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Hey guys.

Sorry for the lack of updates.  Jobs have been swallowing most of my time.

I'd really like to keep posting in here and continue this.

Would you all want to stay on LiveJournal?  Do you still use Livejournal?  Is this blog of any use?  I'd like to know your thoughts :) 
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/4/save-the-michigan-film-incentive/

This is CERTAINLY relevant to any of you animators in Michigan. ANYONE can sign it, you don't have to be in Michigan.

I can tell you that the only reason I've had an animation job in Michigan is because of this incentive. Many studios in Michigan are competing with India for work. We have to bid as low as possible to get jobs and this huge tax cut for animation, film, and video games created here is one of the only ways we are able to bid so low. We are even able to animate shows for the UK because we can do the work for cheap enough! I know so many people who will lose their jobs and so many future people graduating that won't be able to get a job here if this incentive falls through so PLEASE HELP US OUT! The economy is already horrendous in Michigan and we can't suffer another huge blow :(

How do I get a Job? (upcoming!)

With the economy being so difficult and the world going global, finding a job feels like grabbing onto a moving train to nowhere! I've been going through an interesting process and I'll document it here in a bit. Much like I did Idea to Finish. If you guys have questions or thoughts, throw em up, I'll go in address them too ;)

2D Animation

Hi! I am student aspiring to be an animator. Here's a 2D Animation I did for one of my class. The project was to create a nameplate for ourself and this is what i came up with. I am hoping to get some critiques to improve this animation and make it better. Thanks!

How was my follow through and overlapping action??
Does my squash and stretch show believable weight?
How was my timing??

Witch Animation 

Tags:

Idea to Finish Part 5.2 - Animation Notes

As always. There were a lot. Have fun reading!  A new update will be up tomorrow.  SO much has changed.  For good reason!
Just for reference.  These notes come from a lot of colleagues in the industry.  I don't want to name them in the sense that, these people's voices are randomly being reposted.  So I rather keep it anonymous for now (unless they ask otherwise.)  I will say they all work in the industry as professional animators and have worked on some movies and games you've seen or played.  So they do know what they're talking about.  Also, I think it gives you guys an insight into what really people critique and look for.  Again it's skewed towards character animation, so do bare that in mind ;)

Shot 1:
  • The doggie run needs some work. A good way of dealing with runs Ive found is to hide the legs and just work on the spine, and really get it working. Get the nice accordion feel that dogs get when they run, then worry about the legs. It can prove challenging sometimes but I think the result is great whe using this layered approach for action sequences. (Im still getting used to it).
  • When the dog enters around f220, his head feels linear too. Adding a little of a tilt in the breakdown will help it out a lot. It's all in the breakdowns! You could have him slowly slide into frame for comedic effect, or a wild intro and a stop for a more ferocious puppy. Right now its a little vanilla, and the doggie doesnt seem too intense to be chasing his prey.
Shot 1a:
  • This is a nice take. Now you can go in and do little offsets and sweeten it up! Make one brow lead the other, while being led by the eyelids, etc. Little toe splays and perhaps an ear flick will add nice detail.
  • Around f44 Id push his compression a bit more for his big jump. Right hnow its all in the head, which makes sense since its so big and is probably what gives him the most potential energy, but if the body could help out it would heighten the pose and strenght of his action.
  • Right now the entire body takes off at the same time, too. Leave a foot behind on the tree trunk to let the head lead, so it wont feel like he if being pulled by something, :)
Shot 1b:
  • I shouldve mentioned this in blocking..but itd be nice if the squirrel's face could be in 3/4 every now and then. This is just personal preference and not a big note. ;]
  • On the dog, you have him squint around f30, anhd then go wide eyed around f46. I would reverse it, so he goes WHOA!... uh oh..he is mad....
  • The blink around 72 feels concious. By this I mean, it feels like the dog blinks on purpose. This is because of its speed. An involuntary blink should take around..4 frames, and it will give him an air of being nervous. The more he blinks, the more nervous he would be.
Shot 2
  • LOVE this. :D eyedart closeups are fun! You can have lotsa fun with some subtle hand anim too. KG!
  • On the closeup of the dog's eyes, she would like to see more confusion
  • The main thing she wanted to see pushed was his concerned look on the shot where you see the change in his thought process
Shot 3
  • At the beginning, the squirrel's hind leg feels a little swimmy, like its slipping over the dog's nose. This is a really nice shot, too. Near the end the dog nose is bouncing and it looks a bit off since nothing else is moving.
  • As an overall note, the lip sync feels a big soft on the jaw up down. I like to turn off all the other blends so I can just focus on the jaw flapping like a puppet, and really nail the rhythm of the dialogue. This really goes a long way and saves you some time up ahead. The next step is to nail the rhythm of the wides and narrows on the lip corners..and I tend to get away with just that rather than do really precise shapes. For me the rhythm and feeling of dialogue matters more than how nice an O shape looks (of course, having nice shapes is a plus, but its not what sells the talking).
Overall:
  • As an overall note, the lip sync feels a big soft on the jaw up down. I like to turn off all the other blends so I can just focus on the jaw flapping like a puppet, and really nail the rhythm of the dialogue. This really goes a long way and saves you some time up ahead. The next step is to nail the rhythm of the wides and narrows on the lip corners..and I tend to get away with just that rather than do really precise shapes. For me the rhythm and feeling of dialogue matters more than how nice an O shape looks (of course, having nice shapes is a plus, but its not what sells the talking).

commonly asked interview questions

I have a very important job interview coming up for an entry level position in Motion Graphics. I'm trying to make a list of some fairly common interview questions so I can practice answering them without stuttering and sounding ridiculous.

I haven't really had an interview for animation jobs/internships in the past so I'm wondering if there are any questions more specific to animation/motion graphics that I should be prepared to answer.

If you could tell me any questions you can remember being asked for an entry level position in animation, or questions from any sort of job that stumped you in an interview it would help me out a lot!

Thanks!

AnimationMaui

I just had to share this. It's one of the characters from the short film we're presenting at SIGGRAPH. He is a squirrel. Who loves Pizza. YEAH!
Having done the dreaded all nighter many times, I figured this would be a good moment to talk about how to deal with them.  They're incredibly difficult, but here are some tips I learned along the way.  Also I covered this earlier for some more in-depth ideas.  It's sort of neat to see the comparison of what I thought and did then versus practice now.
  • TAKE BREAKS.  I've been clocking myself pretty regularly and checking my time spent.  In the 12 hours I was awake one day, 10 were spent actually animating and the other two on food + breaks.  My favorite rule comes from GTD and all that madness: 50+5+5.  50 minutes of work, 5 minutes of distraction (get out of your chair!) and 5 minutes of review.  See what you've done, what you can do better.  It helps.
  • With that, time management.  I don't surf the web.  Or iChat, or any of that while working.  I will have Skype on with some colleagues to run ideas by them (since I'm working from home) but aside from that, just focus.  My girlfriend, studying to be a vet, watched her time spent on the phone talking with friends, going to eat out, and other distractions in the week and found how much time she was really losing.  It's not a waste.  You SHOULD take breaks.  But in the 14-16 hour days she is awake, she would sometimes average less than half of that per week studying.  Thus really at a disadvantage (long days + not enough sleep + not enough getting done = madness)  During testing week, that all goes away
  • Drink water.  A lot.  I like it because it forces me to getup to refill, it keeps me hydrated, and for the most part I don't suffer headaches because of it.  Plus, who can deny the awesomeness of water time?  Personally I've experimented with coffees, teas, energy drinks.  I can't afford the crash the next day.  I need to grab 4-5 hours and wake up again and hit the work hard without feeling any sort of crash.  So I opt for just water.  Tea does work well too.
  • I'm not a health expert, but I know stretching, getting some good nutrition, things like that keep me going.  I've known guys who will sit for hours on end and not get up, but for me, I get an itching feeling 45 minutes into sitting, I need to stand up and stretch.  I mix that with bananas or granola bars and you're set!  At work we used to have a stash of this stuff. BE PREPARED!
  • No heavy foods.  They take too long to digest and make you lethargic
  • Know your circadian rhythm.  Everyone wants a nap at 2 pm.  Take it.  I do.  Naps help me power through the rest of the day and night.
  • MUSIC keeps the flow going if you're doing it alone.  People are better, you can bounce ideas off each other, get loony at 4 in the morning,, but for the most part, keeping something in the background sort of helps your brain anchor itself rather than drifting into thoughts.
Hopefully these help.  With that, I must say adieu and back to work!

Idea to Finish Part 5 - Refining Pass 2