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~

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Meet the Team Project: Animation Research

In the first week of this trimester at SAE, in my Studio 2 class, we were told that our main assignment was to be a Meet the Team video that was to introduce new characters into am existing franchise. We were split into teams based on whether we had chosen to do 2D or 3D animation, and then we decided on a franchise to create these original characters for. My team elected the cartoon “Samurai Jack” as our franchise.

This blog post has been made to discuss how I am to be going about animating the shots I’ve been assigned, however to do that, I should first show and explain my character.

Samurai Jack MTT character model sheet FIXED

This is my character, she is an ice mage. Of our characters, she actually has the shortest screen time. In the video she will be the apparent villain. And though I have designed four different views, she will only ever be seen from front on.

One of the requirements of the brief is that we rig our characters so the group had to then research 2D rigging, or puppet animation. That required to break my character a bit, so that she could be rigged. Here is her sprite model sheet.

Samurai Jack MTT ice mage sprite sheet

Now she can be rigged. Currently, she is rigged in accordance to Robin Fuller’s video on puppet rigging, using the second technique mentioned; parenting.

It works for me, and is easy enough to use, and makes the most sense. The set up is easy to. At least, in my opinion, it is so. It does everything I need it to do for this animation. It most likely wouldn’t be the technique I would use if I had more scenes to do with my character, or if I needed to animate some more complex movements, however, and there are more efficient ways of setting up a 2D character rig. Like the Duik tool add on for Adobe After Effects, which contains many advanced tools to make for easy animating.

However, for this project, I shall just stick with my parent rigging, where I have attached all the pieces of my ice mage, in a hierachy, starting from the torso, working outwards to her hands.

Here we have some of my reference images of my own hand in the position that I was drawing my casting hand in. Twenty photos and two videos got me the movement and poses that I needed, to have the ice mage casing magic. I can’t embed my own video’s to my blog post however, so I can’t show you the video reference.

Another piece of reference I used, was Khadgar, from Warcraft, in the Warcraft movie, when the main characters have their first altercation with the Orcs.

khadgar-as-seen-in-the-warcraft-movie

Now that’s magic. It is a good example of the hand movements in casting, although with magic, it’s hard to come up with an exact casting stance, since it would rely on the character’s personality and the situation that which they are in.

And now that all of that has been adressed, I’d like to leave off here by sharing some of my thumbnails for a few of my shots that I will be animating. The order is up down, left to right.

MTT Thumbs

I didn’t feel like drawing the mage again, so I took her model sheet and reconstructed her in each frame. With the arrows, I think I’m going to have to discover a better way of representing the movement through the air.

Well that’s all I have to say on this. Thanks for reading! And I’ll see you all in my next post!

~Icetail~

Reference
Blackburn R. FrostieHeart on DeviantArt. DeviantArt. 2015. Available at: http://frostieheart.deviantart.com/
Duik – Rainbox. Rainboxprodcoop. Available at: https://rainboxprod.coop/en/tools/duik/
Fuller R. After Effects puppet rigging tutorial. YouTube. 2013. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsuOXXEo9qI 
Jones D. Warcraft. Universal Studios, Blizzard Entertainment, Atlas Entertainment, Legendary Entertainment; 2016