Monday, April 01, 2013

One Thing Every Day - Week 1

Ah... my first post of accountability. Let's see what I did this past week to better myself as animator.

1. I joined a Visual Storytelling class last week. Today I chose a pose from my personal test animation to upload as an example to be potentially critiqued. I posted 5 variations of the same pose as I updated my shot. I'll post them here to make this a little more visually interesting.

 First pass blocking

Second pass blocking with a supporting background.

First Polish Pass 
As I worked through the animation this pose got some updates.

Second Polish Pass
I wasn't satisfied with my shot so I overhauled some of the acting and the posing.
I also re-staged the shot to get a more appealing angle on the character.
I changed some of the proportions on the character's head, shoulders, chest, and arms.
I actually did some slight modeling to the pectoral area where they meet the arms.

Final Pass
As I changed the first portion of the shot, it called for some minor tweaks to blend properly.
Here's the result of the blending on the final pose in this shot.

2. Added new slides for my Body Mechanics classes at AnimSchool, which required some research on Lines, Shapes, and Form.

3. Watched Hotel Transylvania and captured some shots to demonstrate animation concepts to my students.

4. Read chapter 3 of "A Challenge for the Actor" by Uta Hagen.

1. Dissected live action films to collect images for instruction material. Focused on Framing and Composition.

Here's some examples of the images I grabbed for my students.

 Good framing and clear focal point.
There is no doubt who we should be looking at here. I like the framing elements behind Saito (Ken Watanabe). They are asymmetrical since they aren't centered around him, but there are also design elements (brown branches) that point toward his face. Both familiar characters are looking at Saito giving him even more importance in the shot. I interpret the complexity of the lamps above and in the reflection on the table to mirror the complexity of the situation in this scene, or even just another way to emphasize that they are in a world that is merely a reflection of reality.

I feel that Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) is framed a little too far to the right. But as I watch the scene, this awkward framing fits the mood of the shot. There is tension in here, and the slightly off-balance framing supports this tension. They do a great job with the diagonals to pull you into the focal point, and Cutter (Michael Cane) is directing us to Angier with his gaze as well. I like the white cuffs popping out against his jacket causing contrast that keeps us looking at Angier.

 Using the Rule of 3
This is a simple yet elegant example of the rule of 3. We have a clear hierarchy.
1. Agent in the center
2. Agent on the left
3. Agent on the right
Their attire unifies them in purpose, and the sunglasses remove their humanity.

Unclear Focal Point
I feel there are two competing focal points in this shot causing it to be unclear what should draw my attention. The high contrast of the octopus pulls me into the shot, but everyone is looking at Ken, and all of the dynamic lines point to Ken as well.

Where is the Power
Great example of dynamic framing, and it is very clear that one of these characters is in control and the other is definitely in trouble. There is a story in this one single frame. I love it!

Organizing Chaos
This is a marketing image that I don't think was actually in the film. There are so many characters in this shot, but it is crafted well.Woody is definitely the focal point. Then they use the rule of 3 to group side characters.
Woody, Jessie, and Hamm
Rex, Slinky, and Buzz
Bullseye, Mr. Potato Head, and Mrs. Potato Head

Without ever seeing this movie you could show this image to somebody and they will immediately know that Morgan Freeman's character is a convict. Somebody is exerting authority over him, and he is rejecting their exertion.

Notice Mel Gibson has the most blue paint, and it is on his face, an area that draws our eyes immediately. Also notice how everyone else who has their face in the shot, has their eyes squinted tightly shut, so we are drawn to William Wallace alone.

2. Read chapter 4 of "A Challenge for the Actor" by Uta Hagen.

1. Completed a new hybrid version of my personal shot where I cut the original beginning back in by request of a respected peer. I did three versions of this shot. The first was in dire need of plussing, so the second and final versions are much stronger, in my opinion.

"I'm Not Gonna Do That Anymore"
(click image to see most recent version)

2. Read chapter 5 of "A Challenge for the Actor" by Uta Hagen.

1. The Visual Storytelling class had critiques of multiple student drawings and photos uploaded. I watched 8 of them for a total of 2 hours of video critiques.

1. Watched 1 more 15 minute video critique for the Visual Storytelling class.

2. Watched The Dark Knight Rises. Focused on use of composition, and camera cuts.

1. Read chapter 6 of "A Challenge for the Actor" by Uta Hagen.

1. Read chapter 7 of "A Challenge for the Actor" by Uta Hagen.

My weekends will probably be mostly "low impact" work, but I do want to accomplish something each day, so reading will suffice for Easter weekend. This week we start a new term at AnimSchool, and on Friday I start a 3 day drive to Los Angeles. Let's see what I am able to accomplish this busy week!

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