Sunday, 14 November 2010

Dialogue Shot Blocking

Who knew it would be so hard to find a 10 second piece of dialogue for this assignment?! But was tough! I guess what made it harder is that it has to excite you, after all we'll be working on it for I think 10 weeks or something? Plus it helps if it contains subtext, interesting phrasing and the such. There were loads of fairly monotone, continuous babbles, and a bunch of other stuff that wasn't fun or suitable, but I settled on a piece by Chevy Chase from Caddyshack :) I made a point of not watching the clip it was taken from cause I didn't wanna get influenced by the acting at all. It's so cool because you can get to entirely create the character, the location and the situation he/she's in.'s the blocking for it:

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Bishop is here!!! :D

Hey gang. Exciting news. I'm just starting week 6 of AM and we finally get to play with Bishop :)

On a side note, here's the progression of my pantomime shot. The renders not great for the final, so I may upload a better one :) As you can see, it's changed a LOT from blocking to final. Oh yeah...and it's a completely different idea from my initial one I posted up last time. That was pretty crappy!

Have a great week everyone :D

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Class 4: Week 1

Man's been ages (again!) since I posted anything here. So lets try and do a recap. Ijust finished class 3 with the legendary Keith Sintay. That guys so cool! Every Q&A was so much fun, and I learned a ton of stuff to boot. I'm pretty pleased with the work I did, especially the final assignment. I chose to do the animjam...which is 3 seperate shots that combine to make a scene. The first two I think are ok, but the third one I had so much fun doing. I've always wanted to do something super cartoony, and I was able to really exagerate things in that shot. I loved doing the staggered take and crazy run off to the cannon. And I just felt like everything just clicked. Like my workflow was workin :) So here it is

And now we're onto class 4: An Introduction to acting. My new mentor is Jay Davis. He worked for Disney for like 12 years, and then went on to work for Double Negative in London on Hellboy. He's done some pretty amazing stuff, and he's hilarious :) It's already been quite challenging. I found out pretty quickly that I suck at acting :) For that reason I'm not gonna post my video reference for this assignment :) But here's my planning

Have a great week everyone :D

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Class 3...

It seems like an absolute age since I was last at AM. It's been like a week, but it's gone so damn slow. It's great to be back. And to make things even better my mentor for this term has worked on a ton of my favourite movies. Check this...Keith Sintay has worked on *deep breath* Pocahontas, Mulan, The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Tarzan, Spirit, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, Sharktale, Open Season, Monster House, Surf's Up, Beowolf, I Am Legend, Open Season 2, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief and is currently working on TRON: Legacy. Phew. I can't wait to get started!!! :D

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Heroes of Animation: Norm Ferguson

It's coming up to the end of the week off between Spring term and Summer term at AM, and I thought I'd spend a bit of time learning new skills, or improving old ones. Nothing that I'd do during term time...thats gotta be 100% animation...but stuff that will hopefully add to my reel at the end. So basic modelling, delving into texturing, uv mapping and rendering. Stuff that my non technical mind still can't really get around :) The important thing though is that I've actually started reading The Illusion of Life again. I'm not much of a reader, and I've got a ton of animation books lying around almost hoping that by merely owning them they will somehow turn me into an animation superstar :)Not gonna happen. So I'm making sure I turn off the TV, sign out of facebook and get down to some serious reading. It really is a great book though. I've only just started up, so I'm not too far into it. But I thought I might share some thoughts.

Norm (Fergy) Ferguson. Not a name a recognised. I guess I never really saw much of the really early Disney stuff, but Fergy played such an important role in the future of Disney, and as a result, the world of animation. It's amazing to read how he started off as a cameraman, and one night when some drawings were missing, with no-one about to help out, Norm "had to fill in". One of his first pictures was Frolicking Fish. He animated three fish dancing at about 2 minutes in. Whats so awesome about this, as the book points out, is that for the first time the characters weren't hitting a hold and moving out of it. There was always a part of them moving which gave them real fluidity, a greater sense of weight, and made them actually feel alive rather than a bunch of pictures moving.

Next in my list is Chain Gang. This is such a funny little short with a load of great jokes in there. I love the pig who gets shot, jumps out of his trousers and the trousers are still running along with him chasing behind :) And when Mickey snaps the chain after carrying his ball and chain, only to pick the ball back up and carry it again. Loads of little gems. One of the reasons I love Disney. Whats hugely important about this short though is Fergy's treatment of the bloodhounds chasing Mickey. The intense sniffing along the ground. The little snorts. The facial expressions. Everything he did breathed life into them. The bloodhounds would later be reworked and introduced as Pluto. How cool is that?! :)

Well, it's getting pretty late and I've been waffling on. Time to hit the dusty trail. Hopefully I haven't bored anyone :) What I've written really hasn't done justice to all I've been reading. The Illusion of Life really is the animators bible :D

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

*In my finest Gordon Ramsay voice* "Class 2...done"

End of class 2 already. For anyone reading this that isn't in AM feel free to leave me a note as to what's been going on in the world. I seemed to have missed it all over the last 12 weeks. It's crazy how quickly time goes, and how much of it I spend sat in front of my computer. Don't get me wrong though...I LOVE it! I actually get so excited to jump out of bed and get to work on my shots. So much so that I constantly forget I've even got this blog :D's my progress reel for Class 2: Psychology of Body Mechanics. As always there's some stuff I'd go back and change. Definitely, definitely, definitely gonna keep it simple for class 3 :D

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Class 2 Week 1 - 4

Whew...can you believe it's week 4 already?! It's gone so quick so far. Kinda frightening. I'm hoping that by around the ned of class 3 I'll be in a position to start applying for jobs in games studios...although the dream of course is to move to the States and work for one of the big studios. Man, just thinking about it gets me so excited!!! :D I kinda turn into this big kid with a huge dumb grin on my face :)'s my final for this assignment. Not hugely satisfied with it, but maybe I'm being too hard on myself? It's one of those things. I'll be staring at it for hours and hours and I'll be thinking "there's something not right..." but I can't figure it out. Then I'll go away and come back later and be all like "actually...thats pretty good" :D I think thats a massive lesson to learn, to take a break and come back later. To see your work with fresh eyes. And also to post your work up for other AMers to take a peek at. They'll be noticing stuff I hadn't even thought of :) Such an awesome, supportive community. Man...I'm so priveleged to be a part of it :D

On a totally different note, I saw the funniest word on my friend Zada's blog...craptastic! :D It makes me chuckle every time I say it :) I urge you all to use it more often :) hehe...

I'm gonna leave you with a YouTube clip about Disney's new World of Color attraction. Just watching this leaves me speechless. If I ever got a chance to see this I'd be that big kid with a dumb grin on my face again :)

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

How To Train Your Dragon

Ok, so this will come as no suprise now...but tonight I went and saw Dreamworks How To Train Your Dragon, and I was blown away!!! There's been a lot of hype, and justafiably so. This is without doubt Dreamworks finest movie, and...dare I say of the best animated movies I've seen!!! They've really raised the bar. The animation was awesome, the character design was some of the best I've seen (everybody had a whole heap of appeal) and the environments were stunning. The story was soooooo good. I mean, some of it was kinda obvious (not that that's a bad thing) but there was one bit at the end (which I'm not gonna spoil) which literally had the cinema gasp almost in synchronisation! The action scenes were great too. My girlfriend actually shouted out "oh no!" at one point. She's gonna kill me if she sees this :) hehe. I can't say enough good things about this movie. Definitely one I'll be buying when it comes out on dvd. Hmm...maybe it's time to upgrade to blu-ray??? Ooh of the best things was the fact that a load of AM alumni and mentors worked on it too :D It really gets me fired up. Hopefully one day I'll see my name up there in the credits too :D

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Class 2!!! :D

It's been nearly a week since I've done any animating, and I'm going crazy! Luckily...CLASS 2 IS HERE!!!! :D I'm unbelievably excited about it. This is where the really fun stuff begins. My mentor for Class 2: The Psychology of Body Mechanics is Dana Boadway. She's worked on a whole bunch of stuff, from Everyones Hero and The Wild, to Halo 3. What's most exciting is that I've just read that she's gonna create her own short film, which'll be awesome! that even a word "which'll"? It kinda sounds right but looks like I may have just made it up!? *ahem* anyway...I'm really stoked to have Dana as my mentor this term. As the lady herself says: "I try to get my students to try out cartoony styles of motion and also realistic stuff. I want them to learn how real body mechanics and physicality work so they can bend the rules later." Which is freakin AWESOME cos thats exactly what I wanna do too! :D

I can't wait to get started. I just gotta figure out which assignment I'm gonna choose from the pick list. There's quite a few options, but the one's that I'm looking at doing is either kicking a football, hopscotch or a 180 turn. One thing that I learnt from class 1 is to really have a solid idea of what I'm gonna do in my scratch that...on paper! Plan plan and plan some more! I'm gonna shoot a whole load of reference and study the crap out of it :)

While I'm rattling on about planning, I came across this chap on YouTube. Mark MacDonnell. He's worked at a whole bunch of places in various roles, but currently he's workin at Disney teaching gesture drawing. Here's a link to his YouTube channel. There's some great videos which I can't wait to watch and get drawing :) Here's one to whet your appetite :)

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Week 12

So...class 1 is over. What a ride it's been already! I've met some awesome people, learnt a ton, worked my ass off, and had a blast doing it :) I'm really gonna try and post here more often for the next class. I'm gonna try and raise my game too. I really didn't value how important planning was until the last assignment...the character walk. It was a 2 week assignment and the first weeks work had to be scrapped because my planning sucked and the blocking sucked too! So I literally had to start from scratch and condense 2 weeks work into 1! So I'm pretty stoked with the result...even though it's not perfect. Without further's my class 1 progress reel:

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Week 4-6's been freakin ages since I posted on here. It's true what they say...AM takes over your life. But I wouldn't have it any other way. My whole way of thinking and observing is slowly changing. I find myself looking at things in more detail...almost like that dude from Prison Break who can look at stuff and in his head figure out how they work and log in all these crazy tiny details. Ok, maybe thats a bit of a stretch but hopefully you get the idea. Well, it's pretty obvious that I've been unbelievably busy for the past few weeks, but it's been so amazing. Who ever thought work could be so much fun?! Not me. Right...lets try and think back to what I've done. Oh yeah, week 4 was an introduction to timing and spacing. We had to animate two bouncing balls of different weight. Sounds easy huh? But how do you show a difference in weight? If you've got two balls the same size and drop them, no matter how much difference in weight there is. the air resistance is gonna be the same...meaning they'll fall at the same speed. Unless you're dropping them from a HUGE height. So there was a lot of playing around with timing and spacing. If I'm honest I don't think I fully understand it yet, but I think it's something we'll cover again.

Week 5 was all about anticipation and squash and stretch. These are some of the most important principles of animation, and really breathe life into something and give it fluidity. Without anticipation your characters look robotic and it doesn't give the audience a chance to register whats happened. The video lectures gave a load of examples of actions with and without anticipation, and it's totally true. It's like BAM...somethings happened but I don't know what or why. Even in small movements, like lifting a foot off the floor, you have to shift your body weight across your other foot or yo're gonna fall on your ass! With all this in mind we were given the ball assault course assignment. This gave me extra problems cause it was the first week our class dealt with the rotation of the ball.

The second part was to pose Stu to clearly read "Devastation!!!" Poor Stu ;)

Onto week 6 and overlapping action:

Oh crap...I gotta go. Time for my Q&A. Yeah baby!!! Gotta LOVE AM!!! Woot woot

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Week 3

I've been a bit late posting this about a week! :) But anyway, week 3 was an introduction to planning and blocking methods. Our assignment was to animate a bouncing ball (with the weight of a basketball/soccer ball). As it was our first actual animation assignment it wasn't necessary to add rotation...phew! We also had to sketch different poses to communicate excitement. Not as easy as it sounds when you consider that probably post emotion is shown through the face, and our model was faceless :) But it's a great way to involve the whole body in the pose. I've read many great quotes about posing the whole body to communicate an emotion and this was a great way to get introduced to that. I think the hardest thing was to avoid the clichéd poses. I think as a result of trying to avoid this I've chosen a pose that wasn't quite as strong as some of the others. I think it's ok sometimes to submit a clichéd pose as we're still learning.'s my work for this week :)

This is maybe what I should've submitted? :)

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Week 2

So we're just about to wrap up with week 2 and the assignment was to go out and quickly sketch people in various situations, capturing the pose. We've had a ton of snow recently...which as it turns out was great for me cos I was able to draw some guys playing Ice Hockey on a frozen lake. It was insanely hard to capture the pose even with a simple stick figure cos the action was thick and fast, so I had to turn to some photo's I took and use them as a reference. The next task was to take our most successful sketch and pose Stu like it in Maya. I've had a whole load of great feedback and suggestions from all the guys at AM, and I'm super chuffed with the result. So here it is...

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

It's here!!!

Today's been such a blur. yesterday was my first "official" day at Animation Mentor...but I did a 14 hour shift at work :( So today's my actual first day at AM, and man...was it a mix of emotions. Mostly excitement with a whole bunch of nerves thrown in for good measure. It's kinda like being on a know that bit where you're slowly going up and up and up, and you know that when you slow down and get to the top it's gonna be the best feeling in the world from there on in. That was today.

I had my class 1 Q&A and got to meet my mentor and classmates. There's a lot of talent in my class. A lot of previous experience. Some animation, some modeling and texturing and stuff, but I think I was one of the least experienced people in my class. I think it's a good thing though. It's gonna push me to do my best. It's almost like the realization that "you know what...this is gonna be hard." But man...I can't even put into words how much I want this. How excited I am. It's gonna be an awesome ride!

So my Class 1 mentor is Eric Lessard. He's a real nice guy, who's worked on such recent epics such as Antz, Shrek 1, 2 and 3, and Madagascar 1 and 2 amongst other things. I just know I'm gonna learn a whole load of stuff from him. Bring it on... :)