Colour me Happy

Sketches are nice enough, but add a dash of colour and, boom! They come to life.

A Different Approach

In the Bullet Animation, I rendered all of my sketches in Inkscape to vectors. This made them look flat, however I noticed that when I added the colour regions and overlaid that on the original sketch, it looked kind of like a watercolour.

I responded to that.

So this time I thought about doing things a wee bit differently. Getting into Gimp, I added the photographs of my sketches and cleaned the up the best I could, desaturating them, upping the contrast, adjusting the levels.

Then, adding a Layer (Layers are super) I created and coloured in my regions. I ended up with flat colours. OK, OK, nothing too different yet, may as well have done them in Inkscape, but, whatever, bear with.

Adding Layers makes the process a lot safer and easier
Adding Layers makes the process a lot safer and easier

I then added another layer, and another. One for shadows, one for shines. I bundled these into a Layer Group (Only learnt about these recently. They help a LOT). Now, with the aid of Gimp’s tools, I could shade in the various regions, quickly adding some dimension to the colour which, in turn, added life to the sketches!

The Results

And they’ve come up nice. Of course, they aren’t vectors, so that means I can’t animate them as I’d like. I guess I could pass them through Inkscape if I wanted to but I don’t think I want to. I’m still deciding whether I want to go down the sprites path, or down the stills path.

Transition for Master Pietro - Colour, Shading, Blend
Transition for Master Pietro – Colour, Shading, Blend

That’s Master Pietro. Here’s Brother Holland:

Brother Holland, drained of blood, eyes staring at the roof.
Brother Holland, drained of blood, eyes staring at the roof.

And Master Penelope. I toyed with a mustard suit, but purple seems to suit.:

Transition from sketch, colour, shade and shine, and blend
Transition from sketch, colour, shade and shine, and blend

Darn it, the print is showing through. I’m going to have to filter it out somehow… *sigh*.

Anyway, as I sketch and colour in more, I’ll post them for y’all.Mini Jeztyr Logo

Animation for Adaptation

November? Is it really November? Yes, it is. That means it’s almost Christmas, and that means that the Software Development Cycle is preparing for end of year, and THAT means a bit of a scramble to get the bleeders tied off before we hibernate for the New Year’s break.

So… what does that all mean?

What it all means

Like exercise, if you only ever train your biceps, you’ll wind up with sore biceps and flabby everything else. A change of pace is a prime opportunity to have a change of creative outlet, so I am, once again, putting the writing on hold (well, a slow down. A couple of a pages a day, max) to work on some other pursuits.

Since The Bullet got some love with its own animation, I’ve been meaning to take the lessons learnt and apply to them to another animation. Atlas, Broken would be too hard, and while Grosvenor Lane would do well with dark silhouettes and spooky music (I’m counter-convincing myself now… damn), Adaptation needs to get some attention.

Why an animation? Books don’t get read unless you can attract a pair of eyes to look at them. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, as an indie author, you are responsible for getting your book seen. How you do that is up to you (just maintain your integrity. And your dignity while you’re at it.), and an online animation is just one way.

The Kit

So I’ve gotten myself kitted out with my tools once more:

  1. A pencil and paper for sketches and planning
  2. Gimp to handle importing and cleaning my sketches up
  3. Inkscape for converting things to Vector graphics
  4. Synfig to animate the whole show
  5. Anvil Studio to create a Midi Track
  6. Virtual MidiSynth and Soundfonts to give richer sound
  7. Audacity for any vocals, sound effects, etc.
  8. Window Movie Maker to plop the bits together and convert the final product to be presented on YouTube

With more of a physical, as opposed to a metaphysical story, to work with, the animation called for more ‘scenes’. My first thought was to make everything from the point of view of Ottavio or Ryan, but then I thought, no, the book isn’t about them, it’s about the world that they are in.

So I scrapped that idea and took a different approach: The promotional video is there not to tell the story, rather it tells the viewer about the story. It’s a front cover on steroids. Its a blurb that gets shown. It’s a chance to see the bits of the book that lets the reader know that the book is right for them.

The Plan

And so I looked at my options: I could play out a pivotal scene from the book. That sounded good, until I realised that no particular scene defines the intention of the book. Sure, it’d be easier given that I’d only have to make one set of drawings or scenes, but I’m not after easy, here, I’m after something I can look at and think, “Yeah. Happy with that.”

I then thought, “Why not a voice-over reading out the blurb”. No. No. No. I mean, that’s fine, soundwise, but a video wants some video. And it would be akin to a powerpoint presentation where the presenter reads out the dot points that the viewer can read for themselves. No.

So then I thought about movies, video games and television shows, and how they tended to present their entertainment: Snippets. Stills. Short clips of stuff. It gives a general feel of what it’s about, a couple of poignant comments or quotes, but it doesn’t hit the user over the head with information.

And that’s where I’m headed. Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting about the creative process, and I’ll share some of the drawings and music as I’m going along. The last post on animation was done retrospectively, whereas this will be a ‘work in progress’ one.Mini Jeztyr Logo