Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Giacomo Sleeps Tonight

This past weekend I painted the final shadow on Giacomo. After screening at the Brouhaha Film & Video Showcase last month, Pupsock & Wendell in The Gallery Of Doom has been accepted into the Florida Film Festival!

And just in time because I've started a new chapter on my animation journey: my first class at AnimationMentor has begun!

Monday, October 08, 2007


The animation on the Gallery Of Doom was a bit more involved than I anticipated. The deadline had been moved to today, Oct. 8, and I turned in the final shot last night. In hindsight, I've learned a lot - about animating with ToonBoom, about communicating with the director, and about how I work.

It was an incredible challenge for me to work the animation in with the shots involving a live actor. I have all the more admiration for a film mixing the two, such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit. I thought those shots wouldn't be too hard because I would be able to see on the screen where everything is supposed be at a particular point in time. Mechanical, connect the dots, right? Well I encountered two huge issues: one, since each live action shot was changing every frame (fast-action shots that involved running), there would be more drawings than I anticipated and two, since the camera moves/angles were fairly dramatic, I had real trouble figuring out the perspective and keeping it correct on some of the drawings.

Patrick had the foresight to give me reference video, as himself playing the character, so I could see what the character was supposed to be doing - where he was coming from, at what angle, where he was going, any special action, etc. and what props were in the frame that the character had to deal with - like a door. That helped tremendously when discussing the character action with him.

This was a good project to work on in anticipation of AnimationMentor. Patrick was patient and gave me great feedback on the work I was doing. I have more confidence now to tackle those drawings that I think I couldn't do - things I just had to learn myself. I couldn't just tell Patrick that I couldn't do a shot - I had to figure out a way to make it work. This also combats my tendency towards procrastination - instead of worrying and over-thinking a drawing, I'm learning to just get on with on it.

Friday, August 31, 2007


Soon after my last post, I began work on the animation of a 2D character for a short film that a co-worker of mine, Patrick, is producing and directing (and animating, and compositing...). I have 27 shots to complete, the longest of which is 250 frames, the shortest 16 frames, with most under 100 frames. I'm trying to have all my shots finished by Oct. 1. (that's 2007 not 2008). I'm working in Toon Boom and am fully animating the character. For some shots, I'll be able to use cycles of various lengths. The film is a live-action/animation mix. All live-action photography is complete so I'm able to use the actual film as reference.

Joining this project has proven to be the kick in the pants I needed to get animating again. Funny thing is, the project found me. While discussing the film class I had just completed, Patrick and I got around to talking about animation. Before long he told me about this project of his and was asking me to animate one of the characters. I said yes and the next day I was looking at concept art that had been done on the character.

I admit I'm really out of my comfort zone doing this because of the aggressive deadline (we're trying to have it ready for a puppet festival in late October - one of the characters is a puppet that was filmed live with the actors). I'm very skeptical and worry constantly about the quality of the animation I'm turning out. But I love doing it! In the end, it's Patrick's film and as long as he keeps accepting the shots I'm giving him, I'm going to keep moving forward. I've been working practically every night on it and words fail me to convey what a great learning experience it is.

I was going to start bearing down on completing the FAS course but that's taken a back-seat to this project. I still plan on completing the course but you know what they say about plans... In any event, my burgeoning library now includes Loomis' Figure Drawing For What It's Worth and Graham's Composing Pictures, two books I'm chomping at the bit to start studying.

I'm signed up to start Animation Mentor this January. It's a big commitment in many ways, but it's a worthwhile solution to what I feel I need to do to keep my animation education moving forward. I've got a lot of work to do since now it's crept into my mind that I'd like to be paid to do this someday. But such work has never been so much fun!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Figure Sketching

A great quote from the introduction of an inexpensive book I'm starting to read that touched me:
No matter how rough a sketch, how poor its technique, or how weak its composition: if it is not alive, it is a failure. In drawing there is design, technique, and life, and the greatest of these is life.

Your aim must be to make a drawing life-like. This does not necessitate a lot of finnicky detail; in fact the most life-like drawings are the simplest and least finished.

It is the artist who can draw vitality who commands the highest price for his work, and how is this quality of life to be attained? By going direct to life, that is to say, making your sketches from the living personalities around you.

Do not let your desire to render a pretty drawing swamp the importance of retaining the essential life and character of your subject.

Figure Sketching for Beginners / Len Doust / 0486450953