Making animated short, Target Practice: part 1

One of my recent projects is a short animation called Target Practice. Its about a toy robot
going for a stroll in his keeper’s bedroom when he’s suddenly set upon by a gang of menacing
cardboard bad-guys. He uses his quick draw skills to gun them down, until one shot is

The idea came from being given a task to create a 10 second animation on the theme of
“overcoming an obstacle”. What started as an idea about a toy robot becoming stuck on
something in his environment evolved into something a lot cooler, bringing in the use of
live action and realistic rendering and the application of some visual effects. It was very
much “in at the deep end stuff” for me but I was told how much I would learn from doing it –
and this was of course correct! The piece is still being completed but there are a few
things I’d like to share so that you can see the journey so far.

I gotta say – it’s always handy to have a pal with power tools! We took an evening to build the set, which would represent a corner of a kid’s bedroom – the day after, Peter and I started work on making the set ready and lighting it up. Once we were ready, we spent the day getting all the footage in.

set lit

While all the footage had been shot there were still the 3D elements to bring to life. Below
are some sketches that led to the final design of my hero robot. So many things came into
play; were the proportions “right? How intimidating did he look – just intimidating enough?
What kind of stickers should he have?

In the end, I’m pretty happy with the way he turned out and right now I’m focusing on bringing his character to life – to animate him in a way that feels satisfying. I think I’m close with this walk cycle but I’ve been given some good advice to amp him up a bit, exaggerate things more, so that’s where I’m going – I’ll post up the progress. In my next post, Ill talk more about his cardboard enemies and how they get zapped.

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