Thursday, July 19, 2012

'Pan Shots'

GOOOOOOOOD Morning Equestria!

How's everypony doing?

Lion here with a prod update and a little bit of tech talk :)  With the project progressing and us being in a butterzone in terms of production we're now tackling some of the more challenging shots of the video: The pans. 

We call those 'Killers' mostly due to the details that they require but also the animation.  Pan shots like that, in 2D are essentially a cheat of the perspective to 'fool' the viewer into beleiving that the world is more than just a flat plane.  It can be acheived with parralax scrolling but in this case it is acheived by tweaking the perspective as the 'camera' moves up.  Whereas in fact it's the image that is being moved down via translation.

As always I have a plan of it layed down which is the one that was seen in the animatic.  I already have a basic grid and a more-than basic idea of what I want.  Thanks to that, I was able to then animate a rough Luna sketch to get an idea of the timing.  That will SAVE MY BUTT later on.  On the line-art though, I decided the old Canterlot would be smaller.. less buildings and the castle would be bigger.  Of course, I had a previous shot to use as a reference as to which building goes where.  I made a MAP of old canterlot as to NOT get lost.

With Spirit warmed up in painting she painstakingly colors over the lines that I had layed down.  A few notes left and right as reminders of what I saw when sketching will also help her give a more accurate depiction that will fit the animation.  Check out those little details.

Now animation-wise, the background is on a separate layer for ease of access and having it move while I animate would be distracting.  It's a nice thing to have if there's interaction but putting the background in the character's symbol is a little nightmare in terms of positionning.  SO, I can't rely on having it there.  That's where the rough animation sketch saves my tush as it becomes my main reference for laying down the animation in the correct timing.  Keyframe galore everyone!  Cuz essentially, Luna's moving but going nowhere as I animate there.. she's just gesticulating over a still BG.. which, if not prepared for it, would be a bit depressing.

Still, it took quite a few passes to get that one working well. But it got there.

Here's a peek at a frame of the animation after full render composited shot.

When put after her little singing solo, which is already animated, it looked magical.  Hopefully you guys will think so too :)

Thanks for reading ^^

-Lion, Out.


  1. Bwah, I have to admit wasn't really able to understand most of the article, may be due to the fact I know nothing about animation at all... or may be you went on very specific territory with the topic, haha. But either way it was really fun to read, would love to see more such things in future as project progresses.

    1. Sorry about that.. I went a bit too technical but I also realize that while there are many artists coming to look at it (along with some industry veterans) I guess I forget about the everyday non-artist person. ^^;

      I humbly apologize, I'll try and not repeat the mistake.

  2. This looks even better and better. I'm not really in animation (read: I don't understand a single thing when it becomes technical), but post like these make me fell smart because I get what is explained, mainly because it's well explained :D

    I'll keep track on this project, I really want to see the final result when all will be finished!

    1. Thanks :) We can't wait to see it all put together as well. We have well over a minute all done and ready (minus a few tweaks) And it's an awesome motivator to continue

      As for the tech part, I try and make it understandable but I often forget that not everyone coming here are artists with a background like me and Spirit ^^; Hopefully, it wasnt all in Klingon :)

  3. I noticed in the animatic how you used that perspective trick to create a sense of 3D in a 2D still background, though I must say I lack all familiarity with the, I'm sure, quite technical details that go into it. I wouldn't know the first thing about creating the "grid" you mentioned.

    This is going to look so fantastic when it's done. I'm on pins and needles here! Oh, when will it be done? XD;

    1. "The grid" is the often drawn and partly virtual part of a drawing upon which everything sits to look 'There'. It's what makes the perspective work as well as depth. However that 'grid' is never really straight in those type of backgrounds. It is curved to mimick a lens effect and 'trick' the audience as well as boost the beleivability of an animated shot :)

      As for the 'when'.. we don't know. It's our first real big project, so..

  4. Even though I...more or less understand most of this, I've never been brave enough to do more technical drawings. All my backgrounds look simply horrid! ; o ;

    Still, this is wonderful. Apart from the animation itself, the backgrounds in this project truly impress me, and I hope that some day I can learn cool stuff like that if I ever have the money for college :)

    Keep up the fabulous work!

    1. Art is something you mostly learn by yourself using practice and your own ideas. You can get books and pointers from other artists and the internet is full of tutorials and references.

      By the time you end college whatever they thought you will have moved on and you'll still have to learn by yourself again using those techniques. The progress you'll have made by yourself will show a lot more than the 'diploma' colleges offer nowadays :)

      Of course, that's my opinion.. but with the wealth of online information for anyone wanting to do anything, you're your best teacher :) (besides.. if they REALLY wanted people educated, the college admission would not cost an arm and a leg)

  5. I really like how the backgrounds are in perspective, I don't have patience to do a city scape, and if I did it would be badly estimated, congrats to you for the talent!