Lately I've been doing a lot of brainstorming on a film I'm working on (correction: should be working on), for Howard Beckerman's 3rd year animation class. Howard's basically letting us run loose & come up with whatever we want. The only direction Howard gave us was that the film has to be exactly 90 seconds. After thinking it over for a little while, I had a slight inkling of what I wanted to do...
Ever since seeing Fantasia for the first time many years ago, I always wanted to try animating to music. I love pantomime & the timing is already there to work off of. Why not give it a try now? So I picked a piece of music that was fun to listen to, had a solid beat to follow, had little quirks in the melody that could supply plenty of opportunities for gags & was EXACTLY 90 seconds long: 'The Royal March of the Lion' from Camille Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals suite.
In a nutshell, the story is about this smug lion that goes around the jungle scaring the other animals out of their wits by roaring at them. He's pretty cocky & overly confident with himself, until he hears something louder than he is...
I've already storyboarded the entire thing & made a rough animatic to follow, but before I can start animating the characters, I need to pinpoint their final designs first. At this point I think I'm really close, but I want to play around a bit & get comfortable with something before I start animating them. I'm looking at a lot T.S. Sullivant & Bill Peet stuff for inspiration, & my awesome character-designer friend Kaukab has been helping me out a bit too.
I sketched these out in Photoshop earlier this evening, playing around a bit with the designs. I think I'm aiming a bit towards the one on the lower right, middle left & bottom (or some sort of combination between the three). Something appealing, yet flexible & fun to draw a million times in a row without getting too hung up on detail.
I also got to work on layouts & backgrounds. I never really did backgrounds before, so it's definitely going to be a big obstacle to get through. The neurotic in me wants to make this process as easy & pain-free as possible, but the masochist in me loves a good challenge. I've been studying a lot of pictures of jungles & some old Disney backgrounds for reference, so maybe that'll help me out a bit, or at least give me something to aim for or to jump off of.
I'm hoping to get started this weekend, & I need as much time as I can get. The films are supposed to be done by the end of April, so once that's done with I'll put mine up here, as well as provide links to the other's when/if they put theirs online too. I'll post more stuff from this project when it comes through.