When Dr. Delwiche first told us about our animation project, it instantly became obvious to me that I was going to do some sort of animation about a cat and a mouse. I’m absolutely obsessed with cats, and the thought of being able to create and manipulate my own cartoon cat was too exciting of an opportunity to pass up. After thinking about what I wanted to do, I figured the classic cat and mouse chase animation would be perfect. However, I added a twist at the end with the mouse finally being eaten, something that never seems to happen in classic cartoons. “Fast Food” was the obvious choice for a title, as the mouse is fast, and ultimately became food! If I’m honest, I felt very witty when I came up with the title.
The key characters in my animation are the cat and the mouse. Either the cat or the mouse, and sometimes both characters, appear in every scene that is shown. In terms of the reusable symbols that I used, the cat and the mouse were both reused symbols, and the symbol of the cheese was also used in multiple scenes. The cheese becomes a bargaining chip that the mouse tries to utilize to become friends with the cat, but ultimately gets chomped up instead. In order to locate these symbols, as well as the backgrounds that I used, I did a lot of google searching. The backgrounds were very simple to find after a simple Google search of ‘mouse hole background’ or ‘cartoon background’. The images of the cat and mouse I found were from sprite sheets, simply googling ‘cat sprite sheet’ was sufficient to find the images that I needed. I used the cartoon characters because I thought it would evoke classic images of the cartoon cat and mouse chase scenes. I also chose to make all the other elements more cartoon-like because it fit in with the overall theme of trying to recreate a classic cat and mouse chase story, adding a twist at the end.
For this project, I knew I would have to utilize a lot of the Flash skills that I learned through watching the Lynda tutorials. However, I had never learned how to add sounds to my animations, so that was a new skill that I had to learn. After consulting Google yet again, I was unable to find a sufficient explanation that I could follow easily. I needed to add music, as well as meowing sound effects, for the cat, and eating sound effects, for the mouse with his cheese, and was completely unsure of how to accomplish this task. After talking to my classmates about my issue, Grace Frye mentioned that she had learned how to add sound and she’d be willing to teach me. We ended up being in the communication lab at the same time, and so she quickly and easily showed me how to add sound effects and music to my animation, the process only taking about ten minutes. Talking to your peers and classmates about problems you are having with your projects can be so much more helpful than the internet! Utilizing the resources around you, in this case my classmates, ultimately made this project run a lot smoother than if I hadn’t asked for help.
Along with the issue of how to add sound to my animation, I ran into several other problems as well. One of the most prominent issues was making my background scroll seamlessly with the motion of my cat and mouse to make it look like they were running across the room. I understood how to make a scrolling background, I simply had to make the characters and the background work together, which was solved through a lot of trial and error. I also had the issue of my background image not fitting on the stage, resulting in white space appearing when I played my movie. I emailed professor Delwiche and he provided a very simple fix. All I had to do was change the size of the stage itself. Once I changed the size of the stage, the background fit perfectly and I no longer had any issues. I also had problems with my shape tween that I applied to my title and ‘the end’ in the final scene. The tween just wasn’t working properly and kept leaving out certain letters. I realized that the font was causing these issues, so after changing the font and allowing for enough time for the title and ‘the end’ to display for long enough to be read, the shape tween worked perfectly.
All in all, I really enjoyed this project. Being able to make some simple animations that were able to create a story was a lot of fun and very satisfying. Finally understanding how to fix the issues that I came across was also very satisfying and I was able to teach myself a lot of new techniques and hone my other skills in Flash, which I’m sure will come in handy later on when making more animations. If I could do this project over again, I would probably come up with a somewhat simpler idea that didn’t include so many scenes. I think some of the scene changes make the movie look a little choppy at times, and being able to make my movie more seamless in scene changes would be wonderful. That is also one thing that I don’t truly understand about Flash, how some animators are able to make their animations look so seamless. Are they using multiple scenes and just creating fantastic transitions, or are some animations just one very long scene? I guess I’ll find out eventually, but for now I’m happy with my final product. “Fast Food” is sure to be a huge success!
Finally, here’s the link to my animation!
I found the image of the cat that I used from a sprite sheet from a website called 24Ways that had an article on animations. For my mouse image, I also used a sprite sheet that came from a Deviantart account that was all about video games. For my main hallway background I found the image on a website called Droidz.org that was all about stick figures and cartoons. For my mouse hole background that I utilized in one scene, I found a blog called Familyliteracy that was all about children reading children’s books. The cheese image was found from a Clipart site that had all sorts of cartoon images. The black cat silhouette that’s pictured impatiently sitting outside of the mouse hole was found on a website called rgbstock.com. The exclamation point that appears over the mouse’s head came from Wallpaper22, and the smiley face that appears over the mouse’s head in a different scene is from Clipartpanda.com that featured several different images. Finally, the last cartoon cat was found from Clipartsheep that was featuring several different cartoon cats. I found my music from Youtube on an account called ToonZone that was composed by several artists.
http://droidz.org/stickmain/backgrounds.php?page=2 – hallway background