Google Doodle – Week 3

The Google Doodle is complete!! I really loved doing this project, it was super fun and I feel way more confident using Flash now! I’d definitely like to try some more little projects like this in the future.

I made a tonne of tests to make sure that what I was trying to do could actually be done, and I found that mostly the best way to do things was through ActionScript. At first I was a bit confused by it, but after a few tries it clicked and I was able to manipulate the scripts into doing the things I needed it to. It was great seeing it all work!!

I created all the artwork in Photoshop, so as to create the 80s look I was going for. I used colour palettes made out of colours from 80s movies posters (see link in last post for this awesome website) and started by creating a base colour. I then added a shadow layer, painting with a painting-style brush with a pressure sensitive opacity. I then set the blending mode to ‘colour burn’ which created a really cool colour pallete which worked well for my 8os theme! I then created a final layer where I slightly blended the colours, using a low opacity brush, and using the colour picker constantly to create a smooth transition. On this layer I also added little details like shine and blush. I finished it off by fiddling about with the adjustment tools; I heightened the contrast, and made the reds and yellows more prominent than the greens and magentas. I also added a slight noise filter to make the final piece look less digital;


For the Eleven animation I had to create multiple frames in Photoshop, and I layered them on top of each other in Flash. I used motion blurs so I didn’t have to create so many frames! It took a long time but I was really pleased with the final result. The other letters were much easier as they didn’t actually have to change shape! Here’s what the final Google Doodle looked like, and a link to the actual interactive piece;


And here is how it works;

#1 Hover the mouse over the fairy lights to turn them on with a little clinky sound effect

#2 Hover over the waffle to see the syrup melt

#3 Click the dice to make it bounce up

#4 Hover over the walkie talkie to make static sounds and waves appear, click the button on the side to hear a sound clip

#5 Click the green button on the record player to make the vinyl spin, then click the arm to make the music play. Press the red button to turn it off

#6 Hover over Eleven to make her animate and hover Mike up above the waffle! Take the mouse away to put Mike down.

Finished!! I’m really happy with the final result, it was soooo fun making this! I’m excited to find some free time somewhere under a rock or something so I can try making some more!

We’re Making Movies!

The time has come! We’re making our own films, and I’m super excited about it! But of course, before you make the film, there’a a lot of magic that has to happen first!

So before we started I had three little concepts I’d been storing in the mind tank for a while. A collection of funny shorts about my sister Chaz, who comes up with gold like ‘I’ve realised everything I do in life I do just so I can sit down again.’ I think I’m still going to make this over the holidays, for the fun. I had another idea about a water carrier in the desert that would be a metaphor for not carrying the weight alone, and although I do still like this one, I went for the last idea, which was an idea about a girl who is struggling with a dark version of herself. Deep stuff. So Before I went ahead, I did a bit of research, to get more of a strong idea about the concept.

I started by doing a little something that I love; going to the library, and reading some of the amazing books they have in there! I think I might start doing this before every project, it’s helped me loads this time. Here are the books I was reading, I highly recommend them if you’re an animator/draw-er of any kind…


‘Force’ helped me to improve my life drawing (and hopefully animating too!) by making me focus on the line of action and force of the character over anything else. This makes the drawing more gestural and expressive, which is super important! ‘Drawn to Life’ and ‘The Animator’s Survival Kit’ both helped me to further my knowledge of animation by helping me apply character and expression to the basics. ‘Anatomy for the Artist’ helped me when constructing my character, because it helped me understand how my character will move, and how she works in 3D.

I also decided to watch some short 2D animated films, to give me some ideas and inspiration. Here are some of my favourites, should you wish to gander at them;

‘Duet,’ by Glen Keane;

‘Thought of You,’ by Ryan Woodward;

‘Body Beautiful’ by Joanna Quinn;

‘Matter Fisher’ by David Prosser;

All of these films were SUPER inspiring to me, in the way they pushed traditional animation in different ways. I love the simple yet beautiful narrative and animation in ‘Duet,’ the flowing animation and simple structure of ‘Thought of You,‘ the boiling line and exaggeration in ‘Body Beautiful,’ and the grungey style of ‘Matter Fisher.‘ All of these films definitely got me thinking about the way I wanted to create my own!

Finally I took to the trusty Pinterest to help me with gathering inspiration in terms of style, imagery, and even story ideas. Here’s my board if you fancy having a look;

07 Stylistic Research.jpg

Gathering this imagery really helped influence my ideas; I found a lot of expressive movements, facial expressions, and concept ideas that helped me understand my own idea, and what I wanted to do.

From this research, I decided I wanted to make a film about a girl who was trying to escape from a darkness within herself, but realises that the darkness can’t be escaped, and she must embrace it in order to move on. I wanted the film to be accessible to anyone, so I kept the darkness undefined, so people can interpret however they like; a struggle, mental illness, a dark secret or past, or even just your true feelings. By keeping the theme universal, it will be able to be understood by many more people. I also decided I wanted to keep the film traditional, and animate on paper, allowing me to be more expressive and to use different materials, such as charcoal, to get the emotion across more successfully.

So now the time came around to actually get started, and to draw out some ideas! The first lot of character designs I did made the character look much too young and happy;


So I had to tone it down a bit! I focused on the main features I liked about her; the pointy, slightly longer face, and big expressive eyes. Here’s the character I was finally happy with;

13 Development.jpg

I named her Emily! The one on the left is the ‘light’ version, and the one on the right is her ‘dark’ inner self (although none of the characters are ‘good’ or ‘bad’). After I got her looks down, I went onto construction, which is where that anatomy book came in handy! Here’s some construction of her skull I found particularly useful, especially with the 3/4 facial turnaround;

14 Construction.jpg

It’s super important to understand the construction of your character I have learnt, because this is how you’re going to know how she looks at different angles, how she fits into poses, and how she actually moves! Which is why I spent quite a long time on this stage this time; I wanted to fully understand her. I constructed facial turnarounds in basic, 3D, and finalised forms, and the same for the whole body. But now I feel like I’m ready to animate her, so it was well worth it;

18 Turnaround.jpg

So now the technical part was all done, it was time for all the flashy stuff, like poses and expressions! I wanted to convey the idea that Emily was vulnerable, afraid, and trying desperately to escape, whereas ‘dark’ Emily was hopeful, and accepting. I tried to get these ideas across in their poses and expressions;

21 Emily Pose Sheet.jpg

22 Dark Emily Pose Sheet.jpg

26 Dark Emily Expressions.jpg

I used a glow on Emily and inverted the black pencil line to give her a look of innocence and vulnerability, and I darkened the line of ‘dark’ Emily and added a level of noise to make her seem darker, which is how Emily sees her.

Once I’d finished all the character stuff, I went onto look at my story again. At one point, the story involved other characters and was more of a traditional narrative, but this wasn’t really working with the more abstract idea of having two Emilys. So I went back and changed it completely into a story that was more symbolic, and only involved the two Emilys, battling inside Emily’s head. After a bit of changing it around, I was finally happy with an idea that involved four main parts; Emily trying to rip D.E. out of her body, D.E. being freed and trying to comfort Emily, Emily running away, and finally Emily accepting her dark half, and so being able to move on.

Here’s some of my final storyboards;

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39 Storyboards 08.jpg

And finally, I did a little ‘in-situ’ illustration of the characters, of what they would look like in the finished film. It was at this point I also decided that a conventional background just wouldn’t work, it takes them out of place and makes the story more confusing. So I had to stick with a simple gradient that suggested a floor, just so the characters didn’t look like they were floating in space. Also I stuck with a blue/grey background, to give that sense of sadness that both characters are feeling. It also allows both the white and black lines to be picked up easily, so I thought it worked well. Here’s the finished piece;

27 In Situ

So that’s the pre-production FINISHED! I’ve decided to name the film ‘Kindred,’ representing the two halves of Emily that belong together, even if she doesn’t realise it yet. And now, time to ANIMATE!

E4 Stings Project

For our latest project, we had to design and create our own E4 sting! It’s been a really fun project because we were all allowed to go a bit mental and create some crazy ideas! We started by looking at some stings that had already been created. I really liked one particular sting which was a sort of shadow puppet show; I liked the smooth animation, mixed with the weird idea. I wasn’t crazy abut the sting that won that year, but I did like the colour scheme; it was quite minimal with only the purple being the stand out colour. So with these things in mind I went and did some research.

As I think I’ve mentioned before in my blog, I have recently been inspired by the work of Jamie Hewlett in the ‘Gorillaz’ music videos. I love the angular, rough look and the style of the animation. So I think his style has subconsciously influenced me in this project! In my own sting I’ve tried to create a sketchy look, with very snappy animation. I also made my lead character quite angular, to match the animation, and also because she’s quite villainous. 84d6378ed71f186e248c5f8d515290ca

Also I’ve been reading a lot recently, and I think the things I’ve been looking at have had an influence on my ideas! I’ve been reading ‘The Umbrella Academy,’ drawn by Gabriel Ba, which is quite a dark graphic novel. I love the character designs; again they are quite angular, but full of emotion. (I’ve also been reading a lot of Stephen King which I think is why I chose an idea with monsters in it…)


I also decided that I wanted to do this project in Flash, because I’ve never used it before and I thought it would be useful to learn. I discovered that TV shows such as ‘Foster’s home for imaginary friends’ and ‘Happy Tree Friends’ and made in flash. Both have quite different styles, in terms of animation and design, which I thought was good because it meant there would be room for me to create an animation in my own style. Also both shows are weird in their own way; Foster’s Home is aimed at kids, and is set in a place where orphaned imaginary friends live, meaning the characters and storylines are quite strange! And Happy Tree Friends is even stranger; it puts cute characters in seemingly lovely situations, and they all end up being killed in gruesome ways…

All of this came together to influence my own work. I decided to create a sting in which a mischievous girl shakes a can of ‘E4 juice’ and explodes it onto a crowd of people, who then all turn into crazy monsters! I used a minimal colour palette with purple being the only vibrant colour used, and I used snappy animation to create a weird look. Here are some of my designs!

I really enjoyed this project, I’ll hopefully be able to try something like this again for my major project!

Storyboarding Project!

My first project is…COMPLETE! It included storyboarding an already existing advert, and creating our own storyboards for a segment of script from TMNT. It’s been really helpful, because storyboarding is something which I’ve always enjoyed, but not necessarily been that great at. I could never quite imagine which shot would look the best for a particular scene, and I really have got no excuse, given all the films I watch (or ‘research,’ just so I don’t feel as guilty). So this summer holiday I decided I would need to improve my storyboarding skills, so whenever I was ‘researching’ a film, I would draw little sketches of shots that caught my eye, so I could start to get the hang of it.

hannibal jawspotterstar wars

Here are some sketches from ‘Hannibal,’ ‘Jaws,’ ‘Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,’ and ‘Star Wars; Return of the Jedi.’

This definitely helped me a lot to get a bit more of an eye for certain angles that make the action more dynamic or make it clear what is happening on screen.

I also learned a lot from reading some advice about thumbnailing by Glen Keane, who is the person who inspired me so much that I decided to specialise in 2D…so I will listen to every piece of advice he gives; even if it was advice on how to make the perfect beef stew, I would most probably follow it. He was writing about how, when storyboarding, you should think of poses to tell the story, and how each pose will lead onto the next pose. This helped a lot, especially for my TMNT storyboards, because I tried to make them more dramatic by using poses instead of just having them standing there, and it really helped me to understand what I was drawing, and it was much clearer what was supposed to be happening on-screen. Here are some of his thumbnails for ‘The Rescuers…’


As well as looking at storyboards themselves, I also looked at the works of one of my favourite author/illustrators, Brian Selznick. His books are a mixture of graphic novel and written word, because he wants you to fully experience the story, and he also wants to create the feeling that you’re watching a film. So this means that his illustrations are often set out like scenes in a film; they are very dynamic and tell the story instead of just showing you what a character looks like. His work helped me in making my final storyboards, as I was inspired by the compositions of his images, as well as the contrasting tones that can be achieved with just a pencil to create depth and make a subject stand out. Here is an illustration from his latest book, ‘The Marvels;’


AND FINALLY, I was incredibly inspired by the ‘Gorillaz’ music video, ‘Dare,’ which was shown to us in class, along with the whole animatic that came before it. It was great to see the process in which it was made, and how important it is to make sure the storyboards are clear and informative in order to make the finished product work properly. (Also, the artwork was amazing, and I’m dying to try out that style when I have some free time. I don’t even know how I haven’t seen their music videos before…)


And so hopefully, now that I have all this new knowledge floating around in my brain box, my quest to become better at storyboards will end well! I’ve really enjoyed this project, so I’m going to try and keep up the sketches while I’m ‘researching’ films.