Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Kingdom Hearts: Adding mock t-shirt to website

After I had added the shadow to the composition I began to create the mock up t-shirt for the submission. With in the cover for the t-shirt I wanted to make the shadow standout from the background, I achieved this by using the gradient tool to highlight the area in which the shadow was placed. As the main character, Sora was quite bright, the use of white and other bright tones made the design automatically stand out to the viewer. Choosing the t-shirt colours for the design was quite difficult as the majority of the colours in the silhouette did not work well with the t-shirt colours. However through peer feedback I was able to choose two coloured t-shirts that would work for the design, one being a dark tone and the other quite vivid. Personally I felt that the darker shade would be more successful than the other due to the recent t-shirts that had been for sale on the Qwertee website all involved either black, charcoal grey or navy. I also felt that it's an easier colour to match with other clothing compared to the blue.

For the thumbnail I used the lighter blue shade from the background on the cover design to fill the space around the composition. I also slightly rotated and moved the character off the design so that both the character and the shadow could be seen clearly.

Kingdom Hearts: Adding a shadow

I revisited the addition of the shadow as I felt it would work well with the design, as not only would it give the composition depth but give a new layout to the design so that it would work on a t-shirt. I didn't continue the shadow for the background crown that I added in the previous layout designs I initially created, as I felt that the addition of the crown made the design too complicated. Even though I wanted to create a silhouette that was slightly more detailed compared to the Kiki's Delivery Service design, the crown took the detail further, and would most likely need to make the rest of the composition more detailed for the crown to work. I developed the characters shadow further by adding the eyes to the shadow as it related to the Heartless version of Sora in the Kingdom Hearts series. It also worked with the main theme of the Kingdom Hearts games through the main enemies being Heartless in which the main protagonist, Sora, defeats to save worlds.

I wanted the shadow to be on the floor of the image rather than behind the character as it would be hard to perceive the shadow's eyes from behind the character; also gave depth to the image. To create the shadow, I copied the main layer of the character and used the magic wand to select the background, in which I then inverted the selection to be able to obtain the figure; I then used the paint bucket tool to fill the selection. Using the transform options, I was able to manipulate the shadow by using Distort and Skew, to create the illusion that it was cast onto the floor. I preferred the second version as the shadow worked more successfully than the previous as it didn't feel squashed it was elongated and worked with the lighting. The first design didn't work with the lighting as for the shadow to be cast, the light needed to be emitted from behind the character, in which the character needed to have some form of dark shades on the design to show this depiction to the viewer. The shadow also needed to be flipped horizontally for the shadow to correspond with the character.  

Version 1
Version 2

Kingdom Hearts: The addition of a Keyblade

Creating the Keyblade, the weapon in which the main character uses, was quite a challenge through the height of the weapon compared to the character. In order to keep the character within proportion of the figure, I used references from the game play of the second Kingdom Hearts game and character designs from 'The Artwork of Kingdom Hearts' by  Shiro Amano. Even though the art style was different to the work of  Tetsuya Nomura, it still gave me an idea of the Keyblade size compared to Sora. From this I was able to determine the length and width of the handle, along with the main blade of the weapon. The handle was tricky with the perspective that the hand was angled with as the hand needed to be able to hold the blade at a realistic position. I lowered the opacity of the handle to 60% so that I could draw the knuckles of the hand as if it was holding the handle. I did encounter a problem with the yellow within the glove and the handle, the only solution that worked was using the dark navy that was in the glove to draw a line to separate the colours.  

I also found it difficult to make the Keyblade standout compared to the rest of the silhouette design as I could not add another colour to be able to show the depth within the handle. In order to solve this problem I used the halftone pattern filter on photoshop to create the illusion of shadow. This was successful as the handle gave depth to the image and created a foreground and background in which made the design standout to the audience. The main problem I had with the design of the Keyblade was the Micky Mouse chain on the handle as I did not like how white the fill was however it was the only colour that worked with the rest of the colour scheme I had chosen. I did try to add a halftone over the white fill, to make the colour appear grey, unfortunately it stood out too much compared to the rest of the design making it the main focal point of the composition. I decided to leave the chain with a white fill as it did work however if I was to design the image again I would either try to incorporate a grey into the colour scheme or use the grey of a t-shirt for the fill of the blade and the chain. 

Crown detail
Size of blade
Halftone - shadow

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Kingdom Hearts: Placement of crown and adding shadows

Before I realised that the arm needed to be edited, I quickly considered the layout in which the design could have on the t-shirt. I wanted to include a crown as a background for the character to stand out against as in my earlier sketches the use of the crown was the most successful layout design. I immediately knew that the crown had to be relatively large to be able to be noticeable and work with the character design, however I wanted to make the crown standout from the character a bit more rather than seemingly to be stuck to each other; appearing to be flat. I first experimented with the addition of shadow cast from the character onto the crown design, I felt that it worked quite well, however if it was to be printed onto a black t-shirt the shadow would be lost compared to a lighter t-shirt. I moved the shadow up slightly to see how it would effect the image and I found the shadow to be too much, it was too black and it stood out more than the character as the viewers eyes were immediately attracted to the only black part of the composition. I then thought about a shadow for the crown instead, using the darker blue of the palette I had chosen. I found that this experimentation did not work as well as I had visualised, it did bring another element to the piece, appearing to add a foreground and background but ultimately it did not work with the rest of the composition. I decided to leave the use of a shadow as from these initial layout tests, it made the piece seem cluttered. 

Without a shadow

Kingdom Hearts: Photoshop development

After scanning the design into photoshop, I used the pen tool to outline the scan however as I was adding the points to the image I slightly changed the position to make the lines work more successfully with each other, as the pencil marks in some parts of the composition did not translate well through the scanned image. Using the same technique as the Kiki's Delivery Service design in regards to the block fill for the silhouette appeal, I first selected the limited colours that were iconic to the character and began to block fill the colours into the line art. I wanted this silhouette to be more complicated than the Kiki's Delivery Service design as I wanted to experiment with how much detail that can be added for it to suit the audiences preference in design. I found that too much detail, like the second Space Dandy design I submitted to the sight, would not work well and so far I have found that a simple silhouette, the Kiki design, has been the most successful but what about the half way point? How successful would a silhouette with added detail with block colour be on the Qwertee site?

After adding the block detail to the design, the design immediately was recognisable with the character that I had chosen to draw from the Kingdom Heart series, Sora. I found that without the detail the character is lost and is not easy to depict who the character is for the audience. As the added detail did not have any defining detail, the use of black to show a more intricate depiction, the silhouette like design did not seem cluttered. I noticed that one of the arms on the design looked broken from the sharp elbow bend which did not seem to connect to the shoulder very well. In order to fix this problem I selected the layers in which contained the parts of the arm and used the lasso tool to pinpoint the area that I wanted to change. I then used the transform set to rotate and position the arm so that the bend in the elbow disappeared. I found that this worked better than the previous design as it now gave me a change to add the weapon in which the character is always seen with and is another iconic part to the series.

Kikis delivery service: Final design and adding mock t-shirt to website

The final design for the Kiki's Delivery Service t-shirt design was successful through the use of the silhouette and the use of colour within the composition. The blocks of colour make it easy for the audience to see the pose and the dynamics of the design as well bringing an appealing aesthetic to the overall form of the piece. I felt that this design would work well with the addition of the character Jiji's eyes to be shown on the piece as it helps to identify the cat. Without the use of the eyes Jiji is lost and looks more like a shadow rather than a character within the design.

Final design

Using the same layout as the Space Dandy design that I had submitted to the site previously, I kept the same gradient background that used shades of blue to match with a night sky to enhance the illusion of the design flying and chose two colours of t-shirts in which it could be printed upon. I chose two colours through the feedback I obtained from my peers. The feedback stated that the t-shirt needed to be a lighter shade that would compliment the design with the azure blue shade of shirt being the best choice as it works with the theme of the composition. However I felt that a darker shade of shirt is the most commonly brought as darker shades tend to be worn with almost any other clothing compared to a lighter top. I did prefer the lighter t-shirt so I decided to put both of the t-shirts on the final mock up design so that the audience could see and chose what they would prefer. For the thumbnail I rotated the design sightly so that the image could be seen clearly and the audience could tell what was happening in the icon; I kept a matte dark blue for the icon so that the image would stand out to the viewer. 

Kiki's delivery service: Photoshop stages

After scanning the design into Photoshop, I unlocked the background layer by double clicking on the layer and created another layer which I had filled with a shade of blue underneath the scan. As I was using white for the skin colour I needed a background in which I would be able to see the blocks of white as I was designing the composition. With the design being a silhouette I needed to be selective with the colours that I chose due to the limitation of the amount of colours that you can use per t-shirt design; light coloured t-shirts can have up to 6 colours whereas darker t-shirts can have 5 colours. As long as the iconic red and purple shade of her dress were accurate the rest of the colours would work and be recognisable by the audience. I then began to outline the individual parts of the silhouette with the colours that I had chosen from the original character sheets that were in 'The Art of Kiki's Delivery Service' book. This book was helpful through out the process through the use of inspiration from the character design sheets and the concept art in which helped me to generate ideas for the final design, including the layout and position of the design.  Ensuring that each coloured outline were on separate layers, I created a new layer in which I used the magic wand tool to select the outlined areas to then modify the selected area by 2 pixels before filling the area with the pain bucket tool. I always ensure to modify the selection as it stops the problem of having a pixelated edge around the area that you have selected.

I found the detail of the broom still the most difficult part of the process, as I needed to make sure that the fingers were detailed in shape and the colour of the white made it difficult to see if I had filled in all of the area of the broom between the fingers. In order to solve this problem I quickly changed the colour of the white to a darker shade whilst I coloured the broom.

Outlining the main shape before filling in with colour on the next layer
Progress of the design so far

Kiki's delivery service: Development part 2

I developed the flying design further from the previous sketches by using poses that incorporated the flying dynamic in different ways. In the first design I wanted the pose to be looking at the viewer, as if involving the audience giving it that aesthetic appeal that the animated feature does for the character. However the way that the main character Kiki was sat on the broom did not work well and the addition of the folds of her dress made it seem as if she had short legs. I believe that this design would have worked if the broom was shown more and the back leg was drawn in a slightly different perspective and position to show that the leg was on the other side of the broom. I decided to not develop this design further as it did not hold that dynamic movement that I had wanted, this design did show movement from the position of the hair and the dress however the position of the broom did not help to enhance this movement, it looked as if she was floating rather than moving.

I took this further by portraying the illusion of movement with the character on a profile with both hands on the broom to make it look as if she was focusing on flying, along with the movement of the hair and dress to make it seem as if the wind were causing them to move. I particularly liked the top left design as it looked as if she was darting through the sky which is the effect that I wanted to create. I felt that the position of the broom worked through the jaggedness of the straw and the addition of Jiji clinging onto the back of her dress as it worked with the as it emphasises the idea of movement. The last page incorporated a different pose of the main character flying through the position of the broom and the angle in which she was facing as the previous designs were all profile and orientated to the left of the page. I quite liked the angle that the pose was in as it was different and this pose could work well on a t-shirt if it was translated into a silhouette design through how the figure, broom and cat can easily be shown with one colour; easy to see the figure. This pose was not as kinetic compared to the previous page, however the style and movement within the hair and clothing worked successfully.

I decided to develop the second page design to photoshop for the t-shirt design through the help with peer feedback. The feedback was very constructive and chose the second design through the movement that was shown within the image and how well they could visualise the composition in a silhouette style whereas the other design would have to have some detail to be able to capture what was aesthetically pleasing within the composition. I agreed with the feedback as the facial expression on the last design is ultimately what made the design appealing and would be lost if it was made into a silhouette.

Kiki's delivery service: Development work

Using inspiration from the visual mood board created for the Studio Ghibli t-shirts from other popular artists on Qwertee, I decided to create a t-shirt using Kiki's Delivery Service as inspiration. I chose this theme as this animated feature is my favourite from the Studio Ghibli series and I felt that I would be able to create something for my portfolio using this as inspiration as well. I first began sketching the main character Kiki and her cat Jiji by drawing her face, profile and portrait so that I could begin to generate ideas. As soon as I drew her full portrait I realised that I had made her curvy and looking older than she actually is, through how tall and structured her body was. I needed to make her body shape quite straight with no curves and shorter to make her appear to be the age that she is in the animated feature. I did however like the profile as it worked well with the the style of the eyes however I would need to develop this further as I believe that having her looking up would work better than looking down as it makes her look deep in thought which most likely wouldn't work well as a t-shirt design on Qwertee.

I wanted to draw the other main character,  Tombo for inspiration in which I could possibly incorporate him within the design. I mainly drew Tombo's face as it helped me to understand the style in which he is drawn, which rely on contours of the face and exaggerated squash and stretch of the jaw as the character laughs. I enjoyed drawing his character as it was different to what I normally draw and the use of the squash and stretch made me realise that I needed to absorb this into my own work. I then incorporated Tombo in the design with him riding on his bike along side Kiki as she walked with her broomstick next to him. I felt that this worked well however I felt that it would be too complicated to submit to Qwertee. I learnt from the previous submissions, the Space Dandy designs, that the silhouette was more successful than the detailed version. In order to apply what I have learnt from this feedback I needed to create a silhouette design for the Kiki's Delivery Service theme. After drawing the character Kiki flying on her broomstick with her cat, I felt that this would work well if I developed this pose further, to capture a dynamic movement for the pose would work well on a t-shirt. 

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Food Module: Storyboards - Initial thumbnails

To be able to translate the script into a thumbnail storyboard, I firstly took notes on each scene within the dialogue to generate ideas for the layout and structure for the scene in both foreground and background imagery. I needed to keep in mind how the scene would be animated and how difficult the angle/perspective of the frame would be to animate. I tried to keep the frames at either profile or 3/4 perspectives to be able to enhance the action within the scene, this was to keep the frames simple and easy to understand. I did however notice that in one of the scenes when the main character Johnny is running away from a sponge cake, I had drawn the perspective straight on, so the run cycle would have been extremely difficult to animate. To be able to keep the comedy effect, I made the scene in profile so that the character would run off screen with the sponge rolling after him.

For scenes in which the background would change to relate to the era that the dialogue was describing with the history of cake, I thought that the stand could also change according to the surroundings to also link with the main characters outfit changes. As the dialogue describes certain types of cake or ingredients, I thought that having the items appear on the counter of the cake stand would be easier to relate the information to the viewers; having visual imagery to enhance the informative dialogue given. This worked quite well with the script and the actions that would happen in that specific scene. For the items to appear and reappear I added a 'pop' and 'puff' sound effect with a cloud of smoke, taking inspiration from old cartoons such as Fairly Odd Parents, I felt that this worked quite well however as so many items were appearing and disappearing we decided as a group that the final effect would be for the items just to appear with out the cloud. The amount of clouds that would be in each scene made the frame appear cluttered with a lot going on for the viewer to have to pay attention too, giving the possibility of the information going unheard.

I found that a few of the frames in the last scene would need to be tweaked before being modified into the final storyboard. For instance at the end of the last scene the cake man spins and continues to talk as the script dialogue is still describing different types of cake. I felt that before the cake man spins he needed to be able to show his love and passion for cakes through medium shots and showing his expressions as he talks. This gives chance for the audience to see the cake mans quirkiness before his dialogue turns into 'blah blah blah' as Johnny turns to the next dessert stand. I also need to tweak the ending as the ending needs to end on the ice cream stand man as it cuts off his dialogue leading to a possible fake episode about ice cream. In order to solve this I need to draw a few inbetween frames before the introduction of the ice cream stand man and then cut out the frames after showing Johnnys expression.

Food Module: Script

As our animation would be dialogue heavy that would include the information of the history of cakes, Rebecca wrote a script for the animation in which I was able to create a storyboard using this script as a basis for the actions and camera angles for the short. The script was very well written, with the dialogue clear and easy to understand which will work well for the target audience. The dialogue added the quirky and cheesy humor which we wanted the cake stand man to absorb and present himself with to the audience, whereas johnny would portray the majority of his emotions through a visual portrayal through emphasis with both the expressions and body language. To be able to transcribe this into a storyboard, I started with writing small notes on how the beginning of the animation would appear, working in humour to the visuals to add to the appeal of the dialogue. I felt that this was part of the job that I had been given as the storyboard artist, to be able to add and enhance the atmosphere of the action and dialogue given within the scene.

For the beginning of the script I altered the actions slightly by making the cake stand man fall out of the tree and through the cake stand roof in which he would then quickly stand back up and dust himself off, straightening his bow or tie before introducing himself to Johnny, the main character.
I felt that this worked better compared to the original in which the cake stand man would fall out of the tree and straight into a bush to then greet the main character. The action of him falling through the roof gives further little actions in which pieces of wood could be stuck in his hair or a branch/leaf in his mouth in which he would then spit out whilst he composes himself. I also felt that composition wise for the scene the use of the cake stand man being inside the stand to begin his introduction to both Johnny and the audience had to be in the cake stand, to show that he was the vender for that stall, in which he could then step out and talk more to the main character. However in order to portray his quirkiness and how tall he was compared to Johnny, I first visualised the cake stand man to have to lean in closer to boy over the counter in which he then disappears and the stand then changes slightly to fit with the scenario that the dialogue describes and gives information on the cake with in that era. I felt that this was a nice transition to the next scene as it doesn't allow the audience to see the background until the main character does.

Another change that I altered slightly was the transition from the space time continuum back to present day. I felt that I could use the quirkiness of his character with his actions as he prances and spins across the frame can link with the change for the background, in this instance as the cake stand man spins the background begins to show through the space time continuum background until the cake stand man disappears off screen in which Johnny takes advantage and wonders to an ice cream stall.

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Monday, 2 March 2015

Food Module: Group Schedule

Rebecca made a group schedule for the module, it really helped to consider and plan ahead with the work that I personally had to do for the project, and to see what parts of the project would need to be completed before we could continue with the next stage of production. Rebecca gave extra time for the voice actor to be discovered and to record, as there will most likely be more than one take on the voice acting to ensure that the personalities of the characters are brought to life with the emotion in their voices.

I felt that I would possibly need more time on the storyboards, with the final edits and cuts through how many sheets I would have to draw for the animation, however for the interim crit I could at least produce rough thumbnails of the storyboards to create an animatic for the presentation, so that the peers would be able to see the idea of the narrative for the overall animation. We needed to produce this for the interim crit so that we could get feedback on the narrative, ensure that it works with the target audience, and that the world we had created would work successfully for the animation.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Food Module - Narrowing down the ideas to the theme of 'Cake'

After generating ideas for the desserts theme and narrowing down the choice to the theme of cake, we began to generate more ideas for the main narrative of the documentary based animation. As the animation was going to be aimed at a young audience, roughly 7 - 12 year olds, much like the target audience that Cartoon Network appeal to, the documentary needed to be informative but not to be presented like an info-graphic, as this would not be appealing to the younger audience compared to an older audience that would want to retain the information that would be shown on screen. The information needed to be portrayed in such a way that the young audience would be able to understand and enjoy the visuals that would be shown with the dialogue. Therefore we decided that the information should be depicted through narrative, much like a narration over the top of the visuals. From this we were able to visualise the characters that would be involved with in the animation, we wanted a baker or a market stall vender to be the character that would give the information on the cake however we wanted his personality to stand out, to be cheesy and eccentric, quirky, to add humour to the animation.

The humour was inspired by the CBBC presentation we attended at Leeds College of Art, through how they emphasised how the humour had to be appealing to an older audience, as the young audience understand and find a slightly older sense of humour to be funny. The main point which I found interesting is that the age range that we are aiming at find that a younger style of humour to be patronizing. I felt that with the humour that we include with the animation needs to include something that we as a team find amusing and would work with a slightly older audience.

An example of a Cartoon Network animation - 'The Amazing World of Gumball'

For the main character that the audience would relate to and follow through the animation, we wanted a character that would reflect the age range of the viewer, whether the character would be female or male. After debating the gender, we decided to choose a male character, even though the majority of the programs have a male main character, the use of the male character within a food documentary would show how its not just females that should be associated with food. We wanted to show that both male and females should have an interest with in food, and showing this through just using a male character to the audience at the young age they are should hopefully render the stereotypical association of women being the cook at home. Showing the character to be at a healthy weight would hopefully reflect the idea of cake being a treat on certain occasions rather than to eat cake everyday as that would not be a healthy lifestyle. I believe that we may have to emphasise this fact further and have in the dialogue that cake should be eaten every so often.

In order to keep the animation simple and not busy to detract from the information that would be spoken, the use of two characters would have to be the maximum amount. Adding just one more character could make the animation and narrative too cluttered for the target audience, especially as we want the characters with in the animation to have personality with their own iconic traits that would identify as that specific character.

After considering the characters for the narrative, we decided to go along with a historical theme towards cake, portraying the origin of cake and how we use cake in modern day. A heavy influence for our style of portraying the information was from the old Nickelodeon fat files shorts that would play before or after the main cartoon had been shown. We felt that this style of animation and how they presented the information would work well with our initial thoughts for the project and allow us to create a cartoon network inspired animation with the style of characters and the backgrounds.