The Plan? I tried out the Oil Painting Filter in Photoshop, so I knew that it looked more like someone drew the image than photographed it. I’m sure it would have saved me some time knowing more about how the Creative Cloud programs work, but I am only a novice. My technique was quite labor intensive (not as detailed as Loving Vincent, obviously) so I still had my work cut out for me.
Starting Animation Saturday
Using the rough cut video I made, I captured every-other frame throughout. At first, I captured the frame and numbered it (1-1, 1-2, for scene one, etc.). After I got up to about 100 I thought there had to be an easier way. Of course there was. When I looked at the name of the frame when I captured it from the video (before saving it) I noticed that it was quite detailed about where it came from in the timeline of the video and it was numbered. I didn’t have to number it or anything! So I saved precious seconds for each frame after that by simply saving it without renaming it.
Next, I had to take each frame/still into Photoshop to convert it into an oil painting. For one image you could click on Filter-Stylize-Oil Painting. Then one can choose a range of 1-9 for four elements of the filter: stylization, cleanliness, scale, and bristle detail. So to make an image look different, I thought it important to change these parameters at times. They were adjusted “at random” during my process.
After a few hours of doing this, I made sure I knew any keyboard short cuts to go through this menu process. It still became mind-numbing and breaks were needed regularly (and to get some other responsibilities taken care of, so it worked out OK, I guess).
Time was running on (not marching, but running or sprinting), so I had to decide what parts of the story could be cut and keep the plot line intact. Out went many great puns and references to song titles and lyrics related to Jefferson Airplane’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us” even though it was so obvious that these needed to be in – the required line I had to use was, “Nothing is going to stop us.” Well, initially that was obvious to me, but I sacrificed the finer points of my script to shorten the film in order to get the project done – you know, working (better?) under pressure.
I cut the part of the story that built tension when our hero encountered another obstacle. I cut the great gag about Bingo. (“Great”?) I cut some lines from each of the characters.
My story went from nearly 5 minutes down to about 3 minutes. Not to better the story (unless you really don’t like puns, then you would say it was better – but not all cuts were puns!). No, not to better the story but simply to get it done because I was running out of time.
Music & Sound
I had to take the audio into Audacity to change my voice to make it fit two additional characters, and keep my original voice for one character. By changing the sound of the voices, it changed the pace slightly – enough so that when I tried to fit the stills back into the timeline there was an issue with the lip-sync. Once in a while I had to add or delete a frame to make it look OK (not good, not perfect, just OK – you know, no time working under pressure).
I thought of sound effects for a couple actions, but that got thrown out.
I knew I needed some music of some sort at least at the start. When everything is silent at the beginning before any dialogue, it just was boring, uninteresting, and a little disturbing to me. I needed to help set the mood for the story. I opened Garage Band and searched for anything ‘techno’ that would fit a sci-fi movie. This was at 6 p.m. Sunday with a 7 p.m. deadline to upload the video.
I came up with a few combinations from the loops available when I noticed it was 6:50 p.m. I exported the track to my computer and threw a little of it into the opening and into another part where tension or action needed more than the dialogue. I think I also put a little at the close of the movie (I’ll have to watch it again to make sure – yeah, I haven’t seen it since I worked on it.)
Other aspects that I originally wanted to do included animating the credits, and partially animating the 48×2 opening sent to me (and required to use in the opening). I thought it would be a good touch to have it transform from the video version they sent to an animated version in the style of the rest of my video. No time for that. I left their opening just as is. I threw my credits into a frame at the end – but that was simple: all I had to do was put my name all over the place! Ha! I got one thing simple!
Overall, was it simply getting it done quickly because it was due? or was it “working better under pressure”? I had to make some cuts, some compromises. That will always happen with projects – nothing is perfect. However, I cannot say that I work better under pressure. I doubt anyone really does. When time is limited, many aspects must be compromised, They end up lower on the priority list than expected. Often that is disappointing.
The best way is to not let yourself get into an extremely limited time frame for projects. Time is limited, just don’t take that to an extreme. Keep an eye on your responsibilities, your priorities, and your long-range plans for each.
Note: While writing this, I went back to my final video to get some stills to show you. When I watched my video, it was corrupted, or bad in places because it did not render properly. So I sent in a bad video.
On the “good news” side, it was not eligible for competition anyway. I went through the procedure to ID my video to the 48×2 people. Then when I tried to upload my video to the Dropbox given to me for the competition, I used the Dropbox app. I drug my file over to Dropbox – and it disappeared. I could not find it in my files, and I could not do anything with the title of the file in Dropbox. It did not indicate that it was uploading or anything.
I deleted the app. I went back into Premiere Pro and re-rendered another copy of my video. Then I went to Dropbox online and uploaded my video. It took two tries because something technical happened and it stopped uploading.
The next day (Monday) I received an email telling me my video was not eligible for competition because the video I uploaded did not match the ID of the video I indicated. I asked, they checked, but it was not the same file ID even though it was the same video, so it did not meet competition rules.
[A couple days later, I finally got my video to render like it should be.]