Friday, May 9, 2008

Seshet is Ready For Her Close-Up!

Somehow, yesterday, I finished "Gallery Girl." The movie is done. All animated, colored, edited, the sound is even there. I can't believe it, but this thesis that I've been working on for a year has become its own thing. Last night we screened it, and it was so bizarre to see this behemoth that took so long, play out in its 5 minute length like it's supposed. In those 5 minutes, with the audience reacting for the first time to images that I've watched too many times to count, all the work seemed to disappear. This beast of a workload is now a newborn baby running off into the world. It's been an unbelievable challenge, but all the sleepless nights and technical spasms paid off. I can safely say I made the movie I intended to make from the beginning. Sure I trimmed a few things (I'm pretty sure the original pitch could easily have been a mini-series), but it never once compromised what I was going for.

It was amazing seeing everyone's films all done, too. We actually did it! Every single one was so unique and showed off all of our strengths. I can't wait to see where everyone ends up! The animation industry better brace itself!

OK, so even though I just said it seemed that all that work disappeared once I saw the movie all done. Well, as much as I want to forget it, I have to admit there was still quite a bit of work every step of the way. One of the most challenging sequences in the film was the Oil Painting. I was dreading it the whole time because it's such an important moment in the story. The look was essential to sell the concept. Seshet was stepping into an oil painting, and it needed to LOOK like an oil painting! But I still wanted to retain my more cartoony style throughout the film. I think I found a happy medium. Here's how I finally figured out how to do it:

First I roughed out the animation in Toon Boom with the beloved Cintiq (which was a piece of hardware ESSENTIAL in this process. I'm so glad Lauren and I decided to split it!).




Then I did Clean-Up, again with the Cintiq and Toon Boom. My rough animation is always ROUGH, so this was a pretty tedious part.



Then it's time for color, which is far easier with Toon Boom. I created Sehet's color palette, and then "paint bucketed" like crazy.



Now for the key to the oil painted look. Emily showed me how to overlay textures over my animation in After FX. This technique works perfectly, because the texture remains still while the character moves over it. So Seshet moves over the still canvas. I took down the opacity of this image of a painting canvas texture:



Then I imported it into After FX and linear-burned it onto my TIFF sequences of animation.

Then I composited the textured Seshet animation over backgrounds like this:



I painted these in Photoshop, slapped the "dry brush" filter on it, then overlaid the same canvas texture.

After all that, and with some sound FX, the shot is ready to go, and hopefully it looks like Seshet has found her way into an oil painting.

video

So there you have it. How I animated an oil painting...sort of.

Though the movie is done, "Gallery Girl" is far from over. I still wanted to submit it to film festivals and such. Hopefully it makes it into some. I'll definitely update this blog if it does. So keep checking back to see where Seshet ends up next!