Seriously. When I first planned the story boards for “Contra with Friends” I had way too many shots, and on top of that I wanted to include what I thought would be a semi-complicated shot. I knew the shot might end up being more than I could handle, so I went through the boards again and really scaled everything back, and I tried to see where I could get the most out of my assets. I thought I had it all nice and tidy and ready to roll.
Well I’ve been working on the “semi-complicated” shot for well over a month now. That would be “Shot 04″ to be exact. I decided to wanted to do this traditionally, meaning no fancy puppeting with Flash. It’s all straight up drawings the old fashion way. It’s 97 frame long running at 24fps, meaning it’s only about 4 seconds long. Some of it is running on twos, so I don’t actually have to draw all 97 frames… well I sort of do. This shot has three characters involved, all interacting with one another in some way. I of course starting out by roughing out the entire sequence. There was a lot to tweak during that phase, some of which meant that I needed to go back and reanimate some of the frames completely. After that I went through and “cleaned up” (I use this term loosely because my clean up job is yikes) each of the characters. So while it’s 97 frames long, each character is their own symbol, so I need to go through those three symbols separately. Two of the characters are around for half the time, so they’re both around for the same length as the main character. To put it into simple terms, it’s a lot of god damn drawings.
So for the last week and a half I’ve been coloring these cleaned up frames. I’m currently halfway through only one of the characters. Each colored frame (as seen above) takes me about 20 minutes to do. I’m probably doing it ass backwards, but the colors are on three layers. The flat color is its own, the shadows/highlights are another, and the black clean line is on top. I average around 3 – 4 frames each night I work on it. At this rate, I’m going to be here for a long while. In an effort to shave off a few minutes, I actually ditched the highlights on Bill’s pants moving forward. I went as far as to erase the ones I put in on some of the previous ones too (they just so happened to still be there on the first frame when I grabbed that still).
This is leading me to possibly rethink the rest of the short. I obviously can’t continue the rest of the short like this, I’ll just never get it done, and to be honest, it wouldn’t be worth it. I’m currently in the process of maybe further changing the pacing of the short and the actual story and jokes. If I do that, the short won’t be called “Contra with Friends” anymore. I had thought maybe I could get this whole short done by the end of May, hoping I could have it out before I leave on vacation. I’ll be lucky to have Shot 04 done by the end of May. It still needs all the character animation, then it needs some slight effects work, a background, and finally some camera work. The end of June is looking the MOST likely. What the fuck was I thinking?
So of course I need to make it all worth it, which is why I’m rethinking most of how this short is going to play out. I may leave it as is, but I guess the silver lining of this particular shot is that I can rebuild around it. This shot isn’t telling any kind of joke or anything, I just want to capture the essence of Contra.
Anyway, yeah I wish I could go back in time and tell myself I was crazy for even thinking this was a good idea.