Partly Cloudy is a Pixar animated short directed by Peter Sohn
Animating the clouds
To create the cloud effect, the animators made a 200,000-particle suit around an invisible rig. Just that though wouldn’t be enough as clouds are made up of basically transparent droplets, the final lighting and shadows process is what really brought him to life.
The animation team were worried that they wouldn’t have enough time to render him as all the particles and lighting take ages to render.
First, I set the project to 24 frames per second and weighted tangents to linear.
I then set the Modeling Set to animation and created three different polygons.
To animate an object, you select the first frame on the timeline editor, then right-click on the translate X in the channel box editor and select ‘Key Selected’.
Next, you select another frame in the timeline (in this example it is frame 24 – one second in) and move the object to the desired placement, selecting ‘Key Selected’ on the relevant translation channels.
I then repeated these steps for each of the other shapes, with the second shape moving for twice the length of time and the third moving for three times longer.
After that, I did the same thing with the objects’ rotations:
I experimented with basic textures using the Hypershade tool (accessed through Windows>Rendering Editors>Hypershade) to give my objects some individuality.
Next, I created another lambert texture and set the colour to purple. I then set shape one to this texture.
I then created a texture from the Phong E preset for the second shape and set the colour to green.
For the last shape, I used a checkerboard noise map so I would be able to see the rotation of the sphere. I did this by clicking the checked box next to the colour property and selecting
The final result:
Character And Enemy Design
These were my first ‘Concept’ drawings of the astronaut character. Originally, I wanted to create a more robotic style character, however, I later settled on the minimalistic space suit as I realised that this would be much easier to implement into the game.
On the left, are the first ideas I came up with for the Station droids that the player would’ve had to fight to get to the end of the game, from these I then came up with the final concept sketch, with a closed and opened view.
The AI design has been mainly the same throughout most of the design process, being made from this initial concept sketch.
“A sense of Hope”
The project was based on the competition with the theme “A sense of hope’. There were certain requirements set by the film institute, which we were expected to meet. We were asked to produce 90 seconds animation in a particular format.
Idea generation and design process
Firstly, I worked in a small group, where we shared our initial ideas and come up with concepts that reflected on the brief given. In my research, I looked at animation history and analysed relevant examples of existing animation. I also created a mood board to visualise my idea and gain inspiration from. After that, I wrote a treatment and drew a storyboard for the animation. To inform my study further I investigate two examples of animation and watched the film Wall-E again. I decided to base my idea on the film as I think that it represents best the core idea of hope for the all human beings. To add on, I have researched animation history and different animation techniques and styles.
It was very difficult for me to start with my initial ideas on paper. I have a graphic tablet and it is easier for me to do my drawings straight in Photoshop. Therefore, I digitalised my initial drawings for the characters and scenes. This digital process was fairly easy for me because I have good Photoshop skills, but the difficult bit came when I started to use Adobe Animate. Fortunately, I quickly adopted the relevant skills, as all Adobe products are similar to each other in terms of functionality.
I created my animation in Photoshop, Adobe Anime and Premier Pro. In order to include the sound to it, I used LMMS software for PC, which is similar to Garage Band on Macs. I taught myself how to use it and I am very pleased with the outcome, as the sound compliments well the animation and helps to convey the story better.
Time management and sound
Through this assignment, I faced some challenges in regards to my planning, organisational skills and also have some time management issues. Although that I had a plan for this project I did not realise how much time it would take to produce my animation. I was overwhelmed with the theme and very enthusiastic to watch tutorials and explore further the software that I used, so it was hard for me to meet the deadlines set. Despite that, I managed to finish and upload my animation without sound on the competition website.
If I had more time for this project I would have focused more on adding more details to the character and scenes. Also, I would have made the character movement more fluent. To sum up, this project was like a milestone for me as it gave me the chance to gain valuable experience in working in a real life project and participate in group discussions and presentations. Trough this project I have learned a lot about Adobe products and adopted some new creative techniques.
I set a questionnaire on Google Forms and asked my friends and peers for feedback. The overall response was positive but it was suggested that I should add more frames to make the animation smoother.
Animation compared to professional-standard work
I think my animation is quite good compared to current 2d-style animations. however, there are a few things that could be improved upon – such as adding more frames to make the motion smoother and working on more realistic walk cycles as the current ones are very basic/non-existent.
Stop Motion Animation
As a part of this project, I have been asked to produce short stop-motion animation to promote the letter ‘G’. I did my research on the stop motion animation and its history, which has helped me to form my concept. I have decided to use Studio Ghibli film cases and I spread them in a form of the letter ‘G’. The camera and lighting were already set up for me so I found it quite easy to do on my own without assistance. I also filmed it back-to-front and later reversed the footage to make it easier to align the cases to form the letter. I stacked the cases in a domino-like effect on top of each other so that they appeared to move as if they were joined together. I added a movie shutter sound to my stop motion to make it seem like it was being played on a film-reel.