Monday, January 30, 2006

I Promise GPT test

I've started gathering reference for my new personal project. I had already decided on the audio a few months ago, and since then have taped some video reference. The idea is a boy at a campfire setting, sitting on a log when he hears scary noises like a wolf. I've created this pose test using stills from my reference. For me it's much easier to look at reference footage when you break it down and look at only the key poses in there. Most of the time when I take reference footage much of it is unusable, and I am making tons of unessecary movements, but that's what comes with experimenting and trying to find the best acting reference for your clip. Editing is a major component when looking through reference.

I also just did this grease pencil test using the key poses from my reference. Any comments and crits are helpful.

Friday, January 13, 2006


Improvisation and the Theatre

On one of our many library outings here at work I recently pciked up the book Impro by Keith Johnstone. It's a book I've known about for a while but have never gotten around to reading. I'm sure glad I picked it up that day because ever since then it's been hard to put down, and I'm almost through half of it in only a few days. I have been reading it inbetween renders here at work.

The book goes into detail about status transations and how to negotiate your way through an improvised scene, basically using all the skills in raising or lowering your status as you've learned all your life. it has totally exposed all the ways we manipulate others and ourselves in order to gain attention and sympathy in life. It has been said that all acting scenes are a negotiation, and if this is so all negotiations are ones of status. A status negotiation can be as simple as someone staring as another looks away, all the way to a long drawn out argument where the high status bounces from one to another, with alternate uses of one raising their own status to lowering their adversaries.

The book is coming at the right time for me since I am due to begin classes at BANG! improv studio. I am super excited to take another improv class, I had taken one this summer in NYC at the Upright Citizen's Brigade, and it was so fun. Mostly when you are at an improv class you are being entertained while learning acting and improv techniques and also entertaining your classmates. I remember laughing for 3 hours straight. The final class performance was a day I was not laughing though, I was terrified, but the performance went off without a hitch and then we all went to karaoke together which was so much fun.

Improv is great for animators. You learn about character development, how to develop a story, working and collaborating with others while keeping your mind totally open to every possibility. And you'll probably find out you're funnier thatn you thought. : )

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Still Revising

So here are some revisions, still in progress. I feel like I am almost getting near the end of this one. I have to say it is the project I am the most happy with so far at AM. My first dialogue shot (the queen of sheba animation) didn't fair so well, and I feel like that one still needs a lot of work and polish, I definetely skipped the polish stage on that one but am planning on revisitng it sometime. But on this white doves animation I am really trying to buckle down and get it to the best that I can do, that is why I am not done yet. I put the wip up on the AM critique forum and got some great crits, I also got some advice from my mentor and am thinking of taking out some of the poses.

I am thinking of really slowing down the beginning, "when I get married" section, I think there is still too much movement here, and in order to contrast the chaotic-ness of the later part it still needs to be more sublte in the beginning. I am also thinking of changing the "horse drawn carraige" hand sweep to hold the pointed finger gesture longer, I think it gets lost going into yet another pose so soon after. Overall I would say the weakest thing about this animation is that there are too many poses and action, I will really remember this when planning my next animation.

Comments and crits are welcome.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Giving up is hard to do

When someone asks me what I did on New Years Eve, I have to admit that I spent that entire weekend working on my Animation Mentor revisions. Yes, sad but true that instead of partying the night away I opted to work on my animation practice. And this lead to me think about what other sorts of things I've given up in order to persue this art.

For one there are the weekends, for me I would rather spend my weekends getting in the extra practice time. If that is what is going to make my animation assignment better then that is what I need to do. And yes this does include waking up at 6am on Saturdays and Sundays. Since our homework is due Sundays it became necesssary for me to restructure my weekly workload to get the most out of my assignments, this included giving up most of my weekend.

And thinking back to this summer, when I cancelled an entire European vacation that I was planning on taking. I had been planning the trip for months, which included meeting up with a friend and a cousin on different legs of the vacation to England and Greece. The trip unfourtunately landed smack dab in the middle of Class 2 Body Mechanics, and I realized there was no way I could miss 2 weeks of school and be able to catch up. I was struggling pretty badly at the beggining of AM and needed all the practice time I could get. So unfourtunately for me and my vacation mates, I had to cancel the trip.

But oddly enough I never regretted any of theese decisions to give up my time to the persuit of learning. I knew that I neeeded to give it my best shot, that I would need to sacrifice to have a chance to learn. Animation is such a hard artform to learn and even though I am only at the beginning of my education, I already know there will be tons more hard work in the future, and I am willing to do that.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Inside Scoop

With the new rush of students coming into AM at a high point during the release of V2 I have been wondering what the future holds for us AM'ers. I've met so many talented animators at AM, not just the mentors, the students too have grown into being some impressive inspiring artists. I hope that these students and myself continue to learn and grow. So much has been happening with AM in a relatively short amount of time. In less than 10 months AM has become one of the best animation schools in the world and created a huge buzz. Sometimes being on the inside it's hard to see how the rest of the non-AM world sees us.

For some people it is hard for them to believe that AM, being an online school, that there is much merrit to this form of education. For me, I was hooked from the first teaser class I saw on the AM website months and months before the school opened. I always knew in my heart that this was the exact way I wanted to learn, and the actual reality of the school was even better than I had hoped. It is also hard for some outside people to believe the kind of bonds the students have formed with eachother, and the kind of connections the students have formed with their mentors, we have way more interaction with our teachers than most "real" schools.

Andy Warhol once said "Measure publicity in inches" meaning not to look at the content of what people are saying, just to look at how much they are saying. Either way I know that AM will continue to succeed as an animation school, and there will be the proof in the pudding.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year! Here's some Rain

It has been raining for 3 days straight here in LA. I thought LA was supposed to be full of sunshine and convertibles? We got out early from work on Friday which was great. I wanted to keep working on my "white doves" animation, what I handed in at the end of the semester I felt could be improved upon, so I have been trying to fit in a few hours here and there on cleaning up the animation. That turned into an all out marathon session this weekend, due to the rain there wasn't much to do besides that and an intermittant "Alias" break.

All in all I figured I have put in an extra 25 hours of work on the piece since handing in the final. I kept trucking away at the revisions thanks to some some great feedback I got at work and school. It is so crazy but I think I have made significant progress, I guess it goes to show you that animations are never "finished."

I think all the attention to detail that I have to deal with at work everyday has totally helped in the clean up of my own animation. All day I agonize over the teeniest details, the slight overlap of a sleeve for instance, and I have to make sure every frame is perfect. Now when I see something wrong in my own work, it is much easier to pinpoint and fix, it has just taken some time. I think I am almost there, just needs a few more days of work and it should be finished. It isn't ready to show yet, that's why there's no link. But I did put it up for review in the AM critique forum, hopefully I will get some good feedback that will help me finally finalize this one. I also have plans to remodel and rig the hair to add a slight secondary action when she moves. But what else is there to do? I can't go anywhere, can't go hiking cause of the pouring rain. O well, guess I'll open maya.