Thursday, 31 December 2009

11 Second Club Entry

Let me begin by saying:

Animation is friggin' hard!

Ok, now that's out the way... I've been working my ass off for the whole December month on this animation for the 11 second club competition. This month has been quite a roller coaster ride. Some days I would be super motivated and love my animation and the progression. Other days, I would feel incredibly bummed out as I watch this animation for the millionth time and nothing seems to work.

Here's the animation:

Watch in 720p HD!

Read on below for more interesting stuff:

Towards the end of the month, my computer even started to fail on me. It would crash at Windows and it would take me 10 tries for it to successfully reboot again. I was really panicking then, and everyone had gone home for xmas and no one was around to help. After several text messages and investigation, I found the problem. Apparently, it had been my power supply and I got that fixed asap, but in the course of action, I accidentally disconnected my new harddisk drive. Luckily, my XSI scene files are on my main hdd and I could continue animating. I have however lost all my movies, music and games, and my main animation folder where I store all my video references and clips. Basically I lost all my entertainment gear - which in a way made me slightly more productive. As for video references, I just whooped out my camera and filmed more, so no problems there.

Oh yes, and another problem I had was with RSI. Using the mouse for such a long period of time, with the added scrubbing back and forth has really hurt my fingers. I had to use my left hand for a day or two until it healed. Then I realized I had a spare Wacom lying around and used that instead, and it did wonders! It took me a while to get used to, but it's pretty neat for scrubbing.

I'm not sure if any other animator out there has done this before, but I've thought of this brilliant plan where I would save a playblast of my animation every single day till I finish and then compile it together into a "Making Of". Firstly, it's very cool to watch progression, I know I do! Secondly, it helps me visualise and structure my animation performance better; I can now go back and analyse which areas I could improve on or how quickly I could complete certain tasks. This will allow me to plan out my future workflow better! Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, most of my playblast videos are stored on my other hdd, and it will be a while before I can get that working again. I'll post my compilation video up when it's ready so stay tuned!

So yeah, I'm so glad this is finally done. Wish me luck for the competition and I hope you like it!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Tom and Jerry

I've been watching quite a lot of these CLASSICS lately. Tom and Jerry!

My oh my, you don't see much of these classical 2D stuff much anymore. It's all pushing towards realism nowadays... So why do 2D animations seem to ooze with life and appeal way more than 3D animations? I believe it's because of the flexibility in the drawings that the classical animators have learned to exaggerate and break the principles. It's simply amazing watching Tom and Jerry, the amount of squash and stretch is used just on about everything! Whenever the characters contact with another object, the animators would squeeze as much life as they could into the interacted object. I've not seen a hat or a doll stretch as much as that in 3D before!

Oh and the timing on these cartoons are spot on too, I love how they over-exaggerate everything and delay their response times. It never seems to get old. Exaggeration is used to the extreme in Tom and Jerry. The result is that the staging and clarity is CRYSTAL CLEAR. There is much to learn from these classics :).

Monday, 23 November 2009

Spline Doctors

I have always wondered what it was like to be at Pixar Animation Studios. So when I first discovered splinedoctors, and tuned in to listen to the podcasts, I was dumbfounded about as much as when I first discovered the Animators Survival Kit by Richard Williams. My insides screamed, "TREASURE!!!" and I'm sure I'm not the only one grateful for all the interviews and podcasts on there with the team at Pixar.

Each of the interviews are a lecture in itself with priceless information, priceless I tell ya! And I am continually blown away with all the discussions and I've only just gone through a few of the early podcasts. One of the greatest things about it is how informal all the interviews are and how you can FEEL the passion and sincerity of the answers.

The resources for animation is vast on the internet, simply incredible.

Ed Hooks!

I've ordered a copy of "Acting for animators" by Ed Hooks today.

I've actually read the book about 2 years ago and even met Ed twice during his workshops at Animex, in the last 2 years. He's a really great guy - I remember seeing him in one of his talks and I thought to myself, "He looks like the happiest man alive".

I've recently finished studying "The Artist's Complete Guide to Facial Expression" by Gary Faigin. Now I say "study" instead of read because I found that by reading something, you skim through the facts and remember the points that stick out the most; while all the filler materials may be skipped. On the other hand, when you study something, you focus. You turn off the music in the background and stop all your activities and just sit down and prepare your brain to absorb information. I believe it makes a lot of difference.

I say this because I'll admit to only have read through Acting for Animators 2 years back and haven't properly absorbed the information as much as I allowed myself to. This time I'll work my way through the book and do it justice!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Layout fixed! (Hopefully)

Thanks to my good friend Matt, I was finally able to fix the header layout. It turns out I do need help in the end!

Anyways, I've got more posts coming up and will be posting them soon.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Layout needs tweaking

I've been told by a coder friend that there are some javascript issues screwing up the entire page and that the layout is broken in IE8. It seems that the original blog template I started with was a little messy.

I've also been trying to get the header buttons/images to work, as you can see there is some overlapping going on. I'll look more into fixing this soon!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Blog layout and website

It's taken me a while to customise my blog from to this site. I'm no expert at html or coding; but I feel pretty good for being able to customise it this much on my own. I even designed and built this site from scratch, which was actually my first time without assistance!

Yup... so that's me done with being impressed with myself. Haha.

Let me know if there are any problems or requests for the site, thanks!

Weight shift test

Another recent animation test. This time I'm focusing on the hips and feet in the action of weight shifting. I'm also exploring the cushioning of my key frames to get smooth motions.

Eye test animation

Here is an eye test animation I did a few days ago. What started off as a cartoony "surprised" take eventually molded itself into this.

This took about an hour and a bit.

First Post!

Hello there!

My new portfolio site is finally up and running! For the record, this website came online last week; but I’ve only just managed to get the blog up today.

I intend to use this blog as a means of posting up my test animations, and works in progress and also to blabber about my animation findings and what not.  Hopefully someone would find them interesting!