Posts Tagged “Animation”

As part of my 2012 resolution to be more creative and study animation more, I want to take some time to write some posts dissecting bits from movies. This past Christmas, my fiance bought Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs on DVD. There’s story here, let me blast through it real quick.

Libby and I work together, and we became really good friends for a year and a half before we decided to just give dating each other a shot. Our first date(I’m still not sure it was a clear date but she assures me we both knew it was) was to the movies to go see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. We work at a 3D software company, and she knows I wanted to be an animator, so she didn’t mind going. Like a true jackass, I didn’t pay for the date(something that irked her badly at the time). So our first date, I just flat out blew it. However, she let me stick around, and now we’re getting married this year. Anyway, she bought it on DVD with a little note that said something like It’s a good thing I decided to keep you around.

Now about the movie, I think it’s a great movie. I never read the book, so I only know the movie. I remember when I saw a pic of the movie the style of the characters bugged me. However, I’ve seen the movie many times. I really love this movie, I think it was the best movie of that year(The year of Up), or at least the most enjoyable. It’s goofy, off the wall and great. If you haven’t seen it, get off your ass and go watch it. It’s got a beautiful rendering going on, funny gags, snappy timing, just very cartoony.

So let’s take a look at just 1 frame.


This is a great frame. It’s clear just by the poses, that Flint on the left is hiding something(poorly) and that Earl on the right knows something fishy is going on(if you know the movie, you know that that was just an excellent pun!). Let’s look at this frame in depth. This pose, is held for like 16 frames before he lowers his arms a little bit. So it’s quick(It’s from a sequence of jumpy poses). But let’s look at this a bit more.

silsThis is the silhouette of each character. Oddly enough, when I look at them, I think Earl’s is clear, but I don’t think Flint’s is all that clear. We know he’s hiding something but this pose, at least in silhouette, seems not quite as clear. It seems like it could be pushed, maybe his spine is curled a bit and hes like really trying to hide it. Now, I don’t mean to sound like a prick, saying a silhouette isn’t very clear, but after looking at it, I realized why he’s posed in such a way. Let’s go back one shot in the film though…


Earl has just startled Flint and said “WHAT’RE YOU DOIN’ FLINT LOCKWOOD!?” He knows something is up, but is not sure what. If you look at this frame in silhouettes, it’s pretty clear. And sure enough, Flint is leaning back a bit more like I would expect.


So, why would they have him like that there but not on the other scene? Well, a few reasons. First, Earl is really all up in Flints grill. Earl is big and buff, so Flint’s a bit scared, so he doesn’t want to be very close. That’s why he’s leaning away. But the intent of this whole shot and the next one is that Earl is watching Flint.  Check out some of these flowlines(as I see it).


Everything about Earl, is focused on Flint. Everything about Flint is saying “Get Me Out of Here”. So this whole scene, is Earl saying I’m watching you(flint) so Flint is his focus, and he’s making him the audience’s focus. His mass, his size, the amount of space he occupies compared to Flint is making the viewer focus on what he is focused on. Everything is about Flint now. So let’s look at the flow of the first shot we looked at.


Everything is pointing at Flint. Again, he’s the focus of Earl. So He has this unassuming position  If he’s leaning more in the spine (for like more of a Reverse C Curve) he’d be directing your eye OUT of the shot(to the left). So he’s standing there just being the focus. and Earl is just directing the viewers eye to Flint still. The other cool thing is not only is Earl, but the perspective directs your eye towards where Flint is, both sides of the building converge to where Flint is.


The image above, shows a rough(because im still no good at drawing) drawing of how I naturally wanted his pose to look. A sexy curve and line of action, smooth and a curve are always better I think sometimes. But knowing what I think I know about this shot and it’s sort of intent, Seeing that pose is kind of…jarring.  It absolutely doesn’t fit and it breaks things up. I mean even his almost vertical pose, the straightness of it, coincides with the straight lines on the building the ground etc. Flint’s side of the screen is mostly straight lines. So him being curved would just kill that.

So what does this teach me? Well, it tells me that sometimes, you don’t need a pushed pose. Sometimes your line of action can be vertical or straight, and it’s ok, as long as it supports the story. This is the benefit to working in a studio(so I hear). You get a brief or a treatment, so you know where your shot is in the grand and smaller scheme of things. If I had no idea about the previous scene, I would have made a bad decision to that wouldn’t fit the story. The director, and sup would probably give me five across the eye! So, when they say story is king, they mean it. Make your animation, your poses, your animation follow the story, and you’ll be in good grace I imagine.

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CTN Expo has come and gone once again. CTN is a show that I was looking forward to, ever since…well last year. CTN is like just a small condensed amount of talent/awesome-ness, that It’s almost spoiled that I’m stuck in a booth all day. But let me recap my experience.

The perk of being an exhibitor is I just got to waltz right in mwahaha! So I walked in, and did a quick walkthrough. There’s just so many talented artists there, some people I’ve heard of ans some I haven’t. My regret is that I don’t have enough money to buy everyones book and enough time to talk with them about their progress. But alas, I did not.

So I got in on friday and I was starting off the show on the mainstage. Things were rocky. They didn’t have R13 on the bitchin Cintique, so I had to run it off of my laptop, which kind of sucked balls, because I was stuck working in 1024×768…I don’t know if you’ve tried to do that anytime recently, but it’s a real pain in the ass. But I made the best of it, just worked on an animation, and got some people to at least stare at the screen for a bit.

After that it was back to the booth. One of my favorite things about CTN, is you don’t get all the stupid “So what is 4D?” questions we often get at other shows. Though you still get the people who see stereo anaglyph glasses and assume what’s on the screen(the MAXON demo reel) is stereo as well. Well, surely everyone knows what an anaglyph preview looks like…but no they don’t. However, to combat some of that, I get props to the CTN folks for recognizing the fact that they are actually Steampunk. Two people said something and that’s more than any other time at a show for me.

The cool thing is that we were right next to Disney and Sony and just down from ReelFX. Three studios I would love to work at someday. I actually got to talk to some guys from Disney. Bobby Pontillas gave me some good feedback on my animation reel, and Chris Gallagher and I got to talk a fair bit and I got some feedback there about my rigging reel, which is cool. Turns out he actually was a C4D user way back in the day.

Last year at CTN I got a book by Tony White and Glenn Vilppu. Both were back again this year. But again, I’m poor, so I can’t buy everything I want. I’d buy more stuff from the both of them. All I ended up buying was The Art of Character Design by David Coleman. It was only 10 bucks and I have been eyeing that DVD for some time. I skimmed it that night and it was looking pretty good.

If you can afford it next year, you should go because the amount of creativity there is mindblowing. I saw so many talented artists, it just pushes you to try and grow as well to keep up.

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It’s been a while since ive posted anything on here. Its been very busy as of late. Got some duties at work that have occupied a lot of my time. Im trying really hard to animate everyday…i made it like one week before some stuff at work and freelance on the side took priority. Bills to pay and such. I hope to find more time to regularly animate. Besides that i have just been doing some python scripting too got some rigging related scripts to go on cineversity in the near future.

Anyway heres the shot. Many thanks to charles wardlaw, patrick goski, malcon pierce, joe bowers, and dimos varysellas and some others for their feedback thus far.

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It’s time to get back into the Animation swing of things. Which means I need to animate something. My life has been pretty well occupied with rigging, and scripting, both great things to learn, I highly recommend anyone try to learn them. CINEMA 4D is a great package to do both in because it’s quite easy to learn.

So, if I am going to animate, I need something to animate. Not just a rig, but an idea. So that is part one of this journey. I need an idea to animate. This leads to a very important question: What am I going to animate?

Animation always needs an idea to start. It could be something as simple as a walk, or as complex as a love triangle or something. My initial thoughts were on simple ideas like picking something up. But I get bored with those. So I deferred to Charles for some ideas, and he whipped up a lot of interesting ideas in a very short amount of time.

His second Idea was “A firefighter with an unruly hose” was the hook and I liked the thought of it, and I think that’s what I plan on animating. I chose it because it has a few interesting challenges to it. Namely, the firehose rigging and animation will be an interesting challenge. So we are back in the first part of animation: Planning.

Immediately it popped in my head “Wasn’t there a Mickey Mouse cartoon where he was a firefighter?” Sure enough, and with the power of Google, I managed to find it. 1935′s Mickey’s Fire Brigade. If you have 8 minutes to kill I suggest checking it out. The creativity in this short kind of blows my mind since I have been in a bit of a creative funk lately. The treating fire like a character and giving it arms and such is classic.

So I figured there was some playful interactions with the hose. They come in around 2:15, and so I looked at that for ideas, and I also started looking on youtube for some reference of how a loose fire hose would behave. I found many thanks to that being what seems like a fairly common firefighter academy test.

So with some ideas in my head I took to doing some thumbnails. Drawing is not my strong suit anymore. I have not dedicated as much time to it as I’d like and it is now pretty poor, but to do some thumbnails you really just need a circle for a head, a rectangle that can bend, and 4 lines for limbs.

So with some scratch paper from a notepad, I whipped these up. Sorry, I don’t have a scanner :/.



So the idea has become, a firefighter, is running with the hose to put out a fire. They are pretty heavy so he lugs it out(some nice mechanics action here I think). Then, he assumes the “power stance”(yes my notes on the thumbnails even mention the power stance), gives his colleague the thumbs up. He then tries to release pressure to spray(usually you can do this at the nozzle). But nothing comes out He is checking it out getting frustrated with it. He turns around and notices the hose is very buldgey. He doesn’t realize it’s his fault, and the buldge scares him. Well him taking his foot off causes all the water to shoot out, and he is launched around holding onto the wild hose.

So the idea has some cool bits to it, some heavy lifting/pulling, some acting(confusion, frustration), some comedy[if you think it's funny that is], and some technical challenges with the hose. But it’s also good because I have never animated anything that wasn’t a Biped, so now’s my shot.

The idea is there…now it’s time to get it to work. Next step is to film some reference.

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Hey there. It’s almost been 10 days. I gotta update this bad boy a bit more. Let’s see what is new…I have been working on Previs for the Ottoman, or I did last weekend. I did not this weekend. This weekend was spent cleaning/vaccumming my room which was desparately needed, College Football, Rugby Practice, and Football.

Speaking of Rugby, I have been moved to a new position now which is kind of exciting. Normally, I played prop, which for those of you who do not know is in the front row of the scrum. Now, being 6’3″ 240 pounds, I’m not really suited to be a prop. Props are usually shorter stalkier power players. So I have been moved to play Lock, which is the 2nd row of the scrum. Locks are usually taller. It should be interesting to see how it goes. I would like to maybe play Flanker and 8 man some day. We have some tall guys so we have plenty of Locks, so if I can get my endurance up I might be able to play those positions. Somehow playing on Sunday REALLY made me tired all day.

Also this week I bought Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. I loved the first Uncharted. It was a great game, and I was REALLY looking forward to this game. I bought it, and it was a dicey situation because in order to do well at A.M. I have to really focus on what I’m doing you know? That’s pretty much why I have stopped painting. So I tried to just squeeze in some time where I could. I’ve managed to beat the game already. It was good. I liked it. They could be movies(both Uncharted Games).

So today, since it’s Sunday and AM assignments are done on Sunday and you can’t really do too much until you get your feedback, It’s like free day to work on some Painting or video games or anything you know? So I beat uncharted 2 today, watched some football and managed to squeeze in a quick painting. Here it is:


And lastly, here’s where I am at with my AM assignment. I have next week to get it ready for it’s final the following week.

Ray is good at getting feedback quick. I have my critique already. His main suggestions were to get some more curve in the spine in a couple of places, simplify the end and get it ready for polishing. Gonna put some serious work in this week.

Also, be on the look out on Cineversity for some new tutorials from me including A No-Flip Knee rig, and a Bendy Leg Rig

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