Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Hearts Warming!

Hey hey you all!

The CotN team wishes you a merry Xmas and a happy new year.

We have something kinda cute to share today, and that is that Spirit has been working on some animations.

So here you have her! adult Moonie walking her way in the night.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Bronydoc, finished!

Yes Baby, The team is back on the track!

Lion has just finished the Bronydoc work, and we will be ready to get back to  CotN very soon. We will probably let a week pass before diving into this again (on Christmas vacation, probably).

Lion needs a breather badly, because he is been animating non stop since April. But! that will pay off on the final quality on the project.

In the meanwhile, since I am more advanced and Lion doesn't need me so much in the project until new scenes are packed, I will be running a very short community project, to keep myself busy, but not too busy.


You can check the comic project TOWER OF TIME here

http://toweroftime.blogspot.ca/

The first phase  it is almost completed, and this weekend will enter the drawing phase.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Lion´s Birthday!

Today is Lion´s birthday!

He is the main animator of "Children of the NIght" , though his ponysona is not in the shortfilm for now.  So let's all wish a happee B-day  to him!
 ;D


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Progress post

Hello there everypony. Spirit here, with your nightly report.

I have been receiving some messages and emails lately, and I find it necessary to write a post about the matter.

Many people is asking for a release date for CotN,  and/or information:

How long till it's done?
How is it progressing?
When is the ERD?

This questions are legit, since we haven't provided a progress report in some time.

The thing is that Lion is still  working on the Bronycon Documentary.   I cannot tell you what content he is been producing, but I maybe can tell that  the ammount of animation  kept increasing, that is something normal in production lines.

This is the reason for which we have been silent for months. 

I progressed the video as far as I could, modified backgrounds, reviewed effects, did extras from our wishlist... etc and now I reached the maximal point of progress on my side. I cannot do any more unless I get more animation clips, for which I need to wait, since Lion's plate is full.

 This is the exact reason for which we didn't wanted to give any deadlines to this project. Because we are aiming for max quality (it is a portfolio piece, after all), so we cannot rush it or seek extra help, since the point of this is to test and show what we can do, and use it as a sample, and it cannot be but our work.

Of course, we are gonna finish it, we have been working as hard as we can, consulting external help, improving shots,  correcting as much as we can, and solving problems as they appear. 

I could tell you that I did two multi-card parallax shots, increased the size of one background, added one extra global light effect, reviewed the tweens and found an alternate method that makes it look better,  I also corrected some of the color keys, and found a new composition rule, other than the golden section that will help to modify some scenes.  But that kind of stuff is something that is hard to decifer if you are not on my worklog.

I thank you all for your patience and be so bold to ask you to wait a little longer. 


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Power of Teh Blocks!

Hi All!  Lionheart here.  I didnt realize it had been SO long!  My apologies if it seemed abandoned, that's not the case at all.  The Bronies documentary is advancing and some of you might have already seen some of the animation during the EQLA screening.

From what I heard it went rather well and the response was just as great :)

We'll be slowly picking up production on Children of the Night as the documentary's workload disappears and we'll be able to give this project the love it truely deserves.

In the meantime, some of you guys have been pretty busy.  We see some fanart pop up left and right and we answer to as many as we can.  One of them popped up earlier today and seeing as I recently picked up on this strange squared-up world, I thought it deserved  a mention.



Yes, I have picked up minecraft recently.  While a bit aprehensive I found it was a nice outlet for some of my creative juices.  It combines what I used to like about some dungeon games.  I guess I would call it an Adventurous Lego Digital Designer Dungeon of Cubez.  Or something.

But anyway, this piece of art was made by Shawn Martin in 3 hours using the Creative mode.  Having done tons of pixel art before, working on something like this BEING a pixel must have been quite the planning challenge.  I like the little bed as a reference below ;)

Again, I apologize for the long delays between posts and even longer delays for the production.  I miss this project and really want to get back to it.  You guys are awesome!

-Lion

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Biggest surprise EVER

Hello there everypony!

Something awesome happened today, that I feel I have to share.




Hello Everypony!

Today I received a note here through DA, and by the time I read the content and clicked the link, my jaw made a hole on the floor. For I got the biggest (and pleasing) surprise ever.

Someone made a song out of the picture "Tangled" 



I think you should hear it for yourselves:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43q8GrQZd5w

I really don't know what to say, because for me, this is beyond my most optimistic dreams. Usually, I listen to music and that brings images to my mind, which drives me intro drawing them .  Having music made out of one of my drawings is... just incredible, something that is completely out of my reach, as I am no musician,. so thank you SO  SO MUCH  :iconshadow-dragon-3d: for this. You really made my day, and probably my whole year.

Best

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Discord Flash puppet open source

This does not exactly belong to the CoTN project, but it has to do with "Heaven's Light" Which is Spiritto's animation. In order to design young Discord, she needed an adult puppet to reference on first. The puppet is an Open source resource now, so you can DOWNLOAD it here




This means that slowly but steadily both projects keep advancing.
Our dear Flash fellow,  :iconmabon-tail:,
 Has been so kind to provide us with CS4, CS3 and Flash 8 version that you can all now download from the following links.


 
CS3 Version
 https://dl.dropbox.com/u/25132556/Discord%20build%20open%20source%20Flash%208.fla

CS4 Version

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/25132556/Discord%20build%20open%20source%20CS4.fla

Flash 8 Version
 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Come Little Children, Spanish


I have seen many translations of the main song to Spanish on Youtube. 

I have made plans with a Spanish voice actress to dub the song to Spanish when the video will be out. But before that, I needed to make translation of the song, which wasn't easy to do. 

It is not exactly like the original one (adaptation is required for rhyme, metric and theme) But I guess this can be considered the official "Children of the Night" Spanish version. 

I took the translation base from the European Spanish version of "Come Little Children" with some slights modifications and completing the gaps.


Vamos pequeños
Que yo os llevaré
Niños venid a mi lado.

Venid conmigo
Y descubrireis
Un nuevo mundo encantado.

Brilla la luna
Que os ha de guiar
lejos de penas y llantos.

No lloreis niños
Y venid a mi
Yo os calmaré, con mi canto

Rápido niños,
nos vamos de aquí.
Nunca sabrán que ha pasado

Vuestra es la noche
de un reino feliz.
Mi sueño se ha realizado.

Vamos pequeños,
que yo os llevaré
Niños venid a mi lado

Venid conmigo
y descubrireis
Un nuevo mundo encantado

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Children of the Night - Preview

Hi all!  Lion Here!

    With all of what is going on, we decided (Spirit and I) To offer all you patient fans something to sink your teeth into.  A little preview of what's to come when we finally get it all done.

Let us know what you think! :D


-Lion

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Annoucement!

Greetings everypony, Lion here with an annoucement.

Some of you might remember that I mentionned a slowdown in the production of CotN.  I can now say why:

My talents as an animator have been drafted for the animated parts of the Bronycon Documentary by Michael Brockhoff and Lauren Faust with Tara Strong and John DeLancie.

While I am superduper excited at the opportunity to work with all those great names, it also means that instead of a slowdown, Children of the Night will have to be put on hiatus for a few weeks while I give the Bronies and Pegasisters around the world the best work I can possibly give.

Hopefully you understand that it is a great opportunity for me both as a Brony and an animator.  I cannot share what I am doing on the documentary however... but from what's been done so far and with the reaction to the work that's been done, everyone's really happy with it!

Thank you all, and trust me when I say: Children of the night will be completed!  Just a bit later than we thought ^^;

I'll try and keep the blog alive with some info left and right that we have not talked about yet but it will be a difficult task.

Thanks again for your incredible patience with us.. it shall be rewarded, I promise.

-Lion

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Second-to-Last killer shot

But not the last shot to be done!

Greetings everypony!

    Lion here with the mandatory progress report!  Some of you stumbled upon the stream in which I started that shot.  Well, it took a long time to do.. a LONG long time.. for many reasons.  One of which might be seen as a bad news, but trust me, it is not.  

    Something appeared in my workplate.. something I could not, in my right mind, refuse.  But despite it's awesomeness, it also means that Children of the night will be going at half speed.  I'm technically the only one with work still left to do (If Spirit starts to animate, I'll still have to go over her work and slow down my own shots for tweaks. Plus she'd have a steep slope to climb) and I'm doing it as well as I can.  Not to mention I'll probably have to animate that little intro that popped up.

   Of course, flash does not always cooperate but that's not news.  So here's a little still frame of that shot as it will appear:





Enjoy everypony!

Cya next update!

-Lion

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Voice Actress found!



Hello Everypony!

Thank you to everybody who sent an audition. We received more than we expected, and it has been very difficult to choose between the candidates.

We are really touched for the support and great attitude that you guys are showing towards our animation project. 


I am really happy to announce that we have finally found a voice for Gari!


The name of the actress that will be playing Gari is SARAH WILLIAMS  (again, I have to say, it is been really difficult to choose between the candidates, due to the amazing good quality of the recordings we received).

:iconEllybethe:

I have tried to reply to everybody who sent an audio file, if  you didn't receive an email from me, I am really really sorry  and I thank you from here.

Now it is time for me to get back to the drawing board.  There 's just much to do!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Looking for a voice actress


Hello Everypony!

We are presently looking for a voice actress for "Children of the Night".
She will be voicing a cheerful, yet tired mare.(adult Gari is telling us the story, reading a dusty old book in candelight, the moment is solem, and full of the memories and emotion of an eternal "child". (Think a little bit of the Childlike empress from "The Neverending Story").


Here you have some examples of how she generally behaves and interacts:




If you are interested, please, send a voice demo with the following phrases to

yodevorogintonics@gmail.com

"One day, the youngest one, sadened by our daily struggles,  proposed to form a new colony where all of us would grow strong and happy(this said with actual excitement).  But the eldest one forbid it."

What we are looking for is someone who can really pull off a good acting and build a character through her voice. Good recording equipment will be a must, because we cannot really work with something from a mono microphone with low quality and the average sound problems.

In order to keep this agile,I plan to listen to audtions for a week and then make a decission to pick which would fit best.

The chosen candidate will be announced on the blog as soon as we find the voice we are looking for.

If you have a nice voice and want to be part of the project, we would love to hear you!


Spiritto

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

More Progress!

Greetings Everypony!

Lion here with another little progress update!

Yesterday was a second attempt at streaming an animation production for Children of the Night and I must say, it was a success!  Not only did I get to answer some questions directly but I now have a recording to help out other animators.

The start was lost due ot Flash bringing Procaster down with it. But There is still close to 2 hours of video available, which I'll embed here for you!

Watch live streaming video from lionheartcartoon at livestream.com

This shot is the last one that needed to be animated from the Orphanage sequence.. the sequence that is a good 45 seconds of animation by itself.

I'll try and do more streams in the future, too!  I can be found on Deviantart and Twitter, where I usually announce a stream.

Till then, enjoy this little video that shows we are NOT slacking :D

Lion, Signing out.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Music of the Night


Hello there everypony!


Tonight I am bringing you something really amazing.

Remember the music post that I made some time ago?  Well, some musical talented friends have sent us some amazing versions of "Come Little Children", so amazing, that it would be a shame not to share them!

So, with their permission, here I bring you some music of the night:

Let's start with this awesome orchestral version, the NIGHT WALTZ, by Wiimote-hero-iii in deviantart, my jaw hit the floor when I heard it.

Children of the Night Waltz

This other version has a very special feeling, mysterious and a notch more sad than the original one. I simply love it. It evoques a moment of loss, or at least, that is what I picture. This was submitted by a mysterious person called " The Waltzing Cat"


The,Waltzing Cat; Children of the night

And last, but not least, this super piano aarangement that  Chloe Quigley sent a while ago. It is way better than the one I did, and that is an inspiration.

Children of the Night, piano


I am still astounded by the generosity and spontaneity of  the fellow artists. What I love about music, is that each piece has a part of the author, expressing a different and unique feeling every time that makes me picture new stories when I listen anew. A gradious Waltz, a touching loss and an elegant and swifty piano huming.

I recall the WillyKit lullaby (new thundercats series) and I wonder if "Come Little Children" can be switched from sad  into happy. Maybe I should try next time. But before that, there is a video to finish.




Monday, August 6, 2012

Progress report!

Greetings Everypony!

Lion here with a little progress report!

We finished 3 more shots that were added to the final timeline and we're almost under a minute of animation left to do!  It's getting there.. it's getting there!!  YAY!

I'm currently deep into the animation of the Orphanage scene, where all the new shots have been added.. only 3 are left in there and they are, in that order, HARD, medium and baby-easy.  So While I'm sure I'll have at least ONE done this week, I'm pretty sure can make it TWO!

So while you wait, here's a little sleeping Spirit filly to keep you company as Luna sings her entrancing lullaby :)






This is Lion, signing off!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Meet the colts

Hello there once more!

Today I present you the colts of CoTN. It is the first time I do an actual animation with the puppet, and in spite of not being too fancy, I am quite proud of the small achievement.






What the... DERPY! How did you get into this story?  You wanna follow Luna too?



Saturday, August 4, 2012

The final effort


Hello Everypony!

Today I am writting once again to give you a progress report.

The orphanage sequence is almost finished, and after that, only the Moonlight Ballet will last, and Children of the Night will be completed!

However, this last two sequences were the most difficult ones in every level. Camera moves, ponies that make full body rotations, Luna making barrel rolls... a sweet challenge I must admit.

We made a very interesting discovery that could help us to learn about the "missing ingredient" that separates the show from the fanworks. And those were the "Evolution of a scene" videos. However, we could only find one out of five, since they were all made private.  (the cloud prank Pinkie and Dash played on Spike).





Oh well..., c'est a vie. Next time something official is posted I shall keep my eyes and ears open.

Also, we have the 12 colts and fillies.. and Lion is trainng me so I can show you so me colts in a little animation  that I am trying to craft.


Spiritto Logging off,  since she has lots of clouds to paint.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

We have the children!

Hello Everypony!

Just yesterday we finished the builds of the 12 children. It has taken way more time than I could calculate, since Flash drawing tools are more than deceiving.

*grab pen toon, draw a starting point, have the vector starting wherever it wants, instead of the point I chose*+*select one bezier point and watch everything dissapear* repeat this formula over and over and build up some hatred for Flash and his inventor.  *cough cough, ahem*

So, here you are an example of some of the newly buid colts and fillies. These ones are not animated, (lack of time) but you can get an idea.



Here you can see Springsign, Night Light and Candlelight!


I  watched the show very closely and compared the designs to the CMC builds, to  make sure they would fit in that universe.

Also, I went to Faust's DA and checked carefully, minding the shapes she usually adds for her characters and trying to translate that as well as I could for the children.

NOTE:  This picture doesn't show the polished versions, with corrected vectors and cutie marks.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Music time! downloadable goodies

Spiritto salutes everypony!
 
I have been playing around with the Midi Keyboard, and since there was no MIDI version of "Come Little Children" available, I made my own.

Of course, my musical talent is "primary school" level, but I managed to get a simple music , a MIDI and a wav file.

If you are a musical brony, you might want to play with this a little bit (if you do, send it,please!) we would love to hear it.

Music sheet



MIDI file, Come Little Children

Please, note that the WAV and MIDI files are entirely different (in instruments and notes). And they are only meant as a sample for people to play with them.

 WAV File, Come Little Children



Original Lyrics: Edgar Alan Poe
Melody: James Corner,  (Hocus Pocus OST)

MIDI arrangement: Spiritto

Song used in the video: Arrangement by Kate Covington


That's it for today! have fun, I sure did. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mane 3

Hi Everypony!  I hope all's going well in your corner of Equestria! :)

It's been hot here.. in terms of temperature.  The week's been  hard as was concentrating. BUT, we are still working on the video.

Most of the last few days were spent making the puppets of the foals that will appear.  Luna's not completely done in terms of animation but the shots require those bundles of joy as characters.  While they all have the same build, they require time as their manes are all different and we want them to look good.  While we know which foals will be up close, we never know how it will look exactly when we're done so we might switch one for the other.

We have, however, established the 3 main (Mane 3) fillies that appear in the orphanage and concentrated our efforts on those first.

Here's Magpie (Maggie).  She's built using the same terminology as Luna but all foals have one less leg joint so it makes them simpler but still tricky.  Thankfully, the timing doesnt change too much.

I had fun while making them and when all 3 of the Mane Cast was done, I did a small test with the puppets.. both for fun and to see if it held together.   From left to right, Maggie, Spirit and Gari.

Tell us how you think it looks! :)



I think they're super cute ^^

Enjoy :D

-Lion, signing out.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fashion of the night

I simply love to exchange tips with other aritsts.

I talked with Trish yesterday and she gave me some fantastic pointers about lineart.

We made some tests on SAI, and here you can see the result. We created a couple of cloacks for our respective ponies, that would match their personality, yet following a night theme.


Spirit is mostly practical, so any attrezzo she might wear will reflect that.  THe lineart of this drawing was given by Trish, in order to give me a reference point to follow.


Gari is the most poweful of the children of the night. So here you have the great and powerful Gari.

This drawing is made by Gari (Trish) herself!  We found funny that she would have a witch costume. It makes her more Halloween-y


Thursday, July 19, 2012

'Pan Shots'

GOOOOOOOOD Morning Equestria!

How's everypony doing?

Lion here with a prod update and a little bit of tech talk :)  With the project progressing and us being in a butterzone in terms of production we're now tackling some of the more challenging shots of the video: The pans. 

We call those 'Killers' mostly due to the details that they require but also the animation.  Pan shots like that, in 2D are essentially a cheat of the perspective to 'fool' the viewer into beleiving that the world is more than just a flat plane.  It can be acheived with parralax scrolling but in this case it is acheived by tweaking the perspective as the 'camera' moves up.  Whereas in fact it's the image that is being moved down via translation.

As always I have a plan of it layed down which is the one that was seen in the animatic.  I already have a basic grid and a more-than basic idea of what I want.  Thanks to that, I was able to then animate a rough Luna sketch to get an idea of the timing.  That will SAVE MY BUTT later on.  On the line-art though, I decided the old Canterlot would be smaller.. less buildings and the castle would be bigger.  Of course, I had a previous shot to use as a reference as to which building goes where.  I made a MAP of old canterlot as to NOT get lost.

With Spirit warmed up in painting she painstakingly colors over the lines that I had layed down.  A few notes left and right as reminders of what I saw when sketching will also help her give a more accurate depiction that will fit the animation.  Check out those little details.

Now animation-wise, the background is on a separate layer for ease of access and having it move while I animate would be distracting.  It's a nice thing to have if there's interaction but putting the background in the character's symbol is a little nightmare in terms of positionning.  SO, I can't rely on having it there.  That's where the rough animation sketch saves my tush as it becomes my main reference for laying down the animation in the correct timing.  Keyframe galore everyone!  Cuz essentially, Luna's moving but going nowhere as I animate there.. she's just gesticulating over a still BG.. which, if not prepared for it, would be a bit depressing.

Still, it took quite a few passes to get that one working well. But it got there.

Here's a peek at a frame of the animation after full render composited shot.

When put after her little singing solo, which is already animated, it looked magical.  Hopefully you guys will think so too :)

Thanks for reading ^^

-Lion, Out.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fanart of the night 2

Hello everypony!


Here I bring you a new update, with more "Fanart of the night"

We are really impressed with it. We didn't expected so many wonderful drawings to appear from our animation.







Source



Source



Source



Source


Source


Source

Source

Source

Monday, July 16, 2012

Come little Children, the song

Hello everypony!

Today's post is all about the song. 


THe song that we are using in this animation is sung by Kate Covington. Who granted us permission to use her work in our video. 

It comes originally from the movie Hocus Pocus, and the melody was composed by the incredible James Horner (Spirit's favorite composer, since he did the OST of Casper). 


There is a debate about the song's lyrics. Some say that they  come from Mr. Edgar Alan Poe and others than they  were written by  John Debney for the movie Hocus Pocus. 

Kate did the arrangements for this song and recreated the soundscore in her home studio, you can download the MP3 here:



and see the original version by Kate here





COME LITTLE CHILDREN

By Edgar Alan Poe


Come Little Children
I'll Take Thee Away, Into A Land
Of Enchantment

Come Little Children
The Time's Come To Play
Here In My Garden
Of Magic

Follow Sweet Children
I'll Show Thee The Way
Through All The Pain And
The Sorrows

Weep Not Poor Children
For Life Is This Way
Murdering Beauty And
Passions

Hush Now Dear Children
It Must Be This Way
To Weary Of Life And
Deceptions

Rest Now My Children
For Soon We'll Away
into The Calm And
The Quiet

Come Little Children
I'll Take Thee Away, Into A Land
Of Enchantment

Come Little Children
The Time's Come To Play
Here In My Garden
Of Shadows

Sunday, July 15, 2012

F.A.Q

Hello everypony!

We have received many,many,many  questions about the animation, and since it is no longer possible to answer them in an individual way, I am writing this little F.A.Q to try and give you the information you are seeking.

1. Are you going to finish it?

Yes, of course. 60% of it is done already.

2.  When are you going to release it?

We cannot give a release date because

a)  That is putting too much pressure upon us, and it will affect the quality in a negative way.
b)  It´s our first really big project like that and we don´t know how long it SHOULD or WOULD take.  We´d like to give and answer, but we really don´t know.
c)  Good and tasty things need time.

3. Are you gonna finish Heaven's Light?

Yes, yes we are. The reasons of why we are doing this before Heaven's Light are purely technical, we are doing this animations for the sole purpose of learning, for having fun and increase the quality of both our portfolios . Therefore we need to learn a lot of things in order to make this animations.


4. Which software do you use?

 Mostly Flash and After Effects

 5. Can you animate (insert idea here) next? Now do this animation...

We do not do requests, sorry.   It is not reasonable to ask us to do so, due to the ammount of work and time required to do such thing.

6. Is this going to be a full movie or an episode?

No, it is mostly gonna be the song that you saw in the animatic, and maybe a ittle something more if we manage to gather the elements we need.

7. What will happen to the children?

XD, you will find out in good time. Isn't it more  fun to find out by yourselves than asking for a spoiler?

8. She is dropping them to their deaths! Is she taking their souls?

That is not the story I am telling, but I believe that anyone can interpretate it as they want to. Whatever you like best.




Tuesday, July 10, 2012

LipSynching

Helloes ponydom!

Lion here with more on animating and the project :)

I've been told that lipsynching is tough.  Very tough.  BUT, it depends on the mindset, really.  Lipsynching is more about the FEEL of a sound than the sound itself.  If you take every letter or syllable of a sentence, the lips are going to move so fast you're gonna leave the audience in epileptic shock x.x

It's not uncommon for me to put a lip or mouth shape 2 or 3 frames before the actual cue as to act like some sort of anticipated movement and then 'morph' the shape, so to speak.

In Flash, I take the audio and put it in its layer.. like one is supposed to.  Of course, thanks to the animatic, I have a precise framecount and frame to start as well as finish.  That audio layer is then put in 'stream' from the properties so I can hear it while scrubbing the timeline.

Notice I also have the lines from my freehand animation test over everything in lineart form (orange) so that I constantly have my guides to help get the cues right.  I also have a 'lipsynch' layer.  That's basically the mouth and/or jaw.

For this particualr shot, I pre-animated the whole symbol.  The reason for doing that is to concentrate on keeping the mouth to the head without having to worry about the lipsynch timing being thrown off by a change of position.

It caused some problems but prevented others as well.

Like when she raises her head to accent a particular part of the singing.  The tweening was not working well at all for that section.  I put everything frame by frame.  It gave a result I was decently happy with, too, considering it's Flash, after all.

That particular shot was pretty long and requires much concentration to get done.  There were a few skips that got corrected and while there could be some more polishing, in the end the shot still works.  I'll see if there's time to put a little more time in some previous shots for esthetic's sake, but here's a little GIF teaser of the animated shot.  Sorry for the weird coloring.. GIF animations being 8-bit and all that ^^;


- Lion, out.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Golden Crop

Gidday Everypony!

Lionheart here with a little update :)

With another background done I thought I'd show a little bit more of what goes into a shot.  Of course, there's the rough draft that we made for our animatic purposes which was far from complete (There's even an 'oops' written there).

Normally there is more detail in there but as we are a small team and we didnt have any real designs ready, we went on with this, again, only for timing.  But with the shot having found a purpose and working well in the previewed animatic, it was time to take it to the next level.

Here I went nuts with lines.. or GRID lines, for the perspective.  Indoor planning of a shot is, I found, a bit more challenging as there are less ways to cheat your way out of making something work.  Probably due to all the furniture.  But that allows me to lay down the guides, including dummy ponies for size, making sure I stay consistent.

Another thing I do is I pull out what's called the 'Golden Crop'.  These are composition guidelines that are used by many top artists to create balance and focal points in a composition.  This one being an interior establishing shot, I thought I'd put in something a lot more academic to help with the final composition as well as to determine the main diagonal.

As you can see with the lineart layout, I used a rug to break the straight lines and used the main red diagonal as my main line of strength.  All of that still stuck to the grid I layed down earlier.  I could have utterly cheated and built with boxes and planes in a 3D program but I felt I was cheating myself and the spirit of the show by doing so.  Still, with that lineart well established and defined, I then pass the PSD file to spirit for the final paint render.

That wonderful scene will have a few more alterations in after effects as well as have a few foals visible along with some of those that will wake up.

Just goes to show that sometimes, there is a lot more in a shot than what meets the eye.  If the audience does not feel something is wrong or notices the guides at first glance, then we did a good job :)

Thanks for watchin'  we're still truckin'!

-Lion out.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Another weekend, another scene

He everypony!

It is been a 3 day weekend, and we are practically cooking here (we have a heatwave). But regardless of the weather we continue to advance each and every day.

Three more scenes have been finished this weekend, (Lion really worked hard) and three more backgrounds as well. I also started exploring the FX for the clouds.  It is a very complex subject to be done in  After Effects, so I guess I will have to take two days on the postproduction phase to figure out a perfected method.

So far, 9 cloud effects done, only one of them usable. (if you know cloud tutorials for After Effects, please, do link, I have wiped youtube and found many, but the more info I have, the more options I gather).

Here you can see one example of a proto-cloud.  The "spikes" of the superior part move like vapor, the swirls.. well, they swirl (liquify trick). But this is not fully convincing me, so I accept suggestions.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fanart of the night

Hello There!

We are really happy today. During the past week we recevied some fantastic fanart pieces. We are really flattered by this and getting inspired from them  as well. Thank you so much!

Taking example from Rarity, and thinking that "anything good should be shared", here you are some of the pieces we received. We asked for speficic permission to post these; if we receive more approvals from the other authors, we may post the rest later.


1)
Source  http://spiritto.deviantart.com/favourites/#/d55ctae
 2)
 Source  http://spiritto.deviantart.com/favourites/#/d558gs0

3)
Source  http://awesomecoolwhip.tumblr.com/post/25982945370/come-with-me-ill-show-you-the-way-i-need-to

Spiritto, signing out.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

No! she wouldn't ever drop them


Hello everypony!

We received a lot of messages and emails of people who are concerned about the disparition of Luna and the children at the end of the animatic. Many have thoung that she is letting them fall from the sky. Nothing further from the truth; Luna loves her children so much, she wouldn't ever let them get harmed.

 Here is the first shot that I composed for that part of the movie. The animatic is a reference for us that gives the key frames and the main timming, but it doesn't condense all the detail. There are like a ton of things that will appear in the final video that you don't see in the anmatic version, and the 12 foals following Luna is one of them.

:)

Spirit, signing out.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lullaby in the Plaza


Helloooooo everypony!

Lionheart doing this post and I thought I'd show a progression as well as a little proof the project's going forward ;)
  
Today's shot was the Plaza… and here it is in it's infancy.  The first image ideas I drafted at the time and added to the timeline to make sure the progression of the action was consistent and flowed well with what was before.  At that point we have listened to the song a lot of times.. A-LOT-OF-TIMES.  Had we gotten tired of it we probably would have known at this point that we didn’t have something good either visually or in terms of audio for what we were doing.

Luckily for us, everything was honky dory and the imagery that kept coming to mind spoke for itself, so I went ahead and linearted the sequence in animation, directly in flash, again to make sure it flowed AND to use as a template later for animating full-resolution.  Had I done this just before the actual animation I would have had troubles detecting possible problems.  Animation is about testing and testing and testing again to see every little flaws. And even then, you may not see them all.  So the sooner the first test draft is done, the more time you have to foresee problems ;)

Of course, before any real layout work is done, the animatic has to be completed so once it was, I set forward to use the designs of the town and render a full-size layout line-art and ready-to-paint background image.   This is where knowledge of perspective and balance are needed.  Even with a working draft BG, there are major corrections to do in terms of perspective.  And it has to be: otherwise the character won't be evolving in a solid background and will look wonky.  This meant a lot of back and forth.. communication between me and Spirit was crucial to make sure we both liked what was being done, that the composition was working and that we always had a fresh eye on the production.

So when that's done, it's a good step forward!

Animating is what takes the longest time.  Some hate and rue Flash's tweening process.. and I would agree most of the time.  See, the Tweening is an estimation of how something moves..as well as a straight line between the two keyframes. So sometime's it's right but for my purposes it's usually wrong and makes a lot of stuff look robotic.  I got myself a little plugin to make the ease-in and ease-out automatically which helps a lot and upon which I can add extra keyframes to reduce the 'blockiness' of the animation.

Luna being a quadruped… which I happen to have quite an easy time animating.. doesn’t make matters easy thanks to Flash's un-intuitive nature.  Drawing a character in perspective is one thing… constructing it out of symbols with a hierarchy is another.  BUT it pays off in the end as the character is always on model AND can be re-used later more easily than a drawing.

Once I spent the better part of a 24h period animating a few seconds of animation, it's off to after effects where it all comes together.  This is where I get to see the fruits of my labor look more and more part of the scene we intended for it.  Color adjustment, lighting, extra shadows and shades, background anims and special effetcs are all done in there.  Not one shot of the project will escape from this place ;)  All that's left after that is to render the composite images and import in Adobe Premiere where I see if the timing from flash to final was lost or has to be tweaked.  Many times I saw mistakes in Premiere as some effects bring up defects or the previous and following shots highlight a problem in that new shot.

Whew.. so there you have it!  How things are being done, how it is and will be for what's left of the project, one shot at a time :)

I hope you like it as much as I do :)

-Lionheartcartoon