As promised here are a few of my animations. How exciting! These are just from my last two weeks. Once I get some revisions done on my others, I will post those as well! I know you are all sitting on the edge of your seats!

We just had our Q and A for this week. Tons of fun. We talked about that pesky little Tailor guy who you can see in my second video, about getting jobs in the industry, and about how crazy/tired we all were from working full time jobs plus spending every other waking moment in front of our computer watching balls bounce!

So in just a few short weeks I will finally be finished with Class 1! It went by so quickly! The assignment for the last week will be to put all of our work into one file, and once I’ve got that all put together I will definitely post this, so everyone can see all the work I’m doing whilst I shut everything else besides animation and coffee from my life!

Week 6 – The Pendulum (Overlapping Action)

This video is actually a revision from my first pass. I had gotten notes from my mentor and improved it a bit.

Week 7 – Tailor!

This is the first pass of the assignment, I’ve already gotten notes and will be doing a revision in the next couple of days!

And just for fun! Here is my thesis project from my last semester at school, for anyone who hasn’t seen it. It’s just a silly little stop motion project that I did. Enjoy!

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I’ve had quite a week. Busy busy busy. AM is going splendidly. I just finish Week 7 this past Sunday. I turned in my first assignment using the AM character Tailor! (He’s just a ball with a tail, and moves around a little bit like a squirrel) I had a fun time animating it. I PROMISE I will get these animations up this week, I should have some extra time. Anyway, Just as soon as I turned in my assignment about this cute little squirrel Sunday morning, I leave my house to go to work and what do I see? A real squirrel dead in the middle of the road. Reality sucks.

Good things have happened this week though as well. Finn’s featured song last week on Glee was Jesse’s Girl, and then Kurt did his own version of Rose’s Turn. It was such an awesome episode. Very touching too. Tonight Neil Patrick Harris is on Glee! So geeking out about this, but lucky me has to close again tonight at work, and then I have work early in the morning tomorrow so I won’t get to watch until tomorrow afternoon. Se la vie. Nail Patrick Harris is singing Dream On with Mr. Schu tonight, and Rachel is singing I Dreamed a Dream (one of my favorite shower songs) with Idina as well. Incredible.

I watched Kick Ass the other night. So awesome. Not exactly what I expected. It was way more violent than I thought it would be, but hilarious all the same. Is it wrong that I find blood and death funny? Although it was slightly predictable at parts, because it’s elementary uses of foreshadowing, it was still super enjoyable and I wouldn’t mind watching it again.

If there’s anything I like more than magic and musicals, it is the two thrown together with a dash of parody on the side. I came across this little gem after some stalking of a few friends on Facebook. A Very Potter Musical. It basically just a musical version of Harry Potter, and was written by a couple of dudes who love writing music and making parodies, and performed for free and posted on the internet for everyone to enjoy! (Done so mostly because they have no rights to any of the characters, but still pretty sweet!) It is HISTERICAL! And the music is surprisingly so well done! The references are genius and do not only pertain to Harry Potter. The guy who plays Harry is one of the writers of the show, and the guy who plays Voldemort is so talented and original (and very easy to look at, might I add!). So if you have any interest in musicals or Harry Potter, I would definitely recommend taking a little look-see.

The biggest most bestest news for this week, is that Disney has announced a NEW resort at Walt Disney World! And what’s even more exciting is that it’s going to be themed around animation!! It’s going to be another Value Resort, across the lake from Pop Century and will be called Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. So boss. They are building it where they were going to build the Legendary Years of Pop Century. (This is SO much cooler!) It’s going to feature wings in Cars, The Lion King, Finding Nemo AND The Little Mermaid (eek!!). It’s based around “families” so most of the rooms are going to be suites that can sleep 6 people!! Cannot wait until 2012. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the new Princess land in Magic Kingdom will be finished by then. I feel a very serious Disney vacation coming that year! Hooray!

Here is the statue of King Triton for "The Little Mermaid" wing. This thing is going to be 35 feet tall!

So those are all the exciting things that have been happening to me this week. Hope you weeks have gone equally as splendidly!

Let’s talk about my newest obsession: Fanny Brice. Last night, in a rare time when I’ve got some time to myself to do whatever I want, I methodically browsed through the movies you can watch instantly on Netflix, searching for just the right film to watch before bed. I came across Funny Girl, and thought, “I have seen a few snippets of this, but never the whole thing… let’s give Barbara a whirl.”

Best. Decision. Ever.

For those of you who are not familiar with the movie, it’s the story of Fanny Brice (Barbara Streisand) a girl from the Jewish slums of New York who, despite her very unconventional looks, makes a big name for herself on the New York stage, all while trying to find her place in her marriage with a faithful and debonair gambler, Nick Arnstein.

Anyway, Fanny Brice is  one of the most incredible female characters I’ve ever seen in a movie. She’s got such a confidence, even with her deviated nose, that she will be a star, because that is her dream and what she’s always wanted from life. Her attitude gets her exactly what she wants, but at the same time, she never strays from her true beliefs and goals. Amazing.

And her outfits were incredible too. It made me want to try to pull off sequence again!

How awesome is this dress?!

In other news, it was beautiful out today AND I had the day off! Hooray! I cleaned my bathroom AND I got to sit out in the sun for a couple of hours! Hooray! Plans for the rest of the day? Working out, cleaning my room and GLEE tonight!! Olivia Newton-John is guest-starring on Glee tonight, and I am keeping my fingers crossed for a Xanadu reference! Although, I’m not really sure if that will do any good. Oh well, either way it’s going to be a GREAT episode! I’m totally stoked for it.

It’s Week 6 at Animation Mentor! We’re learning overlapping action! Faaaaaaaaancy! I’m hoping I get to watch the lecture tonight so I can get started on my swinging pendulum tomorrow! Last week we had to pose Stu in a way to show DEVASTATION. I wasn’t too happy with what I ended up with. But I will post anyway…

My "Devastated" pose, that is kind of just devastating to look at...

Hello stranger. Do you even remember me? It has been SO long since I last updated. I have been very busy with work and this class, and the last couple of weeks sleep has taken priority over my usual hours of surfing the internet.

So I’ve gone through weeks 3 and 4 at AM, and we are already on to week 5! Almost half way through the first class! It’s going by so quickly, but I am soaking up so much! I’m like a big fat sponge. Loves it. I promised I would post my video from week 3 but I have to get them on YouTube first before I can properly post them here. Boo. No worries though, I still have a fun Stu pose for you! Week 3 we learned about Planning and Blocking. Our assignment was the animate a basic bouncing ball the weight of a basketball and also to pose our character in a pose of excitement! It was, to say the least, very exciting. When I originally posted, my video got screwed up and was only playing at half the speed, so Thea couldn’t really grade it that well, but for the most part she said it worked well and only complained a little bit about trying to fix the framing, so overall not a bad critique. Thea also liked my pose quite a bit too. Of course she wanted me to try plus-ing it a bit (a fun new animator term got kickin’ it up a notch! BAM!), but I got pretty good reviews. So here is the Stu pose I promised!

Last week, we learned about Timing and Spacing, and our assignment was to animate TWO bouncing balls, one very light and one very heavy. Again I got an ok critique from Thea, but with a lot of suggestions. I don’t really mind when I do things wrong, I feel like I learn so much more that way. I will post this video when I get it up on YouTube!

One of the BEST things at AM is that you can also watch everyone else’s assignments and their critiques as well, so we all get to learn from each other’s mistakes. I love collaborative art! So fun! AND you get to watch not just the people in your class, but all the assignments from the other classes at your level as well as all of the other levels too! So you can check out stuff that you’ll be doing months from now, and give feedback and get feedback! Such an awesome learning environment! ( I feel like I’m using a lot of exclamation points… sorry, I tend to get excited! haha)

The only downside to this class is that it is very time consuming, and I really need to start buckling down and making sure I dedicate enough time to my work. I’m very nervous that I’m not spending enough time working on it, and I really need to just face the fact that I am just gonna have to become a hermit for the next 16 months. It will all be worth it in the end. At least, I’ll be sitting in my room alone doing what I love, and working towards a career that I’ll really love too.

I have lots more to talk about, but I think I’ve rambled enough. I promise I’ll update more often with more fun anecdotes, etc. And not just silly little play-by-plays on my class! haha

Until then, lots of love and Happy Animating!

Lots of things to talk about. First off, a public service announcement. If you haven’t see How to Train Your Dragon, please proceed to drop EVERYTHING and go to the theatre, right now, and go see it! It was so incredible. By far, Dreamwork’s best film yet! The art direction was amazing; the story was heartwarming, funny, and had a great lesson; the animation was inspiring.

The dragons were done so well, especially Toothless. He was like a cross between a cat and a dog with a little bit of horse in him. I LOVE animated characters that don’t talk. It really just shows what animation is all about. Be able to tell a story and convey feeling and meaning without words is what all art is, so it’s really amazing seeing that in real life, especially in the medium I’ve chosen and hope to one day work in. Anyway, even if you aren’t geeking out over the animation of the dragons, or the way the water splashed up against the rocks, or the fabulous hair/fur on the vikings, this movie was still the BOMB and needs to be seen by everyone.

Next order of business: I got my first eCritique back from Thea. She liked my sketches, but she really didn’t like my pose. I’m glad she had things to say about it though. It’s how I learn. And I’ve been learning a lot from other people’s eCritiques too. I’m LOVING Animation Mentor. I am learning SO MUCH, and it’s so exciting.

Week 3 is almost done. We had to animate a bouncing ball and also sketch out a few poses showing EXCITEMENT. The bouncing ball isn’t so bad, we’re starting out very simple. The excitement poses proved a lot more difficult than you would think. Everything just seems so cliche with excitement. I will be posting all my sketches and the bouncing ball once it’s all finished, probably tomorrow.

Lastly, I am upset with Autodesk. Autodesk is the company that makes Maya which is the software that I use for AM. They have not stayed on top of their game with the new Mac OS update, and Maya doesn’t like to cooperate with Mac OS 10.6.3, but of course, I have a new awesome super computer that updates on it’s own, so now Maya is not cooperating with my computer. Bummer. If I had my CDs, I could do a completely new install (luckily there is a way for me to do this without losing the files on my computer), but my CDs are no where to be found, at least they won’t be found in the next day and a half before my next assignment is due. So, I am going to have to put Maya on my sister’s computer and do the assignment on her computer. Hence my aggravation with Autodesk right now.

I think I’ve rambled long enough, and I should probably hit the sack since I have to open in the morning (major bummer). Why are all the little sayings that mean go to bed have to do with hitting? So violent. Anyway, good night and happy animating!

AHOY!

This doesn’t have too much to do with animation (although I did get in some very key observation time), but last night the boyfriend and I went to a BEER GARDEN! It was so incredible and really brought me back to the time I spent in Europe two summers ago. The best part was that, although beer gardens are a huge part of the German culture, and it was set up as such, all of the food and beer that they served was CZECH! Not only could we get a pitcher of Pilsner (the original lager!), but we got a pitcher of Staropramen and we got to enjoy Goulash! Also, they were out of it last night, but they do normally carry Becherovka and serve Betons. It was heaven! We had such a great time, and even got to do a little bit of the “making friends with neighboring drunk people” game that is played so well in Germany.

This place was called the Bohemian Beer Garden and if you live in New York or near Astoria, Queens, I HIGHLY recommend it. It is a great place for big groups of people, and if you only have a few people to go with, it’s a great place to meet a ton of people and still have a great time! I so much want to go back to Praha, but it was nice to feel like I was there again last night and reminisce about some of the awesome times I had with my man.

In other news, I’m still waiting on my critique from Thea for my Week 2 assignment, but Week 3 has officially started at AM! I’ve watched half of the lecture on Planning and Blocking Methods, and this week I get to animate a bouncing ball! Totally awesome! Can’t wait to show you guys what I’ve done!

It’s gross, but true. Tomorrow I’m throwing out the rest of the cake. So that will stop me from eating cake for dinner again. Tomorrow for dinner, I think I will have a salad.

In other news, I have officially submitted my first real assignment for animation mentor! Woohoo! Exciting! I was pretty excited about this assignment, and had a pretty good time sketching from life. I need to do that more often, because 1. I am so entirely out of practice, so my sketching it really sucking and 2. I enjoyed it, and it will help with my animating skills.

So we had to draw a few sketches and choose the one we liked best or thought worked best and recreate it with the STU character we got from AM (Animation Mentor). I’m going to show you guys what I did for fun. Hopefully Thea likes it. I tried to convey some sort of feeling, although I don’t know how successful it was. What do you think?

One page of my sketches. I had three 🙂

And this is the pose I did in Maya!

Well, that’s that. Also, this week at AM, I participated in a short scavenger hunt. If I got all the answers right, I’ll be put into a drawing and maybe I will get to win some cool stuff. I am desperate for an AM t-shirt.

I’ve got work at 6:30 in the mo’nin, so I had better hit the hay. Where do you think that expression came from? I guess probably back when they use to stuff mattresses with hay, although I don’t know who’s genius idea that way. It could not have been very comfortable…

Goodnight! Happy Animating!

I spent the $400 to buy my own licensed version of Maya, since on my laptop I was using a borrowed version. I decided to come clean and do things the right way. Maybe my two years of using a “borrowed” version came back around to bite me in the ass. I don’t know, but here’s my story.

I received the program about a week ago. Totally excited, I got it open and looked through all the CDs, all new and shiny! Last night I went to install it, and when I did I realized that there was no Serial Number. Further investigation only showed the remains of where a sticker once stood with the IMPORTANT INFORMATION label and the serial number. Now, why the heck would I rip off something that was highlighted and read IMPORTANT INFORMATION. I admit, it does sometimes take me a while to understand things, but I am not that dumb!

So, I go on the support website to see what I can do to recover the serial number. What do I find? A cute little explanation which states, Do not lose this number or throw away the box. If you lose the serial number prior to installation – there is no way to recover the serial number and you will have to buy another copy.” I seem very calm now, but I’m not ashamed to say I was a mess last night. I spent $400! And because the serial number is missing I have to spend another $400?? I don’t think so.

The boyfriend had to talk me down from the ledge, let me tell you, but he did and I finally got to sleep. I woke up at 9:07, and realized that the office hours had started so I could finally call someone to get some answers! I call the support number on the back of my product. Their solution: “Ma’am, we are just support for installing the program, you can get in touch with whomever you bought it from and they should be able to help you out.”

Still cool as a cucumber, I call Studica. The man on the line seems friendly enough, but then he tells me I must mail back my product to make sure the program was not damaged by me. So I ask how will they know if I ripped it off or if someone else before me did. He explains there is a sticker holding it shut that was attached to the sticker with the serial number and unfortunately this sometimes gets ripped off. Now I didn’t say it, but this is just poor packaging, but I know this is not Studica’s fault, they got it from Autodesk.

I try to make this man understand that if it was ripped off by the delivery man or whatever, it would look the same as if I had done it myself so I will probably have to go buy another copy. “Unfortunately, we cannot refund the product without that bar code and the sticker was a round sticker which holds the case shut.” I heard this line, I don’t know, maybe about 40 times in the 20 minute conversation.

I finally lost it, “Look, I just spent $400 on this product and $20,000 on my class and you’re telling me, ‘Whoops! You’ll have to buy another copy!’ Well, like most people I don’t have another $400 to spend on this product AGAIN!”

“Well, we just cannot refund it without that bar code.”

So I ask, “Is there someone else I can talk to? I know this isn’t your fault, but I really just can’t afford to buy this product again and I need to figure out how to fix this.”

He puts me on hold and all of a sudden I hear this, *CLICK* “MA’AM WE CANNOT TAKE IT BACK. I’M TRANSFERRING YOU TO AUTODESK SUIPPORT” *CLICK*

I kid you not. So rude. Didn’t even say hello, or I’m sorry, or have any sympathy for me. I am totally outraged. And once again I break down. Sucks. It’s hard to not be upset when you may have just thrown away a sticker worth $400.

The Autodesk support didn’t open until 10, so I waited another 15 minutes and called them back. While on hold, I start looking at my e-mail and I see a new one from about ten minutes ago with the subject: “Studica Order 20461 – Serial Number” It read: “I have the serial number for your product. It should be XXX-XXXXXXXX.”

My jaw dropped. My phone almost did too. Somewhere in the incompetent Studica offices in Sanborn, NY, resides an angel named Maria Bykowski. Apparently there was a lot more that Studica could have done, but no one wanted to help me. Until Maria.

In conclusion, if you’ve even made it through this entire rant, this post is dedicated affectionately and entirely to this saint of a woman sitting in a cubicle in Sanborn, NY. Maria, I love you!

Finally got through Week 2 Lecture. I have GOT to do something about my stupid internet. It is incredibly annoying. Really excited to learn more about these steps. I wrote a paper on them for an art history class a couple of years ago. My professor didn’t like it, because she was into classical art. And even though the class was called MODERN art, she wasn’t really into the idea of animation being considered an art form. Lame.

Bottom line is, I’m already familiar with these principles, so I’m really excited to start putting them to work!

This week’s assignment: go somewhere and sketch basic poses of people in a public place. Depending on the weather this week, I’ll either be finding a park with a bunch of people around, or I may just head to the food court of the mall. I will probably go Thursday afternoon. It will be very good times. I’m excited to bring my sketch pad out into the world. I haven’t done that in a while, and I really need to start getting into that habit, fo rillz.

I’ll put up my sketches once I’ve gotten them done. I’m gonna go clean my room in preparation for my Q&A tomorrow night. And maybe while I’m at it I can think of some good questions to ask Thea, my mentor, too!

Good night world!

One of the suggested books on the Animation Mentor website is “The Animator’s Survival Kit” by Richard Williams who was the animation director for Who Framed Roger Rabbit. So I’ve been reading it. It’s so great, and I’m totally geeking out, even writing down all the names of animators he mentions just so I can eventually go back and do my own Wikipedia research. I hope to one day know as much about the history of animation as I do about the art of animation itself, and hopefully can compare this total amount of knowledge to, say, the amount of knowledge I have about Walt Disney World.

Richard Williams expresses both sides of the argument of the ability to draw and it’s relevance to being a successful animator. Some say that it is certainly not necessary, and there are plenty of incredible animators who did just fine that couldn’t really draw. Others, like Richard Williams, argue that in order to animate you must have a real understanding for mass and weight, and this understanding can only really be learned by hours of life drawing.

Boy, am I glad I took that figure drawing class at school.

Now, I’m not an expert (yet). So I really can’t form a very educated opinion on this subject. What I do know is that having drawing experience definitely cannot hurt your animation ability.

With that said, I just thought I would put in a quick little entry and exhibit a few of my life drawings for you all to observe. Enjoy!

If you want to check out some more of my stuff, I have a good amount of it up at http://behance.net/indigochild09

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