Looking over these screen shots, I really like the over all colour scheme. I feel that black and yellow for the interior of the hive was a given, an obvious choice but I didn't want the rest of the animation to have any black (or at least limited amounts) because of this. It was meant to be light hearted, therefore the bright pastel colours, I feel, have worked quite well. The animation itself has a very hand made feel to it, you can tell that it is made from pieces of paper cut out, which was my intention. Key examples of this would be the sketchbook paper holes in the curtains or the imperfections in the table cloth. You can see a crease down the middle of the honey pot, and also cut markings made in the honey comb.
The intro I'm quite pleased with. I'm glad I stuck with simply using the yellow background but flipping it horizontally and vertically to give it a bit of variation. The multiple colours I tried using previously were too garish and sickening. Having the bee in flight animation flit across the screen introduces the theme quite nicely, visually supports the text and is quite cute. The text itself is clearly paper cut out, its a bit blocky, but this suits the feel of the animation and sets the tone for what is to come. The shapes within the lettering mimic the straight edges within my cut out honey comb featured later in the animation. As for the audio for the opening sequence, it's simply one of my friends 'do do doing'. It makes me laugh, is quite light hearted and has gotten quite a good response from my viewers as their favourite/most entertaining part of the animation. It sets the tone for the piece, it's child like, which was my intention. The paper cut out style echos this naivety.
The colour scheme for the kitchen was all decided upon because of the honey pot. I wanted a background that would bring out the yellow of the pop so naturally purple was the logical choice. The green/yellow check table cloth/curtains echo the cliche checkerboard fabrics you would find in the typical kitchen.
So this opening sets the scene for the animation. We begin and end in the kitchen with the honey pot, which adds a bit of continuity/completeness to the whole thing, as if the audience has been taken on a round about journey thought the bee hive and back to the kitchen. The viewer at first gets a look at the whole scene (including the view out the window) is drawn in to focus on the honey pot, with supporting narration. "...honey, which is quite delicious...'...
then the viewer is drawn away from the pot (pan and zoom) towards the window with the accompanying narration 'but there is more to this insect than meets the eye'. Which leads to the circular hole within the hive (echoing the shape of the eye) which expands to take the audience smoothly into the bee hive.
This holes edges were originally straight edge cut outs but due to the blurriness of the zoomed in background image, after showing the animation to a peer, they recommended blurring the edges. This made the transition much more aesthetically pleasing and smooth.
The next section introduces the hierarchy of the hive. Something which fascinates me. The workers need the queen just as the queen needs the workers. Though this ratio is not entirely accurate, the workers greatly outnumber the drones, it does give a sense of numbers and shows the differentiation between the three kinds of bee within the hive in a simple way, a typical hierarchy pyramid format.
The timing for this sequence had to fit just perfectly with when each different rank appeared, when 'worker' was spoken, the bottom line of heads appear on screen, then drone and finally the Queen. It all fitted together quite perfectly in the end. I was quite worried about how well the audio would merge with the visuals, but in the end it was fine.
To create a transition into this scene I aligned the bottom middle worker bees head with the head of this bee and had it crawl onto the screen, a sneeky graphic match! It wiggles along side the text as I didn't want to simply fill a screen with text. This lettering has no boarder but as it sits upon a black background it stands out well enough. The lettering is clear and I did not keep the numbers to a uniform shape or size even though for each '0' I used the same image. This is because in all my other paper cut out words, the letters are never the same, therefore this numbering couldn't be too orderly. Once again I had to get the timing just right for the audio to fit with the numbers appearing on screen.
I was able to reuse the same numbers for further figures. I enjoyed creating sequences like this, simply having the moving bee animations travel across the screen because it was simple to do but looked quite effective. Timing the opacity of the eggs as the Queen passed the cell chambers was tricky but once it was completed I was quite satisfied.
This section where the worker bees surround the hive was not actually in my initial storyboard, however I had to create another section of animation in order to allow more time for my audio. I did cut out some sections from my script in order to accommodate for the timing of the animation, however certain sections I would not sacrifice. This sequence however was very simple to create because I already had all the backgrounds and props I needed. I also enjoyed playing with the scale of the bees and making them fly around the hive. The sky and bushes I really think work well together, I like that the brush strokes from where I painted are visible, it gives the animation character. This section also allowed me to reuse my bee soundtracks so I could use buzzing noises which added ambience to the video.
The scene where the drone dies was simple to create. I turned my sky background 90 degrees in order to have the brush strokes pointing downwards and then moved the bee and the sky in opposite directions to emphasise the feeling of falling. I also added in a typical cartoon falling noise as this bee plummeted. It helped to keep the animation feel light hearted as much information about bees is being read out though out and children might feel a bit bombarded with the amount of narration.
This transformation sequence fitted quite well with the narration. I had each stage fade in and out of one another and lengthened the time stretch on this section to allow more room for the narration.During this section of the video the audio of guitar playing in the background changed from finger picking to chords, so this sort of echoed the changing of the pupae into a cocoon. I had recorded my guitar playing in a few different sessions, though when I listened back to the recordings one of the strings was slightly out of tune, however when the audio was stretched it sounded much nicer, and this wasn't so noticeable. I didn't want any section of the animation to have zero audio as the beauty of animating is being able to combine moving visuals with audio tracks and I had no dramatic need for silence.
The timing of the wax seal forming on the cell chamber had to fit perfectly with the audio, happily my narrator was up to the challenge.
The paper cut outs of the bee in development are a little bit eerie but I suppose nature can be a bit gruesome sometimes. It was fun to make creatures out of simply paper shapes though.
For this sequence I took one hexagonal shape and cut away from it gradually, saving each as a new file. I then layered them up and section by section edited their time frame so as the animation went on the image was no longer visible, creating the illusion of the wax cell seal gradually breaking away.
I then reused the sections of the broken wax cell seal for this scene where the camera zooms out and worker bees are cleaning the hive. As the bees flitter about the honey comb the dirt in the cells gradually disappears.
I reuse the same background for this section with the nursing bees. By changing when each bee's animation sequence begins I was able to use the same worker bee movement sequence over and over again but the bees didn't move in unision because they had different starting points. This made their movement for naturalistic as bees do not move with uniformity.
Section demonstrating the cell chambers being used for honey storage and also for laying eggs. The honey gradually expands to look like the cells are filling up. I used the same Queen animation sequence as previously. The screen then follows the Queen ono the next section of honey comb, creating a smooth transition into the next part of the scripting.
I repeat the same above view animation sequence of the worker bees this time surrounding the Queen. Once again each animation sequence begins at a different point so that the bees are not moving in unison.
This section has gotten the most response. It does freak me out a little bit as the bees exchange nectar using their tongues. perhaps this section isn't appropriate for all audiences, I know it's just nature but there does seem to be some perverse about it. Perhaps its because the sequence is so slow as well, at least it's memorable I suppose. If I were to go about doing this section again I might make it a bit more tactful.
I did get to use one of my coloured backgrounds within the animation though. I felt green was the most appropriate colour choice because it's nice and natural and suits the rest of the colours within the animation. The time of the narration fits well with the appearance of the arrows pointing out the sections of the bees body.
The animation then goes on to speak about the function of the bees eye with relation to the positioning of the sun. I really like this sequence because of the over all framing. I like the colours here and the open blue space. The sun disappears as the narration moves onto the wings though I think this sequence is a bit too drawn out as it begins to speak about the bees pollen basket on its leg. I feel it should have moved onto the next scene a little more quickly.
Love this close up because it's a variation within the framing. Also it makes the audience think as to what the shapes are, the image is not of a complete bee, only part of it, though with the contextual information it's pretty straight forward. I also had the opportunity to use a variation of petals and anthers for this section, so it was nice to use fresh pieces of imagery. The timing of this sequence with the animation and arrows fitted quite well also.
The guard bees allowed for another opportunity for variation with the bees body and movement. I really enjoyed creating this sequence because the robber bees movement is so smooth as they approach the hive. The framing for this scene is also interesting because I didn't use typical central positioning. The scenery is minimal but gives enough information to suggest what is going on.
Once again I was able to use the same scenery and props and reassemble them to make an interesting composition. the timing of the bee returning to the hive sits well with the accompanying narration and the bee sound track in the background also supports the visual, even with bird song helping to create an ambience to this sequence. The frame then zooms into the hive just as in the beginning of the animation then zooms out to lead the audience back into the kitchen.
We then return to the kitchen where a plate with toast is sat on the table, by skewing the scale I was able to make the plate appear flat and then have it move to become the main focus in the frame.
The audio here is of margarine being scraped onto toast and a knife clattering against a plate. This fits with the visuals perfectly. Animating the honey was enjoyable as I used the same piece of honey several times, I just changed its distortion so it followed the knife as it spread along the toast. This section wasn't initially within my plan for the animation, but gave the animation a light hearted conclusion. The mention of toast was actually thought up by my narrator, so he got to add a bit of humour to the video. I like the movement of the knife and honey in the sequence and how the honey slowly disappears from the knife onto the toast, I feel it was quite successful.
Once again paper cut out lettering, and the same background as in the opening sequence. This allows for some continuity for the animation. Also the same audio track as the intro has been used, I find it quite amusing and if it makes me happy surely others will enjoy it too. The lettering itself has blemishes but the dirtiness of the animation as a whole (such as marks on the hive and on the backgrounds) add to the character of the piece, it wasn't meant to look pristine and I'm quite pleased with the final outcome.
Of course a cute bee flittering across the screen and a cheeky plug to my blog at the end of the animation. I feel this conclusion was an appropriate way to end it.