Even though we’re developing our Cassandra Cottage script to have a largely different twist than what we first planned for, a lot of the technical challenges and risks still remain the same.
Animation – We want to push how cartoony and energetic our acting is. I admit that I don’t even know where to start with doing this besides timing, squash and stretch and smear frames so there’s a lot of research and critical thinking to do! I feel like I need to recap on the basics of animation, from ball bounces to creating different characterful walks, as my focus for this past year has been on lighting, rendering, texturing, grooming, dynamics and concept art. Even if I don’t contribute a lot on the animating side of the project I’d still like to know enough to give constructive feedback, particularly on performance.
Rigging – So far we have our three characters who need rigged (two bipeds and one quadruped), Púca’s bird form and then the monster in our episode (which may be an angler fish like monster house or a bipedal sphynx).
Style – We seem to be gravitating towards more toony lighting and shading with sharp edges. This is something which we’ll have to experiment with across modeling, lighting, shading and texturing. We also want to capture the look of light bloom (if I’m using that term correctly, bright feathered light bouncing from edges) and we’re not sure how to do that yet. Regardless of what style we use, we will still have to consider how best to set up and composite the layers for atmospheric perspective, depth of field/z depth and color gradients in depth.
Sound – our short has a lot of dialogue. Not only do we need to make it look good on paper but we need to find and direct voice actors to get the best performance for our short. We’ve also been discussing how we can use music in our short and like the idea of adding more rock and metal elements.
Fur – I’ve used XGen before for grooming lots of fine fluffy fur. I didn’t get as far as making it work with zync or RebusFarm because of errors so this is something which we’ll have to troubleshoot if we go down this root. We’ll also need to consider how the fur design fits in with the overall style of the world. It could be as simple as abstract textures or as complex as shaped geometry. Looking into making the fur dynamic is also going to be a challenge, even if it’s just subtle movement to make the character more alive.
Shapeshift – Our Púca character is a shapeshifter and we feel that it would be cheating an important part of the show from the audience if we didn’t show it at least once in the short. We’re planning on looking into compositing tricks but perhaps there is an inbetween form that could be done with blendshapes. Maui from Moana shapeshifts in a frame which could also be a simple option. Aku from Samurai Jack is almost like dynamic black fluid between forms. It’s something that we’ll need to experiment and do concepts for. Our new idea may also involve a monster house with transforming parts.
Magic and explosion fx – We’re considering how we could stylistically fit in the magic visuals in our short. Will it be 2D shaded dynamics?