Sunday, March 31, 2013

Let the Acting Begin!

My "I'm excited even though I have no idea what
 I'm doing!" face
So! After the little mini-break between terms, Class 4 has begun. On Tuesday I had my first Q&A with Nick Bruno, a supervising animator at Blue Sky Studios, where he's worked on  Horton Hears a Who!, the Ice Age series, Rio, and is currently on Rio 2. Nick has a reputation at AM for being pretty tough on his students, and from meeting him in Q&A on Tuesday, I can see he's going to live up to it.

My first impression of him is that he's very no-nonsense and is not one to sugarcoat, which I find refreshing. I think that's just what I need right now in my education. Like Marlon did in his first Q&A, Nick laid out the rules. He is going to be a tough grader and he expects us all to step up to the challenge. As fun as AM can be, we are all here to learn and Nick expects us to come to class prepared with questions and not make excuses for late/unfinished work. He's not here to be our buddy, he's here to make us better animators. He assured that although there may be times when we'll be very, very frustrated with him, we will all leave Class 4 better than when we started.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a liiiiittle scared after that first Q&A. Starting to learn acting is scary by itself, but having one of the toughest AM teachers on top of it is even scarier. But I think a healthy dose of fear is actually a good thing. And as Robyn pointed out in her Lady Animators interview, that terrified feel of "I don't know what I'm doing oh god" never really goes away, so I'd better get used to it now, right? Ha.

I hope you're as excited as I am for this term, readers! I'll be back soon with my work from Week 1 so stay tuned. See you then!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Class 3: Complete. Halfway, ya'll.

YOU GUYS. I've finished Class 3. Do you know what that means? It's means I am halfway done with AM, which is BANANAS. These three quarters FLEW by. Feels like a week ago I was animating a bouncing ball for Class 1. Insanity! As you know, when each class ends we put together a progress reel of our work done at AM so far. Here is my reel from Class 3:

To be honest, I still don't love my swinging shot. But Mike was happy with my final shots for our sequence, and I had a fantastic time overall this term. Mike was an awesome mentor, wonderfully knowledgable and always  helpful. Not to mention he was always willing to go over our allotted Q&A time to do demos and answer questions, which was awesome of him! With two young kids at home, that is no small feat. So thanks to Mike and my classmates for making it an amazing term, can't wait to get going with Class 4! See you in a few days, readers! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Week 11 means Finaled Shots AH!

Can you believe it? Class 3 is wrapping up and my three shots have been finaled. Insanity! I spent most of my time in Week 11 polishing my swinging shot and adding in all the little bitty details. Mike gave me some great feedback and after my crit on Monday I went back in and tweaked a few more things and then called it all done! Here are my final shots:

I had a really great time in Class 3 and am so glad I got to have Mike as a mentor. He is a really great teacher and super nice guy! I hope you enjoyed it too, readers. I also put together my progress reel, which I will post a bit later, along with some more cohesive thoughts on my experience this term. See you then, readers!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Weeks 9 + 10! It's a Two-fer!

I KNOW. I'm way late. So late that I have to do a double-post. We're putting Weeks 9 and 10 together so GET READY. Here goes:

So last week I dove into the polish phase for my shots and began detailing out all the little things. The third shot needed the most work but by the end of Week 9 I was feeling good about where I was with two weeks left to continue polishing. Take a look:

Overall I was feeling good, though I see lots of things I still need to work on, mainly on my third shot, as usual. Mike gave me an "auto final" for my first two shots, which was very exciting. In the DreamWorks world, an "auto final" means that you just have a few small tweaks to make to finish the shot, and once a director gives you that, you can make the tweaks and send it on down the pipe. At that point, the director trusts you to make the necessary changes and doesn't need to see the shot again. So that was encouraging! He gave me lots of great notes on the third shot so that was where I focused most of my time the following week.

Though, I had very little time last week to animate. I took a trip with my sister to help her run her booth at AWP, an annual writing conference that takes place in a different city every year. This year, that city was Boston. My sister runs Nouvella, an independent publishing house that publishes small, beautiful novellas by up-and-coming authors. Which you should read because they are amazing. I'm not just saying that because she's my sister, I promise. They are great!

So, I went to help her table BUT I got stranded in various parts of the country on the way there and on the way back. I flew from Sacramento to Salt Lake City to Las Vegas to Boston on Wednesday (left at four thirty in the morning, got to Boston around midnight). Then on the way back I went from Boston to Atlanta, got stuck in Atlanta overnight, then finally got back home to Sacramento on Sunday morning. So many states! So little free wifi!

Moral of the story is: I didn't animate as much as I should have last week. I got the bulk of my work done on Sunday and spent nearly all my time working on my third shot. Things are looking better, but BOY am I thankful I have another week to sort this out:

Mike had more notes for my third shot, most of which were polish-y things about the timing and spacing of the swings. I'm having a really hard time nailing the feel and weight of the swings, even at this late stage. Hopefully I can get it looking and feeling better by the time the week is through. The other two shots just need a bit more attention before I can truly call them final. Overall I'm feeling good about it and I absolutely can't believe that this term will be done in two weeks. Banantown.

That's all for now lovelies, I hope it wasn't too much for one post. I'll be back next week with my final animation (ah!), keep your eyes peeled!