Gentle's Animation learning thread

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  09 September 2007
The show must go on
I was on a seminar for the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service Abroad (AHMS), so I didn't have much time - but enough to print some nude pictures (or partly nude) and draw some of them on the train.
Because I don't take a nude studies course yet, I have to do something similar.

Page two are only men, so I was a bit motiveless

  10 October 2007
A bit too late, but today's okay too
I decided to make another drawing week, so here's Day one of it


  10 October 2007
Yesterday I visited a nude drawing session, I participated for two times a 2-hour-course. It was greeeeeeat and I really recommend everybody on the whole earth to have a look at such a course!

  10 October 2007

  10 October 2007
Starbucks, Starbucks - and me, full-time-chatotic idiot, forgot the reference pics, so I drew right out of the head (wow, what a Germanism)

AOnpage two you see two persons from a well-known film, especially the little one is perfectly drawn.

  10 October 2007

Your form is really coming along! I might have to try that technique of sketching over photographs to practice proportions...the payoff really showed with you. Keep posting
Dream it- do it
  10 October 2007
A day of demotivation, narcoleptic bahaviour and the penultimate page of my waste-sketchbook

  10 October 2007
Thumbs up These are getting better all the time!

Nice job! Don't forget to include line of action to get the pose down quickly, I can see your construction lines are present so that's a great start
Dream it- do it
  10 October 2007
I believed yesterday was my least-outcome-day - but it even gets worse! Great!
By the way, now my two sketchbooks are full and finished, here's a photo of them... (the one is out of waste, with five pages of hyper-complex math terms from the former owner, the other one was created with waste and GAFFA duct tape, with which you can patch your shoes, make sketchbooks or heal cancer.

The second drawing week is over (I'm feeling that my motivation is going to hit the ground, so I appreciate that the next week is different) - the following week will be a reading week, so be prepared for some new reviews


Last edited by Gentle : 10 October 2007 at 06:20 PM.
  10 October 2007
This post is a bit longer because it includes - in fact - three days.

I partcipated - also because of different interests - to an acting school in vienna, is their homepage.
The course is expensive, and I took all five available modules (I have just four month left in Austria).
For a trimester I pay 1000€, and I am glad my parents helped me "a bit" to pay that, you know. as an unemployee the financial times are not that sky-high
The course is AWESOME.

I do it with a good friend of mine, Hannes, who isn't into 3D but also interested in the side-effects of this coruse, as I'm too.
We have these five modules, one for voice, one for bodyworks, one for body-breath-voice, one for acting and one for emotional training.
We do that sunday and monday from 10am to early afternoon.
The groups are 4-7 people and one tutor, so it's small and really relaxing, just great.

I'll tell you what we did in the first unit:

-voice: analyzing our own dialects (German isn't equal to German ), looking for tongue, throat and vocal chord's functions in speaking. Training the pure sound "AA". Reading a crazy text with 60% A's in a group of foru and pronunciating it totally exxageratedly.
-bodywork: male and female gestures and behaviour analyzation, miming it and exaggerating these movements like you'd do it in character animation - there are soo many parallels!
-acting: analyzing our walks and walkcycles, feeling the muscle's and joint's functions in the walking process. Training axaggerated poses while walking - a freeze - to different emotional states.
-emotional basic training: wasn't taking place as one guy just jumped off right before start, so we'll try to find a new man for that for the next week.
-body-breath-voice: training berathing techiques like breathing-thourgh-stomache, analyzing the lungs and its functions, training right postures for the most efficient breathing. A big point I didn't know yet was to shift the position of the sternum - its a huge, huge factor of radiation.

by the way, the three basics of the ACT&Fun-school , the 3 P's, are: Power, Presence and Painfulness

Damn cool!

The last two days, I finished a new book:

"Geheimnisse der Filmgestaltung" (Secrets of Film Composition)
by Arnold Heinrich Müller
ISBN: 3 7949 0711 6
(I think it's just available in German)

A fantastic book about everything a semiprofessional wants to know about film design.
It's 300 pages thick and has many pictures for explanation; it's easy to read and fast to understand.
It begins with recapitulating the film history like the "Laterna Magica" and Edison's "Kinetoscope", ending up in the modern digital camcorders which are fitting into a handbag.
Then there's a chapter about planning a film, beginning with an exposè, advancing to a treatment and finishing with a screenplay. It's really important to make a concept of your film and planning it in detail.
By time, a film alnguage, a film "code" was developed, with which you can save time - for example, the character enters and leaves an elevator and everybody knows that he's now on another floor.
Continuity is of enormous importance, so a film has always making it possible for the viewer to follow what's happening. This can be done by a continuity in 1-3 of the 3 channels: time, location and action.
There's a huge chapter about the design itself, which has many parallels to still-image design, with the doubling factor of another dimension, time. So it's for example important when you film a formula-1-racing car, that you give it space in the parts of the image that are in front of the car, this creates a feeling of danamics.
It's essential to have the camer positioned on one side of a dialogue, in a 180-degree-space, so that the characters never change their lef-right-position in the filmed dialogue.
If you want to cross that acting line, you can do that i.e. by making a hemicircluar move with the camera around the actors.
Concerning the shot size (the part of person that's shown by the camera), you have to be "soft" with the viewer. When going from a total shot to a detail shot, you have to add for example an "American"-inbetween shot (shwoing the character from knees to head).
There's a thick chapter about sound design, in which all the basic principles are explained like that the surrounding sounds have to be lowered when somebody says a text and then to be heightened again (concerning amplitude).
There's a detailled chapter about drama, in which the importance of anticipation, excitement phases, the importance of rhythm in editing and the storytelling perspectives are furtherly declared.
For people who are interested in making films, it's a great basic book and also an important reference book.


Last edited by Gentle : 10 October 2007 at 11:21 PM.
  10 October 2007
Today I read a bit, but it was too less,
so the next review comes tomorrow.

I wanted to go to a nude drawing course on university (altough I'm not a student, I wanted to try "just getting in"), but it was closed and is beginning next week. Soooo Thomas, Gerald and me went to the Nature Historical Museum Vienna and drew some animals... these are my scribbles with a graphit pen (I forgot all my drawing stuff, so I had no rubber):

  10 October 2007
Damn, I just make no progress with that book.

But I'm now involved - parallely - in a real-movie-project.
I met today with Hannes and Thomas to speak about our shots and settings.
Hannes and me will be directing the movie, so we made first quick sketches.

My first steps in storyboarding

  10 October 2007
Just came home from going out ... this is the next book:

by Marcie Begleiter
ISBN: 3861504987

This book was awesome. It has 200 pages, is very fresh to read, has a variety of content styles - tutorial-like, industrially relevant and personal experiences of Marcie.
Soryboards are a central element in the preproduction of films. The storyboard artist works veryclose to the director, the camera man and the production designer.
For better results, the storyboard artist should be participating the shot-discussion and take notes, so the process of visualizing the shot-list is a lot easier.
A storyboard artist has to be able to make the director's visions come true, to transform the screenplay from words to images. For exapmle, if the whole team is on the set and nobody has an idea how to take the next shot, which setting etc. everbody is bored - and also bored actors cost a lot.
So storyboards save time and energy, which is a basic reason why they're so important for the preproduction phase.
A storyboard looks like comic, all the images have numbers (two levels - scene numbers and take numbers) and uses visual elements like arrows to describe camera or actor movement.
For dolly zooms or transitions, the storyboard artist has to use extended image frames (like a very wide image to describe a horizontal camera rotation) or he makes graphic top views and marks the camera positions und transitions.
It is IMPORTANT to make a storyboard just as simple as necessary. When a film isn't yet financed and the director shows the production company a too detailled storyboard, the producers recognize that the film is very strictly planned - and that's bad for business.
When the project is financed, the director can prefer different styles: with pen, with ink, or even with light and shadow-painting,
In the last chapter, Marcie describes the most important point - "How to get a job", as a storyboard artist.
Her hints were very helpful, I could feel her professionality and experience. She recommends to work at any project you can get, as whatever you want (she even had to carry away cow shit on an alpine pastuire for a picnic scene). By that, you can make your experiences "out there" in the real business world, and not some theoretical practices.
She also goes into detail if and how to work with an artist agency.
At the end of the book, there's a huge list of online communities, homepages, literature and films.

  10 October 2007
Acting course, yesterday and today:

-SGK (Acting Basic Course): We m,at a clap-circle, in which everybody gave an impulse forward, so we clapped, stamped, leaned our bodies, made an expression and screamed, all at the same time. The next exercise was that we got together in pairs, and while one person closed his/her eyes, the other one lead her through the room without touching or colliding the other pairs and walls. Really interesting how much people are used to see patterns in movement and try to move like they think they'll be led.
-EBT (Emotional Basic Training): Was hard this time. We first constructed, feature by feature, a very angry facial expression, watched each other and gave feedback. Then we had to affront and call each other names very quickly, what was really hard (we didn't hate each other, so it's way not that easy as if we were serious about that). Funny how everybody tried to smile after affronting somebody, signalizing not to be serious - altough this was an exercise. Then we used our anger facial expression and began to brethe very deep, shout and scream, stamp and throwingaround our arms.

A little notice: For usual, actors create their emotions based on memories or imagination. Act&Fun is the only school in europe that offers a body-based emotional training. For that, our trainer told us an anecdote: A director wanted an actor to play anger developing out of grief, so he told him to imagine a circus tent full of murdered children.
If an actor does that too long and too often, he'll be very likely to start drinking or get depressions.
When he uses his memories, there's the problem that after 300 shows in the theatre, the dead grandma memory isn't that effective any more as it was in the beginning.
So this school creates emotions via the body, very technically, controllable and still realistic.

-SPKA (Acting Bodywork): First, we made a warm-up to feel all parts of our body consciously and improving our body coordination. Then we teached each other the typical male/female behaviour of the last week, and I tell you, it was damn great to watch two good-looking girls falling into their chairs and banging the imaginated beer bottle on the table while watching soccer.
Acting like a woman was very hard for me, all the movements are so tiny, finetuned, small and soft... but I was able to produce a funny Bruce Darnell walk
-PH (Phonetik): Exact analysis of the sounds Mm, Nn, Aa, A and Ng. Additionally we trained our tongue and massaged the throat. Then we read senseless sentences with many A's, threw sounds through the room, and trained to controll the amount of air we used for differend sound intensities.
-AKS (Atem-Körper-Stimme): Very vitalizing exercises, in which we stretched our lower-rib-muscles (these are partly those we need to breath), did breathing exercises, voice training, tongue position training and stretching with combined relaxation. Many exercises are similar to Yoga. Fresh!

  10 October 2007
This week will be a character modeling week - to understand and animate characters, I want to model some of them on my own.

I haven't - except two comic characters and one deformed head - never experienced character modeling, so i sat eight hours modeling this woman. When it came down to the feet, I tried it on my own with photo references, but they look really male and weren't fitting to her, so I disconnected them again.
I'll model new ones tomorrow.
I'd be pleased about modeling critique, especially concerning meshflow and so on.
What can I improve?
(btw. it's one HyperNURBS tesselation)

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