Saturday, February 28, 2009

ChenFu..posing notes

more side profile..less foreshortening

Monday, February 23, 2009

the Take. A cautionary tale

I was looking at a lot of student work recently, esp with the directed study projects I'm assisting with this term and thought I'd muse on them for a moment.

Takes are tricky things. In doing pantomime, they are a really clear way of showing a quick emotional shift in a character, or add a bit of a scene beat, but when used improperly, they can make your performance cliched.

Head on over to John K's blog, for a great post on takes, as well as this great clip

Takes as extreme as these are challenging to do in 3d, and not always appropriate, but scroll through the images John's a great primer on the largeness of a move...nothing timid about any of them.

his opening quote is pretty apt.

"Everyone knows what a "take" is, right? It's a startled or surprised reaction.
All animators use them. Most use them as simple punctuation, an accent that draws your attention to the a character's surprise or change of emotion.

You're not supposed to really notice them.

It's just another punctuation tool, to help the audience follow what is happening in the story."
So be mindful of using takes in a cliched way. If a character notices something, show an inventive way to communicate it. If a character notices a bus pulling away, you don't need them reeling back with a lightbulb over their head - maybe they start scrambling towards it in a panic, their surprise showing through the delay of either the reaction or the body catching up to what it should be doing.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

john k....treasure trove of anim tips

one of my favorite blogs...great ref for posing!

Friday, February 13, 2009

more dog footage

a la michael de la rosa...thanks!

confusion, what are my assignments

In the sea of quiet faces last night I sensed some confusion, so here's a quick recap of what to do for the next 2 weeks.

to the bullet points...
  • Next week. I'm out, class is cancelled, but we'll have a makeup session at some point.
  • Finish your cycles and any earlier assignments you wish to continue with, and I'll give you individual critique on them over the next few classes.
  • in maya, create a single frame pose of Norman on a white background with no set or props, communicating the theme 'powerful'
i'll be checking email, so if anyone has questions, let me know.

Must read material

Ok..some of the heavy hitters of the animation blog world have given you guys the gift of knowledge.

Keith Lango on Offset Keys vs Changing Shapes

And Carlos Baena stepping up to show how you really plan a shot, with some great Incredibles process footage.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

leigh - quad work

Leigh asked for advice on her quadcycle..I ended up noodling around more than I thought...trying to see how effective this screencapture software is..let me know either way if it's useful for me to do guarantees of how often I can, but I'll try to do more online demos if it's of help..sometimes it's easier to show rather than tell.

i didn't get too far into it, but wanted to address a few things

  • forward/back movement of the feet...a little clompy...the stick a bit on the floor..z translation feels a bit off
  • push off of the feet, hang time after the pushoff should be addressed
  • back feet being really wide...unless you're super cartoony, it's not a natural pose
  • spine is too active a curve
  • a little too wobbly on the ups and downs of the spine
  • start addressing the rhythm of the feet to body and you'll be on your way

Friday, February 6, 2009

key steps to effective blocking

great post by Shawn Kelly

Recap...horses and tigers and quadrapeds, oy!

I was unsure of whether the stares last night were rapt attention, or vaguely blank...hard to tell from the other side.

I just wanted to recap and reiterate a few points from last night.

  • I'm opening up the cycle section of the class to quadrapeds, but attempt it if you really feel you rocked the pendulum and the ball bounce. Otherwise stick with a biped cycle, preferably the 'basic guy' rig I provided. It was pointed out by my coworkers this morning that jumping from a ball bounce to a quadraped is a bit lamebrained of me, but I see a lot of ambition in this group and want to give you the opportunity to make your work interesting. If you aren't sure, email me and I'll give you my honest opinion.
  • Personal work. I know a lot of you want to keep going with work from other classes this term. I'm more than happy to critique it before or after class and the last month I may open up to working on some of this earlier work, but for the bulk of the term, I want everyone doing the same exercises. Don't forget that the goal of being in school is to develop the skillset of animating well. Clearly getting a reel together is important, but I think it's more important to nail down a really solid workflow and dialogue with your peers, so that when your out of school, you have the skills to push your work further.
  • Get your homework to the network folder by the start of class. For those of you that filter in late or put your assignments in halfway through class, I tend to forget about them. If I have, remind me and I'll post an e-crit.
  • Bring your maya's sometimes faster to show you a fix or point out a trouble spot.
On to the reiteration.
For your cycles, here's a few quick pointers.
  • start with an idea and reference. be clear about what your animating
  • lay in your key poses and breakdowns.
  • establish stride length and relation of the pelvis and feet.
  • if you're using norman, get those pole vectors out of the hips and make them global...I have a version of him kicking around that I tweaked..I'll post that soon
  • once your poses are nailed down, establish the rhythm of the cycle
  • get the rotations of the spine down
  • work on the footsteps, hang time, etc.
  • evaluate
All for me or comment if anyone had questions/things you'd like me to clarify.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Sorry I haven't been an active blogger class = all new lesson plans...tonight we'll be going into quadraped cycles.

Make sure you bring your assignments as well as some personal work to share, since we're all getting aquainted.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I just saw this..from Ken Koch's blog...more detail than you probably want to know about physics in animation. An essential read (2 free pdfs in the tutorial section)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

victor navone's wall-e thumbnails

Some inspiring work..check out his site!

Activision at the Academy

Activision will be at the academy tomorrow at 10 am. I'd check them out...I had a great experience with Activision back in the day.