Wow. February just came and went in a hurry, didn’t it? Ah well. I’ve been busy, and I’m here again to share more storyboard/animatic stuffs with you all. The first is my final take on the music project began in my last post. Some changes, some deletions and tightening up of the edit and there ya go:

Keep in mind there was a strict time limit imposed on this piece that we had to work within, otherwise I could have drawn out the suspense of the opening. As always, let me know your thoughts.

The next bit is actually the first, rough animatic of my final, which I hope to eventually turn into my Masters thesis project. Some of you may recognize this as “Grandpa”, the personal project I mentioned before. This class has really freed me up to go ahead and develop it further, with lots of feedback from folks who have never seen or heard of it before. It’s been great! This has no sound yet, BTW:

Again, this is a first rough and hopefully gets the idea across. It will look much prettier and have audio by the time I’m done with it. Suggestions, thoughts, comments – but not suggestive comments 😉 – welcome!

That’s my bit of animation insanity for now. Catch you soon!

I guess it’s been a little while, but January was a crazy month. I won’t go into the dirty details. Anyhow, it’s over and I have started the new quarter at my college, this time with a storyboarding class. I’ve had and done storyboarding before, but as with everything, there’s always room for improvement. One of our first assignments was to create a six-panel board depicting “a woman walking into a house, crossing the room and then seeing something unexpected”. We were strictly limited to the six panels, so it was a challenge to tell a story that made sense within that restriction. This is what I came up with:

I think it works alright. Let me know what you think.

For one of our next assignments, we were to pick a 25-30 second long music clip (no lyrics, instrumental only) and create a beat board for it cut into an animatic to the music track. If you don’t know what a beat board is, it’s basically a storyboard with only the main parts of the story illustrated to time out the action. It’s kind of like a visual outline, if you will. Again, here is what I did:

It’s a bit “experimental” in nature, but I wanted to try something a little different. Of course this is just a rough. The version I am working on this week should be more refined with additional panels and closer timings. I’ll be sharing that one when it’s done.

That’s it for now, all. Have a great week! 🙂

The Final

Posted: December 21, 2011 in animations, WIP

This is my final for the class I’ve been posting work from. The requirements were that it needed to be hand-drawn in Flash (of course), that it needed to be over 15 seconds in length, that it needed to include at least three of the principles we’ve been covering and that it had to include… a narwhal. Yes, you read that right. A narwhal. Bizarre, eh? Well, it did make for some interesting projects. My take is still a WIP that I plan to keep working on in my spare time, but the whole story is there. The animation’s just a bit rough in parts and needs to be punched up in others. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it!

Also, we got some fantastic news last week! Mike is going to be a spring intern at Nickelodeon Animation! I can’t say I’m not at least a little jealous, 😉 but I’m more excited for him. If you haven’t already, check out his blog at Man Bytes Blog. I’m sure he’ll be posting some bits of his experiences starting towards the end of January.

Happy Holidays! ‘Til next time!

2D Effects

Posted: November 11, 2011 in animations

Some Flash hand drawn effects animation this go around. Lightning, flame and explosion. Fun to do, especially the lightning. I think I may transfer the vid over to YouTube, as Vimeo’s playback stutters on this stuff are starting to bother me, but you will get the idea. Enjoy!

Here We Go Again!

Posted: November 4, 2011 in animations

The exercises keep coming! This time we have takes and flying, but we also have something I’ve never really tried in hand drawn before – vibrations. It was interesting, to say the least. A lot of room for variations there (There are some small hiccups in the playback, but it seems to be on Vimeo’s end as I can’t do much about it. Easy to ignore.)! Check them out!

Still More Basics

Posted: October 19, 2011 in animations

This time we got into walks and runs. A LARGE topic, to be sure! The Animator’s Survival Kit book devotes almost half of its pages to the topic. I’ve done walks before, of course, but every time is a little different.

Below we have a standard walk with a little bounce, a scaredy/sneak and a fast run. The run actually looks better on twos (because of the character’s size), so I may repost the slowed-down version.

More Basics

Posted: October 13, 2011 in animations

More little hand-drawn animation exercises, this time involving a jump with overlapping action and a hammer slam and weight lift with overlapping action – with a skirt, hair and mustache, respectively. I especially like the weight lift this time around, even though I didn’t get to finish the dumbbell.

I also got some rather exciting news this week, but I’m not quite ready to share just yet. I need to confirm that it is all happening first, but it’s a good thing. 🙂

Back To Basics

Posted: October 1, 2011 in animations

I’ve been very busy with the start of the new quarter and my involvement in organizations, but its been worth it! I was recently placed on the Board of The Animation Lodge, DePaul’s official animation student organization. We’ve been working very hard to get it rocking, and I am proud to be an active part of it. I am also taking part in the Sketchbook Project, a traveling exhibition of artwork that will eventually be permanently added to the collection of The Brooklyn Art Library.

As far as class goes, I’ve actually ended up in an odd one for me right now. Due to the new requirements for my Masters, I’m in a course that actually goes back to the “basics” of  animation, i.e. squash and stretch, anticipation, follow through and so on. It’s a bit of a switch since I already have a BA in animation and I got used to more advanced classes. But I do agree that you can never have too much practice in these principles, so I’m getting into it. The weird thing is that we doing everything HAND drawn in Flash, which requires some adjustment. I haven’t quite got a feeling for the line quality yet, but I’m working on it.

The standard bouncing ball you’ve probably seen a million times over. 😉 This was an effort to show two balls made of different materials.
This is a rotating, irregular object, in this case a hammer. The arc could use work, but I think I got the rotation pretty well.
A jump that could use more inbetweens. It’s more of a “long” jump and doesn’t have cartoony squash and stretch, but we weren’t using that just yet. Someone told me that it looked like a Muybridge reference, and I suppose it somewhat does.

This one came out rather nice. It is an exercise in fluid motion/follow through with the squirrel’s tail. I used Preston Blair’s book for reference – and observation of the MANY squirrels hanging out around my apartment.
Lastly we have a whip. Or rather, someone cracking a whip. I played a little bit with the figure on this one, even though the assignment was just to get the action of the whip right. He kind of looks like he’s beating someone with a wet noodle, if I do say so myself. 🙂
Well, that’s it for now. I’m sure I’ll be posting more of these little animations, so I hope you enjoyed them!

I thought I would share something different this time. This is an essay I did for my summer class on Hollywood story structure, which I just finished. I got an A in the class, so I figure I did something right. It goes over major structure points and the Hero’s Journey, as defined by Joseph Campbell. Enjoy.

            The Lion King was one of the most successful films of 1994. The film owes much of its success to its mythic impact.  It is a metaphor for human experience and growth which touches us on a profound level.  The film is also a classic quest or Hero’s Journey.
            When we first see the Pride Lands, it is with an absolute sense of wonder. We are treated to sweeping vistas full of life and natural beauty. From here, we are brought closer to Pride Rock, which is surrounded by throngs of animals gathered en masse. It quickly becomes evident that there is a ceremony of some kind taking place, and the gathered animals are very excited. We then see the regal lion Mufasa and his mate Sarabi, obviously full of pride at what is about to take place. The mandrill Rafiki, an eccentric shaman, is holding a very young – and very cute, so we are attracted to him right away – lion cub. He anoints him with a blessing, and then holds up the newborn cub – Simba – to the crowd. The animals rejoice in their beloved leader, and we are introduced to the ‘royal family’ of Pride Rock. This is our Point of Attack and our Home Culture, as we now know that we will see Simba’s story and what follows in the Pride Lands, as well as the dynamics there.
             Simba is a playful, innocent, attentive cub who only wants to follow in the steps of his father and become King (Life Dream).Born into an unfamiliar and complicated world, he is inexperienced and naïve. Starting off, Simba is impulsive and rash: he does not think ahead. He rushes into dangerous situations with his best friend Nala (the Soul Mate), trying to imitate his brave, strong father, but in turn, places his own life in jeopardy on numerous occasions. Unaware of his own limits, Simba is like a child who has not yet felt the consequences of actions. At the beginning of his journey, Simba is also extremely dependant on others. With no sense of self-worth, he does not acknowledge his potential to be as great as his father, but merely lives in his shadow. Doubting his own potential, Simba is the stereotypical adolescent: insecure and self-loathing.
            Scar, Mufasa’s brother and the antagonist (which is obvious, since he first emerges from the shadows and is always seen lurking there), schemes to take full advantage of this. He desires the throne for himself, and knows he must get rid of both Mufasa and Simba to do it. Enlisting the aid of the hated hyenas from the “dark place” as his minions with promises of abundant food and luxury, he sets in motion a trap to take advantage of Simba’s reckless nature. In our first really tense scene, Simba must scramble for his life when he is caught in a stampede set in motion by the hyenas. Mufasa, alerted to the danger by the steward Zazu, comes rushing to his aid. But in the process of saving Simba, he is caught and cannot pull himself up. Unbeknownst to Simba, Scar is there, and in one of the most intense and loathsome acts in the movie, Scar pulls Mufasa’s claws off of the edge he is clinging to, sending him plunging to his death. Scar then blames Simba for Mufasa’s death. This is a turning point for Simba and initiates both the Main Tension and creates Collision in the movie when he “run[s] away and never return[s]” like Scar tells him to. Due to Simba’s inexperience and lack of knowledge, he grows up thinking that he was the reason behind his father’s tragic death. This is where Simba’s innocence is abused and manipulated to satisfy his devious uncle.
            In exile, Simba meets the secondary characters Timon and Pumbaa, a meercat and warthog respectively. They take him in, and during Simba’s time away from Pride Rock, he matures physically and mentally, living by their motto of “hakuna matata” which means no worries. His life is carefree and he goes where the moment takes him accompanied by his two friends, which shows that nothing is of concern to him, an indicator that he is not yet fully mature. As the story progresses, his responsibilities are still minimal and he has managed to block out the memories from his childhood.
            Simba hears the Call when a now-mature Nala attacks Pumbaa and he stops her.  When she realizes who he is, she assumes that he will return to Pride Rock with her and challenge Scar.  At first, he refuses (Refusal of the Call), keeping himself from growing and achieving his destiny.  He still thinks that he is responsible for his father’s death. Not to mention, Simba is embarrassed that he ran away and doesn’t want to return and face his friends, mother, and his past. Nala, however, insists that he is not living up to the greatness of his ancestry by refusing to return.
            Facing his shortcomings represents the greatest Trial of his life – the abyss – for Simba.  Angry with Nala, he storms away to pace under the stars by himself.    “You said you’d always be there for me,” he wails to his dead father, lurking among the stars, “but you’re not.  And it’s because of me.  It’s my fault.  It’s my fault.”  Recognizing his self-centeredness shows the start of Simba’s transformation.
            It is at this point that Rafiki also finds Simba again. Rafiki helps Simba complete his transformation, and becomes Simba’s mentor and source of Supernatural Aid.  He says that he can show Simba that his father is not dead and leads him in an all-too-quick journey through snags and tangles, branches and thorns (which represent a number of Trials), to a quiet pool.  Simba looks at his reflection and eventually sees his father’s face mixed with his own.  Confused, Simba heads onto the plains alone, where he sees his father’s image in the clouds.  “Remember who you are,” the image implores him.  “My son and the one true king.”  The vision fades, but Simba has found the path to atonement: to fulfill his destiny as a great king.
            Speaking of his intent to return to the pride, Simba tells Rafiki that it will be hard to face the past which he fled from for so long.  Then Rafiki helps Simba to the revelation he needs to make the change:  he hits him with a stick.  Simba asks him why he did that.  Rafiki replies, “It doesn’t matter…it’s in the past.  The way I see it, you can either run from the past or learn from it.”  He swings the stick again, but Simba ducks.  He’s learned and is ready to return (The Midpoint/First Threshold). Simba decides to leave paradise with Timon and Pumbaa (who are reluctant at first, but ultimately agree to help their friend in a bit of character growth for them) and return to Pride Rock. Simba realizes he must take responsibility for his kingdom and he must be ready to fight his uncle and the hyenas in order to save it.
            As Simba makes his journey to Pride Rock, he realizes that he is also leaving behind his childhood there. In doing so, he is ready to accept his rightful place as king and is ready to finally take responsibility for his kingdom. When they reach the Pride Lands, Simba sees the full extent of the damage Scar and the hyenas have caused. The land is no longer lush and vibrant with abundant life. Rather, it is withering and dying in the absence of its true king. At this sight, Simba is filled with a new sense of urgent purpose (Overcoming Temptation).
            Simba descends on Pride Rock and confronts Scar (Crossing the Return Threshold). Timon, Pumbaa, Nala and the rest of the Pride hold off the hyenas and free captives while he does so (Chase and Rescue). However, ever the manipulator, Scar makes Simba tell everyone he is responsible for his father’s death. After he does so, Scar backs Simba up to the edge of Pride Rock. Then, lightening causes a fire beneath the rock and Simba slips off the back, hanging onto the edge like his father did just before he died. Confident in his triumph, Scar arrogantly reveals that he killed Mufasa, not Simba. Simba, shocked at this revelation, now lets his old self go. Now that he has no reason to hold onto the burden of his father’s death, Simba now becomes one with himself and realizes he must fight not only for his right to be king, but also for his father (Viewing the Whole Picture). Simba pounces on Scar to get off the ledge. Simba then sees a stunned Scar running away and chases after him. He corners Scar and they battle, but Scar is outmatched. Once again trying to use his clever tongue to the advantage, he tries to double-cross his hyenas in favor of mercy, but Simba banishes him from the Pride Lands instead. Furious, he attacks Simba one last time, but Simba catches the attack and knocks Scar off the ledge. The hyenas, not amused with Scar’s betrayal, kill him for calling them the enemy. In doing so, Scar is defeated and Simba shows that he is serving as a leader in the True Culmination (Ultimate Goal).
            With Scar and the hyenas gone, Simba is greeted by his mother and Nala in reconciliation. Then, Simba takes his rightful spot as King of Pride Rock. He walks through the newly-falling rain, a symbol of renewal, to hear his father speak to him as he takes his position atop Pride Rock. Taking a deep breath, he lets out a mighty roar reminiscent of his father’s great voice. The Pride joins in, and Simba is now Master of Two Worlds.
In the Resolution, we see that Simba’s story truly has come full circle. Using the knowledge he has gained from his life, Simba rebuilds Pride Rock after Scar nearly destroyed it. It is now as lush and full of life as it was under his father’s rule. Simba is at peace with both himself and his responsibilities. By accepting himself as king, he has matured and taken on the accountability that he will protect his land and his people, and has recognized the world he now lives in and himself. Simba and Nala are mated, and in a scene directly mirroring the opening, have a cub of their own anointed  by Rafiki to be the next king. As Simba looks at his family, he lets go of the anger brought on by his father’s death and anticipates his new life. He has been given the Freedom to Live.

Conspicuously Absent

Posted: July 30, 2011 in update

Hey all! I’ve neglected to post anything here for a little while, but I’ve been busy trying to sort things out with my planned trips for the summer. Unfortunately, they both fell through due to a couple of unexpected turns of events. I’m not happy about it, but there’s no use brooding over things that were largely beyond my control. I can only continue to try and plan for the future.

Otherwise, I have been tinkering with things here and there. I am in a summer class on Hollywood film structure, which is great for going over my writing and all of the terms commonly used in the industry. I have also been playing around with the (VERY) rough first cut of the “Grandpa” animatic, which I will share soon. In the meantime, I am on the lookout for a job or internship for the fall, so if you know of anything I would be most grateful! 🙂