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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Victor Navone eCritique for the 11secondclub

There's a cool "prize" if you win the monthly 11secondclub animation challenge. You get an eCritique by one of the mentors. This time it's Victor Navone taking apart a traditionally animated piece. Great critique, make sure you watch that. Thanks Richie for pointing it out!

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Animation - Fight

Good example of holds. It would be easy to just have the character be still, but the keep alive keeps the character... alive...

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Critique - Skydive

It's a bit weird to have her feet cut off like that, either zoom out and/or adjust the camera so you see all of here, or punch in and film her waist up or thigh up or something. But it's a cool composition now, well done.
I don't think you need the first 5 seconds. The way the dialogue is you quickly realize that she's nervous, let alone everybody would be as well when skydiving. So I feel like your wasting time at the beginning, just get right into it. The clip is already long, so you don't want to add unnecessary time. I would take that time and add it to the end where she jumps out or something.
Animation wise it's too rough to say anything. Overall she feels very slow and floaty and you have her head in profile a lot, which takes away from her facial performance.
You need convey the feeling body acting wise that she's nervous, hesitating and towards the end determined.

What would be really neat and nerdy is to have one or two hair strands rigged up so that they flutter (there's lots of wind obviously), especially when she gets closer to the opening.


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Critique - Trust

You're over extending his right leg at around x55 to x86. So when he takes that first step, don't move his body up in Y so much and when he leans forward to move the chair, have him take a little step with his right leg.
His right arm is overextending towards x113 as he pushes the chair. The wrist is also not changing rotation as he pushes the chair. Take x120 for instance. His arm gets off the chair but it's still overextended and the wrist is still rotated the same way (hidden behind his forearm). So as he pushes the chair, rotate the hand screen right so that we see the hand/fingers. When he takes his hand/arm off the chair his arm will be bent and take x120 again, his hand will be down and towards the right (the chair). Act out exactly what you have in your clip right now, you'll feel how twisted your wrist is and how unnatural it is to leave it like that when you push off the chair or just let go of the chair.
Move his left knee out screen left around x86 so it doesn't point inwards, makes it less awkward.
As he puts his hand behind his back, make sure that you are also moving his shoulder back (and forward again when he points the gun at him).
The arm move when he points the gun at him is too fast. Don't move the arm/gun higher than x116. Look at x124, he's shooting at the ceiling right now. He's showing the guy who the boss is, so the gun needs to be steady on him.
When he takes the step around x120, make it read that he's taking a step forward with the up and down of the body in one nice move. Right now it looks like he's moving forward and up til x123, then the forward movement stops and he just goes down.
Rotate his right foot more screen left when he takes the step from x112 to x126 (the foot will be more forward per above critique). That way you change the pose from A to B to make it more interesting and the foot needs to be rotated especially at x 142 when he takes another step. Look at that frame, his body is almost in profile, his left leg is taking a giant step forward, but his right leg is in a very awkward pose. The knee is kinda pointing to the left but the foot is pointing "up" (screenspace, not lifted off the ground). So when he takes the previous step and have the foot plant pointing more screen left that pose at x142 will be better.
You will have to adjust the body when he takes the last step at x151, don't have him move that far because you're over stretching his right leg. You need to add a foot roll as well when he takes that step, maybe that will be enough to keep the leg from over stretching and you can keep the body translation.
Lower his body at x164, you're over extending his legs again.
Next, change his appearance, start off with at least a dark (unless he's wearing a white shirt) suit. You need to think about how he will blend it with the live action plate so that the silhouette is reading nicely.
Another thing you need to do is applying a holdout shader to the table geometry. So in Maya, create a shader called "Use Background". Apply that shader to your table cube. Now when you render it it, you'll see your guy looks like he's behind the table. You'll have to place a light where the window is and one behind him where that table light is. Give both lights a greenish tint to it so that the character fits into the scene. If you have trouble with that, I can show you in class next week.


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Critique - Jello

I would shake the table bit more, it is too small, you're right.

Watch the left kid's left hand, it floats down from x50 to x200 and up til x280, stabilize that.

Look at the left kid's right foot, the toes are right where the table leg is, the foot feels almost wedged between the legs.

Move the foot back a bit.

It might be the movie only, maybe because of some compression, but the mouth shapes feel late. Please check on your side if the audio is too early.

Nice work though, pretty much done. I know, I'm always saying that. :)


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Friday, November 9, 2007

Killer Bean Forever

I'm sure you guys remember "Killer Bean". Well, get this:

Several years ago, I was the Lead Animator of Matrix Reloaded. It was a great job, but it wasn't my dream job. I wanted to make my own feature film. So I quit to pursue my dream.

For the past 4 years, I've been working at my computer 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. I've spent my entire life savings and maxed out credit cards. After all this time and effort, my movie is almost done. I present to you a preview of my feature film directorial debut... Killer Bean Forever.

Killer Bean Forever - Official Trailer - video powered by Metacafe

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Animators don't know how to be funny.

Uh oh, no he didn't. :)
Get the full Seinfeld scoop here and on James' site.

"Instead of being funny, which is what my whole career has been, I'm now describing funny to someone who, in most cases, is not a funny person. It's like describing a bris (a Jewish circumcision ceremony)."

At least one of those animators was not amused.

"I wonder if I’m in the 'most cases' category," wrote DreamWorks animator James R. Hull, who worked on Bee Movie. "I mean, I’m not a hilarious person, but I think I do know what funny is . . . and isn’t."

pic source

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The Pixar Story by Leslie Iwerks

We were very fortunate to get a screening of Leslie Iwerks' "The Pixar Story" here at work and she was on site for an introduction and a Q&A after the movie.

The documentary was very well done and brings across the golden age of Pixar in an entertaining and humorous way, without glorification or bypassing their mistakes and problems. It makes you wish you were there during the founding and the early successes, during the move to their current location in Emeryville, basically up until around the time of "The Incredibles". After that the documentary makes it look like Pixar has grown up and the innocence is gone, which happens to any company (like ILM, Aardman, etc.) after multiple successes and growth, there is just too much at stake.

Thanks to full access to Pixar's and Lucasfilm's library you get to see a lot of home videos and behind-the-scenes footage which gives the documentary a very intimate and personal touch. Leslie Iwerks mentioned that she hopes to include a lot more unseen and archival footage on the DVD (especially from the early Lucasfilm era), which should see a DVD release early next year (she has 600 hours of footage to go through, so early next year might be very optimistic).

What sets this documentary apart, to me at least, was the inclusion of Lasseter's wife and her commenting on how hard it is to share John with the company. You rarely get to hear comments from family members and the sacrifices that come with this job, so that part was very refreshing and I wish you'd see more of that from different employees (but that's difficult because not everybody wants to be in the spotlight).

So visually it was great, but if you are an avid Pixar and Lucasfilm film fan, there isn't any new information to be found. Especially if you read Droidmaker: George Lucas and the Digital Revolution, which is by far the most comprehensive and nerdiest book out there (right down to the description of who and how and when they created the name "Pixar"). It's impossible to condense that book into "The Pixar Story" running time, so I recommend watching the documentary first and if you want to go even more in depth, then check out Michael Rubin's book.

Theater and TV screenings are coming and of course the DVD, so make sure you get to watch it somehow/somewhere, you won't regret it.

I also recommend: The Hand Behind the Mouse - The Ub Iwerks Story

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Awesome Wall Animation

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New Animation Mentor Newsletter

The new AM newsletter got the usual goods (and I hope your subscribed to it), here are a few:

Shawn's Tip & Tricks (Recharging your Animation Batteries)

Animation short by Isaac Hingley

Great Character Design

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

4pm - student film by Mark Oftedal - great hands!

I saw this a while ago and Cooked Art has it up now. Fantastic hand animation! The poses and timing are great.

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Autoplay on DVD Reels

Hopefully you've gone through the "Demo Reel Dos and Don'ts" post, but I wanted to clarify the "autoplay" issue. In her lecture Pamela Thompson mentions that DVD reels should be set to autoplay, meaning that the DVD will start playing automatically after it has been loaded.

I asked around and it seems that the majority of recruiters and people who look at reels actually prefer the DVD to NOT autoplay and instead load into a menu. It can be irritating for them when the reel starts and they are not ready. Or they have to fiddle around with the TV input setting and they miss the start of the reel.

So just have a menu where the "Start Reel" (or whatever button) is CLEARLY visible (and already selected so that they just have to push enter or play). - pic source

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Monday, November 5, 2007

Academy’s Fall Animation Festival

I got this in the mail to pass on:

Greetings all!

The Academy’s Fall Animation Festival is coming up. Please share the following info with your students. You’re welcome to attend, too. J

AAU Fall Animation Festival

November 19, 2007
491 Post Street
Morgan Auditorium

This is a screening of short projects and works-in-progress by AAU students, showcasing 2D and 3D animation, Visual Effects, and Stop Motion.

Guest Speaker:
Tom Bancroft
Animator on Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King, etc., etc.

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New Alvin and the Chipmunks Trailer

New "Alvin and the Chipmunks" trailer. Gotta have a fart joke in that movie... sigh.

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Performance Capture is not animation

Zemeckis has been quoted as saying that he doesn't see performance-capture movies as animated films. "To call performance capture animation is a disservice to the great animators," he said at the International Broadcasting Convention in September.

found through a Cartoon Brew comment @ Yahoo! News

If you want to have a good time then head over to that post on Cartoon Brew. Some of the comments are just too funny.

A few gems:

"Animation, it's giving life to characters." - Uhm, okay, sorry to be dismissive but the characters in the Ten Commandments movie are as dead as some of the Beowulf characters, but it's okay to call THAT animation?

Or (about mocap):

"Animation does not factor into it at any level. Mo-cap is not a frame by frame process, and by definition it is not animation." - That person clearly hasn't visited the mocap data wrangler nor the animators that work with mocap.

But there are good comments after all:

"Those sea monsters looked more alive than anything else in the film. I think Zemeckis hasn’t hit the strengths of mocap as a tool yet. Beowulf had the potential to have a stylized look, but I don’t think it got there. It’s just a muddle." - Absolutely.

But then it goes back to:

"And by the way “C” we 2D “purists” at least have talent. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to manipulate a few IK handles, or to rotate a manipulator." - Wow, that person has no idea about 3D animation...

But I like Floyd's answer to that: "It doesn’t take any effort to make marks on paper, either."

Good times, the endless debate over the merits of mocap. Strangely enough no one complaints about the use of simulations of Massive in movies...

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Ed Catmull Podcast

Head over to Spline Doctors for the Ed Catmull Podcast.

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