daydream | return

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ZephyrStar
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daydream | return

Post by ZephyrStar » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:53 pm





I'm finally, finally (FINALLY) done!

TL;DR - I'm completely happy with this video and glad I took the time to make it but won't be such a perfectionist in the future. Learn from my mistakes! ;)

A little over ten years ago, I made an AMV called "daydream."

This video was the very strange combination of an anime called Azumanga Daioh, and original 3D animation created with a character model I made in 2004 of Yotsuba, the main character of a manga called Yotsuba To! Kiyohiko Azuma is the manga author and artist behind both original works. When Yotsuba To! first came out, fans of the manga were eagerly awaiting an anime adaptation which never came. I grew tired of waiting, and decided to create an AMV in which the mischevious and precocious Yotusba invaded the dreams of the Azumanga Daioh characters. The AMV really unfolded organically, I had no idea when I started making how it would turn out or really even what I intended the story to be, if there was to be one. I actually animated a few test shots before I had even chosen a song. They were "Yotsuba swarm" shots, and "Such Great Heights" by The Postal Service was a natural fit, the lyrics somewhat open to interpretation, and one of my favorite songs. I just thought the idea of Yotsuba trolling all the Azu Daioh characters seemed like a lot of fun. Once I decided on the end of the video, and to show that it was in fact Yotsuba having the dream, I still had no title. Koopiskeva is actually who suggested the title "daydream," which fit perfectly. I uploaded the original daydream to Youtube on October 7, 2007 despite finishing it earlier in the spring and submitting it to various conventions.



I never thought there would ever be a sequel, until I saw "Nichijou." In my opinion, Nichijou is the true spiritual successor to Azumanga Daioh. Created by Keiichi Arawi, it is a very dry and absurd comedy that made me laugh out loud many times throughout it's broadcast, and quickly grew to be one of my favorite manga/anime series of all time. I remember thinking specifically that Nichijou's Yuuko Aioi could easily somehow be a younger relative of Tomo Takino of Azumanga Daioh. Nichijou's Mai Minakami could easily be the younger and much wittier (and trollier... trollingest) sibling of Osaka (Ayumu Kasuga). I quickly started to visualize what both Azumanga Daioh and Yotsuba To! characters might be like interacting with the characters and world of Nichijou. I also took a liking specifically to Kana Nakamura, the science teacher who is always trying to capture Nano. I see a lot of myself in her, and I wondered how she would deal with something like a swarm of Yotsubas filling the skies. I knew it had to be done.

So I came up with a new story. Azumanga Daioh and Yotusba To! were both released in the early 2000's and I wondered, what it would be like if those characters actually grew up? What if Yotsuba was now the same age as the kids in Nichijou? What if the Azu Daioh girls were now all young adults? In the original video, Tomo was the perfect character of the group to be super excited about an invasion of tiny green haired flying Yotusbas. What if now Tomo and Yotusba were partners in crime and had business in the Nicjijou world, and what if that business was a celebration, a one-time only concert? The animation and many of the scenarios in Nichijou held amazing potential to create another, even more nonsensical video, but one that would be truly unique. I started with the idea that Kana Nakamura had been secretly researching the appearance of the Yotsubas, since 2007, and would be trying to warn everyone of their imminent return. But, as with the first video, daydream return became very organic. As for the music, the choice was obvious. I knew it had to be a Postal Service track, and the perfect fit was "We Will Become Silhouettes." Once again lyrics open to interpretation, and somehow the idea just seemed to fit so well. I listened to the Postal Service album "Give Up" on loop for a few weeks before picking the track.

I started production on 7/27/2013. I had just saved enough money to buy a legitimate copy of 3D Studio Max 2013, and a copy of Adobe Production Premium CS 5.5, both of which I still use today. I decided that I would create new models from the ground up for Yotsuba and Tomo, and I designed them based upon drawings I did to get as close as possible to the art style of Nichijou as possible. I decided to introduce their ages as well, Yotsuba now 17 and Tomo now 27. I also decided to model the cardboard robot character Danbo from Yotsuba To! to accompany Tomo and Yotsuba on their mission.

To make the rest of this story short, below you will find a timeline, and then you'll find my advice for people who choose to undertake big projects like this one, and hopefully it takes you less than ten years to release a sequel to your AMV.

7/27/2013 - Began production.

8/27/2013 - Nearing the deadline for submission to AWA Masters, where I had hoped to surprise everyone as I was keeping the video under wraps. Missed the deadline because my computer wasn't good enough to render all of the 3D stuff fast enough. Had cut the song down at that point too just to try and finish. In retrospect, was glad that I didn't actually finish so I could do the whole song.

2014 - Not a Master's year, so I made a random AMV instead. Also got promoted at work so I got super busy with that.

2015 - Decided to pick back up on the project, but then got told at work that my position was going to be eliminated, but they didn't know when. Just "the end of 2015." Freaked out, started job hunting, didn't work on the video.

2016 - Got promoted at work, and told that I was able to stick around! Great! Started working on the video again. Got laid off while on vacation in Canada.

2017 - Found a new job, a really good and secure job, decided to pick work up on the project again. This time I would start early and be ready. I bought a dual E5-2670 xeon workstation with 64gb of RAM used off Ebay to render 3D shots. I went back and revamped every single shot in the video, and cleaned up the 3D animation. Also added many small easter eggs and references. Pulled several all-nighters to get the video done by the deadline for NDK. Compiled a list of things to fix after the fact, which I slowly worked on over the winter and into the spring of 2018.

2018 - I'm late for my 10 year anniversary release, but I'm done, and I'm 100% satisfied with every single pixel in this video, which is one of the best feelings in the whole world.

So, what was that advice I mentioned?
1) Just create. No excuses, just create.
2) GO GO GO.
3) It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be good and done.
4) You'll get better the more stuff you make.
5) You can save that next big idea for the next big thing!

There are also a lot of you I have to thank. Thanks for putting up with my excuses, thanks for cheering me on, thanks for kicking me in the ass and badgering me to get to the finish line. I seriously could not have done it without you guys. :ying: :ying: :ying: :ying: :ying: :awesome: :beer: :taco:

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Kireblue
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Re: daydream | return

Post by Kireblue » Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:28 pm

congrats on finishing this! Glad that you stuck with it and made it look so clean. Can definitely see that you didn't take shortcuts while making this :up:

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ZephyrStar
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Re: daydream | return

Post by ZephyrStar » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:31 am

Thanks! :ying: :ying: :ying:

Here's some bonus making-of stuff! https://imgur.com/a/DqzjTuq

And for nostalgia's sake, here's what the timeline on the original video looked like:

Image

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seasons
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Re: daydream | return

Post by seasons » Sat Apr 28, 2018 11:38 pm

I've been thinking of this video a lot when I'm not watching it. I think there's a word for that...

Really pleasant and fun stuff, I normally don't care for original animation efforts (don't ask me to explain this dumb prejudice, it won't make sense) but all this really worked in service of the mood and the story.

Really good!

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