Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Final Animatic of the Semester

just had my final critique, it went pretty well for me. The professors seemed to enjoy it quite a lot considering I presented after a girl left in tears (which is a huge buzz kill for my presentation, but it still got the laughs). They want me to take out the female narration and make it more in the style of The Office than This American Life, and have a few more panels of around Steve's house. Maybe downplay the weirdness of the ending a bit. Most of the changes sound pretty do-able though. Also, they really dug my art style, which is incredibly relieving.

and here's my Vertical Slice...may not be worth posting in Standard Definintion

I'll do a bit more work over the animatic this summer but I'll try to focus mostly on modeling and some rigging first and foremost. The updates may be a bit more sporadic here as a result.

and the latest turn table for my character modeling

Monday, April 19, 2010

Some modeling, more cat designs and the expected animatic

Worked on a fatter version of my cat after I received my last critique, but at the same time I felt like my old model was too flat to really look good in 3D, so here is the latest revision

Also, I started to work on my model in Maya, here is the most recent version of it, Unsmoothed and Smoothed. The smoothed one has some weird coloring issues, but glad to see the cell-shading didn't wind up looking completely terrible.

and a new animatic, with some pauses added, increasing the length to about 3:30 minutes. Check it out :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cat Redesign and New Audio Track for Animatic

I just redesigned my cat so he wouldn't blend in with the items in the background so much, also so he could animate a bit better...

and here's the same animatic you all know and love, with a new Audio track. I got my to voice the narrator in the new audio track. I'm not sure if I'll keep it or not, gives the piece more of a storybook tone.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Completed Background art and Revised Animatic

My current idea is to do some rough modeling in Maya and then color over it in Flash to give the backgrounds more of a handmade, storybook feeling, below is the final piece from Flash.

and here is the Maya rough

and here's the new animatic, with new voices and some changes made to the ending

Monday, March 29, 2010

Incredibly Mellow and Slightly Depressing Animatic

Maybe my roommate's performance of the lines could be a bit clearer he sounds like a British Homestar Runner right now...but this is more me getting my work out of the way first to see what works.

Make sure to leave a comment with some suggestions if you have any...lets make this short AWESOME!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Writing is Re-writing, Storyboarding is Stor-Re-boarding, and all is good in the hood

Last week, (pre-spring break) we had our Midterm Critique by the digital arts department. Overall, I felt the impressions were generally favorable on my project but a lot of the suggestions seemed to come from completely different directions. As a result, I did another rewrite of my pitch and wrote out the entire death thing from my concept, mostly because it looks like it is the most polarizing issue and I feel like it makes it seem like I am going for a more "screwball" style of comedy. I haven't done a new audio track yet, but I do have new boards and a new pitch, the pitch is below.

We see various shots of an unkept house, lawn overgrown, the house should vaguely resemble a 1960's McDonalds in the color scheme. The one thing that does not seem beaten up or chipped off would be an American flag that hangs off by the doorway, which is within arms length of a window. My idea here is that I want to introduce my character through the exterior of his cat shaped house here. A soft spoken narrator starts "Everyone wants to be famous, at least at one point in their life and some would say in the case of Steve Watterson, a long unemployed artist living in Brooklyn, Wisconsin, he's the most famous man who's never left his house."

Candid shots of our protagonist start to montage on each other as the narration continues, most of these will be close-ups of him living his life. Steve Watterson is a boyish looking man with a stained shirt and Pink Floyd boxers likely hasn't showered in days, his house is filled with various different cat products and he walks around in orange cat slippers. "Every morning when he gets up and puts on his slippers, he opens his front door to a food truck, usually reserved for senior citizens, and gets a box of Fruit Loops and two cans of Tuna for every meal of the day, one for himself and the other for his arthritic cat, Vivian" Narration pauses for a few seconds as we see him slowly sitting down at the two seat dinner table with his cat, one can for him and the other for himself.

Narration starts up again "Three years ago, Steve's Keyboard Kitty video, reached seven million views, which allowed him to live off of t-shirt sales for a good year or two". We then see a shot of his cat struggling to walk over to the table and then falling limp, Steve picks him up by the two front legs, cat lets out a yowl and goes limp as he places him on a raised stool so the cat would be at the same level as him on the table, he pushes the stool in and pops open the tuna can. "Like most things in his life, his cat Vivian came to him in the mail"

Cuts to an interview with Steve Watterson the first time we see his face, at the table eating the tuna, white noise playing in the background, a band with his name and title will show up on screen "was it fate that brought me and Vivian together? Even I don't know at this point, she was recommended to me on the front page of based on my purchase history...I didn't even know they sold cats there, but after losing my job, I was lonely and I needed something to get my mind of things, plus I needed something else in my cart to qualify for Supersaver shipping" our character then looks down "...which lead to the longest 6-8 business days of my life".

His interview continues "it was during those days I started to evaluate my career as an artist, all my pieces were missing something but I had no idea what it was". Narrator starts up again "Steve showed me some of his earlier pieces, with the only major audience being Brooklyn Elementary, his conceptual pieces failed to find an audience when their fine art background consists of pipe cleaners and googly eyes". As this narration happens we see Polaroid instant camera photos of our artist standing in a jar, another where he glued giant sized googly eyes to his face, and lastly a room entitled Nihilism with nothing in it, all of the galleries are portrayed as openings with absolutely no one there.

It cuts to a shot of him next to the historical keyboard, petting a boneless looking Vivian on his lap. Steve starts up again "it was right then when Vivian came in the mail, she seemed a bit irritated after taking the trip but I had no time to lose, if I wanted to entice elementary schoolers, I had to make a piece that would speak on their level." We see a shot of him fitting a blue shirt on to his sarcastic cat "and that's where Vivian became a star, the video was a commentary on life itself, how we are forced to go against our primal animal instincts, to wear a shirt, play a piano song to please the world, little did I know, the video was uploaded to YouTube the next day and my life was changed forever". Cut to a recreation of the Keyboard cat video in a grainy YouTube window.

"The amount of traffic to my 10 year old website brought it down in a matter of minutes after it was on YouTube and it wasn't long until I started to receive letters and tribute t-shirts in the mail..." we see a shot of a horrible looking Geocities era website and then piles of merchandise lying around. "With this newfound success, I decided to give the audience what they demanded, and extended my video out to a series of works, but none of these ever really caught on". Similar videos of the cat playing the saxophone and harp play back, the list of views on YouTube is in the hundreds. We see a close up of the cat on his lap and he lifts the paw up "but, his arthritis really got in the way of future plans". Steve looks back and we see a whole room of various different musical instruments.

Narrator starts up again "it's been two years since Watterson last uploaded anything to YouTube and his status as an internet phenomenon wore down in favor of an ironically enjoyed forgettable '80s music video, no one can really blame Steve for his reclusion, the chances are he'll never get to create a piece that garners 9 million views ever again, but I can't help but shake the feeling that we haven't seen the last of Steve Watterson...". Steve looks back and forth as the camera crew leaves, he locks the door with a smirk on his face, as we see him slowly put on a cat mask and blue T-shirt, he hits the record button on the camera and the screen turns dark.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

SHIELD YOUR EYES!! Extremely Rough Animatic THIS WAY COMES!

EDIT: 3/1/2010

This is my latest version of the rough animatic, now with a new-ish ending and a few panels moved around here and there, check it out...

None of this is finalized, more of a proof of concept if anything, but check it out regardless, I'm pretty happy with this.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cat Concept #1

Pretty much matches what I was thinking in my storyboard, I'll probably make it cuter in the next revision.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tentative Logos

EDIT: 2/19/10
I'm probably going to settle with the logo above at the moment, the rest are for posterity's sake

For AfterEffects class, the teacher wants us to create a logo for an imagined or existing thing and then animate the layers of it. I figured to use this as an opportunity to come up with some ideas for a title sequence of sorts for pre-production. Here are some of my logo ideas so far...

Thumbnail Storyboards

Here are some really quick and dirty storyboards following the third draft of my pitch. I didn't quite label them or anything yet, but it should be a good way to view my current idea for my project at a glance.

Make sure to view this at the full resolution.

More Concept Art

These are all super early, expect them to change pretty quickly.

Pitch Sheet (Third Draft)

Each week, I've been re-writing my pre-production pitch, you can follow each of the revisions over on Google Documents but here is the very latest paragraph I wrote for my idea. Will probably do a couple of more rewrites from here on.

Our perspective is shaky, to the point where it is hard to tell exactly what is going on, we see a brief shot of the cameraman's feet (his shoes should appear unkept), then the sky and a cat shaped house that is out of focus. The microphone is picking up wind from each direction. We hear our cameraman, his voice sounds as if he is a blogger, likely unshaven (we won't see his face) "Mic check! here it is, the house of the man who created the viral sensation, Piano Kitty, I'm not quite sure what to expect, the last time he told me to get off his lawn...". The camera style should be in the set-up as if he was a vlogger at some point but then got hired by a local news station.

Rough cut, arm knocking on door with some hesitation at first and then going full force, knocks on a cat shaped door knocker. Cameraman exclaims "Hi, it's Bill from News 8, can you let me in?" we then here a muffled "it's unlocked" reply coming from the inside. Door opens, we see our camera pan over on some objects on the walls, mostly cat shaped clocks and posters. We see a boyish looking man sitting alone at an unkept dinner table facing the camera man, wears Pink Floyd boxers, cat shaped slippers and generally gives of the appearance that he has been wearing the same clothing for days, empty cans of tuna and cereal boxes align the table. The man nervously states "sorry about the mess, would I be able to interest you in some coffee...tuna...Fruit Loops" (as he picks up and places down an upturned box, cameraman states "I'm fine").

The handheld camera style ends and we have a completely straight documentary interview shot of our main character. Voice over asks "so tell me, where did the idea for Piano Kitty come from?". We hear a showed down string parody arrangement of the Keyboard Cat melody as our character begins to explain his motivation. "The video was a culmination of a six year creative drought, after college, all my ideas for conceptual pieces fell flat, either in scope, budget, or just...didn't work out". While this voice-over plays we see a shot of the character, also in the same washed out clothing carefully putting a clothespin on a larger clothespin shaped structure (close-up, out of focus) and then we see a medium shot of the sculpture collapsing, main character throws his arms up and it cuts right before he swears.

The camera then goes back to the interview, our main character seems a bit more spirited now. "But the main inspiration came when I was browsing CraigsList looking for some really strong wood glue, I couldn't get my eyes off this orange tabby cat and that's when it hit me, my work was COMPLETE, so then I ordered it, supersaver". The camera then cuts to our character waiting by the mailbox "and then followed the longest 6-8 business days in my life", when he states this we see jump cuts of him sorting through bills and card advertisements. We then see a cut of him receiving a cat shaped package, he gets excited and opens it, but then it turns out to be a piƱata, he throws it on the ground and candy then comes out. With each cut, empty cans of tuna start to stack up. Eventually, he opens an unassuming looking cardboard box with holes on the top and the cat jumps out of the box, screaming attacking his face. We see packaging peanuts fall out with the cat.

We see a shot of him fitting a T-shirt on the cat and moving a piano into place "it said Vivian on her collar, I was Da Vinci and she was my Mona Lisa". We now see a grainy YouTube video of an irritated looking cat in a t-shirt playing a piano voice-over states "it said everything I wanted to say about life, how we are cogs in the inner working of a machine fighting against our ferocious instincts dressed in a blue shirt, forced to perform a piano song in front of the world".

We see a shot of our main character by a pile of merchandise, "the video was an instant hit receiving over 9 million views in the first month and I received thousands of T-shirts, love letters, posters and keyboards in the mail since. While none of my other videos were able to catch a similar momentum" we now see other blurry YouTube clips of Vivian playing a saxophone, re-enacting a scene from The Matrix, etc. "I have created my life's masterpiece".

We see the man in a chair twiddling his thumbs as the interviewer asks one last question "so, what's next for our musically inclined feline?", our main character then hesitates for a long while "well, I received an offer from the SoBe beverage company to use my cat's likeness in a new ad campaign but..." camera then turns dark as we see the cat, sick in bed "I don't think that's going to happen, you see, Vivian's been very sick for the past week and I have serious doubts that she is going to make it to next week". The camera man then asks "you know, my sister's a veterinarian, maybe it might be a good for you to take her there"...there is a long drawn out pause "will she put her down?" - "likely but listen, I've had this great idea for an experimental film over the past four years and I've been looking for someone to work with..." both the camera man and the guy interviewed exchange glances (implied), the man then smiles a bit with a tinge of sadness, it then fades to black.

Welcome all

I can't really think of anything crucial or thoughtful to write for this first entry besides for how essential it is to watch the keyboard cat video.

yes, it is totally in mind for my thesis idea.