Monday, May 30, 2011

Reel Feedback

For all those people sending out your animation reels and wondering if your reel is good enough, I have a site for you.

Reel Feedback

What is it you ask? It's a site that was started by Hans Brekke, an exceptional animator, where you can upload your reel and have professional animators from all over the industry see it and give you notes. No longer do you need to wait for feedback. You can now check in with Reel Feedback and find out how good your reel really is plus receive pointers to make your reel better. It's genius. It's simple. It's not a school with tuition. It's a place where you're reel will be reviewed and you'll get answers. Check it out.

Week 21 Animation - Ready, Set...

Sorry for the late posting. This last week I was out of town and couldn't figure out a way to copy and paste the embeded code from youTube to this blog on my iPad. Anyway, a quick flower sack test.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Week 20 Animation - Lounge - Final

Here is the final piece for "Lounge". It has SOUND so turn on those speakers and enjoy the show.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Week 19 Animation - Lounge Part 2

So this week was brutal. I played with technology for too long and achieved very little. Then I excuse, excuse, and excuse. It was a tough week. However I did manage to clean up the animation a bit. Next week I plan to do more on this piece.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Week 18 Animation - Lounge Part 1

This week I started playing with sound! It has been awesome... until I tried to export a quicktime out of Flash. The sync is WAY off. I cannot figure out how to get it to line up. I spent tonight not animating, NO. I spent tonight effing around with audio. GAH!!!!! Anyway, here's the first half of the piece (Without sound), not cleaned up. Next week I'll have a final product.

Hope this appetizer keeps you satiated until I can put together the main course.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Questions and Hopefully Answers - Forks and Roadblocks

The question that recently came up was, "Have you ever come to a point in your animation progression where you are completely stumped?". My answer, "EVERY time I animate.". When I started really thinking about the question I realized there are two categories of stumped: Forks and Roadblocks.

A Fork is a point in animating when you're suddenly inspired to "try something". Then you look at what you've "tried" and can't tell which path is better. Do you go forward on the new path or go back to where you were going originally. This can be something as simple as a different timing on that pesky foot plant to a different acting choice. Either way you're stumped.

A Roadblock is a point where you can't move forward. It can be caused by procrastination. It can be caused by a lack of knowledge or technology issues. It can be anything that stops you from continuing along your path to final animation. You're stumped

So what do you do? How do you pick a Fork? How do you break through that Roadblock? The short answer is that I have no idea! Ha! The longer answer is here is what I try to do:

With a Fork I'm stuck trying to make a decision on two or more paths. Sometimes this decision can be based on many factors. The first factor usually is quality. You're stuck between two choices that you equally love and cannot decide which one is going to be more awesome! Or sometimes your stuck between which choice is less worse. Yikes. The second factor is time. You're trying to make a quality animation in the time you've been given, but time is ticking away with ever second you can't make up your mind. In either situation I like to ask myself a series of questions. The answers will most likely give me a direction that I, and as importantly my supervisor, am happy with:
1. Which one is clearer? Clarity should always be the deciding factor in your animation decisions. Because if you have to explain it it isn't working.
2. Which one helps sell the shot? Does one path tell the audience what you're trying to get across better than the other option?
3. Does it even matter? Show your choices to a coworker or friend and see what they say. If they say, "What's the difference?", then it doesn't really matter. You shouldn't be wasting your time.
4. How much time do you have? If your deadline is coming up fast, that fun little foot kick that will take you two days to animate probably isn't worth it. Especially if your answer from "Does it matter?", is no.
5. What's your gut saying? Lastly learn to trust your gut. Run a movie of your options side by side. Look at one. Look at the other. Make the call and don't look back.
Usually after I've answered these questions I'm off and running. Overall don't let this Fork become a Roadblock.

A Roadblock can be much more difficult to overcome. A Roadblock can come in many shapes and forms, but all have the same result of time lost. The first thing I do is ask myself a question (you'll notice I ask myself a lot of questions), "Why am I not moving?". It is important to answer honestly. The answer usually fits into a category such as: technical issues, waiting on notes, don't know where to go, task is too big, laziness, etc... At that point I will take the answer and start breaking it down in manageable steps that I CAN attack. The trick to getting past that damn Roadblock is to remove all reasons NOT to do something so you HAVE to do something. For example, if you're working in Maya and your rig loads inside out, but you don't know what to do. Break it down in to manageable steps: e-mail whomever you received the rig from, go back to your thumbnails and rework them while you wait for a fix, if you built the rig then go over the rigging steps again, put the shot on hold and start another shot even if it's just planning. Or another example, let's say you're feeling lazy. You just don't feel like hammering on your shot. Break it down: Take a break, Walk around the building, sketch, grab a drink, but make sure to give yourself a time line. Tell yourself that in 15 minutes I am going to do a specific shot related task such as clean up the curves on the torso of my character. Just make sure you have a task when you get back or else you will sit there and find something else not to do. Bottom line is you can always do something, even if it's taking a step back, to help you go forward. Momentum is key to breaking down that Roadblock. Do something.

Both Forks and Roadblocks will happen through out your career. It's the people who learn to solve them quickly that are successful. Hopefully this helps if and when you become stumped. Especially if you're reading this to procrastinate from what you really need to be doing!

Hope to work with you soon.