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I organized all of my layouts in unreal with the cameras and focal lengths. For the closeup shots, rather than strain my laptop and slow things down, I’ve created a small mini version of the bog for angles which are pointed at the ground. By doing this I can create higher detailed shots with the foliage without taking too long to render in Unreal.

I brought a screenshot of my environment with one of the posed characters into Krita, where I had originally worked on designs for the characters. Krita is very similar to Photoshop, but I prefer the brushes and can work quicker with them, which at this point in production is a necessity. My first test matched my chosen designs for the characters, but they were hard to read and looked quite weird. I decided to try incorporating something I had explored during my concepts, which was to have the face and hands a (flat) separate colour from the clothing. This worked a lot better and helped show where the character was looking, so I think I will continue with this following the positive feedback from presentations on it. I do think I’ll need to be careful with the hands disappearing against similar colours on the environment, so while I am reworking my bog foliage I will make sure that these warmer pinks are away from where we need to see the characters hands clearly.

Above: First test. Looks somewhat clunky. Below: Second test. Clearer to identify hands and face. Lighting helps bring out the forms that are lost with the flat colouration.

Having the 3D characters in the scene has sped up the 2D significantly and taken some of the pressure off of working out perspective and poses now. The other benefit of having these models is that they will cast shadows onto the grass that will work believably with my 2D work and be able to change as needed.

My steps for the 2D will be create all the flat colour poses, then arrange all of my lighting in Unreal. From here I will be able to use the lighting on the models as a quick reference for the 2D lighting to save me time.

Below: The light affecting the 3D model in Unreal according to my directional light. I can also change the material as I need to see the lighting more clearly than the black material.

I used a rig to pose my characters so that I would be able to move them into the world for accurate perspective, and to take some of the strain off of me working out the 2D movements by having the 3D. I followed my original shot reference closely for this as well as exaggerating some poses so that they read clearly, seeing as the cahracters are so far away. From this point I will bring them into Unreal using Alembic caches, and then be able to screenshot in Unreal with all of the charactesr in their final positions and their movements. I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with a lot of 2d animation to do, especially as there are 2 characters, so I’ve kept the amount of frames fairly low and only the ones that are really helping show the story.

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