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Week 2 of Class 3 at Animation Mentor has come to an end, and I just turned in my assignment. Lucky for you, I’ve uploaded it to YouTube for the WORLD to see (or at least the seven or eight of you that read this blog, hehe). I really like my mentor this term, although he is quite zany. At least the Q and A’s are very unpredictable and fun. He seems to know what he’s talking about (and he should after his repertoire of films!), so I’m totally stoked to see what he can teach me. He already had me thinking a ton about weight distribution and other very key aspects of body mechanics just by looking at my planning sketches and video reference. I think this is why my blocking turned out so well, and why I’m so excited to post it!

FYI – For this class, we will be doing another three short animations which we will work on for four weeks each. We were allowed to choose a theme which all of our shots could either relate to or by strong together to create a sort of short, this choice is called an AnimJam. My theme is Mining Stewie. I’m enjoying it. Especially because most themes are more sports oriented, so I’m having fun doing something a little different. The size of Stewie’s head is the only thing proving to be a problem. It’s very hard to swing your arms up over your head when your head is about twice larger than it really should be. I think I got myself around that problem pretty well though.

I think I could still push the poses to be a bit more extreme, but I’m really happy with it! Plus, once I put it into spline next week it’s going to turn into a complete disaster, so I wanted everybody to see it before it becomes a total hot mess. Enjoy!

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I just watched my critique from last week and my lecture for Week 4. There is always always always room for improvement. My work is seriously lacking in weight and timing. I need a LOT more practice. Ad all these animators on these lectures just make it seem so easy. Le sigh. I’ve just got to stay motivated and keep moving forward. All this talent comes from practice and experience, and really, I’m only about four months into my animation journey. These guys have been working for 10+ years. It won’t happen overnight. I just can’t get too frustrated. My first shot for this class is still going to be awesome.

My heart strings have been getting pulled more so than usual, especially in the area of Florida. Don’t ask me why. I guess after living there for five years, you sort of grow attached to a place without even realizing it. Right after waking up and having these thoughts, I realize that I’m actually going home to Orlando in just under three weeks! AND what’s even better is this article that Disney Blogs posted on Facebook right after this:

For the summer, they have NEW Mickey Key Lime Pie treats! YUMMMO!!! I can’t wait to get one of my own in a few weeks. I hope they are as yummy as they are cute! Of course this doesn’t help with me also obsessing over wanting to go back to the Florida Keys desperately…

Mickey Key Lime Pie!!

I’ve got tons of work to do this week. I’ve got to finish my first shot as well as start planning out my next shot. For now, I’m just gonna turn on some Glee and jam out whilst I get ready for work. And YOU can enjoy this terribly awesome article I found about Sharpie art!

Happy Tuesday everyone! 🙂

I’m aliiiiiiive! Hello all! I haven’t updated since right before I was going to see Toy Story 3. It was AMAZING, and I already went and saw it again. I cannot even handle how awesome Pixar is. Next I need to see Despicable Me and I very much would like to see Inception. I hear wonderful things about both.

Class 2 at Animation Mentor is already in full swing. The class is called Psychology of Body Mechanics and my mentor is Shaun Freeman from Austrailia, of the new animated TMNT movie fame. (I know, total geek out, eeeeeeeeeh!!) He is really awesome, and super helpful. He’s really great at explaining questions, he’s full of really good examples. I’m loving this class too, everyone in it is super talented. It’s a little intimidating, but it’s just making me want to put in the extra effort to get my stuff to look just as good. I’m already doing much better in getting my work done earlier so that I can get tons of critiques. And I’m trying my best to spend a lot of time giving other students critiques too. The way this class works is within the 12 weeks we do only three assignments, so each of the three shots that we do gets four weeks of attention. So I’m really hoping my stuff comes out really baller! I’m going to attach the video of my first assignment. Today was the Week 3 version, so the final version will be due next week. This means that’s it’s still a bit rough, but hopefully will be perfected soon.

This post was a bit thrown together, so I apologize. But I wanted to leave you with something truly inspirational. For those who have seen this, I’m sure you will enjoy it again.

Go out and get inspired! (Or stay in and watch inspiring/hysterical videos on the internet!) Happy animating!

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!

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!

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!

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

Hello again. Just finished my first Q&A. Met everybody in the class. I am so excited about starting this program and can’t wait to share all the fun stuff that I learn with all of you!

I was just watching Julie & Julia last night and in it, Julie Powell (Amy Adams) wants to be a writer and decides that she is going to cook her way through Julia Child’s cookbook in one year and blog about it and I thought, “I could do that!” Well, maybe not cook over 500 recipes in only 365 days, but I mean do something new, exciting, different, worthwhile, and then blog about it. Silly me forgot that I was actually already doing something totally courageous and new and all I needed to do was start a blog about it!

So for the next 18 months, here I will be, sharing all of my highs and lows while reaching my goal of becoming an animator.

For those of you not familiar with Animation Mentor, let me break it down for ya. AM is an online course where you are learning 3D character animation with people from all over the world from mentors working as animators in the industry. I’m so excited to make some great new friends who geek out just as much as I do over animation and childish things! I just met my mentor Anthea Kerou (who has worked on Shrek 4, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Bolt, and Horton Hears a Who!) and all of my classmates and everyone was so great and interesting and I can’t wait to see what everyone can do and start learning!

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