Sunday, September 30, 2007

A small animation test

I've been working on a little animation test lately. It's for nothing else than just practicing and for fun. Hope you like it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Quadrupeds and life drawing - a good week :)

The past week has been pretty good. I finished a quadruped-shot at work (my first quadruped-shot ever) and started a new acting/dialogue shot. I really enjoy the planning/blocking phase. Its so much fun exploring different choices, shooting reference (which is a lot more fun when you're two), trying it all out with thumbnails and then start blocking it in. Lovin' it :)

We attended a life drawing class last week. It was pretty cool, except that it showed me, big time, that I totally suck at drawing :) But gotta keep doing it. 5000 drawings before a good one comes along, right? (and at least 1000 before I'm posting anything here).

I've been a subscriber to Keith Lango's VTS's since the beginning and last week I started to watch them all over again from the beginning. It's pretty cool to watch them from my current point of view, now that I have some experience and can relate to what he's talking about in a new and different way. VTS 12 and 13 in particular is awesome, where he talks about acting and how to get uniqueness into the poses. Check it out! The subscription is cheap and the information in there is pure gold.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Exaggeration and Variation in Timing

Found a couple of great animation tips on Victor Navone's blog.
The first one is about that exaggeration not necessarily only means faster, snappier and bigger, but also slower, smaller and subtler. The other one is about trying to get at least 3 speeds into the shot to get texture and variation into the timing.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Trying to get faster - backfired!

As stated in earlier posts, I feel slow. We were warned about this at school. It's normal and it's expected cause we're new, right? However, it's still bothering me. During AM I found a workflow that I was really comfortable with and I used it on every shot when I was making my shortfilm. Now, when I'm in a production environment, where deadlines are more important (or at least the consequences bigger), I find myself skipping steps in my workflow in order to find ways to get faster. But the thing is, skipping important steps in fact takes a lot longer, because I don't feel in total control anymore.

My AM workflow included thorough analysis of the videoreferences (Not to copy it, but to get a feel for whats happening in the acting and what the body does). I still shoot reference and thumbnail the main poses from it, but I've not analysed it the same way as I did in school. Some shots has turned out ok without doing this, but on other shots I find myself confused and scratching my head wondering what went wrong. Then I spend tons of time trying to fix whats not working.
Shawn Kelly (AM Co-founder) has said several times "The shots that I'm most happy with and animated the quickest, is the ones where I spent most time planning in advance". There's probably something in that :)

It's probably an experience thing and I guess I'll get better at a deciding which shots needs that kind of thorough analysis and which ones don't. However, the old Disney-guys filmed reference of everything and analysed the heck out of it before animating :), so skipping that step is probably not a good solution to animating faster - at least not for me.

So for now, back to my good old checklist and still looking for other ways to speed up my workflow :)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Bobby Beck and Carlos Baena interview!

I came across an interview with two of the co-founders of Animation Mentor, Bobby Beck and Carlos Baena, done by Anand Baid, a classmate of mine from Animation Mentor.

Bobby Beck/Carlos Baena Interview Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4

Also, check out the latest Animation Podcast with Ray Harryhausen. Its so cool to hear one of the animationpioneers sharing his toughts. Awesome!

And finally, an interview with Pete Docter done by the Spline Doctors!


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The real world

I've only been working as an animator on-site for about three weeks now and I'm not sure if I'm fit to describe the life as a professional animator yet, but here's some quick thoughts about what I've noticed so far.

First of all - I love it. There's no doubt whatsoever that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. There's no big surprises so far. I wanted to get into animation because as an animator I can direct my of own shots to a certain degree and at the same time being directed by the supervisor/director - I can perform without being on stage, well hidden behind the computer screen and finally and most important, I'm never done learning. There's always tons of space for growing and there will always be something new to learn about the craft, independent of where I am or what I'm working on.

As a newbie, I feel really slow, which can be frustrating (it's normal I guess), but it forces me to always try to search for ways to do stuff faster
(preferably without sacrificing quality), which is cool! At the studio I'm sharing a room with five awesome people and their feedback is really helpful, but I wish I had more time to ask them for feedback and to make corrections based on it. The supervisor's feedback is really great though and I feel that I learn something new every single day!

On the private side, I just moved into a really nice apartment here in Hannover. Soon my wife will join me, which I'm really looking forward to. It's kinda lonely here without her :)