Here it is – my Animation II reel. Man this was a tough class. I honestly felt that my skills were regressing from last year’s Animation I class. Currently I draw much better than I animate, which surprises me. It’s as if there is a disconnect between my ideas and what I am able to get across on paper. At times it is highly frustrating. However I tried my best to create worthwhile animation tests this semester. My teacher Michael Vickner commented today in class on how I have improved and that my characters have appeal. The thing to do now is to vastly improve my drawing skills by practicing even more everyday and going to even more workshops.
The lesson here is: draw draw draw.
I am the most pleased with the “Bear Jump” and “Eel in a Box”. Those two came out well. My “Cat Walk Cycle” looks pretty good too. All animation done by me except for the Grandfather in the tug of war segment – that part was animated by my animation partner Titus.
Here is the third version of my walk to run cycle. This is a vast improvement from the one I turned in last week to class and better than the one I worked on yesterday. It still needs some work – there are two frames that need to be added to the transition, but overall it is a far cry from last week’s walk cycle madness.
Animation is quite a mechanical process. Before I came to school I read several books and watched several tutorials on the process. Now that I am in my second animation class, the material I researched before I arrived at school is beginning to make more sense. Once you begin working on animation itself, the tips and tricks in the books become applicable to your everyday experience.
The toughest thing about animation is that it is a one step forward, two steps back process. We animated a walk cycle last semester, which was not nearly as difficult as this walk cycle, which is weird to me. You would think that having done this before, it would not be as difficult. I have a great teacher this semester who explains the concepts better, and I believe that the reason that all of my assignments are harder than last semester is because he is teaching us a better way to plan out our shots on the X-sheet and is focusing heavily on how we can improve our timing and spacing.
I am indebted to the other students in the grad lab for helping me figure out how to properly use an X-sheet and plan out my keys and breakdowns. Thanks also to the Animation Club for inspiring me to animate a ball with legs and to add the torso, head and arms last. It’s all about working in layers – if the legs move properly, then you go on to the next thing.
Here is the first pass of my Walk/Run cycle for Animation II.
I discovered that frames 2 – 6 were not scanned and added to Toon Boom, which is why the walk seems out of place. I find it amusing that I can never just do the assignment as is. It’s not because I want to make things harder for myself by adding tons of secondary action, it’s that I want my character to be interesting. I was going for a “woman with no name” character a la Clint Eastwood in “For A Few Dollars More.” Hence, the hat, boots and poncho. As I began the project I realized I did not know how to animate hair, a hat and a poncho as someone walked then ran.
My teacher gave me a lot of good ideas for fixing this, mainly he suggested that instead of trying to animate it in three quarter view to stick to the main principles and save the fancy stuff for later. The next pass is going to be WAY simpler and the body mechanics will make sense. And more arcs!