Do I REALLY need to learn Photoshop?!
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  1. #1
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    Angry Do I REALLY need to learn Photoshop?!

    I am taking a few months off from school to work on my portfolio so I can apply to an internship in january. In the meantime, I decided to learn photoshop by taking up a class and to do tutorials that I can find that will help me to better my art but this software really frustrates me. I have never touched photoshop until I went to college and in college, I wish we could have passed more time on how to properly use this software. The techniques they showed us is good for a certain style but that not I want to achieve (espacially for my backgrounds).

    I just seem to not be able to get a grasp of it! It really frustrates me! And in 2D animation, it seems to be mandatory to be able to use it (right?) and it really stresses me out! I really love to draw by hand and I never color my stuff because of that. It happenned a couple of times where I did a neat drawing and someone asked me ''You should totally color this!'' but I just feel that I can't! If you go on my deviantart page, you will see that I have nothing in color, it's all sketches and line art.

    So, if I apply for an internship at an animation studio, do I really have to put stuff in color in my portfolio? Is it something mandatory? Are there artist who still only does work on pencil and paperat those big animation studios?

    Since the date for the applications is quickly coming soon, I'm getting more and more stressed about it! I once asked my digital painting teacher how long it took him to become good with photoshop (An d believe me, he's freaking amazing!) and he said it took him 4 years! 4 years?! I DON'T HAVE 4 YEARS! I harely have 2 months and a half to get a hold of it and I'm feeling I'm getting nowhere! PLUS, I will soon be working on my student short film, which implies MORE photoshop! I want to be able to do something of quality with my short film and I don't want it to be ruined by bad coloring. AAAaaarrrrgggg!!!!!!

    Someone please enlight me!

    (Sorry for the second depressing post)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Legrosclown View Post
    I am taking a few months off from school to work on my portfolio so I can apply to an internship in january. In the meantime, I decided to learn photoshop by taking up a class and to do tutorials that I can find that will help me to better my art but this software really frustrates me. I have never touched photoshop until I went to college and in college, I wish we could have passed more time on how to properly use this software. The techniques they showed us is good for a certain style but that not I want to achieve (espacially for my backgrounds).

    I just seem to not be able to get a grasp of it! It really frustrates me! And in 2D animation, it seems to be mandatory to be able to use it (right?) and it really stresses me out! I really love to draw by hand and I never color my stuff because of that. It happenned a couple of times where I did a neat drawing and someone asked me ''You should totally color this!'' but I just feel that I can't! If you go on my deviantart page, you will see that I have nothing in color, it's all sketches and line art.

    So, if I apply for an internship at an animation studio, do I really have to put stuff in color in my portfolio? Is it something mandatory? Are there artist who still only does work on pencil and paperat those big animation studios?

    Since the date for the applications is quickly coming soon, I'm getting more and more stressed about it! I once asked my digital painting teacher how long it took him to become good with photoshop (An d believe me, he's freaking amazing!) and he said it took him 4 years! 4 years?! I DON'T HAVE 4 YEARS! I harely have 2 months and a half to get a hold of it and I'm feeling I'm getting nowhere! PLUS, I will soon be working on my student short film, which implies MORE photoshop! I want to be able to do something of quality with my short film and I don't want it to be ruined by bad coloring. AAAaaarrrrgggg!!!!!!

    Someone please enlight me!

    (Sorry for the second depressing post)


    lol, first world problems.

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    Quit you whining and get cracking.

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    I once asked my digital painting teacher how long it took him to become good with photoshop (An d believe me, he's freaking amazing!) and he said it took him 4 years! 4 years?! I DON'T HAVE 4 YEARS! I harely have 2 months and a half to get a hold of it and I'm feeling I'm getting nowhere! PLUS, I will soon be working on my student short film, which implies MORE photoshop!
    4 years isn't all that much time to get good at something, in the grand scheme of things

    Last edited by Mana16; November 5th, 2012 at 07:14 PM.
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    It kinda sounds like you need to learn Photoshop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Legrosclown View Post
    I harely have 2 months and a half to get a hold of it and I'm feeling I'm getting nowhere!
    You don't exactly have time to waste bitching on the internet then, do you?


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    OK - on a serious note - and in an attempt to help...it doesn't sound like you have a very good idea of what being a professional in the animation industry is all about. Not saying this to put you down, discourage you, whatever - just saying that a general question like "do I have to put color stuff in my portfolio" when applying to a "big animation studio"...it's just? IDK? Are you applying for a position as a background artist? Animator? What? For backgrounds - yeah...show backgrounds. For animation - show animation.

    And I'm sorry...four years to learn Photoshop...ridiculous. I teach it too...my students learn it in 4 days. Now it might take four years to know what to do with it...but that's a different problem.

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    Might take you 4 years if you suck at drawing traditionally. Can't draw traditionally can't draw digitally. The better you are traditionally the quicker your likely going to pick up digitally.


    Think of it this way though. With art from what I gather the better skillset you have the more likely you are to find work no? Some people on here paint fine art, color comics, do illustrations and probably everything in between. The more tools you can work with the more versatile employee when looking to get hired I suppose.

    Last edited by JFierce; November 4th, 2012 at 08:06 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Legrosclown View Post
    I am taking a few months off from school to work on my portfolio so I can apply to an internship in january. In the meantime, I decided to learn photoshop by taking up a class and to do tutorials that I can find that will help me to better my art but this software really frustrates me. I have never touched photoshop until I went to college and in college, I wish we could have passed more time on how to properly use this software. The techniques they showed us is good for a certain style but that not I want to achieve (espacially for my backgrounds).

    I just seem to not be able to get a grasp of it! It really frustrates me! And in 2D animation, it seems to be mandatory to be able to use it (right?) and it really stresses me out! I really love to draw by hand and I never color my stuff because of that. It happenned a couple of times where I did a neat drawing and someone asked me ''You should totally color this!'' but I just feel that I can't! If you go on my deviantart page, you will see that I have nothing in color, it's all sketches and line art.

    So, if I apply for an internship at an animation studio, do I really have to put stuff in color in my portfolio? Is it something mandatory? Are there artist who still only does work on pencil and paperat those big animation studios?

    Since the date for the applications is quickly coming soon, I'm getting more and more stressed about it! I once asked my digital painting teacher how long it took him to become good with photoshop (An d believe me, he's freaking amazing!) and he said it took him 4 years! 4 years?! I DON'T HAVE 4 YEARS! I harely have 2 months and a half to get a hold of it and I'm feeling I'm getting nowhere! PLUS, I will soon be working on my student short film, which implies MORE photoshop! I want to be able to do something of quality with my short film and I don't want it to be ruined by bad coloring. AAAaaarrrrgggg!!!!!!

    Someone please enlight me!

    (Sorry for the second depressing post)
    I don't have a single color piece in my portfolio. None. The closest I get is simple tone applied. It didn't stop me from getting a job - but that's because my position doesn't require that skill-set.

    Do I need to know photoshop? Yes. I could just as easily be asked to understand storyboard pro, flash, tv paint, or some other software. The tools I need to do my job are very limited - does that mean I know how to do everything in photoshop? No. I know what I need to get my job done. It means I understand layers, opacity, brush tools, the eraser, the transform tool, and the save as tool. I use some of the blur tools, and the magic of dragging a layer to another file while keeping it registered properly (holding the shift key down) and duplicating the same transform over and over again (shift apple t) Some people use the animation tool bar, and layer comps, I don't. (I inevitably screw up my files.) Does the production care? No. They just want me to get my work done and have it in the file format that they can then give to the animatic editor. My director just wants the drawn background, the board template (which is often set as the photoshop background) and the characters to be on their own layers so it's easier for the revisionist to edit.

    Why would you be using photoshop for your shortfilm? Animate it by hand, 'record' it using a program like monkey jam or flip-book, and then use a program like premiere or final-cut to put all the scenes together. If you need to do some simple coloring then yeah, photoshop is great (flipbook can do this too, btw) - but I would never recommend *animating* in photoshop. The animation tool bar in photoshop afaik doesn't allow you to select frames to expose, just ".01 seconds." (seriously. wtf. endless frustration.)

    Bad coloring isn't a photoshop problem, it's a you not understanding color problem. Doing a color key pass on your boards and getting help selecting colors that work will solve that.

    On the subject of internships: not all studios have artistic internships, and will not require a portfolio.

    Last edited by Alice Herring; November 4th, 2012 at 06:31 PM.
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    Well, that should answer your question!


    Tristan Elwell
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    Here are a couple of good sites for learning Photoshop:
    http://ctrlpaint.com
    http://idrawgirls.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alice Herring View Post
    Why would you be using photoshop for your shortfilm? Animate it by hand, 'record' it using a program like monkey jam or flip-book, and then use a program like premiere or final-cut to put all the scenes together. If you need to do some simple coloring then yeah, photoshop is great (flipbook can do this too, btw) - but I would never recommend *animating* in photoshop. The animation tool bar in photoshop afaik doesn't allow you to select frames to expose, just ".01 seconds." (seriously. wtf. endless frustration.)

    Bad coloring isn't a photoshop problem, it's a you not understanding color problem. Doing a color key pass on your boards and getting help selecting colors that work will solve that.

    On the subject of internships: not all studios have artistic internships, and will not require a portfolio.
    I only use photoshop to color backgroundsand then it's transfered into ToonBoom. That's how it's done in my school. The animation is made by hand and then scanned into the computer into ToonBoom.

    And yes, I do understand the problem isn't photoshop. I have such a hard time grasping how to properly use colors and paint in photoshop and I fear that I don't have enough time in my hands to learn it. I know it's not every studio that has artistic internships but I just want to get an internship to have some experience in the field. Which means that I do have to have a portfolio for some studio in perticular. For those internships, do I require colored pieces?

    It seems there are people here that didn't read my entire post. I AM CURRENTLY LEARNING HOW TO USE PHOTOSHOP. I've taken a digital painting class and currently taking a digital background design class, doing tutorials and trying very hard to color my own stuff (which I really don't like the result.) but I feel I'm getting nowhere and not getting any better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Legrosclown View Post
    I only use photoshop to color backgroundsand then it's transfered into ToonBoom. That's how it's done in my school. The animation is made by hand and then scanned into the computer into ToonBoom.

    And yes, I do understand the problem isn't photoshop. I have such a hard time grasping how to properly use colors and paint in photoshop and I fear that I don't have enough time in my hands to learn it. I know it's not every studio that has artistic internships but I just want to get an internship to have some experience in the field. Which means that I do have to have a portfolio for some studio in perticular. For those internships, do I require colored pieces?

    It seems there are people here that didn't read my entire post. I AM CURRENTLY LEARNING HOW TO USE PHOTOSHOP. I've taken a digital painting class and currently taking a digital background design class, doing tutorials and trying very hard to color my own stuff (which I really don't like the result.) but I feel I'm getting nowhere and not getting any better.
    Fuck me.

    I'm going to repeat this very important part.

    Bad coloring isn't a photoshop problem, it's a you not understanding color problem.


    If you are as awful at coloring as you sound, what you might want to try (besides getting some assistance from someone who understands color) is find a painting you like and use it as a color reference for your film. Of course, that's even if your film requires color. You could even do your film in tone and have spot color. If you have to do the coloring by hand traditionally (like color keys) scan, then color-pick so you get the right selection in photoshop.

    Color is not what makes a good film. Good storytelling, characters, and animation do. Hell, look at Paperman!

    As for your portfolio, it depends on what you want to do. If you are an animator, no. If you are a board artist, no. (some tone might be good, but nothing more complex than light, medium, dark. Sometimes only a single tone is applied to one area.) If you want to do vis-dev, coloring is good. Color styling - definitely need coloring. Character design? not necessarily. Color always impresses lay-people, but it's not a necessary skill-set for all jobs and if you are bad at it (like I am) it can actually cause problems. Customize your portfolio for that. Some companies want to see gesture and animals drawings. Others don't - this is what research is for.

    In everything you do though, whether it's color, simple tone, or black and white - seek that sense of character and appeal, not merely technical accuracy.

    addendum: for the record, although I had a digital painting class and illustration class, I didn't properly learn color in school. The one class I should have taken was plein-air painting, but by that time I'd made a choice to focus on drawing and storytelling since I knew the job I wanted didn't require an understanding of how to apply color. I'm now taking classes at CDA and LAAFA with Bill Perkins, who's pretty much amazing - and I am just beginning to understand it's not just about a single color, but about the context of the color. For example, I would have never known that putting a warmer color next to a neutral gray will make the gray look blue. It's fucking fantastic!

    Edit 2: You also realize you are on a forum where because people want to do concept art, understanding color is necessary? So you could put your color keys up here and get critique/help?

    Last edited by Alice Herring; November 4th, 2012 at 07:16 PM.
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    Seems the problem may not be a coloring or even photoshop problem, but reading and learning to take advice problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arshes Nei View Post
    Seems the problem may not be a coloring or even photoshop problem, but reading and learning to take advice problem.
    I think the OP is just frustrated - I certainly understand that.

    Hopefully after a day or so things will cool off, the OP will come back, and post stuff for critique and move forward.

    Of course, I also think digital media is a poor platform for learning how to paint/color theory, but that's a different discussion.

    ....oh, damn. I just remembered I actually have painting homework. *forehead smack*

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    Looking at your DA (and reading your last journal post there ) backgrounds seem to be your strength. Youve got some really nice background work there, you obviously have developed skills there, developing your color skills is much the same. Youve got to work on it, no program like Photoshop, Painter, etc. is going to do it for you. You might want to start doing some color studies from life, master studies, photos, still life etc. Maybe even get some actual paint and try traditional painting to lean the fundamentals - then you dont even have to worry about photoshop.
    On the other hand as Alice said, there are a number of positions where color is not a big part of the job - storyboarding, animation, layout, etc.

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    Thats what I was going to suggest - getting some traditional colour practice in. It doesn't have to be fancy - some watercolour or ink washes over a line drawing, or use coloured pencils or markers. Art isn't all about digital.

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    "I want to be an artist, do I REALLY need to learn how to draw?"

    Really?

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    Legros, stop being a bitch, I learned Photoshop alone at the age of 13 by opening it and dealing with it. Too bad if you are frustrated, being frustrated is what happens when you are being challenged. If you don't want to be challenged, then minimum wage is always there for you, but you seem to want more.

    Look up tutorials on youtube or something if you don't get something. I didn't have youtube in 2003, I just figured it out myself.

    Your line work is nice and clean, and has a good style. colors will look great on it when you figure it out!

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    You don't NEED to do anything. You're a thinking adult human being. There are things that you want to do, and how you manage to accomplish them, or whether you manage to accomplish them is entirely up to you. You make the decisions, you put them into practice, you reap the consequences. If you can think of a way to get what you want while avoiding things you dislike, great. If you can't, then I guess you choose which consequence is the lesser of two evils -- learning what you dislike so that you can do what you like, or not doing what you like.

    Quote Originally Posted by Legrosclown
    I have this image in my head of what I want to do but I just can put it on photoshop.
    That's a quote from your dA page. Here's a fact: nobody gets to do everything that they want whenever they want it. You always, always, always work with what you've got, especially in a production environment. You will always have a budget, you will always have limited time, you do the best you can under the circumstances and then instead of beating yourself up over it, you do a post-mortem to get some ideas about what to change next time and you MOVE ON. You can complain about it at the pub afterwards but your job is to make the fucking thing go on time so that you can get paid.

    That is the reality of work. If it doesn't look like you wanted it to, well, the deadline is here so too bad so sad. Everybody else on the project is not going to wait for you to make things perfect. Submit the thing, have a beer, and work out where you went wrong in your spare time.

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    You know, software and technology is constantly changing in Animation / VFX. Photoshop really isn't that bad to learn. Follow some tutorials to do some basic stuff and work up from there. You can learn photoshop to a serviceable level in a couple of months, and a lot of what is available in the software is totally superfluous to most tasks. Just get stuck in, if you work hard, you will learn faster, its a flawless equation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nickmarshallvfx View Post
    You can learn photoshop to a serviceable level in a couple of minutes*
    *fixed .

    as others have said... its easy to pick and apply a color in photoshop. its not easy to choose the right one, but thats not a matter of photoshop (or any other tool that can be used for painting).

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    There have never been a time when information is more available and made more easy to follow.

    Want to learn guitar? you are 2 youtube clicks away, want to learn drawing? oh, by all means my boy, google have the good stuff on pdf for you.

    Nothing is limiting people wanting to learn more than themselves.

    Besides, the tool is quite simple to grasp if you already know what you want to do with it, just get it over with, like a band aid, lock yourslef a couple days with lynda tutorials and youtube or wathever. It will all seem like a baby rant some time from now.

    Edit: Also,if you ever need to learn after effects, well, if you squint is kind of a more complex version of PS.

    Last edited by JDSart; November 5th, 2012 at 06:23 PM.
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    Of course you don't have to learn Photoshop.

    Oh, you want a job in almost any kind of art industry that requires 2D art?
    Yeah, sorry, you need to know photoshop.

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    Thanks Alice Herring, you've been the most helpfull one!

    Yes, I am frustrated lately since I'm been bloked to learn color (AGAIN!). What really bugs me is that at my school, our student short film needs to almost reach cinematic standards (All coloring made on a computer, everything else is hand-made) and that's what stresses me the most. If you want to get an idea how cinematic, here 3 student short films from a couple years back http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVtiLGmp-Zg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_7MC...eature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avgME...eature=related

    Also, I'm pretty much become a hermit lately, trying to get things done faster but I guess it only caused me more stress.

    BTW, I do want to post stuff here but I still haven't figured out how to do that

    Last edited by Legrosclown; November 11th, 2012 at 01:45 AM.
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  41. #26
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    TinyBird is offline Why you gotta be an angry burd Level 16 Gladiator: Spartacus' Retiarii
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    Quote Originally Posted by Legrosclown View Post
    What really bugs me is that at my school, our student short film needs to almost reach cinematic standards (All coloring made on a computer, everything else is hand-made) and that's what stresses me the most.
    Well... I personally have to say that the colours weren't exactly cinematic in any of those, for the most part. I actually found the colour schemes be somewhat lackluster or basic in all (like all the shadows were just bit darker than the base colours, in the one that used coloured shadows the overall colours were pretty jumbled and inconsistent). I mean the rendering and finish of the colouring was done well, but in a way that wasn't really about the colours themselves (but more like some of those colour have been rendered in grayscale and then have a colour layer on top of them, especially on the backgrounds on the chase animation), and I didn't really find that the colours would have mattered that much to the mood (as almost all used the same sort of very bright and clear "basic" colours, the insane guy animation maybe being most different as it had two different and clear moods to which the colours worked with, but even those weren't stuff I'd personally consider cinematic level of colours), like for comparison, in animation like these:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8h2qjg6KfaM
    http://vimeo.com/11414332
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYKnOATlnuA
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNo4eKwDeD8

    EDIT: Also, have you tried working with colours traditionally? Watercolours, acrylics, etc?

    Last edited by TinyBird; November 11th, 2012 at 03:47 AM.
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    OP,

    I am a newcomer here, and one of the most awesome things about this place is that the denizens automatically assume three things:

    -complaining is spending your energy inefficiently, when it could be spent on practice

    -there is no art problem that time, effort and practice cant solve

    -good advice doesnt have to be sugar coated

    If you put those three together, you'll see the reason you appear to be getting slammed...

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    ummm. Work and then go outside and come back home and work, try getting up in the morning and work on stuff. so you can have time later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quixotica View Post
    OP,

    I am a newcomer here, and one of the most awesome things about this place is that the denizens automatically assume three things:

    -complaining is spending your energy inefficiently, when it could be spent on practice

    -there is no art problem that time, effort and practice cant solve

    -good advice doesnt have to be sugar coated

    If you put those three together, you'll see the reason you appear to be getting slammed...
    With only 13 posts under your belt, I'd say you have picked up pretty quickly.
    I've been posting here for years and I can say, honestly, that yes most threads DO essentially end up saying the same thing.

    But it is a truth that a lot of people are looking for the "quick tip" that will fix all of their frustrations. And the reality of art is that there is no quick tip. Sure, you might be digging around in the tutorial section and find some neat tip that helps your workflow in PS, but that isn't going to make you a better artist. It's not going to solve HOW you approach frustration, defeat, and lack of motivation. All people can really do here is explain that yes, all of this is normal. And yes, you just need to push past it and work harder.

    Whatever gives you that motivation to work harder is up to you.

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    I have to say I'm not particularly impressed with those films. I mean, they're not awful. (Although at least one breaks screen direction multiple times, which is annoying.)



    Eyrie is a great film - won a student Academy Award, actually. Cinematic does not mean action - it does mean interesting compositions, depth, and contrast in staging. (Including when to use simple shots vs. complex shots.) But they should all serve the storytelling, not as an independent function to show off. All those camera moves? Are just flash. I'm not saying they can't add a little extra, but there needs to be an underlying story.

    And story isn't just about an event taking place, but the emotions of the characters within the story driving them to make choices when faced with a conflict. Character. Conflict. Resolution. (That being said, writing a story IS difficult - I do recognize that.)

    I think you might be struggling with not having a good plan to approach the work. For color, it's simple - first, using your storyboards do a color key pass. You can even break down that into two separate steps for color and value. Focus on making sure your value structure works (use no more than 5 simple values - and group them! If you search Paul Felix composition notes he talks about this - and those notes are great to have) Then once you have your values figured out, then you can determine what color you would like to use - and whether or not the color is going to change according to the emotional moments in the film.

    Then post stuff here for advice/critique. You're not going to get it right the first time, and that's okay. If you want, you can even try to post your storyboards. (Although I might recommend posting an animatic, or linking to a blog post on a site such as blogspot, where it's easy to 'flip' through the drawings.)

    If you haven't already, you should also check out Toby Shelton's blog. Great staging and acting. (I haven't uploaded anything since the change, so I have no idea how the current uploader works.)

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