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Layout gets crazed, Pointy gets chased, deadline gets erased

It’s been 15 to 21 January 2017. This week I started and finished layout work on the chase sequence where Pointy gets chased away by the helper robot. AMITS has never had an action sequence before and it was really good fun to draw.

Quollity practices for quicker layout

I’m working much smarter with layout this time. Here’s some workflow changes I’ve made to get through more work quicker:

  • Instead of leaping straight into drawing the AMITS cast, I’m settling in first with a throw-away piece of unrelated warm-up art. It gets me thinking about perspective, construction, staging and generally gets me in a better mood to draw than starting cold.
  • I’m reusing existing assets whenever I can.
    • I draw my layout images on layers so if a background or specific character doesn’t have to change from image to image, I don’t have multiple copies of it to deal with in case of corrections.
    • If one shot has the same element as another shot except at a different zoom level (e.g. cutting wide on action), I scale and reposition elements appropriately.
    • If there’s a shot setup which is identical to something in one of the older movies, I’ll reuse it out of the old source files.
  • I’m rendering out quick scale references in Blender so that the framing and staging can be more consistent between hand-drawn layout and rough 3D. It’s super useful when I’m struggling with proportioning the characters correctly. I can also trace and tweak the 3D versions more exactly if I’m feeling particularly dumb or tired that day (most days).
Robot, Gronky and Pointy models posed roughly in Blender.
Robot, Gronky and Pointy in hand-drawn layout. Notice how Pointy’s much more panicked, Gronky’s much more tense and the speed trails indicate movement.
  • Finally, I’m heavily using Krita’s G’MIC Colorize tool in interactive mode for making mattes where characters on different layers pass in front of one another. It is a godsend to be able to draw loose and still get fills. Krita demigod David Revoy made a video which explains how to use it.

Like I said a few weeks ago, I push the ideas and expressions in layout hard, sometimes harder than the 3D can cope with. I don’t have a rig yet to capture the utter anarchy of Pointy’s “pose” in this layout drawing, but I have a few ideas. 🙂

A confused ball of Pointy rolling at high speed.

I also started sketching out an introductory scene where we see what Pointy and Gronky are doing before they meet up. I don’t know if I’ll actually use it in the finished film, but it’s a fun little bit and worth recording in some form before I forget I even dreamt it up.

The deadline goes ker-POOF!

I mentioned a couple of blogs ago that the day job was promising to be much more intense this year. It’s turned out worse than I anticipated at least in the short term.

For the sake of controlling my own stress levels, I’m not going to hold myself to the October 2017 target date I mentioned at Blender Conference 2016. The scope and difficulty of “Robot” should mean it’s ready late this year, but if I badly need downtime, the movie will just have to wait for me to collect my wits again and get back to work.

The severity of the situation is a little new so I don’t have any further insights as to how it’ll play out. I’ll keep you posted on how I’m doing, and I’ll keep beavering away on my little cartoon whenever I can.

Thanks for reading!

By quollism

A creator of quollity stuff.