Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Zen of 2D

Taking advantage of the term break I went ahead and did this 2D exercise in FlipBook to satisfy my animation itch. I realized something while animating in the old fashioned art of frame by frame, that there is a sense of zen that takes over while I laboriously tried to stay conscious of not repeating the previous drawing (a very easy trap to fall into I found). The realization that I will have to create the next frame from scratch, without even a hint of reference. I mean recreate the model from head to toe, recreate the props in their entirety even though they're not doing much of movement. Just the elation and horror of anticipating a blank page in the next frame is an experience only a 2D animator can appreciate. Flipping back and forth between the blank page and the previous frame just to stay in the flow of the movement, flow of life, the whole experience just forces me completely, my entire body and mind, to surrender to the task at hand. Taking a stretch break from the hand cramp, stiff neck, tight back, all become a hindrance because I did not want to get out of that zen mode. The moment of feeling completely alive while shutting the rest of the world completely out.

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

Woohoo I even get a certificate

Well now here's an unexpected pleasant surprise, AM actually issued me a certificate :o)

I think its a very nice touch to keep the positive attitude flowing as we head into Class 1

Thanks AM

Thursday, June 12, 2008

End of Maya Springboard

Maya Springboard last session was last night. My thoughts are that it was a very positive experience to learn about Animation Mentor's way of teaching and culture. The first half of the semester was all about learning how to navigate the online school structure and what to expect once the classes start and how to interact with mentors and students.

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

The Maya Springboard

Only one week left for Animation Mentor's Maya Springboard and I thought I share some of my work :)

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.