First AM dialogue shot

Well, after the pantomime shot, we started our first dialogue shot. That's what I've been waiting since I started the course, and one of the main reasons me taking the course.
This time we're animating a fully rigged character with facial controls, although the facial animation will be done in the next class.

I've already experimented with some dialogue animation before with the 11second club monthly competition, but that was way before starting AM and I really needed to learn the basics at that time.  Right now I don't even know if I'm ready, but I'll need to dive in to get the answer :)

For this assignment we're free to animate on any sound as long as it doesn't contain any profanity and isn't from another animated movie. My final choice went for a clip from the movie American Gangster, with Denzel Washington.

Below can be seen my blocking as well as my blocking plus version of the shot. For the blocking plus I decided to go into splines a bit early to be able to clearly see the subtleties of the animation. I also made the arms invisible to focus on the mechanics a bit more , particularly in the spine area.


Pantomime shot

(I've updated this post and added one more version of my shot at the end )

In the past few weeks at AM we were busy animating a pantomime shot, which is an acting shot without any dialogue or sound.
I've really learned lots of things again, but I also realised that there's still so much left to become an awesome animator.

You can have a look at my previous shot below. I've posted the different stages of the animation process until my final submission. There are still a few things to refine like the hands which I think are a little stiff, but that will probably be done in a couple of weeks.


Some thoughts on acting in animation

Long time no news :(
I haven't forgotten about this blog but the work at AM has recently kept me really busy.

Anyhow, a few weeks ago I started my fourth class there, which concentrates mainly on acting. Our first assignement was supposed to be a pantomime shot where the character is having a clear change in emotion, like for eg. having him happy in the beginning, and sad at the end.

The term started really well, I was trying to develop an idea that wasn't too overused. I wanted to animate a happy boy playing with his toy and then getting very panicky when he accidentally breaks something because of his clumsiness.

To summarize a little bit what happened in the last few weeks, I'd say that I see animation in a completely different way. I've realized that what we did in the first 3 classes was only focusing on body mechanics , and that acting brought a whole new level to what animation really is.

When I looked at my favorite animated films like those from Pixar and Dreamworks I always wondered what was the thing that was giving to these films so much appeal compared to my work. I clearly saw that whatever the quality of my shots there seemed to be a clear difference between my work and those animated movies. Then a few weeks ago I think that I had found the answer or at least some part of it. Acting!!
What is acting?  Acting is defined as the performance of a part or role in a drama. Good acting can make a simple performance shine.
For us animators I think that our acting choices can clearly make the difference between a good and an excellent animation.

I've reviewed what I did in my previous classes and could clearly see that I have many animation test where the character feels lifeless, where the body mechanics are okay but the acting is nearly absent. That was only half of the wok done. The other half is about good acting choices. If the audience can read the character feelings, what's he's about to do before he has actually done it then I believe that the acting is on a good start.

Finally, I think that great animators have to be great artists and technicians at the same time. Technicians because that's what body mechanics really are , they consist of the techniques to use to get good movement. And artists because there are millions of possibilities to do one single thing, some are better than others, but I don't know if that can be taught or if it's just a matter of personal taste.
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