Dylan's Flashback Scene

Following from creating the table scene ( the base of the whole animation) It was time to Dylans flashback of his troubles with bullies at school. From some refined but simple designs I created two bullies, both killer whales:
The two characters were based off of my vague initial idea from my storboard sketch:
This would be the basic composition of the scene. I knew animating Dylan I could use the existing layer seperated character I already had, just rotating him upside down and adding some features. I drew and seperated into layers the two bullies, who in some original dialogue I named 'Phil' and 'Marvin' although this dialogue dosen't actually feature as I shortened the scene, but in my mind, the names stick.
Once created, Phil and Marvin I found to be very plain in design, therefore I added the hood on Phil and tattoos on Marvin, I think they still look relatively plain but they will do. Dylan I simply rotated and altered some areas.

The premise of teh scene was that Marvin was holding Dylan upside down while Phil was punching him, I was really looking forward to creating the punch motion, having relished doing every blur motion so far I saw this as a chance to try out something slightly more advanced:
As with any blur, I drew the start and end phase of the movement first. The retracted arm and extended arm for the punch. I wanted the blur of the punch to last over 2 frames rather than one. As I thought it should be more visible. Knowing that his front arm would cover his face (which would later have to be visible for speech) I decided a really effective way to show motion could be using some translucent areas. I created the blur as usual by connecting the start and end phase, however I split it into two movements within the outlines, by alternating the opaque and translucent areas.
Through knowledge of basic physics and some embarassing reinactments the night after Anthony Joshua's famous 11th round KO win over Wladimir Klitschko, I knew that the retracting phase of a punch as the arm is drawn back is much slower than the extension, therefore, I didn't use a blur for this, more gradual movement with no form manipulation. I created a total of 5 inbetweens but in most areas of the animation only used 3 or 4:
Next, I prepared Phil for his one and only line of dialogue. shortened from the initial idea of 2 due to time concerns. His mouth was relatively simple as I had the idea to include his snout with it. I very nearly didn't, which I think wouldve made me many more problems, this also I think gives more life to the character with the snout subtle movements.
I Created a very managable 9 different mouths.

Next, I created the new 'upside down' elements for Dylan.

This included hanging, swinging hair:
The hair added an element of 'drag' Drag basically desrcibes an area which follows after the main movement. In this instance, Dylan is swinging as he is punched, his hair follows after him as he swings, this emphasises the movement, and adds alot of authenticity. I also created a number of mouths, including the tongue hanging down like those above, each mouth has a subtle difference which when played together creates the effect of a small wiggle, ideal for groans.

I designed a couple of different body shapes that gave the impression of impact. To create a feeling of elasticity around Dylan's rounded belly, I also created a larger version of it which would come in just before his body snapped back to it's original shape, this should create a bounce/wobble effect.
I created them in the same way as all the other elements, using onion skinning to have a guide of how the last phase looked.

After I created all the components for Dylan and Phil I created the frames for the punching movements, which consisted of one-twos and the some single punches, I wanted to add some variety. I then used the image rotation around Dylan (every layer selected) to rotate him in a swinging motion, in time with how he was being punched. His legs and feet were being held still so I set the point of rotation there. in terms of time (frames) the actual swing, each movement lasted one frame, but the end phases (the punch and the top of the swing) lasted two, I though this would better reflect natural physics. Some swings I made larger as well, with these, I made the swing motion much quicker as I knew that with basic physics more velocity would be gained.
With the additions of altering elements like Terry's facial features and arms, in relation to the punching action I think together it makes a much more realstic and expressive movement. The hair or fins, I think in particular makes the most difference, the effect of 'drag' definitely adds alot to motion.

Following on, I added some subtle movement to Marvin. I Initiallty intended on him having some dialogue but instead opted for a very stereotypical 'big oaf' chuckle. I wanted to represent him as a big brain-dead bully so I think the laugh alone does that pretty well. I downloaded the sound from a website called Zapsplat.com, before altering the pitch slightly in Audacity.
My indication for Marvin laughing were very subtle, so much so they're barely visible in these screenshots, but essentially I just created an eye type with a cheek added, I then used the transform tools to subtly resize the mouth up and down to represent a snigger. I then just moved the arms, or mainly the shoulders, up and down with some very slight rotations.

This GIF shows the basis of the scene (colours are very distorted) although I can't stress enough the effect of the sound. For one, I think my friend Jimmy did a great job on the dialogue delivery for Phil, but the punch noises I have used add alot, in particulalry the swoosh noise as the arm moves. 

I added a school 'ambience' sound track I also downloaded from Zapsplat.com to add some atmoshpere.
Finally, on a positive note I'm really happy with how the characters look sat infront of the background here. There's something about the colour and linework contrast I think works really well, this could well be my favourite scene. Although I do feel bad for my man, Dyla

More Table Scene Work

The following scene was returning back to the table. Having already created a detailed table scene with a good range in movement in each character saved, I knew I had a good range of elements to re-use, therefore although I knew the scene would be around 30 seconds long and had three moving characters in it (minimum). I already had all the elements drawn out for re-using so I hoped it wouldn't be too gruelling. At this stage I had exactly a week before the hand-in so the pressure was really building.

Following on from spending a whole day, creating the school bullies scene, I decided late at night to prepare the second table scene for the day after, I did this by entering the exisiting table scene, removing all of the frames bar 3 per layer (some vital drawings which werent saved as symbols in the library). This meant that all of the scene and it's elements would be exactly how they were in the first table scene which is exactly what I wanted, continuity. It also saved a lot of time. I also removed the existing audio and saved the file under a different name, the hardwork that went into the first scene the deleting and saving was nerve-wracking.

After arranging the set, I began to quickly touch-up the voice files for the scene. I did it the same wasy as always, putting the files in audacity and removing as much background noise as possible, while adjusting tempo and pitch if I felt it needed it. This scene had 3 voice files, two of Sharon's and one of Terry. In Terry's file, I edited the tempo and speed of certain words I wanted slightly more emphasis on, I dragged them out longer, without effecting the pitch too much.

Next however, editing the second Sharon voice clip, was slightly more complicated and outside my know-how. I had tvoice takes for the same line. I liked the first one the most, However, the ending of the dialogue didn't match up with the line that would follow from Sharon's Dad in the next scene. The ending of the second track did. This meant the best way to make the dialogue right would be to take the ending of the one track and replace it with the other, This seemed daunting and complicated but was actually very simple:
I used the cursor to select the end sequence of the bottom voice file, then deleted it. And did the reverse with the top track. I then highlighted the end sequence in the first track and used the timespace tool to move the new ending along the timeline so it played directly after the first part of the speech in the bottom track. I saved the file as an editable format, but also exported it as an AIFF file (joined) ready for the animation.

From an animating perspective this scene was simply 'more of the same' from the first table conversation scene, but this time I wanted to add more movements to keep the scene interesting and different, I tried to keep my creating new elements to a minimumn due to time concerns but my will to make this scene better cut this idea short and I created a few areas of the animation I'mn particularly happy with:
I added an arms crossed pose for Terry, in his forward facing stage. Having created the body shape, I felt more comfortable flicking between his sideward pose and forwards, which I think definitely adds to the conversational authenticity.  I created a new motion blur for the motion of crossing his arms as well, similar to Sharon's.
With the arms crossed body type, I also added some size variations. I used these subtle changes to show a deep breathing effect, initially, It also worked well just as a bounced effect after the motion blur, it gave some elasticity to the character.

In ths scene Terry talks to Dylan, I decided through his forward phase would look much better. This howeverm meant I had to create a set of forward facing mouths, similarly to how I had to with Sharon:
These new mouths took me about an half an hour in total, as I drew them all before deciding they all look far too happy, I think these versions work much better. I found that lowering the corners of the mouth to droop down more definitely helps.

Lip-syncing these new mouths I found easy, and I could use the transformation tools for much smoother looking mouth movements, particularly with short stutters, and long accentuated words. 

Another element I added I really liked was upon telling his son to "kick their asses" (his bullies) he punches into a palm. I created these basic new arms for this, using a blur to move from the arms crossed pose, but gradual changes for the movement of the punch:
With Sharon, I added a new head phase, diagonal facing, towards her dad, who will be sitting in the bottom left chair. I used the same mouths I created for the sidefacing phase, just using the size manipulation tool to gauge some perspective, I think this is probably a weak point of the scene, I dont feel it looks great, but I'm feeling the pressure timewise too much at the moment to be too finicky:
I didn't use a blur for this movement as I didn't want it to appear erratic. More, relaxed. the only element I had to create besides the head was a new head fin to work with the new perspective.

I also added some more movement to Dylan, mainly coming through his head. Dylan is the only car so far, who's head I can rotate without moving the body as well, due to stylistic design choices of the characters body shape, or lack of neck. Dylan's round chin makes the movement look perfectly fine. I use it regularly in this scene; when responding to people, looking down in sadness, and raising his head in anticipation the most notable of all though is probably his sniffing, as he whimpers at the start of the scene:
I moved the arms and head back when performing the sniff, this worked really well with the quivering lip and teary eyes, I donwloaded 3 different sniff noises which i edited in audacity, so to keep each sniff sounding unique and not sounding robotic and repeated, even though the motion itself, very much was.

I also used a blur for an extreme looking down phase, I also moved the hair infront of teh glasses for this one, as I drew a new phase of the hair, which was hanging down more prominently, which would happen as a result of physics, looking down but also it would emphasis sadness of the character. I also drooped the arms lower:

Final Plan of Action

I had just a week left to get my whole project finished. I decided to dedicate each day to certain aspects, I needed to do this to gauge how much work was left to do, as well as allocating my time, I knew it important to be realistic, so I seperated  everything in to what I saw as workable chunks.      
I took on a scene I'd started the same day, first. The third and final table scene, on the most part, I was able to recyle elements with Sharon, Terry and Dylan, with the exception of some motion blurs. I tried to include alot more movement in Terry and Sharon, as I had all the elements at my disposal. The ability to be able to rotate the heads of the characters so easily now was very freeing, I almost wish I had designed these elements right from the start.

Ialso re-used the sideward walk-cycle, I initially used for Terry entering the frame, this time I reversed it for him to leave it.

The main source of time and effort which lead me working in to the early hours of the morning, was creating Flash for the first time. As a sloth,I planned on him doing everything very slowly. Inlcuding speaking and eating.  Therefore, motion blurs etc woudlnt be used and I'd have to redraw transform between scenesvery subtly and slightly. 
Something as subtle as a small head turn took 4 drawings which I spaced over 12 frames, very slowin comparison to the 2 or 1 it would often be for my other characters. Movement this slow, meant that if I wasn't constantly redrawing, then movements looked very jumpy. However, in this final week I was really pushing against the clock.

This was compounded when drawing mouth types for Flash. Initially, I couldn't  find a way to draw the mouth movements, I spent a while finding a style before drawing up to 8 mouths for each spoken sound. This in mind, I only drew the mouth types I needed for his speech.
There were closed mouths... These could be used in general for expression or for M, P and B sounds.
past the closed mouths, the first mouth type I went for was the 'U' sound, the movement of this mouth is based on Flash's first line, which is "UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMMM", therefore I had the idea of stretching his mouth out very far
I copied the mouth cycle twice, the first adding a top row of teeth, for 'A' sounds and the second group, two sets of teeth for 'E' sounds, however, this mouth also worked well cycling backwards towards a closed teeth mouth...
some other mouths, each has another sequence of mouths behind it.

As well as speech, Flash is also eating, I knew for this I wanted a cycle of closed mouths and open mouths, the closed mouths were relatively simple, but the open mouths would be more complex, I re-used some of the previous mouths and added chewed food to them.
i also added a different perspective of Sharon's Dad to the table scenes. He dosent get directly involved in the conversations so it was relatively easy to add him in, minimal animation was required past the odd blink, I added in also some smoke which drifted up from his cigar and some slight head turns and pupil movment just to show he was engaged with conversation.

Similarly to Flash and Dylan, in the scenes they are veing directly spoken to they are very immobile,this is a technique I learnt fromthe likes of 'Family Guy', it obviously eases the job of the animators. Ways around it could be to use more direct camera shots, excluding the immobile characters- I toyed with this idea but felt it didn't look brilliant. If I had the time, I'd have loved to have added more movement but the limitations held me back.

Returning to the TV Scene

One of the more basically-animated scenes, the TV scene worked around one basic motion of Terry pressing a button on the TV remote. The main 'work' for this scene, came from creating the audio for the adverts on the TV. I used Audacity to combine some vocals of random dialogue improvised by myself and friend,  Jimmy, adding in some instrumentals and sound effects.

I then used the 'Alpha' (translucency) controlling effect on the 'TV light', and fade tweens to make it appear like the light was working with the advert audio, this created much more authenticity to the scene I felt, as well as fading I also changed colours of the light and added other transitions, this helped to keep an otherwise very simple scene more interesting. Although, I didn't want it to distract to much from the audio.
I used the keyframe caddy to toggle between a range of different coloured lights.

Something else to add was I also included a quick sound clip of a friend's music track. It only lasts about 3 seconds but I thought this would be a nice gesture and if my finished animation was shown to his social media following as well as my own, it's a win-win.

Using Some More Advance Features

Through adding to my opening 'office' shot, an establishing shot of Terry's workplace. I noticed that my initial camera work and effects, worked okay but could definitely be added to. The basis of the shot was beginning in the sky, with some cloud movement, which then pans down to the office block.

To improve this further, I decided to add in a wall, with a sign with the name of the workplace on it, this would come up from the bottom of the screen and hopefully create a cool perspective effect.

However, it was through using a blur effect I created the best feeling of perspective and distance. The blur came in via a gradual tweened effect,in time with the rise of the foreground wall.
A big influence for the directional sense in this scene was the opening scene of a Youtuber, 'hotdiggedydemon's' 'Fazbear & Friends', who's animations are brilliant. His stylistic characters are also very 90's cartoon-esque, his linework is very inspirational. But focusing on this scene alone, for it's directional sense was pivotal in creating my opening establishing shot.
From this, I moved on to finishing a walk cyle I attempted earlier in the project, and struggled with! I knew the process would be much quicker than last time, as I'd already created the basis of the movement.

It was through some measured judgement, I realised the main issue with the movement and why it looked so robotic, was because Ihad tweened the body to grow (shows the effect of walking towards the camera) at a constant rate, rather than at the rate the character was walking at.  Put simply, Terry was basically walking on an invisible conveyor belt. The process to avoid this was to grow the character size in time with each movement of the walk cycle.
As always, the colour representation in this GIF is off, but it shows the basis of the scene. 

The movement is slightly rigid and mechanical, it's defnitely not one of the better scenes but I think it works ok. I also noticed after creating it an error in the leg to body cover up which left some black marks.

I used the blur effect again, with the body as it draws closer to the camera, I liked the depth this gave the scene. I think this added a nice transition as opposed to just cuts all the way through.

However, it was slightly deperessing a background I spent about 4 hours on only lasted for 3 seconds of footage, oh well...

Final Additions

The scenes were all nearly complete as individuals. I'd actually nearly finished two days ahead of schedule, but I didn't take this time to relax (too much) I decided to refine and improve some of the scenes I felt were weaker. 

The first of which was the gangster scene with Sharon's Dad, It was one of the first vocal scenes I created so I think the animation was more basic. Unfortunately, once the lip sync had been done, it (to my knowledge) is very tiring to add additional movement to the head as a whole for example. As a character, he holds the same pose for three scenes consectutivley which I hate, but it was too late I think to add any radical changes. Instead, I decided to add something I didn't think I'd have time for, two henchmen.

Again, parodying 'Goodellas' I based one of the characters, who I named 'Paulie' very heavily on Robert De Niro from the film, I love adding references in to the cartoon, it's someting alot of proffesional cartoons do to appeal to certain audiences:
I gave Bugsy a spade, similarly to the scene in Goodfellas, which I created a basic motion of him slapping it in his hands intimidatingl, as well as some basic features like blinks. I also added some custom sound effects, like a swoosh and hand slap.
I used a transclucent blur effect with this motion, I really liked.
The second character I added, Bugsy, uses just some basic eye motions like blinking and squinting. 

Having studied design, i know things work best in threes and this was no exception to the rule, being central added emphasis to Sharon's Dad, and also paid homage to that great film, Goodfellas.

The final touch i added across a number of scenes was adding swoosh effects to nearly every single motion blur effect. I varied the volume, mostly being the more subtle effects were quiet and the more obvious and dramatic louder. This definitely added a final touch to the movements, very much inspired by my still, all-time favourite cartoon, Johnny Bravo.
This was a fairly lengthy process but one that showed instant impact so it was very fun and rewarding to do.

Finally, the individual scenes were ready...