Long Time to Make Short
January 19, 2016
Animation is no joke! This stuff takes an abundance of time and an incredible amount of patience.
I decided I wanted to be an animator
I always loved Pixar movies. I am truly a kid at heart and have no intention of ever growing up. When high school was over I wanted to go to Drexel for animation. Alas, at the time they were very competitive and I was not accepted. For years I tried to put my other skills to use. Animation was still calling my name. Finally I enrolled in Rasmussen College's Digital Design and Animation program and began my journey.
So you think its cool and want to do it too?
I would never discourage anyone from doing anything. I just have to include a disclaimer that animation is not easy. You really have to have a passion for it. It is a constant learning process. But, I love it! I love bringing my ideas to life and sharing them with others!
Just an idea...
I started this animation over a year ago. Yes, you heard right a YEAR! (for 5 minutes) If you click the image above you can watch my first pitch for it for school. Then I developed it more and wrote the script and started my characters and made a second pitch:
In the second pitch (click the image above to watch) you can see the first incarnation of my scene and characters. At the time I was really happy with what I had done. I had sketched my characters, modeled them and brought them to life! To even render the bit of animation that is seen in this first attempt it took 2 weeks on a mini renderfarm of several laptops I set up. From conception to completion of just this first part took about 3 months.
The Final Version
I took a couple month break from working on this project because of other classes and working full time. When I got back into it though I was full force for 4 months so admittedly it took more like 7 months of production but a year from concept to completion. Those 4 months were full of crying, cursing and all kinds of technical difficulties. The biggest thing I ran into is my beast of a computer ( Dell Precision Workstation m4700) was estimating about 8 months of rendering time! 8 months! Besides the fact that this was an assignment for class I couldn't wait 8 more months to see it finished and have my computer incapacitated with rendering it for that long. After much stress I was able to acquire a loan from my amazing parents to get this Boxx Render Pro 2 portable renderer.Setting up this thing was another temper tantrum for me! The guy in the how to video did it in 9 minutes. It took me about 48 hours! The lesson I learned from this part of the project was to follow ALL directions. I thought I could skip some network file setup and that I am sure is what caused my biggest issue.
After it was set up I offloaded half of the animation to my Render Pro and let the other half render on my laptop and it took about a month and a half of rendering. I learned a lot about Network rendering through this process and am really happy with my purchase from Boxx.
Of course when it was all done rendering from 3D Studio Max ( I rendered individual still frames as .tga files) then I had to import all my still frames into Adobe Premiere to render them out as video. I thought this should have been the easiest part. But, of course more technical difficulties ensued. There was an unknown error while rendering which was fun because when it is unknown, well; you know you don't know what the problem is... After I found 1 (OUT OF 7,649 FRAMES) was corrupt for some reason I fixed that issue. Then I noticed the audio was off. I finally figured out that somehow when dragging the images onto the timeline every 4th one somehow was 2 frames instead of 1. It took me 2 days to figure out these Premiere issues.
Finally on Monday Jan. 19th 2016 I was in the home stretch. I found some more issues of things not looking right with some of my frames. Instead of re-rendering them in 3DS Max ( which as we now know is super time intensive) I decided to import the rendered video into Photoshop and clean it up that way. That took about 4 more hours.
Then I added my final touches with transitions and was ready for a final render! I started planning for this concept actually when I wrote the script for one class in 2014. So, it really was more than a year of this labor of love to be finished! I am so excited at the way it came out ( finally) for my first short.
If you have ever been to my apartment you know that the scene for this is a replica of my kitchen. I loved creating it! In the second version I added a lot more details. We got a new white fridge (I changed it from the silver one in the previous version). I also added magnets and cereal and things to make it look more full and realistic. There are even some fun little Easter Eggs and a goof.
1.On the Fridge you can clearly see the magnets spell out Happy Birthday Izzy but I also put my initals and the year ( MC15)
2. All of the clocks in the animation are set to 12:13 because that is my wedding anniversary
3. The back of the cereal box which you can't see in any of the camera views in the actual animation is funny. It says: Did you know? Oranges are Orange, O's taste better than X's, There is no cereal in this box but if there was kids and adults would love it's orange flavored goodness.
I wrote this blog not as a tale of caution if you want to be an animator, but; to show that animation takes a lot of work and love. I am very thankful for my parents and husband who put up with me while I was working on this. I will forever remember my first short and all that I learned along the way. I hope you enjoy my short and please leave comments here or on YouTube, and or upvote it on Reddit.