An other fabulous month at The Animation Workshop in Viborg, Denmark – the professional course of 3D Character Animation 2013. <3
In the beginning of April we waved Erik Schmidt goodbye with a Thursday dinner and gave him a nice gift of all of our hand prints on a pretty yellow paper. Maybe a bit childish, but we think he liked it!
Our present to Erik.
Right after saying our goodbyes to Erik we had one weekend scheduled for Acting classes with Robert Bennett. It was great and very useful for me as an animator. But I was super nervous before the classes. Luckily I was able to have a lot of fun anyway. In one of the exercises I had to act out smelling a rotten avocado without any props. Fun!
When the acting classes were over on Sunday we were all treated pizza from a local restaurant and I made Irish Coffee for everyone. The pizzas were nothing like the pizzas the Italians in our class make! Bah! (I guess we have gotten picky about the pizzas…)
This month I finally decided to go to the Animation Festival in Annecy. It will be my first time there and I am a bit embarrassed to say that I didn’t really know about this festival until I came to this class. I think I recognize the name of it but didn’t realize it’s THE Animation Festival. Anyway, it’s going to be exciting.
I also finally started to take advantage of the bi-weekly life drawing classes at The Animation Workshop. Really nice!
Life drawing. Quickies!
Was a bit sad about not being able to attend this year’s SIS/SPX in Stockholm. It’s the first one I missed since I started going to them in 2006. Anyway, I am sure I will attend next year and have tons of cool things to show! At least I was able to finish drawing the whole Chapter 1 of The Din this month. Now I only have lots of editing and tweaks left to do before I think it’s ready. Also proof reading first, of course.
Sketch of a panel of the last page of Chapter 1 of The Din!
As for the running I have been doing great in April. Last two weeks I hit a new record in 10 km. Around 54 minutes on 10.1 km! I’m getting ready for the race on the 18:th of May! I’m so lucky to have the route around the Viborg lake. From my apartment, 1 lap around the lake and back is almost exactly 10 km! 2 lapses and back is about 16 km and 3 lapses and back is 21+ km – perfect for half marathon work outs!
The lovely route around the southern lake of Viborg. <3
Party flyer from SunCreature Studio.
The teachers for this month were Claus Pedersen from Pixar Canada and Yoshi Tamura who directed Réflexion and have a long successful career as a character animator. He animated some shots of Tarzan in Disney’s Tarzan. Everyone who knows me well know how much I like that movie!
With Claus and Yoshi as teachers I learnt how important it is to thoroughly plan your shots. How to structure and figure out the beats and what kind of mindsets you need to use when working with acting and lip synch shots. It’s super important to know your character to be able to plan and figure out how to communicate your story, character and show what she/he is thinking and feeling. Of course I was also able to apply what I got from Robert’s acting classes into these exercises.
Thumbnails from Yoshi's lip synch exercise.
For the first exercise with Claus I doodled and recorded a reference shot with myself and my friend Juan. For the second exercise with Yoshi I drew my own thumbnails for reference and timed them out in an other program. Both ways worked really well, but I got some more natural poses from shooting live reference.
These teachers also provided us with some helpful advice on how to polish your shot, check the arcs, the slow-in/outs etc. step by step and cleaning up your curves in the graph editor. This is something I haven’t done a lot as a game animator. The way I am used to work is the total oposite in the graph editor – I am used to rely on splined curves and as few keys as possible rather than blocking and keying until you are on twos or ones with the animator in control rather than the computer/splines. Interesting! But I think everyone works in different ways. For me, I find it much easier to make a polished shot with good acting the way the teachers have taught us. But the animation will be too heavy for games. At least the kind of games I am used to make. It’s all about balance!
Thumbnails for the Football shot.
A funny detail is that I kind of based the second exercise’s character on Fozt (from The Din) and his personality. I even modified the rig to look a bit like Fozt. It was much easier to work with a character you know better than just working with something random.
Fozt mod of the Malcom Rig.
I have to admit that April was the toughest month during this course. The last two weeks I were really having a hard time to pull myself together. I think it was mostly because I was really moody for a lot of different reasons that I don’t really want to write about. But one of them, that I already mentioned, was about me not being able to go to the comic festival in Stockholm (SIS/SPX) which is really childish since I am having a great time here and consider myself really lucky to be able to go to this course. And I think my second exercise really affected my mood too because the voice and music was super moody. Sometimes the character you work on affect your own mood A LOT. Yeah, have a look yourself and you will understand.
And here’s something new for this post!
Progress shot movies!
I didn’t have a lot of playblasts saved from the Dialogue assignment to make a proper progress shot movie – but it’s still interesting to watch.
I am sorry this entry is very late but I have been super busy. Hope to get the May entry up as soon as possible! Until then, make sure to follow my other entries. I usually have something automatically scheduled for this blog!
Summarized list of the things I did this month:
- Started going to life drawing classes
- Signed up for the Animation Festival in Annecy
- Attended to Acting Class lead by Robert Bennett
- I was running, running, running
- Hit running record on 10 km! 54 minutes!
- Finished drawing all 45 pages of the first Chapter of The Din
- Moping for no good reason, but now I’m back on track!