Monday, 1 December 2014

Animsquad progress

I've signed up to the online animation school, Animsquad. My workshop tutor is Marlon Nowe. Marlon is an animator at Disney and has worked on films like Tangled, Frozen, Wreck It Wralph and Big Hero 6 so I'm really excited about working with him.

My first assignment was to choose an audio clip to animate to. I chose a clip from Modern Family that I noticed while I was watching it a couple of weeks ago. It's a reaction from the Mum, Claire as she hears some good news.

The reason I chose this particular clip is the change of emotion that the character goes through. She starts off excited then tries to reel it back and play it cool and not show her emotions. I thought this change would be great to animate as it's a change to show real life emotion and thought process within a character.

After passing the Marlon test I shot some video reference. My idea for the clip was a girl reacting to being proposed to, excited at first she tries her best to act calm. It took me a good few tries which was great as I started getting a real feel for the character towards the end. My first few takes were really stiff so it took me a while to loosen up. Here's the acting choice that I went with.

After selecting this clip I showed my reference to Marlon who approved it first time and sent me off to block it out. I tried to follow my video reference so I added a video plane to the maya scene to follow so I wasn't flipping back and forth between screen or programs.

This was my first rough block:

It was OK, there were a few of the right poses in there but it was a little stiff in places and the staging wasn't very good. With the help of my uni lecturer I tidied this one up a bit focusing first on my arcs to try and loosen the poses up and also on the staging. I used the Golden Ratio rule to help plan my shot by laying an image of the famous table over my camera then placing the characters within the beauty spots on it.

My next pass was much better. It was more pleasing on the eye due to the wonder of the Golden Ratio and now my character poses had more appeal and I felt confident enough to show Marlon my blocking.

The feedback from the meeting was fairly good overall. He liked a few of my poses which is great but gave me a few notes to work on. He suggested simplifying the beginning so the audience had time to register what was happening and also pointed out a few niggles with the body mechanics towards the end of the shot. I did manage to jot down his comments during the meeting but luckily our Skype conversation was recorded so I could go over the notes again and catch anything I missed. After addressing everything on the list here's how my shot looks at the moment.

I think it's already a big improvement so I'm keen to show him my progress and hopefully take it to the next phase on animation.

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