Choosing a site
In choosing a site for the final brief, I went for a few walks through the city, cutting through laneways and malls as well as walking down the main streets. I came across Royal Arcade, which I’ve passed through countless times, but had paid attention to all of the intricacies of the arcade, from the checkered floor through the entire site, to the two statues guarding the clock, and even the overhead skylight that runs down the length of the arcade. I was immediately captivated by the flooring and wanted to include this in my animation.
Initially, I had intended to storyboard, but as with the second brief I found this incredibly difficult as, in my mind, I already had a loose idea of creating a surreal transformation of the space, that did not necessarily make sense in reality, but at the same time would be somewhat believable.
Animation method - digital cel-erasure
As cel-erasure was to be the main animation method, I wanted to try a different medium from what I had used in Project 1. I decided to use the opportunity to try digital cel-erasure. I bought a graphics tablet, and spent a few nights installing, calibrating, and trouble-shooting multiple compatibility issues between my tablet and Windows, and between the tablet driver and Photoshop (some of this involved having to add start-up scripts, which is something also completely new to me!).
Once finally set up, I imported my site photos into Photoshop, and used transparent layers to then begin cel-erasure e.g. in creating the retracting roof, I used a white paintbrush to that was color-matched (via pipette tool) exactly to the sky through the glass, which happened to be very close to white. I then also used a similar method of ‘erasing’ with the white brush, while also adding with a brown brush colour-matched with the sky-light window frames, to give the impression of the beams opening up (seen in the third image below).
I zoomed into the image to try to achieve neat/precise cel-erasure, as seen in the fourth image below.
I used a similar method for the clock and checkered floor scenes in my animation. For the floor, I made use of the clone brush tool to ensure that there was continuity in the granite texture of the tiles. I also used a soft brush to give the illusive of a shadow as the block rose and floated away. This scene was fun to create, but extremely painstaking due to having to ensure the clone brush was selecting appropriate areas to clone - each layer required me to reset the clone brush tool 7-12 times to get perfect pattern continuity.
After my separate images had been completed, I imported these as compositions into AfterEffects so that the relative position of each frame was locked, and animation was smooth.
A total of approximately 480 frames of cel-erasure were used in the total animation.