Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Proud Animation Mentor Student

I'm so proud to be an Animation Mentor student in fact, that I now have a badge :D

Animation School


Haven't quite managed to work out how this might be displayed in my profile at all times, but I'm sure I'll get there sooner or later. It'll do here for now.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

AM Weeks 3 & 4

Time is going really fast! I guess in my head I was thinking I would be doing blog posts every week, but maybe that won't be happening. I'll try to post pretty regularly though, and keep you caught up on anything. "You" being my exclusive and loyal audience of about 3 people!

Animation Mentor is still brilliant! Week 3 the assignment was a bouncing ball the weight of a football and an "excited" pose. Only the die-hard animators among you will have any interest in the bouncing ball, so I won't bother posting that! Here's my excited pose though:

My mentor's feedback was basically that I had executed it pretty well, a fairly solid pose ... but that 80% of people will have done a variant on the fists in the air pose! And to stand out as an animator, I need to start thinking outside the box a bit more. So I've taken that on board, and here is my revised pose (with a slightly nicer background!):

So that was a useful lesson to learn early on I think. I need to take risks and go for things that may be outside the 'safe zone' but at the same time will much more interesting and genuine.

Week 4 has been to do a heavy and light bouncing ball which again, I won't bother to upload here. It's gone OK I think - just waiting for last minute feedback from people before I submit it as my assignment.

Had a pretty awesome live Q&A webinar the other day with school co-founder Shawn Kelly as well as Scott Benza and Rick O'Connor who all work at ILM and worked on Transformers 2. It was happening at 8pm in California which is 4am here. Did I get up at that ridiculously early hour? Hell Yeah! Was it worth it? Abso-bloody-lutely! Really cool to hear all their stories and get a real insight into what it's like to work in the industry and have the opportunity to ask any questions you want. It's this kind of thing that makes me really glad I chose Animation Mentor - where else would you get the opportunity to have a chat with these people? And in my pyjamas too! Awesome!!!

Also excited by the developments with Mass Animation's Live Music. I discovered I now have my own entry in IMDB as Sarah Knight IV (animator). Being described as an animator on IMDB is a pretty awesome feeling and just reinforces what I'm working towards and makes me more enthusiastic and determined to get good at this than ever.

So yeah, a pretty excellent 2 weeks! Looking forward to doing more complex assignments and having more opportunity to add a bit of character to my animation. This week it's a little bouncing ball pinging around an obstacle course.

Thanks for reading, I'll update again soon! :)

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Mass Animation announcement

Just wanted to do a quick post to say that the New York Times has written about Mass Animation and that according to them, it will appear in front of Planet 51! Which is pretty cool - it's a film I've heard of!
And also, just that the New York Times, writing about something I've worked on?! The world has gone mad.

Very, very excited. I keep getting excited about animated things these days ... I hope my heart can take it.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

AM Week 2

So, Week 2! It's been a pretty cool week. I'm reluctantly starting to accept the fact that I'm actually hoping to launch a career as a Creative Person, or Artist. Not something I've really thought of myself as before. Animator? Hell yes! Artist? Oooh er. Creative person? Me?!?! (Side note: did you know that a question mark followed by an exclamation mark which I just used twice, is called an interrobang?! Isn't that just the most awesome word?! Look I just used 2 interrobangs in 2 sentences in a row! They're brillant! Anyway, back to my animation adventures...)

The assignment this week was to go out and sketch people in the street and then choose your favourite pose to create in Maya. I was a little hesitant about going out and drawing people. Staring at strangers isn't something I feel comfortable with, nor is drawing in public where people might come and Look At What I'm Doing. However, once I got going, I really started to enjoy myself and have decided that I need to keep sketching (advice that I keep hearing) whether out in the street, or while I'm watching TV just to practise drawing. So that when I move onto the more complicated stuff, I'll be able to really communicate what I'm trying to do, with a few drawings. And people can look at them, and know what I'm saying, without a running dialogue from me "Oh, and that's supposed to be his arm. And yeah, she's actually meant to be riding a bike. Oh, and here, they're hugging, not trying to kill each other". That's the idea anyway! And actually, I'm rather enjoying this drawing malarkey.

I found posing Stu the model harder than I thought I would. To begin with, I just could NOT get his arms to go where I wanted them to. At all. Just ridiculously useless. And I started to panic slightly as classmates had already posted some cool poses, and here was I with one arm bent double behind his back with his elbow coming through his chest, and the other one still stuck out at right angles to his body. And I thought "I must just not be cut out for this. Maybe I can still animate. Maybe there's a market out there for animators who specialize in characters with no arms. Yeah, I don't need to give up on my dream. I just need to stick to animating musical instruments ... or ... or ... double amputees ... "
However, with a little perseverance, and another watch of the "how to" video, I managed to get the hang of it. So I may yet become a fully-fledged animator, able to pose arms and everything!

Got some great feedback from my fellow students, and have submitted the above pose as my final piece of work. Looking forward to my mentor's critique.

Next week we actually get to do something that moves! It's your classic bouncing ball, but at least it's animation! I'm excited.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

AM Week 1

So apart from uploading my work for you folks to see, I've also decided to start a journal of my time at Animation Mentor here - apologies to those who aren't interested. You can just skip these parts - they're easy to spot, as they're the ones with all the writing and no video window ;p

Week 1 at Animation Mentor has been very, very cool. As good as I hoped it would be, and better. The website is a work of wonder in itself with SO much information in the form of videos, forums etc. And everyone has been really welcoming and friendly. It seems like a really great community, and I'm so excited to be part of it! After months of pondering, and then deciding, and then applying, then waiting, it's great to finally be there, and able to log into the site and have access to all this amazing stuff.

My mentor, Elliott Roberts seems like a nice guy, and has experienced VFX, Features, and is now working for a gaming company so he's got experience across the board which is great. Our first assignment was very easy - just upload a picture to your profile and fill in a bit about yourself. So having done that (and constantly remembering other 'favourite' films or interests that I wish I'd put and resisting the temptation to update my profile every 5 minutes) I've spent most of the week working my way through the Orientation videos which have been useful for finding my way around the site. There are still a load of other videos that I need to get round to watching - will try to get through those this week while the workload is still light.

Have tried to "put myself out there" as they encourage us to do, so despite being quite shy at that kind of thing, I've been round and about leaving comments and messaging people and trying to really get into it. And so far, it's been a lot of fun and not scary at all :)
(Although for the moment I'm still shying away from video journaling)

Anyway, just thought I'd give a brief update on how the week has gone. Watch this space if you're interested in my Animation Mentor adventures and if you're not ... don't!

Bye for now!