|Gary Schwartz and Linnea Glas|
Every year at the retreat we all spend half the day working on animations. Sometimes it's workshops where we learn a new animation technique or share information, tips, and tricks on a technique we all know. However, this year, the workshop organizers broke us into teams and had each team working to produce an animation based on the same concept. So, each group started at the same point, but was allowed to interpret the project however they wished.
My team consisted of myself, Gary Schwartz of Single Frame Films, and Linnea Glas - a former student of mine from Huntington University - and the project centered on making an animation based on our visual interpretation of the following tongue-twister:
"On the moon, marooned baboons consume balloons to make cartoons."
Each group produced a distinct animation using their own visual choices and own audio recording of the tongue twister. Some used clay, others sand, still others found images. However, the three of us chose to do a "Gary Schwartz" cut-out animation. Y'see, during the year, Gary travels throughout the world and hosts animation workshops. One of his animation projects is using these stylized mouths to animate a line of dialog. So, we appointed Gary as our director and character designer, Linnea as our voice actress, model maker and animator, and I handled the technical side of the animation including camerawork and producing the X-Sheet.
|Linnea working on the models|
This was one of those great learning experiences as it allowed me to explore a facet of Dragonframe that I had only read about and tinkered with on a superficial level: incorporating dialog. While Gary and Linnea designed and created the cut-out mouth syllable models for our animation, I set to work processing the audio -- which consisted of loading it into an audio channel, identifying the syllables, and then making a mock-up animation using a stock figure that comes with Dragonframe.
|Dr. Sock. Great concept, but they left out some syllables|
when making this model so we had to improvise...
This was the result of my working with the "Dr. Sock" model, the sock-puppet monkey that comes stock with DragonFrame.
Once the audio was processed and the audio "animatic" completed, I created an X-Sheet that would allow us to select the correct mouth position models and line them up with the dialog. Afterwards, once Gary and Linnea had finished the models, I worked with Linnea (with Gary directing us) as she followed my X-Sheet and animated the mouth models.
|Note the "syllable" column that lines up|
with specific points in our audio track.
With a little under an hour left to produce our film, we quickly worked our way through filming the animation as Gary added input to improve the flow and visual variety of the animation (we were using a limited number of syllable models after all). And after the film was finished, Gary had the idea of adding one last set of frames with some soviet-era "dental models" that he picked up on his travels through Eastern Europe, followed by a quick fade-to-black. We all agreed that it added a really nice sense of surrealism to our animation.
Our completed film is as follows: