Finished Product

I’ve now got the animation online for show!  I’m currently just finishing off the project file and the paperwork to hand it in but you can have a look at it here: 1812: Napoleon’s Final Invasion.

Rendering Week and Editing

This week I spent in the digital media labs at uni rendering all the After Effects projects I’d done for 1812.  It didn’t take too long really and, now, after four days, I’ve finished it all, edited it together using Final Cut Pro, made a few tweaks and designed the DVD menus.  I’m just waiting now for the file to be compressed to go on the DVD I need to hand in and I’ll be finished, pretty much, but for the paperwork.

In the end, I’m very happy.  I think it could go a lot quicker, especially in the first third of the animation, but it would mean a lot more content which I don’t have.  However, I’m still happy and I think it gives the viewer more of a chance to listen and reflect on the music.  I’m very happy with the way the cuts go with the music and also the style of it, having the old film and a slightly desaturated look to the whole thing.

Kutuzov Video

Here is a sneak preview of a scene with the Supreme Commander Kutuzov from the 1812 animation.  It’s using the sketches done by a friend, Naomi Allen, and using Adobe Photoshop and After Effects.

The sketches I edited by filling in the spaces with a loose paintbucket tool which gives a nice effect, pretty similar to my animation from last year.  I like the effect and I think it looks really nice.  I’ve also included the film effect I’ll be using in this video; it, along with some desaturaisation, gives the sense of an old film, a documentary film in fact, which should add to the experience of the animation.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy, please do send some comments.

Artistic Expressions

I have been blessed to have met a lovely girl called Naomi this year and she is studying Fine Art.  Perfect opportunity for some collaboration I think!

She is going to be sketching the main figures for my 1812 animation which I will be doing some small editing (colouring and layering) to and animating to fit into the scenes.  Exciting!  Here are a couple of examples of her sketches and in the near future there will be an example of how they are to be used…

Particle Playground

I have a scene in 1812, which is based on an engraving by Christian Johann Oldendorp, of Moscow as it burns when the Russians left it ablaze.  Of course there is smoke in this picture so I wanted some sort of animation to show that.  Scouring the internet for tips, I found that Particle Playground, a particle plug-in included with After Effects, is the best way around it.

Using Particle playground, you can take away the gravity, causing particles to fly up, and play with the velocity and gravity force to change the speed and behaviour of the smoke (I still haven’t managed to get it slow enough for my liking…).  The colour and size of particles also helps make it look nice and finally stick a Fast Blur effect on to finish the job.  As you can see above, it look not too shabby and moves alright too.  Could be better but for an included plug-in, it works.

Russian Script

As you can see from the storyboards, I’ve made the script of what will go on the slides in between scenes.  I’ve had them translated into Russian Cyrillic text now, which is excellent, from a French friend who also speaks Russian.  Have a look:

The year is 1812 and relations between France and Russia are failing.
Год – 1812, и отношения между Францией и Россией становятся плохими.
Napoleon, of France, takes offense against Alexander’s Russia, and prepares to attack.
Наполеон, из Франции, обижается против России Александра, и готовится нападать.

The Russian Church urges its people to pray for deliverance.
Российская Церковь призывает ее людей молиться за избавлению.

Napoleon’s Grande Armée is the largest in European history.
Grande Armée Наполеона – самая большая в европейской истории.

On June 24, almost 700, 000 men cross the river Neman towards Moscow.
24 июня, почти 700 000 мужчин пересекают речной Неман к Москве.

Supreme Commander Barclay is effectively chased back to Smolensk.
Высший Командующий Барклей эффективно преследуется назад к Смоленску.
Mikhail Kutuzov takes over from Barclay but things get worse.
Михаил Кутузов вступает во владение от Барклей, но вещи ухудшаются.

As the Russians retreat to the South, Kutuzov orders the evacuation and destruction of Moscow.
Pусских убегают на Юг, и Катазов заказывает эвакуацию и разрушение Москвы.

Napoleon captures a ruined and burning Moscow.
Наполеон захватывает разрушенную и горящую Москву.

As despondency sets in, Russian prayers are answered…
Hаборы прибывает, но Pусские молитьси – отвешено.
The Russian winter arrives, an act of God, forcing a French retreat.
Российская зима прибывает, желание Бога, и вынуждает отправление французов.

The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates and praises God as Napoleon’s army flees.
Русская православная церковь празднует и хвалит Бога, поскольку армия Наполеона бежит.

Temperatures hitting -40°C freeze the French cannons in the ground.
Температуры, достигая -40°C замораживают французские орудия в основании.

The weapons are turned on the fleeing French.
Оружие превращено на бегущих французах.

By the 14th of December, Napoleon is defeated and the Russian Empire lives on.
B 14 декабря, Наполеон побежден и Российской империи жит.


Storyboards: finished