I created this creepy bald zombie in Adobe Fuse. Since I wanted to let this character be as absurd as possible, I used regular arms and legs, but I put a muscular and robust body to make sense of conflict. On Mixamo, I played with different built-in animation and saw which is the most ridiculous and funniest one. Eventually, I chose Samba Dancing.
Scene and camera route
In the scene set in the Unreal Engine, I made 7 zombies with different sizes, from 1.0X to 2.2X, align them in the same X coordinate, and let them do the same movement – Samba Dancing. Regarding the camera, I started from a bird’s eye view and gradually move toward the zombie parade. Meanwhile, I pan the camera to the direction which can shoot the zombies’ faces. I found 3D modeling and animation is a fascinating topic after I’ve gotten used to manipulating the parameters of actors in the 3D environment. I look forward to diving more deeply into this field to make legit animations and games.
To maintain the visual consistency, we decided to assign one person to design the visual assets first and then let everyone to animate it. I was in charge of creating the visual assets. Regarding the visual style, I use strokes with crayon texture to create a childlike drawing. However, we remain the fill of the main character – Angeldevil because we want it to stand out of the scene. Since we decided to use a simple and childlike visual style, the assets look somewhat same as our storyboard. I used Adobe Illustrator to make it. All the assets are shown as follows:
When I was designing the assets, I had to consider all the details after we import it to After Effect. Hence, I’ve already started to animate it and project it in my mind when I drew these. I had to pay attention to which parts are going to animate, which parts should be static, and which elements should parent together. I organized them in Illustrator layers. Besides, naming all these layers is another challenge because I have to call them understandably and intuitively, which could allow my teammates quickly catch up and manipulate.
To make sure our style is consistent, we met on the weekend during the Thanksgiving break and do it together until we finished it. In the beginning, it took us hours to animate just one thing. But after we’ve gotten familiar with all the tricks, it was getting faster and faster. All in all, apart from learning the software skills of After Effect, I learned a lot about project and time management since I was in charge of design the visual assets. Even though our animation is straightforward and understandable, it still has tons of details to consider.
This week, Sandy, Michael, and I sat down to storyboard our animation idea. Our concept is inspired by shoulder angels/demons and the dynamics of good and evil. We sketched a playful character last week and then I rendered it in Adobe Illustrator.
Our story takes place on a playground. A boy and girl are playing on a seesaw when our shoulder angel/demon character glides in. The demon attempts to wreak mischief while the angel is asleep by suggesting evil thoughts to the boy. He plops down hard on his seat and sends the girl flying. She falls to the ground, visibly upset. The shoulder demon glides in again, suggesting she plot revenge. Meanwhile, the angel awakes. When the girl thinks about pulling a knife on the boy, the angel advises her to reconsider and be good. It takes a bit of convincing, but the last scene is the boy and girl playing harmoniously on the seesaw again. We intentionally chose children as our subject matter for their transparency. The seesaw is symbolic of balancing good and evil.
In this assignment, we started to shoot the photos without having a solid storyline. We only had two things we want to create in mind before we started.
We want to create an illusion which blurs the line between physical and digital world
We want to sow seeds but the seeds eventually transform to a dinosaur egg because we have this, a dinosaur hatching toy.
We improvised most of the parts in the animation. Luckily, we had a lot of amazing impromptu and serendipity when we were shooting.
Section 1: Grabbing seed pack from the screen
We photoshopped two images and made a real seed pack to create this illusion. One image has seed pack photo on it. The other image was blank on the seed pack photo’s position. When the hand grabs the real seed pack, the image switches to the blank one.
Section 2: Sowing
At this part, we used high angle shot to create a close-up view of seeds.
Section 3: Watering
This is the most challenging part we met because we can’t use real water since water has fluidity. It’s extremely hard to capture the real water movement. As a result, we used a piece of light blue textile to symbolize water. This foldable, flexible and smooth material could create the fluidity effect in stop motion.
Section 4: Fertilizing
We use heart shapes as a metaphor to symbolize it takes efforts to cultivate something
Section 5: Germinating and hatched
The seeds germinated to an egg and baby dinosaur hatched from the egg. We used a marker to create the cracking effect and literally cracked the egg and pulled the dinosaur out of the egg.