Thank You Carson Wentz
I couldn’t not say something. As of yesterday this man was traded away to Indianapolis from an organisation that failed him. He was, in my opinion, our greatest asset, and due to mismanagement and poor decision making the Eagles betrayed and alienated the best quarterback we’ve had in years. Carson Wentz was a foundational piece of the Philadelphia Eagles and had we built the team appropriately around him we would have been contenders, not only in the East, but around the entire league. Alas, not everyone thinks the same as me (though I strongly believe most of the Philly fans do). Wentz wasn’t perfect by any means – this last season there was a visible decline in his play – but these issues were, and have always been, mechanical and easy to correct with good coaching. It didn’t help that we had significant injuries on the offensive line (leading to a record number of sacks given up) and a perennially weak receiving corps, the former a constant problem with the Eagles and the latter due to poor drafting. I could go on about the drafting of Jalen Hurts, the poor coaching, lack of a run game, uninspired play calling, playing with practice squad players, roster mismanagement, the list goes on.
I’m glad Carson got out. He deserves to do well and I believe he will do great things in Indy. I do not have high hopes for the Eagles future while Howie Roseman remains our GM, however I do look forward to seeing what Nick Siriani can bring to the table with his youth and the young coaches he has brought in around him.
All the best Carson. I’ll still wear your jersey with pride.
Fly Eagles Fly
An Incredibly Time Consuming Background
Annoyingly most of this background will be cropped out when I add the animation, but it felt stupid not to illustrate the whole room. However, I may end up reusing the scene for a wider shot later down the line.
The original design was literally going to be a bed, a chair, and some stacked boxes. I drew this idea out and it looked horrendously garbage, not to mention lazily designed, so I went back to the drawing board. This is the main living area inside the tree that we see the mouse character run into, which is why the room is curved. Also, look at all those books! The chair closest has a hole in the back for the mouse’s tail to fit through. I didn’t want to overdo it in terms of reverse engineering everything for a mouse, mostly because I’m not that smart, but also because I wanted to keep things recognisable. In terms of adding the animation, the character will enter frame from the right, pause uncertainly, and then move towards the lit area in the middle (there’s going to another scene before this one which I’m working on now).
Test Animation pt.2
I severely underestimated how long it would take to complete this! Firstly, the previous animation came in at 1.5 seconds, was 12 frames long, and it took me about a day to complete. This one is 3.8 seconds, almost 40 frames, and there’s a lot more going on, so I’ve no idea what made me think I could do it in a day.
I felt a bit more comfortable navigation the process this time so that helped speed things up. The original idea (and the reason I probably thought I could complete it so quickly) was that the mouse would run in and slide to a stop in the middle of the scene, but it occurred to me that I wouldn’t learn all that much about how animate the character in different poses and facial expressions do that, so I changed direction (literally). It’s still not as smooth as I’d like it to be and frame to frame I can see I’m consistent in drawing the proportions, but I’m getting there I think.
The major challenge here (apart from… well… all of it) was the “fall and get up”, as I’ve never drawn those poses before I don’t think. I found myself having to act it out and think about what limbs I was moving and then translate that to the character in a different 3D plane. In hindsight I should just video myself from the angle I want and draw that. The other challenge here was adding the light, which for this test was direct light and a bit of bounce light. I’ll maybe start getting a tad more adventurous with the rendering of light and shadow as I progress, but really the focus will be on getting the movement right as a before I attempt to get too fancy.
Interior Background Art
The top image is the next background for the animation. This next scene will probably last a little longer than the previous one – perhaps five seconds or so. The colours are fairly muted/desaturated because I want to keep the focus on the character who will be running in from the left.
This background previously would have been pretty quick to draw, but I’m now trying to visually develop everything, insomuch as I’m drawing multiple designs of all the props until I settle on what I think looks appropriate. The pictures in the frames on the wall are of cheese FYI.
I’ll try and pump out the next part of the animation tomorrow or Thursday!
I’m not much of an animator if I’m honest. I made two animations while I was at uni and both were made over two years ago. We were specifically told to avoid walk/run cycles because they would be too difficult to animate and extremely labour intensive. They were right. To be fair it didn’t take me as long as I thought it might – I thought about 12 hours, but it took about 6 – but it’s also not as smooth as I’d like, however the jerkyness (not a word) seems to work for the character. I could go back in and add more frames, but this is only a test for what is gonna be a bigger project.
Going forward I’ll be doing more background art and potentially animating some more scenes. I genuinely enjoyed making this, but it’s going to take a fair while to master the basics, I do however own “Drawn to Life” which is a book of all Walt Stanchfield’s teachings on animating that was compiled while he worked at Disney.
Anyway, more to come.
Setting the Tone
This is the finished version of one of the previous concepts I updated on the blog a couple days ago. I’ve been trying to work out what I want this project to be and also what the overarching style and colour scheme for the background art will look like.
Before deciding on style and colour I did a fair bit of research on Pinterest (I’ll link my Pinterest board at the end and you can look at what stuff I tend to save). I’m still fairly on the mid-century cartoon aesthetic so I tend to take a lot of my inspiration away from the old Hanna-Barbera shows. Samurai Jack’s background painter, Scott Wills, is very much in this wheelhouse as are some of the Cartoon Network animations from from 90’s, like Dexter’s Lab and The Power Puff Girls. I’ve also been looking at some the old Looney Tunes backgrounds by Maurice Noble, though more for interiors than anything else.
The main inspiration, however, came from the backgrounds of the Disney classic 101 Dalmatians. I liked the way the colours were really washed out, imprecise and offset, as well as how they used inked linework to draw everything. I think for that era Disney was making the shift towards braver art styles and the backgrounds for the film will have been somewhat avant-garde, though to look at them now they incredible conservative.
As to what I’ll do with the project… well, wait and see!
Pinterest link – https://www.pinterest.co.uk/mattwalkerart/illustration-inspiration/
With these pieces I’m simultaneously trying to create a believable world (well, as believable as a world can be with sentient woodland creatures) and build up my background painting portfolio for animation (I will be adding colour at some point as well).
The top piece is a zoomed in version of a pervious concept that has be rendered a little more thoroughly. I literally cut and pasted from the older concept as it was worth using same dimensions and angles, plus it saved me a bunch of time in having to redraw.
The bottom concept gives you a more complete idea of what the mouse’s house will look like. I’m going to fill this with more props to give it a more lived-in feel as it is little more than a shell of an idea at the moment.
Environment Concept pt. Deux
A slight expansion on the farm house concept. As I mentioned in the previous blog post I felt like the house didn’t look abandoned enough and that I would rectify that and I think this goes at least part of the way to doing that. It was also a good exercise in drawing an object from different points of view and you realise house three-dimensional (both literally and figuratively) world building can be. I did a quick sketch this morning how the building might look from this view-point and even added a dormer as part of the roof, but figured less is more. I added the broken-down truck (based on my friends C10 Chevy that he’s restoring) to add that classic American rural vibe to the world. I’ll tackle some more of the project tomorrow, maybe another angle or maybe some more character designs.
This is the first pass at some world building for the new project. Simply put, it is the location where the story takes place; an old abandoned farm house with an acorn tree at it’s rear. The acorn tree is primarily the home of a field mouse and a squirrel. As to what the story will be I have a vague idea, but mostly this will be an exercise in placing characters in interesting environments.
I’m not sure if the house looks abandoned or just poorly maintained, so I’ll probably make a few changes so it’s more apparent that no one lives there. I’ll also add a few pieces so you know it’s a farm house, such as a barn and old farming equipment.
More of these to come!