Sunday, February 11, 2007

Straight-ahead or pose-to-pose

I just finished my second week at July Films, and each day, I learn so much! I also started animating this week!! Hooray! My first animation at July Films!

I animated a very short simple scene for their film. It was a scene of four kids watching a soccer game sitting on a tree limb, and they basically just turn their head. It was simple, but at the same time, I have learned much from the simple scene.

First, how do we make a group scene? Each of them should move differently from one another while at the same time, the group should have their own composition. The group should work as a whole, but you don't want them to all do the exact same thing.

I also tried to do a straight ahead animation. I usually do pose to pose animation, and it made more sense to me. But Mike did an animation demonstration for straight ahead animation, and it was very appealing to me, too.

Mike said that action is usually animated straight ahead, and acting like a dialog test will be pose to pose. Here is the process how he animates an action scene in straight ahead...

-First, he acted it out few times. "How strong the force is?" and remember the sensation you felt when you acted it out.

-Then, he started the animation. He doesn't use the back light, because it is hard to see the form with multiple drawings showing through. He just keeps animating one after the other while constantly flipping. "Don't spend too much time on the drawing: you need to be in MOTION when you are animating!"

-After he animated the whole thing, he shot the scene with even timing ( like shot it all on 2's or 4's) to know the spacing between the drawings. Then looked at the timing and figured out how many frames to hold each drawing, and adds inbetweens if needed.

-After all the timing is right, he will tie down the drawings (still keep flipping!) and finish the scene!

His animation has so much life in it after all. It is loose and the character is more alive.

After finishing my scene, I did a little test of a fox's tail swooshing back and forth to practice the overlap and timing of the soft material. Right now, I am trying to pay more attention to negative space, delay the timing of parts of the animation, and overlap! Hope this week go well, too!

UPDATE: THE COCONUTS AND CHICKEN FEATHERS GALLERY HAS BEEN MOVED!!! That's right, the gallery was double booked, and the gallery opening date is now Saturday March 17th at 6pm. So please let people know if they don't check my blog regularly.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


First of all, I want to thank God so much for what I have right now. My internship at July film started from last week, and it's the greatest learning opportunity I have ever had.

Mike Nguyen, the director and owner of the studio, has been teaching another intern from Calarts and I about animation. Mike has been giving us animation presentations, they're not about how to animate nor techniques or anything like that, but it's more about animation theory, and the thought process.

One thing that really hit me was animation is simple. Animation occurs from forces, which can be a physical force such as gravity, or internal forces. Internal forces come from our inside body, and depend on our emotion and motivation.

When I was at school, I felt like I was caring about techniques too much, like about all the 12 principles, timing, secondary action, and acting, etc... But it shouldn't be acting. It should be real feeling, and it's from inside of us. And like everyone is different, every animator has different ways to animate, and it creates different unique animation, which makes us artist. When we put all of ourselves into the animation, the animation will shine to audiences. The 12 principles are important, but to bring it to the next level, we need to think of why we use them, and there's no rule for how to apply them. It all depends on the scene, and experimentation is required if we want to become something other than good draftsmen. We shouldn't try to copy the work of other animators, each animator has his or her own life experiences, so we should develop our own animation based on our personal observations and experiences.

So, that's some of the things I've learned from Mike's teaching. From now on, every week, Mike is giving us an animation presentation, so I will try to share it in here, too.

At the same time, I am relearning how to draw. Until now I was drawing from drawings by other artists, and I didn't draw enough from real life, so my poses have become cliche'. Mike has also suggested I try drawing with a different line quality to keep the energy in the drawing and to communicate the force in the pose. So now I'm trying to adjust my way with his, and keep working on it until it clicks. I have been drawing over and over the characters from their film. I am having so much trouble and I have been frustrated. But I can see the improvement in just one week since I started. Hopefully, I am going to begin animating this week...

The second thing beside the internship, Matt and I are having a gallery! The opening reception will on Saturday Feb. 17th, from 6pm at Cal state Fullerton, Exit gallery. Everyone is always welcome to our gallery. It's also going to be open from the 19th to 22nd. It's going to be about animation, drawings, sketches, some actual filmed animation, and maybe some flipbooks. Matt 's style is a bit more cartoony than mine, and he's also working on 3D animation. It should be a lot of fun, and we'll have food there.

Anyway, I hope everyone can make it to our gallery!