Week 11 - End Of The Trail ("Final")

And so, another class at Animation Mentor draws to a close.  While I'm pleased with my overall progress, I still felt the overall syllabus for this class could have used an overhaul.  It's probably a good thing that when a new animator(s) comes on board at a studio they usually stick them with action (not actING) shots, as well as background work.  I certainly will look forward to using the polish class to really continue to improve my acting chops, especially in the realm of facial animation and lip sync.  As for this final shot, I think I managed to bring it a bit further than I had originally anticpated.  Sure, there's some stuff that definitely needs work, but for the most part I feel pretty good with where it is given the time frame I had to work on it.  As is tradition, I have rendered the scene (aka made it look pretty), but eventually I'd like to get some more details added in to the background (trees, bushes, etc).

I hope you will also have a look at Gene's fantastic animation (the "square needle" line gets me every time):

See you in Class 6!


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Week 10 - End Of The Trail (Refining)

This week I really tried to lock down all the body animation so I can focus all my attentions this last week on the facial animation.  I can still see a few minor things that will need to be tweaked, and I'm sure Drew will have a few things to add, but overall I think this is looking pretty good.  I certainly wish I had more than a week to work in the lip sync (grading wise), but better to lock things down one at a time rather than just rush to get it done.

Next week: Final (sort of)


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Week 9 - End Of The Trail (Polishing)

After a mini-meltdown last week I was able to get things back on track this week and get this shot headed more firmly in the right direction.  Although several factors contributed to last week's disaster of a shot, one of the biggest problems was with not being able to count on my workflow to keep the shot moving forward.  This is really the most important part of AM: finding your workflow.  Without it, you can pretty much be sure to have a hard time keeping a job with a studio, where you have a much stricter timeline to get your work done.  At any rate, last week made me realize that I've still got some tweaking to do with my workflow, and much better to find that out now than later.  We're far from out of the woods, however, as there are only two weeks left to finish this shot and there is still a ton to be done.  I'd like to say that two weeks will be enough, but to be honest, I'll probably still be working on this as I head into the sixth and final class at AM (which is "Polish and Portfolio," so all is not lost).

Next week: dialogue and refining


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Week 8 - End Of The Trail (Spline)

Unfortunately, this was possibly the first week where I handed something in that I really didn't want to hand in.  For one reason or another, this shot just kind of derailed this week - despite a hefty amount of hours put into it, the outcome was not favorable.  I will be looking to back track a bit to start this next week, trying to find a good place to re-establish what was working from the previous week.

Next week: more polishing


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Week 7 - End Of The Trail (Blocking Plus)

I have to admit, doing a full blocking plus pass for a two character shot is no walk in the park - I can only imagine what's it like when you have a shot with lots of characters in it!  None the less, I think everything is coming along nicely with (what I hope is) a minimum of hitches.  I'm still in talks with Drew over the opening of the shot, whether to have the guy already looking around the corner of the cabin when the shot starts or have him pop out and then pop back in like he's doing now.  I'd rather have him already looking out, but it was Drew's idea to go with the quick in and out, so we'll see how things pan out.  Other than that, my main concern is making sure that the hug reads before I cut to the third and final shot, but I'll continue to iron that out as the shot progresses - four weeks to go!

Facial pose of the week:

Next week: polishing


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Week 6 - End Of The Trail (Blocking)

It was fun to see this shot start to take form this week - it had been so long since I had put together a new shot that I had forgot how awesome it is!  The camera angles now echo the feeling of the shot: as we go from wide angle to medium to close-up, our two cowboys go from across the screen from one another to next to each other to embracing (well, one is embracing, the other is being embraced).  There's still a long way to go, but I think is shot has the potential to be really sweet.

Facial pose (just one this week):

Next week: Blocking plus


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Week 5 - End Of The Trail (Layout & Video Reference)

Since this is the first assignment we've had that requires multiple camera angles, our first duty was to create a layout of how the shot would look, inluding 2-3 camera changes.  So, there isn't any sort of animation here and all the poses are strictly for staging purposes - next week is when I will actually start blocking out the characters for animation.  Along with the layout shot we also had to shoot some video reference.  Crystal was kind enough to lend her acting skills to the shot:

I'm hoping that Gene uploads his vid ref to youtube as well, because it's pretty darn funny.  If he does, I'll certainly get it posted.  UPDATE: It's posted, and here it is:

Next week: Blocking, facial pose


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Week 4 - Prepping for my next assignment

On to the two person dialogue shot!  Of these five audio clips only three were handed in for this week's assignment (#'s 1-3), and of those three only one will be animated.  I actually had a much harder time finding audio clips for this assignment, at least in comparison to my previous shot.  Finding the right dialogue that would fit into the alotted time frame (12-15 seconds) was increasingly frustrating.  In the end I managed to get these five, and then skimmed those down to the three that were required for this week's assignment.  I can also tell you that of the three remaining, #1 and #3 have the highest likelyhood of being animated - I think #2 is hilarious, but I'm not sure it's something I really want to animate.

My facial poses for this week:

Additional poses from classmates:

Casey:

PT:

Next week: Video reference


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Week 3 - 48 Percent Lip Sync (Final)

I think "final" isn't quite accurate, but since this is the final week for this assignment I guess it's appropriate.  As far as this has come from a week ago, there's still quite a bit of work to be done here.  This is probably the first time where I really felt the AM syllabus failed me; three weeks just wasn't enough time to learn and fully implement lip sync and facial animation.  I'm sure these principles will become second nature a little further down the line, but I really would have liked some more time with this assignment.  On the other hand, I'm also completely sick of this assignment.  I found myself nitpicking everything this week, even animation I had considered "finished" several weeks ago.  It was at that point i realized it was time to just do what I could do, hand it in, and let it sit for a while; I'll eventually come back to it later and fix what needs fixing.  You'll see I added some quasi-clothing, just so he doesn't look naked.  The clothes aren't nearly as impressive as what Gene drew up:

This week's facial poses:

Additional poses from my classmates:

David:

Gene:

Lauren:

Kevin:

Next week: Planning for a new two peson shot, some new dialogue (finally!), more facial poses


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Week 2 - 48 Percent Lip Sync (Refining)

This was a bit of a short week for me, as I was going to be out of town Friday through Sunday, so this isn't quite as far along as I would have liked.  Drew suggested adding the eye movement in when he's about to take a drink from the coffee, but the more I see it the more I don't like it, so I'll probably change that back.  The whole "48 percent of my brain..." dialogue looks like mush, but I feel like most of the other parts are starting to come around.  There's a lot left to be done and only a week left to do do it, but I think I can get it there.

Facial poses:

We'll be doing several of these as Class 5 continues, with the idea being to find a photo with a distinct emotion and then use Bishop to replicate it.  I'm sure Wisconsin fans will appreciate the second image.  As with the old Stu poses, I'm happy to share some of my classmates work as well:

Next week: Finish 48 Percent, more facial poses


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