Making of: Character Builds
I’m back with another meandering ramble about our production. Today we’ll be looking at Character Builds.
Flash animation, unlike traditional animation, consists largely of prebuilt characters, animation cycles and lip flaps – all of these together constitute a build. Each character requires a front view, side view and 3/4 view for both sides of the body.
Once these are done they can be reused over and over for every piece of animation that requires that specific character cutting down on production time. The difficulty is making them first.
Our first short, Luna’s Lament, includes only two characters: Celestia and Luna. This was originally conceived to cut down as much as possible on pre-production. There was, however, a snag. Creating a show-accurate flash build requires a lot of references and, unfortunately, Luna’s character is very sparse on references – even going so far as to having model changes during the times she was on screen!
It was a mess to try and get Luna’s model to look good and her design went through a lot of revisions. Even Celestia wasn’t that well documented, especially since the show – in a sneaky attempt to get around the difficulties of animating the Princess’s shoes, didn’t show the ends of her legs during her walk cycles.
After a character is pieced out and all the different parts are made into symbols and graphics the mouths are made. These are all kept in a single symbol, graphics only and set to single frame mode. This makes it so that during lip sync all that is needed is to change the frame number to get a different mouth movement.
Other commonly repeated movements such as blinks and walk cycles are added after this, completing the final build.
I hope you have enjoyed this! In the next blog I’ll be writing about the way the animation is organized, produced and kept uniform as well as giving all of you a clip of our upcoming short!
~ Ink, Director.