The first major animation project I get this year is a bit straightforward, we choose an animator from the silent era and try to mimic their style best we can while following a set story. For my animation I chose to focus on Otto Mesmer, the creator of Felix The Cat as the animator of my focus. I chose him because his style of animation is the closest to the kind I’d want to accomplish myself. To find out exactly how something would play out in one of his cartoons I watched Eats are West, Abrinatics, Felix Wins Out, Ducks his duty, and Whys and Otherwise. Upon watching them, I realized I would need to make the human characters round, have the main character able to use his expressions as tools, incorporate unrealistic bouncing, and end in an ambiguous tone like half of the episodes do.
I mostly accomplished that in the my short of a duck trying to find and follow a self-moving box into a nightclub. For the main character I went with a round simple to design animal creature who could use emotes as tools. I had him take his question mark off his head to form a cane in a failed attempt to get into a nightclub. I had the doorman big and round like most of the human characters Felix the Cat had conflict with in his misadventures. And I had my guy bounce around a lot when he got kicked out.
In terms of quality, I’d say that it is what it looks like, A freshman’s first animation. The animation at times is choppy and doesn’t flow very well. There were times when it did flow well but it is hard to notice with the choppy ones distracting the viewer. The characters themselves were difficult for me to animate because of my poor drawing skills. At least I had a light table at my disposal as well as being able to rotate my paper around to maintain accurate foot motions during drawing a new frame. Like in the scene when the doorman kicks my character out the door on frames 27-32. Doesn’t excuse the lackluster quality of my character walking in the same frames with the doorman, frames 21-25, and frames 44-50 when the worker takes the box inside.
In terms of the narrative I went for, my character finds a box moving on it’s own. Shocked and curious, he follows it into the nightclub. But he needs to find a way in, he thinks about how, soon after wards he pulls the question mark off his head and forms a cane with it. He walks into the club only to literally be kicked out by the doorman. Outside, he bounces around until he lands in a box. A worker from the outside grabs the box and (off-screen) places it into the club’s storage room. My character finds the box he was looking for bouncing around. An exclamation mark appears over his head. As he reaches up to it, The box disappears leaving him shocked.
How did I make him look shocked, I added exclamation marks over his head and opened his mouth a bit to try a give off the vibe of his shock. What have I learned from this, don’t focus on backgrounds. The two week limit of this assignment was to get each part done in each week. I made the admittedly stupid decision to go out of my was to create backgrounds (two of which weren’t used at all) for my animation which I later find out isn’t even needed. I wasted a week and a half on over complicating an otherwise simple project. But I learned from it, and I know what I need to do for part 2.