Friday, October 31, 2008

The Fishing Boat

Well I think I might of solved my fishing boat dilemma. I finally found a model fishing boat. Well, it's not actually in my hands just yet but I did order one online and it should be here sometime next week. Then I'll have to break out the model glue and glue that sucker together(with out gluing my fingers together). The plan is(so far) to put the model together and either use it as a reference to draw from and just have a black and white line drawing as my boat in the final piece or the other plan is to photograph the boat and try out the same treatment, ala Juno. Not sure what one will work the best, I guess I might have to try out both of them.

Friday, October 24, 2008


So I've been scouring the internet lately for some animation references, in regards to two particular points.

1. How to deal with blending the photographic elements with hand drawn elements.
2. How to depict the movement of the water and the feel of being underwater.

Well my searching has paid off somewhat. I've found a few really great reference animations. The first one is something that I should of automatically thought of but for some reason or another it just slipped my mind. Luckily, I somehow stumbled upon it again and I'm glad I did. I'm speaking of the title sequence for the movie Juno, done by Shadowplay Studios. It's almost exactly what I need to do.

Click here to view Juno's opening titles.

They had both photographic elements and hand drawn elements. The way they integrated the two was to photocopy the photographic elements until they got the feel they were going for and then they hand colored them using markers. So it still had a photographic quality to it but it also had a hand drawn quality to it too! I'm going to have to test this out. Check out their Flickr site for behind the scenes photos of how they accomplished this.

Just by coincidence when I was watching the movie Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden by Morgan Spurlock, just for pleasure and not for any research purposes. I was surprised to see an animated ocean sequence! Just my luck.

Sorry but I couldn't find a quick little movie anywhere on line to show you the animation, but this is what they basically did. The animations where all done using still photographs. For the animation of the ocean scene. It looks like they just broke up sections of the ocean into different planes and then animated them individually. Not sure if that's how I will end up doing that but it definitely gave me something to not only think about but try.

The last reference I recently found is one in regards to how to depict an underwater feeling. This one is from Buck and was done for the UK network Five.

Click here to view video.

This was good to watch because it gave me some ideas on how to create a general underwater atmosphere in regards to the underwater lighting and to include particles floating around in the water(just as like dust floating around in the air).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Too Linear?

Well I just showed my animatic to someone and not really sure they got it. The one comment/suggestion they did give me was that they thought it was to linear! This is a new one to me, since this was the first time someone has said this to me in regards to my animatic. They wanted to see some hint of the crabs earlier on in the animation. Not really sure I agree with them on this but it's something I'm going to have to bring up and get some feedback on. I thought I was doing good by building up the story by having the plastic bottle fall from the garbage can into the water, the garbage barge passing by and various elements of junk/trash floating in the water. I thought this was enough to get across the idea that something isn't quite right and that's why the fisherman is catching nothing but discarded items. Maybe, I can have a crab on top of a piece of junk that floats by? Definitely something to think about.

Mid-Term Faculty Review

So this past week I had my mid-term faculty review in regards to my project thus far. Although it was short and sweet due to time constraints, I think it went pretty well. Overall everyone seems to think that I have a good concept and story
which I'm happy to hear because coming up with concepts and stories, I feel isn't my strong point. They just told me to be aware of depth and distance and to also make sure all my photographic elements and hand drawn elements blend well together. This last point is something I've been thinking alot about and am a bit worried that it might not blend well. I have to figure something out.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Clearing Something Up

People seem to think that my sky in my Style Frame is just a normal blue gradient. I just wanted to put it out there that that is an actual photo of a sky! A nice clear blue sky in fact, not a cloud to be seen. I took it from a photo I shot a little over a year ago. Here's the actual photo that I'm using the sky from.
Sky & Water
I just felt that I had to put it out there that I didn't just use a simple blue gradient but that I'm actually using a real shot of a nice blue sky. I do intend to put clouds into it so maybe that will quell the blue gradient feeling of it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Style Frame Version 2

Well, showed my style frame to my thesis partner and I got the feeling he didn't really like it. He said it was too stark and minimal. He wanted more stuff and texture to it. Although I didn't agree with him it did however make me take a new look at it and go and change some things, mostly being tightening up the composition so even though I didn't agree with his observations it still made me take a new look at it and rework it because if he didn't say anything I would of left it the way it was. I think this version came out much better.


Animatic Version 2

Well I meet with my thesis partner just so we could go over each others stuff before our big midterm review. He gave me a few good suggestions for my animatic so along with my thesis advisor's suggestions and his I made some changes to my animatic. Hopefully it flows alot better, I'm already starting to feel like I've seen it too much(the animatic) and can't be impartial to it so the outside view was appreciated. Anyway here it is.

Below the Surface Animatic Version 2 from Mike Moreno on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Looking for inspiration

So,lately I've been racking my brain about how I'm going to represent the crabs that are at the end of my animation, even though they're only in the whole piece for about 6seconds they still need to look cool. Well,I braved Times Square and went to the Toys-R-Us that's there figuring that I'd be able to find some type of inspiration crab related. Well it was a waste of time, nothing was to be found, I was really hoping I'd find some plastic crab toy that would spur something in my head or that I could actually use by photographing and then cutting up the photo and animating that. All that ended up happening was me being annoyed by the crowd of tourists.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vegging Out

I hate to admit it but the last day and a half I did absolutely nothing in regards to my thesis. I just needed to take a break from it. Between working and school work it's been a long week and I needed to just veg out, although I can't make a habit of doing that. I can't say I totally took a break I did go down to Petland in Union Square to look thru their aquarium supplies. I was hoping I'd find some underwater props I could use. What I was really crossing my fingers for finding was a crab prop. I'm still racking my brain trying to figure out how I'm going to deal with portraying the crabs. So needless to say I didn't find anything of value at Petland but I did get yelled at for taking photos of the aquariums. Maybe they thought I was trying to steal company secrets.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Very Very Rough Animatic

So, I stayed up till 3am this past Monday putting together this rough and I mean rough animatic, still needs work but it's good seeing things in motion and paced out. It showed me were a few weak spots and edits that just don't work. Hopefully this coming weekend I'll work on it some more and get the pacing and timing down a bit better. I have a nasty habit of having everything paced to slow.

Below the Surface Animatic from Mike Moreno on Vimeo.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Style frame #1

Well I've made one style frame so far and I hope to get to the other two over this coming weekend. This one style frame went through about 4 iterations until I settled on this look. I would of posted the evolution of this style frame but I accidently trashed the alternate versions, Oppps!

I'm pretty happy with it, but now I just have to figure out how I'm going t handle the undulations of the ocean and waves. Plus, I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to represent the boat, either in a more photographic style or a more hand drawn style. I might try to find a model shop in the city and see if they have any models of boats that might work. I also have to figure out a final look for the clouds in the sky, I know that's probably a minor detail but I think those minor details will really give this a polished look. descisions, descisions, descisions!

Style Frame

Storyboards Version 3

Another round of storyboarding, this should be it or maybe not, one never really knows. Anyway here they are.

Click on images to view larger

Research Outline

I think I need an aspirin, the idea of having to do a research paper is giving me a splitting headache. I just don't get the idea of doing a research paper on a creative process. It makes no sense to me. Can someone explain it to me? Anyway since I have to do it I have to do it. I got started on the outline and I won't even bother posting it here just yet because when I hand it in tomorrow and get back the comments on it, I'm sure there will be alot of changes to it. So you'll just have to wait.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Not enough time

This Friday thru Sunday I took on a freelancing photo assisting job, photographing a private collection of a bunch of personal and family photos of Frido Kahlo and Diego Rivera, some really cool shots and on top of that i feel like I'm getting sick. When you put those two together means I'm really not doing any work on my thesis at the moment which isn't good, Midterm review is coming up and have to hand in a lot of stuff this Tuesday. Not good, nope not good at all.

Concept Boards Version 3

So reworked my concept boards once again. I think this is the last time for that, now I'll have to start work on some style frames which will be slightly similar to my concept boards. Yes if you're confused so am I by all these concept boards and style frames.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

One Claw Bigger than the Other

Some one just asked me why the one crab in my concept boards has one huge claw. Well, in the wild there are some crabs that are actually like that. They have this oversized claw while the other one is just normal size. They use this claw to defend their home, fight for or protect their mates and plus it looks cool! Ok well that last reason might not be true but the other ones are. So I took those things into account when coming up with one of my crab characters. I also decided that he probably has this huge claw because he's constantly lifting and moving junk and trash all day long while trying to clean up his environment. Either putting it on fishing hooks or at least moving it out of the way of his home. He's like one of those guys who goes to the gym and all they do is upper body workouts. So they have these huge muscular upper bodies but little pencil legs.

Scale Charts

Just a scale chart in order to give a sense of yup you guessed it scale of some of the various elements in my story.

Click image to view larger

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Storyboards Version 2

So here's my second try at my storyboards. Instead of having a vignette for each item of junk that he catches.(I found that was a bit repetitive). I choose to do dissolves and a montage of junk flying thru the air to represent all the junk that he's caught. I think this is it, that is if everyone is ok with it and don't have any "suggestions".

Click on images to view larger.

Script Version 1

So here's a rough first version of my script. It was a kind of hard to estimate the running time of everything because I haven't even started an animatic yet, which should be next on my long list of things to do.

Script Version 1

Character Sheets

Just some quick descriptions of the various characters and elements in my project.

The Ocean: The blue ocean has a slow undulating movement to it, very quiet tranquil and calm.
The Sky: Similar qualities as the ocean, very blue with white wispy clouds.
The overall character of both the ocean and the sky is one of calmness and perfection, that
nothing is wrong.
The Boat: The boat itself isn't old but it looks like it's been used a lot and is weathered, it could use a fresh coat of paint. The once pure white paint is grayish.
The Junk/Trash: A lot of the junk still appears in good condition and that it shouldn't of been thrown away. The colors of everything is muted and desatured.
The Ocean Floor: It's littered with discarded and items and junk for as far as the eye can see. Even though it's covered with junk/trash the place has a sense of emptiness to it.
The Crabs: One crab is short and stocky. Resembles a muscle bound gym rat with no neck and beady little eyes. The other crab is leaner, almost has a look of a long distance runner. Has large round eyes. The one unique distinguishing feature of him is that he has this huge massive claw, while his other claw is of average size in proportion to his body.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Screenplay Version 3

So, here is what's hopefully the final screenplay.

Screenplay Version 3

My Mantra

I think I need to repeat this(or some form of it) over and over when I wake up in the morning:

"My garbage will represent my target audience"

My target audience so far(in my head) are 9-15 year old kids. So what kind of garbage will represent them? Please feel free to offer your suggestions.