Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I agree!

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When a movie can not have dialogue in its first half an viewers can understand every word.
Then it wins an Oscar.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

First Complete Layout

Here is the first pass at the COMPLETE layout for my short film "Looking For Love."

This music is composed by my cousin David Barrera. The timing is off a bit because he went by the complete animatic from a few weeks ago. During the layout process, I had to trim a few frames here and there. In the end I was able to shave off about three seconds. I will be getting David a copy of the final layout soon to see if he can adjust the music accordingly.

As of now, I am still waiting for my E-critique from my mentor. After I view it, I will be making the changes and adjustments per his suggestions and comments. So this is not FINAL just yet.

For those not familiar with the layout process, this is how Animation Mentor defines layout:

"Layout is where you plan and execute the visual choreography of your film. Here you design the number of shots in your film, the content of each shot and it’s purpose in the film. At the end of the layout process you have an animatic reel that clearly (shows) the timing and relationship of each shot. From a visual perspective, the rhythm and choreography of film is functionally in place."

Layout is sort of the animatic come to life. It has gone from the 2D, hand drawn phase into the 3D world of the computer. You get your characters in order. You build the necessary sets and props that the characters will be interacting with. You move the characters around so you get a feel of where they are going to be in each shot. You then set up your cameras to get that perfect shot from just the right angle.

The animation does not have to flow perfectly. This is the template upon which the animation is built. From here we move on to the blocking phase. In blocking that is where you start to flesh out the animation. You make sure the characters are hitting the right key poses and the right facial expressions and emotions. That is when the fun REALLY begins. But enough about that for now. That will not begin for a couple of more weeks in Class 6: Short Film Production.

Monday, March 9, 2009

2nd 3rd

It's coming together. I completed the second third of my short film. Have a look:


Few of the comments I got from my mentor were concerning the framing of the first two new scenes (090 & 100). In scene 090, Bishop's head is chopped off at the top. Not a good shot, he was saying, if we're seeing him in this position for the first time. In scene 100, it appears that the frame is resting on the top of his head. Those can easily be fixed. He also said since scene 100 is her POV, I need a bit of camera movement to show that we are seeing what she is seeing. So the camera will be doing a slight pan from one eye to the other.

The other thing was something I asked him about. The timing from scene 130 to 140 seemed too quick. He suggested I hold on Bishop's expression in scene 130. Hold it for the entire scene. Maybe have the flower drop out of his mouth here instead of him spitting it out later. (I really like that idea because I don't think the second girl would have found "that" cute if she's been watching him this whole time.) I also needed to stress that we are seeing what the husband is seeing. He said the husband and baby should be in the scene, close to camera, and our camera looking over their shoulder. That's exactly what I was thinking a while back. Had I thrown that in, it would have been perfect. So I hold on his expression in S130 and then cut to S140 with him already in frame getting ready to sit down. This will help keep the second girl hidden until the end. Bishop also needs to keep looking forward as he enters, and the camera angles needs to change so we can see his eyes. They are at the very top of the frame and that is where the action is. I will be trying a few camera moves to see which one works better.

Finally, when Bishop enters in scene 140, the second girl should be typing away on her computer. She could have her head down, maybe looking up real quick, or vice-versa, and mover her arms to simulate typing.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Yesterday they released on DVD the latest animated film from DC Comics, Wonder Woman.

I saw it last night and I was just blown away. It comes with a PG-13 rating and I could definitely see why. It starts off with a huge battle between the Amazons and Ares, the god of war. It was pretty brutal. People are getting killed left and right. The scene that really wowwed me was when Diana's mother Hippolyta lassoed a flying creature and was being dragged along. She then threw her tiara, which later becomes her daughter's, and sliced off the creature's head. That was crazy! She then later chops off the head of her own son that was forced upon her by Ares!

And THEN, not to give too much away, but the final battle takes place in Washington, D.C. at the foot of The Lincoln Memorial. Those freakin' bad guys chopped off Lincoln's head!!! And, as you can see in the picture below, the big battle between Wonder Woman and Ares happens in the White House. That's THE White House that is all in ruins!

Like I said, it just blew me away!!

Layout for the first third

This is the rough layout for the first third of my film. This is the time where I get the characters into position, get the cameras set up just right, and try to really focus on the timing of the whole film.

This is sort of a rough blocking of the animation. I don't have to worry too much about the details, just make sure the characters are doing something remotely like what they will be doing in the final piece.

I got some good feedback from my mentor. The only thing I need to work on is the timing of scene 080. It is running a bit slow when he starts to groom himself. It needs to feel a bit more spontaneous and quickened up a bit. It needs to hit those internal beats, something like: "Wow! she sees me! Need to look my best. Dust off the shoulders, check the hair. Hey, a flower! I'll go give it to her. Then up and out of the scene with flower in hand.) Boom, boom, boom. Now it's boom, boom, ...uhm...uh....boom. That I can fix.

I am also trying to figure out this new application in Maya that organizes the camera into the shots I need. I tried to replace the camera in scene 040 withthe camera in scene 060, but it just was not doing it. I need to mess with it a bit more, or just get rid of all the cameras and start over. Either way, it is gonna be a chore!

And the last thing I need to work on is the flower. Right now it is just a sphere with a stem that was extruded from the bottom. I need it to bend and flow as it is being picked up and moved. I also need it to bend in an upcoming scene where it wilts in his mouth. As an experiment, I tried rigging a flower with joints so it would bend. It did bend but not from the points I wanted it to. It was bending from one of the ends when I need it to bend from the center. One of my classmates gave me a few suggestions so I will be trying them out later. We shall see.