After looking at the public safety announcements we were all thinking similar things on how we wanted the animation to look like and move like.
2D Animation and are film
we drew a lot of inspiration from 2D animation in terms of how we wanted the characters and environment to look swell as how we wanted them to be animated. Although we were keen to develop are story in 3D and make it look like a 2D animated piece.
We drew a lot of inspiration from the likes of Tex Avery and the exaggeration of expression on his animations.
Another artist that we drew inspiration from was Max Fleischer. His work on popeye and olive oil gave us a lot of ideas for gags and ways in which Kimmy could move in order to create crazy animations
The Style Of the short
As we were developing a cartoon public safety announcement based on a character from the 1950s we thought it was a great idea to try and make are film look like it was filmed on a vintage camera. We looked at a lot of old vintage footage but also studied how modern adaptations were developed in order for us to see how they achieve what we wanted.
A few examples of things we looked at were the Fallout cartoons which is a animated piece and a live action piece from the film DodgeBall
After looking at these we began developing tests to see if we could recreate the vintage look ourselves in 3D and post production. Hannah Turkington was the lead in render and post production developing her own custom filters to be placed over are rendered images to give it that scratchy old film feel we were going for.
artwork: Matt McDyre
Character and environment style
Having Matt McDyre on the team was a great leader in this department, his own drawing style fitted perfectly for what we were all thinking of doing. Matt has a great eye for visuals and is the teams Art Director.
Design: Hannah Loughridge Concept art: Matt McDyre
Design: Matt McDyre Concept art: Matt McDyre
Design: Hannah Turkington Concept art: Matt McDyre
During this period in the project i was as heavily involved as the rest of the team in this area although i was around to give feed back on designs it was more the rest of team that really pushed this side of the short film.
While the team was developing the visual style of the animation i was creating some test rigs to see what was achievable in terms of animation. As we were relying on the animation to help push are visuals early tests were essential while the character was being designed.
This allowed for great team feedback on all areas of the design process. The feedback allowed me to cater rigs for certain types of animation such as having a character have noodle arms or extreme poses. For example how olive oils arms and legs are able to bend.
I found several tutorials online in order to learn some new techniques to develop the system which later was put into the characters in are final rigs. The most valuable source i found was a PDF on developing a automated arm bend to give a cartoon effect which can be found here:
From this i was able to learn a good deal about vector math in order to achieve some of the deformations seen below.
The method above is a combination of vector math being applied to a joint hierarchy which is then driving two flexi planes to give the animator as much control as possible. The mesh itself is then skinned to the flexi plane joints rather than the typical three joint system of shoulder elbow and wrist. The one issue that has popped up is that the wrist/hand tends to look stiff when deforming the arm.
Above is the render test of my arm rig with Hannah Turkingtons early filter applied to try and achieve a vintage cartoon look. We wanted to see early on if we were able to achieve some of the animation ideas such as wavy arms and stretchy limbs before getting to deep into the project. This side of development required a a lot of back and forth communication with the rest of the team in order to cater the rig to the team.
During the pre production stage we decided early on that we wanted Kimmy to have a flat shader applied to her in order to give that cartoon feel. One of the things that we talked about was rednering are aniamtion in Cinema 4D due to its nice looking shaders for this.
Hannah Turkington was the lead on this side of the project.
we looked at pieces of work by Eran Hilleli and the animtions called Bill Block and Paper man in order to help use develop a style that we think would suit are animtion best, drawing inspiration from these pieces.
In the end we decided to pull the plug on Cinema 4D as although it would of gave us a nice result we felt we could achieve the same result within Maya without adding that extra level of problems. We felt that with such a heavy animated piece and with us having such a long run time it would be impractical use of are time to export and import everything into Cinema 4D in time to finish all of our renders.