Jan29
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: 3D AnimationGeneral

I finally put these opinions down as my rules for rigging. These will not be everyone’s rules, for character setup is a very opinionated sport. To complicate things, there are a hundred ways to do everything, which makes it so challenging to learn. For this book we’ll use these rules and refer to them often. I found that if I started with these as a baseline for the basic concepts it helped manage the learning process and maybe even helped curb some chaos. Later, as you get into advanced topics you can choose what rule you want to break or altogether ignore, and develop your own rules of rigging. For now, here they are…

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Jan27
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: AnimationGeneral

Tony Bancroft, director of Mulan and author of Directing for Animation, asked the top animation directors in the industry the same question…

“What is the most important tool in your director’s tool box?”

This is what he found out…

Dean DeBlois, co-writer and co-director (with Chris Sanders) of Disney’s Lilo and Stitch and DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon.

How to Train Your Dragon © 2010 DreamWorks animation LLC, used with permission of DreamWorks animation LLC

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Jan22
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: AnimationInspiration

Things to Look for in Walking Subjects

Everyone has a unique gait. Like your signature, a snowflake, or fingerprint, no two are identical. All of us are observant, the artist and the non-artist alike; we all pay attention to others. Have you ever spotted a friend from a distance, just by the way they walked?

Through observation the artist analyzes the nuances that make each person’s walk different, and with pen or pencil in hand puts that uniqueness on paper.

The key to this process is being observant. Listed below are some things to look for as you scrutinize your subject:

1. Observe how the foot is picked up as it affects the negative space between the legs.

2. Do the heels come up toward the calf of the opposite leg or go outward as the toes point in?

3. Does the heel come straight up and forward as in a military march? Answering these questions with pen on paper will capture the uniqueness of the individual being drawn.

Tip: Be on the lookout for those walking with objects in their hands (props). Malls at Christmas time and airport terminals are favorite “lookouts” of mine for this reason. Negative shapes and how props are balanced give believability to the sketch.

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Jan20
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: AnimationBooks

Every production is built on the backbone of the pipeline. While a functional and flexible pipeline can’t assure a successful project, a weak pipeline can guarantee its demise. A solid pipeline produces a superior product in less time and with happier artists who can remain creative throughout the grueling production schedule. So, how exactly do you do this? Renee Dunlop, author of Production Pipeline Fundamentals, brings you her top 5 tips(more…)

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Jan15
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: AnimationGeneral

Where Do You Begin? We need images that can clearly tell a story. Most beginners do not think in story terms when they draw. Common drawing problems do arise. For example, drawing a high-angle look into box viewpoints doesn’t invite your viewer to identify with the characters, but many beginning artists will choose this viewpoint. When I started drawing I did this too. Why do people draw this view looking down into the room? Do they wish they were a bird?

Don’t we normally see things like this second view? Why don’t most people draw like this?

It is easy to learn how to fix these types of problems. However, telling the story using pictures is the harder part of the job.

How do we learn to tell stories? We tell stories from life experiences. I went here and we did this, then we did that. We’ve been doing it all of our lives since we learned to speak. We tell many stories every day throughout our lives. Over time we’ve fine-tuned our storytelling so that we can make ourselves understood by others. The story form is how we organize our experiences.

Most of us, however, have not had the same amount of experience or need to tell visual stories in everyday life. Verbal communication is much more efficient and quicker. Although we don’t remember it, we did have to learn how to tell verbal stories. The skills involved in how to present a story visually also have to be learned. Daily life doesn’t teach this skill. Drawing itself is usually seen as a skill you’re either born with or not.

Movies are consciously designed to appear seamless. This makes it harder to analyze how they’re put together. We have also learned that you have to watch a movie at least twice before you can really analyze it, because on first viewing, people are “ lost ” in the story. It’s often easier to learn what not to do by watching bad movies because the flaws are visible. Where can you learn how to put together visual stories?

Why do we draw from this point of view? (more…)

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Jan13
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: 3D AnimationAnimationBooksGeneral

The Making of “ Renaissance”

By Marco Bauriedel

Software Used: Photoshop

The base image needed to be cleaned up first before anything else (Fig.01a). The second stage was to create an extension of the image, following the concept of leading onto a matte painting in which the National History Museum would be set in a natural environment, as if in existence sometime in the future. I started off by taking the base image of the National History Museum and painting/Clone Stamping the people out of it (Fig.01b). The Lasso tool was used to select parts of the image, which were then copied, rotated, flipped and scaled to fit into another location (Fig.01c). Making selections of a shape by guessing how it would continue in a covered/extended area, then Clone Stamping in some noise from a similar part of the image and color correcting it, is another nice way to work (Fig.01d). (more…)

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Jan08
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: GeneralInspiration

Do you run a user group, Meetup group, or professional association, specializing in animation or gaming? Or, are you a part of one? If you answered “Yes” to either of these questions, we want to hear from you!

At Focal Press, we love to support creative groups. So, we created a Creative Community program to do just that. This program connects us with the best and brightest user groups, Meetup groups, and professional associations across the world. (more…)

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Jan06
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: 3D AnimationAnimationGeneralInspiration

Po Andersson explains how to create a landscape with a central, waterbased feature and surrounding wildlife.

ORIGINAL DESIGN IDEAS

I was working on a series of scenes of wildlife some time ago and realised that I wanted to do some from Africa. I have always liked elephants so it was natural that I would create one that featured them. The important point was how to feature them. A typical scene would be in a herd but I decided I would go for a more fun image with them playing around a waterhole. This is one of a series I created around this concept. Unlike many artists, I don’t sketch out ideas, I just form them in my head and try to work them out in practice. I used a couple of reference photos of elephants playing at waterholes, just to get an idea of actions and the setting, but mostly the ideas were self-generated.

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Jan01
2014

By: Walt Stanchfield                Categories: AnimationGeneral

You may recall me mentioning a tendency to straighten everything up in a drawing. You know, the crooked-picture-on-the-wall phobia. This tendency goes beyond straightening things up horizontally and vertically, but also depth-wise. That would be like taking the lines in Plate 1a and straightening them up like Plate 1b, which you can see, destroys all illusion of depth.

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