Animation II Reel

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.


Animation Bonanza

Here are my two animations from class today. I am happy with how they turned out – I spent quite a bit of time on both of them. My notes today were to slow down the secondary action on my character’s hair, and to push the exaggeration of my eel’s movements. My teacher also recommended that I cut out some of the frames of the first few seconds of the eel’s swim so that I have more frames for the later actions. That way everything will read better.

Walk Run First Pass

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!

Cubby Jumps!

Here is my first animation for Traditional Animation II. I really like this class. It is taught by Michael Vickner, the same guy who oversaw last semester’s animation workshop. He’s really good about explaining concepts and I know that I will do well this semester.

I received a great reaction for my first animation:

Michael pointed out two things that will dramatically help me improve. The first is to make sure my arcs are followed correctly. The three frames before Cubby lands are a little strange – the poses are not in the best direction so it looks odd. The second thing he recommended was to add variety by changing up the timing. I shot everything on 2s in ToonBoom, he recommended using 1s, 2s, and even 3s when animating to add texture.

Next week: a dog walking!

My New Toy

My good friend graduated last semester, and gave me the light table her husband built for her while at AAU. A great piece of equipment expertly constructed. No surprise, as her husband is an engineer.

He built it using two pieces of pre-cut plastic, and three pieces of particle board that he sawed himself.

Inside he attached a fluorescent bulb that is easily replaced.

And used household screws and little soft discs to keep the table from scratching surfaces.

Beautiful. Simply beautiful. And free!

Kesa Animatic

Met with Tom Bertino last week and got some good tips to improve my animatic. Better camera angles and stronger poses = a better story. So here is the new and improved version. I also changed the main character from a guy to a girl – which was actually my original idea. I’m glad that I went with the original idea:

Kesa is a girl living in a tribe at the end of the Ice Age. Mammoth herds are growing thin so her tribe is having a harder and harder time searching for food. Due to her brother’s death and father’s illness, no one in her family is able to join the hunt. She goes off by herself and finds a baby mammoth – with surprising results.

And here’s the new animatic!

Kesu Production Stills

A Hunter seeks out a Mammoth with unusual results.

Thus begins my animated short “Kesu.” Why do a 15 second animated short for class when you can create an entire thesis-film like project for the Spring Show? Sounds like a plan to me. The first 15 seconds are my class assignment, then next minute and 25 seconds are the rest of the film.

One day I will create a short subject. But I love fully fleshed out stories. It’s why I write screenplays instead of short stories and novellas.

Our professor gave us excellent advice – create 10 to 20 story ideas with 5 unexpected outcomes and 5 reactions to each of those outcomes. That led Alice down the rabbit hole of discovery. I planned on filming “The Fighter.” I had created preliminary storyboards, character designs and  was ready to go. But something did not feel right. So I followed my professors assignment and started writing ideas last Saturday at Chipotle. And then the 11th idea came to me.

So don’t listen to anyone who tells you wait around for inspiration. Get out there and churn out as many ideas as possible. That’s how you come up with something. Blood and sweat. (And good food – that helps.)

Here’s the set up of the storyboard that I pitched in class:

Home office set up:

Preliminary stick-figure like storyboards:

Kesu (originally named Kesuk) turnarounds:

Alamet turnarounds:

Size comparison chart:

Kesu and Alamet in action sketches: