[click to watch video] For this module I was required to choose a game from the 90’s to early 2000 to adapt and make into a trailer. I decided on Nintendo’s first Fire Emblem title: Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi or “Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light”. Below is the finished product.
I also have all the raw files of the materials I used in the trailer, such as:
In my pre-production I researched the games that could fit into the time span required before settling on Fire Emblem and thought about what features I would need to add into the trailer to make it recognisable as a Fire Emblem game. I came game up with these points:
- European-Medieval themes
- Character centric
These points helped me with knowing what to add and how to plan the trailer.
I then went onto look at their many games, to see what had changed and what I could take away from the variants in art style and themes.
There isn’t as much information about the first game as the newer ones as though it was quite successful in Japan, it never made it overseas. However, as the original there are other products that are related to this title, such as:
- The manga (“Ankokuryuu to Hikari no Tsurugi”) that is based off the storyline and characters that are seen in this game
- the OVA (simply “Fire Emblem”)
- the sequel (“Mystery of the Emblem“) as well as its remake: “Shin Monshō no Nazo: Hikari to Kage no Eiyū”
- And later mentions of the same characters in later games.
I use these incarnations of the original characters in order to start practicing with the trailer.
Firstly, I look at the manga art style and try to recreate it but decide that although the manga is more solid in terms of both character development and graphically, that it would fit in with a more modern Fire Emblem. Sheeda ends up looking too young and innocent for what I want to use for her, so I move on.
I go onto look at a more recent title: Awakening, and find while the art is stunning it would take me to long to use continuously through out my aspects and decide that it would be better to have an art style that is perhaps simpler.
Next may be my favourite; I use a still from Mystery of the Emblem but, again, she takes too much time to draw and I decide to try another.
I end up settling on the concept from Shin Monshō no Nazo: Hikari to Kage no Eiyū. She is quick enough to draw with simple – but thick enough lines that the line art and colour work shouldn’t take as long as the others while maintaining the integrity of the original.
The pre-production for the aspects and the motion graphics can be found, here.
Once I had finished my aspects I began to create the trailer with the live action footage I filmed on the Moors to give it the rural, scenic look Fire Emblem should have.
However, I found that my aspects stood out too much on the live action backdrop and began to look effects which would better merge the two.
I tried to play with the colour and didn’t think it was notable enough, I went onto blur, sharpen and even tried to change the lighting before I found the effect “Lumetri” which I thought blended the two well enough that the live action didn’t stand out as much.
With that sorted out, I began a new composition and started where I thought the beginning would be – PEGI.
The newest Fire Emblem title which got a T rating meaning I would need a 12. I quickly go onto YouTube and find a video which has the audio I need and than convert it to MP3 format. Once I have the audio I drag it onto After Effects – and than onto the timeline. I go onto cut it down to just what I need and search for a PEGI 12 image I could use to put onto my Solid.
This is the easiest thing I do before moving onto the title sequence.
Leaving After Effects, I went into Photoshop so that I could create some frames in order to make the title sequence.
I choose a canvas size which would be best for the trailer and than but a solid onto the alpha channel backdrop. I choose grey as I thought that black could be too strong. I went onto save it as “background”.
On a new canvas, I make one layer the same colour grey (which I will delete before saving) and shade about it in back to create shadows.
*I go onto to make two more images in a similar fashion which I have lost the screenshots of. One is of a light and the other is of many.
I put the photoshopped images one and top of the other and using Scale and Keyframes I stretch out/ in until they are invisible or in the correct position to make it look like light was breaking through the darkness as I moved them all throughout the timeline.
I go on to try and add extra depth by using the 3D space option with the camera settings, which I learnt how to from here.
I then go onto add text; experimenting with a few fonts before thinking about how I would animate it onto the screen. The title – “Fire Emblem” was simply just manipulating the Positioning Keyframe on the the timeline. The name – “Light and Shadow” I did by following the steps that were shown to me here.
I than go onto add a flash by expanding the ‘light’ in the middle and adding a solid which I use the Keyframing the Opacity on the timeline.
From there I begin to create my first piece of 2D animation.
I move onto another scene by beginning a new composition.
I drag onto the screen my live action footage of the sky, “fit to comp” and then add “Lumetri”and turn the saturation all the way up so that it seems to be more cel-shaded and remember to mute the audio (it was a very windy day).
From there I go to my aspects and put onto the screen three arrows. I make them fly by using the Position Keyframes on the time line and make sure that they are all going into slightly different positions.
The next scene I know will be more complicated as there is more to animate. My aspect is of Sheeda riding her pegasus and I need to make it look like they are flying.
I begin the same as the last scene; I add the footage, put Lumetri onto it, raise the saturation and mute the audio and then place the aspect onto. What is different is that on this aspect I use the “Puppet Pin Tool” and insert a number of ‘pins’ onto the image of where I would like to manipulate; like a long the wings and the separate strands of Sheeda’s hair.
Than, using the timeline, I simple move a few of the pins and than change my placement on the timeline until the wings are flapping and her hair is waving. The only thing left to do on this aspect is to change the Position on the timeline, to begin off the right-corner of the scene to end on the left.
I than go onto animate more arrows to show them coming down, using the same process as before to finish this scene off.
The next scene follows much the same theme with both the footage and how I animate this aspect; by making her hair fly and it is the first thing I finish.
I decide that I should add some promotional text which I animate it with the Position and Keyframes along the timeline. However, I also want to add the company that would make it – Nintendo. I follow an tutorial on YouTube in order for the logo I Photoshopped (to add an alpha channel to) to make the logo ‘glow’.
Afterwards, I simply flash the scene out by using a Solid, the Opacity and the timeline.
After I finish that, I make four new compositions for the next scene: one for the motion graphic, one for Sheeda’s movement, one for Marth’s and another to add them all together.
I begin with the motion graphic which is based off of Fire Emblem’s “Support Conversation’s”. I use multiple aspects to make their facial expressions change appropriately for whats being said and I also change the Opacity on the timeline; making one ‘darker’ one they are not speaking.
The transition on the text is an effect I find called “Typewriter”.
Their ‘walking’ animations is done in much the same way the wings and hair was animated before; with the Puppet Tool, the Position Keyframes and the timeline.
The next scene I go onto is far simpler, and doesn’t require the use of the Puppet Tool.
Again, I follow the same process. I add the footage, add Lumetri, turn up the saturation and than go onto animating the effects. Marth’s and Sheeda’s hand I move across the scene with the Position Keyframes and the timeline.
I go onto add text and simply animating the same way I did their appendages as I didn’t want it to be too flashy. I make the text disappear by using the Opacity keyframes.
The next scene took a bit to do due the amount of elements that I had to create for it.
I began by dragging the dragon onto a new composition, and the other aspect of the dragon once I had work out how long I want them to last for on the timeline. One I’ve done that I add Puppet Pins into both dragons, focussing on the wings so that I can animate it the same way I did the pegasus.
Next I use the effect “CC Particle Systems II” to make the dragon breathe fire. I do this by creating a Solid and than adding this effect onto the Solid and changing the stats until it looks like what I wasn’t it to look like.
I also add in some text and another Solid (black) for the trailer to be able to fade into black.
The next and last thing I had to do was to add the motion graphic of a 3DS – a common feature in most modern Nintendo games, as seen in the newest Fire Emblem trailer.
I did this by adding the aspect onto a new composition, spread it out for the duration of the trailer. Once I’ve done this I start to add a selection of my live action footage – adding Lumetri to each one – and mute them all for when I add the sound. Once I am satisfied, I drag my separate scenes on the top and start to scale them all down to fit on the screen.
Once I had finished, I went onto make the sound, which I had left to last so I could sync everything up correctly. I primarily used Audition for the sound effects and narrations and GarageBand for the soundtrack which I created by listening to multiple music from the Fire Emblem games, for more go here.
I begin by recording the sound affects and narration. The narration is the easiest to get – I ask a friend of mine to say what I need and once she has emailed a number of recordings where she says the sentence in a number of different ways.
I choose which one and than bring the file into Adobe Audition and try and ‘clean up’ the recording by trying to get rid of hiss and any background sounds. I go onto save as an MP3.
Than for the sound effects I get someone else to make”zoom” sounds with their mouths, recorded a few for variety and once imported, I drag the files into Audition and play with the pitch and speed and until I get an exaggerated sound that could pass as an arrow file-by. I again, save as MP3.
The next thing I try to make is the sound of wings flapping. I experiment with a feather duster and an umbrella. I record both, import than onto my laptop and – after choosing the umbrella as most appropriate and simply edited the sound. I also changed a couple from ‘stereo’ to ‘mono’ to add depth to the trailer. I save as a MP3.
Creating a sound effect to match a dragons roar was a bit more complicated than the other sounds. I recorded someone roaring into my phone a few times and than imported them into Audition. I changed the pitch – deepening it and than used Multitrack to layer a number of different tracks together, as well as changing a couple from ‘stereo’ to ‘mono’. Afterwards, I had to export since I had used Multitrack and dragged it out of my iTunes Library.
Afterwards, I dragged all the sound effects and narration into After Effects and synced them up so that would be finished by the time I went to make my soundtrack.
To create the sound track I used GarageBand as Audition was too complicated for me to use beyond changing pitch, speed or volume. I used other Fire Emblem games as inspiration to what my own trailer needed to sound like and than simply experimented with different instruments.
I wanted to use more than one for a more layered effect as that was a typical feature for Fire Emblem and to avoid the soundtrack sounding flat.
This project has given me quite a few challenges both to its complexity in having so many elements attached to one module, and the time constraints as I ended up taking quite a bit of time off due to personal reasons and this put be behind when I returned despite the extension I was given, as I than had to work on two modules at once.
However, I found that the completed product meets its criteria by including 2D animation, motion graphics, live acton and sound. I feel like I have successful made it to the standards of a Fire Emblem game, to conclude I asked for feedback on my trailer.
Ally tells me that the animation is a bit ‘stiff and a little slow’, which I concur, it is however I had quite a few restraints with the software I was using and the amount of time I had when it came to how many aspects I had time to draw. As for slow, well I realised that I might have not keyframed the Positions well and take that on board.
Danny says that I could have improved my trailer by ‘adding some more sound effects and [making] some of the motion graphics slower’. I feel like I added enough sound effects, however I could in theory have included more, maybe with footstep noises or the rustle of clothing. The point on the motion graphics is more than fair as the text was too fast – my timing was off – however I feel like in some trailers they will skip through text due to it not being a real focus.
Sharni thought that my trailer needed more live action, however since the only scenes that didn’t have the live action I recorded were the PEGI/ Title sequence (11 seconds) and the ‘coming soon’ title card (5 seconds) I don’t believe is true as that only amounts to 16 seconds of a trailer that is 1 minute, 20 seconds.
Again, Josh states that movement wasn’t very fluid and I agree. If I had, had more time I would have made more aspects to go through the movement for the character and have fixed the keyframing problem.
Charlotte also thinks the text was too fast, and again, yes, it was a bit. If I had more time I would fix the spend though I feel like the text wasn’t particularly important to the trailer and was only an example of what it would look like.
Ben thinks that ‘the animations a bit iffy in a few place, such as the walking’. Which, yes it was. I only had time to draw one leg forward but I still had to animate it for the 2D animation unit, which caused some problems. I don’t if I agree about the title sequence being underwhelming, however since it was one of the first things I created I can say that I didn’t have as good of an idea as what the other other parts would look like yet and due to that, might not seem to be keeping up in terms of theme as everything else is very brightly coloured however at the end I did bring it back to black.
Again, the ‘jumpy’ animation – Tom also commented that there might be too much text however I used the text to aid in the transitions.
Despite the deserved criticism, all the people who gave me were in agreement that the graphics were good, that I had used the correct art style for the trailer and that I had made the sound well. With a few improvements, this tailer would meet industry standards.