Monday, October 26, 2009

Bouncing Ball - Light vs. Heavy

Simple bouncing ball animation with a light versus heavy ball. I didn't want to change the size of the ball because I think people try to to sell stuff with scale rather than good animation (including myself!).

Excited Pose - "Same Same-y"

An assignment I had for last week was to create an excited pose for Stu. I took plenty of reference photos (probably should wear shorts next time, not boxers!), drew out my ideas and made sure I thought about non-cliche poses. I was pretty happy with what I came up with. Stu looked happy and so was I.


I found it interesting in my critique from Mark that, even though it conveyed excitement, I didn't push the pose as far as I could. I was paying so much attention to lines of action, that I didn't realize I had equal negative space, "OK" lines and just a "meh" pose. Mark descibed my pose as "Same Same-y", which he admitted wasn't even a word, but really made the point that I needed to hear. Everything was there, but my character wasn't popping off the screen and was sorta happy compared to WAHOO! happy.

Same Same-y - Equal negative space and meh pose.

I few tweaks later, I think it makes a world of difference and breaks up the same same-y monotony. Now Stu's stoked and so am I.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sweeper Stu Update

I updated my Stu pose from a few weeks ago after my first true critique. Mark pointed out a lot of good stuff, like the broom lining up with Stu's leg and causing some distraction, the bend in Stu's ribcage area, which wouldn't really happen, etc. Subtle changes that make the pose a lot stronger. It was an eye opening experience and it's helped a lot already.



Toy Story, 14 years later and a different perspective

I went to see the Toy Story double feature the other night after work. I felt an obligation but also a great excitement to watch two of my favorite flicks with a whole new arsenal of information. I wanted to go in an watch it on the big screen, but from an animator perspective, not a joyous person who loves cartoons (they're close, but as the latter, you tend to gloss over the real magical "ah ha" moments AND why they are so magical). I would love to say I picked the movie apart, but I found it hard to keep my little kid excitement behaving so my scrutinizing animator-in-training eye could take the 3 hours to study.

I found it interesting that there was such a huge difference between 1 and 2. I know they pumped up textures or added little details, but I really feel like the animation grew from one to the next (remember, there was 4 years and A Bug's Life in between the two movies). I won't supply examples, mostly because I forget the exact details, but I was so happy to view them, together, this way. I saw things that made me think, that made me wonder why they did it that way and also scenes where I was like "Oh, now that was cool to see". I watched a scene where my current mentor, Mark Oftedal who animated early on at Pixar, told us how he planned out the scene and how he accomplished this back and forth between Buzz and Woody. It was an amazing moment to play his information in my head as the argument scene played out before me. Amazing moment.

Now, I know I'm not breaking ground by saying any of this, but knowing something about the art going in, I now know why I love it so much. Why someone who doesn't have the knowledge can be drawn in for and hour or three and be so happy the entire time. It's amazing to know these animators were bringing computer math to life to the point where you really felt for the characters. Just an awesome experience... and I can't wait to do that everyday.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Much to View at the Mall

I have an assignment every week in my newest class at AM, Principles of Animation, to go somewhere and sketch people. I wanted to go to the park, but I feared mothers would call the cops on me and I'd have some serious explaining to do. So, not being interested in having mugshot online, I turned my attention to drawing at home. I had decent results, but I was staging everything so it wasn't natural. Every pose looked like I planned it that way and I wasn't discovering any nuances of movement. Where was the character? The life? The interesting "stuff"?

Well, I had the opportunity to find all that and so much more when my wife asked me to go to the mall with her one night. I love to crack jokes about the people where I live, but, let me tell you, observing them in their natural habitat and really watching them... well... let's just say it's given me plenty of ideas if I want to create some funny animations. For example, there was a dude who was obviously not interested in being at the mall. He was there to push the stroller and wait, "patiently", outside the stores while his wife apparently bought nothing. I sat at a table and observed him, trying not to be too creepy and found that this guy had an odd stance. He kept his weight balanced from left to right, and even front to back, but he arched his spine so much it looked like he was sticking his crotch out as far as possible (and I was worried about sitting at the park sketching... ). It was bizarre to me. Was it comfortable? I suppose for him it was, but when I tried to reenact it, my lower back was shot in seconds. Hm. Maybe he had heavy stuff in his pockets pulling him forward... aaaaanyway...

So I came out with some great sketches and felt like posting them here. I admit, I have been doing graphics on my computer so long, I have lost my edge with drawing... but I'm getting it back more and more each day. I took a character AM gave us, Stu, and translated the drawings to 3D. It was pretty fun. I kept finding myself thinking about the people I was posing and what they might be thinking at that time... I quickly passed by "Heavy Pocket Guy" with a shiver.