Specialisation Post-Mortem

Hey everyone! I am here with my Specialisation project post-mortem this time! As you may or may not know, my specialisation was focusing on background art, and as it evolved it started feeling like background concept art for something, which was sort of my aim in the first place. My final pieces are this art here:

Christmas Landscape.png

And this one:

Pirate Cove Landscape.png

So what went right?

There were lots of images that I could use to get ideas for my images, and also use as reference to draw some of the smaller details, such as the candy canes, the gingerbread house, the skulls and the flags. This made it significantly easier to gather inspiration and to get the shape of my objects correct.

There was also a fair lot of sources around about composition and custom brushes, several of these sources were given to me by my lecturer or one of my classmates who knew where I should look for this information. I learnt a lot of information about composition and custom brushes that I was then able to use to create these images. Composition was sometimes confusing but more research then rectified that. Thanks to anyone who helped in my research, it was much appreciated.

Christmas Landscape - Progress

So what went wrong?

This project got put on the backburner due to the fact that my team for final project was being pushed to finish everything we needed to finish, as well as catch up on. Since we fell behind in final project, Studio 3 work was pushed aside so that we could catch up with the work we needed to have complete by the end of trimester. This caused my second background, the Pirate Cove, to be rushed slightly, and not quite up to the standard I’d be happy with. I still think it is a good and finished image, but it could be better.

I also started getting a bit distracted towards the end of trimester, allowing myself to have my attention dragged away from work for short periods of time. This also cut down on the second background, as my head would be turning away from it often.

Pirate Cove Landscape_Base Colour.png

What would I do differently next time…

Next time, I would certainly start doing a project like this sooner, and give myself a lot more time before my deadline. I would also find a way to minimalise distractions around me. The times that I worked best were at Uni, when the house was empty, or when I was listening to music to block out the people in the room or outside.

What I learnt during the project…

I learnt alot more about composition, and the rule of thirds, as well as colour and digital painting. I learnt different blending techniques in Photoshop, as well as different uses of each of the default brushes. Halfway through the trimester Photoshop updated, changing the default brush set, so I had to learn my way around that as well.

Finally I learnt how to make, import and use custom brushes in Photoshop, and what not to use custom brushes for.

Composition Test layout

Future Goals for skill development

In future, I would like to continue getting better at digital art, background concept and design, as well as continue my character design studies. I feel like these things will help me the most in the future, for both professional and personal endevours.

That is all that I have to say. Thanks for reading my blog and I’ll see you all in the next one!

~Icetail~

 

 

Specialisation Project Post-Mortem

And for the last of my blog posts this trimester, I give you the post-mortem for my Specialisation Project. I wish that this had been the main project for this trimester, and that the group project had held less sway on our learning outcomes, then I’d spend more time researching animation techniques then worrying about how much time I have to complete a shot for someone. Though I will conceed to the point that many of our learning outcomes are all about following the project brief, going from pre to post preduction, and working with a team towards the final deliverable. Anyway, onto what this blog post is actually meant to be about.

My specialisation project this trimester focused on improving my 2D animation skills, and broadening my understanding of different techniques so that my animation look more believable. So in the end I endevoured to make this:

Night Scare

And this:

Mr Amazing Invinci-ball UPDATED

What went well, and why?

I think, in the end, what went well was my research. I found websites, articles and books that were able to give me information and recommendations that I could use and that I could easily read over several times to make sure I understood what I was doing. There were also plenty of sources of information to cross reference. The most helpful source was “The Animator’s Survival Kit” by Richard Williams, and I say that because it is a book, that I can physically hold, and bookmark. I can keep it open on the same page and not change tabs on my computer while I am animating.

Another thing that went well was the actual animation. I had a few problems with my laptop maxing out it’s memory usage, but that is such an easily fixed problem that it was merely an inconvienence. For once I didn’t focus on the look of my drawings and just focused on getting the movement right.

What didn’t go well, and why?

To continue off the animation part of the last question, there were some animations that I did focus on the look and not the movement, and the quality of these animations was blocky and very flat. This would be a case of I need quantity over quality, where I need to make more sketchy animation with good movement, rather than a few nicely lined animation with horrible movement. At the same time as having bad animation, focusing on the detail slowed down my work progress and I wasn’t able to do as much work as I had planned to do.

What else didn’t go well? My time management. With the Meet the Team project running past the due date, as well as cross-discipline work and my elective subject, I had a lot to juggle around my timetable, and I should have been able to do so, I just haven’t been able to. I haven’t worked out the right way for me to manage my time yet. I should listen to everyone who gives me a way to try out. My time management skills cut the time I spent on all of my projects, not just my specialisation.

One last thing that didn’t really work, was the study group that our lecturer had set up. Nothing happened in it, no one spoke after the initial silly chat, it was just dead, which defeated the purpose of the study chat group.

What would I do differently next time?

Next time? I would definitely start this project sooner, as to have some work ready by the time that we are starting to talk about it in class.

I would also make sure that I try and write down a to-do list, and some semblance of a schedule to follow. This should hopefully get more work done. With this, I shouldn’t feel like I’m stuck in a web of assessment.

One last thing I would do differently next time is ask for the opinions of my peers more, good advice comes from them, and ideas to improve your work. At least, that is what I have seen. If the lecturer sets up a group chat then I shall use it, ask for help and opinions, offer opinions and advice, and share the knowledge that I have aquired.

What I learnt during the project?

I learnt a few things during this project, such as lip sync and the beginnings of cloth animation. I also learnt the beginnings of facial expressions in 2D animation. But I also learnt different ways of extending my animation and making it shorter or faster. Such as giving key frames longer periods on screen, deleting some key frames that slow the animation down and are unnessasary for the movement.

One thing that I discovered was the limitations of Adobe Animate, where there isn’t a way to change the opacity of a layer. Or perhaps there is and I haven’t discovered it yet. There is no soft brush either, meaning I am stuck with hard lines.

From this I learnt about animating in Adobe Photoshop, where every layer is a new frame of animation. I didn’t get to test this myself, however I did watch one of my classmates doing this. It was very interesting to watch. Adding new frames to the animation also allows you to choose which layer is being used, so the layers don’t need to be in order. The order just makes the layers easier to find.

Future goals for skill development

My goal for future skill development, is to get to a point where I can have a few frames of smooth, coloured and shaded, finished 2D animation. To do this, I will most likely have to move on from Adobe Animate and find more animation software that gives me a greater range of tools to use, such as Anime Studio. I also want to get better at lip sync. I might grab some voiced lines from movies or cartoons that I can animate a character’s mouth to.

One last thing I learnt was the dire need that I have to learn how to draw a character that isn’t facing front on, I had much trouble drawing any character from any side view other than profile. I should do more drawings with characters in three quarter or around there side posing. It will make my animation better.

That’s all I have for this blog post. I enjoyed this trimester, and I hope to learn much more next trimester. Thanks for taking the time to read this post, and I’ll see you all next time.

~Icetail~

Meet the Team Project: Post-Mortem

(The video shall be embedded into this post as soon as I can get it here.)

Hey to my readers! This blog post is to recount everything and analyse how well my group’s Samurai Jack Meet the Team Project ran. In this post I must do two things; reflect on my team and how well we worked together, and reflect on the roles in the animation process. As such I will appropriately title the sections of this blog post. Thanks all for sticking with me this trimester!

Part 1

Reflect on how you (and your team) have performed with regards to behaviour, collaboration and the major events/issues that occurred during the project.

To start off with, I shall note important events and/or issues in the project. The first one that I believe I can identify, was at the beginning during our project planning. We were discussing the risks that could affect our project, and I had filled in solutions for all the risks that I had identified, having done a bit of research to find these strategies to minimalise the affect of these problems, however I was told that I should have asked before changing anything on the document because confirmation hadn’t been given on it. This small conflict was caused by lack of communication on both our parts, where I wasn’t aware that we were waiting on confirmation, because it had never been mentioned before, and I should have told the team that I was updating the project plan document.

The next issue that arose was during the design process when we were deciding what kind of characters we would be making for this project. Before this project began, I knew nothing about Samurai Jack, where as my teammates did. They had experience with the world that had been selected, where I had to catch up. Unfortunatly the only videos I could find were short segments from from various episodes. There were the few clips that my teammates sent me to watch as well. They gave me an idea on the diversity of the characters at lest. With much trial and error I was able to create a character that my teammates and I could work with. The character I created however didn’t have a nice backstory like my teammates had given their characters. I should have asked my teammates for assistance for a better story to have come out of my character.

One final issue that is sitting at the forefront of my mind is ongoing currently, and that is the lack of informed updates. What communication we had has now almost completely died, and the inquires as to progress or looking for assets have come up empty. We do not seem to have planned out our risks well enough, or perhaps we have lost motivation towards the end of trimester as the project drags out. We underestimated how much time we had left to do things, and how much personal life and other commitments would push us back, nor did we properly plan around this. We could have discussed this potential risks in more depth to have avoided this problem. We could have also made sure that our chat didn’t die out in the first place, to keep a constant feed of information and updates.

Our project plan documents weren’t too effective, when we completed it we didn’t really look at them after we had finished. Our Kanbanchi board wasn’t used effectively either until later in the project when we finally worked out how to use the program properly. While we didn’t really look at our project plan documents, we did, however, manage to follow what was written on our Kanbanchi board.We didn’t diverge too much from this plan, but some tasks did get put off and completed later than we had negotiated.

Our communication at the start of the project was very active, we were discussing different ideas, and how to go about doing our project. I believe that our pitches for the project went well. As the project progressed though, periods of silence started to appear, where nothing would be said for a few days. This slowly became almost complete silence, which I noted earlier. The progress on our work seemed to coincide with the decrease in our chat, and less happened to the final product as we communicated less.

Part 2

Reflect on the roles within the animation production process.
On Transferable Skills:

I improved some of my own transferable skills during the course of this project, my ablility to work with others, and perhaps some analytical skills, however, let me be the first to acknowledge that I am quite antisocial and I sometimes find it hard to communicate, and quite often I am quite happy to let others do the talking. This doesn’t mean that I won’t participate however, and I do try my hardest not to remain silent during project work. I do however need to work more on this, become more comfortable with talking with the group, asking for opinions and giving my opinions. To improve on this all I can really do is continually force myself away from my comfort zone, and participate more actively in discussions amongst my peers.

On The Final Deliverable:

In the brief to this post-mortem blog I have been told to comment on the overall “ownership of responsiblities”. I’m not entierly sure what that means, but I assume that it would be discussing how our tasks were divided. With the animating of our Meet the Team video my group agreed that each person would be responsible for animating the shots that held their characters. As I had the least amount of shots to complete, I offered to hold the main Adobe Premiere Pro file and compile all the exported shots in order, ensure that they were the right length and ensure that the audio lined up with what was happening on screen. I enjoyed compiling our shots and adding the audio, I was able to tell my teammates if their shots went over the timing that had originally been planned and I could ask them what they thought the best solution would be, either cutting the end of the shot, speeding up the shot, or moving everything behind the shot back and making the video longer.

 

Well this has been a slightly long post, I’m not sure if I answered everything that I was meant to properly, however if there is anything missing this blog post will be updated soon enough. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, and I’ll see you all next time.

~Icetail~

Reflective Blog Task -Your Professional Identity

It is now reaching the end of the twelfth week of trimester, and next week, week thirteen, is last week of trimester. It has been an… interesting trimester to say the least, with two CIU classes and Production 1, insanity might be a good way of describing it all. And at the end of this twelfth week I find myself reflecting on the very first week of trimester. The quote “I open at the close”, from Harry Potter, comes to mind, but I suppose that isn’t exactly correct… more like I close at the ‘open’. Week one’s lecture was about an overview of our module for the trimester, as well as “your professional identity”. Barring the overview, I wish to reflect on my professional identity as well as what professional identity means.

In the first online lecture, it was made very clear that throughout the thirteen weeks we would be learning skills that would assist us in interacting with industry practitioners and future employees. The online lecture kept comparing all the disciplines of SAE Qantm, showing us how they were the same. One thing that really stood out to me in the lecture was the heading “no future”. Underneath this heading is a singular paragraph talking about how it is common for people working in new media to not be able to imagine their future. I must say, that I have no clue where my knowledge in animation will take me, nor do I know what I want to do with it. I enjoy animation a lot, and over the Christmas/New Year break, I know that I will be continuing to play around with Adobe Flash/Animate and Adobe After Effects. Eventually I hope to write a novel then animate the scenes in it, so the story may come to life, but for now that it but simply a dream.

For the classroom lecture for the first week, our lecturer asked us how we would respond to certain scenarios online. These questions were interesting and certainly made the whole class stop and think. One question, which I’m almost sure has been a recurring question several times in the past twelve weeks, was “what kind of person do you want to be seen as online?” My answer to this question? I want my online presence to reflect me and who I really am, I don’t want to hide behind false identities. My pen-names should just be an extension of me not an entirely new me.

frostieheart-logoWith this answer comes the question – how should I act? What is my ‘Professional Identity’? Hard question, and my answer is; I don’t know yet, at one point I might of said that my ‘identity’ is Icetail of WindClan – Meta-If (that is WAY too long) more recently I might tell you that FrostieHeart is my identity or perhaps I’d claim that my name is Renée Anastasia (comment to ask the meaning behind that name – interesting story how I came to use the name). Last year during my final term of grade 12 I would have answered with “FrostieHeart Design” and then proceed to tell you about my Media studies assignment, where we had to build a brand and website for ourselves. It was never of course published, though I did consider setting the logo I created as my DeviantArt ID. Most of these names do not have or are losing their connection to me and fading away from my identity. Reasons for this can be, in the case of FrostieHeart design, just an assignment and meant nothing to me in the first place, or just a name that used to mean something, but isn’t apart of who I am anymore. I did touch on previous pennames in my last blog post where I spoke briefly on how they were once related to me.

There are many things that I need to work out, both about myself and my art, before I can start to work out my Professional Identity. I am still a student in a Bachelor’s degree in Animation, trying out new techniques and improving my own art style. It is highly likely that my identity will change many times before I settle on one solid identity, and even after I find that identity, I know that it will continue to evolve.

This concludes my final reflective blog post, but that hardly concludes this blog. I hope you marvelous readers will continue to read and support my blog for as long as I post on it.

Until next time!

~Icetail~

Week 1: Overview & Your “Professional” Identity – Self-Directed Practitioners. Medium. Retrieved 9 December 2016, from https://medium.com/self-directed-practitioners/week-1-overview-your-professional-identity-d3037f34cb8e#.jp1pepvo8

 

Reflective Blog Task – Collaborating With Fans

Blogging my gained knowledge from class is a very interesting thing – something I haven’t really done before. In my final assessment for CIU111 (Overview of Industry) I have to write three reflective blog posts, each one on one of the weekly lectures that we have received in class during this trimester. This post will focus on our lecture two weeks ago, on collaborating with fans.

Related image

Old DA logo

I thoroughly enjoy interacting with other fans of media works that I myself am a fan of, as well as communicating with the fans of my own work, be it fan art/fiction or my own personal stuff. The fans are a large community of people who, for lack of any simpler term, stalk the social media profiles of creators, looking to comment on art, talk with other fans or simply discover the next big project of the creator. There are many places to do this, like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and my personal favourite at the moment; DeviantArt. The popular art sharing website allows fans to follow each other, and the profiles of any famous artist who has an account, as well as keep track of popular trends in the DeviantArt community, through DA headquarters.

However in the lecture, I took note of three subtitles in particular:

Crowdfunding

Fan Approval

Fan Response

These three titles stood out for different reasons.

Lets start with crowdfunding. I first heard the term when watching a video from YandereDev, talking about his different solutions to speeding up the creation the game currently designated ‘Yandere Simulator’. In this video, YandereDev talks about how he plans on using a crowdfunding service such as the website Kickstarter, a site that is purely for crowdfunding projects. YandereDev’s video was the first time I ever heard the term ‘crowdfunding’. On Google, the definition of crowdfunding is as such – “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.” At the time that I watched the video from YandereDev I didn’t pay much attention to the term, not really seeing how it related to me. When it was mentioned again in this lecture, I came to realise that crowdfunding is

important-information-barbados-1

With this revelation in play, I paid more attention to what crowd funding is and how it does truly relate to me and the Animation industry, and see it as a future  way to fund projects once I have completed my degree.

yuki_no_hana_cover_by_frostieheart-dagsgv9Fan Approval and Fan Response are things that I have always recognised as important, but not really from a creator’s perspective. Fan approval amongst the fans is heavily based on comments and other responses to the creative works of the fans. I have received my fair share of positive and neutral responses, as well as constructive criticism on my own fanfictions and fanart, as well as an overwhelming amount of no response. As an example of this I shall use my own fan fiction story, Yuki no Hana (translates to; Snow Blossom), which is my current work-in-progress on FanFiction.net. My constant reviewer to this story, presea221, often asks questions in their reviews that make me realise when I have erred in my typing or thought process and had to re-evaluate my story to fit in forgotten points, such as when they brought up a character they couldn’t wait to see and I noticed that I hadn’t planned for that character to show up, even though he was integral to the main plotline.

However in the industry, fan approval and response is quiet different to the interactions between fans. In the lecture I note that fan approval applies to pre-existing media, where a continuation of events in a piece of media is carried onto the next. It gets the audience involved with a media work in a way that brings the final product out in a form that the majority enjoy. Of course, one cannot please everyone, and most of the time there will be at least one person expressing their dislike of a particular aspect of the presented media. This is a part of the ‘fan response’.

wildhammer-fact-checkerFan response isn’t just negative comments however. As stated in the lecture, it is positive feedback, which sometimes can help with the decision making process when working out both where the story goes, and what happens to characters. The fans can also point out discrepancies in stories, like at BlizzCon2010 where someone stood up to point out a problem in the lore which had been overlooked by developers, or they can find bugs and glitches, an example of this being YandereDev who puts out his debug builds to his audience and asks them to email him bugs and glitches with his game, which he then fixes. Blizzard Entertainment, after BlizzCon2010, fixed the lore by putting correct characters in their places and adding an NPC, the Wildhammer Fact Checker, as a reminder to not make the same mistake.

I, too, have also had my own stories thrown into my face (nicely) as reviewers point out problems with my versions of events and where I forgot certain parts of the lore I was already writing around. My unofficial beta reader, Defiance-of-Fate, will often point out mistakes I have made in a chapter before I post when I show him the document from my laptop or Samsung tablet. Defiance-of-Fate and I often go over my chapters before I post them to make sure that I still adhere to the plotline of the game/book/anime that I am writing fanfiction for, as well as not contradicting my own plotlines that I create for my stories.

world_of_warcraft___worgen_warlock_by_sandara-daf35cgThis lecture on ‘Collaborating with Fans’ also assisted me a great deal with my assessment for my CIU210 (Media Studies), where, also two weeks ago, I had to get up in front of the class and give a presentation relating to the weekly lecture for that class. Coincidentally the topic of that lecture was about Audiences, Fans and Fandoms, which had several overlapping points with this class’ lecture. I was able to draw points from this lecture into my presentation, especially when I was discussing fanart contests and events. One particular event that I brought up was the Celebrate the Classes event that happened on DeviantArt on August 19 – 31. The image to the left of this paragraph was commissioned from one of my favourite artists on DeviantArt, by DeviantArt for Blizzard Entertainment for this event.

All up, the lecture on Collaborating with Fans was quite interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It drew my attention to terms and services I had previously ignored. Now that I know their use, I shall endeavour to act upon the knowledge.

See you in a few days for my next post!

~Icetail~

References
– About — Kickstarter. Kickstarter.com. Retrieved 1 December 2016, from https://www.kickstarter.com/about?ref=nav
– YandereDev, A. (2016). Yandere Simulator: Past, Present, and Future. YouTube. Retrieved 1 December 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0yXtJuF1SI
– Week 10: Collaborating with Fans – Self-Directed Practitioners. Medium. Retrieved 1 December 2016, from https://medium.com/self-directed-practitioners/week-10-collaborating-with-fans-c2cfff5d64fe#.cmnh2k5mz
 – DeviantArt Headquarters. (2000). DeviantArt. Retrieved 1 December 2016, from http://hq.deviantart.com/
Wildhammer Fact Checker. Wowhead. Retrieved 2 December 2016, from http://www.wowhead.com/npc=51596/wildhammer-fact-checker
– Red Shirt Guy – World of Warcraft Red Shirt – World of Warcraft convention. (2010). YouTube. Retrieved 2 December 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fziRzD05yI