5 years at DW

I recently hit the 5 year mark.  Obviously, it feels like it flew by.  Yet somehow at the same time it feels like I’ve been there forever.
I can’t even begin to quantify how much I’ve learned during the last 5 years – but it’s A LOT.
And still going.

I also realized that I have worked on the last 4 DW releases (which is rare because of the overlapping schedules).
The Croods (upcoming)
Rise of the Guardians (upcoming)
Madagascar 3
Puss in Boots

In reality, my time on Mad3 was very short and I only did a small handful of shots.  I will have slightly more time on Croods, but still I joined the project when they were somewhere near 85% completion in animation.   So it really doesn’t count as being heavily involved in 4 releases in a row, though I can claim it as a technicality since my name will be in the end of each of them.  🙂

It’s a lame statistic, I know.



iAnimate vs Animation Mentor

What are the differences between the programs?

Rastko, a current student at iAnimate.net and former student of Animation Mentor took the time to write a well thought out comparison between the two programs.  Having been a student at each place he has a unique insight into the similarities and differences.

He describes how each program has its strengths and weaknesses, and a decision between the two should be based more on what YOU are looking for as a student, and which environment matches you better.

It is a very honest (albeit bias, as he points out) description of the pros and cons of each.  If you have been weighing your options for animation training read his blog post to get an insider’s look and choose the program that’s right for you.

Cat in a Suitcase

It’s been a while since the last post, eh?

Anyway, I came upon this months ago, and thought it’s about time I posted it.  I know it’s probably been around even longer than that, but maybe you haven’t seen it before.

It’s a cat in a suitcase. And it’s hilarious and endlessly amusing.

download (right click and save as)
~3.6mb, mp4

It’s basically one event repeated over and over and over.  But it’s still entertaining!  And it’s a good lesson when applied to animation.  How to you repeat an action several times but maintain the appeal, and keep the audience’s attention?  It’s something I struggled with constantly while doing cycles for background characters.  There was often a need for many variations on the same action.  (ex: Go from a sitting position to a standing position in 3 different ways)

So how do you keep the same action, repeated many times, entertaining?  I would have to say the main thing is to vary the timing.  Check out that cat… sometimes he waits just a bit longer than the previous time before popping out.  Sometimes his paw comes out a few frames later or a few frames sooner.  Sometimes his paw goes into a ‘hold’ at the end of the swing, and waits until the very last possible frame before coming back into the suitcase.  Sometimes he is back into the suitcase well before lid closes, but sometimes he cuts it really close.  The list goes on.  All these things keep you watching, and keep you entertained.

Another thing you can change is posing.  Obviously the cat never really lands in the exact same pose every time he pops out.  Sure that’s almost physically impossible in real life, but in animation it might be easier to fall into traps like that if you are starting with one variation and copying it as a starting place for the next.

5 second films

A while ago I stumbled upon this little site called 5secondFilms.com.  It’s pretty fun.  Apparently every weekday they do a 5 second film- which is exactly what it sounds like.   I think this is an awesome idea.  They get the opportunity to try ANYTHING and EVERYTHING.

It seems like there is no idea that’s off the table.  I mean, hey, they get to do another one tomorrow, so why not just try it.  Of course, this means a lot of them fail, but it also means there are some real winners in there.  That sort of unattached freedom allows them to experiment with everything.  Espeicially timing.  “When to cut” becomes all that more important when you have only 5 seconds to tell your story.

Also, what’s really fun is that they have a ‘random’ button at the top. Much cooler than searching and clicking, with the added bonus of feeling more fun than clicking a ‘next.’

Here are some of my favorites:

This one i could watch 50 times, and crack up every single time. no joke.

Excellent switch at the end. I love the way he stands up all straight and proud. Thrilled about the plants.

This one just kills me at the end. When he changes into a skateboard – with a hat. And it doesn’t even come CLOSE to landing correctly. It just cracks into the sidewalk on its side and bounces away.

This one had me going too. Like I said – when to cut. The ‘cut-just-a-split-second-too-soon from the song to finish it’s line’ is awesome.