Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Polished Action Shots

As I finish off these last action shots I'm starting to define the finalized look at the climax of the action. Here are some shots in sequence to give you an idea of what the visual evolution has led to.

These are shots 102-104.

The first thing I'll point out is the subtle color palette transition. This plays out entirely through the climax moving transitioning from grayscale to this richer color palette. Along with the transition to color, the background tones move through a more yellow anxiety-filled hue when he gets swatted by the giant. This subtle color choice supports the tone of panic and as he takes on the offensive against the giant the background shifts to red. Red is very representational of the hero throughout the film so it only made sense to use it to this effect in the climax.

Another basic addition to the colors is the use of cel-shading to give better depth.

On the FX front the first thing I did was bring the hero animation into After Effects and placed a directional blur to simulate the motion blur you would see on film and video.

For the sonic blasts I continued work with the idea of ring waves and slight morphs as they pass over visual features. It's not as extensive an effect I was hoping for with this project but I believe it conveys what is necessary and perhaps any other visuals might have detracted from the action.

There's also quite a few little touches like using red-toned dark color for the line work on the hero, gradient fill on the giant, camera shake, etc. These little additions give the film a rich environment and really nice sheen to the overall presentation.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Set Backs and Steps Forward: The Score

As I mentioned before, our sound designer, Alan, has been working on sound design over the holiday week to try and knock out all the audio. On Sunday he sent me the mix and it was a rather different direction than what I was thinking.

And that's the key word: thinking.

Alan has been working more off than on with the sound for 1.5-2 years. We have talked on several occasions but it has been some time since we really laid it all out. I spoke with him the Friday before he went to work on it and though I offered I really should have insisted on a meeting going over the whole film again to clarify exactly what I wanted. In the end it doesn't matter what you're thinking as an artist but what you communicate and this includes how you communicate with other collaborators.

So, I made a lot of notes and sent him an email the next day outlining the issues I had with the design. I did this fully knowing that he was getting busier and busier on projects as well as a huge relocation. I laid it out as carefully as I could but I knew what his response would probably have to be.

He told me I would need to find someone else to work on the project.

I completely understand his position and it just is what it is. I strung him along far too much in this lengthy process and he has been fantastic throughout.

At this point my chest feels heavy and I feel the stress of panic begin to sink in. This is normal for most artists and while I've gotten very good at keeping calm in such situations it is still there even as I type. Panic helps nothing. What helps is figuring out how to moving forward.

So, what does this mean?

Alan gave me the logic files as well as FCPXML and AFF exports of the project. I also requested OMF which would be the easiest for me to work with but Logic no longer supports exporting OMF files. Moving forward I will be finishing the score utilizing a great deal of the work Alan has already put into it.

PROBLEM: I am having major difficulty working with the files as I am on PC. I cannot open the logic files as that program is made by Apple. The FCPXML files are having difficulty importing into Adobe Premiere...for some reason even though it should be able to. And AAF is the most universal audio project format that is not supported by anything as it would seem. Again, OMF would be perfect.

So, I'm gonna continue trying various avenues to work with the files Alan has given me. Mostly I'm trying to convert to OMF in any way I can. The worst case scenario is going back to him and asking if he can bounce each individual project track and send them which may be a lengthy and tedious task.

I really hope laying out these challenges and my approaches to rectify the situation is helpful to other artist and filmmakers. These are the SAME ISSUES that will arise in every project. You just have to take everything one step at a time.

I'm still grinding through the last of the animation throughout this crisis so there will be updates on
that front soon.