Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Jason Ryan Animation

Hey guys. I just got my first newsletter from Jason Ryan Animation. I'm really excited about his new tutorial service. Jason is one of the original legendary AM mentors from when the program first started. There were tons of threads about him and his workflow in the forum. He also provided excellent animated demonstrations to help teach his classes. Sadly, Jason Ryan left AM before I could take a class with him. I was really disappointed since I had heard so much about him and have learned a lot from his videos. Plus Larry Lauria, my favorite animation teacher at SCAD taught Jason back before he got hired at Disney. He told me how enthusiastic Jason was and how quickly his work improved over his courses.

I really can't wait until Jason starts his services! The newsletter says he wants to keep everything affordable, so hopefully I'll be able to afford it. I am still pondering whether I should participate or not though. I really want to since I know I have so much more to learn about animation and don't want to let a great opportunity pass me by. At the same time, I've just gone through AnimationMentor so many people would argue I've already received a fantastic animation education. I agree with them, since AM is astounding and I owe pretty much everything I know to them. I guess I'm just afraid of missing out on some really valuable knowledge. Plus Jason is a 2d guy at heart and I know I have a ton of stuff to learn about 2d animation. I guess it all depends on how much his service will cost...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

All Good Things...

Sadly, my time at AnimationMentor is coming to an end. Tomorrow is the last day of my last term and I will roll over to the alumni website after the break on July 2nd. I'm really going to miss everyone on the main site. I hope the alumni site is just like the school. I keep hearing great things about it so thats encouraging. I also hear we'll be able to watch all of the new lectures AM comes up with in the future. I think that's really awesome! I know I have so much more to learn about animation and want to watch all the lectures I possibly can. I hear we'll still have the ability to get critiques from mentors as well. It sounds like I don't have anything to worry about, but it's still somewhat disappointing to have to leave. I'm going to miss everyone!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Ratatouille(no spoilers) and My Thoughts

I just got back from the Ratatouille sneak peak and can't wait to see it again when its released officially! Everything was superbly done and extremely inspiring. I'd go right into animating if it wasn't after 11pm, lol. I can't wait to get started tomorrow though! Those of you who weren't able to get to one of the sneak peak theaters missed out on a real treat. I'm going to try to stop talking about the film since I don't want to give out any spoilers. On to my thoughts...

Ok, as I said Ratatouille was extremely inspiring. During the drive home I kept thinking "Man, I can't wait until I can animate characters with strong and well defined personalities like Anton Ego's!" He's my favorite character in the film since his personality is so distinctive. I can't wait until I get a job and get to work on characters like him! After saying that I thought for a while and realised I don't have to wait until I'm hired to be able to work on characters with different personalities. Sure I wont be able to work with characters who are defined over the course of a feature length story on my own, but I don't have the characters in my short to work with. I've lost track of how many times I've found myself imagining a scenario with characters from different movies and determining how they'd act/react based on their persona's in their own films.

I asked myself why I can't take that imagination and apply it to my short. Of course it seems like the obvious thing to do, but I don't think I had been doing it for some reason. I told myself I don't have to wait for a job to get the chance to animate fun, imaginary characters. I can do it right now with my short! I think this goes back to my previous post about being so focused on trying to get an internship and trying to hurry and finish my short. I've been so caught up with those things that I haven't really allowed myself to truly imagine what my characters are really like.

Sure I've come up with things for them to do but so far the process has been just that and lacks any creative/imaginative elements if that makes sense. I think that's a large reason why I'm so unhappy with the progress of my short and my work as a whole. I think that might be the spark of life that my work is lacking. I've been so caught up with the technical aspects of animation and trying to get things to look correct that I've forgotten to really imagine how my characters would act.

I went through the usual process of writing down qualities of my characters and using those as a guide when choosing what they'd do in every shot, but I didn't really imagine them doing those things. It was more or a list of things to do rather than an actual performance in my head. I hope all of this makes sense, by the way lol. I know I have the ability to imagine characters doing various things since I do it all the time with characters from other animated films. I just need to apply that to my own work. This seems like an obvious no brainer and I know I've known to do that in the back of my mind, I've just never actually done it. I think I might have lost touch with that element because I was learning how to animate in general...learning about the principles, how to apply them to my work, elements of acting, developing a workflow etc. I'm hoping I now know enough about animation in general to be able to use that knowledge to get the characters in my head on screen for everyone to see. We'll see how that goes. Lol, at this rate my short will never be finished though. I essentially end up redoing every shot I've revisited since blocking it out in the original class 6. I tell myself I can do better and end up changing what I had into something new.

Tomorrow I'll sit down and try to imagine my short as a whole. I'll imagine the character's actual performances, take notes and draw new thumbnails. Hopefully I'll end up with more genuine and lifelike acting and won't have to change my shots anymore after that.

Sneak Peak

I'm going to see a sneak peak of Ratatouille tonight!!!!!!!!!! =D I seriously can't wait! My friends at SCAD berate me for watching all of the Ratatouille clips online, claiming it'll spoil the movie. It might for them, but not for me. I'm even more excited about the film after watching all of those trailers and featurettes!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Some Thoughts

I've been thinking of a few things over the last few months. A little while ago I read a blog entry about James Baxter that caught my attention. It said one of the reasons why he's so great is because he animates for himself. He doesn't start a shot thinking "I'm doing this so I can get a job at *insert studio here*". Instead he animates simply to make himself happy. I've been thinking of that ever since I read it.

I seem to have forgotten that aspect of animation. Ever since AM told us about what different kinds of studios look for in demo reels, I've been focusing on creating shots that Disney, DreamWorks, and Pixar would like. I've been so caught up with trying to hurry and finish my short film while doing my best on my SCAD assignments that I seem to have forgotten about how fun animation is. Rather than concentrating on getting a job, I should focus on bettering myself as an artist on a whole. I'm starting to think a truly happy animator doesn't really care where he or she works. To them, a job is pretty much just that, a job. A means of paying the bills. They don't animate simply to get into a certain studio. They animate because they love it. They're passionate about bringing characters to life and don't really care about where they do it.

I'm in the process of completely converting myself to that mindset. I've stopped worrying about getting a job or internship at one of my dream studios as much and I think I've become more productive. Now I'm just focusing on the thrill of animating my very own short film and trying to bring those characters to life as best as I can. I think my work overall will be much better once I achieve that state of mind...

I'm sorry if this rambles, it's kinda late and I'm pretty tired. I hope all of that makes sense.


A super HUGE congrats goes out to Stephen Melagrano, the first AM student to get an internship at Pixar! Congrats man, your work is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You're an inspiration to us all! =D

Monday, June 04, 2007

Another Chance

Hey guys,

Now that I have another acting shot for my reel, I've decided to apply to BlueSky. They still have the position of animator in the now hiring section of their website, so hopefully they still need a few people. I'm preparing my materials now and will send off my reel in the morning. I hope I get in! =D

Summer Student Showcase

The Summer Student Showcase is coming! I think it will be out sometime after August and the submission deadline is July 6th. I wont be submitting anything this time. I don't have any new AM work worth submitting. My short has barely been creeping along. I think it was a bad idea to retake class 6 while I was at SCAD. It's too late now though. I'm going to spend the summer working on it. Hopefully I'll have everything animated by Siggraph.

I'm having some problems with the Twitch rig at the moment though. That's slowing me down somewhat. I've decided to just work on Taylor while I'm waiting for the Twitch rig to be fixed. I really look forward to watching all of the excellent animation that they'll feature on the new showcase though. I wish everyone who's submitting the best of luck!