The Three Little Peeps

Link to Fairy Tale: https://drive.google.com/a/nyu.edu/file/d/0B1dCW_EJYJpsaXpybW5FY2lQNDQ/view?usp=sharing

Idea

The fairy tale that I chose to work with was The Three Little Pigs because my father used to tell me and my siblings the story when we were young. I would always remember how he would tell it to us and imitate the whooshing sounds with his mouth. One funny aspect for me to go back to the fairy tale was to look at it again and explain it in English, because at home we speak french and so the story was told to me in French.

From this fairy tale, I re-imagined my own which was about three siblings, which I decided to name “The Three Little Peeps” because it was close to the original name of the tale, and these three little peeps were living in the city of Shenzhen in China. The three little peeps were to build their own house security system in order to protect themselves. In my story, a robot turns evil and wants to build an army of robots by kidnapping children. The robot goes to each little peep’s home. The robot manages to break into the first two houses but at the third, he gets stopped by Mr. Teddy. The robot, who does not have the emotions or imagination that humans have, does not know that a Teddy bear needs love and to be treated like a friend, thus is not able to pass this challenge. Eventually, the robot runs out of batteries and is dying. The Three Little Peeps decide to save the robot and to make little robot a good robot again by replacing its bad parts with the rest of Mr. Teddy. And they lived happily ever after.

Process

To make my fairy tale, I made use of Fuse for the creation of my characters. I attributed them more pig-like characteristics in their faces and the proportions of their hands and feet so that it could unify the three siblings together as well as reflect the original story.

For the other props and backgrounds, I hand-drew most of my assets, and a few of them I looked at city backgrounds on the internet and corrected them to the way I wanted to using Photoshop. This took a lot of time to draw and then colouring using colouring pencils, but I believe that this captured a bit of my own aesthetics and things that I enjoy doing. I think that through this project, I really wanted to explore new types of technology and this is why I also did a lot of work in software rather than doing everything manually using my hands.

For this project, I saved my characters from Fuse to the CC library (which was also a long story to be able to use it) and then imported the characters in Photoshop in order to animate them. From there I exported and imported back into Aftereffects to create the animations. It was my first time working in Aftereffects and trying to do animation, so I tried my best to learn the software as I was going along with the project.

After creating multiple compositions in Aftereffects of the different scenes, I then exported everything again into Adobe Premiere to be able to combine the clips to make my movie and add story titles. Now that I am writing about the project, I realise that I had many different types of assets and was working transitioning between many software.

Work in progress

We started off boiling down our stories to a few situations, and making a story board.

For many of my assets, especially the hand drawn ones, I had to use Photoshop in order to separate them into many layers to be able to animate the parts that I wanted. For example, here are a few shots of the different teddy bear parts I took apart from my original drawing in photoshop – which I then animated for the scene where the robot tears apart Mr. Teddy.

What I enjoyed the most in the process of making my work were the photoshop animations of my characters, because some of them just made me laugh. For instance, the bend over animation:

As I was making initial progress on my work, Marianne had suggested to me to add some animations to my own drawings so that it would fit with my 3D elements in the piece, and not look ‘flat’. I started out by animating the smoke in the house that I made as well as the backgrounds changing with the time of the day. I also animated my “Game Over” scene so that it could flash and be more alive. Those were one of the first steps I took in using Aftereffects animation. I had first separated the layers in my drawing in Photoshop and added the animation part in Aftereffects.

Progression in Aftereffects of my work flow and adding compositions:

Challenges

One of the main challenges that I faced was time, because it demanded a lot of time to work in all the different mediums that I used. But as I was also not familiar with the software, it took me some time to research more into using them as well invest time into making use of them. I did really like the fact that I was allowed to explore a new medium and challenge myself in this way. I do think that I learnt a lot by doing, and applying the things learnt during class demo, and I hope to be able to make more things using these programs in the future!

A challenge was that sometimes I forgot to save my work in aftereffects, and when the program stopped responding at times, it made me really sad, especially at the start ~ this is also why I have so many versions of the compositions and the progressions as shown above because I then started ‘save as’ to keep old versions as well as new versions.

Another challenge that I had was using Photoshop to place animations on my Fuse characters. For some reason, Photoshop was really slow to playback the animated characters, and so I found that what was easiest was just to export the short movies in order to watch the animations afterwards and see whether I liked them or not, and start again.

As much as I thought it was challenging to work with all my different assets, it was interesting for me to see the progress that I was making, and how I could turn simple drawings into 3D objects and animated beings that could interact with other 3D objects. I think that the amazing amount of possibilities that one is able to do with technology is impressive.

Improvements

Moving forward with this fairy tale project, I definitely think that there is a lot of room to play with sound effects and integrate the sound more smoothly to the entire piece. I think that voice over would also be nice in the story-telling parts (reading out the text). One part that could definitely be expanded on is the introduction of the characters and their security system, because I only had them in the building stage, but I definitely would like to draw more assets and include scenes where each one’s security system is more visible, especially for the character who has the all-in-one face, fingerprint and voice recognition system. In that way, I do also want to have another scene rather than the “game over” for that particular character.

Another supplement that I would like to add to my fairy tale would be the movement of the camera, because at the moment it is static shots, but I want to be able to play with where the camera is positioned to capture my scenes differently and change the perspective from which the audience watches the fairy tale.

A last addition to the fairy tale that I want to include is the credits page that I didn’t get to include yet, but which would have the credits to the football ball that I used, as well as music from Freesound.com.

Thoughts

I really enjoyed taking this class and I was really happy to be able to see how everyone’s story had changed and progressed through the course of the class. Everybody’s stories are so different and the storytelling directions taken by everyone is very varied, it was very cool to see how hard everyone was working.

Even though my own fairy tale is not quite complete, or not yet reached the quality I want it to be, I do think that I am pleased so far with what I have been able to make and I want to continue to improve on it to make it better and better.

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