Thursday, June 30, 2011

Class IV - Stairway to Acting

Alrighty, break is over and it's time to dive into Class 4 - Introduction to Acting. This is where things really get though. Not only do you have to have solid mechanics, you have to show your character thinking & reacting. There will only be two assignments to do this class (other than some minor pose ones). The first one will be a pantomime shot with Stewie and the second will the start of a full acting shot with Bishop. Here goes nothing!

My new mentor is T.Dan Hofstedt. Check out his page and his reels (especially the 2d one ... don't forget to pick your jaw up off the floor after.) Anyway, just had my first Q&A with him & the rest of the class here last night and I do believe it's going to be an amazing term. T. Dan actually worked with Mark Pudleiner (previous mentor) at Don Bluth Studios as well as Disney. That's pretty cool. So far I've had 2 straight Blue Sky guys who know each other and now 2 straight Disney/Bluth guys who know each other.

And away we go ...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Class 3 Wrapup

Class 3 is done & in the books.

This class was a lot like Class 2 in the sense it was a continuation of body mechanics. Where it differed was 1) having a character & story that continued across multiple shots and 2) having a little focus on acting as well as mechanics. Mark Pudleiner was my mentor and always wanted us to think where the character was coming from and use that as the starting point for the mechanics. So instead of just a generic walk, give him a brave walk, for example.

I found trying to have a start, middle, and end to not only the whole 3 animations together but as well as each shot individually was a bit tricky. 200 frames is not a lot of time to get things accomplished. Especially if you had extra characters.

Mark was a great mentor. Our Q&A's covered how to solve problems in our shots as well as his thought on various animation related subjects (eye darts, reactions, arcs, the technical aspects) as well a lot talking about being a professional artist and how to go about your business. He always had good notes on my mechanics but also ways I could push my scene further by slightly changing up the actions to make things more dynamic and entertaining.

Other than that, there were one or two Q&A's that were pretty fun (Hop & Rio). I didn't get to near as many extra Q&A's this term unfortunately. I would spend my nights about as focused as I could to work on these shots, so it was usually just music in the BG. I'll try pick more up next class.

And that's about it, great term, great mentor, and on to Class 4 - Intro to Acting.

Class 3 - Week 12 Final Animjam

Alrighty, here's my final Animjam. I have not gone back and done any tweaks to it yet, but I plan to (hopefully before class 6 but who knows).

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Class 3 - Week 7 Polish

Here's my final version of my 2nd shot for Class 3.

Class 3 - Week 6 Linear

Here's my linear refining pass of Shot 2.

Class 3 - Week 5 Blocking

Here's my blocking pass.

Class 3 - Week 4 Planning

Alrighty! Assignment 2 is in the books. Here's my planning I did.

Here's some reference I shot

And here are my hard to follow story boards about what's going to happen.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Milt Kahl Drawing

I love this drawing from The Jungle Book. Hopefully I'm not violating some copyright by posting it here.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Class 3 - Week 4 Polish

And here is my final polish pass!

Class 3 - Week 3 Linear

Here's my linear pass!

Class 3 - Week 2 Blocking

Blocking pass!

Class 3 - Week 1 Planning

Alrighty, so for Class 3 I decided to do an Animjam with my Stewie the Daring character.

Here's my synopsis saying what is going to happen in each shot.

Here's my filmed reference

And here's some storyboard/thumbnails showing what's going to happen.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I've had this taped to the top of my monitor for a long time.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Class 3 - Stewie the Daring.

In class 3 you have the the option of doing an AnimJam or AnimExercise. AnimExercise just means you create 3 assignments of whatever you choose. AnimJam means you do the same thing, but have a theme running through your assignments.

For my theme I decided to have a knight save a princess. For fun and to give a little nod to a classic game, Dragon's Lair, I dressed up my main character after Dirk the Daring. So, here's just a little preview of my first shot. Full blown blocking should start tonight. I think I have about 3 more weeks to work on this shot, so I better get moving.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nightmare in Class 3 - Dream Warriors

No rest for the weary here at AM! The break between Winter & Spring terms was about 72 hours, and I probably animated most of it. Class 3 started yesterday and my mentor this term is Mark Pudleiner! Holy crap!

I spent my Week 12 & break animating & hashing out ideas for my AnimJam. AnimJam basically means all my Class 3 assignments will have the same theme. What is that theme you ask? Well ... let's just say having Mark as my mentor has thrown a slight wrench into that. I'll explain more in the future. (Ohhh...look who's trying to get more traffic!)

Alrighty, that's it for now. First class is tomorrow, time to get back to work. Here's a classic one for ya!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Class 2 Wrapup

So another term is pretty much over. It officially ends on Friday but all my assignments are in, grades are received, last Q&A is over ... I'm done. Some people get bummed at the end of the term that it's over. Not me. I mean, I get that the journey is the destination and I'm having a blast on the journey. But the destination here is Disney World and I wanna ride the teacups dammit.

The class was fan-freaking-tastic. I had a blast working on my shots and getting the feedback from my mentor and peers. I liked Class 1 a lot, but I liked this class much more. Being able to actually spend time on shots and incorporate feedback into the final product was much more satisfying than in Class 1.

When coming up with ideas for shots, a clear and simple idea that is just beyond your skill level is the goal. And make a solid plan on how you're going to achieve that.

My first assignment was kinda fun, but the point of the whole thing was to do a 180 turn. The turn turned out to be the easiest part, with some of the other movements I put in being the hard ones that I pulled my hair out over. My second assignment was Parkour and this was incredibly fun. I think I had a pretty solid plan going into it so it went pretty well for me. I got some great feedback early on and it just went pretty smooth. The last assignment was the dance and that was a definite challenge. It was still really fun to animate, but man it was a challenge, which was great.

If anyone reading this (not likely) is wondering about having Rich Fournier as a mentor, all I can say is you're good to go. He's awesome. Great guy, great critiques, and really fun Q&A's. In our class he almost always knocked out critiques really early for us which is really a bonus. He's also really good about responding to email quickly and spending a few minutes with you after class if you have questions. So yeah, if you get Rich, consider yourself lucky.

Other than that, everything else was good. There were a lot of workflow lectures in Class 2. I think I would have preferred more mechanics lectures, but I'm sure there were plenty of people who appreciated the workflow ones as well. The site held up pretty good this class. Little bit of bandwidth issues trying to watch lectures, but nothing horrible. I still went to Alumni Q&A's several times a week, but I found myself leaving earlier on as it really became the same faces asking for feedback every Q&A. I'd like to see more animation related chitchat than straight up work review (keep that too, just not the whole time). The Tangled Q&A was probably the highlight Q&A for me (MegaMind was damn cool too).

On to Class 3!

Class 2 Progress Reel

Aaaand it's that time of the term again. Here's my latest progress reel. Even less fancy!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Week 11 - Dance Polish & Final

And here's the final shot! This is probably the hardest shot I've ever worked on. I didn't keep track of my hours but I know it's far over 100 hours on this shot. I'm happy to say it was quite a challenge, but it didn't beat me. It's not the best dance in the world, but I'm not ashamed of it either so... (I'm sure I'll say differently in a few weeks looking back on it.)

Week 10 - More Dance Refining

Here's the shot after 3 weeks. Things are getting tighter and tighter.

Week 9 - Dance Refining

Here's 2 weeks in. This is the first refining pass. There was so much work I didn't perfect it all this week.

Week 8 - Dance Blocking

Here's my dance after blocking it for 1 week.

Week 7 Pt. 2 - Dance Planning

And in true AM fashion, we all had to plan our next shot our while finishing our 2nd one. I decided to do a dance (a horrible idea really). After much searching and freaking out I settled on this clip (edited for time). This was from Youtube and some yearly Charleston Dance Competition.

Here's the thumbs I created from the reference. You can see that I plan on changing up the ending already.

And here's a rough layout/staging planning.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Week 7 - Parkour Polish / Final

And here's the final shot.

Week 6 - Parkour Refning

More Parkour. Here I'm in linear and working on refining the animation

Week 5 - Parkour Blocking

Blocked out my shot this week

Week 4 Pt. 2 - Parkour Planning

Soo, Week 4 I also started planning my Parkour Shot. Here's what I did for Reference, Thumbnails, and a small previz thing.

I started by searching Youtube and splicing together some reference of what I wanted to do.

I then created some thumbnails.

And then I ended with a small previz of the character moving through the scene to get an idea of his size and work out some of the logistics.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Week 4 - 180 Turn - Polish

Aaaand here's the final version of my 180 Turn.

Week 3 - 180 Turn - Refining

This week was refining!

Week 2 - 180 Turn - Blocking

Alrighty, this week I blocked out my shot.

Week 1 - 180 Turn - Planning

So for first Class 2 assignment I opted to do the 180 turn around. I decided to have a guy get hit in the head and basically stumble around off balance and fall down.

Here's my reference I shot. (About 1/100th of my actual footage. I was SORE after all the falling.)

Here's my thumbnails based off my reference I shot.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Class 2 - Animation Boogaloo

Class 2 has started, and my new mentor is Rich Fournier. He works at Blue Sky and is friends with my last mentor Scott Lemmer. How 'bout that? Few guys from my last class are in here with me as well, so it's a cool mix of new & familiar faces.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tree Swing - 2D Animation Test

This is a little 2D test I did the past few days to get me back into the animatin' swing of things. I wanted to do a 2D animation (my first one really) and spend some time on it. Off model, poor lines, volume change, questionable timing and force, yep, this has it all! But, it was a really fun test to spend a few days on, so there's that.

iPhone Animation

Hah, I made this little animation on my phone one morning with an app called iNim8. I was lucky enough to get a free version from the creator, but it's totally worth the couple bucks! Go grab it if you have an iDevice that supports it.

Class 1 Wrapup

Class 1 is a couple weeks over now and Class 2 starts up here tomorrow. I can't wait. The break was nice but I was ready to get back to things here last week.

A few quick thoughts on Class 1? A lot of technical fundamentals of animation. It was a good thing to go through to be honest, even if the assignments did seem at times mind numbingly technical with little creative to them at all. I do have to say it got me thinking more about each of the principles and even though I put thought into poses before, I do so even more now.

Other than some technical things with the AM website (pretty minor stuff really), I really don't have any complaints about AM Class 1. Not all mentors are made equally, but that's life (I thought my mentor was great, just some other classmates with other mentors were not totally happy.) Alumni Q&A's were still some of my favorite things to do ...

Lastly, personal keys to success in Class 1 were participating in the community, posting my work as early as I could, and time management. It was all about using my time the best as I could and giving / getting feedback. Pretty simple really.

Alrighty, Class 2 starts in about 18 hours, maybe I'll post more frequently next class (doubtful, hah).

Class 1 Progress Reel

Aaaand here's everything for my Class 1 Progress Reel. No fancy rendering, titles, or music here folks.

Week 10 & 11 - Personality Walk

For my personality walk I did a little sneaky sequence. I didn't want to just do a cycle so I varied it up a bit. Fun times.

Week 10 Exhausted Poses!

Week 11 Balance Pose!

Week 8 & 9 - Vanilla Walk

The blocking on this was really easy. Getting the final version to not pop and be smooth is much more of a challenge. Especially during Thanksgiving vacation while traveling.

Here's some Week 8 Strength Poses:

And here's Week 9 Concerned:

Week 7 - Tailor

And this was a really fun assignment. The first non-100% technical assignment. Focus was on overlap. Get the body working first and then just straight ahead the tail really.

Week 6 - Pendulum

These buggers are tricky. Good tip for the settle, the timing stays the same going from left to right and back, only the distance changes.