Final Product: Here
All Deliverables: Here
Reflect on how you (and your team) have performed with regards to behaviour, collaboration and the major events/issues that occurred during the project:
Throughout the production phase of Worldbuilders, it was quickly made evident how vital it was to maintain a certain art style for the duration of the animation. Initially, we planned to separate our shots into different sections, for example, person A will be responsible for completing shots 1-4, person B is shot 5-8, and so on. Each of us were responsible for mimicking the lineless, storybook-like style we’ve referenced in our Moodboard. This soon proved to be an issue, due to the fact all of us had contrasting art styles, therefore it was a challenge to preserve some consistency.
We then decided that perhaps while all of us drew our own draft assets, one other person will need to be in charge of polishing/”correcting” the art styles of each draft to ensure they were all cohesive to each other. I was assigned this task, partly because my team mutually agreed to use my style throughout the animation, also partly because I insisted that I be given more work, since I was fortunate to not have CIU responsibilities on the side like the others do. However, this responsibility itself became a problem for me, for I didn’t receive any draft assets from team members until it was dangerously close to when we needed to present our progress so far to facilitators and peers.
Which ties into the next major issue I experienced, which was the workload not being divided up equally among the team. Our team consisted of four people including myself, and it seemed like only half of us steadily contributed to the project week by week. I ended up having to redo most of the draft assets from scratch, because they were far too vastly different from my style for simple tweaking. On top of that, I assigned myself the task of animating our assets (except for one), which was more time-consuming and painstaking that I thought since I’ve never animated on Photoshop until now. I was conflicted about the situation, because I didn’t know which was the better option: split the workload among other 2D artists in the team, so everyone has something to do, and we could stick to working on our individual shots on PS and AE, but risk having an incohesive style. Or I continue to redraw assets and animate them so they’re all cohesive, but that will mean I won’t have time to help this other team member who was practically spending long hours compiling and setting up scenes in AE and Premiere.
In the end, I decided to polish and animate only the more vital assets, because I doubted I was going to have enough time to completely redraw all the assets. I managed to finalize the important assets, and even got around to “correcting” prop assets. Overall, everything came together beautifully, and we pushed through to collaborate on in animation we’re all proud of. There were just some aspects about the production progress that I personally wished were done differently. I worried more for my contributions to the project at first, hence why I willingly accepted more responsibilities, and worked diligently to completing them. It was just felt kind of disheartening and unfair not seeing everyone pull their weight towards the end. It just seemed like me and this other team member were the only ones pushing to complete the project, granted it’s mostly been me and this person present on slack during the final week of polish.
Arguably, this could be the result of a communication problem. While we did communicate frequently to each other, and even hosted Skype call meetings, perhaps not all of us were on the same page. I’m given this impression, because I recall a time during polish when one of our team members approached me, stating they were unable to assist me with polishing because they were struggling with mimicking the art style, and they were experiencing troubles using Photoshop. Perhaps if I had taken the time to walk my team members through my PS processes, they would feel more confident in contributing to 2D asset creation. That’s what Aidan did for us, after he spent three solid days researching AE. In light of the situation, being assigned all these tasks did push me to become flexible/adaptable to programs I don’t commonly use in my processes. For instance, ever since I’ve begun working on this project, utilizing Photoshop’s functions has almost become second nature to me. I have a far clearer idea on how to draw and animate on PS than I ever did before. The same can be said about AfterEffects, which wasn’t as nightmarish as I fretted it would be. In fact, the program is more straightforward, and I found it works similarly to Photoshop in terms of layers and effects. So all in all, this project was a useful learning experience and has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone.
Identify and reflect on the Final Output of the project and overall effectiveness of key Creative Processes:
To accomplish what we achieved in our Final Output, I experimented on two different animation programs, to be certain to which process will prove to be most reliable. Before I considered animating on Photoshop, my mind was immediately set on Adobe Flash. In the past, I’ve relied on Flash to execute my animations, particularly because it’s a rather straightforward and efficient program to use. But the issue I immediately encountered with using Flash during Worldbuilders, is that the brush settings couldn’t be manipulated enough to suit the art style we were aiming for. Flash is limited to its basic, simple circle brush, which wasn’t going to work out because our preferred style included more papery, dynamic brush strokes. Photoshop thankfully offered us more variety, granted we were able to download unique brushes onto the program to use. We were much able to achieve our desired art style through Photoshop.
Photoshop is the program which worked best for us. The only deal-breaker with PS is that it isn’t primarily an animating program, therefore using it to animate proved to be twice as tedious and painstaking than using Flash. PS wasn’t difficult to use, but it was extremely time consuming and slow at times. For instance, the onion skin settings, no matter which option I picked, would slow me down when colouring the frames, for I had to constantly turn it off and on just to correctly pick the colours and ensure continuity. Animating dynamic poses was hard for this reason, and also because the layer setup was far more complex than the one in flash. Flash at least enabled me to turn on onion skin settings without it interfering with my process, and it was easy for me to switch between frames and edit them with ease. I suppose realistically, Flash would’ve worked best for me personally, but Photoshop was more appropriate for the task since it helped us achieve the style of the world precisely to our vision.
Recently, I discovered through a friend that apparently you’re able to rough out an animation on Flash, export it as a PNG sequence, upload the sequences on Photoshop, and go over it with the brushes of your choice. It’s a process I would certainly try out in my future projects, since it combines the ease and simplicity of roughing out animations on Flash, and polishing it with the appealing, dynamic brushes and colouring in Photoshop.
With the intention of improving my creative practices for future projects, I aim to stray significantly further away from perfect imitation of reality, so my animations don’t appear as static and dull. I believe practicing more exaggeration, by welcoming wilder, extreme forms, will truly make the animations flow better. Researching the psychology of movement could also benefit me, in a sense that it’ll give me a clearer idea not just for the process, but the intention of movement. I’d also like to improve my animation process as a whole, now that I’ve recently discovered that I can import Flash PNG sequences into Photoshop. I’ve learned that I can adapt to new programs fairly easy, so learning from well-acclaimed animators and their processes for programs such as OpenTooz and TVPaint could give me a boost of confident and knowledge with my creative practices.
Reflect on the roles within the production process:
Judging from how I’ve handled my experience working on this project, I seek to improve my ability to work well under pressure. It’s a bit complicated, because I’ve learned I CAN work fairly diligently under pressure, but when there’s no pressure involved, my complacency slowed down my progress, meaning I’ve had to cram in work as punishment. To avoid this in future, I could cut the time I have to complete my tasks in half, which means working steadily on the task at hand first and foremost, and allowing myself enough time to gather feedback and polish.
I believe everyone in my team owned up to their roles in the project for the most part. Our team lead was approachable and very organized, and assigned us tasks which all played on our individual strengths. The other generalist in the group arguably did most of the heavy-lifting in the group, spending long hours researching and perfecting our scenes the best they can. Our other generalist only did the bare minimum of tasks assigned to them, and wasn’t very present in class nor on slack unless we tagged their name for responses.
I was just another generalist, which I think suited me in the end, since I ended up doing more for the team than just concepting and drawing my own assets. I become their concepter, polish, and animator. Our team lead assigned me tasks which were complementary to my strengths, so being able to work proactively has made up for the minor inconveniences along the way. Of course, as mostly a 2D artist, I took great pleasure in concepting the characters and the environment, and I’ve always welcomed feedback so I could cater more to my group/facilitators/peers’ liking. Polishing is another factor I’ve been told by others that I’m significantly skilled at, and all in all, experienced no problems with the polishing of assets alone. And I’m fairly proud of the animation I’ve managed to produce for this project! Worldbuilders has certainly been the project I’ve enjoyed the most throughout the year by far.