Friday, December 19, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
to whom Walt went in the hopes of injecting new life into what has become a predictable cartoony style aimed at children. This movie is Eyvind's. The infusion of Eyvind's style raised the bar for the animation industry to new heights and opened doors for imagination that later led to such classics as Fantasia. Geometric landscapes, art deco, gothic and even the characters were inspired by Eyvind, all contributed to produce one of Disney's first successful films.
But what struck me was the scene where we first see Malificent's goons in her castle as she expresses her frustration for not finding Aurora/Briar Rose. And in particular this guy (from a later scene in the film):
Immediately I thought "that's the character from Star Wars the Return of the Jedi!" The resemblance is unmistakable:
(Or should I say that the guy from Star Wars is based on him?) Could it be that George was, somehow, influenced by that image and reintroduced his own version for his film? I don't remember him saying that. It amazes me, however, when I saw ROJ I did not make the connection but now that I watch SB again the connection is made. And just to be sure that I'm not the only one making this connection, I asked my son when we watched it and he also immediately made that connection without hesitation.
So the next time your kid scoffs at Sleeping Beauty, it might be a good opportunity for an intellectual discussion about how history influences the future. And in my animation journey it certanly made me appreciate the contributions of of the artists of the golden age to the rest of the generations after them.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
This one was done in week 4. The emphasis is on weight shift. This is also where we start shooting video references of ourselves as part of the assignment to study the different mechanics and forces that are involved in a simple turn around.
Mid term assignment is where we get to use Stewie without arms. The complexity of animating an added torso and head increased exponentially. I found myself going over the allotted frame limit. This is also the first time I add sound to my work.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
I attended an evening with Richard Williams, a legendary animator best known for his work on Roger Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, sponsored by ASIFA SF.
He is the author of one of the mandatory animation books at Animation Mentor 'The Animator's Survival Kit', a book that I have referred to many times in my animation journey and found it to be very useful and practical. It has become one of the most popular animation books in the industry. Although Richard's main purpose of the seminar is to promote his tutorial DVDs (16 DVDs of 100s of clips that he animated to illustrate his lecture). I liked the fact that the format of the presentation was more of a Q & A than just a "shameless promotional". He began by showing the promotional clip which started with the animated logo http://www.theanimatorssurvivalkit.com/logo.html The rest of the evening continued with an equal mix of clips from the DVDs and Q & A.
When asked what can be done about animation as a medium to advance beyond the children and family entertainment so that it can be taken seriously not just as a form of telling high browed narratives but as a fine art; Richard replied "I'm making one of those!" His answer, in a nut shell, was to just do it. But the problem is 'the golden rule' (Whoever has the gold, makes the rule), so if you want to get backing from somebody, they want to make children stuff. This is the reason Richard is selling his work in order to be able to produce his own work.
He dodged a question about his opinion of The Thief and the Cobbler, I guess its a sensitive spot with him.
He didn't reveal much about his film other than he had the idea for it since he was 15. He does not want anyone else to help him with it. He mentioned how relieved he was when Spielberg took over his small company of animators. He does not like running the business side of animation.
Watched some incredible footage about lip sync. He relayed Milt Kahl telling him the secret of lip sync, he told him that Jim Henson, the Muppet guy, is the genius because he realized what no other puppeteer realized before him, he is progressing the action. The secret to lip sync is progression.
A good quesion was asked "How do you feel about the attitude that there is no point in animating human beings (realism) when you got action films?" In summation, Richard said that animators discovered how realistic animation does not work back in the 30s. It lookd floaty, unbelievable. They tried using a reference for Snow White walking. The important part of artistic animation is that you only show the essence of the idea. In realism there is so much detail being conveyed that the viewer will become detached from the subject.
Richard is not of the opinion that 3D animation is an outgrowth of 2D. He said that 2D animators are scribblers while 3D is hi tech marionettes. Different animals.
Another great clip about eyes. The eyes tell the story. We watch the eyes more than the mouth.
About facing frustration during animating, he advised to research your work before you animate.
He told some charming stories of his work with Milt Kahl, Art Babbit, Ken Harris and other animation legends and revealed some little golden animation nuggets of wisdom that he referred to as little secrets. They are no secret now, but his way of relaying them was funny and entertaining. He also relayed a funny story where actor Michael Caine gave an acting session where he said to his students "If you see something you like, steal it! Because they did" Of course Richard also said that he doesn't like it when people steal his work, but I took it in the context of inspiration.
The theater was full, 300 people attended. This is the first time that I was among so many individuals with similar interest as mine. Quite a few Animation Mentor students but the majority were SF State or College of Art students. Their enthusiasm to Richard's lecture tells me that this industry has a lot of steam in it. I am looking forward to what comes next in the future of animation.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
The second semester Q&A started like the last semester, introduction time! My mentor this time around is Peter Kelly, a soft spoken gentleman and a talented animator whose latest work can be seen in Iron Man. He animated Iron Man so well I thought it was a suit worn by Robert Downey Jr.
Peter started with 2D animation, inspired by Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, he pursued Disney animation. A CalArts graduate of traditional animation, and an accomplished draftsman, he was further inspired when attending lectures by animation legends such as James Baxter, Andreas Deja, Glenn Keane, and Marc Davis. Hired by ILM after they saw his short film he went on to work on Star Wars Episode II and III, the Hulk, Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean 2 & 3, and Iron Man, among others.
Laid off from ILM during the writers' strike, Peter now is a lead animator at Cinematica, a game production company. The class students is a mix of different levels of experiences. Sandy Sze (pronounced Sea) is the only classmate from my previous class, which, I think, makes the transition into the new class easier - Sandy is an accomplished animator and a great person to be associated with.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
I wanted to keep polishing the Laurel & Hardy walk cycle but there seem to be a glitch in the Maya AM tools and since school is out for this week I figured I upload what I got and polish it later. This class has been an eye opener for me when it comes to planning the work. I learned how to plan everything by blocking and layering every detail. I also learned how to exaggerate my poses. Elliott Roberts has been great and gave me a very good review. I will keep in touch with him since I know he has tons more knowledge to offer, besides being a great guy to chat with.
On to Class two.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
I siezed the opportunity to pose Stu in that fashion because I think the pose, in all its adorable cuteness, represents concern without going overboard into other emotional states that everyone (including myself) seem to fall prey to.
I am still searching for that illusive connection between vague emotions and the line of action, and I hope that someone will discover it.
In the meantime, here are some more examples of my work in Class 1. With only two weeks left this is by far one of the most positive experiences I have in my life.
In this next clip is an exercise in overlapping action. Our class had the pleasure of being mentored by Raquel Rabbit as a substitute because Elliott had to be in Germany for a couple of weeks. Raquel brought with her a fresh perspective and her thorough observations and engaging style was welcomed by all.
I, again, opted for some originality in the pose depicting strength. Almost everyone else went for the oft cliche of physical srength. I tried to illustrate a strength in attitude;
Friday, August 1, 2008
The first animation exercise, the famous bouncing ball. It is amazing how hard this exercise is in spite of its simplicity. The y axis (hight) and its relation to the x axis (distance) need not be mathematically correct, believability is what we're after. And if you add an x rotation, things get pretty intersting
Sketches and pose of an excited person:
More fun with bouncing balls, this time exhibiting two different weights:
Pose expressing devastation;And more bouncing ball but this time we put it through an obstacle course and use squash and stretch and exaggeration, two of the fundamental principle in animation
So far the experience has been wonderful. I enjoy being among like minded people and everybody at Animation Mentor has been helpful and a joy to know and learn from.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
In 3D, the environment (props) aren't going anywhere, especially when they're constrained. You don't even have to create the model again. All you're doing is posing the model (puppet) at the established keyframes then tweaking the splines of inbetweens. A moving hold was not a term I recall existed when animating in 2D, but it is absolutely necessary in 3D to cover up the "deadness" ofthe medium.
One last thing this 2D work has done (only 83 frames), is it made me appreciate the amazing draftsmanship of the 2D animators of the past who made the drawings flow so smoothly from frame to frame.
Now, in this particular quick sketch, I took the idea from Disney Animation "The Illusion of Life" where at the top corner of the book is a series of flipbook (not the registered trade mark) drawings of some clips from Disney animation films that I thought would make a good exercise. I realized also that flip book animations do not go by the standard 24fps that film does. 16 frames in a flip book is enough to give an illusion of life. But it took me 83 frames just to make it register in a movie and even then I had to look twice to see what the character had done. It needs a lot of clean up, but it sure taught me a valuable lesson about timing, squash & stretch and spacing.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
The second half was all about learning the Maya software. Kudos to AM for making learning Maya easy and fun. It was a combination of video tutorials and live Q&A sessions. The rigs that AM provides make animating them easy. Here is my last two assignments. Visiting the other Maya classes was also fun. Seeing other students work and exchanging comments helps in assessing our progress. Looking forward to the next semester which I will chronicle in another blog.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
This first one is learning how to model basic shapes in Maya as well as adding shades, textures, lighting, and cameras. (The robot I imported for fun - I did not model)
Then some basic animations to get used to the tools in Maya. I am impressed with this software, feels smooth to operate.
This last one I did in FlipBook to have a good idea of how things will work out before working in Maya.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
I have no idea what is on the film (if anything). It's been over 25 years and I don't remember. I'm not sure if I should take it in and get it developed. I don't know if its still any good, or if any photo stores left that develop Super8's. But, that was how I was geting into being an independant animator.
and animation paper and cells.
It was a time of discovery and dreams. I just can't imagine myself now drawing frame by frame - then shooting the film, frame by frame, have it developed, put it in the movie projector only to find out what timing and spacing that needs to be changed or tweaked.
We've come a long way haven't we?
Monday, May 5, 2008
First impressions? This is going to be a great ride.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
And I waited, and waited. Every time I hear a truck driving by I run and open the door to see if it was the delivery. Every 15 - 20 minutes I'd be at the door, adjusting the sign so that it can be seen directly from his vantage point. Anyway its 8:30AM and my palms are sweaty. I thought I'd better distract myself, so I read my email, visited Animation Mentor to see if anything is new in my box, posted a couple of replies at the 11 Second Club, and the Animation:Master forum. Then went to Netflix and watched a movie online, all the while going to the door and checking.
Finally at 2:00PM a loud knock is on the door.....and there it is; a 36lb carton box in all its glory!
So get this, I assemble the unit (heavy) and hook it up to the computer, but lo and behold my electrical strip is full!! DOH! Evil ideas started creeping into my head "You don't need that other computer?" But I answer myself "it has files on it that I haven't used for years, what if I need them???". "You don't need that other monitor?", "But I do, that computer has dual monitor capability, it would be a waste of a plug not to use two monitors!". So I kept going back and forth with myself and finally, FINALLY, discovered a free socket behind one of the computers that I rarely use !!! Guess what, that is the Cintiq socket!
That is one beautiful gizmo. And ifyou think I am going to let a bare hand touch that pretty screen, you bette think again. I dug out from my days of photography a genuine, 1976 Kodak cotton glove and modified it so that I can feel the pen but protect thescreen from my grubby hand ;) Clever huh?
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
I did this pencil illustration back in 1982 at a cartooning class that I attended at Golden West college in Huntington Beach, California. My teacher, Tom Shannon, has been a great influence on me. I miss you Tom.