Wednesday, 29 October 2008

...week 4...

The reading and seminar this week I found really useful and will be key when writing stories and sequences in future. I enjoyed discussing the ideas of violence, the media and how films, animations and computer games effect the way people think towards violence and their behaviour due to it. This is an area I have studied previously when I took psychology, and so have a basic knowlege of studies and findings on this topic. However I didn't know much about sequencing or thought about how the order characters are presented, effecting how the viewer connects with or feels towards them. After reading examples of this from various films, news reports and even when watching The Incredilbes you can really see how this changes the audiences perspective.
Doing an in-depth study of the Incredibles helped to breakdown scenes and really showed the importance of the use of colours and their meaning, camera angles, sequencing..particularly with all the violent scenes. It basically showed how everything... backgrounds, lighting, movement, done for a particular reason that should, most probably subconciously, be picked up and connect with the audience.

2D character performance....

Above is my 2D piece of work from this weeks studio day. Focusing on how the characters act together and communicate with eachother, exaggerating the emotions such as surprise, annoyed etc..but continuing the animation principles of squash and stretch, anticipation and overlap. I am quite happy with the final piece, however I did make a few alterations as I went along and there are a few areas I would still change watching it now. I think it is quite noticable about the size change of the larger cube character from the start of the animation to the end..I just need to make sure that after having squashed, stretched and moved my character around he goes back to being the correct size and that when he is moving he maintains the right volume. I think this looks ok at the beginning, however just trails off a bit towards the end.

Other areas I would change around are perhaps the beginning..slowing it down a bit..adding a few more frames when the character is waiting around just to exaggerate what is happening. After filming each frame, I played it through and added a few frames where it just didnt look right. For example when the large cube flicks the small cube away. I really needed more aniticipation before the flick which I think works much better now. Similarly I added to the surprised look when the smaller character jumps in. However I think I could develop this part further still, and give him a much more exaggerated shocked look. I'm also not sure about the small cube flying out at the end having been flicked away. Having him tumble over would probably have been a nicer idea.

Having said all that I am pleased with the way this piece worked. It's definately the longest one I've done so far, and probably the most satisfying when I saw it working and the characters interacting.

3D character jump...

the first attempt...

after a few more tries...

Although I still don't feel completely comfortable with Maya yet..and lets face could be a while until I do..I was quite happy with this weeks work. I completed it whilst in the studio being taught and then created the jump again and again until I got it looking better. I saved my first attempt at it from Tuesday, and then saved another after a bit more practice..and hopefully there's a noticable difference!! I'm much happier with my later attempts!

The only thing I find with 3D is that I can never create the same thing always looks a bit different everytime..and I find it hard to just go back and tweak things here and there without messing it up and needing to starting over. This may be a good thing though as I can just start over whenever, and if the movement changes each time, well hopefully its just getting better each time and I'm making improvments rather then changing it for the worse.

I do feel I am getting to grips with Maya more now, however after the tutorial I had today I think it makes sense to practice a lot more..just playing around with ideas, movements, especially trying to remake some of the 2D movements into 3D and see what I can do. I will do this in the studio as well so I can learn from and with other people in the same situation..good thinking Georg!

Friday, 24 October 2008

3D squashing and stretching...

...well above is my attempt at 3D squashing and stretching. I think it is safe to say that at the moment I am more comfortable with the 2D animation particularly in terms of timing. I think I just feel much more in control of what I am drawing and making objects move. However I am already feeling more confident with Maya then I thought I would be at this stage. Looking at my 3D work I think that parts of it work ok, and I think the timing is alright but there may be too much squash and stretch in some parts because its quite clear that the shape is changing. I think I'll keep trying it and practicing using Maya until I am confident and get it looking right.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

putting weight into drawing...

Since the last life drawing lesson I think I have improved on my proportions when drawing the human figure. I did manage to do some drawings of my willing flat mates whilst sitting around the flat which helped...

Today however, as well as maintaining the work done on proportion and figure we focused more on weight and balance. I found this to be a nice exercise. I like to use charcoal...pastels..nice messy media, so adding tones emphasising weight I find I do anyway to most drawings. However to really exaggerate the transfer of weight I need to use the muscles of the body and positioning as well as tone. I think over the session I made improvements to my work, but still more practice will help...

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

jumping cubey man...overlap!

..the idea of this one is to show the overlap at the end of a movement to make it seem more realistic and natural. I think that I did manage to do this but it perhaps could have been exaggerated even more. There are also other little bits that dont look quite right when you watch it over and over. One part I noticed was when the character takes off the arms almost look like they go up backwards rather then moving back past the body and into the air. I think this could be solved by adding one more frame into the beginning where the arms are positioned passing the body.
Other then these tweaks I was quite happy with the way my jumping cube character worked.

now for the 3D strechy squashy ball... :S...

Monday, 20 October 2008


Discussing the ideas of film form and genre today really helped to put the texts I read into perspective and listen to others ideas. I found it interesting to see the various ways people catagorize films into genres of types, and to talk about how animations can be subcatagorized into types, forms, possibly even their own genre.

I find this area of history and theory interesting, however I think it could become quite complex, especially when discussing genres changing, and if nowadays you can give a film just one genre, and even how films are popular because they help to resolve personal or real life problems (or even just give us high expectations)...there are so many issues and discussions that could come from topics of form and genre and I think this could be an area that could be studied in great depth as there are so many questions branching from it.

I enjoying learning about the history of animation, finding out where ideas came from, hows it's seems so strange seeing the first animations, particularly when comparing them to some of the incredibly realistic CGI and feature films you get now!Though I have to admit I prefer some of the older work to the more developed animations, simply because you can see the changes, sketchey work, movement through drawing and art.

Watching 'Peter and the Wolf' however really caught my attention. I'd love to be able to create an animation in that style. The darkness within it along with the movement, music and realistic setting really gives it emotion without the use of speech. The characters themselves have clear personalities simply by the way they are built and move..and you just can't get past those deep staring eyes that most of the characters possess!

Thursday, 16 October 2008 drawing...

First proper life drawing lesson today and I really enjoyed it! I had experienced doing some life drawing classes from when I did my art foundation course, however that seems a while ago now and I'm glad to have the chance to do more on quite a regular basis.

From today I found it took me a while to get into it and I've found that in particular I could do with working on perspective and proportions a little more. I think the fact that I'm working sitting down meaning the paper is already at an angle doesn't help and for next time I will probably stand to have a better position when drawing.

Drawing the model in quite a range of positions enabled me to practice drawing from different perspectives using foreshortening, highlighting the importance of exaggerating certain features in order to make the human figure look natural and in proportion.

This will definatley be an area I will practice more in my own time to develop my skills of capturing the human body and movement.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

..back in the studio..

Getting back onto Maya today after doing the help/learning tutorials I felt I had more of a chance of understanding what everything does. From today I think I learnt more about the concept of movement and using graphs to change speed and way the movement works. When making the first of the bouncing balls I admit to feeling completely confused about what I had done to create it, however after doing the same thing a few times it becomes a lot clearer and the buttons and program seem more natural to use. When being taught how to create something on Maya for the first time it does seem extremely complex, however I've found that the more I do the same thing over again the easier it becomes and I can even start to see what I'm missing when things don't work, and can correct/change simple things to make it work.(Or in some cases just start over again..which often I found to be the more effective way of sorting problems!) I really enjoyed the 2D lesson today..there is so much satisfaction simply from squashing/stretching objects to give them a really cartoon-style movement, yet at the same time bring them to life so much more, adding character to simple objects! I think what I learnt most from todays work was the anticipation you have to put into drawings and animations. I had never really thought about this before, however the difference between animation with and without it is very obvious. It makes characters/moving objects so much more natural and realistic and I can now see why it is key to any animation..

Monday, 13 October 2008

back to the history..

Discussing the issues of racism, age and gender stereotyping really helped to put what I have read and watched into perspective. Previous to the lessons I had never thought of characters such as Brare Rabbit/Fox/Bear as stereotyped black characters, however now it seems very clear and distinct characteristics can be seen and compared cosely to characters from 'Coonskin' and live action films. It's interesting to think about why stereotypes exist, linking this to the idea of conceptual development and how the media/news/film build up ideas and effect the way you think about certain groups or particular types of people. However I agree with what was said today about the way humans catagorize things naturally to make sense of everything, perhaps making it easy to put a message across, giving characters an identity, however at the same time perhaps giving a very one sided view of a race/culture/gender. I think this is key for animation to qucikly and easily put a message/story across, however I suppose you have to be careful of the way it's used...

I found today there was a lot of info to take in about film form and genre. It was good to hear about the various types and what they are based on and how film form developed over time, however I felt a bit lost towards the end. I think I will read up on this topic to get my head around it a bit more, as well as watch some of the examples to clearly see the differences between some of the genres.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

life drawing

First Drawing class last thursday and i was glad to get back into it! I think this is part of the course I will really enjoy as it is where I have more experience compared to the computer side of things. Just from the first class I could already see my drawing getting better from where my skills had perhaps gone a bit rusty over the summer. I hope to keep my sketchbook busy and aim to fill it with various sketches/drawings/marks of figures and movement, which should improve my knowledge of the body, movement, joints and the line of action. Consequently this should have a positive effect on any hand drawn and computer animation I do.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

..and so it begins...

It's been a matter of days and already I feel I have increased my knowledge of the animation process. When the concept of representation was explained and discussed between the group I realised I was already seeing a whole new level or view of animation. Predominantly this came from understanding that moving images, any images for that matter, seen on screen can be broken down very simply into their basic components, and it is our own concepts, experiences and understanding of what the images represent that make the image meaningful to us.

Learning Maya is perhaps what I am most anxious about. With little experience of CGI or 3D computer animation I find it quite daunting. Having read some explainations and watched the 'help' key learning videos I felt I had a very basic understanding of what you could do with the program. Having now had it explained in person and taught directly to me I am more confident about using it (perhaps only for making polygons move around the screen) but at least I'm brave enough now to play around with ideas and click buttons to find what I can do without being daunted by the complex look of the program.

I love the idea that (as animators!or soon to be...) we are creating illusions on screen, tricking the mind into thinking it's seeing flowing movement. Even with a simple concept of a stick man jumping or a circle morphing into something else, when I see my work come to life I just want to do more!