Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Pixar ey?

EXCITING NEWS. I have met/listened to a real life Pixar animator. ''Michal Makerewicz' How?' - You may gasp in wonder, but it is indeed possible, even from Birmingham. He came down to the Millenium point building and did a talk on 'Wall-e' the lastest of Pixar's animations. Would you like to find out what i picked up from this talk? Good, i shall begin then....(If not, just stop reading, its easy.)
The general upshot of it is that a hell of a lot of work work goes into these films, they take about 5 years to make, and Michal basically went into quite abit of detail about the processes the film must go through before we see it at the cinema...

Development- The team will work with the director to get a rough idea of the story, characters etc.
Story- The basic storyboard will be created, this will be thousands and thousands of sketches which will then be played on a screen so the director can get a feel for how the film might be. If the director likes it temporary music and sound will be added.
Art- This department deals with characters and all the research behind them. For 'Wall-e' they looked into the previously animated film 'Robots' but came to the conclusion that they wanted their robots to appear less human. The robots in 'Robots' even had eyebrows and were extremely similar to humans and this wasn't the look Pixar were after. So instead they focused their attention on machinery that existed and operated in the real world, they also went on location to tips for set research.
Set Dressing
Shading Dept
- Layout camara in computer.
Animation- LOTS AND LOTS OF RESEARCH. In order to be able to emote and bring characters to life! Some animators act in front of a mirror to see what their own expressions look like. Some use thumbnail sketches.
Fx (effects)
Lighting- Starts with colour scripts
Matte Painting

And so you can begin to understand how it takes 5 years to make one film. For Wall-e there were 130,000 frames rendered, 445 models made and 41 sets produced.
As you can imagine we then asked a range of questions about how we might present ourselves if we were interested in working at Pixar sometime in the future. This is just from my notes again.

Basically for you demo reel, keep it short and sweet, no longer then 4 mins really, use your best work first, use work/dialogue that means something to you in your work, have a range of work- physical, dialogue, subtle, out there, etc. Don't back it with techno music.
Its not just about polished animation, the ideas are important.

I got an autograph and doodle of eve too :)

Friday, 24 October 2008

Stop motion

So, last week in stop motion we began the secret art of model making :)

Below are the photos of what i did..basically we had a model a face from one of our simplified drawings and make it two times, with a different expression. This was very time consuming and even abit hard at times, hence why next time i would defiantly make my face less complicated then this, but despite the many obstacles that awaited, i triumphed and emerged with these photos :)

This one here is my favorite :) 'complete shock'

Basically, these are very rough looking, they looked okay in real life but under the camera they appear awfully messy, so i think next time i would spend more time making them appear 'finished' by smoothing them over abit more, and just spending abit more time on them perhaps.

I would of liked to of given the hair another looking at, and I'm not 100% on the second emotion of 'thoughtful'...it looks like postman pat wanting a kiss to me but maybe I'm wrong! Mind you, for my first ever attempt though i feel they aren't too bad at all and they made me laugh quite alot which is always good.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Wanna see some animation?

Check out this beast, a load of older work to load up still but hey, heres a dinosaur. :)

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

hand drawn animation :)

So last Thursday we had our first painful experience of hand drawn animation (painful on my poor, weak wrist). And yet after drawing a simple figure for hours on end and then making about 5 seconds of animation that could of been majorly improved i felt extremely proud. It was mega time consuming and even a tad irritating, but i loved it!
I chose to use a face of someone i had drawn while out about at a cafe, which i then exaggerated (and even added abit of colour in my sketchbook too, check me out!)
So in order to do this hand drawn animation i had to make my figure alot simpler and in order to do this i removed the complicated 3/4 view and replaced that with a profile look at the face.
We were set a task of morphing the face into three different expressions, and then looping it back to the original drawing...As i say i found this WAS time consuming and quite challenging.
When i played back my test near the day of the day Neil suggested to me that perhaps it was too subtle, and that i should think about making a more sudden expression at the end. I did attempt this but i didn't have the time to finish hence why i feel it could of gone better - what i did was make the facial expression too different, too quickly (for my liking) and i just needed to do some in-between drawing perhaps to level it out..but, for my first attempt i was still quite proud!
I will upload some stuff asap, my computer is running on windows 2000 so it's not being as co-operative as it could be, naughty naughty.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Abit of canadian aniamtion is called for!

Alright then, so, as well as watching 'the secret adventures of tom thumb' last week we then did a very contrasting activity (to stop us all from committing suicide i do believe) which was that we watched some Canadian animation! :)

We watched three short cartoons all of which at a first glance seemed very uncomplicated and had a childish quality to them, and yet, when you actually pay attention to the story line and listen to a few of the jokes, it becomes apparent that these cartoons are a little deeper then what you first thought.
First of all came, 'The big snit' which is described as 'an offbeat parable about marriage, scrabble and nuclear war.' Richard Condie is renowned for his rich, zany and distinctive sense of humour, and this comes through incredibly clear in this short, for example, the couple argue because they are irritated by each others habits which consist of, the lady shaking her eyes, and the bloke sawing the sofa while watching 'sawing for teens' on the T.V!
Next came, 'The cat came back' another short but this time based on a children's song 'And the cat came back' which concerns a gentleman who can't get rid of the extremely cute but destructive yellow cat from his home. Again, extremely quirky and amusing ways to try and get rid of the cat are demonstrated making this another very amusing animation with quite dark undertones, after all, who wants to kill a cute Kittie?
Last of all we watched 'Special delivery' which is probably the best example of the darker undertones demonstrated in Canadian animation, this short used the idea of a narration which I'm a big fan of and it really added to this animation, mainly because the storyline was actually a tad complicated and through the narration we were able to know exactly what each character was thinking and this film really used that well, and actually played out small sequences of the characters thoughts.
The basic upshot of it was - 'The first big mistake Ralph makes is not clearing the snow from the front walk, and his life goes downhill from that point on. By the end of the story, the mailman has fatally slipped on his job, Alice, his wife, doesn't live there anymore, and Ralph resolves to stop worrying--about the body, his wife, and the front walk.' This short was full of humorous twists that i really enjoyed :)

Monday, 13 October 2008

righty ho folks

Now then, I'm hoping this will aid my RVJ and I'll keep it regularly updated, but please don't hold me to that! Lets just see how we get along shall we? :)

So, it's Monday the 13Th of October at about half 8.....

Last week we watched a curious animation by the name of 'The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb' as well as being decidedly dark and quite intense this was a great example of some key animation techniques; pixilation, stop motion and replacement animation.
Mainly, i loved the way the pixialtion had such a disturbing effect on the audience. It made the actors seem extremely unnatural and i quite enjoyed the way the facial expressions felt almost jagged after the frames were cut out of live action filming. (yet i have just read that this was achieved by taking lots and lots of pictures!! Could this be true?)
I think a very important aspect the Bolex Brothers used to make this more believable was the way the dialogue of the actors was very short and mainly consisted of grunts and groans.
It was an incredibly well thought out film, the soundtrack was suitably disturbing, the lighting was kept dark and grimy and the characters themselves were quite grotesque....My thoughts on it though was that it was just too long to keep my attention, i didn't enjoy the middle section with the swamp people as much as the first and last sections with the real actors. The fact is that it was originally designed as a ten minuet piece and perhaps it shouldn't of been pushed to just over an hour.
I did really enjoy the way the way that the men who took tom away seemed to have a secret agent feel about their characters, it really reminded me of the two mysterious men used in 'Belleville Rendez-vous' the reason being that in both films they play on the stereotypes, two big men, dressed in black, sunglasses etc! And i think this was really effective in this film, and the fact that we never found out who they were so they retained a very secretive air about them was quite important to this feel.
Link to trailer :)
After watching this film we had a class discussion and i think we were all bought up the same question, 'But what does it mean!?' and I'm quite sure this film has many hidden meanings to be teased out, some alot more apparent then others but one that I'm willing to settle on is that 'bad things happen to good people' because this is a common thing that alot of people think in life (especially when they are feeling a tad bitter!), and all of the good characters in film ended up dying. Yet Neil did say to us, that as animation students we shouldn't be asking 'what does it mean' we need to be asking 'how did they achieve that!?'
I think thats enough typing for today folks! And I'll be back tomorrow with more exciting things believe me. :)