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.