I eventually decided on a forest setting for my animation as I could use the trees for layering. I changed the colour and tone of the scene to a red/orange to imply fire and anger, and also made sure that it was a long enough image for scrolling cross in the background to imply camera movement.
When colouring the line art for the character I also tried to adjust the colour and contrast so that it would look more like he belonged in the surroundings, but I think I could have done better with this, making the colour scheme more uniform and adding highlights on his clothes or hair so that the character looks more like he’s actually there, rather than had just been put against a background.
Getting the images to move using the program was easy enough, as was using the Gaussian blur and the colour correction tool etc. the hardest part was using the puppet pin tool to create the movement of the hair and clothes in the breeze. I had practiced all these techniques before in a short animation using the original pictures, however I had found that, because the hair and face were part of the same image, the tool manipulated the face as well, distorting it and creating quite an odd effect.
Needless to say my images needed to be separated into layers if I was going to use this tool.
Using the puppet pin tool was only a secondary objective though, something I could do if I had time to. The main goal was just to create a seemingly 3D space using layering techniques of 2D images. The shot that I think best represents this is the first one, because of the way the trees seem closer to the camera through their movements and blurriness. The other shots do show this also, but more subtly, i.e. with the leaves and ash falling.
The smoke effect required multiple layers to make it look dynamic and changing as smoke is. The ash also had more than one layer, with the closer layer falling faster than the more distant. This was also used so that the closer layer of ash would fall in front of the trees or that character with the more distant layer falling behind.
I deviated slightly from the basic music track because I wanted music that would complement the theme of my animation, and the suggested track did not do this, as it was too light-hearted and generic, and I wanted a deeper more emotionally moving soundtrack that conveyed the characters mood, making them more relatable and the animation more personal to the viewer. I still made sure however that the music I used was free and used in accordance with copyright restrictions.
I had a few problems when it came to rendering the files. For a start, when my video rendered and I tried to play it in a media player program, it either crashed the program or ran slowly or with a lot of lag. In order to resolve this I tried rendering it at l lower quality, this seemed to fix that problem but created another, the video was now a small window surrounded by a thick black border. In order to repair this I had to re-render the video using Adobe Premiere.
Overall I am pleased with the finished piece and I hope that there is enough evidence that I understand how to layer images to create the required effects in it.