Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Animation Mentor Class 4! Part 1

So I've been pretty bad about keeping up with posting and such lately, but I'm going to try and get a bunch of stuff up here over the next couple of weeks!  First of all I started Class 4 (Intro to Acting) at AM!  The acting side of animation is a pretty big part of why I wanted to get into it in the first place so I was pretty excited to start this class!

My mentor this term is Dimos Vrysellas, which is pretty exciting for me because he started out as a 2D animator!  He worked at Dreamworks back when they were still doing traditionally animated films and got to work on Prince of Egypt, The Road to El Dorado, Spirit and Sinbad!  He worked on some 3d stuff there as well!  On a couple of the 2D features he got to work under James Baxter, so it's pretty cool to hear stories about that!  Dimos is not only a great animator, but a pretty cool guy as well!

For the first assignment of the term we got to do a short pantomime shot that showed 2 distinct and contrasting beats.  We were supposed to choose a scenario that fit our personality and spoke to us, so I decided to set mine in a fast food restaurant.  I wanted my character to go from confident and relaxed/lazy to Insecure/nervous/alert. I decided that in my scenario I would have my character leaning against the counter, start flirting with a customer and then panic when he notices that his boss is watching him.  I filmed some video reference and really got in touch with my cheesy side.  Although that never really seems to be a problem for me... :)

Apparently I'm a method actor and needed to put on an apron?  I decided against the 'Awooooga bagel eyes' (as I like to call them) and went with the cheesy finger gun off of the tip of the hat instead.  Dimos also suggested that I cut out the saunter up to the counter and just start it with the character leaning against it.  I was really glad that I took his advice, because it cut out a lot of work for me, and it wouldn't have added all that much extra to the shot anyways.

And now for some planning sketches!

I was also originally going to have a camera move to reveal the boss standing behind him, but Dimos told me that I could make it work without it.

Then I did my first blocking pass

I got some really good feedback on the first pass and for what seemed like the first time ever I didn't have to go back and completely re-block everything.  

And then there was the blocking plus pass.  I framed the camera in tighter and added a bunch of breakdowns.

The next week I started refining the animation and took it to spline town.

The last week that we had to work on this shot I did some polishing, but didn't get as much time as I would have liked to track all of my arcs and lovely things like that.  I still think that it turned out half decently though, and Dimos seemed to like it so that was pretty cool.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Monster Squad

Hello again!  I know that it's been a while since I last posted anything....but I've got something really exciting to post about now!  I decided last month that I would enter the Duck Brand duct tape 'Stick or Treat Jack-o-lantern contest'.  The basic premise of the contest was that you had to decorate a pumpkin (either real or fake) with duck tape.  You could use other materials as well, and the submissions would be judged based on Originality, Workmanship, Use of Color and Use of Duct Tape.  I couldn't decide on any one thing for my submission, so I decided to instead make a diorama and put a bunch of different monster pumpkins in it.  I was originally going to make zombie pumpkins, but I thought that the different monsters would be more colorful and fun to make.  I started off by making the actual diorama out of a cardboard box that I brought home from work.  I wanted to make it pumpkin shaped too, to keep with the jack-o-lantern theme.  I then cut out a tree shape and some tombstones.

I cut out a hill and haunted house with a creepy looking tree and started to cover them with duct tape.

Once I had the entire background of the diorama covered I moved on to the pumpkins.

I had bought a couple of little bags of foam craft pumpkins and I picked out a few that would fit the monster shapes that I was going for.  I stuck wires into the pumpkins for arms and legs and then covered them with duct tape as well.

Here's Franky

Wolfy (the plaid on his shirt was a pain...)


And Zombie-y.

I then had to make an unlucky pumpkin running away from this motley crew of monsters.

Poor guy.

I also made an owl to hang out up in the creepy tree.

And here are some pictures of it all put together!  I added some clouds to help break up the sky and some 'highlights' on the hills.

I discovered that if I lit it from underneath it gave it some pretty awesome shadows!

It took me a long time to get it all finished, but it was pretty fun making it!  I did a lot of it while watching Murder She Wrote which makes pretty much everything more fun anyways, hahaha.  Even better than having fun while making it though, was having it WIN 1ST PLACE IN THE COMPETITION!  That's right!  The judges picked my submission as the winning jack-o-lantern!  They publicly announced the winner on their website today!

It was super cool to see my submission on their main contest page, and even cooler to win $1,000!  That should help pay off some of my tuition! Hurray!