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.