I'll be open to any feedback =)
Here's the playblast for my first attempt in the journey to become a kick ass animator =D Yeaa!!!
Stay tuned for more =)
Hello again, Just as promised.. I'm going to put all my progress work here for other animators to look at and give their opinions or suggestions to make the shots even better.
I'll be open to any feedback =)
Here's the playblast for my first attempt in the journey to become a kick ass animator =D Yeaa!!!
You can see the comparison between the blocking phase and the polished phase. How the blocking contribute so much for the final polished phase.
Stay tuned for more =)
Character animation is all about acting and stuff.. in fact, all animation in feature film or series requires a lot of dialogue shots. But I knew before I jump into any acting performance or action, I have to learn the basics all over again. And that means starting from the very bottom.. The weight, timing, and body mechanics is the most crucial thing to make your animation believable. Without them, it would never feel organic, it will always feel robotic and computery, even when your character is doing an acting with full facial expression.
That is why you have to be veeerryyy good at this first before going to put any emotion for the character. It's probably gonna take a very long time before I finally perfected my craft. But patience is the key here.. One key lesson that I learned is, no matter how bad you want to do acting performance for your piece, you cannot do any dialogue shot for the character before you understand the basic of the body language for the character.
That is the tiny little details that will sell your animation to the audience or any potential employers. Forget about acting or emotion for the character (it helps if you're already in advanced level) , it's the BODY LANGUAGE of the character that's telling the story and your idea for the shot. Just look at this film REACH by Luke Randall, it's a perfect example. It has no dialogue at all, but the emotion of the character is shown through the body language. You can get what the story is about and understand how the character feels without hearing any dialogue at all.
To tell you the truth, from my past experience with the employers in this industry, just ONE shot without any dialogue/acting but have a good body mechanics on it can get you a job, rather than a diverse acting shot but with a crappy body mechanics.
That is why you have to master this timing, weight and body mechanic first before doing any other stuff you want to make. That's the key.
I will post up some of my progress here soon, so you can join me and we can learn together and share our knowledge in the journey to become a better animator =)
Just drop me a mail if you have any question, or if you want any suggestion or reference material for your animation. I'll be happy to answer them.
Have FUN animating! =)
After a few years working as a 3D artist in the industry (pretty much as a generalist). I finally overcome the problem what most artist are facing in the first time of their career.
Some artist just didn't know what they like to do..especially if they're still students or fresh graduates. They tend to do everything rather than focusing on one particular area. This is because most of the schools are still implementing this system, where they throw everything at you and get you to do a lot of useless modules. But a really good school should have a specialization from the early on, like Ringling and Calarts for Animation, or Vancouver Film School for modeling and VFX.
I know it's good for students to get to know what the medium is about, but keep this in mind, you have to decide from early on what you wanted to focused on. 3D is a very broad field, and there are lot of choices that you can pick to be focused on. Whether it's modeling, texturing, animation, lighting, rendering, FX, etc..etc.. it's endless. You can't do everything all together, remember an old saying "Jack of all trades, a master of nothing." You need to pick your choice and focused on it! That is why I gave up my previous job as a generalist, and focused on becoming a professional animator. Because that's what I wanted to do!
To be honest with you, even after I worked in the professional environment, I knew just a little about animation and it's art form. Hell, I don't even learn anything back in University, I even have to build my own reel from the scratch after I graduated to get to the industry because my final thesis sucks! (yes, it is) At that time, my brain and eyes keep telling me that there's something wrong with my animation, but I didn't have the knowledge and technique that I needed from the school. But even after that, I can see that my animation is still not that good, because I lack the basic to make a good animation.
So I decided to start all over again. I begin to seriously studying the 12 principles of animation, reading a lot of books (Illusion of Life and The Animator's Survival Kit is the most recommended material for animators) I watch a lot of Disney classics and cartoons, and also listening to the 9 Old Men of Disney. I started researching and investigating different ways of animating. I looked at workflows, breakdown reels, sent emails to animators, looked at demo reels, student work, AM blogs... I also started looking more and more at 2D animation and appreciating it much more than I had before. To tell you the truth, I quickly became near obsessed with the process of blocking animation, treating each pose like a drawing, and thinking more and more in a 2D way. And I really wanted to understand it and to work that way.
Well said, all I'm saying is think about this carefully. 3D and animation is very hard, and it takes a long time to learn, so you want to be heading in the right direction as early as you can.
Hope that helps.
Well, here it is, my first animation - focused post I suppose..I am also on a long life journey to learning animation as well, so please bare with me along the way if there's some mistake or amateurish thing I made in this post.. =)
We all knew that 1 second of animation is equal to 24 frames (in film), which is a significant amount believe it or not. And each frame actually is a static image. One of the things about CG that animators or artist usually interpret is that it is in 3D, it got dimension and depth. But the truth is, CG is really not 3D.. if it's up on a screen, you will be looking at it as 2 Dimensional imagery, that's all it is. It may have a fancy shading, great color, deep lighting, but ultimately it's just a shape/drawing on a 2 dimensional plane.
And from that understanding, we have to think of our animation from a 2 Dimensional stand point. More so than you think it's necessary, especially in 3D animation. Now, for stop-motion animators and hand-draw animators, this almost goes without saying. You have to draw every single frame to come up with the animation, or adjust the puppet so it will fit in each shot. It's a little different in CG, you can put one pose in first frame, and another in frame ten, and the computer will calculate for you what's in between them..
But you know what? the computer sucks, it doesn't know where to put that inbetween frames, and it doesn't know how the character should move from one pose to the next. If we are new ,or lazy, maybe we just let the computer do that for us (unfortunately, this also happened to me) and you guess what?! it's horrible!!
I think a lot of new animators (including me) have their workflow like this : We used to do the blocking or posing the character really fast, and then spending the whole time polishing it. We still thinking in CG, we still rely on computers to do the motion for us (and.. guess what? the computer sucks!). We always thought that all professionals animators can do their blocking really fast and then goes straight awayto polishing the spline in the curve editor and let computer work for them. But this is a false impression a lot of new animators facing if they don't really understand the technique behind it (this is why I make this post). This isn't how professional animators work, one day, a colleagues of mine told me that he usually spend the whole time blocking the character until there's a keyframe in every 2 - 4 frame interval. And we need to make sure that the timing, anticipation, weight, and pose (I would say 12 principles of animation, maybe more) in the blocking is working beforemoving to polishing the character and going into curve editor (Who said animation is an easy job..).
This is why 2D animation is so successful. The secret ingredients to make your animation great, is that you have to treat your 3d animation just like you were drawing them on a paper. You need to pay attention on every frame, every pose,every silhouette, every bit of spacing and timing. The reason why 2D animators were so good is because of this. They put their best work on every single frame that goes through the motion. Which apparently we forgot about this meticulousness in CG a lot. And I was also fortunate enough to hear pros talk and able to read their blog about their workflow over and over again until it struck into my head.
It's like having a switch flipped in my head. I never animate the same way again. It's like one of those moments when you finally understand, even though you already hear it so much before. Once I implemented that knowledge into my animation, I noticed that my animation improved a ton! It's still not looked that great, it just looked better than it was before. It's still a lot of work on polishing and adjusting the curve editor.
Then came this phenomenal animator Jeff Gabor. This guy is the perfect example for this method. Because not until I actually saw the process of his blocking stages, I never really understood how powerful it could be.
Here's an example of Jeff Gabor blocking :
This blew my mind!! You can see his blocking phase is all in stepped mode, but it's so fluent and you could almost call this whole shot animated! It almost got keyframe in each of the frame.. it tells you how each frame is important for selling every tiny little detail of your animation. It also tells you how important to do reference for your animation, because it can tell you a slight idea of little detail or gestures that you wouldn't initially think of when you just animate from your head. Again, after watching his work, I didn't want to animate the way I had been with just a few frames in the blocking phase.
I didn't say that this is the best working method, and there are so many different way of working and approach to animate your scene. It is entirely up to you, but I hope this post can really help the one who starting to take their work seriously to become a character animator, and study the art behind it, not just the computer or CG aspect of it.
I used to be all about Pixar and their movies the whole time..for me personally, there's no better studios in the world that can top them. In terms of the story telling and the looks of the film.
But that's about to change after this new studio called Blue Sky Studios released it's fourth feature film Horton Hears a Who!
This movie changes everything! I knew them in the beginning from their previous movies Ice Age, Robots, and Ice Age2 : The Meltdown. But apparently the story and the animation is not good enough, compared to Pixar movies at that time.
But with Horton, it instantly put them in the animation spotlight. They're really bringing something to the table, with their broad, wacky Chuck Jones style of animation (Hats ofto Jeff Gabor and the team), really refreshing to look at after seeing so many Pixar movies, a must have movie for animators! =) And in 2009 they continued their success with Ice Age 3 : Dawn of The Dinosaurs. I got to tell you, this movie ROCKSS!! They really nailed the action adventure genre compared to their competitors..Dreamworks Monster Vs. Aliens, and Pixar Up (sorry Pixar). The story is great, the cinematography, the acting, animation, camera movement, lighting, rendering, and the jokes werefunny. It really suck you in to immerse the adventure yourself. I love everything about it..
Pixar always said that story is the king, but that is not totally true. The Characters is also the king..This movie is a perfect example for that..The whole plot of the movie is revolving around this new character Buck voiced by Simon Pegg. This character, just this one character makes the whole movie awesome! So having an appealing character is important to make the story works.
Bottom line, if you are looking for a real action adventure animated movie, Ice Age 3 : Dawn of Dinosaurs is the answer. It got everything that you wanted for a whole adventure movie. And it could not be achieved otherwise except in 3D.
Keep on Going Blue Sky!! And Jeff Gabor, I am going to learn a lot from you in the future! =D Cheers!!
I come across some book and found this lovely article about what former First Lady Barbara Bush said about the future,comparing it to a train ride. I'd like to share it with all of ya'll..
We get on board that train at birth, and we want to cross the continent because we have in mind that somewhere out there is a station. We pass by sleepy little towns looking out the window of life's train, grain fields and silos, level grade crossings, buses full of people on the road beside us. We pass by cities and factories, but we don't look at any of it because we want to get to the station...This station changes for us during life. To begin with, for most of us, it's turning 18, getting out of high school. Then the station is that first promotion and then the station becomes getting the kids out of college, and then the station becomes retirement and then....all to late we recognize the truth -- that this side of that city whose builder is God, there really isn't a station. The joy is in the journey and the journey is the joy.
Sooner or later, you realize there is no station and the truth of life is the trip. Read a book, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, hug a child, go fishing, laugh more. The station will come soon enough. And as you go, find a way to make this world more beautiful.
Focusing on the destination is not a good idea. Tomorrow may come ; it may not. The only place we really have any power is in the present.
"Do what you can in the here and now, making
the most of the journey."
Why Passion? What is Passion??
I am always going on and on about how you should follow your passion..your heart (not feelings). And I believe everyone should implemented passion into their life too. But what is passion really mean..?
Passion mean "Creative endeavors that you enjoy immersing yourself in."
For example ; some people maybe are passionate about collecting a stamp. Starting with filling out a selection type of a stamp, then the collector becomes aware of better ways to collect, and maybe even start trading and dealing, and eventually might turn it into a small business. That's "following your passion" in its truest sense.
"Your passion is your own personal Yellow Brick
Road. Following your passion will lead you to
your own personal Emerald City."
I want to talk a little bit about my personal life towards passion for a moment here..hope you don't mind. You can skip this part if you want.
Why I take CG and animation as my career? Ever since I was in kindergarten, I always love to draw.. there are so much imagination in my head, that I am so eager to take it out into reality and see it with my own eyes. That's why I draw.. I want to make my imagination becomes reality. And then not when I was in primary school I believe, my mom took me to cinema to saw this movie called "Toy Story". There's something about this movie that really hypnotize me the first time I saw it.. those things look like a real toy, but it's alive, those toys are really moving! And it looks very real to me at that moment.. With this break- through in technology, it looks like you can do anything that you can possibly imagine and bring it to life. Right at that moment I remember I told my mom " that's what I wanted to do when I grow up. I want to create those things, just like them. " I always carry that sentence ever since.. This has been my passion from then and I never thought of doing anything else instead of doing 3D animation along the way. It has been over 10 +years I carry this passion, and still feels good and have a lot of faith about it. This is what excites me in the morning when I wake up..
Well, I think I've been gone on to long about myself here..=P
Passions are what drives us. Someone who ignores his/her passions is not going to lead a happy life.
It is the same like Computer Graphics and 3D animation, it is cool, it is brand new, but is it for you? It is not an easy industry, none of them are, it also requires a lot of hard work.
But if you love it that much, you will keep pushing forward, if you love it, you will have the drive to push forward even when the skies are dark."
Be Passionate People!
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