Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Family Guy's 8th Season Premiere Episode

Cartoon Brew has a great post with full episode of Family Guy. Particularly interesting is the comment section where the episode director and lead animator share their production info.
In the episode Brian and Stewie travel between alternate universes. There are segments shown in different styles and it's awesome (especially the Disney and Robot Chicken one). So make sure to head over there.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cloudy With A Chance Of Eyeballs

Great post by David Anthony Gibson (thanks Eric for the heads-up!). He discusses his working method via a sequence of 5 shots he animated:

Head over to the post in order to check out the whole analysis. Very cool!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It's all in the Eyes.

Ok, maybe not ALL, but you shouldn't underestimate the fact that the audience will be focused on the face of your character, especially the eyes/eyebrow part. You could have Muppet style lipsync but fantastic emotion in the eyes and eyebrow and it would still work. Of course there are exceptions, but people focus on eyes, so don't neglect that area in your animation.

I got reminded of that while working on a clip at home. The beginning of the first shot has three guys peeking above a sand hill and two characters only have their eye area visible and the third one a bit more of the face. It's a lot of fun to concentrate just on the eyes.

That reminded me of a movie called Baraka. At the beginning of the movie you have two great shots of a Japanase snow monkey. With nothing moving except his head you really focus on his eyes.

Video clip is for educational purposes only

Copyright © 1992 Magidson Films Inc.

All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kids being tempted Reference

Thanks Chris Marshall for sending me this. The video is absolutely classic! Ah, kids...

Oh, The Temptation from Steve V on Vimeo.

Pencil Test Depot

The Pencil Test Depot is a really cool site which collects... well... as the name says... Pencil Test.

- found via Scott Clark's Twitter

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Critique - Thief

That's much better! You're really guiding the eye now. What's still getting lost though is the part where his fingers are being pricked by those super small needles. I would make those much bigger or find another mechanism that makes it very clear what you're doing to this fingers.

You're next step is to work on the rhythm of the machines. The timing is a bit even for them and I feel you could spice it up. I recommend you watch Wall-E for good reference. Moments like when Eve is on earth for the first time, how the machine unfolds and opens up and releases Eve out of her shell is a good moment.

The guy is clear in his actions, so I would go to the next step and work on the poses and timing as well. For instance his left arm is in the same pose from the beginning until around x200. Or his left foot orientation is the same from around x160 on until he gets sucked in, etc.

For the first big vacuum thing I would also add little bits and pieces flying towards the sucker, so it's clear from the start that this thing is a vacuum and sucks everything in (I know a museum is supposed to be clean but you know what I mean... ;) ).


Critique - Really Ugly

This might just be me and other people wouldn't mind, but the sound feels echo-y and like in a room, so the hear that and see it in this outside setting is a bit weird. But you could add little birds chirping in the background (not too loud) to make it more seamless. But again, that's just me.

What is weird (and probably still just me), is how the sound just cuts off at the end. Yet the animation continues. Whenever that happens it feels like the animation is added at the end (which it obviously is) and there's a weird break. Again, might just be me. But at least cut it after ugly, so there is no "ts" at the end.

Regarding the rest, it's clear that he talks to the other animals. Breaking the stick would be neat as well as him getting up and plumping down at the end. You can make it very child like and disappointed.

Looks all good, I'd keep going!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sylvain Chomet's The Illusionist

I found those pics @ cookedart and I love them! Can't wait to see a trailer! Head over there for more images.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

On copying a person or an actors performances

Here's a question I got in the comments section of a previous post:

I have a question. Do you think copying a person or an actors performances is a good way to learn?

Sometime I will watch an interview of an actor and they will have particularly uncliched mannerisms and expressions when they are talking and think to myself "that would be pretty cool in an animation!"

So, it has occured to me to just copy the most interesting part of the interview/acting as a 10-15second dialogue, especially as a way to learn the subtleties of humans when speaking dialogue.

I think I recall that artist use to copy a masters work as an aid to improve there skills and thought maybe the same principles could be applied to improving your own animation and observation skills.

That's a good question and in short I would say yes (imo). BUT. If you do a straight copy then I would treat that animation as an exercise. Any animation you do is practice and practice is good. The problem with a straight copy though is that it's not very original, which is okay when you do exercises since you are doing those for yourself. But when it comes to producing a clip which should showcase your talent as an animator, then it's not going to help you. Being able to "transfer" cool acting bits from your reference onto your 3D character is one thing. Doing it well and producing technically good animation is another. But there are a lot of good animators out there who can animate beautifully. The real standout nowadays (to me at least) is your creativity and how original your ideas are (acting or otherwise).

So when you study and observe people around you or actors on film, then it should serve as an inspiration, as a springboard for more ideas, which you will in turn act out and animate, creating a new, more original performance.

In theory. It's easier said than done... :)

Hope that answers the question!


- pic source

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Critique - Men

The beginning until "well" works pretty ... well... There's some stuff we could tone down but I would concentrate on other areas right now.
For instance the pause between "well" and "he came..." There's a lip smacking and swallowing sound right before the "he came..." part and it sounds like the guy is nervous or having trouble saying the part (trouble not physically but mentally). So I would adjust the acting during that pause accordingly. Right now it looks like he just had a sip of hot chocolate and is really savoring the taste. He looks pretty relaxed too.
The "two men" gesture is a bit too on the nose for me, too acted out. I think you could do something more original and subtle. Or at least a different, more original gesture. Same with the last acting bit (lifting the eye brow).

It all works as it is now, but I feel like I have seen clips with a guy acting all cool before. You could use the sound and introduce more character and emotion. Think about the context of the shot. Who is the guy talking? And who is he talking to? Where are they? How is the content of the audio clip affecting the character's behaviour?
"He came in this morning... with two men. Big guys." Is that "he" in the same room as them, but off screen? Does he need to keep that information secret? Should he not tell the other guy? So maybe they are in a public place and he's more cautious as he reveals that information? Maybe he looks around? What if a waiter comes by and serves them their beverages and that's why there is that long pause. The guy could start talking but then stops because of the waiter, then looks at him nervously/angrily/anxiously until he leaves (maybe waves him off impatiently), etc. etc.

That's just a suggestion but hopefully gets you going idea wise.



Ultimate Buzz Lightyear

Jimhillmedia.com features the new Ultimate Buzz Lightyear 16" toy and the features are really cool. Especially this: 

"... Buzz features puppeteering technology... Which allows you to move Buzz’s head, arms, legs & body in a specific manner and that this toy will then record these movements and replay them exactly as they’ve been programmed to."

That's cool!!