Saturday, 2 July 2011

Kenny Roy Workflow Lecture - Part III

Hey Everybody!

This is the review of the third part of Kenny Roy's Workflow Lecture! You can get thw whole 3 part - lecture on

by subscribing to the website! I made it few days ago and I totally recommend it! You get great lectures, articles, rigs,
and you also have the chance to actually get the Maya files of the shot animated by Kenny!
This is absolutely great because you can see how a PROFESSIONAL scene should look like and this is just awesome! And you can actually
practice on Kenny's scene so that if you want to practice some Polish, you can start from the Blocking Plus stage that Kenny
animated! I never had the chance to do this before!

The last part of the lecture starts with Kenny telling you how important is for you to have GREAT fundamentals. You have to
practice a lot on fundamentals so that when you work on your shots you know how to deal with them.
This is why they stress you so much on FUNDAMENTALS in Animation Mentor!
If you've practiced a lot with let's say Overlaps, you're going to make your overlaps in no time when working! So practice fundamentals
everytime you have the the chance! Maybe sometimes try to practice on small details, don't always practice on complete shots.

After this, Kenny reviews all the steps that took him to final stage which is POLISH. Again, if you clearly know what you've done and you're
following the "path" (your workflow) you won't have any problem finishing the shot!

In Polish stage you have to start with a new mindset and here, more than ever, is very important to consider this because during
polishing you "LOCK" your scene. You start adding details, finessing and texture and so it's very very hard to go back and fix
issues of previous stages.
So be sure to have you blocking plus approved and also don't start polishing too early!!

USE WHAT YOU GOT: In this stage you see Kenny adding all the details, refining arcs and silhouette and it is great to see how he faces several problems. Sometimes you'll have to work with poor rigs but you have to take the best out of your rig to achieve the best
in term of posing. So use everything the rig gives you to make great poses!

PERFORMANCE TEXTURE: This is a great stage to see because he starts adding tiny details on the poses that enhance the whole performance!
He tells you how to add tiny NOISE to create natural and organic poses! And those are the little things that really make your character

FINESSING AND CONTACTS: this is what he calls "the last 5%". In this stage he works out all the contacts of the body and feet, he double
checks arcs and silhouettes and try to spot twinned poses. Twinning is one thing you should avoid in animation because it makes your character
look very mechanical. Sometimes a little delay or a tiny rotation can make a big difference so double check your poses and try to avoid twinned ones!

This is the end of the last part! I really enjoyed this lecture because I finally realized how important is for you to know your workflow
and how it can affect the final result of your animation. I learned that a good workflow lets you save tons of time and remember that on your
job you have to be FAST! Working without a method, making fixes on the fly, spotting mistakes here and there is DANGEROUS and TIME CONSUMING!

Once again I totally recommend it to you guys and I'd like to Thank Kenny Roy for doing this lecture! It's a great resource and a MUST-HAVE
for every animator! I just can't wait to watch other videos and learn as much as I can!

Hope this helped , happy animating to everyone!!!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Kenny Roy Workflow Lecture - Part II

Hi everybody,

This is the review of the second part of Kenny Roy's Workflow lecture!! You can get it by subscribing here at

And here you can see the trailer of the lecture!

The first part of the lecture ends with Kenny showing you the final blocking stage.Here you can see that the
storytelling, the action and timing are already clear and beautiful!
As Kenny says, at the end of your blocking you have to end up with something you can clearly show to the
director and that is easily editable. If you get your blocking approved you can go on with the BLOCKING
PLUS stage.

Before starting with the blocking plus stage Kenny makes a fast review of what he has done before and
what he's going to do next. As he points out, WORKFLOW is a powerful TOOL to improve your animation.

It's like a path to follow so that you're not
going to "guess" what to do next. If you know what you've done and you're sure about it, just go to the next
stage without any doubt left!

-BLOCKING PLUS: here you have to start with a new mindset. Here he shows you good habits to work "on path",
suchs as making a list of fixes. You don't have to scrub through the animation spotting the mistakes and fix
them on the fly.
Take your notpad , list down all the fixes and work on them. If you fix on the fly you're gonna loose your
fresh eye scrubbing on the timeline and this is bad because the more you watch your animation, the harder it
gets to spots mistakes and to improve your animation.

- COPIED PAIRS METHOD: here he shows you a quick method he usually teaches while mentoring for AM.
If there is a hold during the animation he keys the entire body, copy the key and paste it further on the time
line so that he's not going to lose the timing when passing to spline.

This is because when working in stepped mode you could have one key and the other one after lot of frames.
In stepped mode it still looks snappy but when you switch to spline it'll be floaty because Maya interpolates
the transition between the poses. Using copied pairs method, you're going to LOCK your timing!

Here you get several tips and tricks on how to make fast holds and breakdowns!

- FUNDAMENTALS: After putting the holds and the breakdowns in,he switches to spline curves and works on the
fundamentals. He works on small chuncks of animation looking for the right feeling of weight, checking the
arcs and creating nice and snappy overlaps.

-GREAT TIP: this is a great thing I've never seen before. It's quite simple but very important. You see Kenny
taking back his skectchpad and he compares the Thumbnails he sketched when planning the animation with the poses
he nailed down while blocking. By doing this he wants to be sure he didn't lose the freshness he had when drawing
loose thumbnails!

- ARCs AND WEIGHT CHECK: Here you see Kenny working out the arcs. In order to get nice arcs he tracks small body
parts like hands and feet. For big body parts he works only on the silhouette without tracking anything!
This is a nice tip to make nice and smooth arcs! It's great to see him working because you see how fast he manages
to create a great cartoony style with great sense of humor and great sense of weight and motion!

And here ends the second part! As Kenny remembers, JOURNAL your Workflow, you'll be amazed for how many new things
you discover! It 'll just blow your mind!

Hope this helps! Once again, I want to recommend this lecture because you'll see how dramatically your animations
will improve by using a proper workflow!

See you for the review of the last part!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Kenny Roy - Workflow Lecture Part I

Lately, more then ever,  I'm trying to improve my workflow  to push my animations further.
I was talking with a couple of friends currently attending AM and they told me how AM pushes you to use a strong workflow.

I then considered mine and discovered how weak it was so I decided to ask them where I could find some useful resource about Workflow.
They told me about Kenny Roy , an AM Mentor who just made a 3 part - workflow lecture and I decided to go for it.

Subscribing here you can have full access for all the material on the website, from lectures to Articles and much more!!
His workflow lectures are very popular among AM students (and I have to thank my friends for recommending it to me).

Just because I love Bios :D , Kenny Roy is a talented Animator and AM Mentor based in LA where he runs his own animation studio Arconyx Studio.
Before opening Arconyx Studio he worked at some of the biggest studio around like ILM, Weta Digital , Rhythm and Hues and Zoic studio.

I really loved the way Kenny shows you everything because he makes you understand how workflow affects the final result but at the same time there is a fair amount of Maya video capture where you actually see him working!!

I just watched the first part of the lecture on Workflow and here you find a brief review.

- INTRO: Here Kenny makes a brief overview of the whole lecture and shows his approach to make you understand the importance of using
a strong Workflow.

The first thing he says is "write down your workflow". By doing this he made me realize how weak and poor my workflow was related to what he was going
to show a bit later.

- WORKFLOW STRUCTURE: Here he shows his Workflow. He uses a PDF to show you what are the stages he goes through and he breaks down every stage.
The main cores of his worflow are Planning, Layout, Blocking, Blocking Plus and final Polish.

- STUDY THE CHARACTER: before starting to plan the scene with Thumbnails he studies the rig he's going to use to get comfortable with the
proportions of the character so that he won't have any problem when sketching the thumbnails.

- LAYOUT: in this stage he considers what is going to happen in the shot and what he wants to be seen.

- BLOCKING: this is pure eye pleasure. Here you see Kenny blocking out the shot incredibly fast with huge quality and a great sense of cartoon animation.
He blocks out in a straight-ahead fashion and nails down all the poses in a while...I wonder when I'll be able to work like that.
He points out how important is for you to learn to work fast, with good quality and in a "editable way". He wants you to understand that you, as animator,
have to make beautiful animations that NEED to be reviewed by the director and the supervisor in order to meet their vision of the shot.
If you make something that looks beautiful but it's not open to changes (which ALWAYS occur) you have to rework your shot from the beginning!

In this stage he also shows you several tricks to nail down a great and snappy timing in the blocking stage!

This is where part one ends!

I can't wait to watch the second part and post the review!!
Happy animating :D

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Jamaal Bradley "Shot Walkthrough " review

I just finished watching the new webinar "Shot Walkthrough" by Jamaal Bradley and I'm very happy about it.
I think the whole video is very useful because you actually see how Jamaal works, all his tricks , how he solves problem , how he faces all the different stages of the animation process and it is absolutely great.
He is so talented that everything looks so natural!

Maybe, just to make a personal critique, in the overall editing he could had spent more time on the planning and  less on actual Maya work. It's a great thing to see him working on the software but there are long pieces of video where you see the same thing done several times.
By the way, the product is totally worth and I suggest everyone to take it!

In this shot review I'm going to show briefly what the webinar is about.
In this 3 parts webinar he shows how to animate a full body acting shot from planning to polish and he talks about:

- SHOT LAUNCH : this is where you have to know how to approach your shot. Spend as much time as you can with the director and make intelligent question so that you have clear ideas about what you're going to animate.
You have to set yourself in the good path BEFORE starting or you're not going to meet the director's and supervisor's ideas and probably you'll have to rework the shot.

- ANALYZING THE DIALOGUE: Break the line (the dialogue) down and try to find the subtext. You have to bring the audience into your character's head in order to have believable performances.
Analize the pauses. So many times pauses are much more important than spoken words. Consider the pauses in a dialogue as the "thinking beat".
Pauses are great chances to show that the characters has a soul and he is actually thinking.

- THUMBNAILS: Draw loose thumbnails. You don't need to draw masterpieces. Try to catch the essence of each pose, the gesture.

- RFERENCES: Shoot as many reference as you can. Take the best from each take, don't look only at one.
By doing this you'll be able to build your performace with all the textures and the subtleties that will make your shot great.

- BLOCKING: In this stage you have to create the performance you're going to sell to the director so everything MUST be clear and there should be no doubts about what's happening.
Here you see Jamaal working all the contacts parts (hands, feet) and create a very detailed blocking (it's a pleasure for your eyes :D )

- BLOCKING TO SPLINE: He works on small chuncks of the animation in order to nor overwhelm his mind. He makes several passes on splining work where he adds texture to the performance, subtleties, smooth out all the movements.
In the final spline passes he adds more and more finessing details on fingers, head and check all the curves.

- DIALOGUE PASS: I loved this part because you can see how much time he spends on sculpting the mouth's shapes. It's incredible how he masters the shaping of every mouth pose, how he gives the sense of weight and skin shifts in the face!!

As I said, this is just a short review for everyone who wants to know what the webinar is all about. I repeat, in the webinar there are tons and tons of great tips and you're going to learn a lot with it.
I hope this was useful!!

Keep animating!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Jamaal Bradley - Planning to Polish

I just bought the brand new tutorial from Jason Ryan webinar store and I just can't wait to watch it!
The Tutorial is a 3 - hour tutorial on how to create a complete acting shot, from planning to polish.

The author is Jamaal Bradley, senior animator at dreamworks and iAnimate instructor.

I'll write a review as soon as I'll watch it!

Here you can find the link to buy it

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Gene Ditch: How to succeed in animation

Here you can find a very inspiring book by Gene Ditch ( an oscar- winning animation director)
who talks about the victories and failures during his animation career

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Follow-Thought / My Animation Notes: Tools for Weight in Animation (First Pass)

I Found this very structured and useful!
Thanks for sharing this Francis!

Follow-Thought / My Animation Notes: Tools for Weight in Animation (First Pass): "'Weight is one of those things [where] you need little pieces of all the various part of animation to give the illusion of weight” –Keith L..."

Free time doodles

Here are some doodles i made in the last days

First Post

First post.
I'm quite happy about the idea of creating this blog. I like to think of it like a sort of diary where I can record my thoughts about my passion , animation, and anything else.