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January 11, 2009

lsgl: nailing down the animatic

by sven at 4:05 pm

click on image to play clip (2sec - 76 KB)

Here's a clip from my last work session, where I was roughing out what it might look like when the Elders' minds return to their hibernating bodies. There'll be some finessing of the FX, but the basic concept is there.

Now imagine a wave passing through the room, quickly rousing each Elder in succession. Heh.

* * *

As I get moving into 2009, I'm still taking stock of where the project stands.

In 2008 I wrote 170 pages of story development. I've got the story line nailed -- which is something I did NOT have in 2007.

For a filmic treatment, the story line has to be translated into visuals. I've got a lot of material posted on my storyboards -- but I'm realizing that before I move on to producing any polished shots, I really have to get the animatic nailed down.

If it takes until the end of January -- maybe even the end of February -- it'll be time well spent. I'm not worried much anymore about how to create my shots: all my props and the most important animation cycles are already created. What gives me searing headaches is not knowing exactly what shots I need in order to make a coherent sequence.

Normally creating sequences isn't that big a deal. But see, I had to go and write a script that involves a stampede. Getting one shot to flow into the next when there's so much going on at the same time has been a nightmare.

* * *

At this point in time, I still need to have my "inventive" hat on. I can't be pretending that I have a reliable roadmap to follow -- because I don't. I'm trying to follow the principle of "roughing out" ideas as quickly as possible, testing them with successively complicated iterations. Here's what that might look like:

Sounds logical, eh? Well, film-making's never really that linear. You think you've got your "pre-visualization" all set... And then you discover a hole. So you go back, make new material, cut and paste...

Here's one new-to-me thought that I've been exploring: We usually talk about "the storyboard" as if a film has just one. Particularly when I'm in the post-it storyboard phase, I'm finding that I'm creating a variety of possible sequences -- and I'm unable to keep them all in my head so I can compare them...

So I'm thinking now that I want to experiment with "story strips": printing out multiple copies of storyboard frames and taping them into long vertical strips which I can hang side-by-side. That way (in theory) I ought to be able to put together a couple of different options for how to edit a scene -- and not forget mid-process what my previous ideas looked like.

Being able to compare options is important.

* * *

P.S. Can anyone point me to some tutorials on setting gamma? The level of darkness in my frames varies radically between software applications, and I'm worried about not having control over the final output.

posted by sven | January 11, 2009 4:05 PM | categories: let sleeping gods lie