MICRO-SHORT PRODUCTION MILESTONES: FIVE-PANEL PITCH TO FINAL SUBMISSION IN FOUR STEPS

 

MILESTONE 1 - FIVE PANEL PITCH* & SUPPORTING PDF DOC

 

MILESTONE 2 - ANIMATIC & COLOR CONCEPT

 

MILESTONE 3 - LAYOUT REEL & PRODUCTION TESTS

 

MILESTONE 4 - FINAL SUBMISSION & EVALUATION FORMS

 

MILESTONE 5 - PROJECT REVISIONS

 

 

 

 

 

MILESTONE 1: FIVE-PANEL PITCH* & SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS (x3)

Teams will brainstorm, research and produce three five-panel* concepts and pitch them to the class next week.  Each pitch will be accompanied by a supporting document consisting of one or two inspirational images, a one-sentence process strategy and a breakdown of production roles per artist.

 

* "five-panels" is loosely defined and may be expanded upon if one or two more panels are needed to convey a more complex progression of beats. More than eight suggests your idea may be too complex to execute as a micro-short.

 

A. FIVE-PANEL PITCH* SEQUENCE (x3)

Each of your pitch sequences should provide a visually engaging solution to the subject at hand utilizing animated motion and cinematic design.

 

 

Click on examples below for a closer look.

 

Workflow:

1. Meet with your partner and bang out as many five-panel* options as possible. Work small, rough and quickly at this stage. Once you have a few ideas, narrow them down to your best three to develop further for presentation.

2. Take as many panels as you need at first to clarify the concept and then edit them back to essential panels for your final pitch. Always save your outtakes! If it turns out that you need an extra panel or two to sell the pitch, this is acceptable. Any more than that and you're either not editing a well as you should or your idea is too complicated to deliver as a micro-short.

3. Take time to clean up your images. Line, color, tone . . . use whatever you need to clearly communicate your vision for final animation.

4. Save each pitch in a single folder of sequential jpgs and practice flipping through them in Adobe Bridge.

 

B. SUPPORTING DOCUMENT - INSPIRATIONAL IMAGE, PROCESS STRATEGY & PRODUCTION ROLES (x3)

Each Pitch Sequence should be accompanied by a supporting pdf document containing the following:

1. One or two inspirational image - to help convey a general visual direction. These could be a frame grabs from a film with similar content and/or technique as to help convey the "look of picture" you are proposing.

2. A one-sentence process strategy - to help convey a technical direction. Help us understand the tools you are proposing to execute your concept. Will you be using "3D animation with toon-shade rendering"?, or "Compositing 2D Animated characters into a 3D Animated environment".

3. A breakdown of production roles per artist - proposing which artist will be performing which tasks. These should be primarily the larger roles like 2D character Animation, or 3D Modeling, Animation & Lighting, or After Effects Compositing. This breakdown should reflect your process strategy.

 

NAMING & SUBMITTING FILES:

Single PDF for each of the three pitches: Combine each 5-panel pitch and the supporting materials into a single PDF document.

 

simpsonH_flandersN_monster_01.pdf

simpsonH_flandersN_monster_02.pdf

simpsonH_flandersN_monster_03.pdf

 

Pitch-able Panels: Submit each 5-panel pitch sequence in it own folder

 

simpsonH_flandersN_monster_01 (folder)

simpsonH_flandersN_monster_02 (folder)

simpsonH_flandersN_monster_03 (folder)

 

Submitting to Basecamp: Submit all three to your respective Basecamp team folder.

 

Basecamp/420_dropBox/. . . Pitch Folder.

 

PITCHING TO CLASS & RECIEVING FEEDBACK:

Come to class ready to pitch all three of your proposals and receive feedback from your peers. Keep in mind that these proposals are a starting point for your project and are subject to change over the entire process. share over discord and offer up input for your classmates.

 

 

 

MILESTONE 2: ANIMATIC & COLOR CONCEPT

The second milestone is all about nailing the timing and cinematic presence of your project and refining your "look of picture".

A. ANIMATIC

The Animatic nails down timing and composition.  It insures that your visual story beats not only engage cinematically but that they unfold with impact and clarity within the allotted time frame. The Animatic is more advanced than a typical Storyreel making use of moving cut-outs, replacement drawings and multiple layers to convey a higher level of design, cinematography, and pace.  Typically animatics are black & white but color can be used strategically if necessary.

 

Animatics can be executed using a variety of media, including Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere, Toon Boom Storyboard Pro or even Toon Boom Harmony. 3D can be used in a limited capacity but often can slow down or encumber the process. The whole point of the Animatic is to move quickly while taking your project to the next level of engagement.

 

Audio is a must! Preliminary audio (or scratch audio) plays a huge part in establishing timing and conveying a limited but film-like experience.

 

 

Click on examples above for a closer look

 

 

Specs for Animatic:

  • Scratch Audio
  • Conveys key action beats and basic cinematography
  • Black & white with strategic use of color as necessary
  • Export at Full HD 1920 x 1080 H264 compression

B. COLOR CONCEPT

Color Concepts are an exploration into the "look of picture". Use this process to determine how color and visual style will be used through the arc of your piece.  Use your exploration time wisely, as you will need one image for each significant color shift in your progression.  Focus on the cinematic beats themselves, avoiding the detailed exploration more suitable to longer-form animation (ie, character color breakdowns, etc.). It would not be uncommon to render each of the beats in full progressive color.

If you are using traditional media, now would be a good time to start experimenting with actual materials.

   

 

Click on examples above for a closer look

 

 

Specs for Concept Art:

  • Between 3 and 5 Color Concept images that best reflect the visual style as it progresses through your project.
  • Concept images should be no less than 2-3K in size.
  • Combine all artwork into a single PDF file.

NAMING & SUBMITTING FILES:

Animatic: simpsonB_flandersN_Square_Animatic_011318.mp4

 

Color Concept: simpsonH_flandersN_Square_Concept.pdf

 

Submitting to Basecamp: Submit both your Animatic and Concept PDF as separate files to Basecamp/420_dropBox/. . .

 

 

 

 

MILESTONE 3: LAYOUT REEL & PRODUCTION TESTS

 

The third milestone is all about building technical strategies and resolving any outstanding questions you may have about moving forward into production. A huge return on this process is not only a visual sense of what the piece may look like in its final form, you also get a fairly concrete idea of what it will actually take to pull it off. Think of it as a dress rehearsal for the final film.

A. LAYOUT REEL

The Layout Reel is like a working scale-prototype of your final film. Layout stands in the gap between development and production laying the technical and aesthetic foundation for the production milestone to come. Working to scale in the actual production medium allows the Layout artist to compose the scene with technical accuracy, anticipating physical (and material) limitations for the final production. It is also an opportunity to solve the many potential production problems could arise further down the pipeline.

 

The Layout Reel, set to final timing, establishes the role of the camera and its relationship to the elements in the scene. The tools you'll have at your disposal will vary according to your chosen medium. These tools may include various lens choices, multi-plane layers, temporary lighting and effects, character blocking and even key character poses.

 

One final return from the Layout process is a complete inventory as to what you will need to pull off a finished production. Done well, Layout sets the rest of the pipeline up for an incredibly smooth execution.

 

 

Click on examples above for a closer look and notice the different choices animators made in layout to nail down their process before heading into the final shoot.

 

Specs for Layout Reel:

  • Work to scale in the actual medium of choice
  • Solve potential technical and pipeline issues
  • Include Scratch Audio
  • Export movie at full HD 1920 x 1080 H264

B. PRODUCTION TESTS

 

NAMING & SUBMITTING FILES:

Layout Reel: simpsonH_flandersN_Square_Layout_021718.mp4

 

Folder Name: simpsonH_flandersN_Square_ProductionTests

 

Submitting to Basecamp: Submit both your Layout Reel and Production Test Folder to Basecamp/420_dropBox/. . .

  

 

 

MILESTONE 4: FINAL SUBMISSION & PARTNER EVALUATION

 

Follow the instructions below carefully to submit your Micro-short project for final screening and evaluation. Please come to class with these steps already completed.

A. SUBMIT FINAL PROJECT & SUPPORTING FILES

Please name files and submit the following in a single folder to Basecamp/420_dropBox/Final Submission Folder/simpsonH_flandersN_Square_finalSubmission

1. FINAL ANIMATION MOVIE FILE – A finished movie of your project should be submitted at 1920 x 1080 H624 Compression. Uncompressed files are unplayable and therefore un-submittable. Be sure to include a six-digit date to the file name.

File Name: simpsonH_flandersN_Square_final_092920.mp4

2. VISUAL DEVELOPMENT PDF FILE - Include original research, inspiration & pitch images; concept art and significant test renders as a single pdf file.

File Name: simpsonH_flandersN_Square_visualDev.pdf

3. PROGRESSION REELS & MOVIES FOLDER Include the Animatic, Layout Reel and significant test & process movie files in a single folder. Please name files accordingly.

Folder Name: simpsonH_flandersN_progressionReels

 

B. PARTNER EVALUATION FORM

Print and fill out the Partner Evaluation form before class and email to instructor directly with "420 Partner Eval" in the subject line.  Download Partner Evaluation Form here.

 

C. POST TO DISCORD AND LEAVE COMMENTS

Post your final movie to the appropriate #Discord channel and leave comments on our classmates finished projects.

 

 

Final Square Examples – click on images to play movies.

 

 

 

 

Final Object Examples – click on images to play movies.

 

 

 

 

MILESTONE 5: PROJECT REVISIONS

 

Keep in mind that the goal of these projects is to create work that will stand out in your professional portfolio/demo reel. This final week has been set aside for you to apply notes from your professors and any fixes you feel you didn't have time for in your final submission. Whether these revisions will have a bearing on your grade should be addressed in your final critique notes.

 

NAMING & SUBMITTING FILES:

File Name: simpsonH_flandersN_Square_revision_101921.mp4

 

Submitting to Basecamp: Submit your revised movie file to Basecamp/420_dropBox/Final Submission Folder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stephan Leeper 2020/CMU Animation