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