Animation Supply and Demand

Yesterday evening I finished building the rigs to three different types of hands. I’m now at a point where I can slowly start animating and adding textures, as well as the nitty-gritty of getting deformations right as I hobble along.

I always have a tendency at being over-optimistic as to when I can start showing results, and as a result, I jinx myself. But reaching this point still feels rather big to me. It’s taken about two years for me to hash out this film’s concept, and then two more years just to figure out the style and production of this film. That’s more time than I ever spent on a film, and as a result the process also terrified me in many ways – what if it turns out disappointing after all this time? Unfortunately in art, it doesn’t really matter that much how much effort you put into something, it’s all about the result. I don’t know if this film will be good, but I do know how happy I’ll be when I’ve finished it, and that’s my motivation for now.

But all that said: to finally see a few scenes coming together with some really basic and rough animation is… pretty damn exciting.

I hope that I can show some playblasts pretty soon. And more textures, and renders, and animation, and a film, and and and… 🙂

Works in progress

Well, one work in progress to be honest. A project I’ve been giving the working title ‘Rube Goldberg’ over the last two years I’ve been researching and working on it.

It’s a strange feeling for me to realise that I’ve been working on this since 2015. It’s the longest I’ve ever dedicated to a project.

But in all honesty, that’s because I only worked on it in my free time. And I never intended for it to become an actual animation. It started out as an idea for an online interactive display, somewhat like the original idea for my Infomaze (that now only exists as a demo video, the site having crashed long ago). I made these little morphing animations specifically for that purpose, before I realised that I really wanted to make a proper animation.

I’m glad I did, the thought alone of having to figure out the coding again was not something I was looking forward too!

I’ve now finally moved into production, but it will still take a while before it’s finished. I’ve learned a lot during my research and in making the many, many little tests I’ve posted on this blog, but I’ll still be learning a ton more. Here’s hoping I manage to get it done by the end of this year!

Mystic Meg

I just finished a major hurdle in the Rube Goldberg project. I’ve been modelling a woman’s head that is loosely based on Mystic Meg: the National Lottery psychic in the late nineties whose predictions about new winners always turned out to be wrong. This Mystic Meg is a silent wooden puppet head with eyes and eyelids that can move. She’s ready for texturing, and I just finished giving her eyes a rig, which you can see in action here:

I’m very happy with how her face turned out, and I’m very excited to start giving her colours and incorporating her into the rest of the scenery!

Spring films

My personal projects have screeched to a standstill over the last few months, and only now have I been picking up the pace. There’s not much to show yet, but hopefully soon I will have some new renders to show off. In the meanwhile, the films I make at work are an incredibly rewarding experience, as I get to experiment and try out new formats.

The two films I want to show off here are a film made for STOWA, (Foundation for Applied Water Research) and a film made for the Province of Overijssel.

STOWA was drawn by hand, using pen and ink on paper. The drawings were scanned, cleaned up, and then coloured digitally. Animation was mostly done in After Effects, with a few exceptions done in a traditional frame-by-frame animation. The film itself is about how certain diagnostic factors are being used to determine the health of bodies of water, so the style is based on old topographical maps and drawings found in geography and geology textbooks.

Omgevingsvisie Overijssel is meant to inform people about procedures used by the Province to determine the placement things like wind turbines, new neighborhoods, and business parks, which is reflected in the film’s style by showing these items being sketched onto the landscape itself, and using a crayon-like style for the lines. The animated parts are a mix of rotoscoping, traditional frame-by-frame animation, and animation in After Effects.

Both films are in Dutch.

360 film and mural

It’s been an incredibly busy week: there was my presentation on Tuesday, and our open day yesterday at Beeldtaal Filmmakers where we held workshops about video editing, marketing, and 360 film, where we had made one especially for the ocassion! You can see it here, on our Youtube Channel:

Audio was designed by Bob Kommer audio studio, and featured here is our crew: Joren Lenferink (cameraman and drone operator in the film), Lukas Brouwer (animator and barista in the film), Arnold Bomhof (editor and scientist in the film), Daniel Nijenhuis (our boss and plays the translator in front of the flipover), Heleen Nijenhuis (human resources and the lady on the bike), Chris Frieswijk (editor and director, plays the juggler), Chris Dunnink (editor, journalist, and writer, plays the astronaut), Bas (our intern and the one who wears flippers), and myself (I’m the one that’s chasing after the animated characters).

What isn’t featured in the film, because it came a few weeks after our shoot, is a large mural I designed for our studio. We had it printed last week, and this week it was finally installed on the wall:

 

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Hanse convention

Two months ago, I took on a job as animator/motion designer at Beeldtaal Filmmakers in Deventer, and I’ve been incredibly busy since then. I haven’t been able to work on the Rube Goldberg machine very much, so that’ll be something I’ll pick up again in the summer, when the pressure goes down and our clients go on holiday. In the meantime, here’s a film I made with Beeldtaal for the 2017 Hanse Convention in Kampen. It was shown today at the opening: