Sunday, November 30, 2008

Week 9 Splining

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

All Smoothed Out...well, mostly

Week 8 and it's time to spline!!

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!"
So that's about it. I just hope I have the time this week to really concentrate on the scene. I really want this to work.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Week 7 Blocking

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

Happy Birthday, Mickey!

We must never forget it all started with a mouse.


November 18, 1928 - Mickey Mouse starred in "Steamboat Willie," the first commercially successful animated cartoon to use synchronized sound.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Go See This Film!!

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

New NEW Layout!

So tonight my best friend Roland came over and I showed him my last scene. He started thinking and came up with a few new ideas. We started brainstorming and working things out and came up with a new layout for the scene.

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

OFFICIAL 1st Layout Pass

This is my official first pass at layout. I posed the characters as I want them posed in the shot. I added another camera angle at the end. I think it really hits the punchline at the end.

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.