Monday, January 28, 2013

Week 4: An Adventure in Rough Layout

Well hey there. Are we already 1/3 of the way through this term? What? Huh? Whoa.

So, this week things are a bit different than what we're used to. Since my group of five is going to be working on an entire sequence together, this week each of us is supposed to come up with an idea for the sequence and pitch it to the class. Last week my group met up and threw around some ideas for the sequence, one of which was "Tarzan Stewie."Of our three ideas, that was my favorite so I decided to run with it. My idea developed into Stewie as a hunter, chasing after a bird, climbing a cliff, and trying unsuccessfully to spear the bird in mid-air. Here is a video of me awkwardly explaining it!

The other half of our assignment was to do a playblast of the top view camera for the whole sequence but, I felt like I should do some story boards and rough layout in addition so that the idea was more fleshed out. That way, we could see the actual shots we would be animating, see how the pacing of the sequence felt, and see if it all made sense visually. So, I put together some boards in photoshop and jumped into Maya for some layout. I have very little experience doing story boards or layout (AKA I have no idea what I'm doing) but this was still fun to do. Take a looksee!

Turns out Stewie is not so handy with a spear, but he can climb a cliff like it's nobody's business. Also, I should definitely stick to animation because story boarding and rough layout are hard.

From here, it's up to Mike to decide which one of the five pitches we're going to use (nervous!) I'll be back next week with real, live, in-sequence shots to show you, so come back then and see the collaboration truly beginning! See you then, readers!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Week 3: Polishy Polish

Hey there, readers! Are you still so pumped from the Niners win on Sunday that you're just raring to jump in? ME TOO. Let's do it.

This week, we were supposed to finish our shot that we blocked in last week, meaning we were on a bit of a tighter schedule that we were used to from last term. And despite all the football, I managed to get this shot to a point that I liked by the time my deadline hit. Mike's notes were really helpful and just by adding his suggestions to my blocking I got the shot to a place I liked much better than what I turned in last week. I trucked along and polished the thing up and this is what I ended up with:

Mike's biggest note on it was that I could still push it farther by making the jump higher and exaggerating the ups and downs in the runs. But overall, he said it was a big improvement over last week, though in future, don't be afraid to go broad. Extreme spacing, timing, and posing isn't something that I naturally gravitate towards, but I think Mike is right in that I should explore the "cartoony" side of things and not be afraid to really push what I've already laid down. Maybe during the break between terms I will revisit this shot and apply Mike's notes and see what happens. But for next week, we'll be coming up with ideas for our sequences, filming pitches, and doing a previs pass. New and exciting things are coming your way, readers! See you next week.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Week 2: Ninja Training

Greetings, lovely readers! Here we are already in Week 2, which means I've begun blocking my first shot of class three. If you remember, Stewie has taken it upon himself to learn parkour and is doing a wall-flip in this shot. I even dressed him up like a ninja in training! Take a look:

I had a very busy week but I think the blocking is looking fairly good. I didn't get to clean it up as much as I would have liked but I think if I put in the time next week, it'll turn out well. We'll see what notes Mike has in crit tonight but hopefully he's happy with the flip itself, that was one of his major notes last week. Welp, have a good week, lovelies and see you next time!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Week 1! So it begins.

Well hello lovely people. Are you ready to dive back in? I certainly am. Let's get to it!

So for Week 1, it's all about planning. For the first three weeks of this term, we're working on our own personal shot to get used to the way things work this term. I wanted to do something challenging for this shot, so I looked all over YouTube for some cool physical actions I could animate. I found this one parkour-er (?) who dresses up like the main character from Assassin's Creed and runs around jumping off of things, flipping over stuff, and just generally being awesome. So, I decided to animate a flip from one of his videos, which you can see here:

As you can see, I also did a draw-over of my reference, which is my new favorite planning tool after having so much success with it last term! I didn't get as fancy with the color-coding but I hope you don't mind. 

Next, I put together a few pages of planning drawings, largely using my draw-over as a starting point. I wish I could have put more drawings in, but I started to run out of room! 

Mike had a few notes for me to keep in mind going into the shot, mainly to take out the camera movement, to really push the antics and compressions, and to maybe stage a few poses differently (namely the landing pose) so that Stewie's big head doesn't ruin the pose. Overall he said I'm in a good place to move forward, though I picked a very difficult shot. Flips are hard! But I'm excited for the challenge and can't wait to start blocking this thing in!

That's all for this week, folks. Come back next week for some actual animation, whoo! See you soon.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I'm baaaaack...

Class Three has officially started! New year, new class! Boom!

Remember when I said I was gonna post a pic of my face at the start of every term? I wasn't lying, see? I am so excited for this term, ya'll! And for good reason.

I had my first Q&A with Mike Stern and he seems like he's going to be a fantastic mentor! One thing he mentioned in the Q&A that I was particularly excited for was that he is a tough grader. Tough as in an A = you should be working in the industry right now. I've talked about my distaste for kid gloves in the past and I really am glad that Mike doesn't feel the need to sugar coat things for us.

Since I'm in the Class 3 Collaboration Pilot, our syllabus is a bit different than the regular Class 3 curriculum, though we are still getting the same lectures as everybody else. The main difference is the "collaborative" element of the class, meaning that we'll be working on a set of shots that link up with one another, almost liking making a short film. A short film about advanced body mechanics, starring Stewie!

Since we are the first class of AMers to be doing this collaborative curriculum, there will undoubtedly be a few hitches along the way but I am so, so excited to get back in the swing of things and start collaborating my butt off. Keep an eye for my homework post for Week 1, coming up soon! See you then, lovelies.

P.S. - Yesterday I posted up a new interview on Lady Animators with Jennifer Harlow, a DreamWorks animator and CalArts alum who just finished up work on "The Croods"! Click on over and read all about it!