Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Ok apart from living in my pj's for a month I have a couple of finished scenes. A follow up to the junk yard scenes and an avi which shows what the final aesthetic with animation will look like.
Iam trying to keep the camera pans very simple and focus mainly on character animation. The most important thing is that every action should be what the characters represent. For me that is the basis of the story. I have used the aid of rotoscoping so that the apes look believable. Its amazing how much you can learn about timing by studying real footage frame by frame, it has given me a better understanding of the countless poses apes have.The challenge here is; How do you give your drawings character. All apes move in a similar way when walking, running, jumping, eating etc. They all share similar characteristics like being playful, cheeky, fast reactions, low concentration span. So for rotoscoping its great because I only need a couple of examples to get an idea of how apes move in general. But since these are animated characters all though they move in the same way each pose must represent the individuality of that ape. How do I go about that: One thing I have learnt from my dissertation which was looking at the development of comic personalities is that personality is achieved through reaction. Two characters will be placed within the same situation but it is how each one reacts which shows what type of character they represent. So my aim is to be able to achieve just that. For the story to be interesting their characters must develop or change throughout the 3 mins. Hopefully this will be clear to audiences. Also the change must be influenced by the apes becoming friends. One ape should influence the other and vice versa. My approuch is to show how the apes react individually to getting food from a tourist and how they react once acquainted.

This is the rough animation for a scene where one of the apes walks along a rail.

Rough animation for ape running away from a tourist

...Animatic (Not fully finished though) Iam still tweaking some bits to
bring out a bit more personality into my characters, and some of my
ideas keep changing but time is a factor. The soundtrack is complete
which is useful to use when animating. I have extracted my sounds
from internet mostly from vids on Youtube. Tourist that have
visited Gib and filmed the apes. They capture real reactions and voices that gives a real feel to the animation. The films capture background noises which can usually be heard from up the rock.

Thursday, 26 February 2009


There is a junk yard next to the incinerator back home where all the rubbish is dumped before burning. There are always old mattresses piled up and a favourite place for apes to hang out. They come down from the upper rock to look for food or just have some fun. In my story after the apes steal a cake from the bakery they escape to this place where they can relax. It is an important scene because it shows them being themselves without the influence of people. Through playing on these mattresses their friendship grows as they have a good time and bond. There are 3 shots...


SHOT 2- I used the Posterise and Watercolour filter to obtain a grimy and dirty look


For my backgrounds I am trying a different approach where they will be mostly from photographs painted in Photoshop. The locations in my story actually exist so I don't see the point of drawing them. However before taking photos of these different locations back home I needed to know exactly where I would place my characters. So I had to have an idea of the layout and visualise where the animation will take place before taking the photo. Then once I had the photo I did some experimenting with the filters in Photoshop to arrange the colours so that they fit with the colour design of my characters but also make them stand out. Some of the backgrounds I created by selecting different parts of a location and putting them together. Below are some of the final BG's...

I have introduced the apes as a guide to see how the scene will be layout. Also it gave me an idea of how well they fit within the scene. I applied a canvas effect on the bushes in the foreground which contrast nicely with the characters and adds a bit of depth.

There is a scene where the apes rob a cake from a bakery. For this background I needed a way to hide what is going on inside but still have cakes which are visible from the outside so I applied the burn tool to capture the light reflecting from the windows which hides the happenings from inside.

The view from upper rock of Gibraltar are quite picturesque where you can see not just the bay but also Spain and Morocco. It is a unique setting where the apes live and you can drive by either to admire the view or look at the apes. I want to capture this experience
This one was inspired by the vivid watercolour painting by a local artist called Vin Mifsud. I like her use of light and the way she creates shadows with washes always uses the complimentary colours to make the scene look vivid. For this scene the drop shadow brush was very useful. The shadows give the scene depth also the detail diminishes as the scene recesses

This is the final design for my first character (Ape1). I wanted him to look cute by giving him a baby looking head ( a Disney favourite) and cute ears like Dopey and big expressive eyes which sub-consciously captures an innocence. His poses should capture a timid and shy character which is what Iam aiming for.

This is the final design for my second character (Ape 2) which is a lighter colour so that each character is seen clearly when next to each other. He is a confident and cheeky type of character so I have given him beady eyes like most anime characters have which capture a more aggressive expression. I want his face to be not as round which gives him an angular smile and not so cute. I have kept his ears pointy which makes him look meaner. Most apes look very similar and their coats have the same tones but I wanted my characters to be unique which is why I made thier chest hair slightly lighter to their bodies. Ape2 will not have black
hands and feet though as it makes
it hard to see what they are doing

Sunday, 18 January 2009



2 CHARACTERS (named by appearance)

My film will only have two main characters with no dialogue. Their actions will help describe their personalities by the way each one reacts to the same situation. In order for the interaction between them to work one character will lead whilst the other follows.

APE 1: timid, shy and not confident in dealing with humans. Is not adventures and tries to avoid trouble.

APE 2: Cheeky, is an oportunist and gets what he wants. He is adventurous and is not intimidated by humans.

I will humanize their appearance so that they dont look like ordinary apes. This should help facilitate in capturing a range of emotions. Since they are mute characters more emphasis will be made on postures. I want to capture apes natural postures, line of action and expressions and incorporated that into my characters for believeability.

Friday, 21 November 2008

The influence of tourists in Gibraltar is increasing concern for the Barbary apes as the constant feeding and attention is upsetting their natural niche. Apes have become less fearful of humans which encourages them to explore the lower areas of town in search for food leaving the safety of the upper rock.

For the locals they are a nausiance because they steal food and vandalise our bins. In my final film I wish to show the apes perspective and try to visually capture why they steal food. To gain sympathy from an audience it will have a tradgic ending where the friendship between two apes is broken because one of them will die. This tradgic end is caused by the intervention of tourists.