and…another game shipped. Boy that was a lot of work! On this game I did the a bunch of cutscenes, some movement on donkey and shrek, the character of the black knight and quite a bit of rigging and facial setup. It was pretty fun animating all these crazy characters from Shrek, and the animators at Shaba really pulled together despite a frightening amount of tech challenges and made something that’s really fun to play (and watch).
Matt Aldridge at work, has been teaching some seminars on modelling. Figuring opportunities to learn from people like Matt don’t come along too often – usually they keep the modellers sequestered away, too busy to chat with we humble (or not so humble) animators, but Matt’s not shy with the knowledge. So I’ve taken my new found nurb techniques and have gone back to Clyde- a model a made a couple of years ago. I originally did him as an exercise in brushing up with 3dsMax, my least favorite software package, but eventually converted him over to Maya and rerigged him. He suffers from a pretty simplistic design. Now, I love simple designs – seeing Wallace and Gromit really inspired me as to how much you can convey with so little, but in doing little acting exercises with him, most of the feedback I’ve received is in how I’m not able to convey enough emotion with such a simple, dot eyed character. Maybe I could have were the animation better, I suppose, or maybe he needs to be beefed up a bit. But enough comments have been made about the character design, so I’m going back and jazzing him up- new blendshapes, some new facial tricks I’ve learned, and we’ll see where it goes…
Comments are always welcome, so let me know what you think.
I started playing with this great little app this year – here’s a quick sketch…
Most art forms are said to be self taught. As time goes by, I’m not really sure how accurate that is. I think you end up connecting the dots by yourself, and getting good with mechanics, but I think ultimately, most art forms involve learning from the masters, whomever they may be.
I took a class at animation mentor and had a webcam chat session with Mike Gasaway, a fantastic animator who has risen up the ranks to direct at DNA. He mentioned that he, as a means of study, kinda reverse engineers movies by drawing from them – turning them back into storyboards by drawing a new thumbnail at each camera cut.
At first I thought he was mad, then I sketched out some scenes and found it invaluable as a means of really understanding what was going on. I guess that’s really the magic to any form of representational art- that deep seeing that comes from really studied observation. So from Mike, to me, and out to you. Maybe that’s why there’s no magic bullet to animating- the only way to really learn involves a lot of time and patience.
Ok. This is pretty crazy. I came across an email a couple of weeks back mentioning my 20 year high school reunion, with a link to a site. Of course I checked it out- I mean, the web basically lends itself to digging through weird bits of data you wouldn’t bother to dig up any other time than when sitting in front of a computer. I’ve never been to a reunion after so long, and, well, at this point in life, high school was something that has been long forgotten. I mean, 20 years. That’s a long time.
So I delved into the site, somewhat obsessively, remembering who all these people were instantly. Of course, the perceptions I have of my former classmates is rooted 20 years in the past, and having not actually flown back to NY for this, they remain in the past. So, with an open mind and a lot of curiousity, I started exhuming these scraps of info and photos, hoping for something interesting. I mean, I really enjoy other people’s success – I find it inspiring that people I grew up with have gone on to great things. I know that for me, it took a lot of risk and working through a lot of self doubt to actually try to fully shift my career from advertising over to character animation. At the time, it seemed like the most foolish decision in the world. In hindsight, it seems like it was the only sane thing to do.
But I digress- isn’t that the point of these blogs anyway? So 2 guys I hung out with in maybe junior high, Dan Futterman and Bennett Miller, just wrote and directed Capote So, huge props guys- I remember them both as being both creative and down to earth and it’s again, really inspring seeing people you’ve known succeed in something creative. And making a movie? – not easy stuff. It takes everything I have to board out 30 seconds of animation!
I too have apparently succumbed to the blogging craze. I’m an animator in the Bay Area, and most of my posting will undoubtedly be about my personal quest to raise the bar on animation- starting with my own work, but branching out into thoughts on how to improve it industrywide, and the merits of fresh ground coffee.