Thursday, December 9, 2010

Final Update

So here we are. The portfolio disk is finally done. I think for the first time since I've been in this class, I actually feel really good about the outcome of a piece. There might be some things I'll think of later that I needed to tweak and forgot to, but alot of tweaking was done already. All in all, I'm actually really happy with this piece. I'm happy with the way it turned out, and I'm happy with the amount of work I invested in it.

Kitty Blues from Celia Mitchell on Vimeo.

I'm also pretty happy with the DVD menu. I spent a lot of time working on that this weekend. All in all, I think this was a good end to a rather rough semester. I fully intend to experiment a bit more over the break with AE, and hopefully come up with something even better.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Finals Update

So, I'm back on schedule with my animation. The main part is done. I will admit it still needs a little tweaking here and there to help with the pacing, but overall, I'm more glad that it's finally completely animated. The one thing I didn't get done is putting the DVD together. I going to need some time putting it together correctly for the final DVD. The menus though, are done, and the files are compressed.

That said, the rest will be ready to go on Thursday.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sean Shihi Lecture

Sean Shihi is a pop-up book artist. He makes his own pop-up books by hand. He talked about the different methods and periods of book arts including people like Peter Rhode with "Daily Mirror." Pamela Paulsrud with books stones (stones created from books). She cut books into blocks and took them to a sander. In the end they look like stones. Philip B. Zimmerman with "Shelter 2006," Theresa Harsma with "untitled 2003" (vibrant cover, no content), and several more. He made the statement: That there is "no point in having an artist book unless it has a key expressive role." I tend to disagree. There are many reasons to have an artist book. Perhaps you like the material and wish to model yourself after the person. Perhaps you simply like the works and want to bring it out and look at it every now and then. Maybe you want motivation and the works awe you, so it becomes your motivation. Books play both active and passive roles in our lives. Just like any other source of information or media, they shape our interests and viewpoints.

For pop-up books, he made the conscious statement that pop-ups are "more for grown-ups than kids." Some are even made in comic and text-book format. They are made in accordion folds (flag books), and tunnel books.

Shihi made concept books, collapsible books, studied education, and later wen back to school to study graphic design. He's made lots of posters, including a main job with making posters for he Chicago Symphany Orchestra.

His latest work is for a Post Apocolyptic Chicago. He puts in animals that would survive and how they would evolve.

I think this lecture is pretty interesting. I learned a few things about books and pop-up books. I think the subject is interesting. That said, our school needs more animation and video artists/producers, etc. And contemporary and highly professional based ones at that. I would like to have at least one lecture from someone who has been in the movie industry as part of a very large company, just once, rather than all the small Indie film artists we've been getting.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Joy of Birthdays

So once again, because of a little birthday celebrations put on by friends, didn't get even half of what I wanted to done yesterday. That is okay though. I foresaw a little problem with getting efficient work done yesterday, so I scheduled in the weekend to finish. Once I get some sleep things should also go faster. I made a few minor revisions and animated a very tiny clip. I am having problems getting my character to step into the position I need and then get the trap to move with his foot. Right now I have the trap moving with the foot, but I'm still trying to figure out how to get the cat to initially step in it without it moving with the trap. Moving right along, lots more to revise and animate on this weekend...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Revised Schedule

So I gave myself a little extra time in case what I thought might happen did happen. And behold, yes it did. Over the break I revised the bulk of my assets that weren't working and got some much needed work done on other assignments so I can focus here on more where I need to focus. That being said, my schedule isn't really valid anymore.

What I'm planning is to have at least half done by Tuesday (30th).
Attempt to get the remainder finished by Thursday (Dec. 3rd)
Then I'll have the DVD packed up and ready to go (Dec. 7th)

If the worst case scenario hits and this animation takes absolutely forever (meaning much longer than I've planned already), I'll finish over the weekend, but the DVD will still be ready to go by the 7th.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Further Editing to assets

For the outdoor scene, I changed the look of the tree to something a little more simple. I'm stll not totally sure it works, but in my opinion it works better than it did before. Also, I changed the mole to a skunk, just because there were complaints before about the mole, and I think the skunk would be funnier in the end. I chose not to to make purely a line character because it didn't work with a skunk.

For the living room I remodeled the cat and mouse, as well as put them in a different spot.

For the kitchen, made each character articulated with separate limbs.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Calendar for Final Project

Tuesday (16th): Have bulk of assets done.

Thursday (18th): Have complete any remaining assets, have all compositions staged, and begin experimenting with puppet tool to move line-drawing characters.

Tuesday (23rd): Have scenes up to where cat curls up with rat animated.

Thanksgiving Holiday: Animate remaining scenes of animation.

Tues (30th): Have DVD menus made in photoshop.

Thursday (2nd): make any final revisions on animation.

Tuesday (7th): Have first draft of DVD made.

Thursday (9th): Turn in final DVD.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Revised Idea

The rat still starts off with stealing food from the kitchen, the cat chasing the rat, and the cat still helps the rat. the owner sets out traps for the rat, starting with the humane ones, and as the rat doesn' t go near them, the traps at placed in more strategic spots and become steadily more brutal (electric doors that shut when a a rodent is detected to spring-loaded traps and glue traps) until one day when the mouse actually gets caught in a trap and dies. At first the cat mopes, but then she sees a mole. Completely taken in by the mole, she forgets all about the rat, and goes chasing after the mole.

Color Rendering

I'm planning to do the background in light pastel colors and make the characters out of line, strictly black and white.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Final Idea - Revised

So after a bit of thought, I made the consecutive decision that the whole rat and the lab idea wasn't going to end up going much of anywhere after the feedback last Thursday. I still don't really agree with what was said, mostly because I think it was more based around the idea of being politically correct, or catering to every minority in society. That being said... I could care less about politically correct, nor catering to these minorities or even the majority. I just want to do stuff that I think is funny to me. The way society interprets them is valid if only for the reason that society tends to paint its own ideals on everything anyway. The fact that anyone thinks I'm making a statement about something, simply projects those ideals, making its own separate statement about our society in general... we can't separate ourselves from our own insecurities and prejudice. But since I can't change the common opinion... and it could be potentially even more hazardous to my health to ignore it or try to change it... I will change the subject matter all together.

The new direction goes like this: A rat is going about his business, stealing food from the kitchen of a house. A cat watches this happening and jumps off its spot on the counter to chase the rat. And when we realize that the rat is not going to make it back to his hole in time, the cat catches him. Instead of harming him though, the female cat starts rubbing and licking him, like she would a significant other. So starts their odd inter-species relationship. The cat quickly recognizes his needs as a rat. She helps the rat steal food from the kitchen, cuddles with the rat for warmth at night, and helps him hide from people of the house that want to harm him...
Then the cat decides to let one of his stray friends meet his new significant other. The stray cat at first seems completely fine with the idea, and then he gobbles the rat up in one swoop. Crushed by the loss of her love, she mopes around the house until she happens to see an opossum that has taken residence in the yard. She immediately perks up and goes running out the door towards it.

I'm using the house cat instead of an outdoor cat because it would be more likely that a house cat may not hunt mice or rats, versus and outdoor cat that's accustomed to them. Also the possum is yet another rodent, and like the rat isn't very loved by the human population. Why the cat and the rat? The two are usually enemies... it would be interesting to see how a predator prey relationship could be pushed aside if an emotion came into the game. And for that same reason, it's fitting that the rat would be killed by another cat. This is a fitting end to the semester's subject in my opinion. However, since a cat getting along with a rat isn't really that normal, I figured that the ending was not only a nice gag, but made a light statement that the cat could be a little looney, or at least completely out of the ordinary.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Final Project Pitch


Our lab rat finally gets the good fortune of getting a partner in his cage. His new friend looks extremely feminine. He immediately starts fantasizing about how awesome she looks and her being his. So he launches a full scale assault of showering her with affection and trying to impress her. At the end, when he thinks he's just about there, the second rat opens its mouth, talking and it's revealed that this rat is actually male.

Act 1: The lab rat is joined by another new rat who looks female. He fantasizes about her being the perfect rat woman (hair blowing and all that), and so he starts to try and win her over.
Act 2:-1st thing he does to impress his new companion is build a large mountain of wood shavings, stand on top of it and flex his ratty muscles (attempting to make them look bigger than they really are, using cage bedding)
2nd - he makes a flower out of pellets
- 3rd - he makes a statue of her out of wood shavings
4th- blowing kisses at the other rat.
Act 3: The second rat reacts, telling him to not kiss him. At the same time, it's revealed that the second rat actually a guy.... not a girl...

(other ideas for him wanting to impress her: dancing, singing, making poetry )


Sketchy Duel

(Really simplified characters, but this is still really funny ^^)

Sketchy Ice Creams

Simon's Cat

The overall, character and objects I plan to have look like the Simon's Cat animation. I'm going will, I'll go for something like the Sketchy Ice Creams with light shading inside the objects for a kind of background. I'm also going to try and keep the character fairly simple in aesthetic.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Final Project - Possible Ideas

rat and the drain - A rat is plumbing a drain, and when he comes up, comes across the human room tenant.

rat and the kitchen - A rat tries to find food, but is soon discovered by the person the kitchen belongs to. She sets the cat on the rat and the rat runs for his life. Just when he thinks he'll make it, he gets captured, not by the cat, but by a jar.

lab rat finds love - Our lab rat finally gets a chance to achieve part of his most wanted earthly desires. A lab rat is placed in his cage along with him. With the new rat being tested for makeup, our original rat having moved on to steroids, he is under the impression that the other rat is a girl. So he begins to dream of things that rats, human, or both humans and rats do. In the end of his dreams come to an abrupt halt when he discovers that the new rat in his cage is in fact a guy.

Monday, November 1, 2010

AE - Effects Experimentation

Comp 1:

Color Correction - Brightness and Contrast

Since lighting changes in the beginning of the video, I used keyframes to correct the contrast and brightness to get some measure of consistency.

Color Correction - CC Toner
Then adding CC Toner, and controlling the blend with the original, as well as the color of the toner. The first setting is to a blue midtone toner, and a 0% Blend with the original created a complete contrast of dark blue and white. I then added key frames to increase the blend to the original, and one keyframe to change the midtone of the toner. So now it looks like it reverts to the original in the end, going through a sepia tone in the middle.

Basic Color Effects from Celia Mitchell on Vimeo.

Comp 2:

Transition - CC Jaws

For this rather cheesy effect, I experimented with the idea of an apple being eaten. Again, I used key frames to control the direction of the effect, the height of the "jaws", and the completion of the transition. Going back and forth in the completion made it possible to make a very cheesy version of the apple being eaten.

Generate - Fractal

This effect made the apple disappear. I turned on Transparency and Overlay under "Color." It's set to the original "Lightness gradient" Palette. Hue can add slight changes to the background or interior of the main body object. "Cycle Steps", especially when it's pushed 36 and higher, makes the object become thinner. The "Equation" sets how many sides the main body that you're looking at has. It starts at 2 sides and ends at 5. "Imagination" and "Real" on Mandelbrot moves the main body and animates the bright blue glowy stuff. On Julia, the blue stuff is moved right and left independently. Edge Highlights appear to work best on the CC Jaws effect, giving a lighter aoutline around its edges.

Experiment 2 from Celia Mitchell on Vimeo.

Comp 3:

Distort - CC Flo Motion

This effect is kind if like a black hole, or an inverter in position. In order to make it look like the apple had been sucked in, I controlled the amount of pull for Knots 1 and 2. And then made them reappear again afterwards.

Color Correction - Change Color

This only seems to help change the hue of the color. I used Key frames on "Hue Transform", and just changed "Lightness Transform", "Saturation Transform", "Matching Softeness", "Matching Tolerance" as a steady correction, and turned "Inverted Color Correction" to on.

Distort - CC Griddler

I used this to give the pull of the CC Flo Motion a little more umph! I set it so that it could only be seen when the apple was being "pulled in," and I lowered the tile size to 2.5 to make it less chunky. I changed the "Vertical scale" and "Horizontal scale" to create pixel-like boxes during the pull.

Untitled from Celia Mitchell on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Revised Typography project

Everything actually went pretty smoothly for once in the revised version of this edit. As far as I know, everything I wanted to get fixed got fixed. I wish I could find a way to pull out he expressions a little more on the animals, but the jumping action is so fast (and needs to be so fast), that it's difficult to catch their reactions to some degree. Other than that, I'm actually pretty pleased.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Typography Project

Dog vs. Rat

Typography - edit1 from Celia Mitchell on Vimeo.

This project turned out to be a race between a dog and a rat. The idea originated from the end of the story of the cat and the rat in the Zodiac. Instead of the ox, though, who carried the rat, I decided to use my own character, that has slightly my significance to me (a sheep dog).

All in all, this project didn't take as long as other projects in building and animating, but new problems arose, like the fact that each character is transparent. I ended up having to fill them in manually. The interaction between the rat and the dog went pretty well actually. I enjoy simple over complicated and chaotic when it comes to text.

Overall, the result was mostly successful. Things didn't go too crazy. I'm happy with that.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Typography Project

For this project, I want to make a story and animate using the words from the page. The image will change several times into other images. For example, the image could start out as this boy...

And then turn into this bird.

The project itself is to be a short narrative.

One idea for this project is to tell how our rat friend's ancestors first became a lab rats.

Midterm - Fall break edit

So I had an idea on how to make this a little more funny, and overall, just have a better ending. I stacked the makeup on top of each other and cover the rat with it. I think the result was much more successful. I'm still not completely satisfied with it. I can't think of a way to make the ending more smooth. Also, the walk cycle on the Emmy carpet is a disaster, and I can't even figure out why. All in all, it's all much better. It's still a ways from being perfect though.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Midterm - Animation Finished Product

The Rat Awards from Celia Mitchell on Vimeo.

So, sadly there wasn't quite enough time in my schedule to get everything on this done that I wanted done... like more animated expressions on the rats, and crowds that actually move and behave a certain way. On the plus side, I was able to fix some of the larger problems (the empty lab, the trophy, and an extra scene that helps explain what that blob on the rat's face is at the end). The lab rat's walk cycle went smoothly. The celebrity rat's walk cycle did not. Perhaps it had to do with the angle that the character is built, but it was always totally awkward. I think the cuts have gotten a bit better from the first time. All in all, it's acceptable for a done piece in my opinion. Still, I would have wished to be able to do a little more.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Midterm - Animation (First Draft)

Okay, so this actually came out pretty okay in a lot of ways. I was able to get the rat to ride of the wheel pretty nicely, and the rest of it wasn't all too bad either. There are several parts that go a little fast. And I'm also fully aware that the crowd isn't moving in the scene where he's waving. I also know that that's something that's going to be mentioned in class. That's a small detail I'm going to add in Wednesday when I know I have the time to animate it correctly. There are still a few things that need tweaking, but I think, all in all, it came out pretty nice.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Aric Mayer Lecture

This lecture was probably one of the most interesting that I’ve come across so far. Mayer was taking an event that we all knew. He then showed and described it in a way that was probably unknown to people who had not been in New Orleans at the time of Katrina. Most interesting was how he described the role of the media, highlighting that in fact, it did more harm than good for the people involved in the disaster.

More than anything, this lecture makes you view all media in a different way. It makes us ask the question: Is any of the media we see real? I think to experience the event and be changed by it, versus saying that you were there, and simply capturing it is what makes it true fact instead of simply an interpretation of fact. So in a way, this interpretation is its own fiction.

The fact that photographers in the media can compete in a “winner takes all” fashion during a time when people are suffering is also a testament to how desensitized and selfish people as a whole have become. Mayer is in that respect refreshing, both in his point of view and his reasons for capturing the events that took place.

The most refreshing part of the entire lecture though, was his honesty. That was probably what made this lecture really worth going to. It was an honest and intelligent interpretation to a numbing event that took place in our own recent history.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Full Color Composition

This is a scene from his day dream. His fans are supporting him while he's on the red carpet.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Midterm Final Revision

One day the lab rat D337, while running on his wheel, sees the Emmy Awards on a TV left on in the break room next door. He begins to imagine himself being one of the celebrities on the screen. He arrives at the Emmy Awards in a limo. Cameras flashing all the while. A large crowd of female rats are calling to him admiringly. He signs a few autographs, and is approached by a reporter thereafter. He gives a brief interview. He then is seated at the awards. He wins his nomination, and as he is about to speak, a movie he has starred in is brought up. A scene where he rushes into a lake to save a woman is played on a display screen behind him. Suddenly D337 the test rat is snapped out of his day dreams by a hand scooping him out of his cage. With the gloved hand having a tight grip on him, another hand smears a substantial amount of eyeshadow on the rat's furless face. Now looking like a clown, the rat returned to his cage. He just sits there and stares at us for a moment, not amused at all. That's where we end.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Midterm Animation Revision

A. For a continued idea this semester, I've decided to go with a lab rat (named D337 as is dictated on his ear tag or "big D" in his head) that dreams of how the outside world is, imagining himself as free (only in his mind) and characterizing himself as the hero and winner of each story and situation, while in reality his life doesn't go beyond the importance of the lab.

For this project: What sparks his imagination is when one day the TV in the lab break room (just next door) gets left on, and the door left open. On the TV are the Emmy Awards. He imagines himself being received on the red carpet, stepping out of a limo in a tux. The women (female rats) are fussing over him and asking for his autograph. All the while, photographers are taking his picture. He wins the award he's nominated for and starts to give his acceptance speech on stage. Then in reality a gloved hand of a scientist picks D337 up by his tail and takes him out of his cage, destroying the rat's daydream.

Theme: The insignificant Playing the Hero (A rat who dreams of something greater)

B. Character: Subject D337 is a miserable creature in a lot of ways, who has been deprived of comfort and love and is simply trying to find that satisfaction in his life, even though he can never obtain it in any other way than in his mind. For that reason, he believes he's meant for something so much greater than being a lab rat--a task that is being forced on him and he knows that he doesn't like. He wants a warm place with lots of food readily available, which are both things he doesn't have in the lab. He wants to be free, but since he's already seen a glimpse of the human world, his dreams are larger than the normal rat. Instead of dreaming of what rats do, he dreams of doing what people do.

Because of the reality of his life, he needs some fiction in his dreams. What he thinks he needs is freedom. What he really needs is some love and variety in his life. As a result, he does the only thing he can do... he dreams.

What pushes him into action is the fact that his life actually really sucks in a lot of ways. It's boring, he gets poked and prodded on a daily ba
sis, and he's lonely. The TV is just an outlet that sparks him to think beyond his own tiny world. And yet, no matter how hard he attempts to expand this world, in reality it always remains exactly the same.

Structure: He sees the TV and it becomes a part of his world, he imagines his life in fictional representation of what the TV is communicating (him getting what he wants for once), and finally is snapped back to reality by his own real circumstances.



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Squirrel Chimney Sweep

For my midterm project, I'm going to feature an animation in which a squirrel has taken on the task of cleaning out a chimney. Soot clings to Squirrel as his tail cleans the inside of the chimney wildly. The squirrel gradually gets more and more dirty, and continues its work until the squirrel starts to notice that a fire has been lit in the fireplace. The squirrel makes a run for it, and the flames chase it. It runs across the roof, but the flames continue to chase the squirrel. The flames keep chasing the rodent as it runs across several rooves (already several houses away). When the squirrel jumps onto a tree and runs to a hollow part, making its way inside, the flames stop and recede, as if they had never existed. The squirrel looks out of the hollow. The flames now receded, the squirrel scampers back out across a branch, disappearing from the screen.

This takes some of the research about squirrels and uses it together with a field that still needs a little more research, but is interesting all on its own.

Theme: Man vs. nature (or rather = squirrel vs. material world)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Project 5 - Masks

Lawn Mower Bunny - Project 3 from Celia Mitchell on Vimeo.

I started to incorporate a really basic part of the topic I want to do for this class. The masks were still pretty difficult for me. in the end though, I ended up getting a result that was very acceptable. When I looked at the end result, I think the masks could have been bigger overall, to make the grass look shorter. Also, I'm still kind of experimenting with the way the rabbit moves. All in all, I think I need more practice with everything. More time would also be nice. But I'm happy with what I have

Monday, September 20, 2010


My idea is to create a series in which rodents (possibly the most not useful creatures) can be just that... useful. Each rodent will be given a simple task... anything that either an untrained person, or even someone of blue collar status could do. Advanced jobs in the white collar and highly corporate or professional fields won't be factored into the equation.

I chose this topic because it originated out a sketch I made some time back of a mouse cleaning a pipe. It was an idea that I've always wanted to try, but on a larger scale. For me this would be an expansion of an idea, and opportunity to think outside the box for once. As far as how it would change me, maybe thinking outside the box is just it. So often I am restrained by so many guidelines, my own ideas of quality, and "this doesn't work" statements that some allowance of freedom would grant me an opportunity to think more creatively, and possibly come up with some newer, better ideas in the future. But for now, I want to hammer away at something that I really love--the subject of animals.


Step 5:

Book Resources

The Rabbit Handbook by Karen Gendron: used for rabbit behavior p. 75 and Jackalope myth p. 9

Rabbit Handbook by David Taylor: used for rabbit behavior and biology p. 41

Rodents of the World by David Alderton: used for rodent myths and legends p. 34 and overall species info.

Chinchilla Handbook by Edmund Bickel: biology of chinchillas p. 10

The Natural History of Squirrels by John Gurnell: body structure p. 15, food p. 29, and behavior p. 75

The Complete Guide to Plumbing - Black & Decker: used for visual, structural, and job inclusion resource.

Circular Work in Carpentry and Joinery by George Collings - used for visual and structural resource

Web Resources -- for thinking outside the box --> How rodents can be depicted. What other duties can a rodent (like a rabbit) perform without actually working? --> problems that occur when rodents are involved... even in the most contained places. --> tasks that rodents are already doing and good at. --> psychological effects of rodents.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Research Package - Thumbnails

Thumbnail sketch or photograph at least 20 visual metaphors for your topic.

Thumbnail sketch or photograph at least 20 contrasting visual metaphors.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First Part of Research

My idea has to do with Rodents who do jobs like plumbing, babysitting, etc:

A. Make a list of at least 40 similar or related words or ideas.
  1. mice
  2. rabbits
  3. mammal
  4. gnawing
  5. squirrels
  6. hamsters
  7. porcupines
  8. beaver
  9. capybara
  10. cavy
  11. chinchilla
  12. chipmunk
  13. lemming
  14. flying squirrel
  15. groundhog
  16. gerbil
  17. gopher
  18. guinea pig
  19. hamster
  20. marmot
  21. jerboa
  22. Paca
  23. repairs
  24. sanitation
  25. domestic
  26. electrician
  27. professional
  28. welder
  29. nanny
  30. mail carrier
  31. construction
  32. babysitter
  33. carpenter
  34. cook
  35. gardener
  36. thatcher
  37. chimney sweep
  38. plumber
  39. guard
  40. nurse
B. Make a list of at least 40 opposite ideas or words.
  1. engineer
  2. architect
  3. chemist
  4. physician
  5. mathematician
  6. teacher
  7. bear
  8. horse
  9. botanist
  10. zoologist
  11. lawyer
  12. priest
  13. broker
  14. banker
  15. real estate agent
  16. psychologist
  17. geologist
  18. nutritionist
  19. computer technician
  20. executive
  21. cow
  22. lizard
  23. alligator
  24. snake
  25. duck billed platypus
  26. kangaroo
  27. dolphin
  28. koala
  29. spider
  30. cricket
  31. chicken
  32. fish
  33. cat
  34. dog
  35. turtle
  36. tortoise
  37. penguin
  38. caribou
  39. sting ray
  40. panda

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Project 4 - Multi-movement Characters

Mouse Hole - Project 2 from Celia Mitchell on Vimeo.

So, for this assignment, I found myself, once again spending a ridiculous amount of time in photoshop. That being said, a tablet is definitely on the list of things to get in the very near future.

I got the pegging thing worked out from last week (thankfully, or this project would have been impossible). Once again, I found myself making just dumb mistakes as I was working. At one point when I went to render, I realized that when I had started the project, I hadn't changed the screen size. This set me back about an hour, caused a lot of frustration (as everything didn't want to size down all at the same time), and overall made me have to reanimate a bunch of the mouse's path. As a result, I don't think I spent nearly as much time smoothing out the mouse's speed and destinations as I should have for the final product. On the flip side though, adding expressions went fairly smoothly. I think I still have a lot more to learn about walk cycles though. Maybe add a waddle or a bounce here and there. That's something that I'll have to experiment with, especially since I didn't take the Animation class that dealt with walk cycles... and because my character isn't human.

On that note, I'm still not completely happy with my character yet. It may still undergo some changes in the future in photoshop... or if it doesn't, I will attempt to design other characters related to this project more efficiently.

All in all, I really could have used some more time on this project. I'm not quite happy with it yet, but happy enough to call it done if it has to be.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Project 1 - Review (From a Mouse's Point of View)

Project 1 - Dynamic Imaging from Celia Mitchell on Vimeo.

So I realized once again just how long ten seconds actually was. When I started putting everything together, I realized that I was only going to really have time to do one scene from the original idea. No biggie. This meant that I could put more energy into making materials for this one scene.

While this project didn't quite end up going in quite the direction that I will be taking projects in the future, it did include one of the characters that I will be using.

Photoshoping went smoothly, but once I brought everything into After Effects, I found that my notes were not as helpful as I would have liked. So, definitely, better note-taking about the program in the future. Also, in the future, I found that the assets took the longest out of the entire assignment to put together. In the future, it would be awesome to have some extra time on that, but at the same time, starting earlier is a must on my part.

The idea of using real images and sketched images together seemed kind of questionable to me at first, but after seeing them together, the effect actually turned out quite nicely in my opinion. Perhaps if the mouse had been the only drawn figure, it wouldn't have fit as well, but because other small objects were put in, the overall effect of both elements seemed to merge together effectively. The result of everything seemed almost overwhelming as a mass in the image. I ended up putting a layer or two less than I had planned to, just because there was way too much crazy going on already.

All in all, I'm actually happy with the end result. I got to test a new program, learned a few new things about Photoshop, and used the tablets for the first time. In the future, I actually want to work more on the idea that I actually want to do.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Concept for Project #1

The idea for the first project is using the rodents who do tasks idea. For project one, we will learn how the mouse (the main character) changes from an ordinary city rodent to a trained professional.

The story structure will be like this:

- The mouse will be ordinary at first, seemingly not bothered by the world.
- The mouse is then picked up and carried off
- The mouse spends some time in a cage
- The mouse then spends some time on a lab table, being poked and prodded.
- After time appears to pass (with the fading of objects and perhaps a physical test or two), the mouse is ready
- In the end, the mouse turns towards us, with cleaning supplies in hand, ready to perform its task.

Other characters may include a couple hands or feet, and any objects that the mouse ends up interacting with. The theme is probably a mix of several things... testing the use of animal usefulness and intelligence, long-lasting unemployment for humanity (perhaps), and as much humor as I can pack in along the way.

As for an idea for the whole semester, different kinds of rodents will perform tasks, in an attempt to make the life of humans easier. Events like maybe human protests for animals taking their jobs may crop up along the way, along with other elements.

Monday, August 30, 2010

E. Experience of Experimenting

Overall, all these experiments have shown me a little of why I like what I like, but they haven't really made me want to change my what I want to do this semester. They also haven't made it easier to narrow down which particular topic I want to use. I like both of the topics, but for different reasons. The Rodent Plumbers idea, I like because it's cute, yet completely absurd. It posses the question of "could this happen?" On the other hand, my Animal Planet of Mythical Creatures idea is funny because it couldn't possibly happen. Knowing that, it would be displayed in a way that would make it true, even when it clearly is not.

A made me want to go back to doing something horse-related. While I don't have any ideas thought out for this particular genre, I think doing something with animals would be more than good enough to satisfy myself. The solo play just taught me that I like color and texture. The group play taught me that I can be confident around other people, but only to a point. In relation to my own idea though, I didn't really learn a whole lot more. As a whole I like my original ideas. The only thing I have left is to pick one and to use it.

D. Group Play

My group play experience was with Ashley, Aaron, and Caroline. We played Cranium together. Aaron and Caroline were on one team, and Ashley and I were on the other.

Strangely enough, this was actually a really good game as far as making us put ourselves out there. My team kept getting stuck on a color/event that required us to act out people, things, or hum songs.

We came to the realization that all of us were kind of terrible in several aspects of this game. Still, since we all sort of sucked at it, it ended up being fun.

I learned that I don't mind acting kinda dumb if its in a small group with people that I know. it's when I don't know or trust the people and when the group is larger, that I have issues.

C. Solo Play

My solo play experience turned out to be an odd kind of paper, flower, rock, etc. chandelier...

The quantity part of this experience had to do with just how many things I had hanging down and attached to this one poster board snowflake.

What I had originally thought of doing was going out and getting sculpy. I then remembered that I had a whole box of random materials that I wasn't using for anything. I decided that would be perfect for this project.

It's been a long time since I've actually taken the time to put something together without having a set purpose in what exactly it was going to be beforehand. I had a few instances where I had to solve a few problems... like how to get things to stick onto the paper without falling afterwards.

I don't really believe that this project has anything to do with any of the ideas that I actually want make, or any of the materials that I actually want to work with though.

If I did this exercise again, I might choose a different kind of solution or a different way of going about creating it. Still, I'm not completely unhappy with the overall result. For play, I think this was a fair idea.

As for learning about myself though, I'm not sure I can really say that I did learn much in that area. I can say that
I like pretty things like flowers and clear/colored rocks. Maybe something to explore in the future.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

B. Favorite Games

Favorite Games:

  1. Civilization (board game)
  2. Titan (board game)
  3. Mabinogi (internet game)
  4. Soul Calibur II & III (video game)
  5. Conquer (internet game)
  6. Centipede (PC game)
  7. Sims (PC game)
  8. Black and White (PC game)
  9. Egyptian War (card deck)
  10. Next Generation (card game)
  11. Chip (PC game)
  12. Dark Ages, Snow White, Billy the Kid (PC games)
  13. Pharaoh (PC game)
  14. Zeus (PC game)
  15. 1830 (board game)
  16. Clue (board game)
  17. Twister
  18. Battle Ship
  19. Dungeons & Dragons (1st Edition)
  20. Pogs
  21. Mouse Trap (board game)
  22. Centipede (adventure PC version)
As far as connections between the games, there are a great deal of board games and internet or PC games. That probably says something about my family in general. We valued spending time with simple games, but making them complex through interaction and imagination. This interaction is also a trait I value in online games. With PC games it becomes artificial interaction. Also, many of the games have some fantastical element to them... most including mystical creatures and the projecting of character roles. Then there are simple games like pogs, and card games. Perhaps these simple games are where I get some of my random dry humor from. I dislike some games that live too much in reality or show an excessive amount of blood and gore for the hell of it. I just feel it's not necessary in some cases for that sort of thing to be shown. At the same time, I can respect a story that packs a slight punch, as long as it has a purpose.

A. My Play History

In the current day and age, I play computer games or board games on occasion. I will also include reading as play, just because it helps me escape the immediate issues of the world.

Before my brother moved out to go to school, there was a winter Olympic games that took place. He and I watched event after event on TV. So, old enough to know better, but still too young to care, we began to mimic the athletes on the screen. We started with figure skating. Putting socks on, we both walked over to a large patch of wood floor and began to pretend to skate. I don't think my brother ever quite let go of this experience though, as he still has fun "skating" across wood floors, even today.
The next event was skiing. So, we stapled several sheets of paper together to make them sturdy enough to put our feet into, and then we began to ski down the couch (much to my mother's horror, I'm sure). Luge was both of us taking turns, dragging the other around on the floor behind him/her on my quilt. I could never underestimate the power of the imagination again, even if I tried.

Back before that (when I was around nine), my work and play were often integrated into one because I spent several years riding horses. I was trained to think quickly, to react accordingly, and to spend time getting to know the horse I was riding. During the winter, when I hadn't ridden my horse in an extended period of time, I would often put her inside the arena to run, let myself out of the gate, get a bag of carrots and run around the edge of the ring. And so she would chase me until I could run no more. Then when she caught up to me, I would give her a single carrot and begin the process again. This continued until I was completely out of breath, or out of carrots.

As I grew older, I would spend hours, just sitting and talking to my horse while she grazed just a rope's length away. Those became my moments of complete peace. I suppose most would think that to be silly, but I never will.

My most joyful image of play was one Christmas when it snowed on the day and my brother and I got a K'nex roller coaster. He and I spent nearly the entire day putting it together and playing with it, making the car go down the track that we built. It was one of those toys that only worked if you built it right and maintained it. If not, it would fall off the conveyor belt, lose speed in the loop, or derail before it got to the end. But when it did work, that's when it was really fun. Of course, this process of fixing, rebuilding, waiting, and watching kept both of us entertained for probably a day and a half. The chance for it not to work made it all the more fun when it finally did.

As far as I can see, there really aren't a whole lot of connections between this roller coaster and my current work, nor do I actually really want there to be. My brother was more of the roller coaster lover and the builder. That's probably why he became an architect. On the other hand, I probably found the experience fun, not just because it was building a roller coaster, but because I got to do something with him.

If there was ever anything I wish I had back in my life, it would be horseback riding. It was nearly everything of what I was for several years. My horse was my best friend, and the trainers I had were probably as close as family to me. I have never trusted anyone as much as I trusted my first instructor. She was good at incorporating play into the instruction, but careful to emphasize specifics. My worst falls were also under her care. I'm glad for that. She's probably a good reason why I never got seriously injured.

On the other hand, I read a lot. Mythology, fantasy, science fiction... they are all things that I have been interested in since childhood. My dad was probably a big part of this. Since he didn't spend a lot of time playing with me or my brother, he would sometimes read us stories like the Lord of the Rings.

That coupled with the almost cartoonish playfulness of running around feeding my horse carrots, is probably where ideas like the animal planet mythical creatures and the rodent plumbers idea is coming from. They allow me to use animals, myth, and dry/sarcastic humor.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Final Brainstorming

The final ideas for this project I'm thinking are going to end up to be Animal Planet of Mythical Creatures and Rodent Plumbers:

Like I said in my last post. This idea originated from a sketch I made in my 2D design class during Freshman year. Never got a chance to use it though.

Plumbers" would consist of
probably several short stories of small animals (not necessarily "rodents") that perform services. Mice who fix the plumbing, birds that babysit, beavers that fight fires, etc.

In these stories, each animal would most likely come in contact with either some part of human society or a person directly at some point. Each animal would be labeled as intelligent in their own task (using materials), and probably have some human-like qualities as well (being able to talk maybe).

The second idea for a project is to use mythical creatures in a sort of animal planet-like approach, like this video of the Komodo Dragon. Though the approach I'm looking for as far as style is more that of the video in relation to the Honey Bees.

As far as the actual content of what types of mythical/magical creatures I would be using. I have access to an Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures which would be a great resource to all types.

What I want to do with this is to make a series of "episodes" where commentary is given in relation to the mythical creature in question. Each creature would be researched heavily and would be reacting to its environment (as well as any human presence & the camera as well) exactly the way it would, based on its own traits, tolerance, etc.

In turn, the camera would have to react to any
motions that this creature would make, and the commentator would have to probably comment on the situation, but would likely continue talking on and on
very calmly...

There would be a variety of mythical creatures--dangerous, cute, large, small. In other words, not all of them will have the same traits, dangers, likes, dislikes, or reactions.

One idea which was pointed out to me was actually to maybe combine the Rodent
project and this Mythical Creatures together somehow. I'm
not totally sure that's the
direction I want to go, but with further suggestions, it could maybe work.

Brain Storming

~Rodent Plumbers – small animals doing specialized tasks -> this originated from a sketch for a project I did in 2D Design my Freshman year. I wasn't able to do the project at the time due to a lack of approval. However, when I dug it back out of my sketch book, I knew this would be a very funny idea.

~Sports that haven’t made it into the Olympics - This was sort of a random thought of sports that haven't made it in to the Olympics and why. Perhaps making fun of that just a little, seeing as how some sports that perhaps shouldn't have made it in, have.

~Tales from Noah’s ark

- This originated from an image I saw on the web. This would be more individual stories told about certain animals or groups of animals... things that would crop up when spending so much time together on a boat.

Fairy tales told in New York style - It's like it says. I'd imagine telling fairy tales in the way that modern New York clothing, style, manner... would be involved. Why New York? Because it's distinctly different in individuality and flavor than the rest of the U.S. This is of course referring to mainly Manhattan (in other words, the rich part mostly) NYC, and not Queens or any other parts of the city.

Where to next – a peak into the future (ridiculous items we would have, what people would evolve into, where we would live)

The woes of being popular in popular culture - a comical look at what its like to have people always following your trends and in your business.

The animal planet of mythical creatures - You know those episodes of National Geographic, Animal Planet, and Nature? What if you got commentary so mono-toned and excitable when you got a first hand look into the mysterious and magical world of mythical creatures? That's basically what this project would be... (pumped full of as much comedy as I can manage).


I think in all, I'd kind of like to do a comedy this time around. in the past I've rather tried to stay away from comedic shorts, but I want to have fun with this class. Also, I found that a great deal of my ideas had to do with animals or people is some way, shape, or form. Not sure what that observations is good for yet, but I will admit, I think I like the animal related ideas the best.