Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

line of sight, the reaction shot

That site is a vertitable treasure trove - quickly took a bunch of reaction shots, as in multiple character dialogue, it's often underlooked. We all have that tendency to stiffly pose a character with the intent of getting to it later.

I wanted to mention 2 key things to think about.
Head tilt.

You can do a lot with these, especially when you have more than one character in a scene next to each other. Sometimes it's just a bit of subtlety that really makes it. Look at the Jean Reno shot...he's just standing slightly left of the center, but his tilted head, heavy expression, and the way in which he focusses offscreen really show a lot of character. I love the staging of the Robin Williams shot. His slightly hunched look really places him strongly in the scene in a very defensive way.
The other thing is how the gaze of the character leads you around the rectangle. I like the bottom shot, as they two characters are fundamentally a unit but your eye starts back at the far guy, pulling to the front, and zipping offscreen, then back again to the first guy...

movie screenshot blog

High quality dvd screenshots (stills) from films, movies and some tv-series. Unique photo galleries of captures, stills and screenshots, posters and dvd covers from my personal dvd [and some lower quality vhs] collection. The movies are linked directly to the IMDb database. Some captures do contain mild nudity. LEGAL: the contents of this weblog ONLY may be used elsewhere if the source is clearly mentioned.

Hitchcock Shot Analysis

Hitchcock frames and orders his compositions with light and actually directs the eye through the patterns of light and dark. More importantly, these shots all deal with strong character sillhouette and the tilt of the head. Note the power of the eyeline in all of these shots. In the first one, your eye goes right to Norman..everything in the layout pulls your eye this way, but the separation of the girl in front pulls your eye back towards her, so you do a bit of gradual flipping between them. This is a good use of a full body shot as his casual pose contrasts with the stark creepiness of the environment.
In the second, it's all about the look up at the character, as a normal moment becomes something more predatory through the alignment of the character with the background (I love in this sequence how he connects with the owls). The window frames him and sharpens the sillhouette. Even without the lighting though, look at the size on screen.
In the third, It's all about pose and eyeline. See how her gaze connects to him, his shoots into the black plane in front of him, and your eye pulls back from the dark area to the right, creating a circular field of interest where you stay engaged and immersed in the moment.
For your dialogue pieces, really focus on the framing of them from the start. The tendency in cg is to just deal with big decisions later, but go by the mantra of there are no laters when it comes to decisionmaking (or taxes)

Monday, March 24, 2008

late on my dialogue approvals..

edward V. - first 7 seconds or so of 'want'
karen kwak - catchphrase, but start it at 'shake and bake'
joseph taylor..both are good
andy for me
steve ly. a little rapid fire, but it works.
steve masuda, cards works, danton is quite good as well, laughing works, but a little rapid fire without as much pacing as the others.
weston - good clip

the one thing I want to mention on these is to not over or undercontextualize them. Basically don't make it seem like you're trying too hard to invent a situation, but provide enough information so they feel like they're in a situation.

Hope that's enough to get you going. For the initial blocking pass, have all your key poses through the end, and enough breakdowns so anyone can watch it without wondering what's going on.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

jean denis gets a gold star for his blogging ability

Just head on over for a wealth of info, that all pertain to your current work.

stephen gregory's class blog
Some useful notes about walk cycles, and pretty much the opposite of how I taught them. I, for the most part flooded you with detailed information about curves, how long the pelvis hangs over the each foot, etc. I really intend those notes to be used to go in later and refine your cycles. These aren't useful for anything other than looping cycles and as a way of really pushing your critical eye. Andrew and Stephen make some really valid points about learning by figuring it out through doing. I once had a teacher who said that, really, all art is self taught, and there is something to that. That being said, going back and studying the structure is valid...I don't start with a loose set of curves when I do a walk..I pose out the main key poses and make it as strong as possible. It's only in the later stage of detailing it out do I use the curves to enhance the look and fluidity of it. At some point I'll put up my quadraped walk demo which should clarify some of my rantings.

Carlos Baena's notes of facial expression
best quote ever on facial

"Just because your character is upset or angry, doesn't mean that you should have an upset or angry expression. Sometimes a character that's so upset or sad that can't even handle their feelings, they display emotions through laughter or smile."

This is so true. Having the character react in an obvious way makes for an obvious performance. If a character is hearing bad news and goes right into the classic frown, you lose the opportunity to show the news settling in. Any opportunity to show a character thinking is useful.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

1000 frames of hitchcock

Hitchcock was a master of composition. This site endeavors to boil down his films to 1ooo frames. I can lose myself in these...

This is important as you do your dialogue shots...really pay attention to your framing and avoid the 'i'll get to it later' syndrome.

Monday, March 17, 2008

milt kahl

go to carlos baena's site...he hit the motherlode with posts on milt kahl, one of the all time greats

here's a few roughs from the rescuers.

'big dog'

This is just freaky. But fascinating that motion style alone gives it personality.

jeff gabor's horton work - link down

i know i've mentioned aaron hartline's shot progression reel in the past, but now Jeff Gabor steps up. Pretty amazing work. I remember Jeff from his work in the 10 second club, a frequent winner, if I remember correctly. He's really improved, and he was good before!!

Friday, March 14, 2008

brent's new audio clip/posing

Brent asked about an audio clip which appears to be from the princess bride. good for you for posting some poses for me to rip apart! the sound clip is a little noisy, so maybe normalize it if you can for clarity and add some padding to the end.

for starters, this goes for everyone...

don't overcontextualize these pieces. context is good, but don't make it seem like you're trying too hard. they don't all need a clever twist. more often than not, playing it straight and adding the right kind of subtleties is what makes demo reels stand out.

ok for starters, let's look at your staging. in my paintover look how upright your characters are. i posted a similar shot from a bugs life just to see how even simple characters can be posed dynamically. the perspective is a little weird, and we see way too much of the background. so crop in to where it looks good, unless you're using all the space to walk on or offscreen.

i think you mentioned you want the guy whom the gun is pointed at to be scrambling around for an object. keep him passive. the guy with the gun has all the power, and there can be a real power to making a good reaction shot. show some contrast in these guys!

hope that's of help.

free learning from those mentor types

Quiz will be after break.

this one's for andy

Funny - The best video clips are here

timecode heart attack ever.

worst heart attack ever

Thursday, March 13, 2008

strong posing

just grabbed this from the new iron man trailer. everything about this screams anticipation.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

midterms, et al.

(I think our protracted crunch is taking it's toll today)

recap...i managed to make it to the AAU to collect the files, so no worries. Thanks to all of you who sent in your work.

hey, i went to art school too...

This isn't really relevant to our class or anything, but I finally got motivated to start scanning in some of my art work and just thought I'd share..

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

raphael suter's weight test

Jean-Denis went hog wild with the posts today. Some great links (I just wanted to use the phrase hog wild)

Weston Schaffert...this link is for you. Think about the kind of details it takes to show effort.

Raphael has some great work on his site.

He also posted a bunch of image from my friend Jonathan Paine's site.

Jonathan is in that insanely talented category of artist...I love his bugs bunny sculpt, which he did from observing the chuck jones cartoon.

Monday, March 10, 2008

tj is doing my job for me

Run, do not walk, to Tj's site.

Tj is a blazingly fast animator who always gets really high quality work right out of the gate. His initial pass is all about good decisionmaking and he's good enough to share his process. I'm a huge believer in this method of working (except for the dope sheet...i never touch that thing ;)


tip of the day..weight shifts

This is pretty self explanatory. The upper right diagram is a little inaccurate as the pelvis doesn't necessarily go upwards, but you get the idea.

Avoid that student animation syndrome of just rotating the pelvis over. This is always easy to act out, but the general rule is that if you lean over, you compensate by moving your pelvis the opposite way to counterbalance yourself.

Friday, March 7, 2008

lost my backups..

Slight snafu last night. Due to my overtired state (don't ask me about work hours in the game industry), I left both of my flash drives at school last night and am not sure if I'll be able to recover them.

I'll need everyone to resend me the final versions of the work you've done so far this term so I can do your midterm grades.

Don't worry about the maya files..just playblasts of your walk, run, and prop piece so far, as well as jpgs of your pose sketches.

Actually, do include your maya files for your latest prop piece and I'll try to squeeze in additional crits if I can.

If anyone can check for my flash drives (one white, on silver) that would be super helpful.

The one thing I got out of last night's class for many of you involves some confusion about the best way to lay out your animations. I'm going to do a demo next week to show one way of blocking out your shots in a flexible, editable way. There's not a lot to it other than posing your key poses and enough breakdowns to make it read, but I'll get into it..

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

quick norman tutorial - space switching

I put up a couple of normans I and These are basically the same but with extra nodes for attaching props to the prop version of norman. I wanted to quickly go over a feature I added using some off the shelf switching, essentially an extra node that simulates on the fly parenting. There's many uses for it, but here's a handy one.

say you have a pole vector 'parented' to the foot and you'd like to free it up to world space. Or maybe your character is moving around a lot and you don't want to have to animate as much. Note the parent attribute. This simulates parenting the node to other parts of the rig. This tutorial deals more about repurposing a pose, you could use the script copyTransf.mel to do this over a series of keyframes.

Start with the pose you'd like to hold. if you want to animate a switch, like picking up a prop, animate on the key before the one you'd like to transition. Using my buddy sean's handy snWorldSpaceTool (a pose clipboard), copy the location.

go to the parent attribute and switch it. Often there will be a pop.

click paste and you're good to go. You've switched a space.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

sungkil run

a couple of things. a lot of this is just a reiteration of what i said in class. i'm not sure how much you've changed it, but the changes are pretty minor.

  • go over my checklist of things to watch on a run. these include rotation of the hips and torso. wavelike motion of the torso. arc of the feet. rigid posing. too much motion in too short a time. this animation has issues in all of these areas.
  • the start pose you have is more like the second pose in the williams sequence. its tricky starting a cycle in the air, but if you do, you need to come down harder.
  • overall pose. it's very upright. if you pick up a gun or any long object and run, your body naturally turns a little bit as you support it more towards one side. there's almost no forward rotation to the body or twist to the torso, giving it a stiff appearance.
  • neck is upright. makes for a less appealing pose.
  • torso moves forward and back really fast over 12 frames...stay pretty much in one pose and animate the compression and overlap around the contact point.
  • no hip rotation forwards and back.
  • go back and look over the cycle notes and cycle footage we did.
  • from the front there's very little x movement. a little x movement with the torso rotating inwards to keep the center of gravity will make a world of difference.

get your rigs here

Great find, Jean-Denis. A portal for free rigs, including a norman modification tutorial.

live action reference - steve buscemi

Steve Buscemi is one of those actors whose skill is hard to pin down - his delivery is always entertaining, but he's also fantastic at adding a lot of the subtleties that happen within a key pose. (not that we have key poses in real life, but below, I broke down what could be construed as key poses)

Look at his entrance in...he enters completely hunched over and transitions into a nervous pace. Gestures like hand wringing can feel cliched if you aren't careful with them, but he moves in and out of these actions is interesting - he doesn't linger on anything long enough to warrant true distraction, and it's clear he's aware of the situation in the foreground.

I also did a quick paintover to reinforce the importance of composition in your shots. It's useful to grab frames from movies and see how shot is set up. Too much dead space and you lose touch with your character. Even in the blobby sketch i did, note how clear the foreground/background relationship between the characters is, and how your eye is led around the frame through the angles of the heads.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

value of sketching

Another post about the value of sketching out your animations...even halfway through, you can figure out your character's attitude. I did the above before even touching the character so his personality was imprinted in my head before I even started posing him.