Thursday, October 30, 2008

thinking vid ref video

Got this vid from my friend Maciek's blog. Interesting vid ref for thinking.

Fifty People, One Question: New Orleans from Benjamin Reece on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

September 11sec club crit

Last month's crit of the winner of the 11 second Club, done by Kenny Roy, a mentor who I always tried to watch all of his critiques while at AM because I learned so much from him.

whenever the face is turned from camera you really need to push the lip-sync/ mouth shapes much more so they read, also cheat the mouth over towards camera, so it's clearer.

On Horton they had a control to grab the mouth and swing it out from under the trunk so that it was easier to read. Bluesky put cheating tools into the hands of the animators.

Dipthongs, vowels that have two actual vowel sounds, making two mouth shapes. Like fire actually if slowed down sounds like FaaaIIIIre. So often you want to stick on the first part of the dipthong because that sound is stronger and visually will more clearly communicates the word being made. Lean towards big open shapes (if possible) to telegraph the words.

Keys on jaw should not always line up perfectly with keys on mouth. For example, in the words "soccer" the "er" sound actually occurs during the close of the jaw, not a
second opening of the jaw. So go through your dialogue, with your hand on your chin, focusing on simplifying and amping up your jaw movement (so making it simpler, but also bigger so that it's clearer.)

R shapes Kenny Roy usually mixes an oo shape with a sneer.

Kenny likes to do an entire jaw pass before touching the mouth shapes. Finds it helps the lip synch a lot to just have the jaw nailed.

Kenny talks again about holding consonants at the end of words, that when the air ends we are still holding the mouth shape for a little while.

Overlap in the face, in the brows for example. Really makes the face feel fleshy and realistic and organic, keeping you out of the uncanny valley. The 12 principles (squash and stretch, antic, overlap) all apply to the face.) Kenny is complimenting Tim's overlap on the brows, which is reactive of the head shaking.

Kenny goes over again 2ndary action again. His example this time is if he's talking while twirling a pen he has enough cpu power to do both, but if he hears something that makes him angry and he suddenly stops his 2ndary because it takes all his cpu power to focus on the new information, so it has a big impact.

Kenny warns that rigs tempt you to rotate the upper spine a bit too much, because biomechanically our upper spines don't move to much because the ribcage holds it pretty stiff, so spread rotation out along the whole spine.

Tennis match, of where the audience's attention is, imagine it's a single ball bounced around the scene, from character to character.

Confident acting is a good thing, even if the director doesn't agree, it's easier to change then to deal with a wishy washy performance and have to try and push it to a strong performance.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Short Story and Character tips

Was excavating at the now dead Animwatch Forums and ran across this thought from Lucas Martell

"characters have so much depth and backstory that they even change personalities based on their moods and who they're talking to. ... When you feel like you thoroughly know and understand all sides of a character, you resonate with them and they become more like an old friend than someone you're watching through a camera. A stranger might elicit an emotional response if they happen to hit on a shared experience, but if you're best friend goes through an emotional experience, you go through it with them."

also got linked over to an article on Short Story writing that had some tips that work for short film:
A short story:

* Gets off to a fast start.
* Generally has a limited number of characters and scenes.
* Starts as close to the conclusion as possible.
* Frequently deals with only one problem.
* Uses only the detail necessary for understanding the situation.
* Usually covers just a short time period.

Explosion or "Hook." A thrilling, gripping, stirring event or problem that grabs the reader's attention right away.

And here's a few posts by Jenny Lerew a storyboard artist who writes the The Blackwing Diaries (really I'm searching for a blogpost someone wrote maybe a year back about the fact that character's don't have to have an arc in a story, the story could be just "man vs nature" instead of always the character's having to grow during. anyone know the blogger I'm talking about?)
Why jerks are no fun

Character Trumping plot

Monday, October 6, 2008

11sec crit Aug2008

Latest critique of the August winner of the 11secondclub by Sean Sexton.

Obvious that Sean comes from a 2D background, because he's very focused on the contour of the character, which makes sense because in the end everything winds up as a 2D image on the screen and must read well as a graphical shape. His main critiques was that the spacing needed polish on some movements, it was causing the character's silhouette to "boil".

Also he talked about easing in and out of eyedarts. Tiny little cushion. So in this example a 4 frame eyedart, small cushion out to 2, then huge spacing pop to 3, and small cushion in to final at 4. Only throw in a breakdown if crossing the entire eye (like 3 in the 2nd example). Reminds me of Animation Survival Kit's 2 pose run, same principal (p.196). Biomechanically it makes sense because our eyes move in short little bursts, so a little burst as start aiming, and then the jump, then the final shift as reposition from where landed to what the eye was aiming at.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Balance short film

(*welcome to any new readers :)

Got Secrets of Oscar-winning Animation by Olivier Cotte, out of the library, because libraries rock!

One of the films reviewed is Balance which is a great film.

Wolfgang and Christoph Lauenstein animated this film in 5 months, in their parents spare room, while still attending university, for about $5000 (which I assume is mostly for the film) and won an oscar.

Excerpts from Cotte's interview with the brothers Lauenstein:

The animated puppet film can't develop the same themes as traditional cinema; for example, a love story with complex characters, which is rich in trivial detail, needs to be filmed with real actors. But for us, the choice of the puppet was appropriate to show human behaviour whilst doing without trivialities. This fundamental notion is what drove us to make Balance.

At the time, we liked playing music and we used to compare cinematography with the art of music making. With music, you can create emotions by using only a few notes. We wanted to sue this purity, this simplicity in the cinema. That is, we wanted to play with very few elements to obtain something true, to get to the essentials.

(For the stopmo concerned, wood for the skeletons, clay for the heads, Layers of foam and cork over 1/2 a ping pong table, pins for tiedowns, pinholes in the pupils to change sightlines)

makes me want to get a garage, learn Justin Rasch's trick for not sleeping, and make my own film.

and a paraphrased quote from Zorba the Greek (which I just watched today because Libraries rock) "man must have a little bit of madness in him, or else he won't have the courage to cut the rope so that he may fly free"