Saturday, April 28, 2007

Multiplane Camera Effect

More scenes animated on the "Crawford the Cat" project this week.

This 7 second clip features Crawford and Harriet floating on balloons toward a castle. I really like this scene because of the “multiplane” effect G. Brian Reynolds used. The multiplane process is a photographic technique that moves a number of pieces of artwork past the camera at various speeds and at various distances from one another to create a three-dimensional effect. We are able to create this effect fairly easily in the computer these days. In the past, this effect had to be accomplished on a special multiplane camera stand. The effect - however it's made - always makes the scene more fun.

Click here to see the ANIMATION.

Below is an over-scan of the scene that shows how the individual multiplane layers are moving.

Click here to see the unframed ANIMATION.

~Russ Harris

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Storyboard to Screen

It all starts with this – a storyboard drawing based on the script.

Next comes a layout drawing. Sometimes it comes directly from the storyboard or sometimes it’s just inspired by the storyboard and may look significantly different. In this case, the layout drawing is pretty much the same as the storyboard panel – just cleaned up and fleshed-out. After that, backgrounds and animation can begin.

This background was rendered by G. Brian Reynolds directly on the Flash stage. (Flash is the animation program we use.) The scene was then animated. Most all of the animation in the scene was generated on the Flash stage as well. The exception being the character’s dress – which was hand drawn on paper and then scanned into the program

Click here to see the ANIMATION.

The art is from "Crawford the Cat - Crawford's Classics" - a TV special the studio is producing.
Stop over to our HANDYCAT Production Blog at Frederator Studios and see some scenes from the HANDYCAT short we made for "Random! Cartoons." It's a show featuring 39 new shorts - coming later this year to Nickelodeon.
More next week.

~Russ Harris

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Song For Crawford

“Crawford’s Classics” is an hour-long TV Special our studio is producing. This week several scenes were completed for the show. It features Crawford the Cat - a character we developed a few years ago for a series of “how-to” shorts.

At the time we produced the shorts, several songs were written for the series, but not all were used. When we needed a song for Crawford to sing in this show, we went to the “vault” and pulled out “We’re Floating Away.” It’s a whimsical song about being carried away on balloons. The song was written by G. Brian Reynolds and Pete Schmutte.

To see a few seconds of the song sequence, Click here.

The vocals are G. Brian Reynolds, Teresa Giles, and Becky Martin Graham. Music by Pete Schmutte. Nice work guys!

~Russ Harris

Saturday, April 7, 2007

More Backgrounds

This week at the studio, animation continued on the trailer for Crawford the Cat - “Crawford’s Classics.” All the art is coming along nicely, and the few scenes that are already finished are being edited together in Final Cut – the editing software we use at the studio. Final Cut makes pulling all the scenes together pretty easy. The Flash scenes are converted to QuickTime movies and then imported into Final Cut for editing. We’re producing Crawford’s Classics in high-definition (HD), and it’s a first for us. The difference in the color and clarity promises to be dramatic. It’s really noticeable to me after watching a scene on the computer screen and then watching the same scene play back on the standard television (SD) monitors – quite a difference.

But no matter what the format - HDTV or SDTV, G. Brian Reynolds’ backgrounds are always looking good. Nice work, Brian!

There’s a fire going in the kitchen fireplace, Click to see the animation.

~Russ Harris