Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
These last few weeks I have logged so many hours in the studio. This is all I have been doing and it shows.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
I was finally able to get the GUI picker working on Bishop so I could do the lip sync. Without it it would have taken a lot longer. The lip sync is now done for both guys. Take a look:
If you notice in the beginning, Brussels is "breathing." I think it looks cool. I also noticed that around f119, Bishop's mug intersects the bar. I WILL fix it.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I got a great e-Critique from my mentor, Dana, and it really boosted my confidence with this scene. She liked the changes I made and everything was looking really good so far. She gave me a great idea for Bishop's reaction after being shrugged off. She was afraid I would not get what she was trying to say, but I understood perfectly. I just hope I nailed it in the scene.
Well, take a look:
When Bishop gets pushed back, I also added a little bit of a stumble. I had a heck of a time getting his left hand to do exactly what I wanted it to do. I also made Brussels turn away a bit after he says, "SHUT UP!" I tried to make it seem like he really did not want to hear anything Bishop had to say about the subject. I think I will move his line of sight a little more screen right. It will seem like he is almost pouting.
I am really jazzed about this scene right now. There's nothing like great words of encouragement to light a fire under your butt.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Tis the end of week 9 here at Animation Mentor. I took care of the camera angles and pans and hopefully that is done. I focused mainly on the body mechanics this time around. I smoothed out the arcs with the hand motions and added a bit more of a stumble for Bishop at the end. I also added a cheesey "eye-roll-then-look-at-camera" move. I know it's cheesey, but my mentor suggested something like that in my last e-critique. SO I did it. We'll see what she has to say come Monday.
In week 10, I will focus now on the lip sync, facial expressions, and hand/finger controls. I blocked out a bit of the lip sync in the beginning ("They were brave men, Voltan.""SHUT UP!"). Now it is time for the rest of the scene. I will go through blocking first. Or should I go straight to spline? Ok, I'll block it out first then later this week spline everything out. I also need to work on the hands and add some movement to the fingers. In some spots they need to be closer together. In other, they need to be spread apart. In Bishop's case (guy on the left), his left hand needs to grip the mug as he is stumbling back. I also need to add in more brow and eye expressions. I feel I need to change up Bishop's expression during the line "With respect...not be forgotten." I also need to tweak his hand gestures in that spot as well. Someting about it just does not feel right.
But for now, I rest.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Here's what I got so far. I am out of the blocking stage and flattened out all the curves. Meaning the body mechanics now flow fluidly. I still have a bit of work to do, especially with Bishop's last pose. I'm still trying to find the right expression to express the emotion for what I'm trying to say. Per my mentor's suggestion, Bishop (the guy on the left) should go for a look of "yeah, I KNOW he's dead" as if he was trying to hide him (the dead guy) from Brussells (the guy on the right, a.k.a. Voltan). I sketched out some ideas this week and submitted them with my assignment. I'll see what Dana has to say. I need to go back over my e-critique and see if I can pull anything else out of it.
I like how this is coming about. So for this week:
- I will be tweaking the body mechanics.
- I will be working on the lipsync. It will be easy for Voltan and not so much for Bishop. The GUI (graphic user interface) picker that has all the mouth and brow shapes all ready at the push of a button is not responding with Bishop. Voltan is working fine so he will be a snap.
- I will be making sure the hands and beer mugs do not go through the bar or anybody's head.
- I need to work on the brow expressions and eye blinks. The expressions need to be pushed here and there. I also think I need to add a few more eye blinks.
- I am still not comfortable with the camera angle on the seconds shot starting at f200.
- I also need to work on the timing and spacing of some of the gestures. Some poses need to be held for an extra beat or two before moving on to the next one. For instance, when Bishop is getting ready to say, "With respect" his left hand needs to stay down for a bit before it comes up. It needs to come up quicker and hold before it swings over to the bar. I also wanted Voltan to hold the pose a bit longer when he slams his hands down after saying "Will you shut up!"
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Still working on the scene. With a full schedule this past weekend, I did not get the time I desired to really work on the scene. Still, it came out ok for now and I got a lot of great feedback from my mentor. Things are coming along nicely. She's pleased with the staging and camera angles. I do need to tighten up the close-up on the second shot. Other than that, it is on to more tweaking this week. I will probably keep it in stepped mode for this week and start splining next week. I also need to tweak the expressions and start adding the lip sync.
I'm pleased with it for now. I still have a lot of work ahead of me but I am ready!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
I just saw Madagascar 2 tonight and I was pleasantly surprised. To be honest, I was not a huge fan of the first one. So I was not really looking forward to the sequel. However, when a friend at work told me it was "hilarious the whole way through", I thought I would give it a shot. Granted, I was going to see it anyways, but that recommendation gave me hope. I was not disappointed. It had heart, it had action, and it had laughs. Three great ingredients needed for a great film.
My final rating for this film: ***** (5 out of 5)
My favorite pose out of the whole film has to be the penguin on the left. That just cracks me up.
Now speaking as an animator, the film was just beautiful. The acting was amazing. I especially thought the character of Makunga (voiced by Alec Baldwin) was outstanding. Alec did such an amazing read that he really brought the character to life with just his voice. The character animation on top of that just pushed it over the top. There were so many subtle nuances that really made that character leap off the screen. There were moments when I caught myself trying to study the acting going on in hopes of bringing it into my own animation. This is what I have to strive for. This is my goal I have to reach. I will do my best these next few weeks to try and measure up to what I just saw.
A little too much pressure there? Let's bring it down a notch and just try and do the best job we can. Okay?
Thursday, November 6, 2008
The shot is a lot more tighter with the characters closer together. With the camera in front of both of them, it is a lot easier to see both their facial expressions. Plus this way I can give more character to the Vultan character (the green guy). I planning on give both characters a lot of secondary action while the other one is talking. If it works out right, it should not distract from the main action. While Bishop (NOT the green guy) is saying the line "With respect...", Vultan will probably be swishing his drink around and looking inside the mug. Then when Vultan is saying the line "There's no way...", Bishop will slowly be taking a few steps back. It will look like Vultan is getting all wound up to explode and Bishop does not want to get in the way. All the time he will be protecting his beer.
Just a few new ideas. Now I wait to see what my mentor Dana has to say.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
My only problem is that I cannot seem to get my video reference uploaded properly to the school websight. They have been having technical problems all week. It's a little frustrating on my part, but I imagine it must be ten fold for them.
I still need to do the storyboards for this scene so I heading back to the drawing board. I may be doing it backwards, doing the scene THEN doing the storyboards, but I probably would not have thought of the new camera angle if I did the boards first. That is what I really like about animating in Maya. If I come up with a new camera angle idea, *BOOM!*, it's done.
Friday, October 31, 2008
After the video reference is my first pass at the layout of the scene. This is the general camera angle I am going for. They said we could have two to three camera cuts, but I opted for a simple camera pan to the right revealing the punchline.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I saw this book Animation Unleashed by Ellen Besen sitting on the shelf. Being an animator, I exclaimed "Ooooh!" with joy and took it to the breakroom to look at on my break. I flipped through it and nothing really grabbed me. I looked at the table of contents and again, nothing really grabbed me. I looked a bit longer but there wasn't anything there that I did not already learn, or could learn, from one of the many books I already own. And believe me, I DO NOT need any more books on animation. (But I will have more!)
There was a book that I DID pick up a few days ago.
This book, The Alchemy of Animation: Making an Animated Film in the Modern Age by Don Hahn, I DID buy. I saw it on-line one night and ordered it the very next day at work. I have flipped through this one and it is just amazing. I have not had a chance yet to sit down and start reading it, but I will.
So that's one more animation book added to my collection. I know of at least one more coming soon, and that's The Art of Bolt by Mark Cotta Vaz.
I am really looking forward to this one because I want to see Chris Sanders' early conceptual art. Chris is the creator and co-director of Lilo & Stitch. He left Disney in the middle of production of Bolt. I need to do some research to find out why. I think I remember reading that there may have been some disagreements between him and John Lasseter over the story direction. I could be wrong but I will find out. I hear he is now directing a new film at Dreamworks called Crood Awakening.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
The assignment for Week 4 is to find three lines of dialogue with multiple characters. After looking a while, I decided on these three clips.
AUDIO CLIP #1 from Flash Gordon
"I swear Munson I'll shoot!"
"Get shot or go up in that thing? What's the difference?!"
"This way you'll be giving your life to save the Earth. Haven't you any spirit at all?"
AUDIO CLIP #2 from Flash Gordon
"They were brave creatures, Vultan."
"With respect, the man who rid us of Klytus should not be deserted."
"Will you shut up?! There's no way I can help a man who's dead!"
AUDIO CLIP #3 from O Brother, Where Art Thou?
"You stole from my kin!"
"Who was fixin' to betray us."
"You didn't know that at the time."
"So I borrowed it 'til I did know."
"That don't make no sense!"
"Pete, it's a fool who looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart."
These are from a couple of my favorite movies. Flash Gordon is sort of a guilty pleasure but I just love it! It's corny, and cheesey, and the costumes are so over the top. It also has an awesome soundtrack by Queen, so I think that helps a bit.
I recently turned in these scenes for this week. I have already received some feedback and the majority of my peers like Clip #3. They said there is great character and tempo changes. I, personally, was hoping to go with Clip #2. I can see great possiblilities with both but I may end up going with Clip #3. Either way, it is going to be both very challenging and a lot of fun.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
You know, I still have not read the book. I have a loose idea what it's about but that's only from what I've heard others tell me. I guess I should read it, but I don't want it to spoil the movie. I love movies. However, I heard that from the trailer, the film seems to be shot-for-shot from the graphic novel. So I should be ok.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
FINALLY, IT'S DONE!!
This is it! This is my FINAL take for this scene. It's been a long road getting here, but also a huge learning experience. I feel I have learned a lot with this scene that will carry on to the rest of my work.
And with NEW Joker make-up
I'm not saying it's complete because I will never see it as complete. I will always be able to find something that STILL needs to be tweaked here and there. But, it will do for now.
We also had some sketchbook assignments for this week as well. Here's what I got:
Now we get to move on to a NEW SCENE!!! WOOHOO!!! For the rest of this term we will be working on a multiple character scene. I need to find three scenes of dialogue and do the usual video reference and sketches for them all. This one will be a bit longer at 12 - 15 seconds. I have a few ideas but I'm still looking for more. I'll be posting them up next week.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
One more week and I'll be done with this shot. I need to get his wardrobe ready. I once tried using the same one as the earlier versions but for some reason it just did not fit right.
Friday, October 10, 2008
We have more sketchbooks assignments throughout the semester.
There are more to come.
Glen Keane Leaving Rapunzel?
October 10, 2008
CARTOON BREW and AINT IT COOL NEWS are both reporting that Glen Keane is stepping down from directing Disney's upcoming animated feature RAPUNZEL.
AINT IT COOL posted this memo from Ed Catmull, president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios:
For nearly two years, Glen Keane and Dean Wellins have been directing partners on Rapunzel. As Glen lessens his directorial responsibilities to attend to some non-life threatening health issues, their involvement on the project will shift. Glen will step back as a Director but stay attached to Rapunzel as an Executive Producer and Directing Animator. At the same time, Dean will move into development to pitch three new ideas for one of our future feature projects and focus on directing one of his CG shorts. We are happy to announce that Nathan Greno and Byron Howard have accepted to partner as directors on Rapunzel as we continue to hone the story in anticipation of our Holiday 2010 release. We want to welcome Nathan and Byron to the project and thank Glen and Dean for their great contributions to date on Rapunzel.
Keane has been involved in Disney productions like PETE'S DRAGON, THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE, THE LITTLE MERMAID, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and ALADDIN. He helped write POCAHONTAS and TARZAN.
According to the memo, Keane's latest health problems are moving him off the director's chair, but a source told AINT IT COOL that Keane and Wellins' version of RAPUNZEL wasn't working. Bryan Howard stepped in on BOLT when Chris Sanders' early work led execs to believe that film was not working.
Calls made by AWN to a Disney spokesperson were not returned as of Friday morning.
The following article is from http://www.cartoonbrew.com/
Rumor Central: Lasseter Knocks Keane Off Rapunzel?
October 9, 2008 1:40 pm
A local LA animation student who asks not to be named sends in this rumor that’s too juicy not to share:
Just a bit of info from one of our teachers here. Apparently Glen Keane was kicked off Rapunzel yesterday by Lasseter. Word around the campfire is that Lasseter didn’t like the latest reel.
7 years, man. 7 years Glen’s been working on this. The skinny is that the directors of Bolt will be taking over. No word about if Glen is still involved in any way.
Truth or fiction?
UPDATE: Floyd Norman confirms in the comments that this rumor is indeed true.
UPDATE #2: Ain’t It Cool News has published a follow-up story to our initial report. They reprint a letter from Ed Catmull that says that Glen has lessened his directing responsibilities to “attend to some non-life threatening health issues.” Co-director Dean Wellins has also removed himself from the project for unspecified reasons. They are being replaced by directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard. Keane will stay aboard Rapunzel as a directing animator and exec producer.
-End of Line-
All I have to say is....WHAT THE FRICK?!?!
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I am back at Animation Mentor and couldn't be happier! Class started last week and it is back to work. As luck would have it, I have the same mentor and Q&A time. So once again my mentor is Dana Boadway. She is a freelance animator that has worked with several diffrent studios. She is currently working on cinematics for one studio and her own short film. It would have been nice to have some fresh eyes on my scene, but this works out well, too. I know what she is looking for and know what I need to work on.
So here is my scene from last semester. For the first few weeks we are now focusing on animating the mouth with the dialogue and the eyebrows for more facial expressions. Before the last semester was over, I tweeked the scene a bit more and Dana noticed. "Everything with the body is looking much better. You've done a lot of good work on it." THANK YOU! There are still a few things that need to be ironed out but it's getting there. The lip sync is coming along nicely as well. The difficult part for me was in the middle when the dialogue is going so fast. Also, the generic mouth shapes the school has provided for us are a bit too "happy." They are always smiling. Well, my guy is not smiling so I need to bring them down a bit.
All in all, so far so good. I'll be working on dressing Bishop this week. Just a few clicks here and there and he should be back in his wardrobe.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Another semester at Animation Mentor has come and gone. It has been a quick and interesting summer term. I feel this is the class where I realized I want to be an animator. I put so much work into this semester, more than the previous ones. I must have logged about 20 hours a week for the last 3 to 4 weeks of this final scene. I was determined to get it just right. It's still not there, but I'm working on it.
This scene will not be COMPLETE complete until week 3 of Class 4. I still have a few weeks of E-crits to get it right. One thing my mentor Dana said to work on was the subtleties. In her final E-crit, she said I sort of went for some difficult choices because the character interacts with the table so much. I need to show weight when he leans on the table or makes a gesture on it with his finger. I did the best I could with the time I had before having to upload it to the final progress reel. I see what she was talking about and I got a few of them taken care of.
So on to Class 4: Advanced Acting. In Week 4, we do another dialogue scene but this time with TWO characters. This is going to get interesting.
But for now, I get a week long break from school.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I am done with my scene...for now. Class 3 is coming to a close. It has been a HUGE learning experience. These past three months I have learned so much, not just in animation but with the Maya program. So here is my final scene for Class 3:
In Class 4 we will start to polish this even more and add in facial controls to give it more experssive...uh...expressions.
After next week, we get a week long break. I am not sure what to do during that week. Should I avoid animation all together so I can recharge my batteries? Or should I keep chugging along and working on other things like modeling, rigging, and lighting? I really want to give this scene some real ominous lighting. I have the books. We will see what happens.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
So once I finished that up, I had another idea. I sort of got the idea from what I remember seeing in "Kung Fu Panda." When I first saw the trailer, one of the scenes that cracked me up was when Po landed on Tai Lung's head and they showed it in slow motion. In traditional 2D, that would have been very difficult because you have to draw all those extra frames moving the character at a fraction of an inch. I realized in computer animation, all you have to do is add more frames between the keys and you get the same effect.
So here's what I came up with...
So here's my shot for this week. I used my mentor's notes as best I could. I added more overlap in the body and really tried to lead with the hips. I still need to work on the hands at the end. But all in all, it is coming together.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
In week 2, we are to do a bit more blocking. I did not add too much because I want to keep some of the "moving holds." I do not want this to be like my first scene of the semester. Stewie was moving all over the place. It was too busy. Here I am trying for a more subtle approach.
This semester we do not have too much control over Bishop's facial expressions. We can only control his eyes, eyelids, and jaw up & down movement. Next week I start splining the scene. That is when it gets interesting.
I have also been reading and learning new things available in Maya. I started getting into modelling and set building. Just yesterday (actually about 2:00 this morning) I learned how to texture and paint on Bishop. So to go with my "crazy" scene I gave Bishop a Joker look. To add to his craziness, I gave him an eye twitch now and then along with a head twitch to match. It has been so much fun learning new things. My creativity is now able to come to bloom!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Next time I have some free time, I will try working on modeling his head. That is when the real fun comes in. I will have to do some sketching and really get his head looking the way I want it to.
I do see that I do have to make the props spin a bit faster. That way the motion blur will really be visible...and cool!
THIS WAS A LOT OF FUN LEARNING ALL THIS NEW STUFF!!! I'M SERIOUSLY GEEKING OUT OVER HERE!!!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
"Crazy - Take 1"
"Crazy - Take 2"
I'd like to get some good acting in these, but I don't want to make the scene too busy like the last one. I had too much going on that it seemed cluttered. One of the things people kept commenting on were that there were not enought "moving holds" poses. There were not enough pauses between the actions for them to register that the character was thinking.
I'm still undecided as to which take to use. "Castings" seems simple enough. I think I can have a lot of fun with either take of "Crazy" and "Something". The only thing with those three is that there will need to be a set or some type of visual gag.
In "Crazy - Take 1", the character is in a room sitting at a table. I can make a room and a table. What I would like behind him is a door with a frosted window. On the window would be the words "MENTAL WARD", but on the outside.
For the first take of "Crazy - Take 2", I see the character in a padded cell or jail cell. The camera is outside looking in through the bars. As he walks to camera, the grabs the bars and shakes a bit. I was originally thinking of having the camera looking through a door with a small window and bars. I did one take where I had my arms wrapped around me like I was in a straight-jacket. I thought that would be pretty cool, but all the acting would have to have been with the eyes and body gestures. It left out the arms entirely.
There has to be a visual sight gag with "Something." He is standing out in the woods with tall trees behind him. He could either be standing or pacing inside of a giant footrpint. Or he could be in a medium shot with a huge Bigfoot standing right behind him. That one would be great but I don't know if I can create a Bigfoot character. I will also have to look into how to make an indention on a surface plane if I want to make a footprint.
I'll draw up some sketches and see what I can come up with.