I Love You So Hard
“I Love You So Hard” is a 4 part, animated series about romance, passion, gratuitous violence and bodily fluids. In this journal I will briefly explain my working process and document my progress throughout the eight months I have to make this cartoon.
(Can’t be bothered reading? Skip to the final film.)
21st OCTOBER 2012
“I Love You So Much” will be directed and animated by myself and written and voiced by Joel Veitch of rathergood.com.
I made my first film for Joel, “Cocktopede”, in 2008 just before starting college, back when I was just a hack Flash animator. A few years later, after I’d spent some time practising and studying hand-drawn animation, Joel and I started working together again and I drew “Tiny Chainsaw” in the Summer of 2011. Over the next year and a bit we continued to collaborate, creating many more strange, perverted and gory cartoons: “The House That Looks Like Me”, “Base Wanking” and most recently “Birdstrike and Manballoon”.
Then, as I neared my final year of study on the animation course at the Edinburgh College of Art, Joel approached me with an idea for a series of short films, giving me a huge, long list of short sketch ideas he had along the same theme. I explained that I had to make my graduation film, so I chose four of the ideas and we pieced them together into one cartoon. These sketches were chosen based on how well I thought they’d translate into animation and how well they would compliment each other in the movie.
Thus “I Love You So Much” was born. I’m not going to ruin the plot so I’ll keep this journal as cryptic as I can. What I can say is: it’s over 4 minutes long, it’s all hand drawn and it will be insane!
Enough preamble. PICTURES!!
So the first step was to draw the character designs for our two main characters, Joel and Jacqui. Above you can see the final design for Joel. The real-life Joel doesn’t have a hairy ball chin nor no bottom teeth, but I wanted this cartoon version to look as creepy as possible. The beige trenchcoat also adds to the stalker image but I have no way to explain the pink shirt.
Next, I set about filling my sketchbook with pages of concept artwork. Here are just a few of those pages. Normally I don’t do as many sketches, but seeing as this is all being graded for my degree, I had to put that extra bit of effort in.
More ball chins. Gotta love those ball chins.
Then, once all the concept art was done, I quickly moved onto storyboarding the film.
Here are only four out of ninety five storyboard panels. My storyboard sketches are very rough but they’re mostly for my reference only.
Even though the film is drawn by hand, I still use Adobe Flash to help me with my timing. As well as putting together a rough animatic to get an idea of how the film will play out, I am also able to scroll through the soundtrack frame by frame to help me lip-sync the voice recordings to the characters.
After all the pre-production was done, I could finally move onto getting this film made. I started animating on the 2nd of October, so I’m now just under three weeks into the film. I’ve got a lot to show for myself. Two scenes are completely drawn, inked and coloured in, and I have a few other scenes in various stages of completion.
This frame has been sketched with pencil then tidied up by going over the lines with a pen. It has yet to be attacked with coloured crayons.
Here is a close-up of some pencil work on the lightbox. As you can see, in this frame Joel’s eyes have turned into anuses and his chin balls are nice and dangly.
The pages are piling up. I’ll have some more to show for myself soon.
20th NOVEMBER 2012
The name of the series has been changed to “I Love You So Hard” instead of “I Love You So Much”. The other major change is that the film has been split back into its four original parts.
With that comes the good news that the first part of the series will be ready in roughly two weeks. I’ve drawn and inked in all the animation for the opening sequence and now only have to face a mountain of 200 sheets worth of colouring in!
This is one of the backgrounds. I have to draw each background three times is order to make it wobble.
Here is a pencil test of Joel and Jacqui’s first meeting. By filming the pencil sketches through, I can check if it moves right and make sure I didn’t forget to draw anything. In this test, I forgot to draw one of Joel’s ears in one frame, if you look super super closely, but that’s fixed now.
After I’ve made sure the pencil work is OK, I go over the lines incredibly carefully with a pen. I try to make as few mistakes as possible, but little blemishes add to the hand-drawn feel… That’s what I tell myself. If I fuck up big time, there’s always tip-ex.
Then all the pencil is rubbed out and the colouring begins.
Because I’m clumsy, the pages are often crumpled and creased by my unsteady, sweaty hands. To combat this problem, I use this high-tech paper press. After a week or two, the frames are nicely flattened and ready to be filmed through.
So only a couple of weeks to wait until Part 1 is available online. Also, cheers for the comments!
6th DECEMBER 2012
The first part of “I Love You So Hard” is now complete. It should be available to watch online at some point next week.
This is the final stack of frames for the first installment of the series. There’s 365 sheets of drawings in this pile.
I’m using the camera facilities at college to photograph each frame through. Here you can see my set up. The software I’m using to film the pages is Dragonframe.
12 DECEMBER 2012
Part 1 is online. See?
…and part two is well underway. DO YOU SEE?
22nd DECEMBER 2012
Work continues on part 2… not much to say here… have some images instead…
31st JANUARY 2013
Part 2 is now complete and online for your viewing pleasure. But before we get to the good stuff, there’s more ‘behind the scenes’ rubbish!
Although the film is drawn on paper, I still rely on a little computer magic when putting the film together. The opening scene for this film is just over 2 seconds long, meaning I’d have to draw the background 27 times if it was entirely done by hand. I don’t have time for that nonsense!! So I draw each background only three times and draw the character on a separate layer.
Here’s Joel running round the corner. I use the magic eraser tool in Photoshop to cut out all the unecessary white space.
Then I take all the images and put them into order in After Effects to finish off the scene. You can see here that I’ve put a mask over Joel to cut off the parts that are behind the wall.
One small change was made from the storyboard. In the scene where Joel’s filling Jacqui’s head with stolen brains, he originally was going to use a plunger. I thought it would be funnier if he crammed them into her skull with his fists.
Part 2 is made up of 328 frames. That brings the total number of pages so far up to 693!!
…and when you put all these drawings together in just the right way you get…
See you soon with Part 3!
8th MARCH 2013
It’s been a good month. As well as getting Part 3 finished, Part 1 and 2 were nominated for a BAFTA Scotland New Talent Award. Woop woop! But before we get to the third film, a few details on how I made it.
The parts which are made to look like blueprints were drawn in pencil, then inverted on After Effects. I added a few other effects to make it look like an old Super 8 film.
When the hornets fly up Joel’s willy, I used the ‘particle playground’ effect. I reversed the animation because, to my knowledge, the particle cannon only shoots outwards. I then reversed that composition back so it looked like the hornets were flying inwards.
Here’s another mountain of paper. There’s 322 frames in this one, bringing the grand total up to 1015 pages!! Part 4’s still on its way, then I’ll get an impressive photo of all the pages together.
Anyway… PART 3!!!
17th JULY 2013
Well, I think we’re done here. Everything’s finished and there’s not much more to say. Here’s the final part, a ‘making of’ video and a few more bits of artwork. Hope you enjoyed this little blog!
Total frame count: 1495!