Thursday, December 17, 2009

And then, there was animation...

It all started with a bouncing ball. It is simple animation exercise which teaches you about basic animation principles like 'squash and stretch'. Not too exciting, neither were other exercises like falling paper, waving line, rollercoaster, pendulum clock, until we did a profile walk.

A profile walk cycle is one of the more advanced beginner exercises, where things learned in the earlier exercises are tied together. I choose to animate a simple 'Chaplinesque' character in a nice and speedy walk, with a small prefix, just for fun.

The final exercise of this term was a flour sack exercise, which frees you from the burden of keeping a more or less anatomical character alive. Your character is a flour sack, where the four corners play the role of hands and feet, which is simple enough to draw, allowing you to go wild on acting. We were to animate a jump, but I find inspiration for some more walking and, finally, a real Fosbury Flop.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Driving my horses at once

For a year and a half we have been studying the basic concepts of life drawing, i.e gestures, contours, modelling and masses, emphasizing the underlying process, without much attention for the product. One of our directors tends to explain that 'the pregnancy is more important than the child', and although I'm not totally happy with the comparison, the message is clear.

It is only in our second year that we are learning how to use these tools, integrating these into a process that is ignited through gesture, channelling this energy into more and more concrete masses, polished with delicate outlines. We have got the chisels, hammers, sandpaper and a nice piece of wood: let's make something beautiful!

Although a fine and sharp chisel is essential for a skilful carving, it is no guarantee. Yes, I do have a basic understanding of gestures and masses and contours, but the use of these tools still puzzles me: all too often the creative impulse of the gesture gets lost in my attempts to get things Right, or the final result still consists of shapeless energy. This requires a lot more training.

My main achievement of last term is a small breakthrough in my gestures. All of a sudden, I noticed how I made a lot of observations in my head, without ever entrusting them to the paper, which meant they all too often were lost forever. Realizing this allowed me to be more intuitive, loosening up, which really shows in my work.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Background information

The end of the term is near, it is time to wrap up. One of my favourite classes was 'Background Painting', and it makes me a little melancholic that this is already the last painting course of my program. Maybe I'll grab the opportunity to learn more about painting at the Academy of Realist Art, but for an animator, drawing is much more important, so for now, I'm done.

Background painting consists mainly of painting someone else's layout according to someone else's colour key, so although it requires true craftsmanship, I did not find it really exciting. My favourite piece was based on my own layout, but I left it at school for the end-of-year show. So, all I can show here are some pieces that did not make it into the expo. Enjoy!