Oct22
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: AnimationBooks

The human eye is drawn to the area of greatest contrast just as it is naturally drawn to the optical center of the frame. The most dramatic contrast is between black and white as shown in Figure 10-13, but this principle applies even if your tonal values are relatively close, as Figure 10-14 demonstrates. No matter how close the values, the characters will stand out from the backgrounds.

Figure 10-13 - 10-14

[Fig. 10-13, Fig. 10-14] A screaming gal in a monster movie and a screaming gull in a beach picture. The eye immediately goes to the areas of greatest tonal contrast even when the values are close, as shown in Figure 10-14.

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Oct20
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: AnimationBooks

This licensing agreement might be used for background design artwork for a splash page or a comic book cover. With some modifications it could also be used to license a short story.

Artwork License Agreement -

This Agreement dated __________, 20__ (the “Effective Date”) is made by and between Beard-O-Brush, an artist, residing at ________________ (hereinafter, “Licensor” *1), and Carlo Creator, a comic book creator, residing at ________________ (hereinafter, “Licensee” *2). Licensor and Licensee may each be referred to herein individually as a “Party” and collectively as the “Parties.”

WITNESSETH: *3

WHEREAS, Licensor is the owner of the Artwork (as defined below);

WHEREAS, Licensee is the creator of the Comic Book (as defined below);

WHEREAS, Licensee wishes to acquire the rights to use the Artwork on the cover of the Comic Book, and in any reprint of the Comic Book, as hereafter defined; and

WHEREAS, Licensor is willing to grant to Licensee, and Licensee wishes to accept, a limited license to the Artwork on the terms and conditions set forth in this Agreement.

NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the premises, and of the mutual undertakings herein contained, the parties, intending to be legally bound, agree as follows:

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Oct13
2014

By: Walt Stanchfield                Categories: Animation

This is an excerpt from Drawn To Life by the late Walt Stanchfield, edited by Don Hahn.

On the Channel 5 morning newscast, weatherman Mark Cristi related an amusing story, but couldn’t remember the name of the person he was quoting. Barbara Beck, anchor woman, said, “Mark never lets the facts get in the way of a good story. ” It was a good story and whether the person quoted was Rodney Dangerfield or Prince Charles, it wouldn’t have added or taken away from the comical twist. (The story was about some older man who had gotten his much younger wife pregnant so she would have a playmate.)

Here is a paraphrase of that line: “ … don’t let the facts get in the way of a good drawing. ” All the facts in the world are only “grist” waiting for a good story. Or to look at it from another angle, “A good story just needs enough facts to give it a vehicle for expression. ” In other words, when you draw, draw the story (or the gesture) and allow just enough facts to creep in to give your pen something to do. It’s something like the guy who was photographing with no film in his camera. He didn’t need factual proof that he was taking beautiful pictures — he could see what he was getting in his view finder.

Many years ago Stan Green stepped into Milt Kahi’s room and said: “Such-and-such-a-scene has come back from camera — it’s on the Moviola, do you want to see it? ” Milt said, “Hell, no. I animated it. I know what it looks like. ” Well … it may be a long time before some of us will be that confident (or that conceited), but you might take a hint from one of the “masters”; that is, know what your drawing looks like before you start detracting from the story with too many facts. You know what a lot of floundering and superfluous words can do to a joke’s punch line.

Ruth Rendell, British detective story writer, said she doesn’t research the mechanics of policedom for her stories, “I find if you do it consciously (rely on facts) it doesn’t work. ” Well, in drawing you do have to be conscious of the gesture and the story. Most other conscious effort should be done in an anatomy class or curled up with a good anatomy book, remembering always that what a muscle does (verb) is more important than its construction (noun).

Keep your drawings vital, zestful, and entertaining by drawing verbs not nouns. A list of verbs should be enough to convince you of their importance: twist, bend, stretch, run, jump; look, stare, be surprised, be mad, be coy; sit, lay, lean — the list goes on and on and encompasses all the activities that a story might require. Nouns are facts: a belt buckle, a shirt, a hairdo, eyes, or a mouth. Writer Josephine Tey recognized the principle of facts versus content (story). In her book The Daughters of Time, she has one of her characters comment on a portrait of Richard III, “Whatever it is, it is a face, isn’t it! Not just a collection of organs for seeing, breathing, and eating with ….”

A couple of weeks ago Tom Sito, one of our favorite people and certainly one of our best models, posed for the evening classes. As a civil war officer, he amused us with lines like (through clenched teeth that held a cigar), “Forget it General. I’m not going up that hill — it’s too dangerous. ” Anyway, Tina Price, who has renewed her interest in drawing and possibly animation, did some nice drawing those evenings. She has been attending the gesture classes for quite a time now, and has, in my mind, recently made a quantum leap in her drawing ability. She has been concentrating on the story behind the pose, and as you can see by these reproductions of her recent work — she is right on track.

Allow me to present a couple of critiques, which were designed to open up some revealing vistas of creative prowess. One student began his drawing with something that obviously fascinated him — the box that the model was holding out in front of her body. I suggested that perhaps if he drew the body attitude first, he would then be free to manipulate the arms and box to the greatest possible advantage (staging). Stare at my suggestion of a figure and let your imagination play with various possibilities for the arms and box. You can extend them, hold them close to the body, tip the box to show the audience what’s in it or hold it up high as an offering to some deity. On the other hand, look at student’s drawing and try to do the same with the body. The choices for variations are few.

Here is another one where the model was about to pick up the box. In the student’s drawing, the twinning of the arms is rather static and leads nowhere. In my suggestion sketch, I angled the arms and hands in a way that suggests a movement toward the box. All the elements are arranged to concentrate your attention on the action, which is — preparing to pick up the box.

Here is Tom Sito as a Russian — with one of those black cossack hats on and a sword close at hand, looking for the enemy — but according to James Fuji, finding something much more welcome than some opposing military force.

This is an excerpt from Drawn To Life. Drawn to Life Volume 2 can be purchased at Amazon.comBN.com, and wherever fine books can be found.

Walt Stanchfield

(1919–2000) was an American animator, writer and teacher. Stanchfield is known for work on a series of classic animated feature films at Walt Disney Studios and his mentoring of Disney animators.

Don Hahn

Don Hahm produced the classic Beauty and the Beast, the first animated film nominated for a Best Picture Oscar from the Motion Picture Academy of the Arts and Sciences.  Hahn’s next film, The Lion King, broke box-office records to become the top-grossing traditionally animated film in Disney history.

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Oct08
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: AnimationBooks

Cutting: What Part of the Action Do You Show?

- If you only show the anticipation of an action, the audience will wonder if the action happened or whether it will happen in the future.

- If you show just the aftermath of an action, you imply that the event already happened before we arrived to see it.

- If you show the lead up to the event then cut to after it, you imply that the event happened but while we were away from the scene.

- Whenever you don’t show the event but imply that it happened, the audience will create it in their own minds.

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Oct06
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: AnimationInspirationInterviews

By the time you’ve figured out your conflicts, reactions and tactics you probably have your events in some kind of order. This is where you want to see if it is creating the experience for your audience that you want. Sometimes you have all of the elements for a story but it still isn’t entertaining. Often this is because the story is laid out and the audience can see what is coming. It makes it boring. We already know how it will end.

What engages an audience and keeps it engaged is carefully laid out narrative questions. Narrative questions set up curiosity, intrigue or suspense in the mind of your audience. Some questions you will answer immediately—they are setups. For example in Defective Detective the first thing we see is an apartment building when a light in one window is on. Immediately your audience is wondering—who’s in the apartment? And then we can show them. Other times, when answers to the questions are given too quickly the audience loses interest. So the key to good storytelling is to make the audience wait. But it is also important to determine what it is waiting for. (more…)

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Oct01
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: AnimationBooks

1. Sometimes the best way to really sell a character is to present them in a well-polished image that puts them into some kind of context. This could relate to their function, job, or place within the world that they inhabit. It also provides the character designer with a good reason to stretch their artistic legs a little and produce a stunning piece of design that also serves as an eye-popping piece of artwork. This image by Paul Green is a superb example of this.

2. Paul began by coming up with a design for his central character. His first pencil sketches were very quick and loose as he explored shapes and proportions for the character. These provided the basis for producing a couple of full-body studies, which he finished with clean inked line-work. Although each one was built from the same base template, they were quite different to one another while sharing certain similarities, such as the cloak, goggles, staff, and flowing belts or straps. This version of the character featured a stylized physique with very broad shoulders and elongated limb proportions (stylistic decisions discussed in the “Breaking Anatomy” chapter, pages 102–107). These features created a dynamic, heroic feel for the character.

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Sep29
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: AnimationBooks

And when all is said and done, making money through self-publishing (especially with a printed title) can be difficult. To see why, let’s follow the money as it goes from the comic book storeowner’s wallet to yours.

1. Purchaser buys the book for $4.00

2. Retailer keeps approximately 40–50% of the cover price = ($2.00)

3. The distributor, who has sold the book to the retailer on a nonreturnable basis, might have bought it from you at 60–70% off of the cover price. a. So, if the cover price is $4.00, and the distributor purchased it from you at 70% off the cover price, you will get $1.20 per book.

4. Keep in mind however, that out of that $1.20 per book (if you’re lucky) you have to pay printing costs, as well as any other production costs (which can be quite considerable). In fact, these costs can actually exceed the revenue from the sales of your book. In other words, you might be losing money!

As you can see, for a smaller “floppy comic” (single issue, 22-page soft cover comic), the profit margins are often too small to make economic sense. Many artists only self-publish longer books and selling them for $15–$25 per book.

Have I scared you off yet? No? Great—let’s learn about printers!

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Sep24
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: AnimationBooks

I will refer to some shapes as “foundation” shapes since they form the basis for complex designs in the art of many cultures. The four foundation shapes are circles and ovals (which are easiest to draw and distort), squares, triangles, and cylinders. (These shapes translate into ‘primitives’ in CGI programs.) The graphic animated symbol and the more rounded, dimensional character will both be created from the interplay of these foundation shapes. A graphically styled film may use the shapes with little modification, as shown in Figure 6-13. A dimensional character’s design will seem more complex but will still use graphic foundation shapes for its basic construction.

Figure 6.13

[Fig. 6-13] A simple character may consist only of foundation shapes. EM! ® from We All Die Alone by Mark Newgarden. Reproduced by permission of Mark Newgarden.

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Sep22
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: AnimationBooksGeneral

TO MODEL ANY CHARACTER, you’ll use the same general process in 3ds Max. As with sculpting, you’ll start with a simple object like a box or cylinder, and mold and shape the character using a variety of tools.

This is a basic overview of the process; the tools themselves are described in more detail in subsequent topics.

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Sep17
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: 3D AnimationAnimation

When you clone a layer, any changes you make to the clone will also alter the original, and vice versa. One example where the technique may be useful is for creating a character shadow on a wall. The character can be cloned and the clone used as a Shadow matte. Any changes you make to the character will also be made to the shadow.

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