Conceptualisation

With all our ideas cleaned up, categorised and considered, we decided to develop over 25 of our favourite or most intriguing ideas and shed more light on their potential future. As we developed concepts, we were able to knock off ideas that went against our simple ethos and sounded like they’d be too much of a pain to animate or tell the story. Considering the significance of narraitve, we wanted to capture something that was intriguing to watch but also entertaining as a story, so cats in trees began to feel repetitive and undesirable. As our long (and gradually exhausting) process continued, we cut through the crap and narrowed our concepts down to 14 engrossing candidates.

The team agreed that the workflow of taking each concept individually and considering it’s lifespan brought realisations to our development process. I was able to encourage this workflow over from week zero where our team broke down to our final concept via a lengthy analysis process. Our first major realisation was simply that we could hit a brick wall with some concepts or that we couldn’t grow the narrative further. Secondly to that, we discussed the technicalities and our individual knowledge of Maya began to shine as we also input different ways to approach a problem. It breathed a sense of confidence into the team as we knew that we could easily play of each other to keep our workflow steady. For example, I found rigging and character modelling complex. So in exchange for the help, I was able to provide assistance on texturing, lighting and cinematography.

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Further along, our analysis of each of the top concepts narrowed down to a vote on what each team member wanted to work on. By establishing each of our motivations we were able to work to make the project enjoyable for everyone, with the top concept being a ‘fruit ninja’ attacking another fruit. I added that there needs to be more drama and that there is no real punchline, so we spent time developing the ending and agreed on having the victim fruit duplicating and chasing after the first ninja with chopsticks, sparking a visual change towards sushi.

As we discussed how we could animate the slice, Michael explained that it could be created using blend shapes while also manipulating the vertices. I proposed that as a backup to the complexity of this rig, we could always ‘cop out’ to some degree by using cinematography to our advantage by having the camera track past the right shoulder of ninja then on the left, the victim is duplicated as conveyed through sound effects while out of focus and shadowed by the ninja.

In the event that we have an issue with the project and we need to eject, we decided to arrange a backup concept which would be the jousting narrative which saw two knights racing towards each other before their horses knocking them off and having horse-kiss time.

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