Tales of, voice recording, Harry Potter and Rainbows

In contrast to last week there’s quite a bit I want to show in this update, so I’ll start with what’s happening with the Pokémon tournament report animations. One of them, about my team building process, is completely recorded (I made both a full 11 minute version and an edited 5 minute abridged version) and I’m in the process of recording the second, longer one about the actual tournament. I’m almost done with it, but the main problem is it’s still too long; I estimate it’ll be about 15 minutes in total, better than the 22 the original script suggested but still far too extensive. I think part of the problem is that there were 8 matches that I’m going through and I want to give each of them decent coverage, yet even if I give each one just 2 minutes with a minute either end that’s 18 minutes of content. Which would be fine if it were video but I’m constantly concerned that I’ll have to animate all of that; I’m not intending to do anything hugely complicated (the worst is having some birds flapping) but it’ll still take time.

This is proving quite a learning experience in terms of just planning large scale pieces of content, so I wouldn’t say any of this is completely wasted, but it does mean I’ve missed the ideal window for creating and releasing the reports; this weekend is the Pokémon VGC World Championships. There’ll still be an audience for this kind of content up until the 2015 rules are announced (probably October/November, by which time I’ll have to have moved onto other things) but it won’t be as large as before the world championships. Lots of lessons there.

When I’m not recording I’ve been working on the drawing assets for the first one, a process that I’ve got to say I enjoy far more than voice recording. Some things have required much more reference than others though; deciding where to do new frames for animating some birds flapping/flying was really tricky. I think that’s the only part I’m slightly worried about animating, it looks like it’s going to take some time to do.

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When you look at what you’re creating and just think “This is going to be so much fun to animate(!)”

 

My parents are on holiday next week and have asked me to look after the house, the Chickens and the Cat whilst they’re away. The Chickens necessitate that I’m up by 7am, which means I’ll have a week where I have to be up early and will have the house to myself, ideal conditions to just get on and sort this animation. I doubt I’ll complete the whole thing in a week, but things look good.

 

A little while ago I entered a competition on the Tales of Facebook page. Tales, for those unaware, is a Japanese videogame Fantasy series, one known for it’s real-time battle system and Anime style visuals; It’s also one of my favourite game series. I entirely forgot about this competition until I received an email saying I’d won tickets to Japan Expo in Paris -which at the time I received the email was next week[!]. I wasn’t able to make it at such short notice, but this past week I did receive a package as part of the prize. I was expecting to be sent something but assumed it’d just be a T-shirt or small item like that, so this was a nice surprise.

Art Card signed by Hideo Baba

Art Card signed by Hideo Baba

 

Included was a bag featuring many of the sidekick characters from the series along with a Japanese receipt which I found kind of cool in an odd way, an anniversary soundtrack (which I’ve included a scan of in the hopes it assists anyone else who owns it and is annoyed by the lack of iTunes artwork), a signed art card from the games producer Hideo Baba and a promotional copy of Tales of Xillia. That last item confused me slightly at first; it looks just like one of the old PlayStation demos you used to get free in magazines, and due to it having the word promo all over it in red, combined with the lack of artwork on the disc, it all looked as if this were just a demo for the game. I tried it on the PS3 however and it loaded my save file from where I was with no problem, and after a few minutes I had to conclude it was a full version of game. Not quite sure what to do with it now, I already have a shop-bought copy, but it’s still cool all the same.

 

My sister bought herself a book recently called Harry Potter: Film Wizardry. It’s essentially a behind the scenes look at the art and design that went into the series, and is consequently something I found really interesting. On it’s own that sounds interesting, and indeed it is (for instance, I never realised they have several sizes of every prop in every scene Hagrid was in so that Coltrane and his size double appeared larger than the other characters) but they also include fold-out or pull-out examples and reproductions.

 

One of the things that struck me over and over again when browsing through and looking at this book was how much content had been designed that the audience would likely never see in the films themselves. I don’t ever recall seeing the Yule Ball invites or the Weasley’s brochure in the films, and in the case of the latter even if I had a single page flyer would have likely sufficed as a prop, yet all the same they produced a several page publication for it. I’m definitely impressed with that.

 

Other small things:

– I bought myself a PlayStation Vita recently. The plan was just to get one to take advantage of the huge library of games I’m building up thanks to PS+ that I’d otherwise never play, but since getting it I’ve mostly just been playing Finalfantasy 9. This in turn has gotten me thinking about Finalfantasy in general, and gave me an idea for a potential animation for one of the audio tracks. Take something fairly non-descriptive but atmospheric from the soundtrack, like this, then create a slow moving visual piece to go along with it but with a distinctive visual texture. Something charcoal-like, or dark pencil colours with oranges and reds concentrated in areas illuminating that dark, the whole image flickering between frames with the light of a flame. The texture would be really important here I think, it’d have to be hand-rendered and imperfect as that’s where a lot of the audience interest would be, almost meditating whilst watching this slow progression. Can you tell I’m excited about the idea of this? XD
– I went on a walk a few days ago. The weather was bright sunshine when I left but became quite heavy rain whilst I was out. This led to some fairly strong rainbows, which in turn led to a few photos that I quite like.

 

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This one I like because it sort of looks like the path of the rainbow is continuing through the cloud – look at the gap in the cloud. It interests me how the shapes connect; I think there might be a concept for something in that.

 

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