Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Madam Mim Dialog Animation

Well it's been a while since I last uploaded, I don't know how many people still check my blog. I have been busy at work, with overtime and everything. It was hard to find time to sit down in front of the computer and start blogging again. Work has been good but I still have to do animation tests in my spare time so I can one day move up to become and animator rather than an inbetweener. So I have been working on this dialog test with Madam Mim for a while.

I've been getting a lot of great feedback from Mark Henn and he has been passing on a lot of great information taught to him through the ages of animators. The first thing I've learned from him is about thumb nailing, he said Eric Larson told him to do thumbnails like a circle, you should start with one idea, thumbnail it, and move onto the next and next and go full-circle back to the original idea, and then pick the best one from there to make sure you've tried everything possible so that you don't cheat the audience. Sometimes you may find the original idea is your favorite and you choose it, but at least you know you tried everything.

So after thumb nailing I started animating my ruff, and one thing I need to be aware of in the future is that Mark said you can be ruff, but you still need to be careful and make sure the proportions are still accurate. Mine were not and this caused me a lot of problems down the line when I was tying down.

So now I've started to tie down and putting in all of the dialog. I always have problems with my dialog, the mouth shapes tend to be mushy. One time I was working with Mike Surrey putting inbetweens for his dialog animation, and I put the mouths very evenly and it looked very mushy. He told me to favor one mouth shape over the other. Also Yoshi (A Japanese French animator) gave me feedback on mouth shapes telling me to watch the Arc of the edges of the mouth where the lips fold the most, and now it looks so much better once I went back and did that.

Here is the half tied down and half ruff scene, you can see all of the various stages. I still need to animate how she puts her hair up, the rest of the mouthshapes, and overlapping action to her hair.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Creative life

I read an interesting article the other day about living a more creative life. There were some points that made me think.

It said young kids tend to be wonderfully creative, but by about age 9, when formal education really kicks in, they start becomimg less playful and spontaneous. Also it said that when there is money or praise, people tend to limit themselves and search for one right answer instead of coming up with many possible solutions.

I think there are some times at work that I feel like I have to impress someone, or I have to do a really good job. And of course I do have to do a good job, but at the same time, it was pressuring me and limiting myself from being ME and from exploring more.

So I started going to more life drawing classes last week, even only 15 min. Life drawing is always very relaxing for me, and I don't really have to think it's more intuitive, I'm able to express myself more. I feel like I am using a different part of my brain or something. It really helps me to see who I am as an artist, and I was just having fun drawing! (Some short pose life drawing and costume drawing)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Acting and Animation

So last month, Disney had classes with Michelle C. Bonilla, an actoress who has been on many TV series.

First of all, I had never really believed in acting. I know some animators are crazy about acting, but I also felt like some of the acting is too forced, becomes too much of a performance, and the animation becomes very forced looking, not sincere and organic or natural. I think it's because I had never taken a real acting class before, and there are several methods of acting, and this time, I've learned Meisner-based acting.

In Meisner-based acting, they use our true feeling inside to act, therefore, I didn't act to be someone, I was still me, and I was trying to figure out what I am feeling in each moment. She tried to help us to say our true feeling in the moment.

There were six series, and at first, we learned that our feeling is always black and white, no gray. (Gray will be the feeling of nothing, like when we try to clear our thoughts such as when people meditate) We always have some kind of feeling (it might be more than one) and then our feeling changes depending on our connection, the "relationship" with the other person. Our feeling comes from a very organic place, and the feeling changes depending on the other person, the situation, and many other things.

In the second series, she talked about setting, and point of view. She said to ask ourself, "What do I want from the other person?" She also said, "Don't think with your head, just search your heart, what's going on in the moment?"

About a character, she describes it's like painting a house. You ask questions like "Why is she doing this? What does the character want emotionally? What is the motivation? What is the point of view of the other character?"

Every lesson I felt so fresh and relaxed. I am not the type of person who can just be in front of everyone and act, but this class was more relaxing and fun and I learned a lot about feel the feeling, do not forc it. In the same way, I remembered what Mike taught me before. "Don't force your character, let them do what they do." I didn't really understand what it meant, I didn't have the eye to see the difference at the time. With this class, it became more clear. I was over thinking things, "OK, the character should feel this way, so he should do this and this" and the animation became too forced and not natural, became a fake performance that didn't have any heart. So now, I understand a little bit of how I can bring life to a character, but I am still having difficulty doing it on paper.

Anyway, I don't know if this made any sense to anybody, but I surely learned something from this experience. Work has been very busy at Disney and my allergies are causing me cold-like symptoms so I'm going to go to bed now. Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 05, 2008


I'm so sorry it's been a long time since I updated! ( I don't even know if people even check my blog anymore...ha ha) I never forget about this blog....I just got busy and, and and...lazy....but from now, I will try to keep things updated!

My journey as trainee at Disney was very wonderful. There are so many talented artists around me, and it was very inspiring, at the same time there was a lot of pressure. My mentor was Bruce Smith, who is a supervising animator on the Princess and the Frog. He was very patient with me, and he gave me all the knowledge he has, and I am very thankful for the time he gave me. I also got some feedback from Mark Henn, since I was animating a character who Mark is supervising, and his feedback and just seeing him draw something was amazing to me. So during the last 6 months I have done five animation tests, and I finished my training program two weeks ago. And I'm lucky enough that they hired me as a ruff inbetweener on the Princess and the frog!

After the 6 months, I was so exhausted and I just needed some time to relax, Matt and I had a little getaway to Dana Point and it was very nice. There were some kids surfing or just playing in the water, so I just wanted to do some sketches, so here are some quick sketches I did. (Since I didn't have my sketchbook, I just used scratch paper....haha)

I also started taking some acting class, and I was so surprised how much I've learned! (But I will talk about that in the next post) Anyway, whoever saw my blog again, thanks! I will try to keep updates about my learning process in animation!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Charlie bit me!

Matt came home the other day, and he showed me this clip. So CUTE~~~!

New journey

It's been a while since I've updated.... since the last post, I started animating a big character, so I can feel the weight more. Mike suggested that once I can animate the weight in the big character, it will help me to feel the weight better in skinny characters. So I decided to animate a big Hawaiian lady ( I once saw a DVD clip of a big Hawaiian lady dancing with so much energy, and I wanted to animate the energy) Here is a character sketch I did....

One of the assignments that Mike gave students was to animate a character dancing in order to practice the delayed parts.( How every part of body is linked to move and it causes the delayed parts at the end of the link) Which I always tend to I thought it will be a great way to practice the delayed parts. And here is the first pass I did,

One of the major points of feedback from this was her stomach area. And Mike mentioned how the stomach area is made from fat, but it has skin over it, so it moves differently from cloth. Which is very important to think how the material is made from and how it feels, and here is the final one,

After the test, Mike mentioned that my animation tends to be so soft. He suggested to animate something where the energy is very sharp and strong, which I haven't really done. So I animated the character doing an exercise dance,( I have seen the clip before, and it is amazing how Hawaiian dancers can move so fast, even though their body is heavy)

My first struggle was I was not sure where the force was coming from in her body. I was thinking the force for her to put her body down was from her arm. But, at the same time, her body was also leading the energy to put her body down. So there were 2 forces at the same time, and it looked very awkward. Mike mentioned about the force, and it made me clear that I really have to know where the force is coming from. In the end, I found out that at first her stomach area is where the force starts, and when she goes down, the force changes into her arm to push down more. So here is the final one,

I still see many problems of changing volumes and so on, but Mike mentioned that he can see the energy coming from the character, so it is good. I was also working on one more test, but never really finished. And I started my training program at Disney this week.(hand drawn animation!) It's has been great, and I know that I will miss Mike and July very much. I cannot explain how much I have learned and how inspiring it was for me to be there. I am very excited about this new journey, at the same time I am very scared. I hope I will learn more and more, and grow as an animator who can bring life to characters. So far, I love all the people who are in the same program. It is fun to be in a group full with so much talent. So much energy...and I am looking forward to this new journey...

Monday, December 03, 2007

To Arthur

A few days ago, Matt came home, and he told me some very sad news. One of our really good friends from college just passed away in a car accident. I still cannot believe the fact that he's dead. He was only 26, he was too young and it was too sudden. I still don't know how to deal with this. I feel like if we get together, he will be there. He was just there for our wedding, and we were just talking with him a few weeks ago. I didn't get a chance to say goodbye. I cannot believe that he is gone, even if we call his cell phone, he wouldn't pick it up.

I just wanted to let this out, it still hasn't really sunk in for me, and it just hasn't felt real to me. This is my blog, even though this is an art blog, I don't really care. I just needed to say how great Arthur Yeh was. Steve, Matt, Me, Ray, Robert, and Trey were all working together on a project. And it feels odd that Arthur is not there.

We went to visit his mom's house the other day, and the only words that stuck with me that she told us was "Enjoy your life."

I sometimes forget to appreciate my life. I tend to complain and ask for more. It reminded me how lucky I am to be here.

We miss him very much, and I wish he wasn't gone yet. But I guess I have to accept the fact that he is not with us anymore in this world. I will miss him very much.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Hi everyone, sorry for the delay of the posts....I have a good excuse...Matt and I had a wedding in Hawaii last week! We are husband and wife now! We were engaged for almost a year and half. Here are some of our engagement photos...(I know this is a art blog, but I loved the work our friend Matt Lin did! Thanks Matt!)

And after many plannings for a year and half, we had a wedding in Kauai, the beautiful island. We had 53 guests from Japan and main land, and it was so wonderful to see all my family and friends. We laughed, danced, cried, and it was one of the best moment. (Especially after all the stressful time!)

These are pictures of rehearsal dinner (we had Japanese kimono on that my mom made for us...)