Skip to main content

The Dark Stormy Knight - Behind the scenes on a GoAnimate Summer Blockbuster

After my recent success in GoAnimate's Creating for a Cause competition I hadn't planned to enter their next official competition. However when it was announced that the theme was to create a trailer for a Summer Blockbuster (for a real movie or even a completely fictional one) I felt this was the perfect excuse to play around with my Bat Storm cast without having to write a script.

Up until now I've resisted ripping audio from popular Youtube memes and creating my own GoAnimate interpretation because often I watch this kind of video by other GoAnimators and feel a little disappointed. Only because it feels like that person is riding on the success of someone else's content. It's kind of silly really because just about every animation at GoAnimate is a mash up of other peoples content. Why should mashing in an audio track make any difference?

Having got over that I decided, wouldn't it be cool to see my Bat Storm cast interpret the audio from the official Dark Knight Trailer. Rather than using my cast to try and recreate the trailer scene for scene I thought perhaps I could slant my interpretation towards some of the ideas I have for my Bat Storm series.



In the end my final trailer is a wrestling match between the two. Some of it borrows from my Bat Storm series whilst other parts are very similar to what actually appears in the official trailer. Through out I peppered my trailer with a few visual 'Easter Eggs' for those of you that notice the little details.

My final entry to GoAnimate's Summer Blockbuster competition is embeded below and not only do I consider it some of my best work on GoAnimate but also it's changed my vision somewhat from what my Bat Storm series was initially intended to be. More about that after you watch the trailer.

The Dark Knight - Bat Storm Trailer by etourist on GoAnimate


If you've seen my two earlier Bat Storm previews you'll know that at the time they were made Bat Storm the series was looking very much like a sit-com - probably along the lines of American Dad - rather than block buster movie.

Through the process of making this trailer I've come to realise that the GoAnimate studio is capable of creating real cinematic action. Tracking shots of moving vehicles as if you're following from behind, vehicles exploding as they hurtle towards you and, even simple shots of the front of a building exploding are all within the studio's capabilities.

It's even possible to really breathe more dramatic life into GoAnimate's Comedy World Characters through creative use and tight cropping of their sometimes 'wooden' actions and limited facial expressions. (Which is not a criticism it's just that they're often animated poorly by less experienced GoAnimators).

Consequently my work on Bat Storm, the series, has stalled as I kind of mull over the possibilities.

Getting back to the behind the scenes stuff on my Bat Storm trailer... from the moment I matched up a bus pulling away from the kerb with the sound of the Bat Pod racing through Gotham's streets I knew I was onto something with this idea. Then Bat Storm Smashing in a Convenience Store door matched with the sound of Batman landing on a car roof, from a great height, breaking the windscreen just sealed it. I had to keep going.

I can't even begin to count how often I watched my animation back as I was making it. Checking over and over to make sure the audio matched with the visuals perfectly with every new scene I added. GoAnimate's studio feature for listening to an audio clip from any point in your animation timeline was next to useless. I can't see how anyone finds that helpful? The only way to check is to preview your entire animation.

When I released the trailer it had 61 of my own views on it but I watched it countless times more than that inside the studio and hitting replay over and over.

One thing that I did copy directly from the official trailer was the use of the black screen pause. Every so often the official trailer throws up a black screen for a few seconds whilst you listen to some audio - usually some salient words by the Joker - for dramatic effect. From my point of view that dramatic effect meant a few less seconds that required animation.

The trailer itself only took me about a week and a half of on and off working on it to complete, which is a short time for me. Admittedly I did spend nearly 16 hours of one weekend finishing it off but much of the shorter time I can attribute to some luck where things just worked first time.

For example, the "Why so Serious?" scene with the Jokester (In Bat Storm he's not called 'Joker') pulling back Bat Flashes head and uttering those famous words. I set this shot up once, ran it through, and it worked. The only thing I had to adjust was the scene length to match the audio.

That particular scene demonstrates perfectly how, with creative cropping of the characters, you can suggest new actions. If you look at the whole scene (pictured right) you can see the Jokester pointing past Bat Flashes head and Bat Flash taking a fearful step back. With the tight cropping of the scene it seems like the Jokester is pulling Bat Flashes head back and threatening her with a knife (that he isn't even holding).

Based on feedback people are often wowed by my trailer and I wonder if they see some of the more humorous aspects such as Bat Storm hanging from the roof in a bar, then falling to the floor, juxtaposed with the very next scene of the Tumbler crashing into a building... a bit of drink driving perhaps?

Or the scene with Gordon and the Commissioner talking about their latest captive who turns out to be a teenage boy, taunting them from the jail cell, when you thought they were discussing the Joker.

Then there are the Easter Eggs that I scattered throughout. Nods to some of my past animations. Happy Bunny, Havock, Rashy, Harry Chalk, Peter Griffin and the Tank from Happy Bunny Versus Ken are all in there. Incidentally, if you can read what Happy Bunny is spray painting, that came about because, of all my CC Characters, I think Bat Flash is seriously the hottest and the coolest at the same time!

There are three props that really are the stars of my trailer after the characters themselves.

The first is the Underdog wall smash (pictured right). Blink and you'll miss it but on almost every single crash and explosion you'll see a couple of bricks fly out of nowhere as a gaping whole is ripped into whatever wall just got destroyed. It really is one of the most useful official GoAnimate props from any theme on the site. See if you can count how many times I've used it.

The second is a custom explosion created by GoAnimate's Product Manager, Nicolas. There is another more cartoon like explosion that other GoAnimators seem to prefer but I like this particular one because you can use it for any size explosion and you can use it multiple times in the same explosion to make an even larger fireball. Notice how I use it in the scene with Rashy giggling as the wall behind him explodes. One small explosion that blows the first hole in the wall then two bigger ones that tear out the bottom of the wall.

The third is the Tumbler (pictured right along with the previously mentioned explosion prop) created by GoAnimate's Flash animation legend, Reddplague. Not only is it a great animated prop (it is in fact about five props featuring different views of the one car) but Redd's foresight in creating a bottom view gave me a lucky break.

The scene in my trailer where you see the Tumbler explode and flip was another shot that I set up once and it just worked with very little adjustment. For me it's a real highlight and wouldn't have been possible without such a great prop.

Since its release on the 19th of July my Bat Storm trailer has been well received and has even edged into the top twelve of GoAnimate's Top Animations list of all time (two spots behind Harry Chalk 2 which is slowly dropping after three months in the top twelve). I doubt it's going to win the competition. I'm pretty certain on which entry I think will take out the grand prize but maybe I have a shot at one of the stats based prizes like most viewed or most shared. I guess we'll find out when the competition closes on August 19, 2010.

Comments

  1. you know it's well animated (or at least, a lot of work was put into it) when you have 50+ of your own views.

    It's funny how we put silly rules on ourselves, isn't it. I usually feel the same way about ripping off someone else's memes, or youtube videos in general. But as long as we're making something new, we really shouldn't feel weird about it.

    I make stupid rules for myself all the time. I starting to break them more often when I'm drawing and animating.

    Nice insights into making your Bat Storm. Good Luck in the contest.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think for me it's just a personal preference. I like to think I'm watching something original when I watch other GoAnimators work. It's a bit of a let down when they've obviously ripped audio or imported something else that's clearly not their own. Hence I don't like to do that in my own work.

    But then again... GoAnimate is a complete 'mashup' kind of site. That's what makes it so good. I wouldn't have given it a second thought to use Redd's Bat Tumbler on any of my animations. Why should adding someone else's audio be any different?

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

I welcome, read, and respond to genuine comments relating to each post. If your comment isn't that save me some time by not posting it.

Popular posts from this blog

Featured Animator: Christian Haynes - 'Zack In Time' An Original, Independent, Animated Series on the Rise

Christian Haynes - Zack In Time.  If you've ever wanted to create an animated TV series staring your own original characters and stories then Los Angeles based writer, director, and animator, Christian Haynes is taking those next steps of putting together a team, developing a pitch/trailer for their series, Zack In Time. Featuring professional studio quality animation, they hope the show will get picked up by an animation studio for an official series. The path he and his team are taking is one you could easily follow as they deal with real life commitments, and building a following on Instagram and Tik-Tok showcasing their work behind the scenes. TET: Tell me a little about yourself. Who you are, and why you started animating? My name is Christian Haynes and I've loved animation ever since I was a kid. I would constantly be drawing cartoon characters from TV shows and movies and making my own little homemade comic strips.  As I got older, I became a lot more interested in st

Make Disney/Pixar Style Characters with Reallusion's Character Creator and Toon Figure Bases

The Extraordinary Tourist Classic Coat outfit created using Reallusion's Toon Designer for CC3. I've talked before how I've wanted to get into 3D Disney/Pixar style character animation since I first saw the animated cutscenes for the very first Tomb Raider game back in 1996. It's why I initially bought Reallusion's iClone 3D studio app as soon as I could afford a computer that would run it. But then Reallusion released their 3D Character Creator (CC) for iClone and I wanted to create my characters with that (and I did try with Bat Storm ). But the focus of CC was realism, even with ToKoMotion's stylised body morphs . Now with Reallusion's Cartoon Designer bundle for CC3 which features two packs, Toon Figures , and Toon Hair , designing Disney/Pixar style 3D characters just got a whole lot quicker. The two packs are the bare essentials for creating Toon style characters. Five body morphs (2 male, 2 female, and one adolescent body morph that w

Create 2D Animated Characters with 3D Character Creator Tools and Artistic Filters

3D CC3 TET Character, based on my Oppa Doll Avatar, used as the base for a 2D CA4 character. One of my favorite things to do is to create characters with any type of Avatar/Character creator app. In fact the first test I usually try with these tools is, can I make an avatar of me (or at least my The Extraordinary Tourist persona). Previously I've used 2D character creators like Oppa Doll as a source of artwork for some characters I've made for Reallusion's Cartoon Animator 4 animation studio but 2D character creators are limited to... well 2D. 3D Character Creators While you may think 3D character creators have no place in creating characters for 2D animation there are quite a number of advantages including: No drawing skills required. Render characters in any style. Use an art filter or even hand trace into line art. Need to animate the character in a specific pose or angle? Render out an image of the character in the required angle and animate it in 2D. Quicker to crea

Artbreeder - Using AI created Character and Background Content in your Animations

A selection of User/AI generated images from Artbreeder. If you're looking for an endless supply of 2D character and background images for your animations then Artbreeder , an online Artificial Intelligence (AI) that generates image mash-ups you can tweak as much as you like, could be the ultimate content library. What is Artbreeder? Artbreeder is free to use though there are various paid plans, that give you additional features, such as higher resolution download images or more settings to play with. All images created on the site are Public Domain (CC0 License) and can be used in commercial projects. Using Artbreeder's online app you can generate head shot portraits, full body characters, landscapes, and other scenes simply by choosing two or more existing images to mash together then, using a series of sliders, to select which traits from each image you wish to lean toward in the final image. Photo Comparison - Top is my original uploaded photo. Bottom is Artbreeder's ap

Creating a G3-360 Head From a Single Photo in Reallusion's Cartoon Animator

Source Photo from Generated Photos . Ever since Reallusion introduced the G3-360 Character Head into Cartoon Animator 4 I've wanted to see if their 360 Head Creator tool could be used to create an animated head using a photo. Part of the reason I've never given this a shot, until now, is that I just assumed it would be difficult, and require a lot of photo editing to blend out the sprite edges. It turns out, creating a photographic G3-360 head is not that much more difficult than creating a cartoon head, and can be done using a single photographic image using my own G3-360 head rigging system . While this article isn't intended to be a full tutorial, I'll run through the basic steps of how I achieved my photographic G3-360 head, shown in the comparison below, of a Cartoon Animator Morph-based head on the left, and my G3-360 head on the right. Pros and Cons Cartoon Animator's morph-based head system is ideal for animating photographic faces. It uses a semi 3D wire me

Plask - Free, Brower Based, Motion Capture Using Only a Webcam

Plask lets you motion capture full body movement with only a webcam. Companies that produce 2D and 3D animation software seem to be very focused on using motion capture right now to speed up the animation process.  Unfortunately full body motion capture equipment, while very effective, is still quite expensive for someone like me who doesn't have a budget for such equipment. So, when I heard about Plask , a free, browser based, app that can capture full body motion capture data from an imported video or webcam, it was only natural that I would want to give it a try. I was hopeful that I would be able to use it with my Reallusion apps, iClone7 or Cartoon Animator 4 , both of which support motion capture data in their workflows. Plask's creators claim their app is easy to learn, while I generally would agree, it took me a while to locate their video tutorials.  For some reason they're listed under the 'Help' section of the manual. I would highly recommend they be put

How to Create Caricature Faces From Photos Using Krita - Tutorial by TET

I was looking around online for an app that can 'cartoonify' a photo of a person, kind of hoping for a 'one click' solution. There are a few out there but none worth highlighting. Then I came across a video tutorial by Pixivu for Cartoonifying faces in Photoshop and wondered if I could do something similar in the free, open source drawing app, Krita ? While Krita isn't quite as elegant as Photoshop it does have some comparable features that make it very easy to create cartoon caricature faces from photos that you could use as illustrations or in your animations. They're particularly useful for using as Morph Based character heads in Cartoon Animator 4 (as shown below). Example Caricature Faces use as morph character heads in Cartoon Animator 4. While the actual steps to create heads like those shown above (and, yes, that character on the right is based on a photo of me that I snapped on my webcam) is not something you're just going to stumble across yourse