Tuesday, June 29, 2010

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A Lil more blocking..

Animation mentor just started up again! yay! Got a Dreamworks Mentor this term named Drew Adams. I'll re-cap the week later.. for now, here's a little more blocking on my Attack Squirrel shot.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Don't Feed Em - Blocking pass #2

Hey hey y'all!
So i worked this shot a little further this week. Started breaking it down a bit mostly on the STU character. The impact when the squirrel attacks happens so quick, it'll probably need to be keyed by hand in the end. Right now it's on 2's, and still needs some work on the post impact. maybe a little body bounce or something to sell the weight. I'm also thinking i've got a better ending in my head then what' represented here... Right now i have the squirrels bouncing off scene, but i'm thinking it'd be more funny if after they knock the dude over, they come in from all directions (maybe 3 or 4 of them) and get the nuts at his feet (nuts aren't in there yet, but that's the idea)
Also, it's mostly gonna be a moving hld on dude for most of the shot to build up the tension and get a nice contrast in timing from trying to feed the squirrel to attack. Here it is so far:

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So i think I've got one more blocking pass to go here, then I'll move to a linear pass and on to polishing. Still a ways to go, but it's getting there!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Week Off from Animation Mentor

So i just hit mid-week in my 10 days off from AM, and I'm feeling the withdrawls. Like some kind of junkie. I had a great animation-free weekend river rafting and drinking far too much with my friends, but come Sunday I was feeling the urge. I mentioned I had a little animation shot to keep me busy and in practice during the off week, and I thought I'd share my progress.

I found this clip on the interwebs when I was researching squirrels for my original tailor assignment, and even then I knew I'd adapt it into a short shot. I still need a little practice with overlapping action and wanted to do another Tailor test, so this was too perfect.


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I adapted it slightly by adding in a character instead of a stuffed squirrel and using the Tailor and STU rigs from Class 1. Here's my rough pencil test for timing and blocking.


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And here's my first stepped blocking pass in Maya based on my pencil test. I just finished this portion last night. Still a looooong way to go, but the basic idea is in there. I'm really trying to make Tailor feel like a squirrel.




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So there you have it. I hope to have this all finished before the next term starts, so stay tuned for progress updates.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Class one is done! - Animation Mentor Week 12

Wow! 12 weeks already flew past! Crazy. I still have 5 classes to go, but i just can't believe how quick 3 months blew by. I learned a whole lot this term. I made an effort to not skip ahead and really focus in and absorb as much info as i could on each given assignment. Even for things i would consider review, i learned a ton. This week we were tasked with putting all our final shots together from most recent to oldest in a progress reel. When looking at all my assignments back to back like this, even in such a short amount of time and covering basics, i can see an improvement in my work.

I had such a blast in this class! I mean your homework is bringing things to life! How cool is that? Even something as simple as a bouncing ball is so much fun. I think my favorite assignments were the obstacle course and the character walk. I felt like those were the assignments that were the least mechanical and allowed me a margin of creativity in my execution. In looking at my reel i feel like those are the ones where i can see a bit of my personality and sense of timing influencing the shot. I think there was opportunity for that in the Tailor bouncing shot, but i'm not sure i did that as well as i could have.

At the end of each class, your mentor writes an assessment of you laying out your strengths and weaknesses. Raquel felt i had a good sense of timing and intuition for movement. She felt that i needed to improve in my study of overlapping action and posing. She said my Pendulum and Tailor assignments were 'ok' but there was plenty of room for improvement and that in my poses, while i explored lots of great options in my sketches, i often played it safe with the ones i chose to pose.

As usual, Raquel called out the same things i was thinking. I've learned a lot from Raquel and other mentors here over the last few months, but i think the thing i'll take away with me to Class 2 is that i need to trust my instincts more. 9 times out of 10, Raquel or another Mentor or student called me out on the things i felt were a little off but let slide. Mostly minor stuff, but still... So in the future i plan to trust my gut and if i think it's off, i'm fixing it!

Here's my progress reel for class 1. We're taking a week long break before class 2 starts and i've got a little test i'm working on to stay fresh. I'll post updates as it hashes out.


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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Animation Mentor Week 11

Well that about does it. Week 11 was the last week for assigned projects. Next week all we have to do is fill out an end of term survey, and prepare and upload our progress reel. Then we get another week off before starting the next term. Me? I'm pretty stoked to start up the next class, and i'm not gonna sit around for 2 weeks waiting for it to start, so i'm gonna polish up the other walks i didn't go with for my assignment and i've also got another little test planned involving STU (who we've yet to animate) and Tailor in the works.

But this week.. well this week we had to polish up our character walk and do one more set of Poses on STU. This week's theme was 'Balance.' First up, here's my final Character Walk with Ballie:


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And here are my sketches for 'Balance.'



I finished up my polishing with enough time to play around with a couple poses this week. Here are the ones i liked the best.






I liked the Michael Jackson one a lot, but ultimately decided to go with the one where it looks like he stepped in something because the pose not only demonstrated balance, but also seemed to tell a story.

So wow! Class 1 complete. 5 more to go! The next class starts into Body Mechanics. This is soooooo vital in Animation that it gets spread across two terms. The first one (Class 2) is Psychology Of Body Mechanics, and i just can't wait to start!

Until next time..

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Animation Mentor Week 10

Oh boy! I got super excited this week. This week started the last assignment for Class 1. It's a 2 week assignment, and the mission was to create a walk cycle with personality. Raquel had us think about our character and really wanted to plan out who this character was before starting on the walk. How old they were, male or female, fat or thin, mad, sad, happy??? You get the idea. This week our assignment was to block out our personality walk. We were also required to sketch some poses that suggested 'Exhausted' and pose one on STU. I totally forgot this part and rushed through it. I got way to caught up in the walks.

I've found blocking to be a fairly quick process at this point (thank goodness!) and i'm getting pretty quick at it so i went off the deep end and did like 6 different walks, and with the help of my classmates narrowed it down to one. here are my blocking passes on the different walks:


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Ultimately i chose the first one. The Fat Waddle. After we polish next week, we're gonna switch to a 3/4 view, and i felt this one had the most interesting movement (or at least opportunity for) in 3d space as he waddles side to side. I plan to polish all these at some point. Art Babbit said something along the lines of 'Do a bunch of walks. Do all kinds of walks. Walks are about the hardest thing to do right..' so i'll take it from a master and go ahead and get some practice in.

For my pose i wasn't totally satisfied. It's my own bad, i just got sidetracked and ran short on time. I think it communicates 'Exhausted' but there's some bad tangents in there. I could have probably got a better camera angle on it. I actually liked one of the other sketches better, but it just wasn't shaping up nice in Maya. Oh well.. can't win em' all.

On to polishing!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Animation Mentor Week 9

This week our assignment was to polish up our Vanilla Walk with Ballie, sketch various poses that showed 'concern' and pose our favorite sketch on STU.

First, I tackled polishing the walk. I thought it'd go pretty quick cuz the blocking was a breeze, and I've had some (albeit VERY little) experience with walks in the past. As it turned out, the polish phase just about monopolized my week. I didn't count how many hours i spent, but suffice it say it was a whole lot. The knees are a tricky beast. Getting knee pops out was a nightmare without causing a whole new set of problems. I suspect it's because Ballie has these really obvious balls for knees (so you can see what they're doing.) I got it working pretty nice a few times, but just wasn't satisfied. If there's one thing I've learned so far this term it's to trust my instincts. Raquel ALWAYS calls me out on the the things i think i can let slide (but know aren't quite right.)

Here's what i came up with:

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I just got my e-critique and Raquel was super happy with it. She said i nailed it, which really made all the hard work worth it. I think it's because i spent so much time on the knees, which were not just a problem for me, but everyone.

The polish phase took so long, i almost didn't have time to do my sketches and pose. Concern is a tough one, as at least in my observation, a whole lot of what makes it read is the subtle action in the face. STU of course has no face. Here are my sketches:



I went with the circled one, as i felt like concern for a child's well being was pretty universal. When Raquel reviewed my sketches, she thought that while the drawing expressed concern, it was based on context and the pose itself did not necessarily read as concern. It think she had a very good point, one i had not considered in choosing this pose. After she saw the pose however, she felt that it did well enough and did not require a revision. Here's my Stu Pose:


That's it for this week! On to next week!