Monday, November 12, 2007

Tutoring w/ Stephen Gregory week 2

So leading up to this weeks session was a little nightmarish for me because my computer was, and is even now, infected with trojan viruses that make it impossible for me to work on anything or even check e-mail without having to close out 20 popups and one time coming up every two minutes. It was so bad that I couldnt get on to correspond w/ Stephen. So we did tonights session over the phone, which was actually really cool, what w/ no hiccups and all.

Frankly, I was a bit embarrased of my submission to Stephen this week, as I didnt have a lot of time to work on it, and when I did get the time, I was combating viruses and such, which sucks because I hate making excuses for not getting stuff done, or done well. I started out wanting to do something like this:
Where smitten guy in class is checking out girl, gets caught, and sheepishly feigns looking elsewhere, Stephen thought the idea a little bit generic, but to go for it anway. Here are some things he wanted me to do and think about before jumping in:

Start off by thumbnailing or writing down acting ideas you want to hit. Emotions poses etc. then take that with you in front of the camera and try acting out those ideas. Eventually it will all start to flow naturally and by the 10th or 20th take in front of the camera you might have some interesting stuff happening you can use for your test. This idea is typical of student work and the only thing that will separate it from the typical, is if you just don't animate your first idea. You'll need spend enough time working it out in front of a mirror or camera to break away from the typical. The other thing is don't try and copy the acting of this moment from "Superbad". People always pick up on acting that is taken from other movies.

Oh yeah that DID happen in Superbad! Maybe thats where I got it from. And 10-20 times ?! Yeah. He mentioned that on the first couple of takes, he's thinkin too much about hitting beats, dialogue, etc. And you can see that in the takes. But by the 20th take , its starts to feel a little more natural and begins to flow a little better, and you're not consciously thinking about it so much. And that those first couple of takes are kind of like rehearsals.
And I wasnt comfortable w/ him thinking the idea was so typical, so I changed up the idea and went for this:

Eh. I thought it was kinda funny when I was working on it. But when I came back to it after watchin the Hawks game I was like ,Oh, Thats pretty bad. Oh and also still pretty typical. And that timing there is ridiculous. But I had to send it off anway.

So above are Stephen's notes and feedback. The main issue for him was the length. The assignment was preferrably to be around 100-250. Mine clocked in at around 450 frames. So as seen in the video, he suggested trimmin the fat in the beginning, and getting it down to one pose that read panicked, confused, and frustrated, and then I like what he did w/ the end. Where he kind of flirts with the girl, she's repulsed, and he has an opening to check out her paper. Google Video cuts it off at the end but after she turns away, he takes one more quick peak down at here paper. It ends quicker and it made me laugh when I saw it.

I think we're gonna meet up again this week to go over more stuff in-depth, so hopefully issues w/ my comp are all worked out by then.

We also talked a little about workflows. He likes to work in copied pairs and I do too. Copied pairs is where you have your key poses, and work out your timing by copying your key poses over so that it gives a hold, transition, hold , transition, hold result. I did alot of stepped in AM but only because I just wanted people to see just the poses during first pass. But even at work its usually copied pairs. A lot of people I saw that were completely new to animation, one of the hardest things to do was to transition from stepped to spline. He mentioned that, yeah, a lot of 2D guys at Pixar felt more comfortable with stepped ( because its like the pose-to-pose tests in 2D). But as they got more comfortable w/ the computer, they were all about the splines.

Speaking of Pixar, I asked him what some of the things were that usually blow people away, sitting in dailies. It's usually the acting choices.. The choices that are made, how true they feel, and how well they fit in those moments. And to top that off, are just well executed, great animation. It reminded me of something I read James Baxter say, "My goal is to combine good performance with strong technique. It is only with strong technique that you can deliver the good performance with maximum impact."

So yeah for this weeks work, heres to less viruses!


Anonymous said...

hahaha. Both versions make me laugh. Strong blocking!

Alan Camilo said...

Hi Bobby. Thanks for the compliments, but your work is way better than mine! Wow! I'll certainly keep an eye on your work too.

Ivan Oviedo said...

I also adore your work, I adored the timing in your animations.

Dennis DeMercer said...

Thanks man!

Great blocking. I liked the first one, but the changes he suggested really helped. It looks like maybe having a little time in there at the end to let the fact that he's been caught sink in might be good, but obviously you'll want to listen to Stephen.

Great stuff!

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