Tuesday, 28 September 2010



I just really liked the shortness of this animation and how it's humor.


lighting - i like the use of lighting how its mundane when he's at work, and it focuses on the main character and the musician, then at the end when he smashes up the cd player the lighting comes back to the reality.


I like the idea of a never ending tale here, you can see the animation live on after the visual is over

Zombieland - Rules

I like the idea of a mockumentary of whats going on in scene.

Red vs. Blue

Using existing characters and working with them and altering there original purpose. Like the idea of altering a fairytale to be told from another perspective.

Animation Mentor featured Short in news letter

The French Restaurant

Nice simple concept and gives the animator the opportunity to show off their animation principles

Animatic - http://www.animationmentor.com/newsletter/0610/feature_short.html

The above link shows nice animatic work

Lumiere Beauty and the Beast

I like the exaggeration used in Lumiere which i could repeat in maya with simple deformers of squash and stretch if i were to animate an object.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Conflict and Theme

Universal Conflicts
A conflict is a problem getting in the way of the character's goal, a dilemma which creates tension for the character putting the character in jeopardy. Conflict has been categorized into types of familiar stories such as Brains vs. Brawn, Good vs. Evil and so on.
In feature films there will be a primary conflict and maybe secondary and tertiary conflicts.

Universal Themes
The meaning or dominant idea of a story is called a theme.
Stories have meanings and they communicate something to us larger than the story its self, a theme.

Themes are often based on human needs:
- Physical needs
- Mental needs
- Spiritual needs

and within these categories the basic needs of food, shelter, security, acceptance, stimulus, love and order.

So in a feature length film there is the main theme and then sub themes which drive scenes and secondary character relationships. Such as in Beauty and the Beast at the beginning of the film we are shown the theme already with the shot of the rose in the glass case and the rules of the characters world. The first words in the prologue we hear in Beauty and the Beast,
"You must learn to love another and earn their love before the last petal falls. Then the spell will be broken."

What makes a story unique?
As there are limited themes, conflicts, structures and character types, what makes new stories unique?

Robert McKee states that story is about form, not formula.

Understanding the Story

Some valuable points from, Ideas for the Animated Short.

Firstly mentioned is, What is a Story?

CHARACTER - This is who the story is about and through whose eyes the story is told.

GOAL - Something the character wants to obtain or achieve

CONFLICT - what is between the character and reaching their goal?
(what the character wants and why can't they have it?)

There are three forms of conflict :
- Character Vs. Character
- Character Vs. Environment ( Scrat, Ice Age)
- Character Vs. Self ( Hayo Miyazaki's Howls Moving Caste - Howl )

Characters, themes and conflict.

The Universal Story
Why do all stories feel the same?
Nearly 2,300 years ago Aristotle defined what we call 'the plot', the three-act structure.
The plot is not just a sequence followed to create the story but what is necessary to move the audience emotionally forward through each Act.

Act 1. Empathy and pity are established for the character so that the audience will engage in the characters pursuit.
Act 2. Conflict, the character is faced with suffering and challenge.
Act 3. Cathasis, an emotional release of fear and tension for the audience and closure to end the story.

In the 20th century, Joseph Campbell, an American mythology professor, writer, and orator, found universal images and characters that existed in one story shared by all cultures through all time periods. The story appeared again and again, so he called it the monomyth, the one story, the universal story.

The monomyth tells the story of a hero and is called "The Hero's Journey".
Campbell had successfully broke down the process in which these stories follow and summarized them to a simplified way of reading and understanding them.

The book also defines character archetypes however these are referring to a feature film. All these character archetypes which are present in a feature length film are not used in an animated short because a short is only between 1 minute to 10, which isn't enough time to convey all this information to the audience clearly.

The story needs to be clear for the audience or else how will they relate or be entertained by what we are showing them?

So although characters are most certainly important i will refer to the character types later.

Monday, 20 September 2010

What to do next?

What to do first?

Well i wasn't quite sure where i should start with creating my pitch and story idea for my third year. So i went hunting online about creating an animated short, what makes a successful short and all the hard work needed to produce something that will be entertaining to watch.

So typing in animated short into amazon i came across many books about film language, script writing and producing stories an so forth.

The two which i had chosen to get were,

Ideas for the Animated Short, finding and building stories, written by Karen Sullivan, Gary Schumer and Kate Alexander.

and The Alchemy of Animation, Making an Animated Film in the Modern Age - Don Hahn

I have read all of the 'Ideas for the Animated Short' as i found it fascinating learning about the differences between animated feature films and shorts. This book has valuable interviews regarding building your story, pitching your idea tips and much more. This book is a valuable source and I intend to refer to it during working on any short films made in the future.

I have yet to read more of The Alchemy of Animation but i imagine it's also full of priceless information.

Narrative or Non-linear narrative?
I would like to be involved in a narrative piece because I haven't really touched upon creating a story, and It's something that I am interested in exploring and I want to get a better understanding of how it all works.

Before this comes in the brief says to -
'collate and contextualize successful examples of media forms and show how this will inform the development of their finished piece'

The summer brief!

PROJECT 1 304-C1
Over the summer break students will identify, collate and
contextualize successful examples of media forms and show how
this will inform the development of their finished piece.
These media forms could be any of the following;

- Movies (clips – stills)
- Books
- Illustrations
- Journals
- On line resources
- Magazines
- Trips to Museums
- Trips to relevant locations
- Images
- Audio
- Music
- Character designs
- Costume design
- Mood boards (collections of relevant images)
- Movement and performance reference for animation.
- Relevant tutorials to realize your final project.

You will be encouraged to source media forms (films, animations,
illustrations, images etc.) that in some way you feel might be
relevant to your major project idea.
This process will help you identify, define and develop your main
project idea.

You are also encouraged to keep a journal or online blog of this
process and write up and contextualize (consider and evaluate) how
this content will influence and affect your main project.

PROJECT 2 304-A1

Alongside this research develop an idea or ideas leading to a final
individual project. This piece can be;

A structured story with a beginning, middle and end such as a
traditional animated short film.

Non-linear narrative:
A commercial, brand based, mood piece.
You are strongly encouraged to limit your project to 2 minutes in

Once you have decided the type of narrative storytelling you want
to use gather more research to further inform your development.
In this process you will develop and produce the following;

- Thumbnails
- Colour boards
- Concept work
- Screenplay
- Storyboards
- Character Synopsis
- Character Designs
- Environmental Designs


Consider the production, management and marketing of your piece.
Ask yourself the following questions;

Am I leader? Do I want to direct or produce or do I want to remain an

How many people will you need to complete this project?

What specialism’s do you require from your team?

What is your specialism and what other areas or specialism’s do you need
to complete your project

Where best can you find these specialists? (Amongst the animation cohort
or perhaps other courses in the faculty?)

What does it take to form a successful team?

Will everyone get what he or she wants’ from the project?

Realistically, how long will your project take to make? (bear in mind all
your other college commitments and deadlines)

Who is the film aimed at, what market?

How will you market it?


- Evidence of effective communication within and across
groups/teams (E1).

In order to encourage all of you to keep in touch with each other
over the long summer break we will suggest the following.

Staff will create a forum on moodle devoted to the summer projects
where all of you will be able to upload work, be able to view each
others work, comment, and give support and feedback.

To help motivate you during the long holiday staff will suggest 1
main submission date to the forum in mid September. Work will be
submitted though and it will be used to to monitor your progress
and help you all keep on target for final delivery.

A formative review will take place in the first few weeks of term 1.

All students will be expected to present their individual ideas in a
10-15 minute pitch. Students and staff will consider the pitches and
the final group films will then be chosen.

This process will be assessed and count towards your final grade for COM-304.