Thursday, September 27, 2012

Class Two. Let's do this.

I've decided that this post-a-picture-of-my-face-during-week-one thing is going to be a tradition, so brace yourself for four more of these in the coming year.
But for reals, I am so stoked for Class Two! Maybe also a little scared, can you tell from my crazy eyes? I had my first Q&A yesterday and Marlon seems like he is a great mentor. Plus, I know most of my classmates through our AM facebook group already, which is pretty neat.

Towards the end of the hour he did bring up the fact that while AM is so often happy faces and rainbows and sunshine, the truth of the matter is that not all of us are going to get to the level of skill needed to work on feature films. He said most of his students have their sights set on Pixar/DreamWorks/Disney but by the end of AM, many of them are simply not ready for the big studios.

Basically, if we want to the top students in our class, the ones who get picked up straight from school, we have to get our butts in gear starting right now. Our reels need to be top of the line and we need to be getting As consistently on our assignments.

Of course, that's the way any school works. And all of us knew this in the back of our minds, I think. Though, it seems that at AM it's easy to forget sometimes. The staff is so encouraging and caring and energetic, and the work in the student showcases is always so incredible that it seems like if you can just find your way into this school, you too can be magically transformed into an incredible animator!

Like anything though, there's no magic transformation, no special pill, no silver bullet. It's practice and hard work and long nights and frustration tears when Maya crashes, and with a bit of luck and good timing, all of it will pay off in the end. And maybe it won't be your dream studio. But really, would you rather be doing anything else?

So thank you to Marlon for taking off the sugarcoat for us. As the youngest of three children (and the youngest of a generation of eleven on my mother's side), I can from experience say that kid gloves only hurt you in the long run.

Maybe this is discouraging to some people, but I'm choosing not to take Marlon's advice that way. Sure, a dream job at one of the big studios is something I've longed for since I was sixteen. But this industry is getting more competitive by the year and there is a lot of talent out there. I've been thinking about it a lot lately and working in a film studio, a small studio, going abroad, working in games, TV, commercials, or freelancing all have distinct pros and cons and I don't want to set my sights on any one of them just yet. As long as I get to animate, I'm in.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Class One? Check.

Well we've arrived at Week 12, which is insane. I feel like I just started AM and I'm already done with a full term! Wut.

For this week, we had to compile a progress reel of all our Class One work and upload it to the student site so that our new mentors for next term could get a feel for our strengths and weaknesses going in. My most dedicated readers will have seen this in bits and pieces already, but if you missed anything, here is all of my Class One work:

And with that, Class One is done! I had a great experience this term. My mentor was great, my classmates gave fantastic feedback, and I learned a ton!

I've got next week off for a break week between terms but next Monday I'll be back! My Class Two mentor is Marlon Nowe, a supervising animator at Disney who is currently working on Wreck-It Ralph, which I am so excited for. Wah! See you soon, lovelies!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Week 11! Almost there!

Okay, I know that it's technically Week 12 right now and I'm late in posting this week but I won't tell anyone if you won't, okay? Okay.

Our main assignment this week was to finish up our personality walk and add, for the very first time, a perspective camera angle! Hooray! Here is what I came up with for my 3/4 perspective view of my lazy walk with our friend Ballie. 

And, for our very last posing assignment, we had to communicate "balance". This one, like the strength assignment, was easier in some ways because balance is communicated almost completely through body language anyways, so Stu not having a face wasn't such a hindrance. Plus, it was fun to think up balance-y situations and draw them. Like these!

If it wasn't for So You Think You Can Dance being on right now (go Eliana!), I don't think I would have thought to  use dance photos as reference for these drawings. The dance drawings, along with the other balancing act ones came out pretty well, I think. After picking out some favorites, I posed Stu accordingly:

I think this actually may be my favorite batch of poses of the term. Stu's big melon hardly even got in the way! After some peer feedback, I decided to go with D:

My mentor was quite pleased with this pose and with my walk. I'm happy to have ended this term's work on a good note. All I have left to do is put together my progress reel compiling all of my work from Class One. I'll post that up tomorrow so keep your eyes peeled!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Most Exhausting Week Yet

Lovelies! Hello, hello. So glad to have you here with us during Week 10. It is a doozy, so buckle up. I'll ease you in with a revision of my vanilla walk from last week:

My only note for this was to fix his slight lurch as he moves forward across the screen and delay his up and down translation just a touch. Other than that my mentor was pleased! Okay on to the good stuff now.

This week we got our very first shot at a character walk, which was both exciting and overwhelming. For the first time this term, we were pretty much given free reign. Our only stipulation was to do a walk with some kind of personality. My first thought was, "that leaves me infinite options HOW AM I GONNA CHOOSE?!" Then I thought about our pose assignment this week, which was to communicate "exhaustion" (more on this later). So, I thought doing an exhausted/lazy walk might be fun. After filming myself slumping around my backyard for reference, here is what I came up with for my blocking pass:

Ballie, such a lazy bum. Now onto the drawings! Like I said, this week's pose is "exhaustion." Here are some sketches of poor tired Stu. I took a nap in the middle of doing these, you know, for research. 

Here are some of my favorites done with our pal, Stu. His head is still enormous and unwieldy, if you were wondering. 

Okay, readers, vote away! Which Stu looks the most exhausted? Please let me know and I'll be back next week with a finished personality walk and another round of drawings!