I would like to make a short character animation to wrap up all the skills I have learnt during these four years in university. And I have planned to make a casual piece of animation. Sometimes, animation is just an entertainment in our daily life. I think there should not always have a meaning. You can sit back, relax and enjoy the animation. So, The inspiration of my story is a scene from the movie “Mr. Bean’s Holiday”. Mr Bean was trying to drive overnight to join a film festival. I elaborate from the overnight driving and make it to a comedic short of a delivery man.
“Sleepy Pleesy” is a 3D character comedic animation. Pleesy is working in DELIFAST, a delivery company. After a long rough day working, he finally finished his work at mid-night. When he thought he can at last leave, 3 more packages were found for delivery while checking the daily schedule. This is a story about the sleepy Pleesy driving overnight. He kept sleeping during the drive, which caused dangers and accidents during the delivery. Turnouts it became a hilarious and interesting journey.
There were at least 5 version screenplay being written during the pre-production stage. There were vigorous changes across versions, from originally 2 minutes short animation to 4 minutes. The following is one of the latest version of the screenplay.
I have been through a hard time come up with the plot. As this is my first time doing a full 3D animation from scratches (from pre-production to post-production) all by my own. I need to balance the plot’s complexity and my capability on completing the project. Therefore, I decided to have one main character only, so I can focus on finishing the animation with a decent quality
Concept Art and Sketches
There are the sketches and concept art while designing the characters and scene. On character design, I think it is important to stick out the characters’ specific characteristic. Audiences can realize the personality right away
Storyboard and Animatic
The rhythm of the story is important for an animation. I made my story into a 3-Act structure while making the animatic. When deciding the sequence of the shots and scenes, it is tricky to reserve different proportion of time to 3 scenes. There were adjustments and amendments during this stage. For a approx 4 min, scene 1 will take about 1 min, and 2.5 minutes will be taken to take the story to the climax. Finally it resolves and wraps up.
Moreover, I think the hardest thing on drawing storyboard is camera angle and movement. A good storyboard can let animator waste less time on adjusting camera when animating. Also it can definitely make the animation be more exciting and intriguing.
Modeling and Texturing
Pleesy with textures
Boss with textures
Vehicles : Pleesy’s Truck
On design the delivery truck, I took reference from the car model Sienta fromTOYOYA. the hemisphere front headlight makes it more cartoony, which fit the atmosphere of my animation. And, the clumsy car structure suits Pleesy’s (the main character) personality
I used “mi_car_paint_phen_x_passes” on the car material.
Rigging and Blendshape
I have spent lots of time at this stage because this is my first time rigging a full body character with facial expression. I took time to familiar the logic after the rigging system. It has been a harsh time for me. Sometimes, I had to delete all the skeleton and start all over again.
Following online tutorials will be the easiest way for a simple rig. However, there may have contradictions from tutorials to tutorials. When the rig from different tutorials combines, it may not work.
because the animation is focusing on the characters upper body movement, so a well-made facial rigging will be necessary. I have made 30 blendshapes for facial expression
I surf from internet for simple movement as reference such as walking and jumping. But most of the time, I just do the actions myself and animate on real time. Most of the time, the timing is not right. I do adjustments by replaying the animation again and again till it is perfect.
On animating the driving scene, I use expression editor to animate the road texture moving backwards instead of animating the truck forwards, which can reduce the scale of the road scene model.
I mainly use 3-point lighting on the lighting setup.
4 render passes are mostly used for the rendering, character, background, ambient occlusion and rimlight material. On the visual theme, I would like to create a sense of 2D cartoon-like feeling. So rimlight material is used to create obvious light and shadow distribution during compositing stage.