Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Creating a schedule

I've been away for the weekend and haven't got to make any progress, seeing that and the amount of tasks that I have planned, I've decided to go back to creating an organized schedule.

The way it is planned has a few benefits:
1. obviously, it makes sure that I get to work on every task.
2. it is said that we create most effectively on the first 2 hours of work, and so I make sure to get the most of every task.
3. I can keep better track of my progress.
4.I dont get bored or tired of the same work.

The tasks were also divided to different fields, so while planning, I made sure I'm not doing too much of the same thing every day.

This is very primary, the tasks should be organized by level of importance and difficulty (so I can better determine how much time should I put on each, but the most important ones currently take up the majority of my time), and I've not included breaks. I should add these couple of parameters but in the meanwhile I want to see how this works.

Here is how it looks:

If you have any idea how to improve the creation of my schedule, or care to share how you organize your time, please do so in the comments :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

shape studies and working process.

So, updating everyday may have proved a little bit troublesome...

Anyway. I've been doing a little bit of character sketching, and tried to implement this year illustration teacher Tzahi Ferber's advice -  "use primitive shapes". miraculously, whenever I go back to this method of beginning a drawing, the outcome is always very vivid and unique.

Also, I've began to read "The mechanics of illustration" written by Doron Meir (who was previously mentioned), which is a deep research about the process of creation, be it drawings, paintings, music, animation, etc. the book supplies a great understanding of the process and gives a lot of great advice about how to create your work more efficiently and ending up with better quality.

The first thing that's emphasized is the importance of the quick-draft. generally saying every step of creation is a draft of the following step, and each step gets us closer to the complete piece, which is closest to our primary vision. that said, it is now clear why it is also important to work on my quick-sketching skills.

With this in mind I started sketching a little more on my spare time. 
Attached here are some of my recent sketches which I thought were most appealing. at the bottom are a few of the ideas I had for the shape of the floating island and the house it carries.

Sadly, no further progress on my school work, but it will come.

Monday, August 20, 2012

animation and VFX progress

I didn't update yesterday. shame on me.
Well, I've made progress in two very different fields this last couple of days.

I'll start with yesterday, to keep it organized.
the task was to combine filmed footage with a character shot on a green screen, in a way they appear as a single unit.

The current result is this:

The surface was shot in my balcony, the hole was modeled in Maya, and I was shot against a green screen, that was cleaned in after effects.

The progress I've made to day was with my acting assignment. I again changed the keys according to the feedback I received, but it will probably be changed again. I'm slowly moving forward with this, and eventually I'll be able to convey the character true emotions through her gestures.

That's about it for now. preparing myself for further work on basic and advanced rigging.
tomorrow will be a good day.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

animation progress

As promised (mostly by myself to myself), I should update everyday with the progress that I've made, as little as it may have been.

So, since early in the morning, up until close to midnight, I've been working on Malissa's animation from scratch, starting from the ground up.

Today's result is this blocking phase, which I have already uploaded to facebook for further critics by my friends and colleagues.

The quality is bad this time. bare with me.

one more advice given to me by my mother today was to try and guide your friends to play the scene for you. while you might not act well, others might have a better interpretation of your directions.
I should try it sometime.

it was also suggested that I try and illustrate my main poses again in 2d, thinking of the subtext of her monologue and each sentence.
well. I'll try anything at this point :)


Other than this not much was done, so here are just a few nice links I came across today:

A list of 100 useful sites for animators. from article sites to resources, online stores and tutorials.
a good list to keep.

A short presentation of a technology used by pixar for creating models using sub division surfaces now going open-source and available for download. while the technical details are quite confusing to me, seeing the working process of pixar is always interesting.

that's about it. hoping for a better progress tomorrow.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Grand reopening

As part of my attempt to advance in the animation industry and to accomplish the many goals I have set for the next few months, I've decided to make use of this dusty old blog. so far it rested quietly waiting for sketches or drawings update that never came but now I have new plans for it.

This sudden reopening is inspired by Doron Meir's lecture about getting into and advancing in the animation industry, and the "underwear millionaire"'s philosophy and approach to self improvement, passed on to me by a friend.
In order to keep track of the various assignments I've been given and goals I've set, and in order to create some kind of obligation that will keep me motivated and dedicated to the working process, I've decided to reanimate this blog as a "progress diary". Every day I will post an update with the knowledge and skills that I have acquired. "you learn something new every day" isn't a cliche, but rather a truth usually ignored.

Keeping track and documenting the many things I come across everyday during my work and research on the internet will not only create a library I can revisit when the need arises but will also help the information I learn to "sink in". furthermore, it might be a useful resource for others in the future.

Having said that, I'll get started with my most recent task. 
During the past 2 months I've been working on an acting assignment based on a random monologue taken from a movie I do not know. Even though it is not yet smoothed and polished, I am already displeased with it's current state. having cried about it to various people, my mother and a friend gave me a very simple advice:
"Share your work with other people, share it with whoever you can - teachers, colleagues and friends. each will have his own input for you to try and maybe apply to your work"

Thinking about it, it really is simple. and so, I've uploaded this video to facebook:

Soon after it was uploaded I received many comments. to sum it up, it was said that Malissa (the character) appears very angry all throughout the scene, which isn't with accordance with her tone which starts sad, disappointed and maybe a little desperate.  It was recommended that I keep her gestures less flashy in the beginning, that I avoid using gestures that illustrate her words and that I think deeply about what the character is really going through, and how what she does supports what she says.  

keeping these things in mind I've also received 2 other tips and sources of reference.
the first is heath ledger's as the Joker, which is an example of marvelous acting, without using many hand gestures. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8PxG5zvgOM

The second is a movie recommendation - "Something's gotta give" starring Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton, which is a great reference for a dramatic actress. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0337741/


Aside from looking for ways to improve the acting of my animation, I've also encountered some problems with my rig. while using the graph editor I've deleted a whole bunch of keys I had no need for, but without noticing I've deleted some keys connected to way the rig performs. not being able to fix the rig, I realized I have to copy the animation to a new file. thanks to that problem I found a very cool script called dkanim.
what the script basically does is copy a selected object's animation information to a text file, and allowing you to import this information to a different object of the same name. 
all I had to do was open the scene before the rig became corrupted and import the text file.

During this process I've also learned of a way to delete keys without harming your rig:
edit -> keys -> delete keys. 
while deleting keys via the graph editor might cause you deleting keys you may not want to delete, using this action is perfectly safe and assures driven keys are unharmed :)

One more advice I received while looking for a solution to this problem was to use a referenced rig.
here is an article on how do so, while preserving a clean and efficient pipeline:


Some other cool stuff I came across today are this cool korean artist, Kim Jung-Gi, look him up.

A simple tutorial on how to draw a human head in an angle:

And a great info page on anatomy, by http://foervraengd.deviantart.com/?rnrd=10477.
the picture can be seen here:

One more great tip by Doron Meir can be found here:
though I recommend reading the whole article, in short, Doron recommends switching mediums.  when trying to illustrate an idea, use several mediums, such as writing, drawing, painting, sculpting, etc. you might catch something in one medium that you overlooked in another :)
(and a link to his site, which is basically a great pile of knowledge http://www.mechanics-of-inspiration.com/)

I think this is about it for today. hopefully I will return with new knowledge tomorrow :)