Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
THE THINKING CHARACTERWhen animating characters, every movement, every action must exist for a reason. If a character were to move about in a series of unrelated actions, it would seem obvious that the animator was moving it, not the character itself. All the movements and actions of a character are the result of its thought process. In creating a "thinking character," the animator gives life to the character by connecting its actions with a thought process. Walt Disney said, "In most instances, the driving forces behind the action is the mood, the personality, the attitude of the character—or all three. Therefore, the mind is the pilot. We think of things before the body does them."To convey the idea that the thoughts of a character are driving its actions, a simple trick is in the anticipation; always lead with the eyes or the head. If the character has eyes, the eyes should move first, locking the focus of its action a few frames before the head. The head should move next, followed a few frames later by his body and the main action. The eyes of a character are the windows to its thoughts; the character’s thoughts are conveyed throught the actions of its eyes.If the character has no eyes, such as an inanimate object like a Luxo lamp, it is even more important to lead with the head. The number of frames to lead the eyes and head depends on how much thought precedes the main action. The animator must first understand a character’s thought process for any given action. Consider a character wanting to snatch some cheese from a mouse trap; the eyes will lead the snatch by quite a bit because this is a big decision. The character needs time to think, "...Hmm...This looks tricky, is this cheese really worth it or is it just processed American cheese food?...Oh what the heck...," he decides, and snatches the cheese.Conversely, if the action is a character ducking to miss a low flying sheep, the anticipation of the eyes leading the action should be just a couple of frames. "What the...," and the next thing, he is spitting wool out of his mouth.The only time that the eyes or head would not lead the action would be when an external force is driving the character’s movements, as opposed to his thought process. For example, if that character was hit in the back by the low flying sheep, the force of the impact would cause the body to move first, snapping the head back and dragging it behind the main action of the body.
Monday, November 7, 2011
He says that you must be clear and:
”When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.”
Friday, November 4, 2011
Same actor, different animators, different characters. We realized we were all animating the same character this week, but our performances were dividing our lead into different characters. Each performance had strong acting and good animation, but they weren't the same character. So this week we're aiming to, instead of one of us animate Tex Avery's Bugs, another of us animate Bob Clampett's Bugs, and so on, we're all just gonna try to animate Chuck Jones' Bugs.
Friday, October 21, 2011
I've heard this so many times in my animation life. Lately, I have been hearing it during my critiques, "Keep it simple." I always want my animation to look really great, but the really good ones are really simple as well. It seems I had a tendency to put so many things in one shot, and it turned out "too complex". Simple animation is not easier, actually it is difficult because we need to tell a story within the poses. Tom us "Simplicity rules all." Let's seek for quality and simplicity in animation.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Saturday, October 15, 2011
I've really grown to like the simile "Being the crew on a film is like being the crew on a ship." When everyone does their job, the ship safely sails to land. The reason the ship comparison has really stuck with me is because just like a ship may have to sail through storms and rough waters, a film goes through conflicts and challenges in a similar fashion. You can see the storm brewing before you reach it, the water starts to get rocking, and before you know it, it's all-hands-on-deck! This week on the film, we had to weather another storm. The details of this week's storm are unimportant, but to sum it up, it was like a small hurricane that hit us out of no where. This storm stuck out to me from the others, though, because I noticed a change in us as a crew; we had grown and it was visible. In the past, we would panic, at times even turn on each other. But now, we stayed calm, cooperative, and ready to adapt. I'm really proud of the whole crew after this week, because it's clear to me now that we've all grown our "sea legs" and I'm more confident than ever that we'll make it to shore.
Friday, October 7, 2011
Through-out the production, I have experienced many technical difficulties. Being the most technical of the crew, it is often my job to troubleshoot/solve these difficulties. Our first and largest issue to date was our characters... we have 14! At first I thought "I am just a texturing and lighting TD, what do I know about character modding?!?! Oh no!" haha, but I knew that my team needed me, and like any captain (co director in this case), I would rather go down with the ship then see my men drowning in the sea. After grasping a basic understanding of how previous mods were done on other projects (Norman in our case), I started studying the process a bit, doing a few tests, and then I was ready to move on. Next I had to get somewhat familiar with the standard Morpheous rig (Had some help with the animators/director on this due to my lack of animation control knowledge) Thanks Sean, West, and Ryo! The next step consisted of watching all of the videos that Josh Burton (Creator of Morpheous) posted about the rig on his website. These videos are a must watch if you want to use Morpheous to its full potential! Now it was time to move onto modeling. After some trial and error, I was finally ready to pass my knowledge onto my eagerly awaiting crew. The torch of modding lead was then passed onto Andrew West who at first struggled a bit, but is now a morphy modding maniac! West later teamed up with an outsider to the project named Daniel Moos who has recently became part of the Just Looking family, now working full time on the project. Between these two guys modding became unstoppable! So I feel the need to take this opportunity to thank the both of them for completing the majority of the character work. Thanks Guys!
After much thought about pipeline, I decided to switch over to using Vray for maya instead of Mental Ray for this project. This is due to the shear scale of this film. At 4 minutes and twenty seconds (80 shots), there is a good chance that there will be multiple lighters working on this film. Vray provides simple and intuitive render pass options that are simple to use and the fact that you don't have to litter your shading networks with gamma correction nodes is also a plus! Therefore if junior lighting artists who are looking to build there skill-sets and get some good looking work for their portfolios want to join the project, it wont be an issue to get them caught up on using render layers and passes. Also I have to admit that I am a sucker for Vray's photometric lighting! Hopefully they create a better workflow for volumetrics in the future though. As far as I am concerned, they are a bit unintuitive right now.
Characters are also being surfaced right now and will hopefully be completed in a month or so. The Vray SSS2 material seams slightly complicated after using the Mental Ray SSS_Skin material, but after many texture/color variation and many many button click, I will eventually figure it out. :)
And to kick the motivation into the next level, we've also added a friendly competition into the mix. We now have the TOP SHELF badge, which is essentially employee of the week, that will go to the top animator of the week. The badge will be given out to one of the animators on the team by Tom Bertino, during dailies on every Wednesday, and the animator's picture will be post to the right of this blog.
Gentlemen, the TOP SHELF is in play. And in the words of Ryo, "My badge."