Friday, June 17, 2011

A Moment to Breathe

Can't believe another class is over. Class 3 to 4 was the hardest transition since it rolled from one class right into the next. It was tough to delve that quickly into acting and I think everyone felt that. Never-the-less, here's the current progress reel. I just realized I didn't put up any shots of my Class 3 stuff. All is included here in all of it's unfinished playblast glory:

This animjam (Class 3 work) will always hold a special place in my heart because I was taught so many lessons while going through it. By the end of the first shot I was planning to toss the idea out the window, but a quick pep talk by my buddy Mike showed me that the idea was limitless. I tried IK hands on that for the first time, I tried stretching into the more stylized animation, and even added a smear frame in there haha. It was tons of fun. The last lesson I learned from it is to put yourself out there. When we were finishing the last shot of Class 3 up, the AM showcase was taking submissions and because of my personal gripes with the shot I chose not to submit what I felt to be my most successful shot up to that point. Though the chances were very slim anyway, I'll always be left wondering "what if".

But I'm glad that happened. Now I know I won't put myself in that situation again as I move on.

The acting shots were really hard to do. That pantomime shot especially. We'll be going into the facial animation in the next class, but for now I'm just looking forward to taking a breather. What a rewarding class though, just learning about how people work has been such a highlight of Class 4. And I don't think this path of education is going to ever stop. I wouldn't have it any other way :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Blueprints / Fear of Failure

An AM alumni by the name of Kelly Perez gave us a lecture / demo of herself planning a shot the other night and it was almost ridiculous how deep she went into each aspect of the shot. She posted the process over on this blog that covers her weekly Q&A stuff:

Kelly Perez - The Animation School Bus

I thought I broke down my reference and planned out my current shot pretty well - but when I was exposed to this, it really showed me just how slack I am at planning. I had a good basis, but I didn't know EXACTLY what I was going to do before I went into Maya. There will always be room to tweak things while you're animating, but having a clear plan first and not just "holds this pose for 24 frames" will save you headaches. In the end I had to improvise a few things that wasted a lot of time, but I'll definitely be taking this with me to the next assignment. And if you're reading this Jero, this goes for your walk cycles too! :)

Check out some of the other topics posted on Kelly's blog as well - very good info there. And congrats to her for nabbing an internship at LAIKA.

Quick switch of topics here, but the fear of failure has been a reoccurring theme I've been seeing lately. Fear is a really nasty thing. Generally you'd want to avoid doing something because it's dangerous. But in animation, what's the worst that could happen? Maybe being new to animation gave me the luxury of not being attached to a specific workflow or have any preconceptions of what animation is / was. I came into this world knowing nothing and was a metaphorical sponge - just soaking up whatever came my way. But especially now, going through with my current assignment, I think we shouldn't fear "fear". With a slight change of perspective you can quickly turn it into a positive.

I've been hit with this many times during my time at AM so far and I look back just a short 3 months ago and see how silly I was. Fear is something that should be welcomed. If you're afraid to tackle something, it's probably because you don't know how to yet... and if you don't know how to yet - then you're going to learn! It's a surefire thing that even if you come out with a total failure of a shot, you'll learn something. The key is to know when you're stuck and search for the answers whether it be on your own or with help from someone else (and this is why we have mentors!).

Don't be afraid to try new suggestions, new methods, new styles. Use common sense of course, you don't have to try EVERY suggestion that comes your way, but if there is a decent reason for it - just be open to giving it a shot. Embrace failure, it will always lead to you becoming a stronger animator. Don't let fear cheat you out of the learning process.