What are you doing to polish your animation skills over the summer? Here at Animation Apprentice we encourage all our student animators to enter The 11 Second Club, a monthly character animation competition in which aspiring animators practice their skills and get their work noticed. Animators from all over the world participate, animating a character speaking a line of dialogue, which is provided every month by the club.
Throughout the competition, participants can share their progress with one another and critique each other's work - just like in a real animation studio. At the end of the month, all the participants vote for the submission that they consider the best for that month - so it's a very democratic process. The idea of the 11 Second Club is "to give animators a chance to practice their skills in a fun, challenging environment".
This month's competition is, as ever, an eleven second piece of dialogue. The eleven second clip of dialogue for the month of August goes as follows:
Man: "Jenny printed me out an article from Yahoo Health that was all about enabling, and I realised at that point I cannot continue to support your emotional handicap"
Woman: "I understand"
Man: "...Let me finish, Okay?"
To find out more about this month's competition, follow this link.
As ever, a good animator imagines the scene in their head before starting out. What is the scene about? What is happening? Try to see it as a movie in your head. Best of all, act it out yourself and film yourself doing it on your phone. Then, do thumbnail sketches, based on the key poses in your performance. You can import the footage into your shot and use an image plane to help create your key poses.
|Thumbnails sketches help you plan your animation|
Once you have done your preparation, and you know exactly what you plan to do, execute the plan. Create character poses in Maya on stepped curves, and get the blocking of the shot right. At this point, post your work at the Animation Apprentice Facebook page - we'll give you comments and support, and help you to make sure your blocking is working well.
Get feedback, tweak it, and, once you are happy, use the TweenMachine free Maya tool to help break down your poses. Again, post your work at our FB page and we'll give you feedback and support.
Finally, when everything is working, spline your curves and refine the final result. Remember to leave the lipsync to the end - this is the least important part of a good acting shot.
To see more about how the Eleven Second Club works, read this blog post. And to see more about how to use thumbnail sketches to create great animation, watch this short video.
And good luck! Entering competitions is a great way to raise your game as an animator.
To find out more about Animation Apprentice, click here for a link to Frequently Asked Questions. To sign up for our next classroom at Animation Apprentice, follow this link. For more information on finding work and surviving in the animation and visual effects business, read our post on how to find a job in the animation industry, and check out our post about what not to do at a job interview. Also see our post on starting your own small animation business, learn how to create an invoice, and see how we are helping our students find work through our film co-operative Nano Films. Download the free Escape Studios Careers in VFX Handbook. Take a look at how awn.com can help you find a job, and read our piece about how to survive as a freelance animator. Also, find out what Cinesite look for in a student's demo reel, and read our post on setting up your own animation business. Also see our post about freelancers and taxes.