Friday, November 30, 2007

Just a little something...

Hey Everyone,

Here's a little video of an Animation Mentor student in Utah that was on her local news lately. I thought it was a nice little clip explaining all the things I also do, and dream of doing. =)

Back to animating.


Click HERE to watch it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My animation, and Jade.

Hey Everyone,

I have been pretty busy lately and thought it was time to post some of my work in progress(WIP). I don't really have a whole lot to say about it, but my mentor was really happy with my work last week and how this assignment is coming that makes me happy. I just realized that I've never introduced this new character on here before. So I give to you "Bishop"!

By the way...the sound clip is from the movie Ghostbusters 2.

This assignment will spill over into the next class that will begin in early January. Thats when we will be taught how to animate a characters face...which is why you just saw my characters face not moving. I will have to do a little demo video in January to show you how much control we have in the face. Facial animation can get pretty complex. For example: When we smile, the corners of our mouths push up, which pushes our cheeks up, which then our cheeks push our lower eyelids up. All of this doesn't happen at the exact same time either...its a chain reaction that is so incredibly subtle. Its those types of small details that I ABSOLUTELY love to animate, and give me such a boost of energy when you get something to work right and believably.

After my last post of my reference video, I had a few very kindly placed complaints from a few people. They weren't really complaints I guess, more like "wondering why types of questions." The question was "Where's Jade?" You see, other times I have posted reference video on here, there has always been some video footage of my reference recording buddy, Jade. But last time...I didn't do it. I thought because I had recorded my reference indoors, and Jade was outdoors, would be an excuse. Nope! People didn't go for it. =)

So just for you, I went outside just 3 hours ago in the -22 degrees Celsius, -8 degrees Fahrenheit and played around with Jade for a bit. So here she is, and thank you for keeping me in line. I will never leave Jade out again. =)

Thank you for reading!


Monday, November 12, 2007

Its reference video time!!...ha ha.

Hello Good People!

Well, this past week for the first 3 days I did nothing but watch movies all day. I was searching for audio clips that I thought would be fun to animate too for my next assignment. I found many great lines, but I had to narrow it down to my three favourite. This week I have to narrow it down to one, which is going to be so tough. It sort of makes me sad too...not like super double duper sad...but 2 of my lines are going to be left behind and will probably never become an animation. Oh well...

With my three choices, I then had to act them out. Classmates at Animation Mentor have been telling me to quit wasting my time becoming an animator, and go become an actor...ha ha. I think I would love doing that too. I definitely plan to take some acting classes in the future after I complete Animation Mentor. As an animator it can be really helpful when trying to find the right acting choices for your character.

Hope you enjoy my reference video, and yes I know...I need a haircut. =)

Thank you!


Thursday, November 8, 2007

5 weeks later...and Stewie still couldn't get it right.

Hello Everyone,

Stewie tried picking up that sushi for 5 weeks (I animated), and he still couldn't quite get a handle on the whole chopsticks thing.

Overall I am pretty happy with the way it turned out, but I will definitely be cleaning it up more for a possible piece for my reel. The thing that I am most excited about is that skill level wise, I felt I really took a step throughout this assignment. I don't know how to explain it...but I just feel it. I learned so much.

Here it is!

So...on to bigger and better things! We are finally getting introduced to animating to dialogue. What that means is we get a new character to animate with that has face controls to make our character look like its actually talking. So over the last 2 days and I have been watching movies (tough homework I know) searching for an audio clip that I think would be fun to animate to. My mentor highly advised us to find an audio clip that we get excited about because we're going to be working with it for a long time. And by long time...I mean until January 28, 2008...when its due. Thats right...until that date I will be working on the same 10 seconds of animation. Good thing I love animating, eh!...ha ha.

You definitely need patience to animate, and I hope that you can join in on the patience with me as its going to be a while before I am done this piece. But I will definitely be showing you my progress. But if you want to come back to my blog sometime during the week after January 28th to see the completed animation...thats OK...I won't hold it against you. =) You probably think I am crazy too, but thats OK...because some days I think I am too for getting into this animation game. =)

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Stewie versus the chopsticks and spicy tuna rolls.

Hellooooo Good People!!

I am here to update my progress on my Stewie vs. Chopsticks piece. This is my blocking stage. Its changed quite a bit since my earlier post on here. But thats just the creative process...sometimes you get new and better ideas the more you work on something. I am really happy with the direction this scene is heading. I am also trying a new method of blocking then what i usually do, and so far I am liking it a lot. I am hoping to make some of the transitions between poses in this piece more cartoony and super pushed. Its completely going out of my comfort zone to do that style of animation, but I have to keep pushing myself.

We had a great lecture this past week taught by Pixar animator Andrew Gordon on body poses and gestures. He animated a few may have heard of them...Ratatouille, Cars, The Incredibles, Find Nemo, Monsters Inc., Toy Story 2, and A Bugs Life....just to name a few. Thats an unreal list list of blockbusters and so impressive. The lecture he taught was loaded with awesome information. Back in summer of 2005 in Fresno, California I was lucky enough to be accepted to be on a team of 12 students to create a short film under the instruction of many great animators including Andrew. We created this short film "S-Car-Go!" in only 12 days. From only having a story idea...nothing modeled or rigged a finished rendered project. My longest day was 22 hours straight...besides taking a breaks to eat. Anyways, I knew it was on the internet somewheres, so i decided to put it up here for you to see just for fun. It was a great experience. =)

Thank you for checking out my work!...and please feel to leave comments below there. I really enjoy and appreciate them. =)

Have a good week! =)


Monday, October 8, 2007

Animation Mentor Student Showcase Fall 2007

The new Animation Mentor Student Showcase for Fall 2007 was released just today. Its a feather in your cap to get your work in this reel because it represents the school. Congratulations to all of the students who were chosen. I am inspired when I watch this reel of such impressive work.

Eventually I will get in there. :)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Stewie vs. Chopsticks

Hey Good Peoples!

First off...Gobble gobble gobble!! Its thanksgiving this weekend in Canada...So Happy Thanksgiving! Its my first Canadian Thanksgiving in 7 years. Its great to be home. :)

I just finished my first week of class 3. The objective of our assignment is to show our character go through an emotional change. For example: happy to sad, excited to get the idea. They just need to be two contrasting emotions.

After sifting through my different ideas, I decided to go with the one where Stewie will struggle with using chopsticks. So, I got my video camera, chopsticks, ice cubes (the sushi), and my recording buddy Lady Jade that many of you are familiar with if you've seen my other videos.

So here's me being a goof ball yet again. :)

Anyone want to go eat sushi with me??? Probably not after seeing that...ha ha. What ended up being great, and that I did not plan was that picking up ice cubes with chopsticks is frustrating. Especially with the ice cubes melting and getting slippery. So to be honest...some of that reference is genuine frustration because I was really having trouble picking it up. The first attempt you saw in the beginning...I had planned to actually pick up the ice cube, but seriously couldn't. So I just went it and kept trying, then completely over reacted by intensely slamming the table with my hand. All in all, it worked out pretty well.

I recently got a Wacom tablet. It is basically a digital pencil that you a pencil. Therefore its great for drawing on the computer. It takes a little getting used to though because you look at the computer screen, instead of looking at the end of the pencil in your we normally do. Just thought I would explain that for those of you that might be unfamiliar with it.

So I decided to do a quick little pencil test of my animation. I'm obviously not trying to impress you with my drawings. :) A pencil test is useful way for an animator to quickly see their idea working in a rough form, and figure out the timing.

Here you go!

Well I hope you enjoyed my little videos. I feel half bad for making you read so much every time...but I can't help it. I just have so much to say! :) If you're actually still reading this...THANK YOU!! :)


Thursday, October 4, 2007

Oh man......I am fired up!

Hey Everyone!

This is a post to purely try and explain how excited I am about this next class. My new mentors name is Michelle Meeker. Just a few of the more well known films she has worked on are:

Shrek (Dreamworks)
Antz (Dreamworks)
Lord of the Rings : Return of the King (Weta Digital)
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Weta Digital),
A Bugs Life (Pixar)
Geris Game (Pixar)

So as you can see, she definitely has the experience and talent. One day I tell you.....I will have a list of movies too. :)

We had our first Q and A today and I think with her enthusiasm to teach, combined with the sense of energy amongst my classmates...there is going to be some serious learning going on. Students in my class (16) this term come from 9 different countries...Australia, Greece, Israel, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Brazil, South Africa, Russian Federation, :) We all speak it works!

Well, I am going get some rest because I have a lot of work to do tomorrow....including filming reference. Don't worry, I will put it up here soon so you can see my goofy ways. :)

Plus I have a hockey game to watch tomorrow. Go Calgary! :)

Thank You!


Friday, September 28, 2007

Class 2 Reel...Bring on class 3!!!

Hey Everyone!

I put together my class 2 reel for all of you to see. I could definitely keep trying to perfect these animations, but I feel its time to move on...learn from my mistakes and just keep on going. I am getting really excited about starting class 3 this Monday. Its called Introduction to Acting and is going to be full of invaluable information that will help raise my animation skills to a higher level.

Click here ----> Class 2 Reel @ Animation Mentor


Friday, September 21, 2007

Coming back up for air to say "I have completed class 2!!"

Hey Everyone!

This is just a short post to say class 2 for me at Animation Mentor is now history, and officially ended about 3 hours ago! I now get a week off to "relax". I have really been looking forward to having this break...but you know its only been 3 hours...and I am already back on the computer animating again. =) Whats wrong with me!!????....ha ha.

Well what I plan to casually do this next week is put together my class 2 reel for all of you to see. So please do check back for that sometime mid to late next week.

For this week off I plan to catch up with friends that live near and call ones far away.

I am so excited!! don't even understand...I just know that I am another step closer to achieving my goal of being a professional animator. So I thought I would do a little celebration video with lady Jade.

Definitely not afraid of making a fool of myself, eh?!....ha ha.

Its fall here now and I thought the yellow tree in the backyard was awesome. Its going to snow here soon which will make it tougher to film reference outside. But for those of you that know know that won't stop me...ha ha. It will probably just be more fun. :)

Thank you!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Busy, busy, busy....

Hey Everyone!

I am really noticing Animation Mentor is becoming more and more busy for me. Weekends are no longer breaks, they are just more days that I have to animate and improve my shot. Every week our knowledge base and assignments are becoming more complex. I have a feeling its going to get even more busy in the next classes. I get a week break between classes in a couple weeks which will be nice.

Just thought I would put up my blocking for my assignment so you can see where I am heading with it. I am really busy with this nearing the end so I will keep this post short.

Hope you enjoy it!

Thank You!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A toboggan slides better on snow then grass.

Yes...its a weird title for this post. But you will see why if you keep reading. =)

Hello Good People! Alright its been a whole month since I have posted any work. So I am going to try and get you caught up on everything I have done. I will try to have less reading and more visuals for you. I will start with my oldest work and bring you up date to where I am at currently.

Here we go!!

Here is my final for my 180 degree turn around.

Yes I know...its not exciting, so I had to try and spice it up a little with some 80's sunglasses and drop in a smile. The final settle at the end could still use a little more attention, but I am pretty happy with the way it turned out, and feel I learned a lot about the hips and the way they move.

So onto the next assignment. We were given another version of Stewie, but he has no arms. At Animation Mentor they gradually build us up to using full bodied characters. First we started with Ballie (hips and legs). Now, we get Stewie (hips, legs, spine, neck, and head), and then for the next assignment we get Stewie with arms...which is what I mean by a "full bodied" character. I think its a great way to teach us the mechanics of the way our bodies move.

So my next assignment said take Stewie and "Jump from one post to another and regain balance." So getting back to my creative ways for this one I came up with a little idea.

Heres my planning. You can click on the images to make it larger if you like.

After I had an idea of what I wanted to do, I went outside and filmed over 30 minutes of reference video over 2 days. After sifting through the video, I narrowed it down to this plan.

Yes...I agree the video ends at a weird spot, but in my other planning you will see why.

So there you go. Basically I wanted Stewie's arms to taunt him to come and get them. But, when Stewie is about to land on them at the end....the one arm would lift the lid and Stewie would fall down the pipe. Then the other arm will flick the lid closed with its wrist. I had only 8 seconds for this assignment, but it seemed feasible.

So I then blocked out my plan.

Next I went ahead and started smoothing it out to become a polished piece of animation. But...I will have to show you that at a later time. It still needs work and I am not really happy with it quite yet. Maybe I will show you at the end of the term if I can squeeze in extra time here and there to get it looking good. =) Sorry.

But to cheer you back up...I have some fun video for you! So...after 30 minutes of jumping around in 30 degree Celsius heat....86 for you Farenheiter friends of mine, don't think for a second I didn't have a few spills and falls. So I give to you my bloopers video. =)


What else, what else...oh yeah!...on July 30th we had a Q & A webcam session with two animators that worked on Pixars most recent film "Ratatouille". There were probably well over a hundred students involved in this, but I was still able to get my question in there to ask. It was real cool.

Tomorrow I have another Q & A webcam session with an animator that worked on the recent action and adventure film "Transformers". Should be real cool as well.
______________________________________________________ last week I went to San Diego to attend an annual animation convention called Siggraph. Last year it was in Boston Massachusetts. The convention was cool...yeah...but my lovely best friend Claire and I got to see David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox hit a home run in the bottom of the 9th inning to win the game. Fenway Park went crazy!!! Such a great memory.

But anyways...back to San Diego. Siggraph is a convention that all the major studios attend like Pixar, Disney, Dreamworks, Blue Sky, Sony Imageworks, Laika...all places in which I hope one will be a near future place of employment for me. Also attending Siggraph were several software and hardware companies showing off their latest programs and technology. It was a great event for just networking with people which is why I felt it was important I went. Thanks to a fellow animation mentor classmate I was able to meet several recruiting people from many of the studios. This year for the first time Animation Mentor also had a booth there. Students came from all around the world for this convention. So I met a lot of other online classmates which was real cool.

Heres a picture of Animation Mentors mascot "Spike" and myself in front of the booth.

To the Shaffer family (including Ollie & Polly) are ALL so special too me and I am so incredibly lucky and thankful for everything you have done for me and continue to do. Thank you. =)

So current assignment in which we now get Stewie with arms!! So exciting I know. We get 10 seconds for this one and I have to have him pushing or pulling a heavy object.

So in a nutshell this is my plan:

-It will start seeing Stewie as a paperboy really struggling to pull his overloaded newspaper filled red wagon uphill on the sidewalk. Then he hears something, look up hill and watches another paperboy across the street happily riding downhill on his newspaper filled wagon. Then stewie looks back uphill, takes a big breath, and then slumps and hangs his head over even more.

Heres my planning.

I also filmed some oh so fun reference video...which you will see why I called this post "A toboggan slides better on snow then grass."

I will not torture you with anymore reading this time. Plus I animated all last night and went to bed at 11:00am this morning so I am pretty tired. It is now 3:45am, but I promised you I would update my blog today because I really appreciate everyones support. So, I will leave you with my reference video for the next assignment.

Thank you!!!! always. =)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Long time no post...

Alright, I just wanted to apologize for not posting any work for almost a month. =(

I know its not good to make excuses...but I am going make some just for you. =)

1. It has been a really great summer with awesome weather here in the last month so I have been trying to take advantage of it before we begin to head into the deep freeze of a Canadian winter.

2. Which then ties into my second reason that I have been working extra hard on my animation so I can enjoy the beautiful weather.

3. My third reason is that I was in San Diego last week at a HUGE animation convention called Siggraph, which I will tell you all about in my next post which I am designating this coming Sunday (Aug 19) to doing.

I have lots of visuals for my next post on here, so stay with me here...I promise to get back on track. =) I really appreciate it!

Thank you!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

180 Degree Turn....and an un-tucking of a shirt.

Hello Good People!

I am almost done my third week already! Last week we had to block out our 180 degree turns with the Ballie character. I decided to go with none of the creative turns from last weeks reference video that you may have seen in my last post...and I will explain why. For this assignment we are learning specifically the mechanics of the hips. It gets really complicated when they are rotating on all three axis. Understanding how the hips work are so important because depending on what they do can affect the rest of the body. SO, I decided to take a mentors advice and just "keep it simple" and really focus on understanding the mechanics of the hips. So here is my reference video for my "non exciting" 180 degree turn.

Note: I'm not a shirt tucked in type of guy. But it was good to see the belt line so I could observe what is going on with the rotations of the hips. But after that...I quickly you saw. =)

Alright alright...calm down...I know that was amazing reference video. But lets get back on track here. =) ....So then...after studying that turn I blocked it out in the computer with Ballie.

Even though its not exciting to watch Ballie do his turn, I really learned so much about how the hips work and am really happy I followed the mentors advice to keep it simple. But I'm not going to was tough to hold back on getting creative. So the next assignment...I'm not holding back. I have already been coming up with ideas. You'll see!

Thank you for the support!!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Class 2 - Body Mechanics

Hey everyone!

I have been getting back into the groove this week with my second class. I feel its going to a great class because we will eventually be getting into full body characters. We had our first Q & A on Tuesday night and met everyone in the class. My new mentors name is Brian Mendenhall. He works at Tippett Studio in Berkeley, California (near San Francisco). He did work on such movies as Charlotte's Web, Constantine, Starship Troopers 2, Hellboy. He seemed pretty easy going and cool. So it should be a great class.

This week we have to do some planning for Ballie to do a 180 degree turn. So I did some reference video today for it and narrowed it down to these 3 choices. I will be able to exaggerate them further in the computer so I think one of them should turn out pretty cool for me. I should give you some sort of here is my reference video. :)

Thank you for stopping by! :)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Good Bye Class 1, and bring on Class 2!

Hey Good People! I am really excited because I have completed the first of six classes that are required to graduate from Animation Mentor. It was an AWESOME first term and I already can't wait until class two. It doesn't start until July 2nd, so in the meantime I will relax a little and hopefully spend some time with friends, instead of only my computer. :)

For this last week we were required to take all of our assignments from the entire term and make a progress reel. It begins with my latest work and ends with my earliest.

For those of you that didn't see my post before this. Did you catch the gum on the bottom of Ballie's foot in the first animation? :)

Thank you to everyone for all your interest, support, and encouragement. :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Ballie with a little extra bounce in his step.

Hey Everyone!

Sorry I got a week behind on my blog. Things got a little busy here lately so I will combine two weeks of work in one post. It makes sense since they do sort of go together.

Our assignment was to have "Ballie" doing a walk but with some personality this time...sad, happy, tired, weak, etc... you get the idea. So first I started off by recording myself doing a whole bunch of different walks. I ended up narrowing it down to these nine. Then I showed this video to my fellow AM classmates and had them tell me which one was their favorite. For some reason...a lot of people picked #8. ;)

Everyone had their favorite out of those nine walks, but I went my instincts and decided on #5. From there, I then planned out my main poses on paper for the walk I had chose.

Then I took those main poses and blocked out the walk with "Ballie" in the computer.

Then finally the fun part!...and most difficult part. I got to smooth it all out and make sure it had good arcs, overlapping action, timing, weight, squash & stretch, exaggeration, spacing, etc... All those great principles that we have been learning and I have been telling you about for the last 3 months. We were allowed to add in the 3rd perspective this time which was great. I ended up creating a whole little environment for my walk because I had a little extra time. Here is the finished product. :)

Did you catch the gum on the bottom of Ballie's foot when he paused??? I added that in for just for fun. :)

We also had to do a couple poses during the last couple weeks. Heres my pose conveying "exhaustion."

Heres my pose conveying "balance."

Well that was a lot of work I just posted. I hope you enjoyed my explanation of it all...even my goofy reference video of me walking...and our family dog Jade. Using video of yourself acting out what ever you plan to animate is a must to be an animator. Maybe I will post more reference video of myself in the future...but I should warn you might get pretty goofy as you can imagine. Maybe a little embarrassing for me, but thats ok :) because its a part of doing what I love.

Thank you!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Smooooooth Walking

Well...another Friday night spent animating. My weekly schedule goes like this:

Animate from Sunday evening (when I get the new assignment) until Saturday afternoon about 10-14 hours a day. Its sure a good thing I enjoy it, eh?!

I take Saturday nights to see my friends, if of course I feel good about my work. Which I have been every time. I gave up so much to do this program so I am making sure I give it everything I got. I appreciate everyones support!

So up above there you can see "Ballie" doing some smooooooth walking. In my post before this you may have seen the same walk but in its blocked out form. I'm sure you'll agree it looks a little smoother now. :) Its all apart of the animation process.

This week I am blocking out another walk but with more personality to it. I think its coming together quite nicely, and lets hope my mentor thinks so too. :) I will post the blocking on here for you next week.

Below here you can see Stu in another pose looking all "concerned". Thats the feeling we were supposed to convey. As usual, I appreciate everyone stopping by to check out my progress.

Thank you!


Sunday, June 3, 2007

I introduce to you "Tailor" starring in "The Squirrel Chase"

Alright, I'm finally getting a chance to post some more work up for you again. The assignment was to bounce "Tailor" a minimum of 3 times, and as you can see I got really carried away. I could have done the minimum, and theres nothing wrong with that, but I just can't help the urge to be a little creative. I am thankful to have the time to do it too. For this assignment we were learning about arcs which is another fundamental of animation. If you just simply reach for something right now, you will notice your hand will move in a little arc. Its not something we think about at all, but pretty much everything we do moves in arcs. With the computer its so easy to move things around in a linear fashion, but that gives it a very mechanical unnatural feel. So its very important to always be thinking about arcs while animating. My mentor, gave me a cool little idea to have the camera shake when the big squirrel hits the tree. It helps emphasize the impact just a little bit and gives the piece a little more "flavor" as he put it.

I love relearning all these fundamentals again because its really forcing me to think about them with every move I make. Its getting to the point where I don't even have to try to remember to think about them. If that makes any sense. :)

Many people told me my animation reminds them of a scene from Disneys "The Sword in the Stone" when theres 2 little squirrels running on some tree limbs. I hope you like it.

Since I missed a week I will upload another weeks worth of work.



This is just my blocking pass of a vanilla walk. A blocking pass is just the main poses needed to create the scene ,as you can see in my planning. That why its feels choppy. A vanilla walk is just a "normal" walk with no other words, just ordinary. So as you can see its not too exciting. We are getting into walks with more personality this week which are more fun to watch.

We also had to do a another pose with Stu showing strength. So I caged up a huge Tailor and got Stu to pull it.


I will post another weeks work in another day or two, but I think that enough for now. :)

As always, I love hearing your comments or even just a simple hello.

Thank you!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Just been walking around....all week.

Hello again good people. My little eleven month old nephew and I have a new thing in common. We are both learning how to walk. Yes, thats right...walk...and it involves way more then just left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot. Its said to be one of the toughest things to animate. I've done walk cycles before on my own, but they weren't any good. Its sooooo tough! But they are really breaking it down for us about the little things that makes a walk successful. So thats my excuse for not posting on my blog this past week with some more work. I am designating this Sunday as my blog day though. I have to get caught up with it. So please feel free to check back for it. :)

Tonight though was awesome! We had a question and answer webcam session with animator & mentor Mark Behm. He was talking about working on Shrek 3. He had so many good things and tips to share with us. He showed us some of the work in progress from some of the scenes he did in the movie. Its these little extra opportunities that I have to take advantage of so I can learn more, and hopefully get someone to remember my face, name, and when I am all grown up someday...I will have job. :)

Alright so BLOG day.

Thank you!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Technical Difficulties...Please stand by.

Hey Everyone,
Sorry about not having another post up this past week yet. There were some technical difficulties with the Animation Mentor website this week, so I wasn't able to get my critique from my mentor. Usually, I like to get the critique, make the fixes, then post it on my blog for all of you to see. I am wanting to showcase my best possible work on this blog, because of course...I am hoping that the right set of eyes will see my work and offer me a job down the road.

Yow know what, I just got a thought...I will put up my planning for the animation I want to post in the near future. We had 120 frames (5 seconds) to bounce the little ball with a tail a minimum of 3 times. So....I bounced 2 of them a total of about 16 times. Yeah I got carried...and loved every minute of creating it. I can't wait to post it on here because its my best one yet. So please...stand by.

Thank you.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sorry Mr. Clown...

Hello everyone! Well...I think I am officially losing my mind because now I am "bopping" clowns on the head. Yesterday I animated for 14 hours on this current weeks assignment...which you will see next week.

Well, what you see above is from last when we learned overlapping action. The pendulum has 4 separate joint rotations in it that allows us to create the overlapping action. It has to be just the right amount too, so its believable and has weight. The whole clown thing was something I added to just to make it more entertaining, and difficult. I can not take credit for the little eyes on the pendulum. That would be my sister Cara's idea. It was a good one.

Its was another fun week and my mentor Paul, was really pleased with my work again. He said he is happy to see me being creative with my assignments because it makes it more challenging to animate. He also mentioned its a good thing to have the drive to want to be creative.

I don't know how to not work hard at animating. Because to me...its not work at all.

Thank you.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Squash'n and a Stretch'n

Hello! Heres my assignment for last week when we learned the fundamental of squash and stretch. You can see the squash when the ball bumps into something, and the stretch as it approaches a surface. The amount of squash and stretch should be equivalent to how much energy the ball has, and also what the ball is made of. "Is it a soccer ball?" or "Is is a water balloon possibly?." See how complicated it can get?! Its all these little factors that you have to think about that are the reasons why I love animating so much. Squash and stretch definitely added a new level of difficulty to animating this week, and its only going to get tougher...and I just can't wait!

I saw that 'U' shaped ramp that the ball goes through and thought "its a hammock!". So tossed lazy Stu in there. My mentor Paul, got a good chuckle out of that.

We also had to do another pose this week that portrayed "devastation." So once again I browsed the internet for devastation photos to see what kind of things people do when they are devastated. I also read the definition of it, and found words like collapsed, destroyed, and overwhelmed. These really helped me find an idea to portray it. Then I got all crazy and made it look fancy with a table, chair, and a couple of letters. I am thankful to have a few extra skills to do those sorts of things to help with the presentation of my work. I learned all that at this great little place called Cal State Fullerton. :)

Overall, I had another really strong week. My mentor was really happy with what I turned in. :) So I don't think I have to tell you that I am smiling from ear to ear...but I think I just did. :)

Thank you.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Timing in animation.

Hey Good Peoples! Sorry I didn't post this up sooner. I have had a really busy week with my animation, and helping out my Mom and Dad on the farm a little too.

Last week we learned all about timing, and how it can be used to show different weights in objects. So thats exactly what we had to do, bounce a heavy ball, and a light ball. I added the green organic shapes to increase the level difficulty for an extra challenge. It definitely challenged me more, but I am happy with the way it turned out...and so was my mentor. He did have me tweak a couple little things but nothing too major. So what you see is my final result. Eventually when our assignments are 2, 3, or even 4 weeks long I will post rough versions of it each week instead of you just seeing the final result all the time. That way you can follow me through the planning all the way to the end.

One thing that I am really finding helpful from our assignments is that they give us limits to how many frames our animation can be. Right now they allow us 60-120 frames, and theres 24 frames in one my animations so far as you can see have been 5 seconds long. The number in the lower right is a frame counter in case you were wondering. If we go over 120 will affect our grade in anegative way for that assignment. So it has been forcing me to think more about timing when I am first planning it out on paper. For example: for this ball bounce above, I drew up a plan, and then started creating it in the computer...but thats when I realized it was going to need more then 120 frames to complete. So i had to make new plans and then ask myself "Can this happen in under 120 frames?" I felt that it could, so I went ahead with it on the computer...and it worked! It took me two tries again this week, but I wasn't as far off. The whole purpose of them giving us limits is to teach us industry standards. When the director says a shot should be 80 better end up with something very close to that. If you think about it...they have to do that or else movies would be 5 hours long if there weren't limits. Makes sense right?!

Alright...well thats enough reading for you...if you made it to the end. I hope I didn't put you too sleep. Sometimes I might babble on about certain things...but I am just having so much fun with this. I appreciate your interest and support. Everybody's!

So, this week we are learning all about the important fundamental of squash and stretch. But how about I save the explanation of that when I have some visuals for you next week :)

Thank you.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A bouncing ball and "Excitement"....some how they go together this week. :)

Click the little triangle in the lower left corner of the video above to play the animation.

There you first Animation Mentor animation. I agree with you...its not that exciting. But when someone is just starting to learn how to animate, they will usually start with the "famous" ball bounce as their first assignment. At Animation Mentor, regardless of your previous animation experience you will start from the beginning again. Personally, I am excited about going back to basics because I am going to understand it all, and why things work so much more this time around.

This week using Stu, we had to make a pose that portrayed "EXCITEMENT". So I researched on the internet what "excitement" looks like, a did a whole pile of sketches. Overall last weeks assignments went really well. My mentor liked my ball bounce, and only had me make a minor adjustment in my Stu pose.

I can not believe I am already in week 4. Time flies when you're having fun I guess. :)

Thank you.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I introduce to you...... Stu!

Alright, well "Stu" isn't too exciting right now, because he's just leaning up against that trash can. I promise though, eventually he will get more exciting to watch, along with some of his relatives...oh yes...he has relatives that we will be using too.

Stu is the character that we were given to create our favorite pose from the sketches we did. So this is actually last weeks assignment that has already been graded. My mentor was really pleased with it. (Yes!!!) I got my first e-Critique this week. An e-Critique is a video that is in a split screen view. On the one side we can see and hear our mentor talking, and on the other side we can see him drawing over top of our work to show us exactly what we did right, and of course the areas or parts we need to improve on. His only critique for this was a little thing with the right foot which I already fixed. I was really happy with the way my first assignment went.

This week I am working on another pose, and a ball bounce. Yes!!!! I am actually animating now. Its only a bouncing ball...but its animating. :) Its a little weird though, because its a ball bounce with no squash and stretch. Squash and stretch is one of the 12 fundamentals in animation. This week we were only learning about ease ins, and ease outs. I think next week is squash and stretch. Anyways, I will save that all for you next time.

In case some of you don't know, always right below one of my postings there will be a little area that says comments, which you can click on. Please feel free to leave one of your own about my work...or just to say hi, or even just to read what some others have said. You don't have too, only if you want too. :)

Thank You.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Class 1 - Week 2

Hello Good Peoples,

For this weeks assignment the big thing was to just go out and observe people and study their postures, and the way they did things. We had to do some simple sketches of people we saw. So I went to the university here on Monday and Wednesday and just sketched. But what I really loved was just observing what people do. I honestly never thought I would get so excited about seeing a person set down a can of pop. Now you think that I am off my rocker completely don't you?...Maybe I am. But seriously...when I watched this guy set the can down between his legs onto the floor....I saw something awesome! As the can neared the floor, his fingers just slightly released pressure and the can slid the last .5" to the floor, his fingers were just merely guides pretty much at that point. When I saw that....I began to smile because that is one of those little things that we naturally do without knowing it. I'm sure you can relate. Its those little things that I need to incorporate into my animation to help give it life and believability.

I also watched two people having a conversation. The little things and motions they did with their hands was amazing to watch. Well it was amazing to me. :)

The rest of our assignment for this week is to then pose a 3D character out in the computer of our favorite sketches. I will post those eventually....I promise. Some of you have been requesting visuals, and I will get them for you in a couple days. I will do my best to not make you read all the time.

So if you ever need a person to animate a character setting down a pop can. You know who to contact.

Thank you :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Met the mentor and classmates tonight

Tonight's web cam session was the first time our class (16 students) got to meet our mentor (Paul Allen) and each other. It was great to see and meet the people we will be learning with for the next 3 months. Paul seems very laid back and cool, but when it comes down to getting the work done...its business, as it should be. We have students in our class from all walks of life it seems. Some are beginners, some have gone to school for it already like myself, some have been doing something totally different but have decided to chase their childhood dream, and one student already has 4.5 years of industry experience including work on commercials, tv animation, and feature films (Jurassic Park). She said she wants to learn a better work flow than what she is used too. So thats cool. I don't have a whole lot to say about tonight because it was all about introductions. The excitement and energy amongst everyone is awesome! It makes my smile just that much bigger.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

I AM EXTREMELY EXCITED!!!!!!! First Day!!!

Hello Good People!

Well, today I had my first day of class "at" Animation Mentor. Even though its an online school and I am doing it from home in Canada. We got full access to the website which is overwhelming at first, but I think its going to be AMAZING! My mentor for the first class is a guy by the name of Paul Allen. His most recent work was in a movie called The Ant Bully.

I just finished up a Live Q & A session with one of the schools three co-founders Shawn Kelly (Worked on such movies as Star Wars, A.I., Hulk). A Live Q & A session is basically a web cam video conference with our mentor and the students in our class. We submit our question by typing them in a little dialogue box, then our mentor will click on it and our web cam will be "live" so our mentor and the class can see us. We can always see our mentor. Tonights session was only supposed to be an hour long, but there was just so much excitement amongst everyone, and especially lasted 2.5 hours. It was really relaxed and a good time.

I have 16 students in my class from countries around the world. United States, Australia, India, Cayman Islands, and one other person from Canada.

Well I hope some of you will bookmark this blog and follow my path as I journey through this intense 18 month program focusing on character animation. I will be posting videos of my assignments so you can see everything I am creating. Its going to start with a bunch of bouncing balls ...but I promise it will only better. I am very excited about going back to basics and doing ball bounces again. Graduating from the animation department at California State University Fullerton last fall (Aug '06) and learning from the many talented professors and students there is going to help me immensely.

Thank you to my very special best friend Claire for supporting and allowing me to chase my dream. I can't even put it into words how much it means to me. A huge THANK YOU to my family and the Shaffer family (including Ollie & Polly) for their endless 100% support. This is the right thing.

I promise I won't make you all read this much again. :)

I'm so excited I feel like a little kid at Christmas. Wahooooo!

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