I feel like I have learnt a lot throughout this semester. At the beginning I didn’t really know what to do or how to do it although I already had an idea about animation. The Build a world project taught me that there’s more to animation than moving around characters and scenes. Creating a whole new world is not an easy job, especially with characters in it who have unique personalities. All of this is really important and would be hard to achieve alone. These few months made me realize the posibilities of teamwork. It was hard to get the hang of it at the start, it wasn’t easy to work with everyone, but at the end we could always come up with more uniqe ideas if we put our heads together. As I got into new teams week by week it always got a bit easier to work together. Also the way I got to know different people and their different way of thinking it helped me more than I imagined it could at first. I feel like I have improved both in the quality of my drawing skills and the way I think about creating art in general as well. With almost filling a sketchbook just for my coursework through the semester the way I sketch got so much better. I have only realized this when I went back to think about character design again. At the beginning I couldn’t let all my ideas flow as I should have, but day by day without even realizing it I got more and more comfortable with thinking quickly through my sketches. What is even more important for me is that I got more confident as well. If I think about it I can only say that in this the life drawing sessions helped me the most. I always had a problem with freestyle drawing and it made all my sketches stiff. On the first few pages of my sketchbook they are still like that, but with the lot of practise I feel like I improved a lot in this as well.
All in all I came a long way from the start, but I still have a long journey ahead to get better and to get a deeper understanding in art in general.
I wanted to create something a bit different from furniture this time in Maya, something more delicate and not so square looking. I ended up with the idea of an open book. With every piece I make I find it easier to think about the structure while modelling.
In the near future I want to start to try building a bit more complicated modells as well.
I felt like I didn’t spend enough time on the second week’s assignment during the build a world project, so I have made a few more sketches on the subject (sketchbook pg 76-80). I went back to the tree and shadow creatures to see if I can come up with a few more ideas. I could feel how much I improved during the year not just in the quality of my art, but my way of thinking as well. I have used my new Chameleon pens to finish a final character design on a new treecreature I made.
My group (Charlotte, Glenn, Rachael and me) had to make a pechakucha style presentation on Tex Avery for Tuesday.
First of all, what is PechaKucha?
PechaKucha is a simple presentation form when 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each. Sounded easy enough first, but at the end we found so much information that it was really hard to figure out which parts are the most important. After having a look on the PechaKucha website it was very obvious that we don’t need any text on the slides. I kinda liked this idea because whenever I had to make a group presentation previously on a powerpoint everyone was just reading off of the screne and that doesn’t really hold anyone’s attention. It’s more interactive if we know what we have to do by heart.
After having a look on Tex Avery’s life with the group we decided that everyone should have 5 slides each to talk about. I ended up with the part when he was working for the animation department of Warner Brothers, or as it was called that time Leon Schlesinger studios. I felt like it’s better to take a look at all of his life tho, if questions occured during or after the presentation it was a good thing that I had a clue what the others were talking about. I wanted to get my facts right so I used many sources to get all the information. My most reliable source was Of Mice and Magic the book by Leonard Maltin. The book itself talkes about the studios, so to make it easier I read every chapter that included a studio Avery worked for. It was good to see the backgrounds and the future of all three studios before and after Avery animated there. I have also used internet sources like biography.com, or the American National Biography website. I also watched many film of his to get more familiar with his style, which was more fun than hard work. All the gags, the exaggareted animation are still funny today.
When everyone was ready with their 5 slides Glenn came up with the idea that we should swap it around a bit, so everyone got 2 slides of someone else’s. I ended up with Charlotte’s slides about Avery’s late career and death. In my research this was the only area that I never really got into so I did some more research on this subject as well.
Glenn was the one who put together the whole presentation and we made every slide change automatically after 20 seconds so we don’t have to watch the time while talking. At the end I think as Conánn said, we should have concentrated more on his work than his life, we had enough information to work with and fill all the slides just with the funny stuff, but in my view we did well anyway. Next time we can only get even better.
The presentation is available here: tex-avery.
Our next assignment was to create a piece of furniture in Maya. It was a really big help that I was already familiar with the software, fortunately it isn’t much different from 3Ds Max – as far as I know…
We only had a one day deadline, so I put together a wardrobe first. I could finish it rather quick, so I went on to create a whole room as well.
To practise some more I went back to the idea of furniture.
This time I started experimenting with the lights as well. I tried to make it look like there’s a lamp on top of the table. I still want to get more comfortable with modelling and lights before I go to the next stage – texturing.
After finishing our first attemt on bouncing a bowl we were shown how to do squash and stretch, so our homework for next week is to bounce three different kind of balls. I had no experience in animating in 3D at all, and I had to try a few times before I got it right.
But first things first, before I even opened Maya, I did some research. I wanted to illustrate the weight of the balls somehow, not only with squash and stretch, but with timing as well. I had a look at the Fundamentals of Animation course that Aaron Blaise made. Anyone can make a purchase for it on his website, creatureartteacher.com . So far I found it very useful.
“Animation is the caricaturing of life. It’s taking life and exaggerating it. And that’s what squash and stretch does.” says Aaron Blaise in his video. I agree with this, and this is one thing I have always loved about animation. There’s no physics or any laws to bind us.
I also had a brief look at this section of Richard Williams’ The Animator’s Survival Kit. (It’s all very useful I just didn’t have the time to read through the whole book yet…) I have tried to put in use what he writes about spacing and timing. The ball gets slower as it reaches higher in its arc and than falls down quicker.
Conánn sent us a file, and I think it was alright for a tennis ball, so I used it as a reference to create mine. It wasn’t easy, I had to get used to the graph editor, but after a few failed attempts I could put it together.
My second ball was the bowling ball.
I found this video really useful even tho I didn’t model any stairs at the end. Considering the hardness of the bowling ball I didn’t use any squash and stretch, and I only added small bounces.
At the end I had a lot of fun with the small bouncy ball.
All in all I was satisfied with the outcome of these three balls.
Happily we didn’t have to think about anything in connection with the world this time, and we easily decided on the story. Everyone was amazed by Nuala’s art from the colour week, so we agreed on a love story between a big and a small.
I know Photoshop isn’t the best solution to create animation, but I didn’t feel I had the time to learn a new software and we wanted to make a smooth and fluid animation.
This was our first version which my team presented after the Q&A with James Nesbitt. I mostly just used the art of my team, I only had to make the Midi in the third scene, and the rose at the end. I tried to do my best with the animation as well. I felt that this was a bit rushed, and we wanted too much to happen in 30 seconds, and it seemed I wasn’t wrong.
After the presentation we decided to clean up the animatic a bit. We will get rid of the midi scene, as it was only a source of confusion, make a few other scenes shorter or longer. Glenn wanted to redraw one of the backgrounds and Charlotte and Rachael are looking for sounds we can add later.
I finished the updated version of the animatic with Glenn’s new background. We only need to add the sound.