Last Stand Blog

My movie is called Last Stand, mostly because I couldn’t think of a better name. The movie isn’t really about a certain thing anyway, its story isn’t laid out before you, its open for interpretation. What story it does tell is effected by the musical choice. The characters are all ships, numbered by their entrance onto the scene and given depth of their actions by the music. If for instance the music was not there you’d hardly notice the giant laser beam firing. Each of these ships is a reusable symbol, except for the 4th ship, the shuttle craft that leaves the formation half way through, that had to be redrawn for each of its rotations. Other reused symbols are the explosions and craters in and around the planet.

The music is the Leaving Earth track from the Mass Effect 3 Soundtrack. Its unexpected change in tone is perfect for this movie, or more appropriately I was thinking of the music long before I finalized the animation. The music also effected how the animation would have progressed. Before I really listened to the track I had the plan to add more scenes after the #3, the approach to the planet, but the music would have run too long and what I wanted to add would have been unfitting for its length.

I can’t say I used any different techniques then what we learned from the Anastasia McCune tutorials. I did use a lot of those techniques though to create these effects. The rapid changes in Alpha for the explosions around the planet for instance. Honestly most of this was done without direct tutorial help and simple trial and error.  I did want to use a 3 dimensional transition for the shuttle craft, but seeing what kind of alteration to the design and not to mention the summitry of its creation would have been too much of an issue for such a quick transition. Thus scene 4 was included and it adds a much better feel to the piece then a fancy rotation would have.

Issues that arouse throughout the process included magnetism at low zoom levels. You need to be zoomed in to fill the screen with the object your working on  to allow proper levels of magnetism between pieces, other wise things like to jump around the spot you want them to be. It should be said now that every object and graphic was created in flash by me. I used my storyboard to at least keep things consistent and crafted shapes into desired forms for each distinct piece. Some pieces are overlapping shapes that combined to create the parts that I couldn’t create with normal tool, like the bottom of the small ships’ hull. Flash unfortunately doesn’t have a trapezoid tool.

If I had to do this again I’d probably find a way of rotating the ships to appear less two dimensional. Right now they are too complex to rotate, and trying would either only rotate certain parts or just blur the whole piece. I would have to go back and redo every object, and when you’ve spent 3-4 hours creating these ships its not a pleasant idea.  The only unanswered question I have, mostly because I haven’t asked it yet, is how to change the overall hue of the scene, like dimming the lighting or saturation of the whole scene to create a more atmospheric look. Right now my Movie is just shapes and colors, and adding shades of these colors would be interesting, but bothersome without dedicated tools.

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