...Further Animating

After lip-syncing using mouths and eyes, I decided that my characters looked a bit static and a way to change this and create more dynamism and power to their speech would be to add hand signals, I also saw this as an oppurtunity to use motion blur techniques I'd used to success in my warm-up animations.

The scene I chose to first try this was the scene following Sharon's Dad's flashback. where he declares he hadn't done much with his day ( a lie) before telling sharon "This Spaghetti is gorgeous by the way, your mother would be proud, god rest her soul".

The lines are said with a certain emotion which can only be amplified through facial expressions and hand signals. I used motion blurs to capture larger movements I wanted to portray happening at speed. The blur stops the movement looking jolty and shows speed fluidly.
I wanted to take the arms crossed position the position on the right, the dramatic difference meant that a blur would work best, I also really like the stylistic way it shows speed so I gave it a go:
I knew from my research that all movement should work in arcs. I used the onion skin tool to identifty the start and end phase. I then drew, one arm at a time, an arc within the start and end phase.
Finally I coloured the linework:
I think adding hand movement definitely added alot more dynamism and power to the speech of the character, I created this GIF to demonstrate:
This GIF is taken from the unfinished scene. The actual scene will include props on the table, as well as Flash (the family sloth) sat on a chair next to Sharon's Dad. The camera is also more zoomed on to the character - I believe this draws alot more emphasis in the speech and also distracts from this background im not so happy with.

At this stage of animating, I was beginning to feel confident in my own abilities to create more advanced movements. although some I felt still looked mechanical I felt it was now time to apply these effects to the more complicated scenes which just so happened to be some of the most pivtoal and reccurent. This included the table scene:
The most layer dense scene, the table scene includes nearly every character in the animation. However, through my research I noticed that within conversational scenes involving a lot of characters often members of the conversation who arent active are often immobile - this would be a technique I would likely use. However, Each character I had split into symbols - ready to animate if needed, even if the movement was only slight.

This scene is far from finished and at this stage is only really placeholder, but I decided to animate the first line, which would be Sharon's. I imported the voice file and toggled through the mouth and eye styles I'd already created to lip sync. I then decided to add some arm movement which is where things started to become complicated:
There was an overwhelming amount of layers within teh animation at this point so I started to use folders (and folders within folders) to organise.
I wanted Sharon's arm positioning to move from by her sides in the first phase, to crossed - which was a challenge, as her arms where layered either side of her body meaning crossing them would be impossible. Therefore, I had to create the crossed arms within the body symbol, as well as the motion blur effect:
This motion blur effect looks incredibly strange in pictures however works really well I like to think in practice. This was the simpler part of the animation, although not really simple at all. This was the start of alot of layer confusion.
This movement covers around 6/24s of a second. The confusing nature of creating layers above layers meant it took nearly 1 hour to wrap my head around how to do it. Essentially, I had the same issue of crossing the arms and the arms being either side of the body, however this time, the arms also needed to move from behind the table layer to infront of it, this meant alot of copying and pasting as well as creating a new motion blur drawing. Very confusing and time consuming, I can't afford to force myself into too many complex movements like this however, some will definitely add quality. I do love how it turned out but whetehr it was worth the time and frustration I'm not sure. I think building the persona of the character, in this case Sharon as a naggy, stressed house-wife is very important, particulalry towards the beginning of the animation as an introduction to the character so I'm glad in a sense I spent the time on this advanced movement.

Next, I had to create more advanced movements, this time with Terry. Having seen how long these advanced movements were taking and the animation in general, I decided to make a decision of cutting a minor transitional scene. Initially, In the storyboard, Terry opens the front door which is then followed by an over-the shoulder shot of him as he walks across the hall to a view of the table, where he is greeted by Sharon, saying "you're late Terry". The shot then cuts to the table scene where Terry sits down before responding to Sharon. I have decided to eliminate the over-the-shoulder section as I believe it's uncessary, will take too long, due to it's complex movements and also the background I created I wasn't happy with. 

In preference, I decided that the table shot should follow directly from the door opening scene. This scene is huge, as it is the base of the whole plot. It also is referred back to multiple times.

The complex movement in this scene for Terry, would come from creating a side-on walk cycle as well as transitioning Terry's side-on stance to a more front facing, sitted posture.

I created an animation of Terry in it's own document, the same way as I did with the other chatacters. However, this time, I created Terry in both his side-on and front-facing stances. Some of the body parts were transferable but some needed to be completely redrawn - this created many, many layers.
I drew each indivual stage of the walk cycle, and applied them to both the front and back leg, which were placed either side of the main body. I also used the transformation tools on Terry's body, 'squashing' it (widening and shortening) to create the "up and down" phase of the walk. Adding some bounce to the walk. However, I was careful not to add too much bounce as I wanted the walk to look miserable. 

I used low hanging arms, with minimal swing to add a miserable personality to the walk.
I'm fairly glad that this walk cycle will only last for about 2 seconds now I've created it, as it hasn't come out brilliantly... It will also be covered by the table and characters sat at the table partially, so it didn't need to be perfect. I won't spend much more time trying to correct this, as my time can defnitley be better spent.
I placed the walk cycle in the table scene, having arranged it to be behind and infront of certain elements which was suprisingly confusing given the amount of layers.

I added in a basic hand and arm either side of the chair to simulate a grabbing motion, I sized up the arm as it drew closer to the chair and sized it back down along with the chair, to make it look as though the chair was being dragged back. I also added a chair dragging on hard ground sound I downloaded from online.
Knowing it would be challenging to draw the transition between sideward and forward-facing Terry, I decided a quicker but effective way of performing it would be a motion blur. I created it the same way as i had previously, althogh this was the largest scale blur yet. In hindsight, I should have added some details for the face, tie and arms for a more accurate blur, but given it plays at 1/24 of a second I don't think it's too much of an issue and I think it actually works well. I like the blur effects I've included they add alot of dynamism and enegry to the characters.
Next, I created a variety of mouths for Terry in preparation for lip-syncing:
Terry's mouth was relatively easy in comparsion to Sharon's and Sharon's Dad. Some of the mouths I found very difficult however, including the 'O' and 'W,R' shapes. 

I also created a variety of eyes:
Like other characters, I created the eyes in the usual order of a blink sequence, followed by some that would work with some spoken elements as well as emotion based eyes. I used two layers as I did with the other characters, one for the base eye and one for brows and cheek.

After comleting the eyes and mouths, I was able to create a basic lip-sync. This process although my favourite was beginning to get a bit repititive so I decided to change and do something different. I knew I hadn't yet drawn up the contents of the table. Each character needed a plate of spaghetti, cutlery and possibly drinks. I knew this wouldn't take too long but I decided to re-use the drawings with subtle manipulations for each character.
I drew the props free hand to inkeep with the hand-drawn stylistics of the background.

I followed the same process as the backgrounds: upping the black to white contrast > vectorizing in illustrator > colouring in photoshop > saving as a PNG with transparent background.
I also created a shadow for the spaghetti, using the black colour overlay on the spaghetti to make an entirely black covered version of the shape, which I then lowered the opacity of to create a translucent black shadow. I initially planned on adding the shadow reversed and under the spaghetti like a drop shadow. But when placing it in animate I realised that when placed directly on top of the spaghetti, It creates a nice tonal effect which adds depth.
I started to place the props into the scenes. At this stage I think the effect of the shadow on the spaghetti is most effective I think it looks really good!

I also added in glasses of water and a glass of brandy for Sharon's Dad specifically. I made them using the elipse and line tools to create accurate round shapes. I set the colour of the glass lines as a blue/grey and used translucent tones of the same colour for the areas of the glass without liquid and a translucent blue and brown for the water and brandy. I really like these glasses, I think the translucent effects and coloured lines add depth and interest to the scene.
I really like how the props sit on the table, it definitley adds alot more interest to the scene. It's a shame I don't think I will have time to animate any eating scenes - if I did, I think I have possibly picked the most complex to animate food as well...

In hindsight, I think I maybe could have designed a few more different versions of the props but I think simply copying and flipping horizontally has worked ok.

Moving back to animating the scene, I wanted to make Terry's speech more dynamic, more movement would match his angry mood, particularly, fast, eratic movement. I knew a great way to show dynamism would be through motion blurs, this allowed really quick postural changes. 

A particular part of the scene, Terry expresses his disgust at Sharon's spaghetti dinner she's made. I wanted him to turn quickly to face the spaghetti, before returning to face sharon, I used a blur for this:
The table is removed for these shots, hence why Terry has no legs ( they arent needed behing the table) but the focus of these are to show the most dramatic blur, I'd created yet. I used the same technique as ever, arc shapes filling the gap between the beginning and end phase of the movement, however this time compared to the first whole-body blur I used on Terry, as he sat down in his seat, this one was much more detail, including the arms mouth and eyes, I think this aids the movement effect, this movement is actually much less dramatic than the first whole-body blur so I thin greater detail was necessary anyway.
I also added in a variety of blurs to arm movement for effect.
Next, I had a real challenge on my hands, I had to turn Sharon from facing Terry (sidewards) to face Dylan ( forwards). I initially intended on turning her whole body, but in the end I just moved her head. I actually had never drawn sharon from a fron-on perspective, so this was completely new territory for me and I knew it was going to look weird!

I movement comes as a result of a sudden change of mood in the dialogue therefore being erratic and fast would fit, so I went for another blur effect, this one looks very strange:
...Frightening.
For the forward facing sharon I knew I'd have to create a new selection of mouths. the eyes would still be ok, as this time two were visible instead of one but the style didnt change, just one reversed eye was added. The mouths I initially saw as a complete chore, however, unlike every other mouth I've drawn so far, they were very simple as they were head on. Having never drawn sharon from this angle before i took a while to create proportions I was happy with but in the end I think this is the best I could do.
I created the most mouth types I had yet for a character. the flexibility was so much easier from the perspective. I created some mouths for speaking and some for emotion. I also used the transformation tools (resizing) alot within the animtion to give the mouth more movement it had an elastic effect in some cases which I liked.