Saturday, 15 September 2012

Class 5 - Week 12 - Review - AND PROGRESS REEL!

It's over! Class 5 is through!

And what a class.

It's been tough, but I'm so glad to have had Kenny Roy as my mentor.  He really pushed us to realise our workflows and consider them fully, and I think it has been invaluable.  Not to mention the knowledge he has in regards to acting as well.  I know the weakest part of my workflow is in the polishing stage, but luckily, that's what class 6 is about!

I enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to class 6 and pumping out that showreel.

For now, here is my progress reel.


Watch as my work progressively gets worse ;)

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Class 5 - Week 11 - The Language of Film

You can guess what this weeks lecture was about!

But this is what you've been waiting for, my finished (for this class, anyway) scene.

Ta dah!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Class 5 - Week 10 - Studio Level Subtext & Subtlety

this time with Matthew Munn, walking us through one of his shots from Surf's Up - just after Cody discovers who Big Z is, and he's trying to play it cool.

Subtext is not an afterthought!

Gave us lots to think about - the kind of questions you should ask when planning your shot, to make the most out of your acting choices. He also told us not to be scared as newbie animators in the big bad studio world.  Everyone is friendly and there to help!

I got a little bit of a telling off this week in my critique... I was making bad acting choices.  I hadn't realised.  I also hadn't hit notes I should have because I hadn't realised that my acting choices weren't working.  So it was back to the drawing board for Freddie this week.  Hess was okay ;)


A lot of animating into the small hours this week. Again I was working on chunks at a time, but didn't get a chance to look at my first two shots (or the end of the third, hence the grey out and bad walk.)  They need a little bit of love.  This week (and next) was (is) about polishing these up, but I took the executive decision to focus on my last shot, and make sure it works.  I think, and hope, that Freddie is looking better.

Can't stop animating now, gotta get Freddie ready for polish!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Class 5 - Week 9 - Advanced Polishing

with my mentor, Kenny Roy!

Basically another walkthrough, this time what to look for in the polishing stages of animation. What to look for before transitioning from blocking plus to polishing the splines (counteranimation especially).  Now is the time for lipsync, and still don't be scared to blow out bad animation.

Reblocking of my final shot. Again.  Meant to be in polish this week but I really did mess up last week...


Not quite right, but I worked on this in chunks, treating each section like a shot in itself.  Much more manageable. 

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Class 5 - Week 8 - Hand Poses

So guess what this week was about?

Hand poses with Charles Alleneck of ILM.

This was about the importance of good hand poses in a scene.  They're almost as important as the eyes - got a clumsy hand pose, could ruin your shot.  Got bad eye shapes, ruin your shot.  Hands have personality!

And I am queen of claw hands.

I don't think I have properly addressed my hand poses yet.  They're very basic.

This week was such a bad week. Check it out for yourselves.


Not good, huh?

Made a big boo-boo: tried to work on 290 frames all at the same time.  BAD IDEA.  Also: bad acting.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Class 5 Week 7 - Advanced Look at Entertainment

With Doug Sweetland!

Entertainment is the key to animation - all the techniques in the world are no good if your animation doesn't entertain your audience.  Only animators watch animated films FOR the animation.

This was a pretty intense lecture. The more intellectual level of acting and entertainment, I suppose.  It was difficult to digest the first time so I had to watch it twice, and recopy out all the notes. Tricky stuff, but good stuff.

This week was refining the second shot we've been working on - obviously I had to tack Freddie onto that as well from the first shot.

Feeling more happy with where this scene is going now.  Kenny was pretty happy with what I did last week in improving my shots so hopefully I'm going in the right direction!


Now just to tackle the monster shot... 280 frames!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Class 5 Week 6 - Mechanics and Acting

With Pixar's Brett Parker!

She walked through her process of animating a shot from Ratatouille, focusing a lot on getting convincing body mechanics into an acting shot.  It was essentially a workflow walkthrough lecture, but also it was hosted with some students from AM so there were questions she answered there and then too.

I like Brett.  She started off as a production assistant at Pixar, got interested in the animating side, and got in as their first fix animator.  Success!

So this week we had to carry on working with our second shot, which we started working on last week.  I also reblocked Freddie from the first shot, after a great Q&A session with Kenny that really made me rethink it.



Sunday, 29 July 2012

Class 5 Week 5 - Walkthrough: Advanced Dialogue Part 2

Again with Victor Navone, yay!

This was getting towards polish, he started talking about offsetting keys.  I don't like to offset keys, and if you're going to do it, only do it when the animation is LOCKED down and you're not likely to have to reanimate a part of it.  Otherwise hilarity will ensue ;)

Basically the idea is to lead most actions with the eyes. Then the head, then the body. A good rule is Have the eyes 3 frames ahead of the body, the head 2 frames ahead of the body and 1 frame behind the eyes.  Also, consider the timing on the arms to add a sense of weight to them.

Then he moved fully into polishing, where the best way to approach it is in chunks. Play the chunk, make notes, execute your notes.  Start with the biggest controls and move out.

At this point he hasn't begun on the facial animation.  How Victor approaches it is with an eye pass, then brows, then the mouth.  The lipsync is again broken into chunks - jaw, corners, lips, and then tie down.

Then hands.

Then more polishing, adding what is needed to make it work.

Here's my hand in for the week.


Unfortunately this week I had technical issues while uploading, flash kept freezing, so I had to submit a part late.  Luckily for me though, I emailed tech and Kenny to let them know.  Kenny was kind to me, and tech lifted my penalty for me.  I think because I've never had to to do that before.

Not happy with what I did this week though!  I tried to use copied pairs and failed, so had to rescue my assignment quite late on in the game.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Class 5 - Week 4 - Walkthrough: Advanced Dialogue Part 1

This class was another superb lecture with Victor Navone, going into quite a lot of detail with what he does when working on a dialogue shot.  It's in two parts, this section got the to end of blocking plus.  He explained something about working in splines, using copied pairs, and I think his method kind of went click in my brain.  So, for this class, I'm going to endeavour to work in copied pairs, once I am in blocking plus.  It eases the transition between beautiful and snappy stepped keys, and soupy splines ;)

I worked on the first shot of my sequence this week, getting it all the way through blocking.  Turns out I wasted a lot of time trying to make my complex constraint set up work, when really, I should ignore that until I'm moving onto polishing.  As it is, I've reanimated Freddie three times this week.  The envelopes are hand keyed into position, and everything is in stepped.


Sunday, 15 July 2012


Changed me picture, didn't I?

Class 5 - Week 3 - Multi-Character Shots

This weeks lecture was about staging a multi-character shot - how to direct focus and pull the eye where it needs to be, to convey the main point of the shot, without there being too much for the audience to be distracted by.  Essentially, how to make each character alive without over animating the characters and drawing attention away from what needs to be focussed on.

There has been some confusion in the syllabus this week about what our assignment was.  We spoke to Kenny about it in class, as the instructions were for us to put in rough story poses this week for the entire sequence, but next week the syllabus says to take one shot out of blocking.  At no point did it tell us to block out our shot, and Kenny told us that would be ridiculous - to block a 400 frame shot in the amount of time he expects us to work on it.  So he told us what he expects this week is to see three poses, four poses max, per shot in the sequence, and not to block our the whole sequence.

That is what we have done.

We also had to take stills from our video reference for facial poses, and put them onto Bishop. Which I have done.  I recorded new reference, both full body and just facial, to try and get some more expression in my sulky sulky face.

Oh, and our character designs.

Here's mah work.


And my reference, for your pleasure ;)


Sunday, 8 July 2012

Class 5 - Week 2 - Storytelling Through Cuts

This week we got a big lecture from a film guy named Partrick Kriwanek. What he named it was "Editing 101" which held all the basics we needed to know, to make good cuts between shots and appropriate camera framing. Very informative - as the assignment this week was to plan and create the rough layout for our scene.

Kenny picked the dialogue line I reeeeeally wanted to animate - Freddie and Hess! Pretty excited to be doing it, and Kenny was really amped up by that choice - it's going to be a very subtle thing and a lot of hard work but I am so looking forward to it.

We've all been told to pick a secondary action for our characters to be doing. You can see what I had from the planning below.

I did a whole load of planning.

Filmed a lot of reference.


And also, I created the layout.  Which I can't show you right now as I did it on Rich's computer and haven't got the file.  It is basically the highlighted images from the middle image above.

Freddie is sorting through his post, which is the secondary action I chose, and Hess is leaving.  Freddie hears Hess, says goodbye, but carries on sorting the post almost deliberately ignoring her.  She stops, to say goodbye, uncertain.  Freddie stops sorting, pauses on a letter to her, and turns to face her.  He tells her he'll miss her, but then returns to the post on 'be safe'.  Hess is almost taken in by the warmth, but hears Freddie's tone change and resolves into 'be good.'

I've also had my crit.  Kenny said that all in all it works, though I have been told that I'm playing Freddie too cold.  He should see the post to her, and realise even though she is going, he'll still be getting letters for her for a while.  He's going to be seeing her name.  He's remembering the first time that her post got sent there, and now, even though she's going, he'll still be getting it.  When Hess takes the post from Freddie, we need to see that realisation on her, too.  I need to adjust some angles and choose some different lenses, and also completely do a way with the last shot - it's stupid ;) But he liked what I was getting at.

I've since refilmed some reference in a clearer light and taking into consideration more of the subtext behind it. I'm also going to film some reference focussing on my facial performance, as part of week 3's assignment is to take a still from the reference, and recreate that face on Bishop, for each character.  I tend to play everything in a sulky fashion, so I'm trying to fix that! Also slightly recomposed my shots.  You'll see all next week!