Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thumbnail Sketches!

Whew, so I have been quite busy lately working on new material. I'm so excited to finally post it here!!! I've had the absolute pleasure of studying under Wayne Gilbert this term( ) and I'm currently working with him to polish up 3 new shots! While they're not quite ready to be revealed, I thought it'd be fun to give a glimpse into the planning process and show a few of my thumbnail sketches.

These are thumbnails from one of the three shots I'm working on. Having never tackled a quadruped before, I felt it was important to delve into it before I find myself in a production setting. I did extensive research to really figure out how dogs move. After sorting through tons of reference footage I found a clip that I wanted to attempt. I was then told to cover half the dog with my hand and study the two ends separately. I decided to draw separate thumbnails for both ends of the dog before looking at how the two sections of the body worked together. It was a lot of work, but paid off hands down in the end. By the time I was done sketching I had a much better grasp of the mechanics and knew exactly what I wanted going into the computer.
It's so less intimidating when you know what you want and how you're going to get there. Don't underestimate or skimp on planning.. even if nobody else can make sense of your sketches, it doesn't matter. Taking that extra time in the beginning and having a clear idea in your head will save you massive amounts of time in the long run!

I'll post all of the shots in the near future! I'm actually even more excited about the other 2!!! It feels like a light has just turned on and I've had one "aha" moment after another lately. I'll try to share more about those "aha" concepts... but they have mostly been:
- Rediscovering the importance of planning
- Experimentation with different workflows (I really found one that clicked)
- and the last one is hard to describe.. The best way to say it is animating force versus form. Where you animate based on feeling? Feeling out the poses, feeling out the character? As I said.. not quite sure how to describe it?
Okie dokie, that's all for now. :)

*I uploaded the thumbnail sketches for educational purposes only. They are watermarked just in case. I put a lot of work into these and plan to use the shot on my reel. Please do not copy or reproduce. Thanks!*

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Staying up in the downs

I want to take a moment and talk about something often avoided/overlooked/not talked about. Something I feel that is important to discuss and hopefully helpful to others.

How to stay up in the downs:
Too many times we push this conversation to the side. It's not easy to admit you're feeling down, and who likes to hang around negative energy? No one.
I think that, however, is EXACTLY why it's beneficial to talk about it here. If you can acknowledge those feelings and deal with them properly, it's much easier to convert it back into that positive energy we all know and love!

The job hunt can be a roller coaster of ups and downs, waiting, and what-ifs? The animation industry is hard to break into!
Whether you're just coming out of school and looking for the first job, or in a down time between gigs.. it's important to keep your chin up, as hard as it may be. Days can stretch into weeks and weeks into months. It's important to have a plan, find balance, and learn how to manage your time. Setting goals and holding yourself accountable is essential, but at the same time don't be too hard and beat yourself up. (the last bit is something I'm working on).

Rejection letters happen-
"But I believe brick walls are there for a reason. They're not there to keep us out. They are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something." -Randy Pausch

Don't worry and don't let it discourage you. Use that fuel to power yourself forward. Whatever you do, don't stop animating! Keep working on new material and keep learning. Perseverance, determination, and motivation are key. Getting feedback during this time is more important than ever. Whether that means signing up to take more classes or teaming up with friends, stay connected and involved. Find a way to keep moving forward!

Stay happy, stay healthy.
Remember taking care of yourself includes both physical and mental aspects. If you're feeling similar emotions related to burnout- take some time out and relax. Revisit the wonderment that drew you to the magic in the first place. Exploring other creative outlets can help too. Playing fiddle, mandolin, drawing (or teaching the 1st graders how to draw) help keep me inspired! Sitting down with a good book, watching my favorite movies, and of course hanging out with my family are also great for the soul!
Main point: Set time aside to take care of yourself.
Including, physical health! For me this is running and going to the lake. I love to run and I feel so much better afterward. Get up and go outside, take a breath of fresh air and enjoy life!

Remember a good animator is always in need. You'll get there. We're all in this together. Follow your dream and never ever ever give up! It's just a matter of time. :)
"Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen." - Conan O'Brien

"Why do we fall? So that we might learn to pick ourselves back up"

Anyways, I cannot rightfully take credit for this advice. I just wanted to pass it along and pay it forward. I hope it was as helpful to you as it was to me. :)

(new shots are coming soon from my new AM refresher class with Wayne Gilbert! I'm very excited to share them along with some of my thumbnails. Stay tuned!)
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