In the following text we’ll try our best to explain the biggest stumbling blocks of our project, hopefully in a way that is helpful to all of you who are about to start your own project. This will be the last post about our own 3D animation project, since the project itself is suspended. We also put together a video presentation of all the material that was made during the project. There are cool characters, style frames, sketches and even animation !
We started the animation in the fall of 2009 as an extra project alongside school. The original idea belongs to Hannu and Outi who decided to put a crew together to make a short animation film about turkeys. Our plan was to make a good-looking animation with a nice storyline and likeable character. This was a pioneer project in our school, because we incorporated people from the AV-fields, interactive and visual fields. That is why our second goal besides the quality of the animation was just to see the pipeline of a CGI animation project with a crew as big as this. We didn’t finish the animation, but we sure reached the second goal!
The proper way to end a project
We had a final meeting with the crew in 15.1.2011 so we could discuss about the suspended project and share our experiences of the whole thing. It was a short notice invitation, so only half of the crew was able to show up (Outi, Hannu, Markus, Tiina, Juho, Martti, Robert).
Everyone was sorry that the final product didn’t get ready, but as said earlier, the biggest trophy was to learn the different stages of a project like this. Especially for those of us who had never been in an animation project before!
Here is a list of the biggest problems that we had during the production:
1) The project was extracurricular, so basically most of the work was done after school. The meetings were always in the afternoon and there was no time arranged to do all of the work. At first it worked when everyone was excited about the new project. Soon enough it became too stressful to do all of this ”in your free time”. Motivation was sometimes hard to find. Close to the end, people started to have other projects and internships that took even more time from the project.
2) The whole project swelled too big for us to handle. The script ended up being around 3-4 minutes and there were complicated characters and shots to be made. At this point we just decided to push through and expand the timeline of the project. The right thing to do would have been to strip the project from all of the extra material and just focus on the essential idea of the script.
3) The 3D storyboard that we made was good for the editor and the director of photography to make plans that had to do with their work. It also looked good as an animatic! The problem was that the 3D storyboard didn’t work for the rest of the crew as well. We should have also made a nice hand drawn storyboard (well planned poses, expressions, etc.) to go with the other one. As a shortcut we just went with the one that we already had. The illustrated version would have helped us in many different cases (character design, modelling, directing, voice acting, animating, etc.)
4) We didn’t have a place to call our ”studio”. Everybody worked from home or in different classrooms. This made communication hard and the work became more and more unsynchronized. This was a matter of resources.
5) We didn’t have a technical director. Every time a problem occurred it was a mystery who should fix it and how. If we had had a person dedicated only to this, it would have taken the stress off the artist. We also lacked many other vital persons like a set decorator, concept artist, etc. Again, a matter of resources.
Hopefully these were helpful and don’t forget to see the rest of the blog for tips on more specific topics. Leave a comment, tell us what you think and share your own experiences! We are leaving this animation behind to make room for future projects! So if you have any links, ideas for a post or something else, please share the fun