Saturday, 17 April 2010

Camera cuts !

Right! This is what I've come up with, after goofing around wiv that camera and then changing the poses accordingly, exaggerating some of 'em ! Will work more to push it next week on :)

I'll hand this in right away now and wait to see what he says.I Got two more weeks to Polish the shot.
(The purple "thingi" is supposed to be a vase or something, that smashes amongst other things, when the shelves fall. But this is just a make do Vase for now, so Jamy gets an idea of what I am aiming for in the shot. I might put in some real stuff n make them smash down into pieces after week 5)
Now I'm eagerly looking forward to what he says on the camera cuts and the poses in my Official e- Critique from Jamy, on this week's assignment then :)
Wow, do I hear the birds chirping outside ? 6:30 am ! I Din't realize it ! Fun stuff ! Right, guess I better get off here now :)!
U guys have a brill weekend ! I'll be back soon with a well refined piece !

Friday, 16 April 2010

Week 3 - Q & A with Jamy Wheless !

Had an awesome class today!
Jamy let out a broad grin seeing my shot. He thought it looked cute and funny and was happy to see the way its coming along. He liked it. so that works!
On my shot, he suggested 2 things that he would like to see now.
1. camera cuts - He said, " always treat the camera as a character, that is watching the other character (Stewie) do his stuff". He suggested that I play with the camera, so we see Stewie's 3/4th profile and front, too. But keeping in mind the 180 degree rule.
The 180° rule is a basic guideline in film making that states that two characters (or other elements) in the same scene should always have the same left/right relationship to each other.
Wow! I've never worked with the camera like that, this is new! but then again that's what we're here for... init ? Learning new stuff all the time, taking up challenges, getting your hands all dirty, experimenting, trying, stumbling and picking up the pieces all along the way !! That's what really brings all the fun into animating !
2. The last reaction- He liked how Stewie reacts to the falling shelves but suggested I push it a wee bit further and exaggerate the movement on the last reaction
With these two sorted, I'll be happy!
He gave us a very very interesting Insight to how he animates, and how he goes about his workflow.
He said he treats his shots like a Christmas tree. When u start decorating christmas trees as kids, we tend to put on the bigger ornaments first and so you know that all the smaller ornaments will be hung around the bigger ones. So he blocks out the main key poses that tell the story in first. The smaller ornaments go on the tree next. Those would be the breakdowns.
He also stressed on how important it was to take out at least 30% of the allotted time, you get to do a shot and devote it on planning the shot (shooting loads of references, and drawing loads of possible thumbnails, poses, camera angles).
That makes sense !
Thankfully not a lot many changes to hand in, on my I can easily fix these by tonight and hand in a version for Sunday!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Almost ready to dive into Splines on the Pantomime !

Wow ! This has been a crazy crazy week!

The shot went into blocking. Did a very rough pass on Monday. The clock in the shot somehow didn't seem to work. I didn't wanna have the whole shot rely on the clock either, so scraped it out. Still something about the shot wasn't working the way I would want it to, and I couldn't put a finger on it. When working on an idea I usually am absolutely stoked about it, all through till the very end. For this one, that excitement just wasn't coming. I talked to my mentor and also discussed about my option of changing the idea to which he consented. I came up with more ideas but then that's it. I planned and planned a couple, did some drawings and thumbnails! But that didn't really do much for my motivation on the mime. I Learn a lesson. NEVER EVER change your idea. Once you've decided on it, go with it - No matter what. You'd rather make the IDEA work than change the idea altogether after u finish planning it.

Well, so that's what I did and I like what came out of it so far. Been working on the shot and did loads of passes on it all week and I've started to like it now (Still pushing it tho). It is still in Stepped, but almost ready to be polished and refined in Splines next week on.... (or so I would like to think). Got criticisms and suggestions from some friends at school and that helped. Its not even close to perfect yet but its something. :)
Week 3- Blocking in Stepped

This is still in stepped but I'll now take it to Splines or Plateau next week. (I think Plateau might save my life tho) I plan to put delicate stuff on the shelves that will smash into pieces as the shelves tumble down. But I'll do that in the very end, once I have nailed down the animation on our lill guy here ! :)
Still working on pushing this shot before I jump into next week but might not get the whole weekend to do it [ driving out of town with the fam :) ]. But that's cool. My shot is pretty much alright to go into splines next week on, for the polishing and refining. I've got in sufficient amount of main keys and breakdowns (in-betweens) on 4's (and even 2's where needed). I worked the "copy-pair" way when blocking this shot out this time. I've held poses for a good number of frames where we needed holds and delays, for a nice texture in timing, just so they don't go all over the place on the timing, when I convert them to splines in the graph editor.
I handed this in already but will keep tweaking it tomorrow as well.
And then I go POLISHING the shot next week on! *WOOOOT* Really fun stuff !!!!! I love how things are going now... been busy but now things are working on this shot so its good. Two more weeks on this shot and then off to a new one... its a one person dialog shot then ! got to watch a lot of movies and get some nice dramatic dialogs to choose from, for the acting dialog piece that we start in week 6 ! should be fun again! :) but can't get distracted thinking about that now ! Got to focus and walk that extra mile on this one!
I'll get back with a well refined version of this shot in two weeks now then!
Blogging off!

Adios ! :)

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Before taking the plunge

Right ! new refrence videos shot, picked and edited, New thumbnails done
A good amount of brainstorming all day, gave me a lot to play with. More like a brain teaser, if I dare say! I made loads of notes and filmed loads of references, considering Stewie as a customer, Owner of the shop, Cleaner, Security guard, a kid..... and each had their own stories and motivations to do wot they did in my shot. The one that I thought worked best, was Stewie the Cleaner.
Stewie is a CLEANER who cleans the store after it closes at 6 in the evening.
  • He does his job from 6pm to 8pm.
  • It's probably his first day at work
  • He is about 22 years old.
  • Loves his music
  • Is a carefree guy
  • Works part time, with college.
The shot:
Tentative : [CAMERA: Long shot of a glass door with a CLOSED sign board visible. We hold this for about 10 frames.CAMERA Zooms in after frame 10 till about frame 20, zooming in just a tad, so we go past the door on the inside ]
We see Stewie's Back and a bit of his face in a 3/4th camera angle, and a clock on the wall next to a Bell.
He wipes the shelf and then looks up at the clock as soon as the bell goes off. We see its 8 pm on the clock (time to go home) !
He swipes his finger clean on the shelf one last time before taking a quick turn. The camera can very clearly see that he swipes his finger on the off the edge of the shelf.
He then turns around (Maybe allowing 12 frames for the quick turn), with his profile view towards camera. He then dusts off the dust on his finger by twitching his thumb with the finger twice, (each time taking about 5 to 7 frames). Just then the shelf crashes , and Stewie starts Reacting 10 frames after the shelf hits ground !
Sign on the wall Revealed as objects fall of the shelves.. :

Click on image to Enlarge

Click on image to Enlarge

Good thing I could get this and the video reference to fit well in the 100 to 250 frame limit we are alloted for this shot. Works alright so far!
I think I'm sorted for now and can safely go back to finish my Blocking in maya now based on the new set of thumbnails and planning. It is so important to plan the shot well, Glad my mentor gave me direction on how to think about the attitude and personality of the character before we jump into maya. The timing or the allotment of frames to each action, is based on my perception of how long a task would normally take. Once I get the blocking done in Maya, I plan to play around with the timing of when things happen in the shot, to give it a nice texture! Will work on it this week (what's left of it) and the next !
This is fun! :) Got my next Q n A tomorrow... and I am quite looking forward to it. Might upload what I have so far and discuss it further with Jamie and the class and see what everyone thinks of it so far !
Off to finish blocking this out now ! *Wooohooo" :) U gotta love it!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Animating Week 2 away !

Got my First Critique from Jamy today, for the Idea handed in last week. He likes my Idea and thinks its going to be lots of fun to work on!
He had some brilliant suggestions there though, as far as the thought process goes into the shot and the staging. He suggests I have the camera placed at a quarter angle and maybe even pan the camera down a bit, rather than having stand "Straight on dead center" , like I have it in the thumbnails. Think that makes sense as it would help the audience read the shot better when he picks up the ornament and puts it down and all the gestures in between those would read clearly too.
So I guess that would look something like this :
(just quick shabby rough drawings, to experiment what works)

Jamy said I should think deeper, about what Stewie feels all through it. What's he thinking or feeling when he looks around that particular section on the shelf, What he feels when he is about to pick the ornament up. What's his attitude... is he sheepish right from the beginning? When he puts it back... how do I bring in the contrast? does he put it slowly down delicately (taking all the time in the world)? cautious so it doesn't break? and maybe push that embarrassment feel in the end a tad more. Jamy suggested that I convey the attitude right in the beginning so that we see his personality right off as he starts looking around or picking the ornament.He felt it also might be worthwhile to try and get a natural reaction as the Shelf falls behind him, by having a friend drop off a big shelf or object right by me, when filming the reference ... and notice how I react. That would be a more organic reaction then. I could try that one out.
I've started Blocking the shot out in Maya. Got in about 10 poses so far but plan on incorporating his suggestion in before moving forward on that one and I also might wanna give my rubbish acting skills one last take !
Right, I better blog out and get to it then :)
Adios !

Monday, 5 April 2010

TERM 4- Introduction to Acting

I started term 4 last week and am pretty much half way through the Program, and loving it. This term , we're being introduced to Acting in Animation.
I got Jamy Wheless as my Mentor this term.
Jamy graduated from Auburn University in 1987,and then worked as a freelance illustrator in Atlanta, GA, storyboarding and creating traditional animation.
In 1995, he caught the eye of George Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic when his short film, 'Avery', premiered at SIGGRAPH.In 2000, Jamy became a member of ILM's feature production team, where he ultimately became responsible for the character development and performance of Yoda for the Star Wars prequels and Davy Jones for the Pirates of the Caribbean films.He is currently president of Lightstream Animation Studios in Petaluma, CA.(
WOW ! Something tells me, this term is going to be Bags of fun!
The last week, we started with thinking of ideas for a 10 second PantoMime Shot. I thought of about 6 different ideas and finally stuck to the one I really think works and the one that looks pretty simple but might have a lot of scope for acting in it.
As a part of this 1st assignment, we also had to film ourselves, acting the idea out, which I wouldn't put up here, since I am way too embarrassed to do that ! So you'd have to spare me on that one! I find it the hardest to ignore the camera and act ! And because we've been subjected to exercises like this, I have learnt to appreciate the jobs of Live action actors a lot more! Trust me, it doesn't come easy,... well it doesn't come to me at all ! LOL
Anyway! Back to The idea then :)
Stewie (Our character) is in a China Shop. He picks up an ornament from the shelf, and looks around cautiously to check if no one is looking. He then places the ornament ever so carefully back on the shelf and turns around to now face the camera.
Just then, the shelf comes tumbling down, breaking everything that comes in its path. Stewie, has a sense of surprise and shock on his face on hearing the sound (He is still facing the camera) his posture goes from a slouch to an Upright stance, and eyes closed on hearing the crash !
The camera reveals words behind him ,... on the wall that read " DO NO TOUCH- WEAK SHELF" , (the words were apparently hidden by the objects on the shelf)
Some really rough thumbnails :

I'm off to blocking the key poses and breakdowns on Stewie in Maya this week then! THIS is where the fun begins! :) Eagerly waiting on the Critique from My mentor this week on the idea and the video reference that I handed in last week. I hope I can get to know what he thinks about my idea,.. sooner this week.
I might or might not post the shot up here yet, on the blocking this week 'cuz it is bound to look a bit to naive and boring. But We'll see ! We finish this shot by week 5 but I promise to keep talking before and upload progress on this one soon in the coming weeks :)

Till then U guys have fun
Blogging out for now! :)

Back from the DEAD ! :)

Hey Guys!

Yeah been ages I know. Have had a lot going on, in the outside world for me. and I hate to admit it, I've been a wee bit lazy too, as far as posting stuff here goes.

Last term I had MIKE STERN (Animator with DreamWorks - as my mentor. He worked on movies like Kung fu Panda, Bee Movie, Monsters Vs Aliens and very recently, How to train your Dragon! He had loads of awesome suggestions on pushing your shots beyond the normal in the final polishing stage.

Its a shame, I couldn't get to take much away from him as I would have liked to, if my laptop didn't crash in the middle of Last term leaving me without a computer to work with for a goood 4 weeks of Term time which was fatal but I managed to pass alright with an ok GPA which I ain't so proud of. Agggh! hate when things like that happen. De-motivates u to the core. Hate it, hate it, hate it. My GeForce burnt out on the Alien-ware and it wouldn't work again. I couldn't restart the laptop and would have LOST almost everything on there had I not taken the backups on my WD. phew! so that was good. I recently bought another WD to back up my back up and had to buy a new laptop to work on. Last term was a nightmare for me! but now I am a happy soul :) ! Had to take a Leave of absence from school for a term, as my situation demanded it!

I'm back now and am going to try my best to be blogging in regularly with updates on stuff I animate and stuff that I DO NOT animate :) !