The first step in creating my 3D animated short story was to get the idea of the shape of the figure, learning it characteristics, proportions and possible designs I could put on the figure. To get an idea how the Funko POP would look in a 3D environment, I drew it from the front, side and behind, constantly referencing the real life figure. From these drawing I learnt that even though it is very close to the human figure, it does have irregular proportions such as the feet, head size and eyes, all are which larger than they should be. Additionally the physical figure is slightly crouching, so it isn’t standing up straight, this is something I need to take into consideration when using it as a reference during filming.
Once I started to understand the shape of the figure and began researching on clothing other creators have made, I decided to start drawing possible outfits based off of real life clothing. I tried to sketch up a range of possible designs and colours then I would have a selection of items to develop/ choose from rather than only having style. I feel it would be interesting to experiment with some of the textures on the items of clothing for example the floral pattern on the jean, the collar on the plaid flannel, accessories, long skirt, ripped jeans, etc.
I produced my figure digitally using Maya and Funko Pop references. When creating my figure I imported a front photo of a black Pop Vinyl! and divided my screen to see the side, view, top and free view. To make the head I created a Polygon Cube and reshaped it according to the size of the photo. I then repeated this step for the body, legs, arms and feet. As my figure will be interacting with the environment I decided to create new hands where it has both fingers and thumbs. To add more malleable lines to my shape I went to Edit Mesh> Add Divisions, this made the shape moulding a lot easier. Once I had my basic figure shape, I then added the images of my own figure and used the divisions to shape it. I decided to do this as in Jeremy Cantor’s book 3D SHORT FILM PRODUCTION he states that “using scanned drawings (photos) as templates will help you build models that accurately represent your designs”.
Even though I wasn’t able to get the exactly thinness of the crop top on the physical figure, I knew I could get closer with the programme Maya so that’s why not all of the shapes align together. Something that I did was deleted one of the arms so then all I had to do was work on one and then duplicate it as then I wouldn’t have to work on two arms/ hands at the same time. I did the same with the legs but I deleted the left leg. For the clothing items such as the crop top and trousers I duplicated the original body shape, increased the size slightly using the Scale Tool and deleted the vertexes by highlighting the vertexes I wanted and going to Edit Mesh> Delete Edge/ Vertex. To combine certain shapes together I would go to Mesh> Combine. When making the shoe fur beside the shoes I used the Mirror Tool located under the tab Mesh.
For the hair I initially gave the figures hair a stock colour of brown by going to Windows> Rendering Editors> Hypershade but to get the highlights to match the figures hair to the real life figure I had to use the 3D Paint Tool. To locate this tool I changed the Menu set menu (located in the top right hand corner) from Modelling to Rendering and then I selected Texturing> 3D Paint Tool, I selected the square next to it to get all the tool settings. Much like the real life figure I went through a lot of shades in order to create the same tones in my hair. To make the highlights pop out more I went over the edge of the lighter shades with a slightly lighter brown than the hair base coat.
When it came to the facial features, it was pretty simple as all I had to do was generate new polygons and assign pre existing materials. I duplicated the shoe fur and and added the hair lambert for the eyebrows and for the eyes I generated two spheres and changed them to black.
The last part of the model that I designed was the checkered shirt, for this I used the same photoshop design that I used to create the real life figure. For the shape of the shirt I started with a cylindrical polygon and altered the shape to fit the models waist shape, I did this by selecting the Vertexes and using simple tools such as the Position and Scale tools. Once I created the best shape I could, I then went on to making the larger piece of material, this time by creating a Polygon Cube. I decided to make the shape uneven so then the flow of material would appear more natural, like a shirt would if it was to be wrapped around someones waist. To add the shirt texture to the Shading Tool, something I had used previously to create a Rubiks cube in Maya.
Being as my animation will be quite long I produced many storyboard pages, some with action lines so it would be easier to see what direction a movement is and it would be a good reference when I start producing my animatic and full animation. An example of this is on the third page, I indicate the characters head turning by drawing a red curved arrow. When it comes to adding the 3D animation to real life video I will separate the storyboard into scenes then my files would be easier to handle and I won’t lose key shots. Something that I have noticed is that the human character closes the bedroom door before the figure comes to life so when it comes to shooting I will make sure the actor doesn’t close the door before leaving.
By starting with scenic shots, not to do with the animation, I believe it gives the story more structure and it builds up to the animation, rather than having it immediately.
For my animatic I used Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro, creating an animatic was a familiar technique to me as I had created one before for my Warburtons Animation. As this was an animatic it wont be the exact same shots I used for my final 3D animation, I even took some shots out for the animatic because I felt that they weren’t necessary for example the second frame of the eighth page and the sixth shot on the first page.
In Adobe Photoshop I ensure I named all the layers appropriately so then I wouldn’t get confused in my animating process, even if it meant naming six+ layers which I did for certain frames. As I wanted my final animatic to be 1080×1920 I had to create each shot to this size. As I didn’t want to stretch the frame to where parts of the sketches were missing I used the Clone Stamp and Spot Healing Brush Tool to fill in the empty gaps. I did notice that some edges weren’t visible on the moving layers so I drew them in with the Paint Brush Tool.
When it came to creating my animatic there were some parts that were very easy to create, it only took one of two tools to create the shot, but there were a few difficult shots for example scene the third/fourth frame on the second page. This page was difficult as I had to give the illusion that the room was getting brighter due to the sun rays filling up the room. I did this but getting a dark and light copy of the background image and reducing the opacity of the dark photo as the sun rays turned into the frame (Rotation Tool on Adobe After Effects). I would say the frame with the most layers is when the character leaps towards the stairs and falls down the steps. In order to create this I duplicated drawing of the figure from other frames and used the Scale and Position Tool to give the illusion that the figure was getting closer to the camera as it was falling down the stairs. To get the figure to have smooth movement in the shots I used the Puppet Pin Tool, I could’ve executed the tool better where the figure picks up the dog chew as she is not in sync with the objects movement.
Editing all the individual clips into scenes, on Adobe Premiere Pro was pretty simple as I am very familiar with this step, previous examples being my ‘Warburtons Advert’ and ‘Film Noir Trailer’. I noticed that with some clips I had to increase the speed so I did this by right clicking on the certain clip and the selecting Speed/ Duration, the maximum amount I increased a clip by was 200%. As I haven’t collected the sound for my animation thus far I inserted text in Premiere Pro by going to Title> New Title> Default Still. The font I used for my title screen was Acier Bat as I feel the bubble-like bold text match the form of the figure as well as it being easier to read. I wanted a more bold text for the human dialogue so I used Poplar Std but removed the outlines and shadows as I believed it made the text too busy as there was finer details in the background I’d rather have my target audience focus on.
During this project I made sure that all of my files were kept in organised environments, for this project I uploaded all of my files to both Google Drive, DropBox and my personal PC for when I was working at home. I wanted to keep the individual files as well as the scenes so then I could always re-edit the scenes if I didn’t enjoy them. I did have a few troubles with transferring files when it came to 3D textures however I made sure to upload them online as well as the Maya file so no errors will occur.
Due to the limited time I had to reduce the length of the animation, so I rather than having all the intended shots I had to crop it around the middle, just when the figure lands at the bottom of the stairs. On the bright side I believe this would work better just because it would collide with the time the human arrives home, as we see the clock going through time in the beginning. To save time I wont create a box for my figure and she would be climbing the desk rather than falling in a box, this was I can experiment with her interacting with the environment rather than just recording a box.