Friday, 24 February 2012

Disney Archives

Awww what I would give to have access to those archives!

Drawing Silhouetted Creatures in Photoshop - Tutorial

Blender Cookie on Facebook just posted this video and I had to share it! Such a wonderful style of drawing and I love the generator idea! I'm definitely going to have a go at it, about time I practice with my graphics tablet any way and the generator sounds like a wonderful challenge. Although will have to wait till I've finished practising my 3D tracking.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Match Moving aka Tracking

This week I have been scratching up on my skills in match moving aka tracking. This is because I haven't practised in a while and I like to keep up to date with software I've learned to use. I'm doing this with Matchmover, Maya Live and PFTrack. Even though being a Match Move Artist is tedious work and involves long and anti-social hours I would still enjoy doing it as a job, I think it is one where I could only get better at it and be very skilled in it due to my good eye-for-detail, patience and being a perfectionist.
When I have finished scratching up on my skills in it I will post some of my tracking work for you to see.

For those that don't know what a Match Move Artist does

Also known as Matchmovers or 3D Trackers, Match Move Artists translate and imitate the camera movements contained in live action shots and, using the appropriate software, match those movements in 3D.

As this involves working on previously shot live action footage, the role more often exists on special effects work, within facility houses or on projects that combine live action and computer graphics. This job can involve long and anti-social hours.

What is the job?
Match Move Artists position tracking points on live action shots and, using those tracking points, they work out the co-ordinates in the relevant 3D programme. The information they provide enables the CG geometry to fit accurately and convincingly into the live action plates when the various elements are composited.

It is vital that Match Move Artists use a high degree of accuracy; without accurate match moving, the later stages of production will not work. Depending on the production, it is likely that Match Move Artists will be working on Maya, Shake or one of several 3D tracking programmes including 3D Equalizer, Maya Live or Boujou.

They will need to train or re-train as software develops. It is worth noting that, although Match Moving is often an entry level role in the UK, in many American studios it can be regarded as a career.

Information above from

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Valensplines Day

He he :p

MPC's Cheetah Super Bowl Spot for Hyundai

It wasn't long ago that it was the Super Bowl. I only actually knew about it after when my American friends on Facebook were raving about it and when some amazing advert spots that were shown during it were appearing everywhere! For those wondering... in Britain the Super Bowl isn't at all big, hardly anyone watches. Could be because its on during the night here or because Football (yes Football not Soccer) is the game most loved here.

Any way, Cheetah is a collaborative effort between MPC, Innocean and Rattling Stick Director Daniel Kleinman and I must say, WOW! I know cats really well and this has to be one of the best example of a Cheetah I have ever seen. The run and leap are all accurately done and you can tell the animators researched the animal well.

MPC created the photoreal cheetah by photographing a real specimen on set and capturing high-dynamic-range pictures of the lighting conditions, then combining both of those elements in Furtility, the studio's in-house fur-and-hair tool. To test the efficacy of their project, the studio produced an image with three cheetahs and asked in-house artists and producers to identify the real one. On all but one case, they missed.
I wish I could see that image and see if I could tell, I have a sharp eye for detail and as my friends always point out; a canny ability to see something that doesn't belong. (For example, I'm quite often called out by my boyfriend to find a tiny nut or something that he's dropped on the gravel).

"Creature work is difficult at best, but creating an animal that really exists and is in the preceding shot is particularly demanding," noted MPC LA Managing Director Andrew Bell. "Our in-house experts had to do just that in Cheetah. Between Furtility and fur gurus such as Dominic Edwards, producing this spot was not only possible, but pleasurable."
I so want to do Creature Animation. This whole comment just adds to my reason why. It's a challenge. You have to create something that is believable and in this case already exists which I think just adds to the pleasure! You have to research the animal, study it and find its quirks and small movements that make it alive and then reproduce that but doing what you want it to do.

Monday, 13 February 2012

My plan

I am still waiting for my 3 months to be up so I can apply for the career loan again but in the mean time I have been saving and come up with a new plan. I was going to do Animation Mentor and then a course with to help me with becoming a Creature Animator but I have decided that I will do it the other way round. I have decided to do the 5 day course that should be on at the end of March. My theory is that in doing so it will teach me more about animating animals so in my spare time I can practice what I've been taught while waiting to start Animation Mentor. I think this way works better time wise as because I have to wait for the loan to go through it will mean I can't start Animation Mentor till the Summer Term, starting on the 25 June 2012 so why not in the mean time build up my animal animations and practise what I have learned :)

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Update to blog

As you've seen from my blog menu the is this page with my posts, then my sketchbook which also contains any sketch animations I make and then links and contact pages. But soon I will add a new page that will be for reference footage that I either find or make myself. The idea is that I will eventually have enough to study the movements of people and animals. It will come in handy when I get an assignment that includes any reference I have or if I fancy working on a specific animal or human action.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

A great book Creature Animators or Artists

As you all should know I dream of being a Creature Animator and recently I came across a book that is great for anyone looking for advice or tips on drawing, posing and animating animals. This book is The Art of Animal Drawing: Construction, Action, Analysis, Caricature by Ken Hultgen. It was originally published in 1951 and reminds me of the old Disney cartoon animals and the drawings that are in the example portfolio for applying to Disney. Next time I'm in Chester I'm planning on taking it with me and heading to the world famous Chester Zoo to use some of the stuff I've learned from it by drawing the animals there.

Below is a link to Amazon UK where you can buy it. It's cheap and well worth the money :) I will try and do a flick through video and post it on here too so you can get an idea what the books is like.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Awww love it!

I came across this the other day and had to share it. It made me smile so much.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Career Development Loan... denied... for now...

I heard back from the Career Development Loan and they said that they have denied me it so I called them and they said its because on the statements I sent I had once gone overdrawn by £2 and received a £25 bank charge but if I applied again once it is off my statements the would be no problem in receiving it but that means waiting another 2 & 1/2 months. I'm totally gutted about it and was angry at first because the thing that made me go overdrawn wasn't meant to go out that day and its such a small amount. After that I was depressed for quite a while, hence my silence on here recently. But I am going to do what they suggested as learning is important to me.

You may ask why tell you this but I figured that if anyone else is thinking of applying they can avoid the pain I've been through because you know you will fail if you any bank charges on your statement. I am also now applying for an account with Barclays so it will be quicker and easier to apply as they can tell you over the phone there and then if you are accepted or not.

I still want to be on the Winter term though so I asked Victoria for an extension for the payment date and I am allowed till December 16th. I'm selling what I can to fund the first term and hopefully I'll hear back from the AM loans adviser, Amiko to see if they have any other ideas as to how I can raise the funds for it.

Cool! Another Simon's Cat drawing video!

I am a fan of Simon's Cat on Facebook and it was announced that a new video had been added for drawing the new kitten character! Its just as good and interesting also. I'm amazed that he can draw them so quickly but I guess he has had a lot of practice. Proof that practice makes perfect.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

How to draw Simon's Cat!

Everyone who knows me knows that I love Simon's Cat from the style to the humour but last week Simon Tofield the creator and animator of it made the below video. It shows how he draws Simon's Cat and I found it fascinating to watch and how he always uses the same method of drawing him. Start with the eyes, then the nose and mouth.etc. Have a watch and you'll see what I mean :)

The is also a video of the Kitten Chaos Premiere which sadly I didn't win tickets to but I can imagine would of been an amazing experience but at least I got a glimpse of it from this video.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Principles of animating a Bouncing Ball - 4


The last step is to do the in-betweens. In-betweens are the drawings/frames between the key frames which help to create the illusion of motion.

When doing the in-betweens using traditional animation you need to remember to transform the ball from its round shape to move of an oval shape but using 3D such as Maya it will do the in-betweens for you but you will need to use the graph editor to make sure the ease-in and ease-outs work and that the ball is stretching along the arc and that the transitions work. Your ball bounce with in-betweens should look a bit like my drawing below on the right.

The best way to work out your animation is to PLAN! You will hear this over and over again but planning is very important. It may seem at the time like you know what you want and can skip it but trust me when it comes to it you will end up animating and reanimating until you end up doing the planning any way.

Below is the ball bounce that I made in Flash to show what the final thing should be like. Sorry that its poor quality. Something that happens in the uploading to blogspot I think.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Principles of animating a Bouncing Ball - 3

Squash and Stretch

Now onto something you hear a lot about in animation - Squash and Stretch. You also see it in the real world (a funny picture of this is shown on left). Actually the starting place of learning about it for all animators is with a bouncing ball. A basic explanation of it is that the ball is round at the top of an arc and as it travels it stretches as it speeds up and when it contacts the floor in squashes and as it bounces back up the next arc it stretches again and then back round and the cycle continues until the ball comes to a stop.

To start doing this use Key Poses; for our bounce it is going to be when the ball is a circle and when it squashes on the floor as you can see in my drawing on the left. This is all done to give the ball weight and is very important but you must make sure you keep the same volume area when squashed as it is round.

The speed the ball is going also depends on the amount of squash you have; in other words the faster it's travelling the more squashed and stretched it will be. I made the image on the right to explain this with squash on top and stretch below.

Next up you need to add the stretches which are the main breakdown drawings/poses, in a sense they are really in-between drawings that explain the action the ball is making. In-betweens are the poses that are between the Key Poses. Below is an update of the image I made with the Break Downs added in yellow.

As you can see, the marks we have used so far have all been in the centre of the poses so you can now see how they came in handy ;)

Any way, back to stretch; unlike with squash that mainly shows weight, stretch shows the speed a ball is moving although you do also need to take in its weight.

A great blog that has some posts on Squash and Stretch is HERE. It has some great examples and really explains what it is and its principles so if you want to know more I strongly recommend visiting it.

Principles of animating a Bouncing Ball - 2

Slow-In and Slow-Out

The next principle of animating a bouncing ball is Slow-In and Slow-Out. This is the action the ball takes on the Path of Action. In the case of the ball, the beginning of the arc is called Slow-In and after the ball does its bounce it goes into Slow-Out, this is because it loses some of its momentum so slows as it approaches the top.

A great tip I was recommended to do when planning your Slow-In and Slow-Out is to put marks along the arc so you can easily work out the balls position and timing. For Slow-In you want the marks to be quite close together and gradually have more space in-between and then the opposite of this for your Slow-Out. Here you can see I've added some marks to my drawing to explain this.

REMEMBER - The closer together the marks are the slower it will move!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Principles of animating a Bouncing Ball - 1

Carrying on with arcs I will present to you my research on how to animate a ball, one of the first places to start animating and is made up of arcs! It does also use some of the other principles such as timing, slow-out, slow-in, squash and stretch.

Path of Action

Firstly you need a path of action. This is where the ball will bounce and is just arcs. We will just focus on doing one bounce for now as once you know how to do one you can do more.

If you wanted to do more bounces, the arcs would need to stay in line like the red line shows with the arcs in the bottom drawing on the left.

Nice arc reference

I came across this image last night of an Elephant Seal. It has flung dirt over itself and the photographer has caught the arc of dirt it left in doing so. If you look carefully enough in films, animation and real life you will see examples of the 12 principles everywhere. I've decided that I will start saving any references I find of these that I think are good and will help me in the future. If you are looking to be an animator too then I'd suggest doing the same, reference is always handy and try drawing or animating from them too; practice makes perfect :D

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Loan didn't arrive in time :(

Sadly my Career Development Loan didn't arrive in time for the Fall term so I have been transferred to the Winter term. I was gutted at first but then I decided to look at the silver lining. By doing the Winter term I can still go to Coffee Talks with Victoria and her guests, its something I look forward to as its always a laugh and I find out some pretty cool stuff during them. Also, I will graduate when its the Animation Mentor BBQ so I can fly over for graduation and the BBQ, which is supposedly a brilliant event that loads of people go to.

While I am waiting to start, I am going to practice animating by doing tutorials and reading books. I will also add to my sketchbooks by going out and drawing people or by drawing people on the TV while I am watching any way. I will post these in the sketchbook section so make sure to keep checking that to see them.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Found an awesome blog full of line drawings/animations!

Today I came across an awesome blog!

The Living Lines Library is a blog made by a guy who is an animator and collected line drawings and animations. The are amazing pieces of work in it and are really inspiring. I strongly recommend checking it out.

Brilliant Reference Video of a Kitten

After a busy week helping with the university motorcycle club at this years Freshers' Fayre, I am spending the day looking at reference footage and drawing some pose sketches and as my most recent posts have been about cats, I have been drawing cats. While I was searching for reference footage I came across this brilliant video of a kitten that is filmed in slow-motion. I'm loving slow-motion videos at the moment. Its so much easier to see every little detail of how an animal moves, from pose to how the muscles move and tighten. Fascinating stuff!