Monday, January 12, 2009

Quote of the moment

"If you can turn down the sound and tell what's going on, it's animation. If you can turn down the picture and tell what's going on, that's radio." ~Chuck Jones

Not sure if the quote is exact, Eric Goldberg quoted it in the Animation Podcast. Regardless, I think it's worth thinking about!

"Santa Rocks," Part 2

I've added keyframes to try to define the scene more clearly and work on anticipation etc. Unfortunately this rig is very rudimentary so it doesn't have any fancy controls like squash and stretch (dammit Jim, I'm an animator not a rigger :P). I'll just have to make due with what I've got! Hey, Toy Story didn't have squash & stretch, did it?

I tried to capture some of the frantic excitement as he tears open his gift. What do you think? Does he look excited yet? Haven't focused on fingers much yet except at the very end, so the hand gestures are non-existent for the most part.

I know I know, I keep messing with the face. Eric Goldberg says it's ok. ;) As an experiment, however, I did try muting all the head controls to see how it looked without any facial expressions. Other than the creepy dead eyes, it actually still reads pretty well IMO. I promise when I start polishing I'll leave the face alone.

As usual feedback and critique appreciated!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Eric Goldberg on the Animation Podcast

Some interesting quotes I found relating to my question on blocking/posing:

"My approach tends to be feeling first, anatomy second. In other words, I like to draw everything that has a sense of give to it, and a sense of life and everything that will support the idea of a pose, and then build the anatomy on top. I think part of the difficulty with CG these days is that you're already starting with anatomy, and so you're already somewhat limited in how you can engineer everything to support a point or to support a thrust, so on and so forth, because you're already dealing with kind of boned and hinged characters."

"There's very little that I draw without at least some loose framework underneath. And I tend to start, you know, with what I think are the most compelling aspects first. I will almost always start with the face... The first thing I draw is the bridge of his nose, and his eyes sitting on top of it, and then the mouth underneath. That eyes-nose-mouth combination is the central focus, and I can put the eyes in any shape and expression that I want... THEN I draw the cranium behind it."

"Typically in CG, you layer things: you do the gross body movement, then you put the facial on top, and the legs on top... it's one reason a lot of CG walks don't work very well. It's because they do the torso first, and add the legs, which is crazy! It means that no walk actually has a push-off, and so all the walks look floaty. As opposed to the way you would do it in hand-drawn is actually conceiving the push-off thrusting that torso forward. And so, it's the kind of thing where it's kind of bass-ackwards, if you will, in the way that CG is done a lot of times, although strides are being made in making it more organic, definitely. But it's not a natural thing for CG to do unless you conceive it that way from the outset."

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Holiday drawings

This was a birthday card for my mom (her bday's on December 22nd):

Had a little fun creating a confetti brush for Photoshop. :) And some fanart for Dragonfable:

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Animation styles

So I've started up a short piece of animation (about 13 seconds, just shy of a 181A film) to practice acting and dialogue, something I don't often get to do at my job. I suppose if it turns out well I could put it on my demo reel, but I'd like feedback from other animators along the way to get it up to a good quality. I'm in the layout/blocking stage on the primary character:

The camera operator is an unseen third character (hence why the main character sometimes looks at the camera). I'll add some hand-held camera shake and a blinking "REC" overlay when I'm done with the animation to emphasize that.

I know at A.M. they start full body acting without any facial expressions - they have a rig with arms and legs and a head, but no face. I've heard that it's a good habit to get into when roughing out animation: make sure the body movement tells the story first, then add the facial expressions afterwards. I can see the merit to that, you don't want to get lazy with the body motion and rely on the face to sell the shot. At the same time, a viewer's attention is drawn to the face and eyes in particular, so shouldn't the facial emotion at least be considered when blocking?

I tend to switch work styles depending on the shot, although for acting I prefer to begin by setting keyframes on the entire body (as above) rather than working on parts at a time. Perhaps it's the traditional animator in me. :)

Hand-drawn animation was getting a swift kick in the pants when I started college, so I only really got a year's worth of training in the craft... and probably not the best training either. But I seem to recall wanting to draw the entire character, face and all, when roughing out the keys. Is that bad? Glenn Vilppu always told us "there are no rules, just tools."

ANYway. Guess I better get back to animating!