Next, with my film, I wanted to have a look over the story since I hadn’t done so since my APME unit. I started this by rewatching the animatic that I produced for that unit. I decided I wanted to change the way the chick was introduced as it left too many questions having it hatch on the windowsill, especially as the chick is meant to be a poultry chick rather than a type of bird that can fly. I find storyboarding easiest when I do it really roughly as the ideas flow better when I’m not worrying about how they’ll look therefore I scribbled out some ideas onto sticky notes:
Then once I’d figured out my new beginning I simplified the story because all of the animation is being done by me and I knew that in the time I had left, it wasn’t possible to have a lot of technical shots. The animation isn’t what I wanted the focus of my film to be, I wanted to use it more to combine my 3D characters into a handmade world as seamlessly as I could, therefore, I was happy to simplify it.
Again, I worked roughly as the purpose of these storyboards was to think about the shot angle and what was happening in the shot, the art wasn’t important here.
The shots ended up changing slightly as I made my Previs, but not by much, I found going over the story in this way and laying it out simply really helped me as I animated the shots initially.
The next thing I worked on was texturing my characters and something I wanted to play about with was using traditional mediums within this process. Once I had UV unwrapped the characters in Maya, I exported the UV maps and printed them off, I then used these to trace the outline onto good quality paper and painted over this using acrylic paints.
Once I scanned these in and reapplied them I found that they worked in some ways but not in others. Therefore, I decided to use parts of these and also paint parts digitally. For the chick, I decided to paint him completely digitally as it worked best with his sculptural detail.
When it came to texturing the chick, I also needed to export his sculptural details so they could be projected on his lower mesh. I used Polypaint to texture my chick and then exported his normals and textures to be used in Maya.
My Rigger, George Smith, ended up only having enough time to rig Polly, therefore I ended up doing the rig for the chick, He doesn’t have any complex animation so it was just a matter of making his wings flap, his feet and toes more and his eyes open and close. Doing his rig did also mean doing his paint weights which is one of the more simple but tedious jobs, I managed to get this done to a working degree.
Now that my backgrounds and characters were all ready I could start on animating, I wanted to get everything blocked out into a previs as a first pass so I could give this to my composer, Jon Sims, who would then use that as solid timing for the music.
I also enlisted the help of first year, Ben Freir, for some of the shots, and to keep things organised I put together a shots list.
Due to time constraints and doing the majority of the project by myself, I’m not sure if I’ll manage to pull off all of the animation and rendering in time for the submission, but if I don’t, I plan to improve on it and finish it for the London Show.
Because of the changes to the narrative of my film, I didn’t feel I could call it The Hatch anymore since there is no form of hatching happening at all in it.
So from now on the film will be called Polly & Pip. (Pip being short for Pippin, the name of the chicken this film was originally inspired by).