Sunday, October 30, 2011

Class 4 Week 5: Final Donut

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At the end of the first acting assignment.  Had a lot of fun getting into the little details this week...how a hand releases and apple (and having it settle on the plate) to refining the arcs of the hands.  It felt like a luxury this week to have the time to go in and fine tune each and every curve - something essential, but that I honestly rarely get the time to do.  

One of the notes/tips from my mentor, Wayne, is that no curve should be left flat...the body is always moving or shifting or settling somehow.  So it was a fun challenge this week to "keep it alive" at all times.

Looking forward to our next big assignment....the start of dialogue acting - and we even get face controls in the rig for the first time.  Hooray!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Class 4 Week 4: Polishing up a Steal

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Well, felt like a lot of effort to get this weeks assignment out.  Had that moment of possibly overworking the animation, to the point that it took a lot of time to get it back to its same quality.  The changes I made seemed small going in; a different look here, a new focus there...but they added up to some significant changes to the acting of the shot.

Where before the character seemed more paranoid about his surroundings and who was watching, now he seems almost exclusively focused on the donut debate.  Only at the end do we see that concern about who was watching.  I think it makes a simpler stronger statement, although it was hard to give up some of those other moments.  Really looking forward to this last week on the assignment, when it's mostly just cleaning up all the curves and really making the animation sing!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Class 4 Week 3: Refining the actions

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Had some really great notes from my mentor this week.  Lots of little touches to the body mechanics that make a world of difference.

Most of the beats here remain the same.  The most significant change to the blocking is I have him tossing the apple in the air for a minute instead of the shrugging movement I had before.  I did this to 1) keeps his focus (and the viewer's) more on the apple, which 2) gives him a moment of contemplation before carrying out his attempted steal.  It's the moment he makes the decision.  That bit was actually something I noticed in one of my video ref outtakes - I really thought it made a nice storytelling moment.

He also begins watching the donut from the first moment he appears on screen.  This really helps set up his intentions from the very start, and by having the donut 'draw' him in the entire time really adds to the characters relationship with food.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

MvA Halloween Special on DVD


Finally got to see the dvd release of the Halloween short I worked on way back about two years ago - MvA: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space!  Aliens, monsters, mutant pumpkins stealing kids' candy...what's not to love?

This short sets up the events for MvA: Night of the Living Carrots that came out last week.  It's a good year to have worked on some Halloween specials!

Also be sure to check out the great B-Movie style posters one of the show artists created here

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Class 4 Week 2: Blocking It Out

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Lots of fun blocking this one out.  After a month of not animating it felt good to get back into the swing of it again.  I started out by getting a good walkcycle going on Stewie, and then making adjustments to give him some personality.  

A big lightbulb went off when I decided to make him overweight - instantly there's more motivation to his character and gave some insight in approaching his walk and movements.  I see him as a character that's never in much of a rush and takes his time to get places...until he sees something he really wants.  When it comes to the donut, he has more quick sudden movements.

This was also a good exercise in getting more comfortable with props/rigging/contraints.  The apple leaves his hand twice, and the donut is passed between both hands.  So it was great experimenting with the different ways to accomplish this and learn the pros/cons of each.  I think it really helps the animation feel more natural, with the almost casual way Stewie interacts with the props.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Night of the Living Carrots released!


My new halloween special is out!  Well, kind of - it was released as a download for the Nintendo 3DS.  I got to work on this at the beginning of the year and just had a blast!  It's also the short where I got to animate a Zombie Carrot cycle (what's not to love about that?).  Hopefully they'll release it in some other formats too...but in the meantime enjoy the publicity still.

I really have had the best time on these halloween specials - by the way, Mutant Pumpkins From Outer Space, the first of these Monsters vs. Aliens specials - finally gets it's DVD release this week.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Class 4 Week 1: Acting begins!

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Here we go again!  Starting the second half of Animation Mentor!  Now we begin to explore acting.  I've got a great class and a great teacher, Wayne Gilbert (I actually already have his book http://www.anamie.com/ that I got back in Class 1).  This entire class we're only going to have 2 projects, one with the usual character we've been using, the second will actually have facial features for the first time.

For this project, I went back to an idea I had in Class 3.  Actually, I had gone so far as to film all the reference of me up on the roof acting it out, before I switched at the last minute to the 'pumpkin lift' shot instead.  I really felt like this could provide some real nice moments to focus on the acting.