Animation Mentor Alumni Blog
(Class 01, Week 02)
Q&A: Principles of Animation | Mentor: Anthony Wong (Pixar)
Hey everybody! I have just finished summiting my work for this week. I´m really excited to share with you all that stuff. In this post, I’m going to be talking about the Q&A, lecture and assignment for this week. We started on Sunday by receiving the key points for our assignment and a video with Carlos Baena explaining the principles of animation. I know that sounds too basic, but believe me, it is not. As Richard Williams says in his book Animation Survival Kit, there is nothing beyond the basics. Even the most impressive acting shots are just a sophisticated use of the basics. So, KISS is the lesson for this first term: Keep It Simple Stupid!
I. Week 02 Q&A
Principles of Animation
The Q&A of this week was amazing. We have discussed about drawing for animators and how to communicate our ideas effectively. It´s been a while I don´t draw, but this week I could understand how sketching rough drawings can help us to get better poses for our characters. Anthony has great drawing skills and his experience working for Disney Feature Animation can be notice just by looking at the poses he can create using only paper and pencil. For him, animation issues must be solved with good poses, not by putting more action in there. Like the old classic animators used to say: if you are not able to draw a good pose in a paper how could you get it right using a computer? So, time to draw.
II. Week 02 Assignment
Creating Real Life Poses
The purposes of the assignment were to communicate life by drawing 10 real life poses and picking one of them for posing in Maya. The goal of the assignment was not to create fancy drawings, but to show our understanding in applying the 12 principles of animation to our characters. The typical workflow in Animation Mentor is to summit our sketchbook as soon as possible to get feedback from other students. Once you upload it, then you classmates give you their thoughts about how to improve your sketches and witch one they like more for posing. Based in the critiques we must adjust some details and start posing our character. So, here is my first sketchbook:
The Stu Pose
For posing we had to use the Stu character rig provided by Animation Mentor. This character should not be used for animation, just for creating poses. One of the most important things to comment about Stu, is that he doesn’t have facial controls, what makes our assignment much more interesting. Making the audience to understand who the character is without any facial emotions is not an easy task. We must recognize his personality just by looking at his body gestures.
Other great feature for our purposes is the fact that Stu has one arm in FK mode (Forward Kinematics) and other one in IK (Inverse Kinematics). The rigs for production must have both systems implemented in each arm, which give more power to the animator. That way, the animator must choose between one system and another depending on each specific situation (FK is often used when animating arcs, IK is helpful in situations where the hands should be stacked to some point). The reason Stu doesn’t have an IK/FK Switch is to obligate us to work with both methods. There are some animators that only animate using IK, while others always do it using FK. That’s what they want us to avoid here in Animation Mentor. Combining both systems is crucial for speeding up our workflow. Here is my final pose:
III. Anthony´s eCritique
Feedback for Revision
Yeah, this week I got my first eCritique from Anthony, and I couldn’t expect anything better. We are talking about a level of detail really settle. Animation Mentor forms you to create feature animations for films, so they do not accept other quality of work different from that. I think I must be proud of my first assignment. Anthony said I have a good understanding of the principles and concepts of animation. The silhouette and the line of action of my poses were very clear to him, and he also said I had nice drawing skills for solving problems. One thing he told me is that some of my poses looked too staged. That means they were captured from tv, magazines, etc. In the end, he gave me some tips on how to improve my Stu pose. I hope you guys liked this post, and see you next week.