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Production Report #2: Between storyboard and animatic

Hello, everyone! It’s time for the second production report about our progress on the new Morevna episode.

Two weeks ago we have made an important step for the project by launching our Patreon page. And here I would like to welcome our first Patrons:

Notklaatu, David Revoy, Yalyn Vinkindo, Arne Brix, Nicholas J Reed, Antonio Roberts, L S and Matija Nalis – thank you for supporting Morevna Project!

If you have read my previous report, then you probably remember that we finished with the screenplay and now proceeding with storyboard. This was my top priority for the last period. Here I would like to share the details of the workflow.

I have started with a very simple sketches. Of course they are not that pretty as the ones produced by Nikolai, but my goal is to give a quick idea of what I would like to happen on the screen without going much into details.

Quick storyboard drafts

Quick storyboard drafts

For that task I am using Krita painting software.  I prefer to put several images on the single sheet – that makes me a comfortable feeling of “bird view” and I don’t wasting my time on switching between the files and naming multiple of them.

Drawing storyboard in Krita

Drawing storyboard in Krita

You might notice this approach is very similar to working with traditional paper, but in this case I have all advantages of digital painting. I love the possibility to have several layers and that allowed me to avoid the tedious routine of scanning. Let me note, that I am aware about recently introduced Blender’s Grease Pencil storyboard workflow, but in this case I wanted to concentrate on sketching my ideas as fast as possible in the free form.

This was fine as an initial step to “fixate” the basic ideas for myself, but this obviously wasn’t enough. I wanted to check how all that fits together and also give my teammates a clear understanding how it’s going to look like (with minimum explanations). So I felt the need to immediately go from static images to dynamic. In other words, I decided to put those sketches onto timeline.

Recording draft soundtrack in Audacity

Recording draft soundtrack in Audacity

I wanted to know the exact time for each scene and feel the rhythm of the whole story. So, I have opened the Audacity and recorded the draft soundtrack.

“Draft soundtrack” is a very cool trick. You just record the replicas for all the characters with your own voice, trying to achieve the intonation you want to see in the final movie. This gives you the initial timing data and in the future this could be a great helper when working with the artists on the final voicing.

Then I have used Synfig Studio to transform my storyboard sketches into simple animated scenes. The recently introduced Cutout Tool was a great help for this task. All scenes and draft soundtrack were composed together in the Blender’s Video Sequence editor.  Below you can see a screencast demonstrating this workflow for one storyboard page.

And this is how the result looks like for this part of the storyboard.

As you can see, such drafting process gives the basic understanding of what is going to happen on the screen and also defines the initial project skeleton.

By this moment I have finished such drafting for the first 3 minutes, you can watch the result below.

In-Production Content

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This is approximately one third of the whole episode at its current status. Also, you probably noticed, that the plain voices are not enough for the draft soundtrack. I also need to add music and maybe some sound fx – they both will influence the final editing. So, I need to dig into archives of Jamendo and look for a good free-licensed soundtracks.

By the way, I would be happy to hear the hints for a good Jamendo artists, who are releasing their works under CC BY or CC BY-SA licenses. Any recommendations?

Posted in Anime, Episode 3 and tagged , , .

11 Comments

  1. Whoa… The progress… Really interesting (and it’s episode 4 already!!!) 😀

    Also, about Synfig’s cutout tool, how is the development of version 1 ?
    What will be changed and improved in the next version ? Will it be the next RC or the final version ?
    And when ? (just some humble questions, no pushover)

    Cheers 🙂

    • The next version of Synfig will be a RC2. It will have a Cutout Tool as a new feature. Also I hope to provide the ability to choose light or dark UI theme (not everyone comfortable with current dark theme). At the moment we are resolving some critical issues with Windows and Mac OS builds of Synfig. This takes a lot of time, because requires a lot of re-building. Here’s one relevant discussion about particular issue we have with OSX version of Synfig – https://www.mail-archive.com/gtk-app-devel-list@gnome.org/msg19085.html

      Unfortunately, in current situation I can’t give any promises when the RC2 will be available. ^__^

  2. I need to watch the video to hear the dialog but just based on the pixtures, some libre licensed music I would recommend is Kaizen by Volkerfirma for slow and melancholy and K4mmerer’s Breakout album for fast action dub step (especially Fairest of Them All, Breakout Nation, Leaving, and Sweet Nothing).

    • Actually, I am looking for any good-quality Jamendo music – not in relevance with this episode only, but for the whole project. So, any hints are appreciated here. ^__^

      Unfortunately, the Kaizen have Non-Derivatives (ND) license, so we can’t use it.
      K4mmerer’s license fits fine! Thank you.

      • Oops. Other (hopefully actually libre licensed) artists I like are DJ Saryon & Sory, The Aucousticals, The Freak Fandango Orchestra, and Devyn Rose on Jamendo and Daniel Bautista, Josh Woodward, and Kimiko Ishizaka with their own sites.

  3. Pingback: Production Report #3 | Morevna Project

  4. would you like input on how to properly light & hold a match? bushcraft style. i think it could make for a cool, realistic clip/shot. if your interested i could make a rough demo vid.

    thx, loving your work, can’t wait to see morevna complete :D. looks like a awesome anime and to top it off is free culture and made only with free software!

    • Hello, Alexander! Thank you for the offer! Unfortunately, I don’t know what is the “bushcraft style” means. ^__^” Anyway, in this episode we would like to go more to cartoon style, rather than realistic. But it would be interesting to hear your ideas. ^__^

  5. Pingback: In-production content of Morevna Episode 3 goes public - Morevna Project

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