Finished the video for the song Hello Frustration by wimps and am very happy with the final result.
As expected, animation takes time. Below is three snapshots showing the animation of the first verse coming together.
The initial concept of the video I was planning on using the color palette, that is in the initial closeups, throughout the entire video. However, after illustrating the buildings with that palette I found it too distracting from the main bicycle character and that of the "anxiety" clouds. I then decided to go more minimal and work on a grayscale background which I found allowed the main characters to jump out more and provided a contrast to the very intense closeup introductions that start the story of each character.
Research and Inspiration
Story from North America is a video that I found a very long time ago in the middle of going down a youtube rabbit hole. It was so much different than anything that I had seen at the time. I was really struck by the quick and dirty animation, the jangle of the linework, and how the animation matched the feeling of the song and the subject matter. It also was a lot of fun and had a lot of what I wanted to incorporate into my work on Hello Frustration.
Batman Spinning Cut
When mapping out the song early on I figured out that it had three verses which matched the three band members. I thought that in each verse each of them could tell a different story and each show how they overcome this physical manifestation of their problems, kind of like a superhero fighting a villain. Rachel the bicyclist attacks her problems with positive thinking, Dave the drummer hits his anxiety with a pizza and Matt (me) the bassist uses a scooter to squish his frustrations. So getting thinking like each member is a superhero with their own little story I got the idea that it would be fun to introduce the character at the beginning of each story. Just a quick little closeup of who they are before it goes to the wide shot of them moving through the city. I then remembered seeing a Simpsons episode where they cut back to a Bart story and parodied the Batman cut, but with Bart's head instead of the Batman logo. I thought that would be a fun add on to the video and used it for each character.
I love animation and wanted to do an animated video but we all know that takes forever and ever and ever. I think I have heard that a traditional Disney animated feature takes 5 years or something to animate and that of course is done with a team of animators. The above Story of North America took two years for two people to complete and that is only 5 minutes in length. What am I to do? Well some of my idea on how to shorten the process was from remembering watching some of the Hanna Barbara cartoons of my youth. They came up with processes that cut corners (and costs and times) from the popular Looney Tunes full animation of the day. Where Looney Tunes would animate every single part of the body, Hanna Barbara reduced the character to just a mouth that moved or eyes blinking and looped alot of the rest. They looked walking, talking and backgrounds. You can see the looped background at 1:00 in on this Pixie and Dixie. By looking small sections of my animation, and using the built in movement controls of Premiere and After Effects I could get a lot more motion with a lot less drawing time.
Below is some color inspiration and then also street shots. I knew early on that I wanted to show the characters taking their problems "to work" and stated in the lyrics of the song and thought it would be fun to show them heading to work. To do this I needed to illustrate a city backdrop. A great set of buildings with a lot of variety I think is found in San Francisco on Mission Street. I google streetviewed going down the street there and took screenshots and then photoshopped the buildings together and simplified them to get a realistic feeling for the building backdrop.
Updates have been scarce as up to my ears in school and have been working on a new video project for my band wimps. Doing some catching up. Meanwhile, here is my week by week process for the new video, copied from my process blog for the video. 5000+ images of stuff we like and cool stuff in Seattle and then just shapes. Hope you find it interesting.
Week 11 - Final Presentation
And we're done! Presented to the class today and all went well. In a week or so will have a nationwide premiere on the Impose Magazine site. Enjoy the final video!
Week 10 - Color Correction
This took way too long. With 5000ish individual images this file has reached a size that doing hardly anything at all takes forever so this took all of my school day as well as 3 hours at home (with exporting and rendering). I like how white I got the background and the shapes I think also look better moving in that space. Our faces look like shit though. Now our skin is much more ruddy. I think I need something in between the two. Do I have the time for that? Prob. not. Is the other one fine? Maybe. Thinking on it.
Here's some tutorial videos I watched:
Left is color corrected. Right is previous color correction.
Week 9 - Shape City
This is maybe the final video. The only final consideration would be additional color correction. Big list of completed: 1. Triangles added 2. Triangles positioned 3. Found more triangles, squares and circles 4. Photoshopped more triangles, squares and circles 5. Went through and replaced the least exciting triangles, squares and circles 6. Added Bass EQ to audio track to compensate for poor bass on laptop speakers 7. Did light color correction to desaturate and enhance contrast Going to do some more color correction experiments this week but am pretty happy with this.
Week 8 - Getting in Shape
Haven't been updating as often as I should but to be honest the updates would only say "editing photos". There are now 300+ pictures of circles, squares and triangles and all of the circles and squares have been edited as a transparent psd file. Still need to figure the correct size to reduce them down in order to minimize file size. Also, all of the filming is done. Lot of work to do, specifically adding 1000 still images. The original filming is like the frame of the house. Now I just need to add the wiring, plumbing, walls, shingles, windows, doorknobs and doo dads to really make it shine. Still got to edit me in singing in addition to adding at least 1000 more shapes. Oh I also reshot all the close stuffs so it will be looking different on the next edit from the screenshots in earlier posts.
Week 7 - Shaping Up
Week 6 - More Shapes, Editing and Filming
Little up date a rooney. This last weekend I filmed Dave up close and far away playing drums along to the song so half of Dave's drum stuff is now taken care of. I am filming the Dave in front of a white sheet and Rachel and Matt up close shots this weekend. Today I shot and edited 220 shape shots which brings the total shape shots to about 150 for circle and triangle and 80 for squares. Going to shoot more shapes this weekend to hopefully get all that I need and edit those down so I can begin the further editing in Photoshop to turn them into semi transparents pngs for beginning on the rough next weekend. So far right on track to show a rough to the class on Nov. 7th.
Week 5 - Photo Editing and More Shape Gathering
Edited 171 photos from raw to 240dpi to 2880 x 1920. Figured out how to use a script in Photoshop, which made it a semi-breeze.
Week 4 - More Shape Gathering
Walked around with Mr. Ted (as he is documenting Capitol Hill for a zine) and took a bunch of shape photos. Here is just some of the 170. Circles are by far the easiest, surprisingly triangles and then the most elusive of all: the perfect square. Capitol Hill is too hip for squares. HAHAHAHAHAHA
Week 3 - Shape Gathering
Second blog entry commence now: You know it's a different day and that I am making progress on my project as I am wearing a different shirt and you just can't fake that. Here's Randy lending me a hand.
This last weekend I checked out a camera and walked around capturing shapes and was able to capture some shapes including what I am finding to be the illusive triangle. Also, got more live footage at a different location (my basement) to splice in and add to the cache of three different shows that are in the can from two weeks prior. These will serve as quick splices at the finale and highlight all the fun and exciting places the band plays such as a big theatres, house parties and a scummy teen center.
Lots of footage is needed.
Week 2 - Sketching and Ideas
How bout Dave by himself? People love watching Dave drum. Will provide contrast to close up shots and he can appear when me and Rachel are not singing. Big blank space, maybe my living room with giant sheets up? Have one Who poster up behind him? Dave likes the Who. Mapped out times for when verses and choruses start and stop. Assigned shapes. I think bass and me is more of circle. Rachel's guitar sounds like a triangle. That leaves a square for drums and Dave. Should I have a separate symbol for singing or just differentiate the main symbols?
Week 1 - Getting Started
I don't know if there is an indie band with the name Beach Owl yet but if there is not, which I highly doubt, I hereby claim it and you must pay me money for the best indie band name in the world. Think that I am wrong? Name a better one. I double dog dare you.