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!

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