Rock, Paper, Scissors

A local film-making club has a competition in April with the theme “Rock, Paper, Scissors”. I thought I’d enter a short animation in NPR/Toon style using freestyle. The story board goes like this…

A large scissor class ship slips silently though space…


The commanding officer and his lieutenant look out from the bridge…


“We have the enemy fleet on the scanner Commander”
“Yes, our old enemy the paper empire! Prepare to attack!”


“We’ll slice though them like… er, like…”
“Like scissors though paper sir?”
“Exactly!!”


“Sir, they’ve changed course! They’re heading for that asteroid belt!”
“They’ll be torn to shreds! Follow them and attack whatever’s left!”


“Wait, the paper ships are unfolding!”
“They’re wrapping around the asteroids and guiding them around us!”
“Somehow the paper empire have learnt how to defeat rocks! It’s a trap! Hyperspace jump! Now!!!”


So that’s where I’m up to. The plot is roughly there (I’ve left a few surprises for the finished product though). I was after a plain and simple look, and in particular I want the scissors to look fairly real - ie no greebles etc. I haven’t rigged the scissor commander and lieutenant yet, and I also haven’t done any actual animation. I only have a few week to do it in, and not many hours available each day, so I guess it will stay fairly basic!

Of course any feedback is welcome, but I haven’t used freestyle seriously before so I’m particularly interested in suggestions on the NPR look. I’ve just used the default freestyle lineset, as well as BI toon materials and a little AO for the shading. There is obviously no texturing in the materials, and I’m not sure if I should keep the plain colours or add something else.

Thanks in advance!

One more thing - would there be anyone out there interested in providing some voice acting for this short? I’m afraid there’s no prize money involved, just a credit at the end. (I can do it myself, but it would just sound like every other film I’ve ever done!) Some international flavour to the audio would be amazing! Please PM me if you’re interested…

I’ve left this a little late, and I’ve a week and a bit to get it done. I’ve now done the quite a lot of the animation, and a quick render of most of that. I’m trying to assemble a rough edit to see what flows and what doesn’t.

Some progress pictures…

A screen shot of the rigged characters…

The rendered version…

The scissor spaceship warping into the scene…

The paper empire fleet…

Things I’ve found interesting about this project so far are…

  • Constraining the eyeballs using lattice deforms so that they don’t poke out of the back of the head, but can still be aimed the usual way. Those lattices are then deformed by an overall lattice to do the main twisting animation
  • My first serious use of Papagayo for lip sync - it’s just great!
  • Use of OSL for the star-scape and the lens flare thanks to DarkCresent and iReboot. Although the main project is in BI for toon and freestyle reasons, it was pretty fast to use these via composite.
  • Animating unfolding paper planes - it’s harder than it sounds!
  • Using boids for the scissor/paper fleet chase - it’s tricky to get the guys to go where you want them, but it’s so much fun!

The main issue I’ve had is using freestyle for animation - it’s my first try and it might be my inexperience, but the lines are very inconsistent from frame to frame.