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“A personal music animation about a dancer and a mean robot.”

That has been my answer for the past 5 months to the question “What are you working on?”. Usually that answer leads to more questions, so I am gonna make a post about it to satiate people’s curiosity.

But I want to keep a lot of the project secret, ’cause I really want to “WOW” people when they see the final thing.

Well, what is it about?

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See above. Mainly, the mean character (robot) begins chasing the nice character (a dancer) around, and they do stuff in-sync with the music. It’s another one of those rhythmic animations that I like to do. It is a story about letting loose.

I initially got the idea from a song I listened to, which usually doesn’t happen. Most of the time, I have an idea and then I search for music that fits that idea. That’s what I did for the Slush Invaders animations at least.vlcsnap-2015-03-14-20h39m18s129

But this time, I got inspired by Hey Ocean’s “Make a New Dance Up”. I’m not a big fan of the music video, but the song is really catchy to me. And since catchy songs have really distinct melodies, they make very good music-synced animations. After listening to the lyrics a little closer, I formulated a story and I felt it would be a really fun animation to do.

How long have you been working on it?

I got the initial idea about a year ago, while I was still in college. Once I finished Slush Tile Rush, I started working on it last October, and it has been using up my free time since. I kept telling myself, “don’t start another big project…just relax for awhile”, but I lasted only 2 weeks of being idle until I started project “Dance Up”.

DanceUpSketch

Even though I knew this was going to be my most ambitious animation, I was hoping to finish it before 2015. That quickly changed once I started animating the characters. Although they offer more sophisticated movements, fully-bodied characters are multitudes more tedious to draw than simple stick-figures. It’s also a full 3:15 minutes long, with a great amount of detail. I’m afraid I’ve bitten off more than I can chew here, but that’s okay. Usually I improve and grow the most during huge projects like these.

When will it be done?

What is left to be done:

  • Final line work on the remaining 60% of the animation
  • Coloring/shading on the remaining 60%
  • Draft backgrounds -> final backgrounds on the remaining 100% of the animation
  • Special effects and color tweaks

In order to get a better idea of my progress, I’ve been keeping track of my hours. Outside of my job, it seems I average about 12-15 hours a week working on this animation. That is, I come home from work and try to animate 1h-2h per week day. Some weekends I’ll go for 5 hours straight. I find that streaming helps me keep going, and I can’t say that animating is arduous. It is truly enjoyable, but tough, work. I just wish I had more time.*

Hours

I estimate I have at least another 2 months to go, but my work rate will have to increase. I’m starting to get used to drawing these characters now, and my brother has even offered to help me with some of the color and cleanup.

I’m trying very hard to adopt the policy of “finish what you start”. My goal for this animation is to have something in my portfolio that I can be proud to share, even years from now.

Now, enjoy some in-progress screenshots!

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* After looking up the definition of “arduous”, I’ve changed my mind about this. Doing repetitive line work is damn grueling. I would really enjoy some more free time instead of having to finish this animation. But I must see this idea through.

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One thought on “Working on…A Musical Animation

  1. Pingback: Rhythm & Rockets is out in the wild! | Michael Moy

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