I started with the 3d animatics. As explained in Roland Hess’ book ‘Animating with Blender’ I created a rough set and blocky characters and tried to match all the real camera settings with the ones in the storyboard. This turned out to be much fun, as I did not have to rework any shots. They all came out quite well. What I did though was to correct the set layout, where it didn’t match well enough with the storyboard.
The next step was to introduce some animation – camera moves and rough character movements. I wanted to have an early preview, to see if my ideas are really working on screen.
The effect of this undertaking was manifold
- I begin to grasp the huge amount of animation work which will be necessary to get results I am satisfied with.
- I did learn a lot of basic animation techniques – especially camera movements
- The originally projected length for the short was horribly wrong
- I really start to appreciate the benefits of good planning in advance
As for the problem with the estimated length: ‘Animating with Blender’ suggests to time the short using an audio track and matching the shots and their length to the audio. It also suggests to actually ‘act it out’ yourself and time it.
I did the acting but I skipped the audio, mainly because there’s no dialogue. But there is music – as integral part of the story and therefore nontrivial and thus not available yet.
As it turned out my length estimation was way too short. Playing with the camera moves and shots I easily saw where the timing was too fast.
I am now less than half way through with the animatics and my new estimate is 3 min.
See here for a comparison of 4 shots from the current animatic with the corresponding storyboards.
And here are the first 80 sec of the current animatic. This gives the first impression of what the final result will look like.
There will be a break in this production for the next couple of weeks, as I am leaving for vacation and won’t be able to to do any work on my computer. But I plan to do the concept drawings for Ara – with real paper and pencil sitting leisurely on the beach :).