Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Things get more complicated

Things get clearer

Goals -- big and small
Make sure the characer has a goal in each sequence.

Converging elements

Expanding elements

Engine/Power Tool

Hold back information, cut early, insert a mystery, an engine a power tool. Create a subplot. Build in a twist. Make things more complicated.

Things CHANGE (location, knowledge, relation of elements, physicality, stakes)

Tone changes - things get more serious; what started out as a joke, becomes serious; what started simple, becomes more complicated

Solving external conflict solves internal conflict
External conflict as metaphor for internal conflict

A character learns outside information and bout themselves

Introduction of MORE

Dark Moment (all appears to be lost)

Light Moment (it appears the hero has obtained his/her goal; but it's a lie)

Life Line (secret source of power)

Momentum (it becomes clearer what needs to be done, closer to the point of no return, things are unstoppable, at the same time obstacles become greater, scenes get shorter, writing gets quicker, less syllables, less description, more sound effects)



Build ( scenes get shorter, subplots converge, clock ticks, stakes are greater)



I'm going to literally answer these questions to help me flesh out who my character is.

Quick bio:
Name: Karras (nickname Bullet)
Age: about 25
Height: 5'8''
Build: thin but curvy
Appearance: pale skin, black hair (about shoulder length), dark gray eyes

How does your character think?
She subdues her sense of self-loathing by replacing that hate onto criminals. She thinks criminals will not be missed if she eliminates them and have no place in society.

She believes what she does is out of boredom. She believes that she doesn't care about humanity as a whole when in actuality she does have a sense of justice and a want to do the "right thing". However, she has a warped perception of what is right and wrong, at least in a general ethics sense. She does not realize that her actions are not based in a hobby (as she claims what she does is just for sport) but are actually assumed because of past conflicts and events. Killing criminals instead of letting the police take care of it occurs because she, in truth, believes that the police will never do anything when it matters. She does not think she thinks this though.

What does your character want?
She wants to eliminate criminals (but only murderous ones, rapists, and corrupt politicians. she's big game hunting, essentially). she doesn't care about petty thieves and robbers.) because she realizes that as long as the government remains as is, nothing will be done. She wants to get at the politician that created a rift between her entire former life. She implements her form of "justice" for personal reasons but at the same time she wants to do this for the greater good.

She thinks she's a greedy individual and believes that she does all her deeds for herself. She thinks she wants to deal out "an eye for an eye" style justice in order to avenge her old life. She implements this brand of justice not only on people who have directly effected her but also on people in similar situations who deal with corrupt individuals who have ruined their lives. She wants to eliminate all corrupt individuals with nefarious intentions.

What does your character believe?
She believes that there is no such thing as a perfect, utopian society and that government and law enforcement have lost their good intentions along the way. She believes that not everyone in these occupations are inherently bad but can easily go astray by their increased power. She believes that she has no right to destroy the lives of others (aka criminals) but she needs this in her life so that she can feel as if she has made some sort of impact for the greater good. While she believes that society can never be perfected and crime and corruption will always exist, she's not a defeatist. She doesn't work towards a goal of utopia but a more realistic goal of self-acting justice and being responsible for eliminating those who would do greater harm. Even if she has to murder to rid society of murderers, she believes her actions are just as bad as that criminal. But she does it anyway because she feels an urge. Something she will grapple with is the fight between her being a "hero" and being the same as any other criminal. She believes she has no right to decide people's fates but she grows to find it impossible to not continue her actions. At one point she will believe she is just as bad as a serial killer.

What is your character’s truth? Mythology?
Her truth is that society is inherently corrupt and that she is just as bad as anyone else out there. No one is born evil but can turn that way through a life in corrupted occupations. She believes that power is a person's downfall but freedom is important for everyone. She wants everyone to be equal but is realistic in that as long as humans are greedy, like herself, it will never happen. She fully realizes and is tormented by the fact that she is no better than the people she kills.

What does your character need?
She needs to fulfill her urge to kill. If she doesn't she feels she'll take out herself. She implements her suicidal thoughts onto those who she has come to resent in order to keep herself alive.

What actions does your character undertake?
She has spent the last few years of her life grappling with suicide every day. She has become a master at using herself as a target but then catching the bullet (literally). She finally resolves that the target will no longer be herself. She can't keep this pace of self-loathing up. She becomes enraged by a past experience and decides to kill the man who destroyed her past life. However, he foils her plot. From that point on, she tries to get back at him but realizes she cannot be so rash. Realizing her unhappiness with her situation, she kills others who she witnesses effecting other citizens in the ways she was. In general, she ends up saving women, homosexuals, and other minorities because she views them as the most effected.

What events past, present and future push your character into action?
Past - A male politician became close to her family in order to try and marry her and have both of their families in an alliance, since she comes from a political family herself. She blatantly refuses his advances. His real intentions were that if he could marry her, he could take down her families strong political hold. She believes in government and believes the world in general is good until he has an assassin eliminate her and her family. She is the only survivor. Her survival is dependent on the fact that she caught the bullet that he shot at her. This event changes her perspective on government and law enforcement because the process is slow and with a witness, she should be able to bring charges to this man. However, he is protected by a corrupt system and she is plunged into obscurity.

Present - Whenever she sees someone who will be murdered, raped, etc. she tries to take out the perpetrator. She doesn't want anyone to have to experience that hell.

Future - She will be called to action eventually because she finally understands that her personal feelings should be excluded. While the written law itself might be corrupt, the general code of ethics from throughout time prevails. Her eye for an eye mentality will prevail.

How your character feels?
She's a bit psychotic at times. She wants to die but she feels she cannot leave this world until she has her personal revenge. Later she feels she cannot leave because she wants to protect those that have avoided corruption. She feels that she is most compelled to come into action when someone is in a similar situation to her. She feels a psychotic type of joy when killing or shooting at herself. But she also gets enraged when she begins to feel sadness or true happiness. She cannot allow herself to be truly happy.

How important this is for your character?
She gives up everything in her life to pursue this goal. The urgency and importance of her goals leave her to scrape by in life. She has to resort to thievery to survive. Her petty robbery is all justified in the pursuit for her ultimate goal.

Why your character does what he/she does?
She does it because it was done to her. She feels like she cannot let others go through the same pain and uncertainty that she has gone through.

Detail making your character’s motivation clear:
Her motivation initially is solely based on her being wronged in past by a certain man, a politician. He motivation evolves into helping those who are in the same situation as her. But the base motivation underlies the entirety of the piece.

Flaw: A problem to help humanize your character in our eyes:
Her main flaw is that she hides any of her confidence. Her actions suggest confidence but she always reminds herself and others that she is worthless. Her self-esteem is a hindrance to who she really is. She won't allow herself to have true happiness.

Schedule Detailed Breakdown

August 31 - Prepare for pitch. AE experiment(s).

September 2 - Prepare for pitch. AE experiment(s).

September 7 - Present AE experiment(s). Present Pitch. (experiment presentation subject to change)

September 9 - Revise pitch elements and begin to create into storyboard.

September 14 - Continue to work on storyboard.

September 16 - Revise storyboard elements that are not working or are unclear. Critique in class if time is given.

September 21 - Take revised storyboard and create an animatic in order to for clarity and to revise timing issues.

September 23 - Revise any animatic issues in clarity and timing and begin work on an asset creation. Critique in class if possible.

September 28 - Continue to work on assets.

September 30 - Continue to work on assets.

October 5 - Revise assets that are unclear or ill-formed. Critique in class if possible.

October 7 - Finalize assets so that animation can begin.

October 12 - MIDTERM grading - Finish assets and begin staging in AE (i.e. set up scenes, "rig" objects and characters that utilize this function)

October 14 - MIDTERM grading - continue AE setup

October 19 - Fall Break

October 21 - Begin animation.

October 26 - Continue to animate.

October 28 - Check work thus far through critique if possible. First scene/part completion.

November 2 - Animate my ass off.

November 4 - Continue animation.

November 9 - Half the project should be complete at this point. Present for critique if at all possible and make necessary revisions.

November 11 - Continue last part of animation.

November 16 - Work more on animating.

November 18 - Revise and finalize in preparation for final.

November 23 - Finish animation. Project should be complete at this point. Present for critique.

November 25 - Thanksgiving Holiday

November 30 - Revise from critique and finalize.

December 2 - Revise from critique and polish it more.

December 7 - More revision and polishing to present for final.

December 9 - FINAL DUE

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Semester Schedule (revised)

This is how I would like to block out the semester, theoretically. I'm basing this on what people who have taken the class before have suggested.

1 week of: experimentation with new AfterEffects features
Just to get my feet wet again and to become familiar with new features.

2 weeks of: storyboarding, research, and revision
For critique and idea realization to prepare a semester long project.

3 weeks of: revision, building assets
Revise ideas further and build assets in order to create the project.

Remainder doing: animation, revision, more animation, more revision, etc.
Work on the actual project with time for critique and revision to develop it further.

Not sure if the week are off, but I'd like to be ready to animate by midterm at the LATEST so I leave ample time to actually make the project.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rotobrush Tutorials and Tests


AfterEffects CS5: RotoBrush from video2brain on Vimeo.

Being someone who has done rotoscoping before - HOLY HELL. Anything to decrease production time is great. If you can get the major body done and leave more time for fine tuning then the piece is always better. The tutorial was quite clear and I feel as if I could go into AfterEffects right now and do it without too much problem. My problem is trying to see the application of this tool in animation in AE. Probably with some experimentation and further research, I could come up with a solution.


CS5 Roto Brush Test from Brian Berneker on Vimeo.

This was a test I found on Vimeo. Based on the tutorials I've watched before viewing this, I can pretty easily imagine how the process of creating this went down on top of being thoroughly impressed by the ability to never have to shoot on location ever again. :P

Mocha Tutorials and Tests

1. http://tv.adobe.com/watch/after-effects-cs5-feature-tour/new-features-in-mocha/

I found this tutorial to be very helpful. The narrator was very clear as to what mocha's functions are and how to do something basic that can make a huge impact. I'm amazed at one simple feature of Mocha - the magnified points when dragging a new planar shape. That is HUGE. There is nothing more irritating than trying again and again to get a precise point or having to increase the size of the canvas up and down to get a point. The depth of field use is so simple but it makes a HUGE impact. I'm surprised by adding a simple gaussian blur, you can increase the intensity and visual value of the image. The only things I would say in the negative of the tutorial was the use of a PC and that the screen was blurry, especially when in full screen mode. The screen capture could have been much better.

2. http://www.imagineersystems.com/products/mocha4ae/mocha_AE_carl_larsen_seals.mov

This is much more expansive than the previous tutorial. It really is amazing how a scene can become something completely different. The tools are still the same as the previous tutorial but the ability is increased and expanded. This was very clear and concise. Despite the possible difficulty of doing well with this tool, it seems fairly easy and very straightforward. I don't know if I'll ever have to do something like this with video footage but the idea is still valuable for animation. The blurs added after mapping out the shapes should prove to be very useful for my work this semester.


Cheap because he's stealing footage from some of the previous tutorials. And his voice is not soothing and comforting. Back on topic though. The only useful part of this for me was the very beginning with starting with a new file and locations of files. The rest is just a carbon copy of the Adobe tutorial. Kind of sad.

4. http://www.lynda.com/home/displaycourse.aspx?lpk2=61991

I used the mocha tutorial from this page to learn how to add something (graffiti to a wall in this tutorial) with motion tracking. Pretty straight forward and very clear. He also includes good information on just some of the quirks in Mocha. Very nice to know how some things differ from After Effects and what some things are a like.

Semester Block Out

Just a rough outline to get myself on track. This is subject to major changes at any time BUT with warning.

Week 2 - continue research and idea development. research new features of AfterEffects and experiment with new tools.

Week 3/4 - storyboard and asset creation.

Week 5 and on - work ass off

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

8/26 Part D

So this is where I'm at after distilling the info:

- what it means to be a "feminine antihero". how does this effect the choices the person makes? are the motives the same as a supposed "masculine" antihero? does gender even matter?

- and running off the end of the last one... does gender facilitate a substantiated difference or is this clinical error that tries to divide the two? how is the actuality of it really hybridized? can it even be hybridized?

- how has the antihero changed? this may not be something i explore time wise in the work but maybe display the end result of the evolution. characters that were once seen as symbols of perfect justice have been recharacterized as the antihero. why?

- to be a true "hero", does one have to be Superman with a vision of utopia? does realistic perspective place someone at the antihero level? is it possible for the world to one day become a utopia and if it's not true, is it still a worthy goal? if one has the realist perspective that society is mostly bad, then what is the point in pursuing justice when all efforts will be meaningless long term and on a larger scale?

- does inability to see "right" and "wrong" make one an antihero?

- is the antihero really any worse than regular citizens when they have their own selfish motives? on an individual basis, do not most people have more concern for their self than anyone else? why judge the antihero based on this criteria if the person judging is already in the same scenario?

8/26 Part C

So these are the things I find especially appealing from my brainsearch in the previous post. These are key words I'm focusing on:

- antihero

- motive

- circumstance

- necessity

- "justice"

- convenience

- desire

- fulfillment

- values and ethics

- "femininity"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

8/26 - Ideas

I want to unpack and establish what makes an antihero. Clearly, an antihero is not the same as a villain. A villain is out for pure gain, has no regard for the law, and is completely self-centered. An antihero is a person who will do anything that is necessary to serve justice, in the end as long as it can be justice. While an argument can be made that an antihero has no regard for the law, they do to some extent because their ultimate goal is upholding the law in some sort of fashion whereas a villain has only vested personal motives for personal gain. An antihero wants what's best in the end no matter what it takes to get there. Murder and crime are acceptable is justice can be reached through it.

An antihero can be created through circumstance. When someone is forced into a position/situation, they can become tempted to use any means necessary in order to get a result quickly or to bring an end to something they were once or still passionate about. In a sense, an antihero is a selfish individual. While their ultimate goal is for the greater good, they don't mind being opportunistic or a bit greedy. Catwoman is a great example of the latter. Traditionally a diamond thief, she doesn't mind dipping into the bucket twice. She loves Batman but she also wants to fulfill her desire to steal. She is Batman's nemesis at times and also his partner when it is convenient for her. She knows where to draw the line when it comes to crime. While unlike the Joker who would commit genocide, she is would try to stop it. If it came to a situation of Catwoman stealing a diamond or saving Batman (her love interest), then she would probably find a way to do both. This is what I mean by dipping into the bucket twice. She isn't inherently evil, committing heinous crimes, however, she is greedy and wants to fulfill her desire.

An antihero is potentially above right and wrong, lacking the ability to see right and wrong. They may lack the ability to control their emotion and it can run rampant. Phoenix is a great example of this.

Examples of antiheroes:







These are some links I found interesting and explored during the process of thinking.





Ideally, this is something I would like to be something working towards my senior project or even a part of that project. I do have a very concrete character I want to work with who is an antihero. Her scenario is vague at this point and open to manipulation and new ideas, however.

Lastly, I would like to take a moment and share some videos I found interesting as I peruse this topic. Just a forewarning, these are things I found in old cartoons I used to watch so let's look at them, shall we?:

So why on earth would I place Seto Kaiba as an antihero? Once again, he pulls from all the classic antihero values. He's selfish and out for himself but at the same time upholds an overall sense of justice. He has no problem taking whatever measures he has to remove criminals and true villains, typically for his own gain. He also has no problem cooperating if he is to gain from their alliance. But like Catwoman, he knows where to draw the line. He's out for money, fame, and honor, not murder like some of the characters of this series.

Gary Oak?! Oh yes! I know it's lame to do a Pokemon reference but hear me out! Gary is many ways like Kaiba - he's a strong rival to the supposed hero but is willing to ally with their rival in order for the greater good. He enjoys seeing Ash lose but would never let the world end or some catastrophe happen in order to fulfill that desire. He has the Pokemon's best intentions at heart and wouldn't kill or hurt innocent people or Pokemon. It seems to me like Gary Oak fills the criteria for antihero quite well.