Bird flies over Junkyard animation roughed

After choosing to shorten the length of my animation I thought I should  get the animation of the bird flying over the junkyard roughed out to get the main establishing shot done. Using the blocking for this animation scene, I used the bird reference footage to animate the flapping of the bird’s wings. Furthermore I have tried to make the bird fly from side to side across the scene rather than flying in a straight direction, making it seem more appealing to the target audience. During this stage of the animation I have used the camera to make a follow shot as the bird follows the arcs from one side of the screen to the other, helping to make a establishing shot of the environment.

Reference footage

This is the reference footage I used from YouTube to help me animate the flapping motion for the wings.

Below is the first playblast for the animation where I have animated the flapping of the wings and the movement of the body. I have used the reference to get the key positions and the flapping motion of the wings as the bird goes from one direction to the other. I did have some trouble getting the flap natural looking because I had trouble drawing the transitions between the key poses. I used the arc that I had drawn out previously to help with animating the position of the body when the bird turns/ glides from one side to the other.

Having the main animation roughed out for the bird flapping and gliding, I thought about adding the character design over the top to help build some character into the scene. So by using the brush tool I drew out a rough design of my bird character design that I drew in my sketchbook. Having a model sheet of the character design I was able to draw out the different features on the face of the character. I mainly focused on the head and the tail as I already had the wings and body roughed out when animating. With the character design I tried not to go too complex with my rough design as the character design is quite simple allowing me later to go over with the pen tool.

Below I have finished roughing out the character design and the animation sequence. But looking at my storyboards and the animation I had made so far, I saw a lack in the camera shots that I had previously storyboard. So by adding a camera to the scene I made sure that i used the dutch angles and the follow shot to follow the bird around toward the junkyard helping to make the animation more appealing visually. Furthermore the camera angle helps to show the tilt of the bird as it lifts and swoops into a glide action before reaching the other side of the arc.

However at the beginning of the animation I think I should have the camera zoomed out slightly so you can see the bird flying into the scene before using the follow shot. So I was thinking if I have the follow shot from a distance and zoom in gradually while following the bird it may look a little better, rather than jumping straight into being behind the bird as it flies. Looking at this scene, I like how the camera movement came out as it follows the bird and makes it like your flying with the bird behind. But the issue I have is the bird wings could be improved as the flap action seems still a little off being natural. But considering how I blocked the wings out using lines, I think that this looks much better than how it was before.

Next stage will be to do the line work for this scene, as well as animating the other key bird scenes in this animation allowing me to get the introduction to the film done, so that I can work on the key characters in the junkyard scenes.

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