Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Facial Poses - Part 3

Here's another...


Ninjas vs. Pirates...

There was a Ninja v. Pirates competition on the Animation Mentor Forum this past week and, glad to say, the Ninjas won.  Of course, is there really a loser when these two battle it out for the crown?  Anyway, here's a few awesome clips I wanted to share.  GREAT animation and seriously inspiring.

Pyrats - Great 2D/3D animation.  Lots of really fluid overlap and squash and stretch.  Pretty funny too.

Ninjai - Oh man, this is great 2D.  I remember watching this forever ago.

Bad Drawing - HAHAHA!

And, last but certainly not least...
Kung Fu Panda - Skadoosh.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Out With The Old...

So, this was the last week to work on my line of dialogue with one person.  I'll be honest, I'm not happy with it from a body mechanics point of view, but the lip sync and facial expressions are definitely getting there.  Eventually I'll go back and make it the way I want (ditch all the acting and do the shovel idea I spoke about in a previous blog post).

Side note: It's amazing how much you can see when you're refreshed and not burnt out anymore.  There's so much about this shot that I cringe at, but it's good because I at least know what to fix!  I feel like Neo in the animation matrix (... *sigh* oh boy).

Pointy pointer...

Coming up... two person dialogue.  WOO HOO!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Facial Poses - Part 2

Another set of facial poses.  Nothing new to say except they're pretty fun to work on.  :D



Friday, April 15, 2011

Makin' Faces

Part of last week's assignment was facial expressions, which was actually a lot of fun.  Here's two I put together, one is subtle, the other not so much.  I kind of planned it that way because I felt like I've been doing a lot of big motions in animation, so why not try subtle stuff to see if I can pull it off.  I think they came out pretty well... of course I'm slightly biased.


So this lady was easily the best image I found of winking/happy on Shutterstock.com.  I really liked the asymmetry and how "big" her face got with excitement.  To give you the inside scoop, I started large (tilted the head, general eye open/close, jaw open) and worked my way down to the smaller details (lip sections up/down, eyelid edge shape) as I went.  I didn't focus on one thing and get it perfect because it seemed like so much effected everything else.  The face definitely has a lot of push and pull going on depending on the expression.

Somebody looks a little evil...

Same thing with this guy.  Even though parts of the face don't look like they are being influenced, they really are.  His face is squished on the camera right side.  His cheek pushes out because of this, his lips curl, eyebrow comes down.  Kinda cool to look at the tiny stuff.  It's also good to think about a slight rotation to the head... up, down, left or right.  Straight to camera is not as interesting as a slight twist... especially with this guy.  Makes him look a little more distrustful.  :) 

One last "hint".  I really find that the asymmetry of these faces works well when you think of things in terms of greater than/less than symbols... wait, WHAT?!  Hehe, no, seriously.  Here...

See?  When one side of the face pushes, it looks really nice to have the other side pull the other direction.  Even in the subtle face you can see this and it helps keep it interesting without being symmetric.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Intro to Acting - The Second Shot, The Mexican


Hehe, It's tough looking back at these shots.  I was definitely feeling the pain at this point and even thought about retaking Class 4 because I was so disappointed in my work.  Well, I'm forging ahead and looking back, learning from my mistakes.  My advice would be to take your time with AM.  If, for whatever reason, you feel burnt out, you don't have to push through it.  The best thing I did was take 6 months off.  Sure, I miss the people I started with, but my life was pretty hectic the last little bit.  AM waited and my brain and animation will be better for it!

Anyway, here's the first dialogue shot I did.  I took a line from The Mexican (2001 - Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts).  I love the movie and this scene was actually great to do since Julia Roberts was sitting in a bathroom stall the entire time.  I never saw her act the lines out so I had no preconceived ideas about what she should do.  Sadly, I just did a lot of arm swinging!  Here's my blocking pass...

Have you seen my dead body?

Yeeeeah, so there you have it.  The issue going on here is there's a ton of presenting of the dead body in the trunk.  It's like "Look... a dead body.  By the way, did you see this dead body?  Yeah, that dead body over there."  Nothing is subtle and all the character does is swing her arms to show you the body!

Jumping ahead, here's the final shot without lip sync (which wasn't part of Class 4).  Paul gave me great ideas to chop down the presenting stuff but it still does nothing for me.

Better, but definite polishing issues...

So, yeah, there's issues with the polishing.  Spacing issues, the turnaround and back, etc.  The cool thing is, I can really see it now.  Again, after a 6 month break and feeling refreshed, I would love to go back and redo this shot.  There's a good chance I'll do that in Class 6 since I came up with a really great idea while on "vacation". 

Here's my advice to anyone doing a shot.  Ask yourself "So what?".  Seriously.  Plan out your shot, look at it and ask yourself why your character would be acting that way.  For example, with this shot I made... 
  • What's this woman doing with a dead body in a car?
  • Who's she talking to?
  • How did the body get there and why is she involved?
  • Why is she so annoyed at the person off screen?
  • What's she planning on doing now that she's in this predicament?

The point I'm making is all these things will lead to what she needs to do, before, during and after your shot.  After asking myself all these questions (and more), I figured this chick is not exactly on the "straight and narrow", she needs to dispose of this body ASAP so she doesn't get in trouble and the person she's with is obviously incapable of doing the job right... so she needs to do it herself!  So, why not have her digging the grave while ripping in to the person off camera?  Just a hint at what I hope to do with this... :D

Intro to Acting - The First Shot, Sleepy Stewie

So I said I was going to do it, and here it is.  My first shot from Intro to Acting (or Class 4 for you AMers!).  I've never been happy with this shot, and I think part of it was the business and feeling that I needed to pack a ton in to it.  I wanted a belly scratch, a head swing, a pause for "dramatic effect", etc.  It would have been a much nicer shot if there was much less happening.

Here's the initial blocking pass which isn't half bad.  I think I should have realized that it was a bit much at the time since none of my characters actions had any time to breath.  They were just firing off, one at a time.  Since this guy was supposed to be exhausted, his walk would have been incredibly slow with feet dragging, maybe a pause when he got to the door, etc.  Everything just... went.  No time to let him doze off, let the audience really get a sense of his exhaustion... he just moved from action to action.  Looking back, I'd strip out the belly scratch (secondary action) and have him wobble a bit when he gets to the door.


Skipping a few weeks ahead, here's the final piece.  I did end up ditching the ending and Paul Mendoza gave me some great advice, which sadly never really made it in to this shot (at the time I was beyond burnt out and rushing every week).  If I had it all to do over (and I will!), I'd definitely polish this thing a lot more, spend the much needed time on the body mechanic issues and also make it a lot simpler.


Here's my advice, for any shot... KEEP IT SIMPLE.  Yeah, I know, they tell you that constantly at AM, but it's true.  Seriously, plan out your shot and then sit on it for a day.  Go back and check out what you have and see if you your character takes any time for himself... is he constantly going from pose to pose?  if so, is that the theme/tempo of the shot?  What can you strip out and still get your point across?  It will probably make it read a lot better and you can really delve in to great poses instead of trying to figure out how your character is going to get from here to there in 3 frames!