Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Class1 / Week 2: Basic Foundations

One of 12 Principles of Animation is "Solid Posing". Without a solid pose any great idea or story can easily get lost in translation, no matter how good the dialogue is. We need to learn to pose our characters in order to convey their emotions properly and create a connection between the audience and the characters in a scene.

Week 2 assignment for Animation Mentor was all about observation and capturing emotions. We had to get out there and observe people, their mannerism, how they walks, how they sit, how they interact with each other, etc. Are they sad, thoughtful or are they excited? As we took mental notes of our observations we also had to do quick sketches of our surroundings. Our goal was to capture their energy, posture, and attitude through a simple gesture. Once we had enough gestures to pick from then we had to choose our favorite one and recreate the pose in Maya using AM's STU rig.  Below you can see my sketches and final assignment after my mentor's revisions.

Here’s are a couple of pointers for gestures and capturing the energy on your poses: 

- Capture the essence of the pose, not the details.

- Think verbs not nouns. Example: If you see someone pushing a box, don't look at the person and think: "the arm goes here and the foot goes there, etc." Instead, think about "pushing" and the forces that are driving the action, think about the line of action and the rhythmic lines that flow through the body.

-Always imagine yourself taking the same pose.

-Line of Action

-Try to use a pen not a pencil. Because you can't erase this will force you to think about your line before putting it down on paper.

I know it's easier said than done but once you get in the habit of sketching everyday, you'll start seeing the line of action and the rhythmic lines that drive the pose more quickly.

For books, they are plenty out there, but these are my favorites:

Force Drawing by Michael Matessi
Simplified Drawing for Animation
Any book from Glenn Vilppu
Gesture Drawing for Animation by Walt Stanchfield
George Bridgman Drawing from Life (This is if you want to learn anatomy)
The illusion of Life from Disney also has a lot of examples on gestures and quick sketches.

That's it, that's my secret! There’s no right or wrong way of sketching so feel free to experiment and decide what works best for you.  Hope it helps! If you need an extra eye on your sketches, let me know. Have a great week!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

AM Class 1 / Week 1: And My Mentor Is...

I've been so busy lately getting in the groove of managing AM assignments, work and life in general that I completely forgot to update my blog and write about my experience in the first 4 weeks of Class 1 at Animation Mentor.

First day of class was pretty amazing and our Facebook group started a countdown as the time of reopening the AM Campus approached.We actually set a new record in comments in a post, I think we ended up with 150 comments total in less than 5 minutes and my iphone was going crazy with messages from all my classmates. We also had our own little virtual fireworks display just for fun! GOOD TIMES! Such an awesome group! I couldn't be more happier with my graduation class. You guys rock!

Once the AM Campus opened I quick rushed to check who my mentor was. I got Nate Wall from Dreamworks. Yup, That's right! DREAMWORKS! He's currently working on the animated film Turbo and also worked on the recent release Madagascar 3. He also previously worked at Blue Sky Studios on films like Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Rio. I'm super excited to have the opportunity to learn from one of the great animators in the industry. Such a humbling experience, to just sit and listen to their stories, talk about their experiences in the animation industry and passing their incredible knowledge down to us. But the most amazing part is that they get to critique our assignments and help us make the most out of them. First week basically consisted of getting familiar with the online campus and watching training videos, so no animation assignments for week 1. Things definitely started to gradually pick up the pace after the first week as you will notice in my next few posts. I'll be posting my assignments for Week 2 & 3 in the next few days to finally catch up on my posts along with some thoughts on my progress, tips that I've learned and my experience so far.