Monday, August 25, 2008


Hey guys,

Here's an update on my Jake pose test. I am learning a ton from doing this scene! This is my first time doing dialogue in 2d, so that alone is a huge lesson in itself. I just went through my Rescuers Down Under clips and drew a bunch of Jakes mouth shapes to use as reference. Right away I saw that I'm not pushing my shapes nearly enough. His fat cheeks hardly have any squash and stretch on them at all, which needs to change. I also noticed that both corners of Jakes mouth are usually indicated to some degree in the film.

Overall I think my scene feels really stiff. I need to go through and loosen him up. I'll make a few areas broader and I'll add more anticipations. I also need to do another arc pass on everything. His hips need work as well. They loose volume in a few places and they could use some more bounce. Jake's ears and hat need much more drag and overlap.

I tried to keep things subtle but all I've ended up doing is making Jake feel very rigid. The Jake in the film has quite a few flamboyant, showman moments and I don't feel like that's being captured in my scene. Needless to say, this wont be finished by our Thursday review but I'm going to keep working on it regardless. I'll continue to work on it once I get home up until it's finished. I'd like to make this a nice scene with an on model character. I've got quite a ways to go.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Most Beautiful Place I've Ever Been To

Today my friends and fellow interns went to the Getty Museum to see the Bernini exhibit. I've been to every museum in Washington DC and none of them come anywhere close to the sheer beauty of the Getty Museum. For those who dont know, it's a white marble open air building with contemporary architecture that sits on top of a mountain in LA. You can see the city, the ocean and obviously the surrounding mountains from the balconies. I was in awe by how beautiful the place was. Everything was spotless and the greenery was trimmed immaculately. I felt like I was in a palace. When you visit LA, the Getty should definitely be on your list of places to see, it's amazing!

The Bernini exhibit was pretty cool. We all wished there had been more full figure sculptures, but we had fun anyway. I filled quite a few pages in my sketchbook with gesture drawings and drawings of some of the sculptures. I don't have my scanner here, so I'll have to post them when I get home. I can show you the pictures that I took of the area though.

Friday, August 22, 2008

At Disney I have learned...

that I know next to nothing about animation. My education from AM has been marvelous and I wouldn't be here without it, but yesterday I saw how little I know about real feature animation. Yesterday evening I was privileged enough to have Ruben Aquino (the supervising animator for Jake from Rescuers Down Under) look at my scene. He liked it and said the acting feels like Jake, which was great news for me since I was convinced that it was all wrong.

I asked him to take a look at my timing charts and thats when he pulled out his awesome knowledge. Ruben spoke about the extreme importance of breakdowns and spoke about how he treats them like keys. Originally, I thought breakdowns were the drawings that indicate how something will arc. Sure I knew about using them to create overlap and drag, but Ruben just took the breakdown to a whole new level. They really are just as important as your key drawings. He also pointed out how useful they are when determining the timing of an action. Ruben warned me not to get too set on the numbers I had given my drawings because they might change based on how much ease in/out each pose will need.

I figured that much, but I didn't know how important the breakdown was to determining this. I thought I had added a good amount of breakdowns but apparently not. Now I am able to go through the amazing Princess and the Frog pencil tests and pick out which drawings are keys and which are breakdowns, to try to get a feeling for just how many breakdown drawings an animator might use in a certain circumstance. Ruben also told me the faster the action, the more fluid the breakdown needs to be. He warned that a breakdown thats too fluid in a slower action will make the action feel "noodley".

Ruben also revolutionized the way I view timing charts. He likes to put his breakdowns in their own charts rather than having one chart from key A to key B. Instead he'll chart from key A to the breakdown and then from the breakdown to key B. This was great because I had been confused by the fact that some animators would chart from key A to key B and place the breakdown in the middle, even though the breakdown drawing isn't the middle drawing.

More on that later, class is starting up again.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Hey guys,

Here's an update on my pose test. I'm going to start putting timing charts on the drawings and will begin inbetweening soon. I've adjusted the timing using the dialogue reading I received, so now I can also start adding the proper mouth shapes on each drawing. I also need to check the volume of Jakes legs and to track my arcs.

Jake Dialogue Test

Right now I'm very pleased to be working on a 2d scene at Disney, and this time I can show my work to people. Here's my wip scene of Jake from the Rescuers Down Under. I need to finish the pose test today since this is my second to last week at Disney. As the result, I'm going to start drawing looser than what I have been. My mentor asked me to draw Jake the way I have, but for the sake of time I'm going to make it rougher. Once things are working I'll add more volumes like what I have now and then I'll show it for feedback.

I really want this to feel sincere and I'm not sure if that's happening yet. I want Jake to feel cool and confidant. I know cool characters are in control, so I wanted to keep Jakes movements minimal. They should be reduced mainly to head and small hand gestures. I'm not sure if his performance is sincere though, so any and all comments are greatly appreciated!

New Idea

Hey guys,

After talking with calarts animator and fellow animation intern Jesus, I've decided to change my senior project. I really like my squirrel story, but there's no way I'd finish 30 shots in 10 weeks to my desired level of quality. With all of his short film experience, Jesus was able to read my shot list and strip the essence of the story down to a simple six shot idea.

The theme of the story is still letting go, and I think I'm going to keep the same title. This time, it's about a guy walking through the cemetery to visit his wife's grave and the obstacles that he passes along the way. We start with him walking and he sees a couple standing together comforting each other. He's assaulted with mixed feelings of sadness, longing, melancholy. He continues and is approached by an attractive young woman. He hastily hides his wedding ring as she gives him a flirtatious look. He returns the glance and watches her pass by. When he brings his ring back out he remembers his wife and is ashamed by his behavior. The guy turns and continues to the grave. When he arrives he places the ring on the grave and walks away.

I really like this new idea since every shot is a great opportunity for acting. There's no dialogue and all of the characters feelings will have to come through via acting choices and glances. It's going to be all about what the character does and more specifically how he does it. Jesus mentioned the Milt Khal scene from Lady and the Tramp where Tramp wakes up in the train yard and stretches before getting a drink of water. That scene is 100% pure character, and having something like that on a reel should make you desirable for studios.

Since my ultimate goal with this project is to provide new reel material to help me return to Disney, I don't need an epic 30 shot long film. All I need is great acting and that can actually be done in one shot.