15
Jul
12

Classical Dance: Great Reference for Animators!

Last weekend, I went with my wife to a Bharatnatyam dance show. My mom used to teach Bharatnatyam during my school days so it was a bit nostalgic to see those movements.

But this time watching the show, I was too critical for the movement and gestures as an animator. And I realized classical dance are a great source of reference for animators to study – posing, arcs, ease-in and ease-out, follow through, etc.

Bharatnatyam Dance

Bharatnatyam Dance

The best part was there were two dancers – one was really good and the other one was a bit stiff. You could easily see the difference in the movement from a not an experienced dancer to an experienced one! The principles of animation still apply!

Bharatnatyam

15
Jul
12

Project Ror Fanbase Still Alive!

Recently, I stumbled across a gallery of artwork and screenshots of a project I worked on almost 8-9 years ago. The project was a fan campaign/mod for WarCraft III called Project RoR. I had so much fun working on that WC3 Game Mod. I am so happy to see someone is keeping the work and credit alive!

Project RoR Surgeon

Project RoR Surgeon

Project RoR Gallery

08
Oct
09

Midnight doodle

Midnight doodle

Midnight doodle

I have not been posting much recently on my blog. That’s a good sign in a way. It means I have been quite busy with lots to do. And also been doodling a lot now and then… More to come soon…

26
Jul
09

Animation: Is it only for children?

For years, animated films have been considered as entertainment packages only for children. Sure, your parents might have sat down and watched with you “The Lion King” and really enjoyed it. But they would not watch it on their own if they had to, after all it’s a kids movie.

Ever since Mickey Mouse started whistling, animation has been ghettoized as a children’s medium and its practitioners condemned to anonymity.

Pixar has been trying to change that as they always make films not targetting only the children. However, they still have a long way to go.

I was walking in a DVD store looking for the film “Cars”. I found it in the children’s section. Seriously, all the animated films were available in children’s section. Even a film like “Persepolis” is found in children’s section. Persepolis is no way a children’s movie.

I think stores should organize these movies not in children’s section but in Animated Films Category… Till then, it’s still a long way for people to take this medium of story telling seriously for adult audience…

09
Jun
09

Why is classical animation so important?

Why is classical animation so important? Or let me rephrase it: Why animating for CG sucks?

I am sure lot of animators have now realized the importance of knowing classical animation. The knowledge of 12 basic principles of animation.

However, I found tons of animators who have no classical background miss out on one major aspect of classical animation – there is no computer to do any inbetweens. In other words, there is no scope for being lazy.

How many times a CG animator has animated a simple cloth by animating bones? Nowadays, it’s so easy to just do a cloth simulation and bake the keys. However, when you animate the cloth by bones that deform it, you learn a lot.

From my experience in animating, I noticed that whenever I animate something I animated before, it becomes much easier to animate. Duh, right!!! Exactly, my point. The more you animate different objects, characters, etc; the more you collect the information gained in your knowledge bank.

There is another reason for not using computer simulations for objects like cloth, hair, etc. Animation is just a medium of telling your story across. The more we are gearing towards realism in animation, the more at times usage of it becomes impractical imo. It’s an art form! In classical animation, when animators animated a character, they had to animate all secondary objects and these were part of the character. Not a simulated object that you add later on. An example – the cape of a super hero adds a lot to the keyposes.

Lot of good movie rigs have the ability to control the simulated parts by an animator. This is very important!

I will post more on this with examples in future but for now stop being lazy and start animating some secondary objects. You will learn a lot…

28
Apr
09

Why An Aquarius Mind?

Few people asked me why I came up with the title An Aquarius Mind for my blog!

It was just by chance when I was creating my twitter account’s background picture – I put the title “An Aquarius Mind”. I actually wrote the title as a take on the film “A Beautiful Mind” directed by Ron Howard starring Russell Crowe.

Why Aquarius? The Aquarian philosophical and spiritual bent may help the many who have scientific leanings to combine these with the Aquarian yearning for the universal recognition of the brotherhood of man, and to embark on scientific research to fulfill their philanthropic ideals of benefiting mankind. Aquarians are usually associated with technology and the future.

Finally, I myself am an Aquarius.

27
Apr
09

Are you burning out?

I have been doing animation since I was 16. I got introduced to Adobe Photoshop by my brother when I was 15 and I was so excited. It was a totally different medium. I could add filters, lens flare to my drawings. At that time, they looked great (lens flares are very cheezy now). I used Gif Animator to create my first computer animations. It was amazing. I had found something that I enjoyed doing so much and there was no stopping me. I was churning out tons of gif animations.

Then I found out Macromedia Flash (now known as Adobe flash) and I created my first proper character animation. I made a bird flying with the clouds passing by and it was a loop. It marked my entry into the world of animation…

It’s been almost 10 years now and I have used some of the most famous 3D Animation packages – Softimage XSI, Autodesk Motion Builder, Autodesk 3D Studio Max, Autodesk Maya.

I love animation. It’s my passion and my hobby. However, I have reached stages where I have burned out multiple times. So, are you burning out?

Are you burning out?

Are you burning out?

It’s imminent that eventually you will feel burned out. Your brain will be saturated and you won’t be able to create animations with the same enthusiasm and passion that you used to before. Will it ever come back or have you lost it?

Don’t panic! Just like writers have writer’s block. We animators also have an animator’s block. There are stages where we reach a saturation point and it becomes difficult to produce content as easier as before.

How do you deal with this? Mostly this happens when you try to force producing animation. Remind yourself, why you entered this industry at the first place! It’s your hobby. Your passion!

People in the industry get burned out a lot. This usually happens because of deadlines, stress, constant criticism from multiple people, etc. Over the years I have realized some very important lessons in life. I am sure there are a lot more lessons to learn and hopefully I will learn them sooner. But one major lesson I learnt is that never make your hobby your profession. This is the biggest cause of burning out. When animation was your hobby, it was your leisure time. Something you did for fun, not for making a living. That’s a big difference!

However, if something is your passion, it’s obvious you should be making a living out of it. After all as it is something you love doing, you must be good at it. So, how do you balance from hobby to a profession?

I tend to love the animations I create at work but I never get attached to them. Basically, I remind myself that it’s still work and they can be changed, thrown, modified, etc. Once I keep that in mind, I don’t feel the emotional stress when an animation I create at work is altered in any way.

Another important point is the criticism. Animation is one department where you will get criticism from everyone possible. This is great as you want to grow as an animator and take good feedback from everyone. However, not everyone gives consistent feedback and there are high chances you cannot take all inputs given as you cannot please everyone. Lot of animators who start fresh in the industry tend to do this mistake. They take feedback from everyone and they change their animation numerous times until they reach a saturation point where they cannot work on the animation anymore.

My advice on this would be to fix specific source of constructive criticism and create your own filter. You don’t need to argue or defend every criticism given. But you have the control of what you take and what you don’t. Usually, if you work in the industry, you should stick to taking criticism from your lead animator or director. After all, that’s one of their tasks. One of the job of a lead animator is to make sure that all animators create consistent animations that base themselves on the character style guide and the project’s requirement. Sometimes you might get a great feedback from a source you did not expect. Maybe the Sound designer or even one of your family member might give you a point or two that you did not notice as you were focusing so much on the detail. That’s great because as professionals we focus too much on the actual mechanics while losing the aim of the animation – to tell a story.

So, the best way to deal with criticism is filter them. Take a notepad and jot down all the feedback given. Put them with different priorities. The ones given by your supervisor are probably given a high priority slot. Some of the feedback you could put them in “To try if I have time” slot while some you could try them quickly as they are very easy to do. This way you don’t burn yourself out taking every possible criticism given as you have a deadline to meet and yet you can produce good animation on time.

Is animation your only hobby? Make sure you have other interests to pursue as this way you give your animation side some rest. This is very important as when you pursue other hobbies, you recharge your animation batteries.

This way you can spend some time creating your own animations that do not adhere to strict deadlines, work pressure, etc. and you can continue enjoying what you love doing most – animating!




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.