About this Blog

I am an MSc Animation & Visualisation student at DJCAD in Dundee, Scotland. "Once Bitten" is the working title for my personal project and final outcome short film. The characters in my film will be 2D, animated digitally, but the environments they inhabit will be filmed in live action.

"Once Bitten" is a story about a woman who meets a wolf cub alone in the forest, the mood is light and playful and about the pair of new friends escaping their normal lives. However the mood darkens when the cub accidentally falls into a human trap and his mother catches up with him and his new companion.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Title Change!

Heads up! The working title of my film has changed from "Fall of the Wolf" to "Once Bitten". I felt that the previous title had been out-run by the film's development- now the film involves neither a fall of a wolf (owing to my decision to leave the ending as a cliff-hanger) or a seasonal fall (owing to the time for final filming falling in spring).

"Once Bitten" refers to the phrase "Once bitten, twice shy" obviously, and i think the literal meaning ties in with the symbol of the apple in my film, whereas the metaphorical meaning ties in with the film's narrative arc of innocence lost and the birth of a war between the wolves and the humans.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Research: Existing Animation- Watership Down

Deceptively charming and innocent: Watership Down is pretty brutal,  and attracted my attention in my search for good reference for one of the hardest scenes i will have to animate... my pup becoming trapped by it's paw in a rabbit snare.

I made a sketch of this scene to help me understand the poses and line of action better, and breakdown the things about it that make it disturbing and nail biting...

The pulling away from the snare seems counter- productive but immediately indicates panic and also the animal instinct to flee from danger. This is something i can use for my animation, however, i noticed Bigwig's design changed dramatically while he was trapped- it helped emphasize the danger he was in because he suddenly appeared bloated and withered, unlike his normal strong, sturdy and lean style. I don't think i like the idea of applying this idea too heavily to my own animation, i think the scene will be stressful enough for the audience, and i plan to convey the fear and severity in the situation through the pup's expressions and dramatically changed body language- compared to the beginning of the film.

I plan to also use my reference footage of actors portraying wolves to help convey the wolf's fear and panic, there is a scene in the play where a wolf becomes trapped by it's paw in a hunter's trap:

 "The Last Wolf of Scotland" also has representations of protection, defiance, and fear- similar to Watership Down which will be useful when animating both human and wolf characters in my film. Hopefully all of these visual aids will help me create identifiable character performance.

Defiance and protection...




Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Acting Reference for Wolf characters

I filmed a run through of an original play a friend of mine wrote, directed and performed in called "The Last Wolf of Scotland". All the actors wore minimal costumes and makeup and used their body language, mannerisms, voices and expressions to convincingly act as a pack of wolves. 

This is the beginning section of the play:

After reading in Nancy Beiman's book Animated Performance, about animated animals having human characteristics in order to create more empathy with the human audience i was keen to arrange for actors to portray my wolf characters so that i could use their expressions in particular as reference when animating my wolves, hopefully this will produce a more emotionally engaging animated performance.

Although these actors were performing a play unconnected with my film i found it very useful as many themes are similar- and this way i had not directed their performance in anyway- it was not how i had imagined it but how they had created it using their own methods.

I asked the actors a few questions after filming the performance and their answers as well as the results gained from the film data will be put towards the research for my conference paper about the authorship of animated characters.

My next step will be blocking my animation and using the human expressions directly corresponding in this footage to help me create empathy for my animal characters from the audience (Beiman, N. 2010)

 Acting: Koren Dumbleton, Eilidh Albert-Recht, Sam Bruton, William Edwards, Joonas Schroderus, Rachael Doran, Nicole Watson, Olivia Quick,  James McMaster

Koren Dumbleton

Adam Morrow