Sunday, June 25, 2006

Session 212

Alright...this is it! Class 2 is over. I can't believe we've been doing this for six months already. It's been an awesome joyride so far and i'm now, more than ever, sure of that this is what I wanna do for the rest of my life! I can't imagine a more rewarding task than creating life to dead pixels and evoke feelings in an audience by doing it. Hopefully soon I will be able to do that.

A summary of my thoughts of this term:
The term was about learning body mechanics and developing a workflow that we're comfortable with. I feel that I'm almost on track regarding the bodymech part. My mentor said that I have pretty good weight in my animations and that the body mechanics feels ok. I think that the first two assignments, the 180 turn and the boxjump went ok, but the last assigment turned out a little bit...i dunno....blahh i guess. I'm not satisfied with it at all and it's bugging me like crazy. My mentor thought it had good weight and okay body mech, but now when we're on our way to acting, he thought it lacked some entertainment-value and crispness. I totally agree. I'm kinda angry with my self that I didn't pulled it off in the very end (Don't worry - i'll be happy again soon)

I'm still experimenting with my workflow. The Jason Ryan approach (block in linear - playblast in stepped) worked pretty well on the two first assignments, but on the last one it kinda fell apart. Too many bodyparts and IK/FK switching, made my graph editor a mess and several times I felt that i had no control over it at all. But thats ok :), now I'm trying a slightly different approach and we'll see how it works out.

My mentor, Pixar animator Robert Russ, is awesome. The e-crits each week was stuffed with great suggestions and thoughts. The Q&A's every Wednesday night (PST) was several times a lecture on it's own. He took whatever questions we had and elaborated and explained in detail what he thought based on his experience (which spans from Toy Story 2 to the upcoming Ratatoullie-movie). And what a nice guy!! Fantastic mentor!

Overall I've learned sooooo much during this term, about animation and how the human body behave in different situations. And this is only the beginning. Next up is Class 3 - Introduction to Acting. Thats gonna be tough, but also tons of fun! But first.....a week off from school! YOOOHOO!!

To my fellow classmates/students that read my blog:

Here's a collection of all the assignments in class 2:

The revision of Session 211:

Monday, June 19, 2006

Session 211

Finally!! The last assignment for class 2 is turned in. I'm probably going to do a revision after Robs crit, but officially, the Sticky Door is done and it's a great feeling :)

Bobbys lecture on clearity this week was very helpful and pointed out, in essence, that the most important thing is that the audience understand the shot. It sounds obvious, but believe me, with all the stuff we've learned for the past six months, it's kinda easy to forget.

Here's my final of the sticky door shot:

Monday, June 12, 2006

Session 210

Tough week, but slowly getting there - step by step. This assignment is really really hard, but at the same time I feel that I'm learning tons of new stuff all the time, so its kinda rewarding too.

Carlos hosted a great lecture about advanced arcs and path of action - the importance of arcs and figure-8s to get fluidity and smooth motion. I also had a nice Q&A on saturday with Paul Allen, DNA animator.

Here's the refining pass of the Sticky Door assignment:

Monday, June 05, 2006

Session 209

It's been lots of "aaarrrrghhh!" and other bad language during this week. At times it felt like i didn't had a clue of what the heck i was doing. Arms everywhere, the spine rotating in its own directions, kneepops etc. But hey, thats why we're here, to learn how to deal with it. The good thing about it tho, is that it forced me to really wanted to get the concept of force - 'cause I really believe that's one of the secrets to get believable weight into the character and thereby get more control over what I want my character to do.

Wayne Gilberts book and my notes from Dave Mullins' Locomotion-lecture and the notes from Waynes Force-lecture was a big help in that matter. Im not at all saying that I understand it yet, but it feels like i'm starting to get it.....a little :)

Anyway, great stuff happend too. Kenny Roy (Weta, King Kong) hosted another q&a this week. There's always awesome stuff coming from him and it's such a huge inspiration just listening to what he has to say about animation. The lecture brought back Rick O'Connor (ILM) to talk about animating animals. After watching the lecture I tried some walkcycles and to sum up - animals is tough!

Here's my 2nd pass of blocking of the Sticky Door: