Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The October 11 Second Club Competition is - Star Wars!

May The Force Be With You
What are you doing this October to polish your animation skills? Here at Animation Apprentice we encourage all our student animators to enter The 11 Second Cluba 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, or, sometimes, a sound effect - this month is a chance to animated a jedi light sabre battle!  Best of all, entry is free! So what are you waiting for?  Let's get started!

What's this all about?
The Eleven Second Club is a free monthly animation competition. 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 like the best.

The idea of the 11 Second Club is "to give animators a chance to practice their skills in a fun, challenging environment".

To see the work of the winner of the August competition, "Dr Martol", by Artur Marcol, follow this link.  But don't stop there. Scroll down through the thread to see some of the other runners-up. What is remarkable is the extraordinary range of imaginative scenarios which different animators have dreamed up.

What about the October Competition?
This month's competition is unusual in that, far from having a line of dialogue, what you will have to animate is a prolonged sound effect. The sound is that of light sabres clashing - from one of the Star Wars movies.

So this month's competition isn't really about dialogue, it's about pantomime animation, good choreography, and action analysis. This is the kind of shot where you might want to shoot some live action to analyse, or perhaps even select a bit of fight choreography (note that it must match the audio!) and then use that as the basis for your animation.

To see more on how to use live-action reference to make great animation, see this blog post.

Jedi Knights. Copyright Disney
A good animator always 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.

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.

Get feedback from animators whose opinion you respect, tweak it, and, once you are happy, use the TweenMachine free Maya tool to help break down your poses.

Finally, when everything is working, spline your curves and refine the final result.

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.

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