Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Work Work Work

Work is one of those words that seems really dumb the more you say it.

Anyway, I told myself I'd post something online today no matter what state this project is in.

Some notes before you check out the video:

-On both characters, fingers and faces are still step-keyed. Ignore that for now.
-Dan (on the right for those that don't know) has been largely untouched since putting plateau keys on the blocking.
-The first half of Gabe's actions are polished, up until Dan grabs him. I'll finish off the second half after Dan's first half is polished. I'm going to need to polish them together at that point.
-I haven't checked Gabe's arcs with motion trails yet.
-something funky happens at one point with Gabe's hand that I need to fix.
-I need to work out Gabe's reaction a little better at the start.

Things I'm finding out:

-I really wish there were an easier way to get from blocking to polish. I have to manually put holds in everywhere before I can put on the plateau keys and it's super-tedious.
-I think for my next thing I do I'm going to try working with full holds instead of the more floaty approach of keeping everything moving a tiny bit. It will have a more cartoony look to it as apposed to the fairly more realistic look I have going now. Not saying I want to permanently change my look but I'm gonna try it out.

So have a look.

New Lip Sync Practice: WIP from Ryan Neff on Vimeo.

I've been moving fairly slow with this piece, not because I'm actually working slow, but I only put in about 3 hours or so at a time, once or twice a day. I'm trying to get better at keeping myself focused for longer, but it's been a chore keeping my motivation up without having a job.

I'd very much like to be done with this so I can get it on my reel. I have been told to be applying without caring about making my reel "perfect," because it never will be, but I just need to replace the dialogue piece I have there now. It's about 2 years old and not that great, and I know I can do much better. Once I get this done, I'm gonna apply like crazy for a job.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Unintended Sleep Deprivation

Well I was up until about 5am last night animating and watching stuff. It wasn't the most efficient work I've ever done, but I'm at least doing work. I have been falling back into old habits of forgetting meals and sleep while I'm working, which isn't so great, at least I'm keeping motivated.

Anyway, here's my progress.

New Lip Sync Practice: WIP from Ryan Neff on Vimeo.

Blocking is done, blocking plus done on the mouth. I'm gonna be doing blocking plus on everything else starting today. I'm trying to aim to be done by the end of the week, but that's a loose deadline. I'm more concerned about polish than speed right now.

So concerns that need to be addressed:

-Lip sync is a bit wonky in places, especially the very first line. I think that might be in part an artifact of the step-keyed blocking causing an unreadability, but I'll see when I start smoothing things out.

-Camera movements are at a very preliminary stage. They may not match up properly with some actions right now so keep that in mind.

-I'm both excited for and dreading the end part where Dan grabs Gabe. I haven't worked a whole lot with characters physically interacting with each other, especially to this extent. Hand tracking is probably gonna be rough.

-The long hold on Gabe while Dan's talking is going to be fairly still. I need practice on keeping holds alive, so hopefully this will help. Dan's long hold on the other hand is going to be fidgety, so it will be good to practice with a bunch of smaller holds.

-the only controls I haven't touched so far are Gabe's hair, Dan's hat, and either character's cheeks. I'm waiting for the polish stage for the hat and hair for obvious reasons, but cheeks, I want to be mostly final on lips and eyes before I touch them.

I'll probably have a blocking plus, polish, and final update on this little project to show.

And in response to John's comment on my last post, I did partially use the muppet-mouthing technique. I did a jaw only pass first, but forgot about doing a pass on just the corners of the mouth, and just did a full-mouth pass. If anyone notices and specific points where the lip sync seems to be suffering from this let me know.

EDIT: Noticed something wonky with Gabe's eyes at the end, ignore that. He's gonna be looking around but i think a key got moved.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Animation Progress

First off here are the thumbnails I made for this thing:

Kinda sloppy so some of it's probably a bit confusing at the top, but I know what's going on so that's all that matters. Gabe's standing in for David, Dan for Michael (the first speaker). I'm gonna be pushing cartoonyness on Dan and Gabe will be much more reserved. Should be a nice little experiment.

Well here's what I have for Dan's lip sync blocking. I might have gone too far into it to start, seeing as it's almost done. I need to go and add holds, especially on m's v's and f's since throwing splines on this makes those look strange.

New Lip Sync practice: Sync Blocking Pt.1 from Ryan Neff on Vimeo.

Some of that looks like it doesn't hit right but I think it's vimeo's fault in some places. The .avi file looks better, but there do need to be some adjustments.

As I wasn't sure if I should do lip sync first or later, I'm going to be doing Gabe's sync after some blocking or blocking+ and get a feel for both ways.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back to Animating

Well a combination of being a bit lazy, unmotivated and distracted by a whole lot of stuff caused me to not do any animation for a while. I decided the lipsync thing i was working on is a bit to involved for my attention span at the moment and just today I thought of doing this new piece. It's about 1/3 of the length of the other one, and a lot more active, so I'm kinda excited to do it. I'm gonna be doing some stuff this afternoon, and when I get back I'm gonna thumbnail out the sequence, which I already have worked out in my head.

It's a clip from the short-lived but awesome show "Stella." In reality there are 3 people talking (the "What's it?" guy is different from the Gary Meadows guy), but I'm consolidating it to 2. The first guy talking is gonna be way over-animated and excited. The second guy is a little stunned by the first guy's movements and is sorta just reacting to what's happening. The 1's gonna be in 2's face and grabbing his shoulders and shaking him around while he talks and stuff, just being generally intrusive, hyper, and weird. Anyway, I think I'm gonna go through this by blocking out lipsync first, because I was getting impatient putting that off until last on the other piece.

Hopefully thumbnails will be up tonight.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"The post before this one: Part 2" - Part II: With a Vengence

Wait, what?

Anyway, finally finished this thing, took way too much time, but I'm relatively satisfied with the result. Minus some odd things here and there, but I won't mention them in hopes they won't jump out at you.

Here it be:Clicky Clicky

Also for a much larger version version, go here.

I finally got one of these Lunch Breaks DVD's together for myself, which I think look rather snazzy if I may say so myself. And I can. So I did. There.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The post before this one: Part 2

In progress on color.


First, about the gradient background: it's temporary. I may keep the blurry color look but it's gonna be hand-drawn. Tennant (middle) is done I think. The others just have basic colors. The method I'm using is very very tedious but it's precise and gives and interesting look I think. I have the solid colors on one layer, and the shading on one or more other layers. I mark off the approximate areas I want to work on for shading with the pen tool, and use a large soft brush to do it. That way I can get hard edges where I want (such as the hair and coat) and they fade out, looking gradated. Maybe there's a quicker way but whatever, I'm liking how it looks. Which is good, because normally at this stage I really start to hate my work.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I can't be bothered to come up with an awful Doctor pun. You're welcome.

So while watching some Doctor Who a few weeks back, I started doodling on a manila folder, which was at the time also my mousepad. I came up with a (rather poor) caricature of Matt Smith as the Doctor. I decided then to give a go at the Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant Doctors, which turned out a fair bit better. I scanned them, drew over them to make fixes (completely redoing the Matt Smith one several times), and then went over the lines with the pen tool. Here's what I have so far:

(Clickify to embiggify)

I'm gonna do color tomorrow, which I'm hoping doesn't ruin it since I'm iffy with colors.

For those that Don't know Doctor Who, here's links to the IMDB pages of these actors, in order as they are in the image:

Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith

So I realized I never made any post about my moving to California so here's a small little summary:

Tim and I each drove out here, our cars basically jam-packed full of all of our crap. We were initially considering a u-haul trailer, but many times along the way were shown how much that would have sucked, especially through the mountains, and parking.

So the drive itself, while long and tedious, wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. About the time I was getting really bored with driving, we hit Colorado and there were at least interesting things to look at for basically the rest of the way. It was fairly uneventful, aside from one morning of Tim locking his keys in the car, a truck kicking something up at him and cracking his windshield, and battling traffic, the worst being by Chicago and all the way from Vegas to L.A. We didn't really expect the worst part about driving in the desert to be the traffic.

So after 4 long days of driving, we got here, and stayed with the guy running Tim's internship. That lasted 3 nights while we searched for apartments in a bit of a panic, as not to overstay our welcome. We were quite lucky to get a place with neither of us having real jobs at the moment, but we did have to fight for it.

So now we're all moved in, sleeping on air mattresses for at least a few weeks. I'm gonna hold off on pictures of the apartment until it's not an utter disaster. So that's where I'm at now, and would explain why there haven't been any posts in a while.

In terms of animation work, I'm putting the dialogue animation on hold, partially because it's a little on the huge side, and I want to focus on getting some basic things, like running/jumping exercises and the like. I'm working on one now, hopefully I'll have something showable in a few days.