Christmas card 2015

Well this year like every year I decided to make a christmas card for this years advent calendar. To begin with I just felt like it. I like making them and this year so far I haven't actually gotten to do any animation itself because I've been to busy in meetings and planning films that the actual making process has alluded me. So I thought if I made one I would get the chance to animate something this year. It was then also pointed out to me that if I handed it in to this years advent competition it would meet the requirements set by this years externality project. So after that it was pretty much settled. Get the christmas card done and in on time for this competition.

It's becoming a bit of a pattern for me for my films to be driven quite heavily by style and this film was no exception. When it gets to this time of the year I love some vintage. I love a christmas card that looks like it's from the 60's or the 70's. I think it's a style that lends itself perfectly to the season. It uses soft colours and straight lines and it just shouts christmas to me. I love retro christmas cards. 

So one of the first things I did was put together a pinterest board full of pins of various vintage christmas cards;

I love the colours and textures of these cards which I wanted to mimic in this film. I love alternative framing and I've only every used them in one other film. I was inspired by this further as I sat and watched the films that thursday we were invited to the 4th years focus group. He used a lot of alternative frames and it made me realise just how badly I did want to use them.

So I planned to have this digital card styled very like a real card. A real card with a rough around the edges vintage 60's feel.

(still from the beginning of my chrsitmas card)

I made sure the whites are much creamier than real whites and all the colours are across the same pallet. It's a very limited colour pallet so I am using pretty much 5 colours. That blue never features again hahaha.

So Jared already knows much of the plot to this card because he helped me out with it when I was stuck. Initially I knew I wanted a shop display and characters packing up for christmas day, all of them going home for christmas. Mainly because I wanted a gingerbread house and gingerbread men in there. I was really feeling those this year. And it seems that they are in this year as well. As I've seen lots of them this year in shops and in adverts. 

So the plot for this film, thanks Jared for the help, goes that there is this tree in the window of the shop and at the end of the night when the lights are turned off and the shop is closed, the ornaments on the tree come to life and head home for christmas. The snowman and the reindeer both jump from the tree and head home. Following this the gingerbread man tries to dismount the tree and go home as well but finds he is tangled in the tree and can't release himself from it because of his lack of fingers. He becomes upset and eventually is helped down from the tree by the reindeer. Then he can finally go home for christmas.

Really this card to me feels a lot more like a moving illustration but it gave me a chance to stretch an animation muscle I never get to because I could digitally draw this one. Having said that it took me far longer than I thought to teach myself to affectively work in photoshop as I was having some issues. I was following the basics of a youtube tutorial I was sent on how to use photoshops timeline tools. But like is typical of everything mine did not look or work anything like the version in the tutorial and I had to pend a long time trying to figure out how to work the timeline in my version of photoshop. Which unfortunately compromised the end result of my card.

Initially I had much bigger plans for this card. I considered having it narrated a bit like the night before christmas but I didn't have the time once I'd figured out the photoshop timeline to record the audio before I could think about animating. Plus I had an idea of breaking the 4th wall with this narrative and in the end I didn't know how to continue the narrative and figuring it out would have taken more time to figure out. So I scrapped that element.

In addition from scene to scene I had intended to have the frames move as if a page was being turned but because of the way my time worked out I couldn't get Mikes help with that which meant that the labour was going to be to intensive for me to continue to consider it.

I mean all in all I think the film turned out fine and I'm still glad I made it I just think I haven't quite managed to figure out how much I can achieve in a certain length of time. 

In the end the only thing about it I would definitely change is there is a scene where the gingerbread man is looking down at his hands because he can't get off the tree. I don't think it's obvious enough and if I could remake the film I would cut in a longshot of him looking at his hands as well as his closeup.

Anyway here's the final film!

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