Breaking Up the Elements of a Scene

Here’s the graphic novel panel of the scene I’m currently working on.
Panel_Enter_AtmosphereTo determine the length of the scene, I import the panel in Premiere (my editing software where I’m slowly building the film) and time it by visualizing the action in my head. I’ve also laid out a musical temp track which I use to determine the pacing of the action and the cuts. I spend a lot of time listening to potential music so that I can first build the film as a score by visualizing the images that will go with it.

Next, I break down all the scene’s elements that need to be separated and animated. First, in Photoshop, I paint the separate layers that will not require special animation:

● Background Layer
● Cloud Layer
● Mountain Layer
● 9 Separate saucer Layers
● Fog Layer
● Foreground Layer

I import these layers in Toon Boom. There, I work out a small camera move downward, with all the various levels paralaxing to create a nice sense of depth. I also create a different timing for each saucer entering the atmosphere. The timing of the whole thing is influence in great part by my temp musical track. Here’s the video of the scene at this point:

Once, I’m happy with this, I begin work on the Guardian-Shepherd. I visualize the action in my head to determine the best way to approach the animation. In this case, since the character is not making any rotation, I think that once again, the Puppet Tool in After Effects is going to give me the best result. In Photoshop, I proceed to separate in individual layers each of the various elements of the character that will be “pinned” and animated. The more elements I have, the greater the flexibility I will have to animate something cool. Here are the layers broken up:Shepherd_PuppetAs far as the Blossoms go (floating bluish balls), I use the sphere tool in After Effects as demonstrated in a previous post, using this texture:Blue_Ball_TextureIn the animation, I make sure to rotate all the axis (x, y and z) so that the movement is a bit wild. I bring the light height to 100 so that it is directly in front of the ball so that I get a minimal amount of shadow. Then I create a highlight and a shadow level in Photoshop that I composite over it. The reason I do this is because no matter how much I try, the lighting inherent of 3D always has a CG look that stick like a sore thumb when placed in a hand drawn environment. By controlling the exact look of the lighting using painted elements in Photoshop, I managed to sticks out to the finished look I want. Here is the Blossom rendered from After Effects and with the added Photoshop elements:BlossomI’m currently animating the Guardian-Shepherd and the Blossoms and should have the final scene for you to look at tomorrow. See you then!

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2 thoughts on “Breaking Up the Elements of a Scene

  1. Michel, when you create the downward camera move, are you creating the parallax by panning the separate levels like you would with a multiplane camera, or are you setting up the levels in toon boom’s 3D space and letting toon boom’s camera create the parallax? I’ve used both techniques in TB and I’m curious which you prefer.

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