Monday, August 25, 2008

Moar stuffs.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Testing out a custom sphere guide in Flash.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A few sketches. Paul Pope primarily inspired these palpable portraits of pious people with a plentiful color palette of primaries and present a perfect perception of pleasing...uh...Palpatine...

Im...Imperial Emperors need love too. >_>

Seriously though, Paul Pope, comic writer/artist for Batman: Black and White and Batman: Year 100. If you see them on the bookstore shelves I suggest you at least flip through them and see some neat shit.

Or Google the man. s'Faster.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Here you are, folks, the final product!

Like before, I broke down how I did this on a forum, and I figured I'd post it here once again. I know the majority of people who come here are animators; the people I talked to were not, so for most of you, a lot of this is pretty obvious stuff.

ok, so this is exactly the order in how I approached the animation. First the keys, then the breakdown, then the inbetweens BUT, the inbetweens I don't do in a row, from beginning to end. Quick note - There are many, MANY ways to approach animation, and this is just one of them. This method, you'd see more in Disney type work, the real mainstream animation.

Here's the order:

drawing 1 - first key

drawing 11 - final key

drawing 6 - breakdown

drawing 5 - inbetween
Now when I started the inbetweens, I traced between the first key and the breakdown. There are four drawings between the two, so which one do you start on. The one nearest the key? Actually, it's smarter to start at the breakdown.

drawing 4 - inbetween
Now you make a new drawing, between the inbetween and the key. This time, though, the lines you draw should be closer to the key than the inbetween. Why? Because the closer the drawing is to the key, the more visible the key drawing will look to the human eye when these drawings are being played at 24 frames per second. You register the similar drawings faster. Additionally, this makes the action look smooth, as it starts off slow, then gets faster as you approach the breakdown drawing. Confused yet?

drawing 3 - inbetween
So now, keep repeating this method. Draw closer to the key. This inbetween still has an open mouth, but it's getting really close to what the first drawing looks like, and we still have 3 more drawings to get to, each of them getting closer as it goes.

drawing 2 - inbetween
Same thing. This is the final inbetween for the first part of the motion. The teeth are just about connected now. I actually thought of doing another inbetween to get even closer, but cheaped out and just made this an extra frame longer to make the starting action slower.

ok, so that's the first half of the motion done. We have an animation of Lucy opening his mouth really fast, then clipping into his final drawing. We're pretty much going to patch the second part up the same way, except this time we're slowing into the final key from the breakdown.

Drawing 7 - Inbetween
Drawn halfway.

Drawing 8 - Inbetween
Now favoring the final key.

Drawing 9 - Inbetween

Drawing 10 - Inbetween
Closest. To the human eye this one is pretty near identical to the last key (or it should be, but I need to work on my line variation.)

So there you have it. Altogether I did do this in a day, but it took me several hours (on and off between and after work). And the end result is 12 drawings. Which amounts to about half a second if you lined them up with no holds.

Now, I don't have to tell any of you, whether you know animation or not, that animation very much is that long and tedious. You've known for a long time that for even one second to go by, a lot of work has to take place. So how do studios cope? That's simple. What I've just done is rough animation, breakdowns, inbetweens, cleanup, and not discussed was also color and shadow. In most studios and especially for fully animated projects, that is at least three-four different jobs, done by three-four different people (Rough Animator, Assistant Animators/Inbetweeners, Cleanup artists, and the Color/Shadow department)*. So ah, when you're watching a cartoon animated in flash, or a movie done in CG, and you wonder to yourself, quite understandably, "What the hell ever happened to classical animation" - That's what happened. Time, money, extra people, and companies that wanted to do away with as much of that as possible, because for movies they want to give the money to expensive celebrity voiceovers, and for TV, well Jesus, I still can't believe TV networks have any money these days, what with the internet stealing the crowds.

*Oh, and on Three Delivery, if you're wondering which of these jobs I take on, the answer is all of them; Rough, clean, color and shadow. We had a rough team and cleanup team on the first three episodes, but it was too slow, we were losing money, and the show almost got pulled 6 episodes in. A lot of people got laid off, and we had to merge the teams. So that we're doing any of this at all is a miracle...and I still hate those head comps.

EDIT: This is my 111th post! Crap, I filled with a bunch of crappy writing! I completely missed my chance to do a binary joke! On the bright side, I totally missed the chance to do a binary joke! They suck!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

While I'd been cleaning up the animation from the last post, I put these notes for the process I went through up on a forum. I figured they should go here too, since I like to talk about this stuff to as many people as possible. Hm, maybe I should write a book. Like, in ten years time, when I'm absolutely positive that everything I say is true.

I'm only going as far as Lucy's 'yep' animation because I don't have all the time in the world to do the rest, and the other part of the animation I'm not too satisfied with.

First pose - Key:
So this is the first drawing I did. It's a good start since you don't have to animate it right off the bat. You can hold this expression and it'll just look like Lucy's staring at something off camera.

Middle pose - Breakdown:
Now the easy way to get a smooth animation is to first draw the first pose and the final pose, then layer them on top of each other and make a pose that would occur between them based on what you see. Break them down, so to speak, which is how we got the name for breakdown drawings. However, doing exactly that risks making the drawing look mechanical. In my animation, Lucy opens his mouth throughout his motion you can't break down an open mouth when neither pose has anything like that, so you'll have to do some straight ahead animation*. Because this pose isn't a perfect match between the first and last pose due to the opening mouth, this is the second drawing I did, rather than doing the final pose first and drawing this one as a hookup. You get a better feel for the motion this way. In cleaning up the lines however, I did the first and last poses first, then did the middle pose based on the rough drawing. This way it still has the same energy, but keeps the line weight and form consistent. By the way, I haven't studied a great deal in cleanup animation, so I could be going about it the wrong way. But it's been working alright for me so far.

Final pose - Key:
Like the first pose, this one can also be held, so it doesn't have to keep animating. The important thing about keys is that more often than not, they are the most eye-catching poses in the animation, so they should be fairly strong to get a positive reaction from the viewer.

Even when the keys aren't being held and the animation continues, they still tend to pop out the most, with assisted help from the inbetweens. I'll get to them when I have them done. The linework needs to be exact when it comes to the inbetweens, so here's hoping they turn out alright.

*For those of you who weren't aware, there are two types of animation: Straight ahead and Pose to Pose, and you can pretty much guess what each means. Strait ahead means to draw the animation from the beginning, frame by frame by frame straight to the end. Pose to Pose means to draw the important keys first, then filling them in with breakdowns, then filling those breakdowns in with inbetweens until the animation is fully compiled. Straight ahead is more about being in the moment and just going at it with no care of careful precision. Pose to Pose is more about planning and carefully making everything fit. So which one works? Both have their advantages and flaws. Obviously if you animated straight ahead you'd have scale and timing issues, but the poses would probably be very lively. If you animated pose to pose you risk having very few interesting poses, but they'll connect to each other very solidly and in scale. So the best thing to do would be to use both. Get your poses (and even some of your breakdowns) by drawing the whole thing straight ahead, making sure to check back to the first pose to make sure your scaling is still consistent. Then draw between the poses to bridge the whole thing together. This Lucy animation leans a little more towards the Pose to Pose idea, but I have done an animation that blends both methods evenly.

You can see it here.

The keys are drawn straight ahead, more or less. The finished animation is filled in pose to pose.

Here's the keys lined up.

EDIT: this is my 110th post! Know what that means? That's right, nothing!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Just a lil' thing 'bout Lucy.