Thursday, 16 December 2010

Transcription Ideas - @ Phil

Hey Phil

I've been thinking about my transcription project, but I'm not sure what to do. Phil, you said before the briefing about whether using the summer project as a basis for the transcription project. Exactly to what extent did you mean, continuing the project where it left off and finishing and refining it, or starting from scratch with a new story, but re using the concept of a sailor at sea in a storm. The thing is that the project was so close to completion anyway. most of the animation was done. The only main thing missing from it was the sailor himself. Originally (for simplicity) he was going to be seen in silhouette and only be a simple character, (since I hadn't really designed characters before, let alone modeling and rigging them)
But since now I have done a character design project and I have gone through the pipeline of modeling characters, one idea would be to take the character in the Summer project further. So the ten weeks would be used entirely on the character or characters.

Of course I don't know whether one, that is enough work for ten weeks, or two, whether designing a character really has anything to do with transcription. The transcribing has already been done in the animation.

The other thing is that it says in the brief, to think about what I want to do in the future. I know I want to do specifically animation. The summer project so far has really been more like visual effects. ie the ocean storm. The only 'traditional' animating in cg would be the character on the boat. So I suppose that would work if I actually design a fully fledged character.

What are your thoughts. If I continue the project from where I left off, I would be well into the production phase and be able to spend the time just refining it, and add a complete character. Alternatively I start from scratch, but the problem with that is that I know I wont have any time to prepare for the project over the Christmas holidays anyway. (I have seven characters to animate in like 2 weeks… it's crazy)
The only other option is if the story is extended or altered slightly. As long as nothing that I've already done is wasted.

Anyway, at least the narrative project seems to be on schedule, but only just! We may have some characters to animate before Christmas!


  1. We hope to have the characters, my friend!!

  2. Ethan, I dont have the rest of the characters in their final stage for the skinning part. you have to send me tomorrow however I got on with rigging tutorial

  3. Okay Ethan - you sound a bit stressed. Don't be. I think you're right about the limitations of the summer project. I still want to see it finished - someday. If animation is your thing (and this will entail character design too, of course) then we need to find you something to transcribe that very simply 'gives you what you want' - I suggest it should be a simple story told beautifully, with an emphasis on performance (of character). Let me give it some thought. One idea would simply to be to take a song - I don't know, Frank Sinatra's 'I did it my way' - and use a single character to 'perform' it somehow - with a twist, and for comic effect - so your emphasis would be on character design, animation and comic timing. If you remember all the Bill Plympton animations (25 ways to quit smoking etc.) they were just 'white space' episodes with an emphasis on a set-up and a punchline. If it's animation you want to do, I strongly suggest that you find the purest, most distilled style. I'll give you some links to some classic songs - your job is to close your eyes and imagine the kind of character it might apply too, and what they might be doing to it.

    For instance, there is this GREAT song by Rogers and Hart entitled 'Johnny One-Note' - a character you is only able to make one musical sound - a link to a crappy version is below:

  4. The lyrics are here:

    Another great anthem is 'I am what I am' - which, in its original context, is from a musical, and is sung by a gay man in defiance of his critics: have a listen, but imagine if it was being sung/performed by an improbable animal - I don't know - by a peacock...

    The trick would be to make something new and original by re-framing (transcribing) an already iconic song.

    Anyway - this is just me busking off the top of my head; I'll post as more thinks percolate through...

  5. Thanks for the quick feedback.

    I think I can agree with you that the summer project perhaps isn't the best use for transcription.

    I also like the idea of a song being sung by an improbable animal. Of course, maybe something else even better could be thought up over Christmas, I think I will need to wait and see.

    Stylistically it would be good to keep things like environments very simple, not grey maya cubes though!

    I think I'd like to explore the possibilities of an animated short, based on a text or poem too.

    Anyway, if I get any new ideas, I will post them.

  6. Another potential candidate for your transcription - check out the singer/song writer Tom Lehrer - we wrote these wonderfully precise, but dark ditties - a link below to one of his most famous;

    Check out his stuff and see if it chimes with you...

  7. also, in terms of style, I came across this blog dealing specifically with 1950s animations - and the styles reminded me both of your unit 5 animation and your recent character design stuff - a strong emphasis on line art and outline etc.

    And see this from Fantasia 2000 - Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue - notice the lovely use of line art and shading for the environments... again, saw this, thought of you!

  8. sorry - forgot to give you the blog url:

  9. Just came across this - it's very cute, makes imaginative use of 'non-backgrounds' and just has fun - while transcribing something simple...!