my contest entry

I did this in a week or two and sad that I did not make the finals. Would love any feed back!
http://www.youtube.com/user/WidowsPeakStudio?feature=mhum

Overall it was okay, but i really liked the bit where he saw himself in the stars. I thought that part was really neat and creative.

Hey there colin81,

The cutout animation style was nice and parts of it were quite funny, like the alien playing with the egg and being morphed into another life form. However, because the outline on your objects was so light and or thin they lacked a bit of substance. Think about making them slightly thicker, a bit darker in value or even using black. The thin lines might work for close-ups but when you shrink the artwork down to fit in your scene the outline all but disappears.

The staging of the sequence where he flies toward the image created by a constellation wasn’t very clear and I had to watch it a couple of times before I realized what you were trying to pull off. I realize that Youtube quality made things a bit fuzzy, even at the max resolution setting for playback. However, The faint stars, the Toon Boom stamp and the constellation were so close together in value and color that it looked like he was pointing towards an empty star field. Consider making stars that are sharper and brighter as opposed to blurry dots that look more like particles floating through water. I think you could have pulled off the illusion of flying through space just as well by using a static star field broken down by image planes the same way you would do atmospheric perspective in a landscape scene.

I like your usage of image planes in some of your backgrounds. However, most of the layers were too close together in saturation and or value to effectively pull off the illusion of depth. In one sequence you even had a cool blue color in the middle ground which threw off the effect. To better create atmospheric perspective consider playing with the alpha values of each color more. The further away a background layer is supposed to be from the camera the lower the alpha value would be. You could also think of this as the further back a layer is the cooler the color would be in addition to having lower saturation. However, playing with alpha would probably be a quicker fix. The last sequence where he made the remark about something being wrong with the air could have particularly benefited from more variance in saturation and temperature on each layer or plane as it receded into the background.

Lastly, it would add more appeal in the artwork to vary your line weight somewhat. For example, tapering the end of a line with a sharp point as opposed to a straight cutoff and making the line slightly thicker where a joint intersects with another body part. This creates the illusion of weight in the drawing.

Nice effort for the competition though.

thanks for the very specific critic tony237.
I absolutely agree about the thickness and colors of lines. I learned alot about how less clear everything is when compressed to such a small size (looked great on my monitor non compressed and full size).
If I did this same animation again I would no doubt apply all those comments.
thanks again for the in-depth comments, I really appreciate the feed back.

No worries colin81,

I’m going to be working hard to post my own stuff in the forums soon so other folks can go over it with an analytical eye as well. Good luck to ya.