Production has begun on episode two of "Ronin Dojo Community College DX: The Digital Pirates of Dark Water Saga", and if you can decipher this shitty chicken scratch of storyboard frame, you already know it's going to be ape-shit crazy.
We boarded everything out yesterday and made the animatic like every good little animator should before they run head first into the mind numbing tedium of making a cartoon. However this time around I've been trying something new with the way I set up each shot. I've been drawing the ceiling.
Even though Matt and I were pleased with how the first episode of RDCCXD:TDPODWS came out, I didn't feel like I got a good sense of the space that existed outside of each shot. At first I reasoned that I had made the whole thing, so it was hard for me to step back and take it all in as an audience member. However the real reason was our failure to include solid establishing shots, shots that included high or low angles, and set ups that explored the space.
If you look at the short you'll notice that up until the Seth and Mark confrontation, pretty much everything is set up as if the camera was facing the store front, and most of the shots were just close ups or push ins of that basic set up. This was mostly done to save time.
But during the argument between Mark and Jerry we could have included shots where we saw the sidewalk and stores that were behind Jerry instead of the flat windows that he was standing next to. This might have given a better sense of where the store was and how the strip mall was laid out.
We also could have included slight high and low angles to our shots. Showing off the architecture behind the characters helps give a sense that they are near a three dimensional structure, or in a cubed room- not up against a flat wall.
This is what I've been trying to do with the set ups of episode 2. I've been drawing in the ceiling, and the angles of the room. My hope is this will give the audience a better sense of the space while still allowing me to use the library of heads that aren't drawn from low angles or high angles, which would include more of the bottom of the chin or top of the head respectively.
I'm still learning a lot about setting up shots and all of this crap, but from watching how other animators do their thang, I think this whole ceiling concept is something I should look into. I hate drawing backgrounds, they're really hard, and the less of them I have to do the better. But if I can make changes that would make our characters look like they're actually somewhere and not on a two dimensional stage that would be good.
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