Apr07
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: AnimationInspiration

This tutorial is brought to you by How to Cheat in Flash CC. AVAILABLE NOW!

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DESIGN IS ONE THING, TECHNIQUE IS another. Everyone has their own way of working in Flash, and there are many ways to go about designing in Flash. For this character I chose a technique that a friend and talented illustrator showed me. It involves using the Pencil tool with Object Drawing mode and the Union feature to combine multiple Object Drawings into a single object. I love her technique so much I’ve started to incorporate it more into my daily workflow. Thanks to Katie Osowiecki-Zolnik for this cool Flash drawing technique. Check out her work at http://katieo.kuiki.net.

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Mar31
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: 3D AnimationInspiration

By Richard Tilbury

Software Used: Photoshop

In this tutorial we will be painting a human eye. The first thing to do is to gather as many reference pictures as you can – including a mirror! You will notice that all eyes are unique in both color and shape, and that the skin will vary in every image. Lighting also plays a key role in determining how reflective the lens looks, as well as the skin itself. (more…)

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Mar24
2014

By: admin                Categories: AnimationBooksGeneralInspiration

The first Beauty and the Beast treatments were very serious. Well, it’s a serious original story. There is nothing funny about a beast. I always compared it to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs where you have the serious part with the witch and the dwarfs for comic relief. In Beauty and the Beast, we wanted to do it in a similar way, with the enchanted objects in the castle. But when I heard for the first time that the plan was to change it into a musical, I was shocked. It’s difficult for Europeans to understand how these ideas come up in the New World. We are very serious and would never even think about such an insult. I made jokes about a singing beast.


However, I was wrong. It worked. In addition, I must admit, I even like the music – which I cannot say about the look and some of the animation!

And, it started a new era in animation, with the following musicals: Aladdin, The Lion King, The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Pocahontas and Hercules. Even in Mulan there is a lot of singing. And Beauty and the Beast was the beginning of the Golden Nineties in animation. I am happy I had a chance to be part of it.

In 1989, Disney started another London “adventure.” Probably after the good experience with the European artists in London who worked on Roger Rabbit, Disney chose Dick and Jill Purdum as the directors for a new adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. Dick and Jill had an animation commercial studio in the West End. Their own work commitments did not allow them to leave London immediately to work on the project in Los Angeles, so they all decided to move some of the Disney artists for a few months to London to work on a story-reel of the project. There was Don Hahn, the producer; Andreas Deja and Glen Keane from animation; Tom Sito from story; Jean Gilmore from visual development; Derek Gogol from London, production design; Michael Dudoc du Witt, from storyboard; and me for storyboard and design.

We all worked in the Purdum studio during early fall of 1989. I will always keep these weeks in my memory as one of the best work experiences, to be in such a creative environment with all these high caliber artists and especially with Dick and Jill as the “parents” of the project, and Don Hahn with his unmatched humor.

We were all so committed that we worked 14 to 16 hours a day. At that time I remember that I did not see anything of London. We just worked like crazy. And we finished a story reel in color in a very short time, about 50 minutes long. The First Act: It was not a typical Disney movie, more a European version. But we all believed in it.

Well, they didn’t in LA, and since they felt so bad to throw all our work in the trash, they decided to send us to the Loire area in France, where Beauty and the Beast could have happened in one of these beautiful castles. Our trip lasted 4 days, maybe 20 castles, and lots of driving, even more historic stories from “historian” Tom Sito, and so much fun. We were a family. That never happened again in my whole career. I felt so much at home. All the others did as well. We had good French food and even better wine. Of course nobody understood that some Germans liked sweetbread, horse steak and Bambi filet. From then on, they looked at me as the barbarian.

That reference trip could have created an incredible looking movie. We shot thousands of pictures, video, and did tons of sketches. Unfortunately, later in the movie it was decided not to use any of the reference and to do just another generic looking Disney movie. Anyway, the good memories stay!

As you might notice, the very first designs I did for Beauty and the Beast very much shows the European influence. I wanted the village to look like a real medieval village. I always admired the architecture and look of the German silent movies Der Golem and Faust and some of the Siegfried forest scenes in Die Nibelungen. My approach was a bit influenced as well by movies that had just been released at the time: Amadeus and Dangerous Liaisons. And of course I used the painters of that time, Fragonard and Watteau, for inspiration.

Excerpt from Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation by Hans Bacher © 2007 Taylor & Francis Group. All Rights Reserved.

About the Book

A truly unique visual delight offering insight into the development of animation classics like Bambi, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Lilo and Stitch as well as a tantalizing examination of unfinished Disney projects.

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Mar03
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: AnimationGeneralInspirationInterviews

Last night at the star-studded 86th annual Academy Awards, Hollywood paid tribute to the incredible work in animation and VFX this year.

Frozen, directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

“Let it Go,” written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, won Best Original Song. This win gave Robert Lopez the rare EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony), in which he is only the 12th person to ever achieve such a feat. Though, with Idina Menzel’s wickedly (pun intended) good performance, none of us were surprised that this song captured the Academy’s heart… and likely a few downloads on their iTunes account.

The French short, Mr. Hublot, by Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares, took the award for Best Animated Short.
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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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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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Dec30
2013

By: Elyse                Categories: BooksGeneralInspiration

Here is a sheet of figures drawn by Glenn Vilppu, life drawing instructor and layout man. This is an excellent simplistic approach to sketching the fi gure for animation purposes. I suggest you study them and for the purpose of the action analysis class tonight (and next week) try to emulate them. The model will be clothed but I am suggesting that you think of the structure and attitude of the body rather than the clothing. After capturing the pose begin to consider what affect that pose has on the costume. The idea is that you don’t animate clothing running around doing its thing — you animate a character which is a body that just happens to have some clothes on it.

If you want to experiment and use a cartoon character in place of the human fi gure that is fi ne. In any event try to caricaturize the pose, which means to go a little farther with the pose than the model has done (or even could do — not being a cartoon character). (more…)

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Dec09
2013

By: Elyse                Categories: AnimationInspiration

Final 3D Landscape

CREATING THE SNOW AND MATERIALS

The snow material is a simple white standard material. I did some tests using an Arch and Design material with sub-surface scattering, but it increased render time without really improving the look of the snow. In the end I did use A&D materials, but only for objects with opacity maps, as A&D’s Cutout works better with Mental Ray than Opacity in the standard material.

I think with this type of lighting (sunset with a low and relatively dim light), the modelling is more important than the shader to make it look believable. Also, using a simple shader was much easier to manage than a complex one. Indeed, as almost all of the objects had at least one snow material on them but with different maps, they had to look exactly the same.

I was not quite satisfied with the snow covering the pine trees in the foreground. There was clearly a lack of details compared to the scale of the trees. I tried to completely remodel the snow using a new selection of leaves and some tweaking in the Blobmesh parameters but that didn’t work out too well. So after testing a couple of possible solutions the best way I found was to use a Landscape shader in the Opacity slot, so when rendering we see only the upper part of the mesh.

Another trick to simulate a snow layer on the trees was to bake a set of lights placed on top of each source tree using Render To Texture. The resulting black and white maps were used as masks in the leaf materials. These maps could have been used for snow displacement, but I did some tests and it took a bit too long to render.
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Nov25
2013

By: admin                Categories: AnimationInspirationInterviews

Your time with big “name” actors is minimal and you must be overly prepared for recording sessions. For a main character in a film the studio will usually only have 5–8 recording sessions agreed upon in the voice actor’s contract to be used over the term of the movie. Each recording session takes forever to schedule with the actor’s agent and by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG – the actor’s union) rules, a session can only go for a maximum of four hours with any one actor. The studio is paying a lot of money for that actor to come in and probably pulled a lot of strings to make it happen. The studio heads and executives will be anxious that everything goes well so they may request to be in the recording room with you. Their stress slides down to the producer and then her stress to the director to make sure that session runs efficiently. The concern is not only that the actor is happy but most importantly, if you do not get all of your script material recorded in that session, it may be months before you get that actor back again.

The great Patrick Warburton (Kronk) pondering the readiness of his spinach puffs for Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove.

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