Really Early stages
The idea of Adam Luke Connor and I being in a team to work on our 3rd-year animation was brought up by Adam. During this period we came up with a lot of Ideas until we got to what we have now but back then it was really on developed. I was never really the Ideas man in the group, every Idea I thought of were either too large or just stupid to me personally. I think at that early stage all I did was add to the ideas my group came up with.
During the summer we started creating artworks and mind maps for the story. At this stage, I made the most character and prop art out of the group during this period. My mindset was to treat this as if I were at school, and because of that I always felt terrible when I didn’t create a thing for that day. So when school started due to our little stunt, we ended up having weeks or more worth of content. As a group, I think we could have gone further than we did but because we weren’t sure if a group would be allowed in the third year. We were a little lax when it came to pushing the work further, and its for this reason that we left the idea vague and up in the air.
From what I can remember as the third year started Adam, Connor, Luke and I planned out what we would need to do before we continued working, and that was planing out the story, lore and what the attending audience would be. One of the things we had to get right was how the Japanese culture would be integrated into Victorian London, once we talked about it and decided on the lore of this world next was the targeted audience and how we were going to sell it. We decided to make this animation more child-friendly, making it easier to sell.
The next thing on the list was story and script, this part took the longest, due to Connor and Adam changing and adding things. When it came to the story, I didn’t really add anything that interesting to it. One way I could add to the story was through the script, to help make the script Adam made a list of breakdowns of the story. So I thought all I need to do was write a script that filled those gaps. As I finished, my teammates looked at it; I was told that my script was too violent and would need to tone things down.
For backgrounds, my group and I went to London and China town to take first-hand references to help make our background, from what I can remember it took hours walking around London taking photos. Adam and I were tasked to make concept background art of the buildings and marketplaces, this part took way too long, looking back at it now. And to save time we scrapped the scenes that we made it for.
Once that was done my next Job was designing Nosuke, from what I can remember my first Nosuke design was seen as too Japanese, and this was due to his Japanese clothing. For Nosuke clothing my team wanted a mixture of both Japanese and Victorian clothing, so with that, I worked on both his clothing and character design. In the end, none of my designs was chosen I think this was due to them being dull and boring so with that, they ended up going with a design Connor made during the summer.
Later on, my team members thought of building upon the character designs that the previous made. The next character I worked on was Ro; With Ro, I think I found him easier to work with, and that was due to me having Connors design as a base. But even with this, I managed to screw it up; my mindset when making this was to make more designs rather than build upon a design I thought worked. But even with that, I managed to make some designs that my teammates liked. Next in line was Miyamoto, with this I didn’t really have that much issue with him, but when I did stray from the design, my teammates kept me on track.
Next in line was the storyboards, the storyboard for me was by far the biggest pain to dill with. Everything I made always got rejected or altered to either fit the other storyboards or my teammates having there own plans for it. I do get it was my fault for not making a good enough storyboard, that is why this period of work plus the other upset with character designs got to me and made me stressed and paranoid on working in the group. Due to lack of time we had, we then quickly started the animation process.
It finally came to animating, but before animating Luke and I had to split the storyboard into chunks, then later putting them into Toonboom files. As we started roughing out the animation, we would, later on, swapped the files, this being the first and only time we would do so. The reason for this was due to Connor; He wanted it to be easy enough to pick a scene and add to the Demo Reel without any confusion of who owns what.
So during this period, I had some issues, and that was not being able to grasp certain things that were in either the storyboards or the swapping of files. With that, I was able to change that particular scene into something I could quickly grasp without changing the intent of the scene. After roughing out the animation next was the cleanup, this part was by far the one I enjoyed the most, all I had to do was clean up my lines.
As a group, once it came to our FMP, we weren’t able to get it to the standard we wanted to submit, this was due to poor time management at our end, but what we made showed what we envisioned the story to be. Once we submit what we have, we all would later go back to it to complete it for new designers.