Thursday, July 26, 2012

Devastation and Stuff

Hello lovely readers! This week I need your help again! Part of our homework is to find a pose that communicates "devastation" (bit of a bummer after drawing a bunch of excited guys last time) and since all you lovelies were so helpful last time, I'm asking for another round of votes! Here are the sketches I did so you can see where I started from:
I thought devastation would be relatively easy to portray, but I think some of my drawings just came off as "tired"or "suddenly dizzy". Heh. After getting some feedback from my peers, I posed a handful of them with Stu, as seen here:

Stu's enormous head and tiny legs proved to be a challenge for me again (I did attempt to pose drawing 7 but it proved impossible with Stu's head). Even if I scale the arms enough so that Stu can wrap his arms all the way around his head, it still looked weird. Anyways, I would love to hear your thoughts! Which Stu looks the most devastated, A-F? Or do you like one of the drawings better? Sound off in the comments and check back at the end of this week, when I'll post a revision of my two bouncing balls from last week as well as my obstacle course assignment from this week! Much less depressing!

EDIT: Okay I did one more, we'll call this Pose G. I went back drawing 7 and tried to make it happen and I'm actually rather happy with what came out. Feel free to vote for this one if you like it best!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Bouncing Balls Galore

While I unfortunately have no drawings for you to vote on this week, dear readers, I do have two (count 'em, TWO!) animations on which to feast your eyes. Now, I'll admit they are not the most exciting things in the world but they are very important exercises that will do nothing but help in the long run. You know, like learning your scales (don't tell anyone that I never really learned my scales on guitar I'm gonna do it right this time shhhhhh).

First off, I've finessed my single bouncing ball from last week. My mentor was generally pleased with it but he did ask me to tweak the timing a bit so here is what resulted:

With animation this simple, I think I sometimes get too caught up and overwork a shot, past the point where I should have stopped, to the point where I no longer have a clear vision in my head of what I want to be doing (this definitely happens to me with more complicated shots as well, just not as quickly). Then suddenly, I'm at a point where I can't make it look good again and I've also lost my ability to tell what looks correct anymore. At that point I usually flip my chair around to my TV, play a couple rounds of Mario Kart (or Super Smash Bros. if I'm feeling especially frustrated and feel the need to Falcon Punch the crap out of a tiny, electric Pokemon), and come back with fresh eyes. I find that it really, truly does help to take a break every half hour or so and stop staring at your animation (sidenote: the pomodoro method is so effective, it's insane. It seems too simple to be as effective as it is but TRUST ME. Google it). That way, your eyeballs don't fall out of your head and your mind and body get a little break. Oftentimes I come back and boom! I see exactly what I couldn't see earlier, and am able to fix the mistake. I think this is good advice for any level of animator, or frankly for anyone who works at a desk all day long. Breaks are good. They will help you.

Okay tangent over. HOMEWORK! This week we were assigned another bouncing ball shot (but this time we used two. Schwing!) One ball was supposed to be a very heavy one, like a cannon ball or a bowling ball. The other was supposed to be very light, like a beach ball or ping pong ball. The point of the assignment was to understand how differences in spacing and timing affect how the audience will perceive the weight of an object. How does the timing of a bowling ball bounce differ from a beach ball? What are the differences between a ping pong ball and a cannon ball as they roll off a table? After watching practically every youtube video of people throwing beach balls around and dropping bowling balls in parking lots, here is what I came up with:

Pretty happy with this one too, though I might make a few tweaks to both shots before Sunday. Thanks for reading! I'll be back next week, when I'll have a new emotion to pose out and I'll need your help again, friends! So stay tuned and go see Batman this weekend so I can geek out with you about it. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

So begins Week 4

Today I wrap up Week 3 and move on to Week 4, where I'll be learning more about timing and spacing in this week's lecture and work a more complicated bouncing ball assignment. But before I get to that I thought I would post up my finished products for Week 3's homework, part of which you so graciously helped me with! But first, my bouncing ball:

Looking at it now, I still feel like the ball's translation across the screen needs to be finessed. But luckily I get to revise this for next week, so I get to see what my mentor's thoughts are and work on it further. As for my Stu pose, I decided to go with number one of the four options I gave you guys since I think it reads the quickest as "excitement" (though I still hold a special place in my heart for number four because I think it's just a funny image). After a bit more tweaking, here it is!

I am quite happy with how it came out and would like to thank you all for your feedback, it truly did help. And there are going to be several more of these poses down the line so I will be needing your help again in the coming weeks, so stay tuned! I'll be back in a few days with a revision of this bouncing ball and a first pass at the new assignment. Schwing!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Here I am halfway through Week 3 and I need your help, dear readers! Part of my homework this week is to draw some poses that convey "excitement" and then choose my favorite one to pose Stu, our AM rig, with (and keep in mind he doesn't have a face so this is strictly a posing/body language exercise). Here are the sketches I did:

I did a few obviously excited poses and with others I tried to do more subdued types of excitement, always try to keep in mind why people get excited. Is it a reaction to something they've been told? Are they excited about some upcoming event? Are they good at containing their excitement? Not sure how many different kinds of excitement came through but I did have fun doing the drawings.

After some feedback from my classmates, I picked four of the poses and translated them to Stu, trying (hopefully not in vain) to capture the essence of the drawings in his pose. The tough thing is that Stu has a gigantic head and a really long body, which I didn't really pay attention to in my drawings. That made it tough to pose his arms in the air without his arms going inside his head, and his feet are proportionally much larger than I drew them, so I missed out on some of the nicer silhouetting I drew with the feet/legs. But, I am happy with how they came out and would love to hear from you as to which one you think best conveys excitement.

Of course, if you like one of the drawings better than these four, please let me know in the comments! I've got until Sunday so I can definitely put in a few more poses before I settle on a final one. And tomorrow, it's on to the bouncing ball!

Saturday, July 7, 2012


So, I'm nearing the end of my second week of school and that means that my very first homework assignment is just about due! Our assignment was to do some life drawings (you want to me to leave the house? Whaaaaat?) and then pick our favorite of the poses we drew. Then, we were supposed to pose our character rig according that pose, making sure the image is as readable and appealing as possible. Anywho, here is a handful of the drawings I did:

As you can see, I went to the driving range at one point, but my favorite ended being the sprinting pose, number 7 (this may or may not have something to do with the Olympic Trials going on right now and the fact that my patriotism rages out of control during the Olympics). So after many iterations, tweaks, and long discussions with myself about whether to keep the hands as fists or have them be straight or how tilted down his head should be, here is what came out:

I am actually quite happy with how this came out considering I attempted posing the rig with a few other sketches before finally settling on this one. It's not officially due until noon tomorrow so I may tweak it a bit more before then, but all in all I am happy with it!

And next week we get to start animating for realsies! Back to the bouncing ball, where it all begins.