Thursday, March 26, 2009

Animation Mentor: Class 212: Progress Reel

Class 212

In every Class at Animation Mentor, Week 12 is the week AFTER the final shot is due. There is no grade for anything, simply a final lecture reviewing the class and our final Q&A with our mentor. The other final thing we have to do before the Friday noon deadline is to piece together a progress reel of all our AM work. Many people just piece the shots together, put a name plate on the front and call it good. I started last term with creating a name plate with some "character". I continued that character into this term's name plate. AM has a mascot named "Spike" and one of the AM logos has a Mary Blair (an amazing Disney designer...wikipedia her!) or 50's style inspired Spike in it. I took this logo, recreated it and have added references to the mentor from each Class. Class 1 was Victor Navone. The animated short, "Alien's Song", got him a job at Pixar. I used that as the reference to his logo. Class 2 mentor, Rebecca Perez, has worked at a few studios in her short feature film career, but I chose the most recently RELEASED film to use for her logo, Bolt.

Besides the name plate, the main reason for this assignment is to have a record of our AM progress. It's always so much fun for me to see this put together. And now you can see it too!

Here's my Class 2 Progress Reel:

*music credits for "DakotaKid Theme" (the music in my Reel) go to my amazing buddy, Caleb Dirnberger!!

Thanks again to Rebecca and all my buddies at AM for helping getting me to this point!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Animation Mentor: Class 207-211

Class 207: part 2

This week is the crossover week. Meaning I have to finish my second shot and start my third shot of the class. I chose the "baseball throw" pick for my third shot, but I wanted to do more of a story and something I hadn't seen really at AM for this assignment. Also, I was REALLY missing my snow, so I chose to do a snowball throw/fight. I went to my place of work and set up a mock snow fort and grabbed some foam pit to be my snowballs. You can see my first attempt at reference footage and sketches at the end of my Class 204-107

Class 208

Week 8 started with reworking my reference footage based on Rebecca's e-crit comments. Here's that reworked video footage:

I also really didn't feel my sketches were anywhere NEAR what I needed to block in this shot well. I also was inspired by a buddy of mine from AM, Jeffrey. He sent me a video of his favorite Donald Duck cartoon, "Donald's Snowfight". I realized I had this short on DVD, so I used this for some reference. It was a HUGE help to flesh out some of my poses. In the end, it was worth taking the extra planning time for this shot. Here are the new sketches:

Once I got the planning part done, I started blocking in my shot. This part took a LONG time..and in the end, I actually spent an extra week or so in the blocking stage. But it all helped make the end shot better!

Here's my week 5 blocking assignment:

Class 209

This week, I really took the notes from Rebecca's critique and continued to work on the overall timing and pushing the key poses to really read well.

Here's the blocking PLUS pass:

Class 210

I finally got my shot pushed into splines this week. For those of you that are already lost with my animation terms, that basically means the shot now starts to smooth out and feel like more fluid motion. I also tried to add in some touches like squash & stretch and drag.

Here's the Week 10 refining assignment:

Class 211

Week 11 brings us to the last push on this final shot. We are to polish our shots as far as we can. This is the most time consuming and draining part in my mind. I don't know that you can EVER stop polishing a shot, at least that's what Rebecca has told us many times. Every shot I've done, I go through this time of "I'll never get this shot done" and every time I end up with a finished shot. Rebecca had said earlier in this shot how this was going to be a really good shot. I tried really hard to get this to be as good as she had said it could be. I still feel like I've got some more work to do on it to add that final 10% that will separate my animation from the majority of other animation reels, but it's coming along.

Here's the final shot of Class 2:

Overall..I'm super excited about all the growing I've done over the last couple months. I have learned so much from my mentor and my fellow Animation Mentor students. After Week 12, we only get a weekend to rest and we start right in on Class 3. Honestly, I'm soo excited to get on into my next class, Intro to Acting! Check back to find out who my new mentor will be and to see my Class 3 work. Also, check out my other blog DakotaKid's World to see what non-Animation Mentor stuff is going on in my life.

Until laterz!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Animation Mentor: Assignment #2 Revision

Week 207 Revision

I got a great review of my final FLIPPIN' shot in my e-crit from Rebecca this week. I wasn't sure I'd get the revision finished, but I got it done in the wee hours of Sunday morning. I tweaked it even more and she really thought it had come soo far. Of course, she found a few more things to tweak, but in the end said to just set it on the shelf for a few weeks and then come back to it with really fresh eyes and look at a couple parts that still need some minor, nitpicking tweaks. But overall, she said it was really good. Always great to hear from your mentor!

Here's the revised version I am submitting this week:

One more shot in Body Mechanics..and I picked a doozie! The blocking pass went now we'll just see if I can push it even more in the quest for another killer shot!! Check back for more info and samples of that shot!

Until laterz!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Animation Mentor: Class 204-207

Class 204: part 2

This week was both finishing up my last shot AND planning out the next one. I chose to do a tough pick from the list and did the "jump on to a post and balance". Now those of you that know me..I couldn't just do a basic, I had to give myself a little more of a challenge. I thought it'd be cool and DIFFERENT if I had Stewie (who doesn't have arms, by the way) not just jump, but do a "NO HANDED CARTWHEEL" or aerial onto the post. But it doesn't stop there..I then also decide to have him then do a back tuck flip onto a second post. Most are thinking about's a ton. But wait..I ain't done! I then wanted him to do a bigger back layout flip onto yet a third post. After he did this, he was then gonna do a crazy flip. Easy, right?? WHAT AM I THINKING?????

Luckily, I coach gymnastics and also participated back in the day. I took my wonderful Christmas gift mini-dv camera and asked one of my level 7 gymnasts to do an aerial for me. I would have loved to have just filmed myself..but I didn't want to break my neck. I then asked a couple other gymnasts to do some back tucks and layouts on the trampoline. I had wished I coulda video taped my girls back in South Dakota. I know they would have loved it..but the girls here are great sports and good kids too!
So yeah..the reference footage. I also took some of myself doing the "acting" parts of the shot and maybe even a couple flips..dang..old, outta shape guys CAN flip!

Here's what I submitted for reference footage:

Along with the reference video we needed to have a few pages of our sketchbook for our mentor to see our planning process. This is really important for us to work through our poses to get the clearest ones, along with working out timing and some story. Here's what I came up with for that part of the assignment:

Class 205

Week 5 of this class was my birthday week! I turned a year older on Monday and spent the day at Disneyland...FREE! A good friend of mine with a season pass went with me and we had a blast! But after the fun and games of Disneyland..I had to come back to reality and get down to my blocking of my second shot. I got some good feedback in my Week 4 e-crit from my mentor, Rebecca, about my choice and she was supportive that I could meet the challenge. I just hate that she's trying to push to make me a better animator! LOL (in case your wondering..that was sarcasm..)

Here's my week 5 blocking assignment:

Class 206

Week 6 started with my e-crit from Rebecca. It wasn't as glowing as I'd wanted, but part of that was my own fault. As you saw in the previous week's assignment, I had created the shot in a perspective view to get the LONG shot into a closer view. I was trying to make the poses work towards that camera view. I thought it would be a good decision to add the profile view so Rebecca could really see the arcs of the action. I was really proud of my flips. This was not smart. When Rebecca was giving me her crit, she couldn't read the poses as clearly because my camera angle was too drastic. So she went to the long profile view to give feedback. This is where everything went down hill. I had animated all the poses in this view to be nice clean lines of arcs..but wasn't worried about the silhouette of each pose, so she started really rippin' into it. In the end...I learned a ton and learned NOT to give additional views of the animation that aren't as cleaned up as the main one! Lesson learned!!

I took the crit and applied the comments to my shot. This pass is suppose to be a BLOCKING PLUS. Which can mean alot. But the basic idea is that you push your blocking pass further and maybe that includes starting to smooth out the motion into splines. You'll notice that I have added a camera move. I was really stubborn and wanted a better camera angle that showed off my animation. I didn't like how small it was when you saw it in the profile, so I tried my hand at a camera move. It took some work, but I finally got my mentor to see my point and in the end she agreed that the camera angle DIDN'T distract (like she had thought it would) and it does make it better to showcase my animation!

Here's the blocking PLUS pass:

Class 207

My FLIPPIN' shot was due this week. I worked my butt off to take the comments in Rebecca's Week 6 e-crit and implement them into my shot. I really tried to track the arcs in as much of the body as I could. Arcs are in EVERYTHING in real life. Nothing organic moves naturally in a straight linear all has an arc to the path of action. This can be tough..and is something I'm STILL working on. I really worked to polish this shot as far as I could by the Sunday noon deadline.

Here's the finished shot:

The other half of this weeks assignment is the planning for our third and final animated shot for Class 2. I decided to tackle the "throwing a ball" pick. But I decided to have it be a snowball fight, in honor of my missing actual winter in this WAY TOO WARM southern California! I once again used my place of work and shot the reference footage using some camera tricks and some foam pit!

Here's the video footage:

I also then did some planning for the shot. I'll admit..these are rough and in the end I ended up redoing them..but here's what I handed in this week:

I think this is enough to please you hungry, faithful readers this time around. Thanks for checking in with me..and hopefully it was STILL worth your time! Check back soon to see some more work...and check out my other blog DakotaKid's World to see what non-Animation Mentor stuff is going on in my life.

Until laterz!