Once I exported my animation and uploaded it to YouTube, I then went on to making a questionnaire for friends and colleagues to fill out so then I would know how to make it even better. I believe that getting three groups of people; media students, general public and professional animators to review my animation would allow me to get opinions from people who know how a professional animation should look like compared to those who don’t. Candidates that know how to animate could pick up on smaller detail and could provide way to work around the problem.
I believe that the resemblance to Pop! Vinyls, while still having my own twist on it could really intrigue my target audience of both male and females young adults between the ages of 16 and 24. In order to have more of a balanced opinion I also filled out my own questionnaire, even though I do have some other thoughts on this particular version. Even though I do believe that the figure does appear to blend well with the environment it appears that the character doesn’t match up with certain lighting, for example when she walks from the bedroom to the corridor, there is no lighting change on the figure.
MEDIA STUDENTS (TARGET AUDIENCE) REVIEW
GENERAL PUBLIC REVIEWS
(None have replied thus far)
After having several people answer my questionnaire there were several areas that could be improved, some that I have mentioned before. One of the main problems about the first draft was that the intro sequence (scene 1) was far too long, this was pointed out by Louise Kershaw and Oscar Holmes. If I had the time and recourses to make the longer animation then maybe this wouldn’t be an issue. In order to improve upon this I went back into Adobe Premiere Pro and removed shots such as the human scrolling on their computer, the shot where the computer screen said 12:30 and I sped up the shots that have the titles “LIFE” and “KINGSTON COLLEGE STUDENT FILM”.
Another issue that many of the candidates had pointed out was the audio, as well it being far too quiet, the characters footsteps were not in sync, however the candidate pointed out that not having background music “made the the story more charming and ambient” which I totally agree with. This issue was a little more difficult to sort out but thankfully it only took a few steps. Similar to the first improvement I had to use Premiere Pro but I had to go into both the scene 2 and 3 premiere files and cut and move the foot steps noise to the point where it matched well with the animation. The most complex one to sync up was the one where the figure discovers the dog toy as she only takes half a step when she stops. This was mainly pointed out by Laura Byrne, Leo Shearing and Thomas Duncan. I believe background music may be more appropriate for longer films and video blogs.
To improve the audio level I went into the Effects tab located on the right and search for Volume, this allowed me to add another 6 decibels to the already maximum number of decibels available, +6db. Additionally I wanted to give the figure more character as Louise Kershaw mentioned that “I enjoyed the parts with the dog as I felt it gave her more personality than some of the other parts”. To do this I recorded audio of me gently shaking the head of a She Hulk Pop!Vinyl figure and added that to intense moving shots such as the one where she falls down the stairs and when she faces the dog. This portrays a fearful emotional. Having audio in an animation is key as it immerses the audience more into the animation, even if it white noise.
A couple people such as Zachary Creer, Louise Kershaw and Thomas Duncan said that aspects of the animation could be improved throughout the animation however due to the figure being such a bizarre shape it was difficult to animate without the textures merging together (seen when the figure figure lands on the bedroom floor). To make the animation that I currently had more natural I went over some After Effects files and changed the key frame movement so then it would seem more natural in the movement motion, for example when she fell down the stair I scaled the figure down as she was ‘getting further away from the camera’. Additionally I made the character smaller nearer the end of the animation when she was walking into the corridor.
Last of all was lighting which was mainly pointed out by Ollie Evans and Louise Kershaw who knows a lot about lighting due to them currently doing courses in photography and film. To do this I went to the pre-made exposure key points in After Effects and made them much darker, that and I added some more key frames like when the figure goes from the bedroom to the corridor and when she goes from the desk to the chair. A couple of shots that were dramatically changed, compared to the others was the first shot (I made her partially darker to match the rest of the animation) and walking into the corridor.
Overall I am very pleased with my final major project, even though I wasn’t able to create a longer animation like my animatic. As this is my second time animating a sculpture in Maya I believe that the animation was very smooth and maybe with more time I could’ve added individual movements like the hand moving or hair strands but I will consider time management for my next animated project. Learning new skills such as creating shadows in After Effects, creating a real life 3D model, attempting to use MatchMover and importing iff files onto a video file in After Effects was very beneficial and will definitely help me in the future. I am even proud of the thumbnail as it doesn’t give away much in terms of story or events.
The message that I wanted to put behind this animation was that even though it is key to let people who may be slightly vulnerable their free space, it is good to make sure that people are there for them, to support them. I believe that by constantly giving someone attention, they may not be able to the explore the world properly and see what they’re capable of.
Obviously there are still some aspects that I could improve, however with a little more practice I could even create an industry level animation like the Official Funko animations or shorts from Charlie Grubel or Ben Smallman. I could even get better at expressing emotions through figures who are missing main features such as bone structure, mouths, eyes, etc and even learn how to make it more similar to my hand made figure.
The only copyright issues that may cause a concern for my final major project would be the school portrait seen in the first scene, as the logo is clearly visible, the use of already existing Pop Vinyls and possibly the blank figure I started off with as it is a branded product. Everything else I made was primary resources including the audio to prevent any issues arising.