Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Timing Tools

Here are a few hotkeys that may help make timing tweaks a bit easier, esp. when you're working on a scene that has 1000+ frames.

First off, in case anyone's not familiar with how to set up a hotkey, here's how:

Scroll down to the User category --> Click New --> Type in the Name, the Description, and the Command --> Click Accept --> Assign New Hotkey --> Save


Now for the hotkeys...

Skooch_Left, Skooch_Right

To use--select a key or multiple keys in the Dope Sheet or Graph Editor, then hit the arrow keys to shift those keys left or right.

Note: You could also just type in "+=(any value)" or "-=(any value)" either in the channel box or the Graph Editor to shift key(s) any specific amount. In addition to adjusting the timing of keys, you could use this trick to adjust transform values of keys as well.

Ripple_Left, Ripple_Right

To use --> Find a spot in the timeslider where you want to add or subtract frames. Hit Ctrl + arrow to shift all keys after that point left or right.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

"Hansel and Gretel" Layouts: Part 3

Alrighty, here's the last batch of these "Hansel and Gretel" layouts. (I'm kinda itching to move on to something new)

After we finalized our line drawings, it was time to start experimenting with different lighting schemes. We did several small studies, playing around with values--lights against darks, darks against lights. We also threw in the characters to see how they'd fit into the scene.


And finally...the final rendering(s).

My first attempt at a final was the one on the left. I wanted to play up the contrast to accentuate the pointy branches. I also had the house back-lit to get yet another pointy/triangular silhouette, as well as to give it a slightly more ominous feel.

The feedback I got from my mentor after showing this was to add more atmosphere--to further separate the foreground, middleground, and background elements. He also suggested that I light the house from the front to bring more focus to it. The final final is the one on the right.

And just for kicks, I embedded evil "faces" throughout the rendering.


Key take-aways from the Layout Apprenticeship:

Up until that semester, I've always been very biased towards drawing just characters. In fact I didn't like to draw backgrounds at all. Thanks to this Apprenticeship, along with the other Vis Dev class I was taking at SJSU, I developed a new appreciation for environments. Although I know I still have much to learn about creating environments, I definitely appreciate a good one when I see it!

Aside from composition, lighting, etc., the biggest "ah-hah" moment for me during these classes was when I realized that an environment can be a character itself--a character whose attitude and mood all depends on how you "dress" it.

Friday, April 18, 2008

"Hansel and Gretel" Layouts: Part 2

The next phase of the layouts was to pick one shot and make a full line drawing. Before jumping into that, however, it was probably a good idea to design the house by itself. Here's a few early house ideas.


And before nailing down a final composition, I experimented with many different layout possibilities. Here's a couple of them.


And here's the final line drawing(s).

The one on the top was actually the first version. I thought it might have been a tad on the detailed/realistic side, so I tried an alternate version that had a more reductive style. After going back and fourth between the two, I finally decided on the bottom one.

Each final drawing was actually separated in layers (foreground, middleground, background, house). These layouts are usually drawn on separate sheets so you could create motion parallax during camera moves. Also, characters moving behind foreground elements would be coverd by them.

To be continued...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Hansel and Gretel" Layouts: Part 1


During my time at San Jose State, I had the privilege of particpating in two “Virtual Apprenticeships” with a couple of artists from Disney Feature Animation.

Once a week, through video conferencing, we would meet with layout artist Michael O'Marah and storyboard artist Ray Shenusay. Here we'd present our work not only to each mentor, but also to the other professionals down in L.A. running the program, our entire class at State, and a couple of other schools that were also part of the program. Needless to say it was an awesome experience, while at the same time very nerve-wrecking!

The story that was used for the Apprenticeship was the classic tale "Hansel and Gretel". In the next few posts, I’ll share some of the work that came out of that run.

For the Layout Apprenticeship, one of our first tasks was to take a few scenes from the story and create some rough layouts--2 exterior shots and 2 interior shots. Since I was also participating in the Storyboard Apprenticeship, I just used some of my rough boards as thumbnails. As for the style of the artwork, it was up to us to decide.

To be continued...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Thimbletack & Co.

More of the same.

If an animation has a pure white texture, that part of the animation belongs to a buddy of mine. The last thing I want to do is take credit for someone else's work.