the soundtrack will be added soon. It could be added after the animation is done or part way through, so I can experiment with what sounds work best.


I finally have a rough animatic to show, it has become very useful for my development because I realise how long some areas will take and how short some others will be. I tried to get all information in in the time I am allowed with also giving the most dramatic areas the most time. Unfortunatly the animatic last a bit longer than the minute so I plan to edit it.

Unit 5 Life Drawing Week 3

Once again, it was an interesting life drawing class. What we had to do was draw some of the adjectives that other students had for there animations. It gave me a new range that I could explore and it became imagine what ways I could have taken an animation if I had that adjective. I think my life drawing has improved a lot lately and for the last couple of weeks I have been looking forward to the next lesson available.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Supporting Character design thoughts

The Supporting character will be the object which the tree tips his hat to. I tried thinking of living room furniture that had the same height of the tree; like a lamp or bring back the hat stand. When designing them I wanted to draw them in a way that it looks like they are feminine. I kept thinking of more object but what I was more happier with is having a small plant that blushing and possibly faints.

When looking at more research that Phil showed me, I realised that all the aristocratic men had a large mustaches and bushy eyebrows and a couple had a monocle, plus a few had cigars. So I tried to add that in my characters face. With the bonus of just eyebrows and mustache, it will become easier to use expressions in the face which will boost the expression of the whole body. Throughout the I couldn't seem to get the mustache right and the eyebrows looked more like eyes. Johnny sharples then drew the middle image and suggested that I should use the break in the tree to apply the features. I thought this worked really well and I can hide the feature back into the tree if I ever needed to.

POST 200!!! - Key Scenes (Old and New)

The first three are the original key frames and the second three are the newer ones. There is a lot of difference in development of each one. The first key scene has changed dramatically to makes sure there is absolute focus on the tree and nothing else. Having only the tree in my frame also helps me to concentrate on only animating the tree and nothing else. So I don't get carried away with backgrounds and everything else. The original cloak standhas been removed because I find it more interesting and more free willed animation if the hat and cloak is just pulled from outside the frame. The second key frame that I have now shows the tree flicking off the decorations all over the place, and kicking the last bauble of his foot. The final key frame starts when the tree has dressed in the right clothing that he sees fit, making the problem solved.

Script development

The 3 Act Structure
Act 1 – 10 seconds
·         Starts with the sound a door closing shut.
·         A tree slowly appears.
·         The Tree shakes to life
·         Looks at himself
·         A camera angle that’s seen though the tree’s eyes.

This act will provide the main character and give a problem to the story

Act 2 – 25 seconds
·         Tree looks disgusted
·         Shakes all of the decoration off
·         Different angles will show the decoration flying in different directions.

This act will start to solve the problem by removing the ‘unwanted’ decorations, this leads on to solving the problem.

Act 3 – 25 seconds
·         A monocle is pulled out from inside his bristles
·         A Top hat drops in from above 
·         A candy cane come in from the side
·         The Tree starts to walk
·         Tips his hat to a plant, and keeps on walking
·         The plant faints and falls over
·         The tree winks to the camera and walks off screen.

This act solves the problem of wanting the aristocratic look and finishes the story by making the tree look too good to handle for one lucky plant.

The Logline
The Christmas tree has been dressed in a traditional way by its owners and he is disgusted by this, he wants to dress smartly. To solve his problem he shakes off those decorations and reaches out for the right clothes.

The Premise
At this festive time there is one Christmas tree that finds it important to dress how one wants to be dressed. 

This is the development on the script critria after the new talk with Phil. The story has become simpler but the 3 act structure has stayed similar to the previous version.

Monday, 21 March 2011

A talk with Phil

I just had a Phil to convey the problems I was having with my development; what we noticed was the complexity of the storyline. Phil told me that there didn't need to be that beginning bit with the family, it could be implied with a small sound of the door shutting; implying that someone just left. Also there didn't need to be a location for where the clothes came from, they could just appear by simply dropping on his head or by grabbing it from the side. Simples.

The Act 1 and 2 in its simplest form is perfectly fine, what we tried to think of was a way to make the act 3 happen. An idea of maybe a hat stand or standard lamp ( or anything that is the same size as the tree) could be portrayed as a beautiful woman and the tree wanted to impress. This could be done two ways, the hat stand/lamp could be animated or it could be designed in such a way that it looks feminine. Or on the other hand it could be another plant form; a tree or a small and cute plant.

Character designs

Although the animation won't be in colour, I think creating the character in colour helps me to visualise the character making it easier to know my character. Most of the characterist of the character's personality will be shown through posture and movement so I did a few drawings of different emotions that the tree could feel.


My storyboard reflects on the story that I have been creating over the last couple of days, what I've realised from the visual side of the story, it is all way too complex. So with a rethink and a talk with phil I hope to get back on the right path.

The script development



Chris Rogers

Version 1

1. Scene one starts with the opening of a door. Out from behind of that door comes a family carrying a Christmas tree. The members of the family will place the tree down and dress the tree in beautiful decoration. When they have finished, they will leave and go to bed. FADE OUT.
2. FADE IN - The tree will be standing there in front of the window, dressed top to bottom in Christmas decorations. The top of the tree will slowly bend forward and down and look at itself. Its head will rise up and look into a mirror. The tree will shake and the decorations will fly off in all directions. When finished shaking, the tree will face a cloak stand that situated on the other side of the room.
3. The tree will pull out a long candy cane from a stocking on the mantel piece below the mirror. With the aid of the candy cane as a walking stick, the tree will stroll over to the cloak stand.
4. At the cloak stand the tree will place his cane on the chair and start to dress itself in the clothing items on the cloak stand. After the tree is dressed, he will turn and walk back to his original position. On the way he will tip his hat to a plant, which ends up blushing.
5. When he reaches the original spot he’ll turn and look down, seeing a newspaper. FADE OUT
6. FADE IN – The door opens and the little girl of the family runs in and stops sharply, her parents then joins her. They are all looking at the same spot. What they are looking at is the tree sat in the armchair, reading the paper.

It is Christmas time and there is one Christmas Tree that finds it important to dress in a proper manner.

At Christmas, one Christmas tree is decorated tinsel, ball balls and all the typical d├ęcor by its owning family. That tree wants to dress in a different style, and that is style is Aristocratic. To cure this problem he will move to wear the clothes of its owners.

1 The open scene starts by the opening of a door; from that door the top of a Christmas tree starts to be carried through. From an angle outside the door, we see a father, mother and a small girl bring in the Christmas tree into the living room. The tree is placed in the corner of the large living room. On the left hand side of the tree will be a wide window with snow and frost covering the window panes. Under the window is an armchair. To the right of the Christmas tree is a fire place with a white mantel piece and above that is a mirror.
The small girl has a large box of decorations with her and she places it down in front of the tree and opens the box fully. The family start to dress the tree in all sorts of decorations with all sorts of colour; red, green, yellow, blue, silver, gold, etc. ( As the family dress the tree, all the audience sees is the hands of the members put the decorations on the tree and sometimes a shot or two of the feet, to show their positions.) In this same style, little girl will pick up the box and leave the room, followed her mother and father, the father shuts the door behind him. (The position of the view will be from the floor, so the audience only sees the feet of the family leave as well as the door closing. A slow FADE OUT.
(This whole scene should take around 15-20 seconds)
2. FADE IN – What we see is our first full image of the tree, dressed in awesome colour and lights. FADE OUT
FADE IN – We are now closer to the tree; we see the top half of the body. FADE OUT
FADE IN – What we now see is the head of the tree, and the view is zoomed in slowly; only a couple of inches closer. As the zooming stops the tree shakes itself awake. The view is then moved back. The bristles start to form together to create the arms and legs. The tree lifts its left arm and looks at the bauble on the top of it. His head lowers down; (and through its view we see it looking at the decorations on him; looking from left to right). Our view changes back to the full body view, the head is positioned the same as it was before we left the tree-eyed viewed. His head rises up and looks to the left, (from a view behind him we see he’s spotted the mirror). He jumps off the stand that he’s on and then lands on the legs that were created by the bristles. When landed, our view jumps to the legs landing and then he walks closer to the mirror. Once again from a view from behind him we see the tree look at himself in the mirror. He unpicks a bauble from his face and throws it to his right. The bauble flies across the room and hits a cloak stand, knocking it slightly into a wobble. The tree looks around to his right and notices the cloak stand. He starts shaking himself from left to right, up and down; all the baubles and tinsel and candy canes are flying across the room. (Our view follows a view of the decoration fly across the room and land on the floor).
We then see the tree pull a large candy cane out of a small Christmas stocking that’s hung up on the white mantel piece. Using this large candy cane the tree will stroll over to the cloak stand and dress giddily in the cloak and hat. He’ll then look to his right and tip his hat to a plant (that acts as a female and blushes) and looks himself in the mirror. Pleased with the new look he’ll move towards his original spot, but a broadsheet newspaper on the arm of the chair catches his eye. (Our view then changes to close in front of the tree with a slightly looked up position, the tree moves closer, blocking out our view.)
3. FADE IN – The door opens and from a view of behind that door we see the family enter, the view moves up slowly over their heads. In this time the mother will place her hands on her face. When the view is over their heads, we see that the family is looking at the tree sat in the arm chair with the newspaper in his hands but covering his body. His legs are crossed. The mother screams and the paper crumples down and we see the face of the tree with the top hat on the top of his head. He tips his hat in greetings to the family.

In this alternative ending, the tree won’t notice a broadsheet newspaper on the chair, and instead stands in the spot he was in at the beginning. The next morning the family open the door to see the tree dressed in a cloak and hat.

In the corner of a warm Victorian living room, a newly decorated Christmas tree is standing not as proud as one would think. The Christmas tree suddenly comes to dress how he sees fit. With one look in the mirror, there is a clear disgust, but with a knock that grabs his attention there is cloak stand with the right clothes fit for the tree. A cloak and a top hat is all he desired but the owners of the tree and clothes don’t react all that well.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Ball Animations - Bouncing Ball and Bowling Ball

Bouncing Ball - Frame Rate 12.5

Bouncing Ball - Frame Rate 25

Unfortunatly the Bowling ball exercise has failed to work in the right format; this is really frustrated, however I prefer learning this now rather than in 3 weeks time when I have 700 frames put down and I the file is wrong. I plan to do the picture taking again of the animation, hopefully third time lucky it will work.
Overall, what I learned from the animations is that 1 second on it's own is very demanding and with detail it becomes a very hard and long process. Although I did enjoy looking at the drawings moving in a animation sequence. Definitely looking forward to making my full one.

Unit 5 - Life Drawing lesson 2

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Research - Walking and Moving Trees

To have a better idea on how to make this Christmas tree move, I thought I would look into previous animation on walking trees. The two animations that fit the my search are the following;

Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers - The Last March of the Ents


Disney '32 - Silly Symphonies - Flowers and Trees

Research - The Victorian era at Christmas

From the URL,, I found Ivan's CG version of what the Victorian era at Christmas looked like.

I thought that I should look the character of Scrooge from Charles Dicken's Novel, "The Christmas Carol". I also liked the Muppet's version of the tale and I've become inspired by Michael Cane's acting Skills. I like the movements the character has, the posture show a sure dominance from the character. Also the younger Scrooge has dominance but in a slightly different way.


Thursday, 10 March 2011

First set of Drawings for the Christmas Tree

Today has been a quite productive day, in a way I think I have a greenlight from Phil, which is awesome!!! So I started drawing some drawings for the Christmas, and what I have focused on is turning the tree into a humanish shape. I have grouped the bristles together to create limps of the character which will help with movement and posture. I've tried to keep the long and bent back to show dominance and pride from the character.

Here I have studied the movement of the tree as if it was taking a step forward and then spin and then moonwalk backwards a little. I know this movement is unique and won't be used, but I wanted to practice with a movement that would be hard. I like the different changes in stance and posture, I will also be different movements as well for more practice. I also want to use the animation paper to view the movement closer and see it in action.

Christmas Tree Research

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

A talk with Nat

Nat and I just had a little chat about the ideas we have come up with for our animations. The subject she was dealt with is a Melancholy kite, with this she has created a few solid ideas. As we looked through these ideas, I gave her advice on which direction she could take them. What I noticed about her first idea was that it was planned out to be a non-linear timeline. She planned to have the kite in the bin and then have that kite think back to a time where it was flying and doing the kite thing, but that could also be interpreted as a dream state rather than a back in the day thought. Her second idea involved a lot of action, first thing I did was warn her about the amount of story she was trying to play out. I thought that animating it would be very difficult for the time period because she wanted to have two cars and a running dog. However this idea was very good, because the story was easy to imagine but I was thinking that the Melancholy state of the kite wasn't shown until the end. Her third idea, I thought was the best for the Melancholy state of mind, because she has the kite looking out of the window at the rainy days, waiting for a day to be played with, but when it finally is sunny, the child wanted to play football instead of the kite. Now this story, I felt was more touching, and could easy be used to make the audience feel sorry for the kite and see it's sadness. Overall I advised her to take a look at Pixar's 1987 short film, 'Red's Dream', I watched this myself only a few days ago and I really liked the sadness the Unicycle gave even with out a face. Nat's first idea reminded me of this short film and if she studied the expressions used in the short, she could really make that kite come alive.

For those who haven't seen it, here it is...

Nat's Ideas for me

When it came to talking about my ideas, we talked about how the Christmas Tree would move to show it's  authority as an Aristocratic nature. At first I could only think of the tree hopping on it's stump or in the pot it's in. But what we noticed is that the hopping or bouncing would be too joyous or happy to be poshish. So what Nat suggested is that I should spread the bristles into two legs. With this I can exaggerate a large amount of posture and movement.
We had a talk about the story ideas I had as well, we thought that the tree should dress itself in a high maintenance way. For example the owners take the tree from the loft, place it in the living room and start to dress it. When that family have gone to bed, that tree will come to life and look in the mirror, disgusted with how it looks, it will shake off all the decorations. Then the tree will look across the room and notice a cloak stand that has a cloak/waste jacket and a top hat on it. The tree will stroll over to that cloak stand and put the items on. When the family return in the morning, they will see the tree in their clothes. I liked the idea of the tree not liking the way it was dressed, and it felt compelled to change. But what i didn't understand is, if these people own posh clothing, then surely they would be posh enough to decorate the tree correctly. Unless the tree is decorated perfectly, but that still isn't enough for the tree, it still wants to dress proudly...

All in all, it was a good chat with Nat.....

What the Blue Box delivered

So unit 5 started a couple of days ago, and what the blue box delivered me was an Aristocratic Christmas Tree. Before the lucky dip I was hoping for a mood that would be quite joyful or playful to work with, but in a way I;m happy that I didn't get that. Thats because now I'm out of my safe zone, so I'm highly looking forward to what I can come up with.
My main focus so far has been on trying to make the christmas tree act aristocratic rather than look aristocratic, because I think thats what the project is asking for the most. I think that if I can make the tree act aristocratic, then the visual will be there as a result.

I've been coming up with ideas today, and this is the page of ideas that I have:

My ideas are very very basic at the moment because I want a lot of development to come from them. So basically the ideas as of the moment are small Premises. The ideas have originated from possible location the tree could be in, for example the locations I came up with are, a christmas toy shop, a living room, a town square or in a forest. I know that drawing the location again and again will be time costing and almost pointless. So I will need to use a few still of the background or imply that location through the animation.

Ideas - the general idea for the animation is to portray that the christmas tree is aristocratic, so through the ideas I need to something that shows that characteristic.

My first idea was to have the Christmas tree drinking tea (for whatever reason). Even though this idea is simple, it doesn't show a clear link between Christmas tree and tea.

My second idea was to have this Tree shopping somewhere.

The third idea I found interesting because the synopsis could be used for the beginning or the end of the animation. For example if the tree loves to show off then being in the loft is the problem and coming out and put on show in the resolving of that problem. However if the tree loves it in the loft (perhaps that is its home) then being taken out of that loft would be a problem.

The Forth idea is to have the tree taken from its original home of the forest and then put in a home where it will be decorated.

For my Fifth idea, I was thinking that the tree could either start of posh and then in some way end up Poor/dirty or the other way around. This, in effect could, show the life of the tree....

At the moment I like where my ideas are heading, I will be looking forward to talking to Nat about my ideas and hers and see what we can come up with.

Unit 5 - Life Drawing

Todays Life drawing lesson went really well, I managed to get a few poses down. The lesson was slightly different because I pitched the idea of having the model step up and step down from the podium and also had her pick up a bucket whilst acting as if it was really heavy. I thought this idea could be very useful for us because we could see what muscles she used most, what posture she needs to attemp the pick up and the overall movement.