Thursday, February 24, 2011

Week 8 Animation - Artistic Freedom

Another week, another unpolished animation. Wait... WHAT?! Time keeps promising me more and then it runs and hides at the first sign of commitment. Damn you Time.

This little bit was inspired by watching my kids paint/color/create. They work with such freedom and joy. They love the experience as much, if not more, than the final product. They are so much fun to watch create. I highly recommend it. I mean I recommend you watch kids create, not necessarily MY kids. Just kids in general. Um... Please make sure you know the kids because that might be a little weird if you're just staring at some random kids. Especially if you're at a park, by yourself, wearing dark glasses, and with a bag of candy and a box that says "puppy".

Friday, February 18, 2011

Week 7 Animation - The Marshmallow Experiment

This week's animation is a take on The Marshmallow Experiment. I wasn't able to complete the animation to a polished level, however I do feel I hit all the beats I was going for and then some. The great part about 2D animation is you can add as you see fit, yet still see the work in progress and make out what is happening. In contrast, CG animation tends to look floaty and light weight in the early phases and takes a leap of faith from the viewer to see what is intended. ANYWAY, here is my animation for the week:

Here are the thumbnails of this animation for those that are interested. They go in a serpentine motion starting from left to right and bending back right to left on the second row and so on and so forth. Hopefully you can follow the arrows and the action. You'll notice I did stray from some of the actions and added a few new ones. Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Week 6 Animation - Watch Your Six Part 2

This week is the conclusion to "Watch Your Six". I've had fun playing with ones versus twos and even some threes this week. It's amazing how much freedom you have playing with holding frames. You can get some really snappy fun actions when you play with twos versus the smooth action of ones. Then again sometimes you really need ones to sell the action because it's just happening too fast. I've never really had the opportunity to do this kind of experimentation since I've been doing CG animation my whole career and CG is totally on ones. Reading all those books about how to animate in 2D is really making sense now.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Questions and Hopefully Answers

From time to time I receive questions from animators who are looking to learn more about the craft. Even though I've done some lectures and am a mentor from time to time at Animation Mentor AND I've been animating for a good 13 years now, I'm still surprised when people ask for advice. Crap, I still have way more questions than answers myself. Although sometimes I actually do have an answer! "So what?", you may ask. Well I'm thinking if any of you out there have any questions feel free to ask. I'll do my best to answer.
Here's the first one!

An animator recently asked me "How do you animate a wing flap on a creature?"

To make a believable wing flap, on any creature, you first should look at reference of birds, bats, and insects. When you're actions are grounded in real life they will be more believable to the audience because it's something familiar even though it's on a different type of creature. Once you've studied that reference you'll see that a wing flap is not just up and down. It's not even just up and down with some front to back. There's a twist in there, literally. Not to mention the attitude/motivation of the creature will dictate the type of flap you need. A flap that helps a flying creature land, for instance, is much different from a flap that accelerates the beast.

One way to think about a wing flap is as if the creature is "swimming" through the air. Air, even though it's primarily a gas, still has a lot in common with water. Therefore flying is a lot like swimming through the air. Think about when you tread water or even do the butterfly stroke (Okay only like 2% of the people in the world can do a proper butterfly, but you've at least SEEN it done). When doing these strokes your arms don't flap up and down hap hazardly. They PULL you through the water or PUSH you above the water. Now go back and look at some birds flying and see if you can see the commonality between Michael Phelps doing the butterfly and a loon taking off.
Good Luck.

Week 5 Animation - Watch Your Six

No blood was spilled during the making of this week's animation, only wine.

I'm hoping to animate part two of this animation next week. Stay tuned (Yes, I know that was a perfect opportunity for a pun but as an animator "Stay Tooned" is too cliche for even me.)