Sunday, 24 June 2007

Hungry for Love

Final film 2.58mins.

Untitled from kimunkey on Vimeo

Link to relevant National Gallery podcast
Link to National Gallery hosting of animation

Screened at:

Muuvi Film Festival, Romania 2007
Box [ur] shorts online film festival, 2007
Slamdance Anarchy, November 2007
The Bigger Picture, Manchester, 2007
Propellor TV, 2007
Undergrouond Shorts DVD, 2007
Rotoreliefs, London, 2007

Compilation of years animation

compilation of years work from kimunkey on Vimeo


Upcoming - slideshow of lifedrawing. For now you can see the stills further back in my blog

Friday, 8 June 2007

Testing composited advert scene

In the the one thing that is not clear is the writing in the advert, and the whole animation would make no sense without being able to read "Pancake bride" on the ad. In the linetests this is ok because it is a focusing problem of the camera, but to check if it will work have coloured and composited this scene animo.

ad test scene from kimunkey on Vimeo

Min Sun suggested that I still need longer after the zoom for the audience to absorb whats on the screen, so I may have to repeat parts of the advert loop.

Testing backgrounds fading through time

At the beginning of my animation I need to give the idea that the man and dog are being shown at different times and this relies a lot on my backgrounds - the clock hands change, the rubbish accumulates and the shadows from the window change as the sky darkens and lightens. To test if this works I've made a short movie clip of the backgrounds cross-dissolving into each other using Premier Pro. I was pretty satisfied with result.

Testing backgrounds fading through time from kimunkey on Vimeo

Processing - animo and photoshop

After completeing the linetests reached the stage of colouring in. Have scanned all the drawings into animo and now need to colour the levels. Have scanned the backgrounds and foregrounds into photoshop and am colouring these using the techniques and texture Pete Hillier showed me. The aim is to have the end film looking roughly like the promotional stills below.

Below the greyer image is after colouring and shadowing in Photoshop. The top image is after applying a grain texture adjusting the colour levels to more red and yellow. Hopefully I can acheive a similar thing through animo director when the levels are coloured in.

After the line tests had to consider how to process the images. At the beginning of the project I had the idea to trace each still onto tracing paper and photograph these ontop of a background built from parchment paper. By trying it realised that this would probably take years as it took a few hours for just this one still, and it didn't look as good as I had hoped.

Processing - line tests

I decided early on in the project that for it to have the style that I want I would need to handdraw the animation. So after making the animatic, and the acting and research I keyed out the whole project in as much detail as possible. I tried to include overshoot ands anticipation as well as all the main poses.

The overall length of the film grew from roughly 1 minute two just over two at this stage.

See the final linetest sequence below.

Final linetests from kimunkey on Vimeo

There were sections of this that proved difficult, such as conveying the idea that the man wants to cut the dogs heart out to give to the pancake woman to bring her to life. The man dancing with the pancake bride, and the dog jumping off the bed and walking backwards then turning and jumping back on were all technically challenging.

Atmosphere and style research

My story is quite surreal and a bit twisted, I hope!, and I want this to be reflected in the look of the piece.

I got in touch with a sound engineer called Anthony Leung to help me from the audio side, and he showed me a clip from the Simpsons (Season 18, episode 14) to lister to the music, apparently similar to Astor Piazollas' music. Visually it was a really interesting piece of animation because it was all cross hatched and very dark and sinister. It was apparently a reference to artist Edward Gorey, so found an image (see below).
Like the textures in this image - it was on a card but I can't remember the artist's name. Background artist Pete Hillier at CSM gave a few of us a Photoshop tutorial and after that I experimented with some textures in my backgrounds.

Old Lady and the Pigeojns, directed by Sylvain Chomet is dark and twisted in the way that I want my film to be and I really liked the French style and colour schemes. See

Did an image search on Google of messy room pics to help with designing the backgrounds and this was one of the best I found!

Giving Jerome a character history

We've been taught this year that when you create a character, in film or animation or writing ,that there are seven key questions that you need to be able to answer to contrsct and idea of who they are, because this will influence their actions, behaviour, posture and movement.

In the dvd extras to Belleview Rendevous director Sylvain Chomet also talks about the importance of his characters having a history. One of the first verisions of my animatic had an ex girlfriend tear up a photo and throw i ton Jerome, who then opens a drawer in his chair and drops it in. The camera follows the scraps drift onto a pile of photos and documents that refered to Jerome's history - see animatic still below.

1) WHO AM I? Mr Jerome Saint, 26 years old. Used to be a postie, popular with the locals, would take his dog Leo with him on his rounds. Spent most nights down the pub and always had a girlfriend, although most were short term because he was to carefree to commit and there was always another round the corner. When his mother passed away when he was 22 he began drinking more and more, turning up late for work and becoming moody. Eventually fired, couldn't afford the pub anymore, started drinking at home. Both Jerome and Leo started putting on weight because of not walking the postie round anymore. All he'd do is watch tv so his final girlfriend leaves him.

2) WHERE AM I? A local burrough in a big annonymous, grimy city. See sketck below. In a two room rented council flat - kitchen, with bathroom attached (never see this in animation), and living room / bedroom.

3) WHEN AM I? 21st century ie present day. When people believe anything can be bought.

4) WHAT DO I WANT? Jerome: Companionship and love without any effort. Beer, food,
pancake bride!
Leo: Simple life with master and no outside interference / competition. Food and love.

5) WHY DO I WANT IT? Jerome: Because he is lonely without a girlfriend, but doesn' t realise
that he has the kind of efforless companionship he wants with his dog.
Leo: Because he is a loyal dog whose instinct is to live in peace with his master.

6) HOW AM I GOING TO GET WHAT I WANT? Jerome: 1st by buying a mail order pancake
bride, then by realising that he had his dog all along.
Leo: By destroying the obstruction to the relationship - eating the pancake bride.

7) WHAT GETS IN THE WAY OF WHAT I WANT? Jerome: Leo eating the pancake bride.
(although this is really a blessing in disguise otherwise he would have killed his dog - the only
creature who still really loves him).
Leo: The pancake bride and Jerome wanting to kill him for his heart.

Jerome's cahacter design

In my sketchbook I took photos of the plasticine models of my Jerome and sketched from these to get a stronger hold on the character and to get consistency in his design from different angles.

To help me to design the character and so that I have something in perspective to work from I made these two plasticine models of Jerome.

Wanted a guy who was more slobbish, with a beer belly an TV eyes.

Back in December this was a rough idea of my character.

TV Presenter

When the man sees the advert for the pancake bride wanted it to feel like one of these really long American stlye adverts on the shopping channel for something that will unbelievably change your life. They are usualluy presented by a cheesily happy character, so I wanted the presenter to be slimy and untrustworthy ,which is why he's got wonky eyes.
Also wanted him to seem a bit like a puppet so he's got pegs at all his joints, to make him seem more false.

Pancake bride

Why pancakes? When I was thinking of the original idea I had to think of something inanimate that the man could make a girlfriend from.
Pancakes are sweet and easy to make and I originally thought that it would need to be something someone skint could make at home. As the idea for the story developed it became more logical to have a mail order pancake bride, like people buy mail order wives over the internet, as this cut out a lot of animation.

She also had to be made out of something edible so that the dog can eat her at the end and re-establish the balance in his relationship with Jerome, because really the story is about the relationship between man and dog.

Dog Character Sketches

Some sketches of dog getting fatter - from 4 legged run excercise, but very helpful for Leo the dog.
One of the first drawings of Jerome and Leo the dog together. Dog has to be aclled Leo because in the painting Saint Jerome has a lion in the corner! Tried to design the man and dog so that they look similar as people always say pets look like their owners.

Some sketches of dogs to work out the different body shapes.

Dog research

Some sketches done while researching the 4 legged animal walk and run cycles in term 2. Were helpful for researching Leo's movement.

One of my biggest inspirations in animation in general is the work of Sylvain Chomet, and his dog in Belleview Rendez-vous is really fantastic - hugely fat with wee skinny legs that tremble under his weight!

For the scene with the man imagining cutting out the dog's heart I had a love heart pumping in the animatic. This confused a lot of people into thinking the dog was in love with the pancake woman. When I did the animation I found this diagram of a dog's heart and used this instead, which people seemed to find a lot clearer.

Muybridge's image sequences were really useful for scenes where the dog walks to and back from the kitchen, and the jumps off of and onto the bed.

The following is Plate 121 from Animals in Motion.

Researched dogs through videos on you tube ,but actually found photos more useful - the following were the most helpful that I found through a Google search.

Original sketches back in December.

Acting out the animatic

After acting this out in the privacy of my room it seems a bit odd to be putting it on the web, but there you go...! Most helpful bits of this acting were the double takes, the curves in the body as you turn and stand up and the (very bad!) attempt at dancing with an invisible pancake person!!

Acting out the animatic from kimunkey on Vimeo

Another tangent...

A Satyr Mourning over the loss of a Nymph, Piero de Cassino.

After making the animatic I was looking through the National Gallery website again and saw this image, which I remember looking at in the gallery- it struck me as being quite relevant for the end of my animatic: man mourns over loss of female while dog looks on!


Animatic from kimunkey on Vimeo

Editing down initial story

In the first animatic I did for the jerome story i kept the argument with the girlfriend at the beginning, seen through net curtains as you zoom into a building, before cutting to the a shot of jerome in front of the tv. Due to time restrictions had to edit this out. (See clip below)

Intro edited out from kimunkey on Vimeo
Below is the character design for the girlfriend done in Flash, from when I began thinking of this story in Dec.

Thinking of a setting and a story

This sketch was done whilst I was thinking of Jerome the sad lonely saint in a modern day setting, as a lonely ,outcast, a bit of a slob ,with just his friend for company, relying on the TV for inspiration.

Back in December

Thinking along the lines of a lonely character who has a vision I thought back to an idea I had come up with in December. A guy has an argument with his girlfriend, who breaks up with him and storms out. Days later he is feeling lonely and thinks of buying a sex doll but realises he has no money. Later he is eating gingerbread people and is inspired to bake himself a pancake girlfriend.

He bakes a huge pancake, cuts her out, then goes through what is missing and improvises with objects in his kitchen to make her more girl-like.

original idea in dec post it note animatic from kimunkey on Vimeo
With this original idea I got as far as character designs and a very rough storyboard and animatic part done on post-its. See the video clip below.
Was partly inspired by a story by Will Self that I can remember really clearly but can't remember the title of or where i read it - a guy in a coastal town makes himself a girlfriend out of foam but ends up dropping a cigarette on her and burning his flat and himself down.

On a tangent - thinking of a love story

Combing the Hair, Edgar Degas. Another painting in the National Gallery that I thought was beautiful and showed a really interesting relationship between two characters which had a lot of potential for development.

Did some rough thumbnails for a story about a barber and his customer. The customer is a shy, generally antisocial character who falls in love with his barber because he is the only person he sees on a regular basis and therefore has some kind of relationship with. He starts bringing the barber gifts like chocolates, flowers, theatre tickets. The barber, who is an arrogant and vain person refuses and makes the man feel stupid, until one day the customer brings him a gilt mirror. He loves the mirror and starts admiring himself in it, but forgets to say thank you. The disillusioned customer walks out of the salon, never to return. Eventually the barber realises he has gone, and waits for him, gradually getting more and more deflated and depressed as he realises he misses the customer.

The following are a few examples of sketches done whilst thinking of this idea - processed hand drawings in flash.

Abandonned this idea when I realised that the setting and storyline meant there would be a lot of repetitive animation, of the smae scene with small variations.

First ideas

In the painting (see below) there is a cross that looks like it might be floating so could be interpreted as Jerome's vision. Thinking along these lines briefly considered having a saint-like Buddah character at a table in front of a bible, who experiences a vision. In the sketch below he sneezes out an object that grows into a creature. That was as far as this idea got.

St Jerome in his Study National Gallery brief

St Jerome in his Study, by Vincenzo Catena, from the National Gallery permanent collection.

The brief for this project was set by the National Gallery - to take inspiration from one of the paintings in their permanent collection and produce a 1 minute animation related to it.

This painting was the one I chose - the thing that struck me about it was Jerome's pose. Saint Jerome was a scholar and patron saint of librarians, encyclopaedists and translators so this pose is probably supposed to make him appear hard at work reading, but to me I thought he looked lonely and a little sad. And although Saints are icons and admired and worshipped in the Catholic church, which I was brought up in, I have always felt a bit sorry for them. Often they were outcasts from society and suffered a lot of hardship.


In our second term we were set a task project where a character aims to acheive something, thinks they have succeeded and then realises they have failed. I decided to animate a guy playing pool, potting the black and celebrating, then the white pots and he is nangry then upset. Created this animation by drawing the keys by hand and scanning them into Adobe Flash to inbetween.

Pool Bet from kimunkey on Vimeo
Hand drawn images I then scanned into Flash and traced with a wacom.

Below are a couple of colour images created in Flash at the stage of planning the anmimation.