Saturday, 31 March 2018

Blue Zoo Summer Internships Now Open

Applications for Blue Zoo's summer internships are now open. These 6-8 week paid placements in animation, storyboarding and visual development are described by Blue Zoo as "like a real job but without the demands & expectations, allowing participants to develop and learn how a big animation studio works and real projects are run".

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Thumbnailing Baloo by Frank Thomas



Continuing this weeks' theme on the making of animation thumbnails, in the video above I show how Frank Thomas thumbnailed a shot from The Jungle Book, way back in the 1960s. Frank Thomas was one of the greatest Disney animators, one of Disney's so-called "Nine Old Men" (the studio's animation elite), and the system of using thumbnail sketches to plan your animation hasn't changed a lot since then.  The trick is to create a plan for your animation so that, long before you start creating poses in Maya, you already have the shot figured out in your head.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Thumbnailing Boog from "Open Season"



Learning to thumbnail animation is one of the hardest skills for junior animators to master, especially if they are not comfortable with drawing. But being able to do rough thumbnail sketches is an important part of the animator's toolkit, and in the video above I demonstrate how I approached thumbnailing a shot I animated on "Open Season". The trick is to create a plan for your animation so that, long before you start creating poses in Maya, you already have the shot figured out in your head.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Weight Lift by Olavo Lins



One of the hardest things to achieve in 3D animation is the creation a sense of weight.  Weight is hard to simulate because our characters are just pixels - they have no intrinsic weight, so we have to create it from nothing. This means understanding how our bodies move, how the physics works, and knowing where the weight is at any given point during any given action. It's also important to create a sense of fun and entertainment around the shot, so that it isn't just a technical exercise. In this weight lift exercise above, Animation Apprentice student Olavo Lins shows how it's done.  Congratulations to Olavo on an excellent piece of work.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Why Animators Should Always Take Two Steps

One of the most common mistakes by junior animators is to animate a character taking just one step.

The reason this doesn't work only becomes clear if you try doing it. Take a single step and...guess what...you'll take a second step.

The fact is that everyone takes two steps.  Life is like a dance, we are constantly using our bodies in a one-two one-two motion. It's tempting to animate a character taking a single step because it seems to make sense. After all, so much of what we do with our bodies is automatic; done without thinking. But, if you try taking a single step, you'll quickly realise why you need a second catch-up step to maintain your balance.

The reason this matters is because, as animators, we need to make our work feel lifelike and believable. If we don't get it right, it feels weird, and the audience will notice.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Why Eye Direction Matters

Characters must look at one another
One of the most common mistakes made by junior animators (and sometimes senior ones) is to animate characters who aren't really looking at each other.

Eye direction is a tricky thing to get right, but it's vital that your characters need to engage with one another - and this means looking in the right direction, at the other character's eyes.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Free Rigging webinar Tonight at 7pm

Mike Davies - the man who rigged Smaug
Rigging Supremo Mike Davies, veteran rigger whose film credits include The Hobbit and The Minions, is hosting a free webinar on the art of rigging tonight, Thursday 8 March at 7pm.

If you're interested in learning rigging, be sure to sign up for this free webinar hosted by London's Escape Studios.

If you'd like to register (it is completely free), follow the link here to sign up.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Why Animators Need to Blink

Everybody blinks, a lot. But since we do it without noticing, we're not really aware of it. One of the most common mistakes made by junior animators is to forget to add blinks to their characters.