Life is Pointless

This project was an assignment for an animation class I took in University. The assignment was to make a stop motion animation. In this project, my partner and I collaborated to craete a claymation short depicting a little clay ball on its journey towards self discovery.

About this project

Tools and Softwares Used:

Dragon Frame, Premier

Summary

The process of creating this animation has been anything but easy. The amount of time and energy needed to create such a project was, without a doubt, colossal. Nevertheless, the rough cut reflects our efforts thus far as well as areas with still require improvement.

 

Initially, Dave and I had conceived a story about an anthropomorphized logo on a wall clock, which was to get knocked down from its place at the top of the clock by the minute hand. The plot of this story would thence be centered around the efforts of this logo to get back to its home. Unfortunately, neither of us was in love with this idea, and so when we had another idea, we quickly jumped ship.

 

After deciding to switch narratives, I came up with a makeshift storyboard to outline the premise of our newly conceived animation. This animation would be a reference to old, 8-bit style arcade games, and the action would depict me and Dave fighting similar to characters in the "Mortal Kombat" or "Streetfighter" games brawl.

We named this animation “Junior Brawl”, and like these games, we had animated a sequence of title screens and ended with actual fighting. For most of the animation, we had designed Photoshop images to create a video game title screen, player select, level select, and combat level. Once these were created, it was simply a matter of placing them within After Effects to animate these sections.

 

To create the fighting avatars, Dave and I had set up a green screen and filmed ourselves doing various actions that the characters of such video games typically do. Such actions included: neutral stances, jabs, punches, jumps, low kicks, special attacks, etc. After filming sequences of both me and Dave completing these actions, we placed these shots into After Effects and used the masking function to crop the shots scope to only the green screen and the person within it. From there, we used After Effect’s keying option to select the shades of green present within the green screen. This allowed us to effectually eliminate every aspect of the footage except for me or Dave. From here, we simply placed these clips into the animation, scaled them down, and arranged them as was necessary.

 

We were not able to finish this animation, as time was not on our side. However, we were able to complete a substantial amount of it, including the opening title, player select, and the first half of the fighting. Dave, for the most part, animated the fighting, while I worked on creating and animating the initial frames. After we had all the animation, Dave included some sound effects which jived quite well with the 8-bit theme of our video.

The responses we received from our animation’s screening was very useful. For me, the greatest take away was that the film needed to A) stylistically adhere to the video game style we sought to emulate, and B) clean up all aspects of the animation. From this feedback, I am certain that the final cut will be enjoyable.

Process

As with all animations, we began by brainstorming an idea, followed by making a storyboard of the narrative. Here are some sheets from our intitial concept

Once we finalized our story, we went ahead and gathered assets. This meant getting images online, creating custom assets in Photoshop, and gathering our greenscreen footage. Here you can see my partner Dave acting in front of a greenscreen. We would later take all the footage of him and I from the greenscreen and use Premier to key the green out.

After we had gathered our assets, we went into post production. In this stage, we designed the whole video in After effects. We made one rough cut for class, to showcase our progress and receive feedback. After thisrough cut, we added modifications, notes, and final touches to make our final cut.