Thursday, July 22, 2010

Animation Mentor - Class 2, Week 3

Alrighty then.
So this week we're still on our first shot for class 2. Drew gave us some notes addressing our blocking and we were tasked with preparing a blocking plus pass. Blocking Plus is basically, further breaking down your shot. Whereas blocking is typically little more than your storytelling poses (the key poses used to tell the story in your shot) and basic timing, blocking plus is significantly more broken down and the timing should be totally nailed down. Basically solidifying the timing of your actions, and putting in as many poses as necessary to describe your arcs and the actions in your shot. The idea with this phase is to make it as easy as possible for the computer to figure out proper inbetweens going into spline. I'd already gone pretty overboard in blocking last week and essentially already done a blocking plus pass, so Drew's notes were fairly minimal but very informative. I continued breaking this shot down until i was for the most part on 2s except for moving holds, where 2s weren't necessary to describe the action. It's a pretty fast paced shot with a lot of physicality, so breaking it down this much was pretty essential. In fact, my guess is i'll still have to hand key quite a bit in the polishing phase to get the computer to do what i want. Anyhoo, here's what i turned in:

I'm off to rock some resident evil 5. catch y'all later.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Animation Mentor - Class 2, Weeks 1-2

Alright, so i got a little lazy last week and didn't throw up a blog post so i'll try to cover both the first weeks of class 2 right here.

Week 1, our assignment was to pick from a list of about 6 or so different options and choose the assignment we' be focusing in on for the next 4 weeks. That first week, we had to choose and shoot video reference for the option we chose. I had a hard time deciding what to do, but ultimately i chose to go with 'Jumping over a gap.' These first 4 weeks are focusing in on the hips and as such most of the other options offered very subtle movement in the animation and i really wanted to go for something physical and cartoony my first week back. We were also required to upload 2 pages of thumbnails from our reference. Here's the video reference i chose:

I'd actually shot a ton of reference on a bunch of different options and had my peers help narrow it down for me. We also Got to meet our new mentor. Mine is Drew Adams, currently at Dreamworks working on Kung Fu Panda 2. Drew is super awesome. He actually originally started as a 2D animator, so his approach and workflow is pretty similar to the one i've been experimenting with. His Q&A's are really a blast! He usually starts with some kind of mini lecture for the first half. Either a quick walkthrough of blocking a shot (the way he approaches it) or maybe bringing up some cool animated footage and frame by framing it with us in realtime to show us how he studies how other animators accomplished their shots. SUPER helpful! He then spends the second half of the QA opening the floor up to any questions, about the assignment, the lecture, or whatever. Super super great way of using the QAs i love it! Also throughout the week he sends us 'links of the week' so far these have been anything from cool animated shorts he likes to additional lectures (not AM ones) with good info. Drew is just awesome!

The second week our assignment was to block out our shot based on our reference and thumbnails. I started by first doing a pencil test in flipbook to nail down my basic timing and keyframes. Here's what that looked like:

I was going to Disneyland this week and didn't have a whole lot of time to finish the assignment so i started early on sunday. I finished this pencil test sunday, before i'd even got an e-critique on my reference. After that i immediately jumped into Maya and started blocking. I wanted to be able to get some feedback even though i was leaving thursday. I uploaded 2-3 Maya versions and solicited feedback before coming up with this for my final blocking assignment:

This is actually probably broken down more than it should be for this week, but i was super stoked on the assignment and just kept doing more. Most of this is animated on 2s or 3s and in some cases 4s (2= a new pose every 2 frames, 3= a pose every 3 frames, etc.)

I'm pretty happy with where it's at at the moment and eagerly awaiting notes from Drew.
And now off to week 3!!