Man of Steel - Super Kent Returns to GoAnimate

The character of Super Kent was one of my first creations on GoAnimate way back in 2008, not long after joining the site. The basic premise of the character is that he is a parody of Clarke Kent with the sole purpose of trying to convince his boss at the Daily Planet that he really IS Superman.

Previously I created two comedy shorts, Super Kent and Super Kent Returns, both with the same format of Kent initially trying to convince his boss of his super powers without success. The boss then sends him to report on a breaking news story.

It wasn't a character I had any plans to return to any time soon as I felt I'd moved on from my early GoAnimate superhero parodies.

However TotallyEpicHD, the winner of my April TET Blog Contest, resurrected the character in his entry to my contest. Which inspired GoAnimator, gipsy, to make a flash version of Super Kent in his Super Suit. When I came across his post in GoAnimate's forum's I asked if he could create a flying action and a holding something above his head pose. Which he did.

That's how I ended up creating a new Super Kent episode, that follows the same format of the previous episodes, but this time Kent plans to tell everyone he is Superman at a specially organised press conference.

Man of Steel - Super Kent by etourist on GoAnimate


Custom Work

Other than gipsy's custom Super Kent character, those of you familiar with the Cartoon Classic's theme may have noticed that I added a custom beard to the Alvin character head.

The beard is actually a head prop. However if you add it to a character, the head will disappear being replaced with a floating beard.

In order to get the full head behind the beard I simply placed a copy of the character with the Alvin head behind the one that had the head replaced with the beard. So long as both characters are set to perform the same actions they move exactly in time.

Script

This one was pretty easy to write. Kent, being a journalist, goes to press events all the time. I felt it would be his next logical step to convince others that he's Superman in order to convince his boss.

I recently saw the movie Iron Man 3 which ends with Tony declaring he is Iron Man. This caused me to remember that Tony Stark had told the world he was Iron Man at a similar press event in the first Iron Man film.

By Iron Man 3 Tony has made a whole bunch of different Iron Man suits that all seem able to function completely autonomously. What if some of those suits were made to look like other superheroes?

Stark's seems to love the attention of being Iron Man so why wouldn't he enjoy even more attention by going around and announcing he's responsible for other superheroes too?

From there it didn't take much to set up the word play that would have you thinking Stark might back Kent up but makes his own announcement instead.

Voices

As noted in the credits, all the voices are mine. It's a little hard to gauge how successful they are because to me, they just all sound like me, however I am trying to vary my voice enough to act all my own characters. I know I need more practice. I hope I'm getting there.


I don't really plan to do another Super Kent episode.  This was just a fun aside. Though I won't say never. Who knows, I may have another idea and the time for another small, fun side project with Kent.

Featured Animator: Smirks - Shooting Star (Music Video)

GoAnimator Smirks is the May winner of my GoAnimate, Get Featured in TET's Blog contest. Smirks has had his account with GoAnimate since August of 2011 and in that time has amassed 2969 followers (formerly known as fans) and published 60 animations.

Smirks chose to feature a music video, Shooting Star by Owl City, saying...

I chose shooting star because it's one of my most inspirational video i have made, and because i think it's the best video i have made (skill wise).

Shooting Star by Smirks on GoAnimate


Inspiration...

I was inspired to make it because I've noticed all the people, who are saying that they get picked on and saying that they are worthless (and believe me I have been there), and the song to me felt like it was saying that people can have their chance to shine anytime, so because of that I decided to make it.


Main Challenge...

The main problem making the video was the masking, like at the scene where it shows the 4 characters in the squares, the most difficult masking was putting CCA's dress prop on the character, it wouldn't fit the character, but eventually I found a way to get it on the character

Some techniques I used in the video was masking the characters and squares (like I mentioned earlier) which was the hardest technique. I had to use the square props to make sure none of the props were outside the main 4 squares. another one I used was making the star prop spin. Every scene I placed it in, I had to keep re spinning it to get the effect. Another one I used was the sun over the city scene. I had to make the city prop and all the other buildings slide down whilst making the clouds and the sun slide up while moving the camera backwards to get that effect.

If you've enjoyed Smirks' work then why not check out more of Smirks' animations on GoAnimate.

Runner up Featured GoAnimators for the month of May included:

Bat Storm Episode 2, Part 1 Finally on GoAnimate


It's been approximately two years since I completed Bat Storm, Episode 1: Financial Crisis and finally the first part of Episode 2 is here.

Bat Storm, Episode 2: Pain, continues from Episode 1. Super Charge is still undermining Bat Storm's efforts to fight crime and Detective Smith is still unhappy with any Superhero doing police work.

Impressed by the Jokester's business model of look-a-like employees Bat Storm has started to expand his party appearance business with new look-a-like employees of his own.

Meanwhile the Mayor's office has experienced several attempted break ins by a masked thief and Bat Storm takes it upon himself to apprehend the repeat offender.

E2/Pt1 Bat Storm: Pain by etourist on GoAnimate


Behind the scenes, I never intended to take this long to release Episode 2. In fact the original intention of the Bat Storm series was to write and release each episode quickly, within weeks of each other, until I had completed a series of six 24 minute episodes (each episode broken in 4 parts, 6 minutes each).

However things change, and at this stage I'm not sure if I'll complete all six episodes. My animation goals are much different to what they were 2-3 years ago, when I first conceived Bat Storm.

Episode 2, Part 1 is obviously scaled back from some of the grand ideas I experimented with, such as photographic and panoramic backgrounds. There no custom flash work here that you haven't seen before in either Episode 1 or one of my promotional videos for Episode 2.

I've already written quite a bit about the behind the scenes stuff that delayed this episode when I prematurely announced Episode 2 as coming soon around June of 2012.

What finally got me moving at rapid pace again was a refocus on the script. I pretty much trashed everything (except the script) I'd done in my first attempt to get things moving. Proven by the fact that the roof top scene that I released from my original start (see image below) looks very different in the version in the animation I released.

Detective Smith confronts Bat Storm in the
first version of this scene that I scrapped.
The roof top scene is key to getting things moving again as the version that ended up in the animation contains a lot more ideas than what's written in the original script. For example in the original version, Bat Storm doesn't get startled, doesn't fall off the ledge and Super Charge is not in the scene at all.

It was this flood of ideas for the opening scene that helped keep my momentum going and a recommittment to keeping things simple and not over dressing scenes with unnecessary detail.

From the opening Bat Storm titles the rest of part 1 is pretty much the script, as I wrote it in 2011, with a few minor tweaks here and there.

 Oh... and a complete change of one character. You may have noticed a Cat Woman like character (whose actual name is 'Thunder Kitty' - thanks to GoAnimator, gipsy for the name). Originally her role was going to be played by a male character called 'Red Claw' who, in a very early script idea - prior to the 2011 script, was Thunder Kitty's body guard.

In making the animation it became immediately obvious that breaking into the Mayor's office is a very Cat Woman like task, so instead of using my Red Claw character, Thunder Kitty takes his place.

Finally, in case you're wondering, the Bane-like character is actually called 'Pain'. Tom Pain of Painless Gardens and Landscaping.

That's it for now. I'll be making a start on Part 2 as soon as I can now that my motivation is high. There's no script holding me back so I'm completely free to explore ideas as I go. Just like I did for Episode 1.

Bat Storm, Cool Froyd, Business People, Alvin Owl - TET Project Updates

I realized that over the course of the last year or so I've started a number of projects in this blog and haven't really got back to them so I thought I'd give you an update on where things are at.

Bat Storm, Episode 2

Last year I announced I was working on Bat Storm, Episode 2, with an expected release date of August 2012. Obviously that didn't happen. For various reasons I had to shelve the project. The main one being me becoming some what frustrated with the direction things were going.

I think I started to get a little too ambitious and I also didn't like having a script written in advance. I never wrote a script for Episode 1, the story just evolved organically as I animated it. That's what really held my interest and pushed me to finishing it. I wanted to know how it ended.

Recently I've released new Bat Storm, Episode 2 images onto my Facebook page because I've started working on it again. At the time of writing I have a full two minutes of part 1 animated.

This time around I've scaled back my ambitions to just creating as much as I can using existing GoAnimate content (as I did with Episode 1). I've also been adding new lines to the existing script as I animate, to make it funnier and to return to the organic way the original first episode was made.

I'm not going to put a release date on Part 1 of Episode 2 but my enthusiasm is higher than it has been for a long time to work it.

Cool Froyd

Cool Froyd is my most recent project using Crazy Talk Animator Pro to create all the animation. I had hoped to have completed a first episode of my intended series, featuring the animated version of one of my original painting, by now.

Unfortunately I've struggled to come up with a good script for the character despite doing a fairly extensive mind map of possible things Cool Froyd could chat about.

I am still mulling over what to do with Cool Froyd and hope to have something soon -  even if I have to sit down and just try and improvise something.

Business People


My Business People were intended to be my first serious Crazy Talk Animator Pro project however at the time I really struggled with learning Crazy Talk and I also needed to learn Serif Draw X5 so I could trace the characters into Flash (.swf) files.

Since starting, I did make an attempt to turn the business man into a Flash character with Serif Draw but never managed to finish it to the point where I could start bringing him into Crazy Talk.

I also started to animate him using Koolmoves so I could put him in my Animation 4 Business promotional video.

Currently Cool Froyd has taken over as my first serious Crazy Talk Animator project but what I'm learning from that has really helped me understand how to move the Business People project forward. My intention is to go back to work on them once I've completed the first episode of Cool Froyd.

Alvin Owl

Alvin the Owl is a character I started to animate after his sketch designs were rejected by a client. I felt he was too good to leave as a sketch. So far I've animated about three actions for him in Koolmoves that I did as part of a Koolmoves tutorial video but haven't worked on him in quite a while.

I do hope to get back to animating him with at least five to six standard actions by which time I'll release him to the GoAnimate Community.


So that's a run down of all the projects I've started/announced in this blog that I hope to complete over the next few months.  I'll do my best not to shelve any of them again.

Home Made Movies: Iron Man 3 and The Matrix

Thought I'd take a diversion from animation this week and explore the other side of my blog's title, video. I recently discovered CineFix's YouTube channel with their home made movies.

What impresses me most about them is their ambitious undertaking to recreate contemporary film scenes and film trailers using almost entirely 'in camera' effects.

If you're not familiar with the term 'in camera' it means, what the film maker shoots with the camera is what you see in the final scene with nothing added.

Batman Trilogy director, Christopher Nolan is very big on 'in camera' effects, often only using digital effects to remove things like boom arms and wires from the action so you can't see how a character or vehicle is flying through the air.

What makes CineFix's productions so interesting is that they're obviously trying to recreate expensive movie scenes and special effects on a very low budget. Watch their recreation, shot for shot, of the Iron Man 3 trailer below to see what I mean.



Clearly it's a long way from looking as good as the original trailer. If you had paid to see Iron Man 3, and saw cardboard cut outs representing Tony Stark's Iron Man suits you'd want your money back.

However as an exercise in home made film making it's interesting to see how the Cinefix team approach recreating the various scenes. You can watch the behind the scenes for Iron Man 3 below.



Whilst the cardboard props are a little obvious there are plenty of techniques that could be used if you were attempting to make your own film, with higher production value but still without a big enough budget for special digital effects and CGI.

As an example watch CineFix's recreation of The Matrix, Bullet Time scene below. I think they did a pretty good job on this one. If you squint a little you could almost believe it's the actual scene!



Gotta love those slinky bullet trails - I thought that was genius.

I'd recommend CineFix's channel to any low budget filmmaker for both inspiration and motivation. Their home made films are the kind of thing you watch and think, I'd like to give that a try.

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