Thursday, 21 January 2010

Evaluation

While this project is not the first time I have had to work in a group to complete a task, it is the first time I have been paired with an advertiser, or a student from any other art form for that matter, so I have to admit I found this new experience rather challenging. Perhaps the most daunting aspect was being flung into a group consisting of people I’m not used to being with. Unfortunately my natural reaction in such cases is to let my shyness take over and barely speak, so I initially found it difficult to talk to my advertising partner about ideas. However I soon got on the same wavelength as Smiley, and I feel we co-operated well throughout the project. The trickiest part was trying to split the tasks between us so that we could each do our own work without getting in the other’s way. Since we both have very different styles of drawing and animating, I feared our work would clash and make the advert look inconsistent if we both worked on the same character. We overcame this discussing our strengths beforehand and playing to them. Having used Flash longer, Smiley knows the program far better than I do and had a much better idea of how to go about tweening objects and motion paths etc, whereas I’m more comfortable animating frame by frame and focusing on expressions and character animation. So we decided I would create and animate the two main characters and the background for the advert while she worked on the pupils changing to fruits in the eyes, the fruit pastilles falling from the box, and any other technical aspects. Overall I think this method worked well; we were able to combine our work without any trouble and helped each other along the way by keeping in contact while working on the files. The final result looks consistent, and I’m pleased with how it’s turned out.

Final Animation

video

Here is the final animation. Unfortunately we were unable to find enough suitable sound effects in time, and I thought it should really be all or nothing with sound since having a random sound half way through and the rest silent might seem odd. But despite the sound issues, I'm fairly pleased with how its turned out and I'm glad we got the animation finished.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Pack Shot


For the pack shot I chose green and yellow for the font colours, again to mimic the colours of the pastilles packaging. I highlighted the word 'you' in yellow to make it sound like the advert is talking directly to whoever is watching, and also to look like a bit of a challenge. Children tend to rise to challenges easily because they like to prove themselves, so I thought it could act as an incentive to get them to join in the chewing frenzy.


video

Cheer

video

For the cheer I asked a friend to record and take photos of me acting out the little jump so I could get a feel for the movement. Through doing this I realised I needed to make the boy's head come down quite far in anticipation for the cheer in order to make it look energetic. If I'd had more time I would have liked to have made him jump properly, but for now I'm quite pleased with how its turned out. This will go behind the pastilles falling once I get the file from Smiley.

video

Ready Set Chew!


The fonts for these scenes (and all the others) where chosen by our advertising partner, who was going for a comic book style font to appeal to children. We coloured the words 'Ready Steady Chew' red, yellow, and green to represent traffic lights or the starting lights of a race. Initially I tried having the words horizontal as normal, but there wasn't a lot of room next to the boys and I didn't want the text to overlap the image... In order to fit the words in they had to be kept quite small, which I felt lessened the impact of the commands, so next I tried having the words vertical, reading downwards. This allowed me to make them a lot bigger and they didn't look so cramped, so I decided to keep them that way. I also tried using a bevel on the words to see if they'd look good standing out more, but I thought they stood out in the wrong way... Since all the colours of the advert are flat, it seems strange to have the words with light and shadow, so I decided against it in the end. The words are shape tweened to make them fly into the screen, again to make the commands seem more sudden.



video

Horizontal tests.

video

Vertical tests.

video



video

video

Chew-o-meter

For the chew-0-meter I decided to put the pastille colours in the same order as the Fruit Pastille ice lolly. I added stars flying off it once it filled to the top to make it obvious the green boy had won even without sound. I made the stars fly using simple shape tweens, then made the colours flash as well like how some game show lights flash when someone wins. I think its a nice effect that gets the point across even without the 'ding-ding-ding!' noise that you know should accompany it.



video

video

Trap Door

video

Close up shot of the trap door opening. The pastilles falling out will be added later once Smiley sends me the file she's working on.

Slow Chew Tests

video

My first slow chew test for the blue boy. To start with I just wanted to concentrate on the jaw and cheek movement since I found it difficult to make it slow enough so he looks like he's really struggling... I think once I have the mouth movements in it will look better.

video

My second test, this time with full mouth movements and eyes. It took a long time to get the mouth right since I wanted it to appear squished and forced as though the sweet is really giving him a hard time. I like how its turned out, but I think I need to change the eyes... They move too slowly and seem to go up and across rather than straight diagonal.

video

The final test with colour, detail, and a sweat drop for good measure. I made the eyes flick down to his sweet packet (even though we can't see it) as though he's wishing he didn't have such bad sweets, and then back again to show he's struggling mentally as well as physically. I'm happy with this now.

Fruit Eyes Added

video

Here's the fast chew sequence with the fruit eyes added in. We're not doing the slot machine eyes anymore since Smiley prefers the eyes this way. I have to admit, even though they're not what I expected, they still look good. I like the way the fruits fade in and out as though he's seeing visions of fruits before his eyes.

Stage

The basic stage background. Originally I had both chew-o-meters with the pastille colours, but then I realised the second boy's chew-o-meter should have blue lights to match his clothes and sweets.

Here's the final version. I added closed doors above each of them and put the 'Chew-o-meter' font in yellow to match the Fruit Pastilles logo. Plus yellow looks good on green and stands out. Rather than having the boys just stand there ridged and silent, I decided to make them swing their arms a bit as though they're warming up for the contest. Or at least that's what the blue boy's doing... being the smug, cocky one, he clearly thinks he's going to win. The Fruit Pastilles boy come across as much quieter, so he could just be moving his arms because he's nervous. I purposefully made the blue boy's arm swings bigger to show his confidence.

video

Two Boys And Their Sweets

For the boys I decided to make each of them as a separate symbol so I could reuse them in any scene without inconsistencies. It also helps keep all the frames for each of their body parts separate from the frames for the background and other things going on in the scene, which is much less confusing and ensures I don't accidentally delete something I shouldn't. I decided to make the Fruit Pastilles boy blonde with fair skin, green eyes, and green clothes to match the main colour scheme of the Fruit Pastilles packaging. It also means his colours are all completely natural, which links to Fruit Pastilles being made from all natural fruits and flavours. In contrast, the second boy has brown hair, slightly tanned skin, and blue eyes and clothes. Blue isn't a colour present in either the Fruit Pastilles themselves or their packaging since blue isn't a natural colour, so I'm hoping the 'competition' looks more artificial in comparison. Other than the colours and hair styles (natural hair compared to gelled spikes), I've intentionally made the boys identical in shape and size to show that even if other sweets are the same shape and size as Fruit Pastilles, they're not as good. The stark colour differences also help to differentiate the boys during close up shots, so I can now switch back and forth between the two again like I planned in my first storyboard.


Likewise I made the sweet packets as seperate symbols and colour coded them to match their boys. I chose the name 'Gooies' for the artificially flavoured sweets to make them sound unappatising... If something's too gooey it gets stuck behind your teeth and isn't nice to eat at all. For the Fruit Pastilles packet I copied the logo from a photo of the packaging and imported it into the Flash library, then simply resized it to fit and added it to the front of the tube. Since we're using photos of real Fruit Pastilles in the animation, I thought it was important to have the real logo on the packaging for the pack shot as well.

Chew Test 3

video

Here's the finished version of the boy, minus the pupils since Smiley's still working on them.

Chew Test 2

video

Upon discovering my brother had a packet of Fruit Pastilles, I pounced on him before he could eat them all at once and asked him to chew some for me while I recorded him. Thanks to this I can see that the reason my previous test didn't really look like chewing is because I didn't make the jaw move... There lower jaw needs to move down and up as well as the cheeks moving out and in. I've changed it now and I think its looking a lot better. Now I can start adding colour and detail.

video

Chew Test

video

My first chew test: this will be the fast chew for the boy with the Fruit Pastilles. I like how the cheeks bulge out from each side to exaggerate the chewing, but it still doesn't quite look like he's chewing yet... Its more like he's pushing something from one side of his mouth to the other with his tongue. I think I'll have to find a proper chewing reference before I can continue.

Animatic

video

I made an animatic using the previous storyboard to get an idea of the timing and how long each scene should be. The advert should ideally be 30 seconds long, though hopefully we can stretch to 30-40 seconds if necessary... There's no sound at the moment because we haven't got round to looking at effects yet. Imran said he'd do that job, so I'm going to leave him in charge of finding the sounds while I concentrate on the animation.

Storyboard 2

I tries re-drawing the last two pages of the storyboard to make the difference between the two boys more obvious... I also added an extra scene of the door opening above the boy the audience can see where the door is exactly. While the teachers agree this version is better, I can't help but feel something is missing... It loses some of the drama when you take out the quick cuts back and forth between the two boys close up. I think I'll stick with this one for now, but I might try to use the best of both versions in the final animation depending on how the colours of the boys turn out.


Storyboard 1

Here's my storyboard for the chewing competition idea. Two boys each have a packet of sweets, one with Fruit Pastilles, one with regular boring sweets. The Fruit Pastilles boy's eyes roll like slot machines as he chews and his pupils turn into the fruit that matches the flavour he's chewing, making one block of his 'chew-o-meter' light up. Meanwhile the other boy is struggling to finish his first sweet. The Fruit Pastilles boy keeps chewing and filling up his chew-o-meter until it reaches the top and a trap door opens above him, showering him in Fruit Pastilles (his jackpot). I like this idea a lot better than my last one; its simpler, much more fun, and I think the competition aspect will appeal to both kids and adults since adults are often fond of game shows. The only problem is that some people think it'll be too difficult to tell the boys apart in the close-up shots since they look so much a like... but I really like the idea of quickly switching between the two to build tension for the big finish. Perhaps if I make them different enough colours it'll be easy to tell... I'll have to experiment.




Character Design


I want to keep the characters very simple and colour coded... This advert is aimed at young children, so anything too complicated will be lost on them. Small children respond well to simple shapes and bright colours, so I started looking for characters that are made up of very basic shapes and seem simplistic, but still look interesting. I came across some concept art for the game Super Paper Mario where most of the characters are flat, 2D, and have been purposefully made to look like very basic shapes strung together. Personally I love the style, especially the vivid colour with the thick, bold black outlines. It really makes them stand out, and I think I'd like to use a similar technique.



The only problem with the above characters is that they're mostly very angular... Which is fine considering they're clearly not meant to be human, but since my characters are supposed to be, I decided to look at some more organic shapes. The obvious one that game to mind was a circle, but I felt that was too boring and probably wouldn't be very expressive. So instead I started looking for characters with oval, elongated heads, and I found some great examples. Hey Arnold takes it to the extreme, but I think that's why it looks so good. Its the exaggeration that makes it an interesting head shape to look at. But even so, I don't want to go too overboard... both of these characters have to stand next to each other on a small stage, and there needs to be a gap in between them. So I think I'll go with an oval head more like the boy from the Quavers advert. I love how his ears and hair stick out so much from his face, and he has a reall nice body shape as well. Skinny limbs seem to look good sticking out of a triangular body, so I might borrow that as well.

More Research...

After meeting with the rest of my group and talking to the teachers about our possible ideas, it was decided that we'd go with Imran's idea of the person chewing the pastille getting slot machine eyes. The eyes will roll back into the character's head and the pupils will change to the fruit that matches the flavour of the pastille being eaten. With hindsight I realise that my previous idea was too complicated for the time limit and it would probably go over the heads of most children since we're primarily aiming at a very young audience... I think the fruit machines eyes is a much better idea, but at the moment its incomplete and needs a conclusion of some sort, or a story or point behind it... So I've thought that maybe we could incorporate a game show theme and turn the chewing into some sort of contest. Perhaps have two children chewing sweets, but only one has Fruit Pastilles, so naturally he wins since the pastilles are infinitely chewier than any other sweet. I've started looking at some examples of cartoon game shows and competitions from video games to get an idea of the setting, plus they're much simpler and more appealing to children than real life game shows.

I particularly like the image above of the punching contest because they seem to be punching to fill up a bar of some sort... Or perhaps that's their power gauge, since its a screen shot from a game. But either way, I could still use the bars filling up as an idea. Maybe whoever fills their bar first is the winner? I like the layout of the stage with the banner across the top as well...

I'm also looking at some slot machine videos to get an idea of how they work and move... it looks like making the eyes blur and move fast enough to look like they're rolling could be difficult.



Storyboard Idea


Above is the comic that helped inspire my current idea. Its very simple, but I love how it describes the heavenly taste of the food by comparing it to an angel and unicorn playing on the girl's tongue. Its like its saying that the food is so good it has a life of its own, which is what I'm going for with the creatures inside the pastilles. Below is the storyboard I drew up for this idea, though it was done on an A3 piece of paper and I only have an A4 scanner, so it reads across instead of down... Hopefully you can see the numbers okay.

Possible Character Design

Here is my possible character design based on the research I did earlier. I tried to go for a genie-type juice creature with sugar coated hands/arms... Overall I think I like the more slender, elegant looking character at the bottom than the fatter, blobbier characters at the top. I think the bottom one would be much more dynamic and would look better spinning around, which is how I'm thinking it'll spread its sugar across the teeth...

Advertisment Research

First I started looking at old Fruit Pastilles adverts to get a feel for how Rowntree's likes to advertise them and see what's already been done before. Naturally they all focus on chewing and on how impossible it is to not chew a pastille once its in your mouth.



This first one is brilliantly animated; very over-exaggerated and amusing and gets the point across well. I may use this as a reference when I come to animate my own character chewing, since the more over-the-top the chewing is, the more it'll emphasise the pastilles' chewiness. Plus its a lot more fun to watch which makes it appeal to young children.



This commercial break shows the advert we're supposed to be 'remaking'... I thought it would be good to have it here to refer back to.



The next three adverts aren't to do with Fruit Pastilles at all, but I really like how they all show an alternate universe of sorts which exist purely for the products in question. Since I'm toying with this kind of idea myself I thought they could make good references, especially the Coke advert since its a surprisingly elaborate world in the most unlikely of places, hidden from human eyes. Since the 'world' I'm thinking of would be inside the mouth, it would never be seen by the people eating the pastilles either.