Archive for June, 2010

Alright, so it’s time to get moving with this shot. SIGGRAPH is only a few weeks away so I need to get this shot done so it can go on my reel for the job fair. I had a nice relaxing weekend with my family and a couple days in Vegas with the rugby guys, and with Libby away for the day, time to work some on this shot.

So now that the idea and our reference looks good, what’s next? Well, first it’s creating the shot and getting a bit of a scene. But since we are still very early in this shot, and only focused on Animation, well, I don’t need it to be some amazing looking environment. I’m actually terrible at that, so I focused on 2 main things. 1. He’s inside someplace, so put him in a room. Then, he needs a cup and something to put the cup on.

So a cube scaled up a lot, and a table preset from the CINEMA 4D Architecture Edition, and one Cylinder edited a bit gives me all three things. So now I can focus on blocking in the animation. When I’m blocking my animation, I look to my reference to try to find some of the key poses. I think of about which are my key poses, which are interesting, which ones are good breakdowns and such. Below are some of the key poses(The start, The Choke, Putting the cup down, and then the end).


So I focus in on some of those first. I’ve found that I work more in a straight ahead fashion when blocking in a shot. I start at the beginning and work towards the end, adding some breakdowns right at the beginning as well as I strive to make the motions looks pretty good and to really understand how I got to those poses.

This proves to be a bit of a double edged sword for me as I find that poses towards the end suffer as I begin to think less about animating and making good, strong, clear poses, and more about just getting it done. I WOULD ADVISE ANYONE STARTING IF YOU FIND YOURSELF THINKING “JUST GET THIS DONE” TO STOP AND THINK MORE ABOUT THE SHOT AS IT WILL LEAD TO MORE WORK PROBABLY.

When I’m blocking, I key EVERYTHING except for Facial controls and I work in Step Mode and I just go to town. What I sometimes do is work on my poses in layers a bit. Focusing on getting the body and limbs right, and then I go back and focus on things like fingers. I playblast a lot, and CINEMA 4D rules here because I can just render to the picture viewer and play it in there with sound and see right away how it’s looking.

With Blocking, I think that all I want is for it to tell the story and for nothing to be too distracting. I aim for this, but I cannot say I always make it. When I say distracting, this typically means popping from one pose in an unclear way that doesn’t really make sense. It typically means there’s not enough breakdowns for it to be clear. So I try to block it out and I keep it light at this stage because I want to make sure I’m heading in the right direction.  That’s the stage I am at now. I have done some blocking and I need to get some feedback from others before continuing, which means this post is finished for now. Below is my blocking:

Comments No Comments »

So I’m in an interesting spot at the moment. I have about 5 weeks until SIGGRAPH which means, I need to get all of my stuff ready for the job fair. One of my mentor’s final suggestions was to keep animating and keep it simple, 3-4 seconds, and to explore. So I plan on doing just that(with sporadic breaks for playing Red Dead Revolver). And I thought, I should document the whole darn thing.

So Part 1 is preliminary and planning. So first let’s think about the idea. I had wanted something that would be simple. Not looking to do a dialog, not looking to do a wordy monologue. And, because of technical limitations(my poor laptop’s battery is shot) it makes an interesting(to me) body mechanics shot for now. So, simple, one line. Ok. That is the idea.

Next thing I did was decide, “Do I want to try to find a movie quote?” which I said yes to. So I went looking for something simple. But, alas, it was kind of a pain in the butt to find one. I had an idea based off of a line I kept saying to myself which was simply, “Wait, what?”.

These are two words but there’s a lot of flexibility depending on how you say it. Then I started to drink a glass of water and say it. So I got up off my butt and began to record it using Quicktime and my laptop.

So the premise, A guy hears something chokes, and says “wait, what?” in an effort to clarify what he just heard. In my head I think the character hears “I’m Pregnant”. I may have to have Libby record that line for me.

So I have the premise, I have the video reference with a few different acting choices. I’m partial to the one where he(I) choke. So I have an idea of my approach for the shot.  Great! So the gears are turning, and I have a direction I want to go. Now it’s just time to go do it!

That I think will do it for this Part. More to come later as updates are of interest, but I would like to truly document the process because someone might like it. But for now, I am going to go watch Game 7 of the NBA finals. Not because I’m a big basketball fan, but if the Lakers win, I will not watch Basketball for 2 years, this was a silly bet I made. I did this once before on the NFL…it didn’t turn out well.  Remember when the Patriots almost had the Perfect Season?…Yeah, well, I said if they lost I wouldn’t watch the NFL for 2 years, but my clause was not until Brett Favre retires. So I haven’t served my punishment yet. For the NBA one, the clause is if Steve Nash is in the Finals I will watch then because I’m a big Steve Nash Fan.

Comments No Comments »

Tonight was the final class of mine at Animation Mentor, which means I’ve completed 18 months of schooling at Animation Mentor. 18 Months, holy cow that’s a long time. It’s both very long and short. So much time has gone into this and a lot has been put on hold while I work on learning.

Around class 3, I had to really start devoting the necessary amount of time to AM and making my work better. So I had to stop things like Painting, Printmaking, and Video Games. Evenings were lost working diligently on homework(Between 2-10 hours in a single evening).

Well, now that it’s all done, there’s so much more possibilities. Painting is hard because I can only do it when I go home, but you bet your ass I am going to…and I already did :D . I whipped up a little gift for my Girlfriend. She has a thing for those Paintings that look like an Image with the Threshold cranked up in Photoshop. This was a good one to start with because it required only one color and very little decision making. Below is what I came up with after 2 hours of work. It’s based off of a photo at Conejo Valley Days, Worked in Photoshop, Smoothed a bit in Illustrator, Printed on a transparency,  projected, traced, then painted in(cheating I know, but deal with it).


It’s kind of funny. Since I’ve turned in my homework last weekend, I’ve had a few days with no homework or anything and I find myself not knowing what to do. So I hope to do some more drawing, sketching etc. I will take a little breather for a week or so. Work on things for The Ottoman, and a personal rig for a character I have thanks to Patrick Goski. I also will be purchasing Red Dead Revolver. Then this weekend, I will venture to Vegas for the Midnight 7′s Tournament with the Outlaws, and then immediately after I will cruise up to R-Ranch for a nice little vacation with my family. It will be the first time my Niece and Nephew will go.

So, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank the following people: My Mentors-Joe Mandia, Shaun Freeman, Morgan Kelly, Ray Chase, Randy Haycock, and Kenny Roy. You all helped shape me, and get me started in this path. You all were helpful in many ways. Dimos for being like a mentor to me and offering tips if I asked for them. MAXON, namely Paul and Kai, for helping either financially or just allowing me to work on my homework in my free time and off days and just being a solid place to work. Libby for being understanding when I you wanted to cuddle and I had to work on homework and just for being super supportive and awesome.

Now that I’m done it’s time to relax, catch my breath, and get back to doing some more animations.

…But I think I will spoil myself with Red Dead Redemption tomorrow to occupy my time during this break. :)

Comments No Comments »