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Had an incredible Q and A last night with Mark Pudleiner. He said some really inspiring things that any artist can relate to. How many creative things have you started that never were finished? When Mark asked us this generic question last night, I truthfully answered, “Probably about 90% of my stuff.” Basically what he was trying to show is that, every creative person, whether it be a writer, painter, animator, director, editor, all have these doubts in themselves, because we are out most critical eye. As artists, we are always trying to out-do ourselves and push our stuff to the limits to get the best results. He wanted us to realize that these doubts about the quality of our work is all very natural and normal. As an artist, it really does help to hear these things. Sometimes art can be a very lonely thing, even in such a collaborative field like animation. Luckily for me, I’ve got this incredible community of people who are all in the same place I am. Each one of the students at Animation Mentor have a passion to create this illusion of life, and every single one of them is on this same journey I am on trying to find out where we fit in this incredible expressive art form.

After such a great Q and A, I finally cracked open my copy of “The Illusion of Life” by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. I’ve been on this animation path for so long, I figured it’s about time I read the book that most people in the field consider to be the “bible” of the art form. The way they talk about animation is beautiful. After reading only one chapter, I’ve already got tons of pages in my notebook with quotes. I can’t wait to finish it.

On that note, I turned in my last version of my first shot for my Advanced Body Mechanics class. It definitely still needs a lot of work, but Mark told me in my eCritique that the shot made some incredible leaps and bounds from where it was, and according to him good progress like this is a great success, even if the shot isn’t perfect. So I wanted to share it with you all!

Last week, I also turned in some planning for my next shot. I haven’t started the blocking yet in Maya, but the last couple of days I’ve been studying my video reference and trying to do some extra sketching. I’m hoping this extra preparedness will help my shot start off nice a solid, so I won’t have to work backwards too much like I feel like I have done in most of my shots.

In other news, I finally downloaded the software for my printer/scanner! (Yay!) This means I’m going to be scanning in some fun old pictures (after I’m done with my AM assignments, of course!). I scanned one in earlier today for a test. Here it is, submitted for your approval!

Snap shot from my Totnastics days.

As you can see, I have always had balance and poise! haha

Happy Animating!

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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!

Work is taking over my life. So much so, that not only am I neglecting my blogging, but I am also neglecting my ever-important web-browsing time. I am slowly slipping into that person I feared I would become while at AM. I am becoming a certified hermit, only letting myself into the sunlight to go to work and catch a few rays by the pool for an hour or two every week. So sad. Whatever happened to summers when you were a kid? Bike rides around the block, every day by the pool/beach, endless vacations because you didn’t have to worry about getting time off. Nope, in real life, you realize that things don’t come so easy, aka, I have to give up my social life in order to do what I really want to do: animate.

I’m so ready to move out to the west coast, but I feel like there is so much I still need to do before I go. I need to save more money, and more importantly I need to get further along in AM. If I move out to California and get a job in film or animation, I won’t have any time to really devote to AM like my job now allows me to do. The down side is that I’m stuck in a job that is fine, but that’s all it is, just fine. I want to love work. I want to WANT to get up in the morning and go to work. I think I’m just really bummed because I feel like so many people are jsut heading out to Cali right now. Why do I have to be sensible? Why can’t I just get my butt out there with them? When do I get my chance???

It sounds sort of depressing, and I guess in a lot of ways it is, but it’s the sacrifice I have to make. All these incredible animators have come before me, and now I’ve got the chance to learn from them and hear what they have to say, and they all say the same thing. They all basically locked themselves away for a year or two without any outside life and devoted themselves to their work. I never really wanted to be a workaholic, but I always knew that once I found something I really loved, I would be doomed to become one. And it’s happening. I’m thinking about my animation all the time. About my next assignment, about finishing my first class, about when I will have time to get more work done. And I’m really looking forward to the day when I can just do art all the time, and get paid to do it, and not have to worry about waking up at the crack of dawn to make a bunch of spoiled brats their coffee.

All this hard work will pay off in the end, and in the mean time, I’m just enjoying the little things. Like summer barbecues! Memorial Day was this past Monday. Summer means every weekend having a bunch of beer, burgers, hot dogs, steak and great friends over to sit by the pool and get drunk with. How can you not love that? I let myself not worry about animation at all this past Monday. It was refreshing to take a day off.

One of the only other pleasures in life that I still allow myself is the viewing of Glee. This show really is genius. It appeals to everyone, even straight men! (They just have to be man enough to watch it once to understand how truly great it is!) This week’s episode was complete craziness, but wonderful all the same. So sad to see the show go for a few months after the season finale. Cannot wait for the full season to be out on DVD so I can get my hands on it 🙂

Anyway, I’ve babbled long enough. Bless you for making it to the end without any fun pictures or videos to help you through it. Hope your week is going well!

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!

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!

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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