Thursday, February 26, 2009

WIP Gideon Dialog

Here he finally is---at least for now. Still need to do the rest of his mouth sync after "tell me" and do one giant clean-up job, among fixing some issues with him(couple spots where his limbs kind of "float," like at the end.)...but it's coming along and I'm still happy with it. This video is kind of off sync, the compression caused a slight delay between picture and sound.

I've also included the various stages Gideon has gone through. The first part was the second pass at him, I forgot to include the first pass where he actually falls onto the table...after some feedback I changed the action to falling and catching himself. The second stage was figuring out all the technical mechanics of drunken movement...I did about 3 other passes prior to this one...not as easy as one would think. I'll post those very ugly stages next week, along with the very first pass. The one that is shown here, is actually what I used in the next pass. Third part is where I'm at now...still a couple things to fix, but the mechanics are working a lot better. Anyways, anyone for a drink? I could use one just about now. :P hahaha

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

54 days left!

A couple weeks ago, I took some of the gazelle silhouettes and developed them a little further. Not yet final, still have some work to be done on this set. It's all I can post right now, I'm knee-deep in film animation, classes are going strong, and my animation homework isn't quite ready yet---having a marathon work-day on that project tomorrow.

On Friday, John Kahrs visited school and gave an "animator's look at Peter Pan" lecture. He discussed why Disney's Peter Pan is a film worth looking at--it's a time when the animators were well-practiced in the techniques, but still finding innovative ways for the characters to move about. This was the big scene where a lot of great gems can be found:

We started watching the segment from 40 seconds until the 7 minute mark.

Paying attention to the different creative ways Peter flies(happens throughout the rest of the movie), where the animators "break the 2D feeling of characters on screen" by having diagonal moves to give that sense of depth(at 2:30 with Pan coming down the rocks), how brilliantly clear everything is--even though the characters are baffled by the series of events(changing voices, frantic actions, etc.)--as the audience, we have no problem following along. We know where everyone is, everything is planned and laid out very well before the action really kicks up. John Kahrs shared some of the storyboards for this scene(when Peter is flying around taunting Hook/Smee) and it's all right there. The designs of the characters are also distinct--everybody has a different shape, but still fit within the same world. Each character stands apart and is easily identified. Smee's reaction after he believes he shot Captain Hook(4:35ish). That expression completely encompasses that feeling of "OH GOD! I screwed up big time!" And scrambles---this film is the perfect study of character scrambles...when Hook is in mid-air and frantically runs back to the cliff(5:20)--so amazing. Really a fun clip to study and a good thing to keep in the back of my head as I continue battling on with my film---with a measly 54 days left.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

This post inspired by Vons

Stopped by Vons to buy some dinner items because "impending Film deadline" means I usually have an empty fridge(but I'm good for another week, Mom! :) ), but apparently I would be treated to yet another episode of "Memorable Moments while Checking-Out." And this one is memorable enough that I had to draw it out and even color it. I would have boarded it out, but I lack the necessary time to do it justice.

So I grab said dinner items and head for the express lane. Nobody in front of me. Cashier informs me of my total and I prepare to pay. At this point, my ears catch the sound of wheels squealing into the express lane. I don't pay them any attention. I get my debit card out and continue on. I swipe my card and the wheels churn again. Enter my code and with each beep of the machine...a motorized scooter inches closer to me. At this point, I am trying very hard to not turn my head. I'm also trying to keep a straight face as this scooter makes a snail's pace attempt at "running me out the door." This impatient scooter is just within the corner of my eye and I can vaguely make out a little old lady, layered in winter coats like it's ready to snow(it's about 45 degrees out) , and her head is bent low with her eyes focusing on her steering handle. Cashier hands me my receipt, and as I grab my bags I notice that from the time she entered the lane until I was leaving...this speedy scooter had managed to scoot literally within inches of me. I grab my bags and make a bee-line for the doors holding back a good laugh, while I imprinted this moment in my memory-bank.

Just about made my evening. I didn't get a chance to see what she was purchasing. She was very grumpy and basically growled at the cashier. I wonder where she's off to now....

Film Updates: Since my last post I've roughed out 30 seconds of my film. Which has been a I face the time-consuming job of cleaning up all 30 seconds(not intentional floating crocodile body parts won't cut it.) and continuing on with the other scenes. But it's going smoothly and I'm very pleased with my longer 8-12 second scenes.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th... CalArts has been pretty "business as usual." Woke up early for a day of life-drawing, came back to the apartment to relax a bit after a week of highs and lows, and then went to a guest lecture of a video of Glen Keane. He gave a lecture at Disney in December and tonight that video was screened in the Palace(no in-person visit this time). I'll do a quick write up of that in a minute. The rest of my week has contained a moment of triumph, quickly followed by the panic-inducing realization that there's literally 65 days left until The Film is turned in. I have only one scene that I'm actually happy with---out of like 43(I've roughed in 5 other scenes, but I'm disgusted by them and a redo is definately called for). I also need to set aside about 10 or so days for compositing/sound. It's highly amusing to look back at my "Film Status" this time last year(I was pretty much half-way DONE by now)---so I'm nightmarishly behind compared to then. Going into crunch mode tomorrow and will try to not second guess myself like I have been for the past few weeks. Definitely becoming overly critical of my work, to the point where I'm not progressing and focusing too much on the "stupid, tiny details no one is going to notice."---gotta find a balance again and stop that ASAP. I've also got two unrelated dialog assignments for 3D and 2D that need some TLC in-between film-time....should be a very interesting 65 days indeed. Bring. It. ON!

So, the Glen Keane Video Lecture:
The video focused on Glen Keane's Top 3 points that he feels the animation team at Disney and any animator should really work on. It was a 45 minute video, pretty short so my notes are pretty brief.

1) Seeing more clearly--or observing.
I searched online, but couldn't find this comic-strip Glen Keane used to illustrate this point. He shared a comic his father, Bill Keane(of "Family Circus") drew illustrating how you can identify a person's profession by how they read a newspaper...examples included a waiter, car mechanic, jewelry dealer, etc. Really creative and amusing depictions.
In order to "see more clearly" one must always keep a record of their observations, whether you draw or write it down--directly from life, movies, TV, thoughts, etc. It's how one is able to bring a fresh depiction of a potentially cliche situation.

2) Think more creatively.
You see something more to an idea than what is first presented. Find that little thing that's even a little different. Present your own unique perspective to an idea/situation. Being able to trust your gut, and rethink a problem. When a frustrating obstacle pops-up--step-back and approach it from a new stand-point. An example that was used involved Sorcerer's Apprentice.
Oddly enough, I found the clip that was shared:

The choice came down to either, actually showing Mickey chop the broom up, or depict the scene with shadows(the final outcome). Even after completing animation on the first idea, the team in charge was willing to toss it all away and go with the stronger idea. An example of going with the gut feeling over production schedules.

3) Rediscover the rhythm of Disney Animation.
During the classic Disney Days, rhythm really was top-dog. What is rhythm? Rhythm is the repetition of beats or patterns. With every movement--there's a laying down of a beat, which needs to be built upon and kept consistent. Rhythm adds a vital spark/punch to an overall scene or individual movement. It's also in everything...real-life has rhythm, an example he shared is the ocean and the repetition of beats the waves make as they come ashore. There's even a natural rhythm to the human body---the spine and the femur curve(not dead-center or straight). When adding rhythm keep the designs clear and simple, add a tilt and a drawing or series of drawings instantly have a better sense of this rhythm. During the days of the Nine Old Men and the Silly Symphonies a scenes' timing was determined by sound. Metronomes used to dwell on every desk to help give the artist(storyboard, layout, and animation alike) a sense of what an actual beat felt like(whether a second or a milli-second). Some examples included various scenes from Peter Pan(the entire film is great, but pay attention to Father. He's really worth a look) and then the charming Mickey short, The Little Whirlwind(which isn't online at the moment).

And as always, design informs the movement(animation). Form follows function and anatomy comes second to the movement(which can be a challenge in this age of CG rigs). Well that's all for notes...and I'm off to bed. A full and promising 3-day weekend is ahead-- I'm aiming to kick it all off at the bright n' early hour of 9 am!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Past few days...

Since Wednesday I've been up to quite a bit.

Thursday started off animating Gideon some more, followed by an afternoon of conquering a major hurdle with my film---a very huge breakthrough that took a lot of weight/stress off my mind. Not out of the woods quite yet, but seeing this lil piece of the puzzle finally coming together is a huge delight. That evening was then followed up with a visit from Disney. Disney has started sending people from various departments(story and animation so far) to directly help students---incredibly intimidating, but extraordinarily helpful and a very good learning experience. I signed up for the animation meeting---so on Thursday, I stood in front of 5 animators(3 from Pixar*they came last minute. Not planned.* and 2 from Disney) along with fellow classmates, etc. and shared some of my work with them(couple of Daffy tests, the broomstick test and the last dialogue with him, and then the WIP Gideon). Overall, it seemed to go pretty well. They focused on Gideon most of all and even in the WIP stage, it was well received. I'll post this test probably this week, just need to fix a couple of things with the mechanics of it.

On Friday night, Dan Holland returned to CalArts to present a guest lecture on character design. He had also come last year, but it was just as interesting a year later.This time, since Wall-E is now released he gave a very insightful glimpse into the early development of Wall-E's world. Very inspiring concept work. An example was all of the effort that went into the ship that initially drops Eve off(sadly can't find the scene on YouTube). He presented dozens of drawings demonstrating how they answered every, "how does this work?" you could imagine for ever part of that ship. Every thing on screen had to live up to the, "How does this work?" question. From building it, to how it fits in with the rest of the machine, etc. Super meticulous, but very cool.

The rest of my time has been spent on film work, fixing Gideon stuff, and oddly enough venturing off campus for a "night on the town." Saturday night was spent in Hollywood and Universal City Walk for many good laughs with some great friends. It was really nice to just get away, not stress about films, and enjoy the colorful LA scene(holy cow.....the characters!) Sunday night a small group of us headed over to the local theater and watched the very impressive, Coraline. I've been dying to see this film for years, so this was a real-treat. The team at Laika did a beautiful job---the visuals were literally eye-candy...especially loved the neighbors' designs. Stop-motion is a daunting task, but the film make it look effortless. It did get particularly creepy and dark at the end, certainly would have given me nightmares as a kid, but I wouldn't have created this film any other way. The characters were always entertaining and Ashland, Oregon was represented very well. Made me a tad home-sick, though brief, it was pretty cool to see a section of downtown Ashland on the big-screen. haha. So, fantastic job Laika! I hope this film gets all the attention it deserves.

Well, another week is about to start up. Aiming to make more headway on my film and get some more scenes wrapped up. Still a little thrown off that it's even February.

Meet the "Other Otis" who was drawn shortly after tonight's viewing. Very quickly done, but it's all in the name of fun.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Gideon Progress

Starting to really focus on my dialogue scene with Gideon from Pinocchio. Here are a couple drawings from it...

This is an example of my breakdowns...and an idea of how rough he can get--though he's now become the occasional lone circle with cross-hairs. lol This drawing isn't used anymore(thus the green "X" in the corner). Not enough time to linger so I had to cut it...still a fav of mine though.

Stopping here---I'm not going to spoil the rest quite yet.:)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Film Silhouettes

My two main characters! Otis of course and now the gazelle, course it's a mystery as to which design I settled on for the gazelle. However, audience participation is now available---I need a herd of gazelle for my main character to hang with.....a couple of these gazelle silhouettes will become that herd--but which ones??? So feel free to comment with your favorites and depending on various circumstances, that choice might be animated.