As we had to produce a piece of propaganda, I tried to look at my everyday experiences and identify if there was anything I wanted to change, or tell people about as I like my work to reflect my personal experiences. I decided to focus on the modern phenomenon of ‘man spreading’ and inconsiderate behaviour on public transport and create an animate to discourage this behaviour.
I looked at animations online, and gained inspiration from different styles and techniques and made a mood board to bring these inspirations into one place. I made general observations in my everyday life, taking photos of people who were taking up a lot of space and exhibiting behaviours as outlined. I did this because I could observe body language for later sketches.
I also looked into existing propaganda and articles that existed already, gathering them into one place and gaining context for my animation to help me begin to visualise how my animation will look.
I began writing my treatment once I had a clear idea of my theme, plot structure, characters and message I wanted to portray. I outlined the scenes, transitions and audio effects I wanted to include, detailing them step by step so I had a clear concise plan before I began animating.
Once finished I began my storyboard following the briefs I had outlined in the treatment, I made several revisions to my storyboard as some elements were hand drawn and other elements were digitalised. The storyboard was integral to the animation process as it allowed me to work through each scene productively and helped me with tight time constraints. The storyboard depicted rough visualisations of how the characters would look, so I began developing the two characters in depth. I created character sheets for both to show different emotions, movement, angles and walk cycles where needed. This was a fundamental step as my initial drawings of ‘The Girl’ were unsatisfactory so I worked on giving her emotions more characterisation as I need the audience to be able to connect with my character. I digitalised the drawn elements on photoshop, I began stylising the characters with their respective collages as I outlined in my brief, it was important to get the aesthetics right to create the contrast between the two characters. I used render lighting effects on my characters to experiment with lighting as part of my animation requires the character to walk into a bright light source. I created my backgrounds with specific colour schemes and used bevel emboss tool and shadow tools on photoshop to add dimension and texture to my backgrounds.
After I created and tweaked all the elements for the animation to my satisfaction I began using after effects to animate. Using the skills we had been taught in tutorials, I used key frames to animate and give life to my project. I experimented with position, opacity, rotation and the puppet pin tool to create fluid and believable motion, something that required a great deal of trial and error and patience. I created a wind effect with the fractal noise tool and key frames, something that I hadn’t anticipated in my story board or treatment but decided would look effective within the animation. Working with after effects for an extended period of time along with the tutorials helped me vastly improve my skills, as I started with no knowledge of experience of after effects when I began the unit. If I had more time, I would have experimented more with different animation techniques and tried to smooth my animation.
Once all the scenes had been exported, I took the project into Premiere to edit the footage together and add audio. I enjoyed recording my own audio for the animation and wish I had to tried I create more of the foley effects myself if I could redo the project. However I was pleased with the ambient noise I manage to record of a train travelling, that piece of audio played throughout the whole animation sequence. If I could redo the project I definitely would have managed my time more appropriately so I had longer to experiment with different editing techniques. I had a vision of creating experimental edits to add to the disorientation of the close up shots and to increase the humour of the animation, however I stuck to the original plan set out in my storyboard. I would also lengthen the time of the scenes as I think the animation was slightly too fast paced.
I was pleased with the final result of the animation, and I feel i have created a successful anti ‘man spreading’ propaganda campaign. The ambition of the animation was to portray the inconsiderate behaviour of train commuters in a negative and disapproving viewpoint to try and discourage this type of behaviour. Another intention of mine was to also portray someone with anxiety, a personal choice for me, I did this through subtleties in the protagonists body language and expressions and editing choices with the audio, increasing it when she was anxious for example.
I was extremely satisfied with the visual aesthetic of the scenes, I enjoyed creating them and digitalising them on Photoshop, the process of designing a character and the world they inhabit was fun and challenging and something I would enjoy doing again.
As previously mentioned I would lengthen the time of my animation, I felt some sequences were too short because I was worried about the whole thing being too long and over compromised. I would change this if i had the option to redo or go back in to edit, I think this would improve the quality of the animation.
Unexpectedly the initial storyboarding process itself was quite a challenge, landing on a suitable narrative and characters. I went several redesigns until I was happy with the final story, I think the initial development is so integral to creating a successful animation and I was not aware how important and time consuming this would be.
I enjoyed creating my animation and have thoroughly enjoyed tutorials and lessons focused on After Effects as I had no experience with the software or even animation before beginning this unit. I think some of the principles of animation can apply to general film making and I think the skills I have developed are invaluable.