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Feeling good about all of the overlay maps and ready to move on to other things. These maps will act as an extra visual aid to the actual Geo-Me itself. Since each little article of clothing the Geo-Me will wear represents a certain geographical measurement of where it lives, I think it will be nice for kids to actually see a visual representation of each measurement overlaid on the main world map interface. And, I just like maps. So really, any excuse to cram in one more to look at is worth the effort. ;)
Animation is a wrap!!! For now, at least. The first six characters are in the can, which is all that are being prepared for the release of Geo-Me version#1 (the remaining six characters will be completed and released in subsequent updates of the app.) Looking at this composite image of all of these completed characters, I feel pretty proud. Although I could tweak forever, it’s time to let them go and focus on the remaining interface elements as we get ready to make the final coding sprint in February.
I’ll be spending the next week or so dusting off my first drafts of the various overlay maps (climate, elevation, population, etc.,) and trying to inject a little more visual fun in to them. After that, the main focus will be creating whatever small buttons and graphic labels remain to zip up the user interface, in order to make sure the coding minds have all the assets they need to create a seamless UX. (Which reminds me, I need to take another look over the UX wireframes to make sure all that needs to be dotted and crossed is dotted and crossed.)
Last week was filled with backgrounds for Istanbul; which revolve mostly around a shoreline/skyline view while crossing the Bosphorus (the waterway that divides the Asian (east) and European (west) halves of the city.) The boat, and the background characters on it, follows the same rules as all of the preceding animation – all in simple silhouette. Even Yasemin’s mom will remain in silhouette while she is briefly animated.
She proving fun to pose, as she so far has the most rounded shapes and fun curls. Her hair and dress are going to be a nice little detail as they flutter in the wind throughout the whole clip.
An extra and unique detail in this verse will be the use of Turkish graphic elements when portraying the lights of the busy city that glow in Yasemin’s imagination. I’ll be posting the first drafts of that soon.
Every character/verse had its own single challenging shot, and this one is no slacker. Before the week ends I will be starting a mammoth 180 frame shot in which Yasemin dances back and forth on the deck of the boat while imagining different futures for herself – complete with minor costume changes. Hoo boy. I think it will be one of my favorite shots in the end. Or kill me. I’ll be sure to post the time lapse of the whole thing :)
Today I completed putting the final touches on Wen-Long from Hong Kong. One more to go.
Who’s next? Yasemin, from Istanbul, Turkey. She’s going to prove a challenge, I think. As with Wen-Long, I’m dealing with a pretty dense city-scape background, and I’ve written in a dreamlike portion that will require a few extra backgrounds and props. All the extra people, the adult cast-members, are static. That means no animation necessary for anyone that is not, well, Yasemin. Phew.
She’s a really confident little character, so animating her bold but dreamy attitude will be fun. Look for a time-lapse screen capture of her first couple of shots soon.
But first – backgrounds! I’ve put a few photo collages together of Istanbul. Both big panoramas and some well known icons and landmarks. It’s going to make me want to go there I know. Need to finish this first. Oy.
Doing something today that I have, surprisingly, never done – traditionally animated walk cycles. (?!) I storyboarded myself in to a corner a bit by including generic street characters in the Hong Kong city scenes. Like all of the other secondary or generic characters in each verse, they will be presented in silhouette form in the final animation. But, it is still important to get the anatomy and mechanics generally right. I’ve just decided to dive in to it without any video reference, and hope to rely on all of the stored up principles in my cluttered subconscious. Getting there…. /ken
Spent the day roughing in a fun little flying shot for Wen-Long from Hong Kong. I have to say, there are few things more relaxing than sketching in your rough animation. I’ve done a lot of CG work over the last few years, and this process is so liberating. Yeah, it’s aint Disney, but it’s still lively and fun. I have a lot more to go – but I’m going to miss these characters when I’m done.
Tonight, a rocking Friday filled with clean-up drawings and compositing. And wine…