Reviewing the module

toby

Looking towards the start of the module there was a lot of pressure with looking at both the dissertation and this module. At the time I had thought to myself that I had plenty of time and was much more focused on completing my dissertation than doing my final major project. I have used the research within my dissertation towards this project, but now feel as though I neglected the project too much compared to my dissertation. From the dissertation I was able to learn a lot of the theoretical aspects of animation, as well as beginning to understand the emotional and somewhat romantic connotations of animation and how they are used and produced. There was a lot of research into the process as well as the creation of animation that allowed for a smoother transition from theory to implementation. This was also helped through the lessons I had learned from creating the short pieces of animation within the independent practice module. Within that module I had been able to begin to get a grasp of the amount of planning and organization that is needed within any animation. Although the dissertation did not turn out as well as I’d hoped or thought it did, the actual act of learning it and getting the research paid off far more than the grade. I felt as though I had begun to take my education into my own hands and was able to teach myself and understand aspects of animation that I wouldn’t have learnt or researched into had I of asked those questions. It feels as though this last module and the dissertation where a lot more free and less constricted, having being able to develop them both within my own space and developing my own methods of process and application from all that I have learned over the last three years.

The final piece of work that I will be handing in is not the desired final product of hand in, but the reason I use the term hand in piece is due to the realization I had about this short film within the last two weeks before hand in. I knew that the actual animation would not be able to be finished within the hand in date completely. This comes about from some of the threats pointed out earlier at the start of the project when I had looked at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats within the brief I had set myself. It’s clear that certain points had affected the project more than others, these being set around the team and my own organization of the brief. There were several issues that came up when dealing with the various team members.
Ruth Liddell, Level 6 Interior Design, was the first crew member to slowly go off the list of cast. Sadly with Ruth, I had spent a lot of time waiting around for her to come back with references, research and any work to do with the project. At the time of the start of the project she had been incredibly busy with her own work and was travelling around and sadly forgot to inform me of where she was or what she was doing. It was the first minor set back but I had to get the project going so began to work on what I was asking her to help me with. Rachel King, Level 5 Visual Communications, was the second cast member to go off the cast list, as she was too busy to be able to help with any of the colouring or other work. She had informed me that she would try and help where possible, but it was clear to see she had enough work of her own and sadly all the colouring was left to Sacha or myself. This was quite clear at the start of the project as she was unable to attend any meeting although she did come in time to time to check on how we were. There were sadly a few issues here and there with Jade. The issue was she had for some reason not turned up to meetings even though she said she would. Once having done the characters and character sheets, she did complete the character turn around and they looked a lot better.
James Flanagan, Level 6 Graphic Design, was very hard to get hold of throughout the entire project. I could never really find him and waited around for his work a lot, having to ask for help from Liam Rushfirth to find him. When we were able to get the work from James it was very good and interesting. Hannah McCann, Level 5 Visual Communications, was very good at animating and I was pleased to ask her to help me animate, but her own timing and organization of her work has not gone well with the timing of this project. It started off a lot later than I had planned and she had only started animating late, which I had to wait around for once again. Andy and myself had decided to not do the 3D run through, as we didn’t see the need in the end to do so. Andy later is going to hopefully just help with the postproduction again before sending the work off to festivals. Sacha, Abi Sharp, Level 6 Visual Communications, Liam Rushfirth, Level 6 Graphic Design, and Natalie Fyfe, Level 6 Art & Design Interdisciplinary, had all done work on time and as planned otherwise and it was exciting to see the work come together when it did and I was glad about this team coming to together although I would say that they had helped the most. Danny Cooper had come in fairly late due to the animations being completed and laid out fairly late. Although once we had the sound there were just moments when he was only able to do a little bit but he had synced it very well. It was interesting to see the work he had come up with from the descriptions I gave him.

The team management was slow at first but then it developed well and I think I got a better control over what was going on. It did help with all the research but overall it seemed as though there was just too much work to the number of animators more specifically. The animating took a lot longer than expected with only myself on the animating apart from the yeti. I felt as though I could have done the animating and the short film in general, but having to consider directing and the other areas now, I would re-consider the size for the first thing. I don’t believe I fully understood the workload at the time until much later into the project, but I still felt as though I could and wanted to create the animation. Through out the project I tried many times to cut down the animation, but I was only able to lose certain parts of it. I knew that I had to eventually lose more and more but this also meant I could revisit the story and see what did and didn’t work. I knew that I still wanted to tell an interesting story that doesn’t jump too much and has the energy and interest to keep audience watching. I wanted to keep the style and narrative flowing as I had designed in the start, as well as taking and utilizing the points I’ve learnt within other animations. It was slow at points due to the genuine fear I had over the project, thinking I would be unable to produce what was expected or simply for my own skill. But when I was able to get out of that ‘slump’, it was able to open my eyes too much more interesting, fun and experimental work.

I understand now at the end of the animation, with the short film being aimed towards a degree, it was too much pressure to do it and be in charge of and do so much work was a bad idea. Being able to learn and develop my skills within all aspects of animation though has only come about from this challenge I had set myself. Having challenged myself with every brief before hand, I knew how much stress and work I was bringing upon myself but still wanted that excitement and task. I was able to apply the old techniques I had learned previously and brought them into developing the new skills I now have. I was also able to explore a piece of software I thought I had already known a lot about (Photoshop) as well as develop skills in new areas and establish my skills in animation and other software.
I’ve been lucky to also had a lot of professional practitioners and other people help me develop my professional practice as well as gaining new contacts through this module using my showreel and development work from the short animation as an area for discussion. The idea of a team as well had helped with not just the workload, but also the ability to have many minds working at once with different ideas and specialisms. It was comforting to have someone with a similar passion I have for animation, as his or her respective area of focus. I had learnt more through leadership and the act of working with others, than any other module within the degree course. Having to show everyone the work and keep people up to date whilst always trying to keep the momentum and excitement was a challenging but very good task.

With this project haven taken the best part of 5 months, it seems I was too crazy with the idea that I could complete it within that time. It was too much to do within such a short time although I am happy with just how much I’ve been able to learn and do. It may not seem like a lot to myself at times, but when I consider how much research and development has taken place and how much animating, just myself, have done with the learning of technology and constant development of my professional practice and contacts, it seems like it’s been worth while. I did ask myself a lot near the end of this module, what was I really aiming to achieve? Was the animation just a piece to show off my skills/as showreel content? I considered these questions and brought it down to, I wanted to tell a story and tell it through a traditionally animated story looking at colour, shape and composition to expressively tell the story.
My aim may have slightly changed and it may have been more of a challenge and fun to create something I have yet to have been able to fully finish, but I feel as though this is the only project I’ve been more than willing to keep working on. One major thing I learnt over the project, over all the software skills, production knowledge and analyzing, is that I’ve only had 2 years to properly develop my animation skills and within those 2 years I’ve leapt forward with lots of help and advice. I can only grow more and more and keep having confidence in my work and my self.

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