VOL 10
One of the coolest parts about working on this project is that I get to face the dilemma of true expression within deep and complex emotions. Humans are so complicated! And we have so many different feelings and ideas, and it is my job to display those feelings in a way that is digestible and relatable to the audience. 
Ruth and Naomi experienced deep and real emotions of grief and shame in their hearts. They carried the burden of unfufilled family legacy and tradition. That burden was deep after the deaths of Naomi's husband, Elimelech, and his two songs, Mahlon and Chilion, and then only exemplified by their desperate and generally sad return to Bethlehem. It's my job to visualize this. Without facial expressions, dialogue, or much artistic detail. THAT is what I am currently trying to figure out. 
Turns out I'm not quite done with my animatic. I've done and re-done this part many times, and there are still things I need to re-work and clarify, which is completely normal in the animation process. There is a certain sequence in the middle of my film that does not hold the weight it should.
After Ruth and Naomi make their way to the town of Bethlehem, Ruth begins this process of going to the field to glean after the other reapers. It is there that she meets Boaz, and the connection forms. This scene is the entire buildup to her and Boaz coming together to break the burden of family legacy, so it is very important that the message and the passage of time is conveyed. I want to convey more fluidly that the blackness, which symbolizes said burden, only grows as time goes on. Right now, that scene does not hold that weight. 
There are many ways to convey a passage of time, whether that is through a Timelapse, cross dissolving shots in and out, or a match cut sequence. Below, you can see a few attempts at some of these. The best way for me to visualize them and decide what is best is to literally try them out. Without facial expressions and lots of emotional detail, this specific sequence is very difficult. 
Stone by stone
Something my professor has implemented in our capstone class is to do regular check-ins every other week called milestones. These markers help us to keep track of what it is we are working on, what we should be working on, and where our project is going. It also helps with just like general organization. 
Part of this for me has been the creation of my shot and asset lists, as well as mood boarding, and even the process of working and re-working my animatic. For the latest milestone, part of my goal was to have a finished and more organized shot list spreadsheet, which will be a living document as my project progresses. You can see below, as compared to my initial shot list/extremely casual script, that some shots are new and some are gone altogether. 
My other goal is to update my animatic (hopefully for the last time), with important changes like adding the shots mentioned above and editing a few shots that I don't like the look of. 
Finalizing Characters
Hello! It's been a hot sec since my last post. Over the summer, I was able to get some good work done. The most important of this work was an updated and finalized Animatic (posted above), which now includes minimal color and some better looking shots, finished my main characters' designs, and started on their walk cycles to bring them to life.
Below are the three half rotations of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz. These will be their looks for most of the film, not including Ruth and Boaz's wedding attire in the final scene. 

May the fourth be with you!
It's time for the next fun step: the animatic! I LOVE this next phase because it is when I begin to have a tangible feel of what my animation might be like in its finished stage! It is when I begin to work out the exact timing of my project and think about how shots will look and be transmitted.
To be honest, my animatic is proving that my animation will be much shorter than I originally thought. Right now it is sitting at around 1.30, which isn't horrible, but just much quicker of a story than I had thought it out to be when I was storyboarding. This timing is also not a very rigid outline either, because I know that some shots will look differently and take longer in the end than they do now.
Another reason I like the animatic (and dislike it a little bit too) is because it is time to seriously think about what my audio situation will be. This is something I have gone back and fourth on, but the audio I decided to reference for my animatic (Thank vou ANNA RF on YouTube) is more similar to the feel I want it to have, which is authentic to the setting but also cinematic and emotional. I am toying with the idea of having no music at all and rather just doing sound effects. We'll have to see about that. So far, so good.

It's been a hot sec!
Progress on my capstone at this point is slow but steady. My most recent work has been focused on developing the specifics of the story's premise as well as creating a basic shot list outline. This story outline and sort of mock script will set me up for the next phase of the project (storyboards!), so, stay tuned for that!
Ruth is a story of redemption to two women which reflects the providence and redemption of God to his people.
This logline for the project provides a brief picture of what the more developed story summary and mock script go further into detail about. The screenshots below offer a little window into that thought process for me as far as what it means to set up shots for my future storyboards.
Additionally, I worked on creating a possible asset list for the project as a whole. This process is overwhelming by nature but very necessary, because it gives me an accurate scope of what all will need to be accomplished at the beginning of the project. Hopefully, I will be able to keep track of this as I go along :)
Concept Art
I have been working on art style concept ideas for my capstone project. This includes finalizing character designs and working on color palettes and background art.
The biggest struggle with character design is having it be historically and Biblically accurate. I do not want to be accidentally heretical or unrealistic, but I also want my character design to be interesting and eye-catching. For example, I've defined a specific art style in terms of what Naomi will look like, but the color purple that she is wearing in these concept designs will not last in a final design. Purple cloth was a symbol of nobility and wealth, so it is not fitting or accurate for Naomi to wear it as a widowed and homeless refugee. This is an example of a design that I like, but that I know cannot be final.
Doing background art is so much fun, because it makes the experience more immersive and realist. I'm finally starting to see what my animation might look like!
Moodboarding is the idea of gathering different style ideas, inspiration, and references to base my actual assets off of. I first created a moodboard of the art style I am looking into for the characters and general backgrounds, which turns out to be a sort of clean, modern look. Many of these art style references come from Bible-based animations from Bible Project, so I must give them due credit for their artistic beauty and genius!
The second sort of moodboard I created is for the historical environmental aspects of my animation. The book of Ruth takes place around 600 BC in what is now modern-day Jordan, on the eastern side of the Dead Sea. This gives the story a very specific time period and location, which means historical accuracy is a must. I have to be intentional about the people group that is present in the story and take into consideration what cultural influences would have been in effect at this time. I have to admit, it's a bit tricky to evaluate what exactly is present and not in the story, when it comes to the cultural background, so I have done a good bit of research during this mood boarding process.
Part of this step in the process is also deciphering the general tone of the colors, meaning creating a solid color palette and tying that into the backgrounds and character design as well.
Credit to Ordinary Folk and BibleProject
Credit to Ordinary Folk and BibleProject
Current Ideas
My new task for this week encompasses several things:
1. Decide on a theme: I have chosen to go with the story of Ruth as my theme! However, I am not totally in love with this idea yet, so I am keeping my options open as far as a different Biblical story or concept.
2. Moodboarding : I have started work on a moodboard for solidifying the art style I will pursue. This is something that will be consistent with any main theme idea. I also need to create a Moodboard of reference photos as well.
3. Concept art: along with moodboarding is concept art, which will allow me to finalize that art style, as well as really visualize the story I will be telling. Concepting may lead me one way or another as far as the theme goes, and I need all the help I can get!
Hello! This blog will be a place for me to document my journey with my senior capstone project.
I will be sharing with you the inspirations and research, the step-by-step processes that I am undergoing, the successes and failures, and more, to be sure!
My first step (and possibly the most daunting) is deciding on an actual theme idea and sticking with it. For now, I know that I want my project to be theologically grounded in Biblical scripture. My identity in Jesus Christ is the most important thing about me, so I know I will not tire of a faith-based project!
As far as identifying an actual story or concept to pinpoint, that is still something I am figuring out. There is so much to choose from! In the mean time, thanks for coming alongside me in this project!
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