Saturday, 31 December 2011

Proteigon

Had to share this, such a great combination of stop motion, audio and awesomeness.

PROTEIGON from BURAYAN on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The Making of Puss in Boots

I love making of documentaries and I just stumbled across this one for Puss in Boots so give it a watch:



Thursday, 8 December 2011

New iAnimate reel

iAnimate released their new students work reel last week and it's looking awesome! Some really mind blowing work in there and they included one of my assignments from earlier this year! If you watch at 11:50 you can see my vanilla walk (not a cycle).



Animating that walk kicked my arse. We had three or so weeks to do it and the final assignment was my third attempt, I struggled so hard for a long time but got there in the end with lots of feedback and some amazing advice from my instructor Jim van der Keyl. The main thing I learned from that assignment was that you really have to focus on which body parts are leading and following. For far too long I had the hips leading which made him look really feminine. Once I reworked it to have the chest leading it all fell into place. Also picked up the nifty trick of using the scale tool in the graph editor to exaggerate motions (e.g. wrists) or to bring them down.

Some more DmC footage

Here ya go to anyone interested. This is the game I'm currently working on. None of my cutscenes in these videos though, I have one right before where the second video starts.



Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Aardman Animation Studios Behind the Scenes



I've always loved stop motion and I've always loved behind the scenes footage so this is awesome! One day I'll have to dabble with stop motion again to remind myself of how bad I am at it. But anyway, check the video out and just look at the scale of those sets! Go Aardman!

Here are some pictures from the visit:















ORIGINAL SOURCE

Friday, 21 October 2011

I live in the woods

This was just posted around the studio and I completely love it! Had to share:

[Warning, it does get violent and religious folk may not like it]

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Animation in adverts

I don't watch TV, mainly because I don't have one and anything that I'd want to watch is stream-able online. That's a lie, there is a TV in the house and we do have a TV license but the effort of connecting it up to something to receive a signal is too much effort for the reward (or lack of).

This results in me being very unaware of any great adverts that might be airing unless I happen to see somebody post them on any social network sites. Anyway, to the point. My girlfriend sent me these two tonight and I was happily surprised at the amount of money going into animation production for adverts. Animated adverts are also breaking out of the stereotype of being used for childrens products and to show off fancy cars. The following adverts are for yoghurt (yogurt or yogourt depending where you're from) and tea. You'd expect a healthy and hurried looking young woman in a kitchen for the one and maybe a scene of a cold winter with people sat in front of a cozy fire for the bother but NO! Not today:


Twinings Tea Advert - Gets You Back To You






Müller - Wünderful Stuff



Thursday, 6 October 2011

iAnimates Taio Cruz Dynamite Animated Music Video



"This was made as exercises in animated Body Mechanics and Lip Sync to music. Thanks a million to Taio Cruz for making such an awesome song, and well done to all the students who worked on the animation.Hope you enjoy......J"
This project started whilst I was still at iAnimate so I was able to see the very first 2D animatics made in Flipbook by Jason Ryan, the rough blocking and speedy progress to a solid compilation of students work. This was an absolutely wonderful idea, it brought animators together within the course, they got to be led by Jason Ryan and have their work reviewed by him (how does he get so much time to do it all?) and everything in this video was animated in peoples spare time outside of work and doing their own assignments.

Let's hope that iAnimate keeps up the community projects and the fun. Congratulations to everyone who took part in this video, I have a lot of friends who animated pieces of this and you all did a great job!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Mature Animation part 3

If you know me then you know that I like the idea of animation maturing and entering the field of higher age rating films, aimed at teenagers, young adults and good old fashioned adults. If you don't know me and you only follow my blog then you might know following my previous posts about mature animation (post1  post2).

Anyway, a trailer popped up on my facebook feed today that punched my attention in the face, here's said trailer:


At first I thought it might be another smaller studio having a go at the kids animation market but I was happily surprised. If you've watched the trailer I'm sure you noticed the adult humour throughout. Now, I have to say that if this were a live action film I probably wouldn't have watched the whole thing and got so excited about it but as far as animation goes it feels like studios are taking big steps towards greater and more varied content. Now there are studios catering for more than just children and the general family. Animation is reaching out to a wider audience and if it's received well then who knows where it could eventually go. 

After showing this to my fellow colleagues I was given this trailer to watch and was surprised that there's another "mature" animation on the way called A.D:


Which led me to remember about The Goon:


All this is looking very positive as it shows that there's an audience for these films. That there is an older age group that want animation to be taken to new places and into different genres. And why not? We have countless video games that contain all sorts of content, just like films and there's a game for everyone. Why can't there be an animated film for everyone too? I am aware that these are two different things but at the end of the day they are both in the same entertainment box as films, books and music. All story telling.

It's true that animation is very young and that it's always been labelled as more of a kids thing but check this out:


Video games have been around for even less time and they offer all sorts of things. Would you ever see any of that in an animated film released in major cinemas today? No way, but hopefully you will soon.

Friday, 16 September 2011

TGS DmC content

Hello people!

I know my last post was very DmC heavy and this one will be too but I will have some more posts coming soon to do with animation and one to do with inspiration aaaaaaaaaaaand maybe one about starting out in the industry and what to expect. Could be interesting. Anyway, Tokyo Game Show is happening over in Japan right now and we've released a new trailer and a demo. Here they are:

Trailer:



Demo:



Tuesday, 16 August 2011

DmC Gameplay Trailer

Also, have this! Just released from GamesCom, hope you enjoy:

Some DmC goodies

Ninja Theory have just released some new screenshots two amazing pieces of artwork for our current project DmC. Here they are in all their glory:

(Click for a lovely full view)






And some more Dante:



Sunday, 19 June 2011

Animation Smears, Multiples and Other Animation Gimmicks


The Animation Smears, Multiples and Other Animation Gimmicks blog is simply amazing. For me personally I love to see what crazy things other animators get up to with smears and multiples and I find it really inspiring. I'd love to see more of this in 3D animation. Anyway, go check out the blog and geek out over pages and pages of animation goodness!

Animation Smears, Multiples and Other Animation Gimmicks Blog

Work experience and internship

[I wrote this weeks ago but only just noticed that it didn't get posted for whatever reason.]

It's been waaaaaaaaay too long since I updated this blog. Apologies to anyone who may follow my ramblings. I've been quite busy with iAnimate, travelling around for interviews and other such business. Things have settled a bit more now, kind of, here's what's happening:

I'm currently sat in Sheffield and will be here for two weeks for work experience with the amazing guys at:


The studio was started by Bradford University students and has since employed a few more of them too so I'll be among a familiar-ish bunch. They specialize in short films that are mainly used for 3D/4D rides as well as work for TV and adverts. One of the guys who runs the studio taught a course at Bradford too, the CGFX module and another came in to speak about his career. It's going to be great working with them and I'm really looking forward to my first day tomorrow. At the moment all I know is that I'll be animating at some point.

After the two weeks at RedStar I'm back off to Northest Wales for a week with my girlfriend and then the following weekend it'll be time to run away to Cambridge for a six month internship with:


Whilst at Ninja Theory I'll be spending my time as a Cinematics Intern working on their current project. I know there'll be animation involved but there will also be mocap editing which I'm really looking forward to learning and learning from. So I move to Cambridge in two weeks into a house with the other 5 interns which should be lots of fun. Like being in a student house again! Can't wait :D

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Cartoon Network

So the other day I turned over to Cartoon Network and saw a couple of cartoons that were absolutely amazing! Great styles and really funny, I swear they're made for people in their early 20's and they're really nicely designed and animated! Check 'em out:



"Animation" Inception parody

This is so good, it made my day. Had to share it!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

iAnimate Workshop 2


I've had a cool break, three weeks of casually animating and the rest was actually getting outside, spending time with folk and having a life for a short while. iAnimate has opened up again and I'm starting workshop 2, can't wait to get started with the assignments. I'm really going to try and push myself to come up with some good shots.

Even better news, my instructor is the one and only Mike Walling! This block is going to be awesome. I'll see if I can post any of my workshop 1 work publicly yet. I should be able to get away with posting the walk at least since that was in the iAnimate promo.

Anyway, too many awesome things happening. We have a new rig called Rex and we're getting another soon called Jackal. We're definitely spoiled for choice on this course. Lots of new and very skilled people have joined and some 2D animators too, can't wait to see their assignments. There's going to be some phenomenal work coming from iAnimate, keep your eyes peeled! 

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Growing Game Animation - Transitions & Player Input

Check out this great article by Mike Jungbluth about animation in games. It tackles a few opinions about game animators and proves how they can view even the most seemingly mundane action as a perfect opportunity to really push the characters personality through physical action.

http://altdevblogaday.org/2011/04/10/growing-game-animation-transitions-player-input/

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Interview

So I just checked my emails. I went through them expecting to see a load of spam from Linkedin groups and amazon but there was one email that I wasn't expecting. It was an awesome email from an awesome games studio telling me that I've been chosen for an awesome interview with them for the cinematics internship! I'll be hearing more from them in May...can't wait! Fingers crossed and all that!

:D



Art Blog

So I've decided to start an art blog to try and encourage myself to draw more often. Go check it out!

Art of Bryn


Monday, 4 April 2011

iAnimate promo

iAnimate have released their promo video to show off the course and some student work. I'm very proud to have had one of my assignments included in the student showcase at the end of the video next to some absolutely amazing work. Check it out!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Keep On Top

I came across a great piece of software the other day thanks to a fellow iAnimator. I had noticed in some videos that people were somehow managing to keep windows on top of Maya so that they could follow thumbnails/reference and I wanted to do the same with my current assignment.

I was recommended Keep On Top - it's free software that simply keeps any window on top. You can minimize it but when you bring it back up it'll stay there until you set everything back to normal on the software. I can imagine this would come in handy for a lot of things.

Here's a screenshot:


Hope it comes in handy for you.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Keeping animators healthy

(We wish)

I think more people should be aware of the health risks from sitting at a desk for long hours. You can destroy your back and wrists among other things. It's worth upgrading to ergonomic hardware so that you can keep yourself going and not have to take breaks away from your profession. Ergonomic keyboards are great and easy to get used to as are the mice. If you're using a mouse buy an ergonomic mouse mat, they're very comfy. I've noticed recently after transferring to using a Wacom to animate with that I'm getting a bit of ache in my wrist and am thinking about getting one of these wrist wrests (since I wrote this draft the ache has completely gone, must have been my wrist teething).

A good chair is important too but they can become quite costly. Also don't forget that your monitor should be at least arms length away from you so that don't destroy your vision.

It's not just about having fancy hardware that helps your body bits out. You need to make sure that your diet doesn't suffer too. I often fall into the trap of eating anything so that I can get back to my work and my body soon lets me know when it's not appreciating it. A well balanced diet is incredibly important, all the time. No excuses. As well as the diet we have exercise, even if you're getting up to walk around every hour or so. It's better than being sat down in one (often awful) position all day.

In conclusion, unless you want to be a crazy blind hunchback with broken wrists and malnutrition then be nice to your body and it'll return the favour.

Victor Navone (Pixar animator) wrote a tutorial about ergonomics a while back, check it out here - http://blog.navone.org/2007/12/ergonomics.html

Friday, 18 March 2011

Rango Review



Rango is unlike any other animated feature to date. It takes risks, looks gritty, doesn't shy away from death (not a spoiler) and at times is actually pretty scary (in the uncomfortable kind of way).

I went to see Rango last week with my girlfriend and some friends and really enjoyed it. Although, I must admit that I believe it has been over hyped somewhat. For me, the characters weren't engaging enough and I didn't really care about what happened to them along their journey. Maybe I couldn't relate to them for any number of reasons but that's something that I find very important in any film - engaging characters and story. Despite this it still felt like a strong film. I see it as a Western that just happens to be animated, it's most definitely not aimed only at children.

There are some amazing scenes in the film. Everything looked beautiful, buckets of detail, great animation and really full scenes. The action scenes especially were inspiring, they're good old fashioned Western action scenes too...guns and explosions and everything! ILM have done an amazing job.

Not to mention the voice acting, Bill Nighy gave an especially strong performance as did Mr. Depp and the rest of the cast.

Let's hope that ILM keep at this animated feature business, their first attempt has proved popular and pushed the boundaries of western (geographically speaking) animation.

If Rango is still showing in a cinema where you are then I'd recommend you go watch it............NOW!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

BBC Talent Conference

(Nick Park and Peter Salmon)

I mentioned the other day that I was off to the BBC Talent Conference at UCLAN because I and some fellow university friends were up for the Production award for our work on OverCharged - a short animation that tackles wasting energy.

We didn't win the award, a group from another university who had made a live action documentary managed to bag it. Congratulations to them! There were only two animations that made it through to be nominated for anything so it was a huge compliment just to be there amongst lots of industry greats.

So anyways...on to more interesting things. Nick Park was there, the legendary Aardman animator, writer, director and creator of Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run, Creature Comforts etc. He came across as a really great guy, totally down to earth and genuine. He talked about his life before he made it to Aardman - he used to work in a chicken packing factory (which is where Chicken Run came from) and thought of animation as a nice little side hobby. It was amazing to be in the presence of one of my animation heroes. I used to be obsessed with stop motion animation and Aardman and Nick Park was really up there on the inspiration list.

We were given free lunch, yay!

One of the real highlights of the day was a workshop that I attended about getting into the industry and doing well in it. The panel consisted of CEO of Codeworks Herb Kim ,music journalist and ex Radio 1 DJ Mary Anne Hobbs and Eddie Morgan who is the head of the College of Production, BBC Academy. The best thing about the panel was Mary Anne Hobbs's advice for following your dreams. If you want it, do everything you can for it and take risks. Both Herb and Mary took risks to get where they are today. Herb came over here from America and set up a highly successful business and Mary left home, lived on a bus with a band for a year then sold everything she owned to move to America where she bought a motorbike and a bikini "as you do" in her own words. But neither of them saw their decisions as risks, they thought they were completely necessary despite being told otherwise by everybody else. I think that's an important thing to remember. If you want to do something that will get you closer to where you want to be then do it. Mary was such a strong talker throughout the panel. She'd frequently burst out with passionate and inspirational stories and advice.

So they were the highlights, there were no low points of the day at all. The big boss of BBC North was a great host and Victoria Wood was extremely entertaining and funny. Thanks for having me BBC and for the free shirt and lunch. Much appreciated!  

Friday, 4 March 2011

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Production Award nomination

That's right! The group I was in at university have been nominated for the Production award at the BBC's talent conference. I don't really know much about the event to be totally honest but it's taking place tomorrow. Nick Park (of Aardman and Wallace and Gromit fame) is going to be there giving a talk and a Q&A session so I can't wait! Hopefully I'll get to meet him too. The award nomination is for an environmental themed animation called Overcharged. Apparently we have to wear shirts that say "Award nominee" all day so that people from the industry know who we are. There are workshops too and talks from other industry folk. Should be fun! :D

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Acting Lesson from Molier

Here's a great video that I've just come across thanks to Jacob Gardner. It's a clip from a French film called Moliere. The arty character is telling the older man to act like a horse, he goes straight into doing something pretty generic and thoughtless. The arty guy stops him and shows him the importance of knowing your character so that you can give the correct performance. Check it out, it's a great reminder of what we should and shouldn't be doing as animators.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Speaking of mature animation...

As you might have been able to tell from a post I made the other week ( http://www.zombryn.co.uk/2011/02/ark.html ) I don't think animation should end at family films. I believe that it can be so so soooooo effective for more mature content. The other day I came across two animations that are perfect examples of this. The first is a beautifully stylized piece with a dark religious type story and the second is an all out mind-explosion fest...but it's quite funny and entertaining. Try them on for size:


Guillermo del Toro developing stop-motion Pinocchio


The concept art looks awesome, right up my ally. Go Mr. Toro, make it happen! Read more about the project here:

Guillermo del Toro developing stop-motion Pinocchio

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Overlap notes

Here's a list I made messily and quickly recently about overlap. They could come in useful to some people since there's some great info in there that I took from things I've read and watched.
  • Overlap is basically overlapping action
  • Hips, chest and head have overlap
  • Drag and followthrough are sub-categories of overlap
  • Whatever is overlapping changes direction when object slows in and out
  • Followthrough happens when an object changes direction
  • Inanimate objects are normally affected by overlap e.g - earrings, tail, hair, clothes
  • Everything can drag but because we're an animate object with muscles and bones we have control over ourselves and that affects the natural overlap of the human body
  • Overlaps are best added towards the end when you have your main objects animated and tied down. Your primary action must be approved/completed! You should only do it once your timing and spacing is complete and finalized.
  • Overlap can be described as secondary animation.
  • S curves normally occur in hair/rope/chain and similar moving objects when it changes direction
  • The most extreme frames of overlap will be a drag
  • The end of the tail should create an arc throughout the animation
  • Point the tip back to where it came from on the previous pose
  • When applying overlap to a tail, hair or spine keep in mind that the base of the tail/hair/spine will move the least and the end will move the most. Kind of like a whip.

And here's a bit of a conversation I had with a fellow iAnimate student (Martyn Smith) who came out with this piece of gold:

I remember asking Stephen (Melagrano):
"What's more important, realism or strong graphic poses?"
he said,
"Strong graphic poses, definitely. Something that reads instantly and clearly."
But then Mike said they'd often throw away graphic poses because it just didn't fit into the flow of things so I guess there's a balance.

Which goes to show that the "guidelines" can be broken. I had followed the "tip should point where it last came from" advice in a recent animation but it just didn't look as good as it could have. I ended up pushing the poses so that the hair and body made stronger S shapes and it worked so much better but the rest of my work on the overlap did follow that piece of original advice. 

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Tangled


My girlfriend and I went to see Tangled in 3D the other day and it was BRILLIANT! A complete Disney classic. I was expecting it to be good but wasn't prepared for what it delivered. The story was strong, the characters were strong and likeable, the character designs were beautiful! At no point did I see a character and think "3D model syndrome" as I have done in a lot of animated films. They're all in the proper Disney style and it worked so well. The colours were fantastic too and the use of 3D was perfect. No "RANDOM OBJECT COMING AT YOU THROUGH THE SCREEN!" stuff. It was used to boost the composition and to add excitement in certain scenes. Also don't forget about the music, a lot of times when films break into song or dance these days I cringe and think scream "WHY??????" but it all worked so well with this one. Probably because it could be classed as an animated musical and that there isn't just a random one off song that breaks the film up.

But anyway, enough nice words and free marketing. Go see it and make your mind up. I think if Disney keep making them like this then they're definitely back on track.

Wow, I didn't even mention to animation in my first paragraph. It's astounding! So inspiring and a great mix between realistic movements and exaggeration. Congratulations to Disney for creating this. I hope it's the first of more to come.

Friday, 11 February 2011

I drew a picture!

That's right! The last time I drew anything was in September last year. I'm not sure why it takes me so long to start another picture after I've finished one. Anyway, I doodled this in Microsoft OneNote:


Which after some time in Photoshop turned into this:


I think it's a definite improvement compared to my other work. It was partially inspired by the original District 9 alien concept when they had tentacles on their faces and the rest was all random doodles. I think I came up with some silly back story to the canisters in the head being devices that ease the creatures brain pressure. They need this because they developed so quickly that the rest of their body hasn't had a chance to catch up with the size of their brain. But that's just an excuse to draw things sticking out of an aliens head.

Hope you like it!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Nosey Bear

I just had to share this animation and making of video. The whole thing was drawn in the guys sketchbook and composited using After Effects. All because he didn't want to spend the summer in front of a computer, great thinking!



And here's the making of which features some great advice for anyone wanting to create their own sketchbook animation:

Animation Food



Here's another great script for animators. It's not a script that'll do something for you, at least not technically or directly to your animation. Even better, it's a script that inspires you.

If you're bored, feeling like you've been staring at the same thing for too long or want to have a bit of a read all you have to do is fire up animFood and it'll throw random tips/tricks/information at you about animation. How wonderful is that? There are over 300 quotes in there from some of these guys, to name a few:

  • Frank & Ollie
  • Brad Bird
  • Ed Hooks
  • Carlos Baena
  • Bobby Beck
  • Glen Keane
  • Walt Stanchfield
  • John Lasseter
  • Jason Ryan

Here's a link to the blog where you can download the script:

animFood

And here's a link to an icon I made for it:

Coming soon...(I'm not at home for the next few days so the little burger icon will have to wait for now)

Friday, 4 February 2011

Three Lessons

There's a saying that goes something like this:

"You can't polish a turd."

And do you know what? It's completely spot on! I spent absolutely ages trying to polish a movement yesterday morning. I spent much longer trying to get it working than I normally would have on a movement. I suppose it's quite difficult because my brain naturally wants to find solutions and work things out.

But no. Instead, after I noticed how long I had spent sitting there, getting absolutely nowhere...I...I deleted the whole movement! Which brings me to lesson number two:

"Don't fall in love with your work."

In my case it was specifically a bunch of poses. Literally within a minute after deleting what I'd been rattling my brain over for what could have been 15 minutes I nailed the movement within 60 seconds.

Later that day I reached a part during splining the scene where things got particularly messy and couldn't really be saved without looking rubbish. My solution? DELETE IT! And it worked. I deleted the whole movement and quickly reworked it. Because I'd spent so long trying to shape my bad blocking I knew exactly what I wanted.

I've always been very fond of my poses and decisions. Today I've realised just how damaging that can be and love the new method I've adopted. It's pretty reckless but it's worked two times out of two today. Maybe even more times than that in the short space of time I've spent splining this one little 145 frame shot.

It was kind of an "AHA!" moment where those two quotes made perfect sense...and held hands...and ran off into the sunset...they had quote babies.

NEWSFLASH!

I have just realised that there is a third lesson to add to all this. Here it is:

"Learn from your mistakes."

Very important! Don't be afraid to make mistakes and if you do, take the opportunity to learn from them.

Happy Animating folks!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Funny Demo Reel

This is the funniest demo reel you'll ever see. It's a bit of fun but made really well, check it out:

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Kung Fu Panda 2 new footage

Here's some new footage from Kung Fu Panda 2. Sexy animation, can't wait!

Mature animation...anyone?

As much as I love all types of animation, sometimes I wish there were more dark material out there. Animation isn't just for children and family films. Maybe one day the medium will break through to adults in the form of films that sport 15 and 18 ratings. Imagine that! I know you can find anime films with those ratings but I'm talking more western 2d and CG. It doesn't even have to be dark, just more mature. And please don't misunderstand me, I do love fun and everything that comes with it (one of my favourite 3D films is Cloudy). I just feel that a little variation would feel like fresh air just punched me in the lungs.

Here are two great examples of animation being used to approach more mature concepts. I love this guys work, he's called Grzegorz Jonkajtys and is a professional animator and director. I've also included the trailer for his newest film at the bottom for anyone interested.





Animation Insiders FREE ebook



That's right, the Animation Insiders book is now completely free to download in its digital format. Here's a little about it:
Animation Insiders is a book dedicated to animation. AI book #1 is a compilation of know-how, experience and anecdotes from 13 talented animators. Animation Insiders is aimed at people who are passionate about animation, those who are looking to surpass their limits and acquire new techniques. Every book of this amazing series will explores a new theme.
It features such legendary animators as Jason Ryan, Victor Navone, Jason Schleifer and more!

You can download it here - http://book.lesshamans.com/ 

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Walk cycle ref

This is a video of a group of animators having fun but also, perhaps unintentionally, providing us with some great walk cycle reference!

AS_motionTrail script

I thought I'd share a great script that a fellow iAnimator created. It's like the motion trail script in Maya...but so much better! Since download it I've been using it almost every day to track my arcs and to visualise my spacing.

Here it is straight from Angelo's blog:

This script uses the standard maya motionTrail but is linked to an expression that updates what frames are shown based on your current frame.

for example: trail 3 frames before and 3 frames after;
If you are on frame 13, the motionTrail will show you frames 10, 11, 12,13, 14, 15,  and 16.


It also shows the frames and colors of the motion trail can be changed as well. when you are done, just delete the motionTrail node and all of its connections and expressions will be deleted as well. This script is very useful for timing and spacing and especially tracking arcs



Here's the download link:



Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Tips and Tricks from an Art Slave


I found this over on Jonathan Hearns blog who found it on the Muddy Colors blog - great tips and advice here. They can apply to anyone who works in a creative field.

1. Get up happy. Say some affirmations. Get rid of the negative chatter in your head-that voice that says things like, “I’m not coming up with any good ideas. I’ll never make this deadline. I’ll never be good enough to do this job.” Instead, train that voice to say something positive. Reprogram yourself. “I am illustrating books that people love. I am happy with my art. My career is going great. I am a successful artist…” This might sound too simple, and you’ve probably heard it before from the self –help gurus. Have you ever actually tried it….consistently over a few months?

2. Exercise and stay healthy. This is not an option. When you feel healthy, you are more open and ideas come more quickly.

3. Sit quietly each day, do yoga, or meditate. Get calm and peaceful so that when the ideas come, you actually realize they are there. Worry, anger, fear, and other emotions actually block the ability to grasp those sparks of imagination. [Spend time off of your iPhone, Twitter, Facebook - a whole day if that's possible!]

4. Create a place and time to be at work. This is important if you are working at home. Your mind needs to understand, “I am now at work. I will now be creative.” So sharpen your pencils, put on music, sit before your drawing table and begin.

5. Don’t talk too much about your ideas; this depletes some of the magic. On a subconscious level, your wonderful idea has become a real thing in the world. It’s not real, and it won’t be, until you do it. So, instead of sharing your magnificent thoughts, go make the work happen.

6. Take time outs doing something you love. Go to a museum. Sit by a lake. Walk though the woods. You must replenish yourself. Fill the well. Don’t view this as goofing off…this time is very important.

7. Don’t be a workaholic. This is difficult, because you won’t know it, until it’s too late. Your friends and family will know it before you will. ONLY YOU CAN CONTROL THIS. Be the work police and set your own boundaries. Make a contract with yourself. “I do not wok on Tuesday and Sunday. I go on vacation without my work. I have lunch with a friend on Friday every week. I only work from 9am to 2pm. “Put up a sign. Remind yourself that you are free to set your own schedule. Work as late or as little or as early as you want, but make sure you’re enjoying the pace.
Remember, somebody you know will be published before you or more often than you. They will be more successful. They will sell more books. They will get more speaking engagements. You think you will never make it. You won’t…unless you stop working so hard to catch up. Find your own pace. Find your own style. Do what works for you. Be patient. Change happens in incremental ways. When you consciously make these daily choices, you will see a big difference in your life over time…and you will be balanced enough to notice!



Here's the source

KMPlayer is...AWESOME


That's right...you heard it here first, but probably not. I've been pointed in the direction of KMPlayer a couple of times before but from the screen shots it looked a bit scary. I was pointed in the direction of this blog post about it:

KMPlayer best video player ever

The author of said blog has even created and included an in depth PDF walk through that outlines all of the key features for us animators.

Click here for the magical PDF

Here's a direct quote from that blog that outlines the better features of the player:

- Opens and play XVID/Divx footage frame by frame, forward and backward …. with sound feedback. Except Premiere, do you know any player that does that? This function alone makes it the best video plaher ever. It is great for troubleshooting lipsync.
Plays H264 quicktimes
Setup In and out points and loop between the two (A-B function)
Takes automatic screenshots (great for generating colorscripts)
Hotkeys that make sense! Space bar to toggle the playback, 1 to play in half size, 2 original and 3 double size.
You can autohide the interface so only the video is visible
You can loads as many videos as you want and have them all playing. Great to pretend you are the master of the universe.

Monday, 24 January 2011

The Gruffalo


This is a short animation that was aired over Christmas on BBC1 based on the classical Gruffalo book. I missed it when it was on and only got around to watching yesterday. It's a lovely animation, great story telling and especially good to see something aimed at kids that's a classic and not all these weirdly shaped freaky looking things that they have these days. Kids need monsters and animals!

It was rendered sooo nicely. It looked like it was based on stop motion puppets in places from the textures on the characters. There was a lot of great use of depth of field and some of the shots were magical. Studio Soi did a great job on this one.

You can watch it in two parts on youtube, where you can also find "the making of the gruffalo".

Monday, 10 January 2011

iAnimate so far


It's been a week since I've started iAnimate and I'm LOVING it! We were allowed into the website the weekend before last week started so that we could have a look around, get used to everything and grab all our resources.

At first everything was really overwhelming, it felt like there were a million and one things that I wanted to do and I couldn't do them fast enough. After I'd set up my profile I had a look around and made sure I watched all the introduction videos from Jason and tutorials on how to use the different aspects of the site. There are some really great features to the site and it's pretty much made so that everyone, no matter which part of the course they're on can see what everyone else is doing which means lots of helpful crits from the guys in higher workshops.

Everyone in Workshop 1 had their assignment for the first two weeks unlocked before the Monday. I'm assuming this was so that anyone who's really starting from the start have more time to grasp what they have to do and get a head start. Either way it was great for me, I go stuck in straight away and by the end of the week had made about five different animations (including flipbook planning and excluding revised shots). I have learnt so much in this last week it's incredible. I may only be animating quite "simple" shots at the moment but I'm learning more about the fundamentals of animation which will only strengthen anything else I do.

Everyone I've met so far have been great and incredibly helpful. Some have even gone out of their way to get in touch with me on skype after seeing my videos on iA and have given me a live crit and draw overs. That's CRAZY! I've never had this much help and advice ever and it's amazing. There's so much encouragement too and as always, I'm sure there's healthy competition.

Some of the higher workshops work is mind blowing! Looks like being instructed by professional animators and having their advice recycled through their students really works. I hope my shots will be as juicy as everything I've seen so far.

The rigs are beautiful too. There weren't that many available when we were let in but over the last week there's been an additional five or so new rigs added and there are even more on the way! I haven't played around with the rigs much apart from opening them quickly to see what they look like. They're beautifully made, run smoothly and are really appealing. I've ignored them so that I can focus on my current assignments and so that when it comes to an assignment where I have to use one of the full character rigs it feels like I've earned it.

My tutor is Jim Van Der Keyl, a Dreamworks animator who has a great body of work. He's working on The Little Mermaid, Iron Giant, Kung Fu Panda, Monsters Vs Aliens, Kung Fu Panda 2 and much more. It's a great pleasure to be guided by somebody as accomplished as Jim.

But yeah...that's all I can think of saying about ianimate at the moment. I could go on for much longer but I'd never stop!