Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Universe of Trouble Ep.12 Storyboard

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

My Favorite Ep. 11 Scenes!

On the afternoon before Thanksgiving, I looked at the remaining scenes that needed to be done. My schedule said I'd finish them by Dec. 26.

But I couldn't wait.

I decided that I would spend the entire 4-day Thanksgiving weekend cranking out the last 7 scenes and end credits for Ep. 11.

And I did it!

It took 10 hours of work on Thanksgiving, 9 hours of work on the day after and 2.5 hours on Saturday to complete the scene but I did it!

This was a HUGE victory because it puts me one entire month ahead of schedule. I'm enjoying making this series and I'm satisfied with and proud of the results but…I'm eager to move on to learning and doing other things. So the sooner I can finish this and get it out into the world, the happier I will be.

Here are two of my favorite scenes from Ep. 11:


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Practice—Scribble and Spaghetti Noodle Gestures 11/22/16

I'm posting these practice drawings to show that daily practice will cause improvement to show. I may not be there yet but I'm determined to continue trying and you should, too, if you're trying to get better at anything.

Also, my approach to drawing gesture has evolved since I started this area of practice. I'll talk more in future posts about whose gesture methods and ways of thinking I've learned and am practicing.

5 second "scribble" gesture drawings made with black Pentel Touch Sign Pen on smooth newsprint. I stopped using the brown Pentel pens because for some reason, they weren't as inky as the black pens.

30 second "spaghetti noodle" gesture drawing made with Conté à Paris Pierre Noir B charcoal pencils on smooth newsprint.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Lesson Learned—Make Color Scripts

The color script of a film serves multiple purposes. It’s an overview and a map of the color, lighting, emotion and moods of a film.

Here are some color scripts from Pixar:

As I make this animated web series, I want to document what I did right and what I did wrong to help others avoid making the same mistakes as they create their projects. I documented some early lessons and mistakes at this post

My latest mistake and therefore lesson learned is that I should have done a color script for the entire series instead of making things up as I got to them. For example, the color choices I made for the lizards, their planet, the flying eye and the Repairwoman’s lizard suit all blend together too much:

If I had known to make a color script at the beginning of this project, I would have known that these choices weren’t sufficiently distinct and I would have made different choices.

At this point I’m stuck with the choices I made; changing them would be too time-consuming. 

But I NOW know for future projects, not only do I need a completed storyboard but I also need to determine the color and lighting BEFORE I start to ensure that all of the scenes work together and that the viewer can clearly see the differences among the foreground, middle ground background and the characters.

I made this mistake so you don’t have to!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Studying Gesture—Kimon Nicolaides

I'm working from a variety of drawing resources to "hack" my learning—to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible.

Now that I've settled on developing my gesture drawing skills as the foundation of my abilities, I want to know as much about it and the best way to approach it.

I'm pulling from 9 sources of gesture drawing lessons and I wanted to devote a full post to each source.

The first source of gesture drawing instruction is from Kimon Nicolaides. I've had his book "The Natural Way to Draw" for many years and have tried about 3 times to follow his specific course of study. Due to time limitations and my own lack of discipline, I always gave up, but the lessons I learned were important and the exercises were often fun.

After contour drawing, the second lesson Nicolaides teaches is gesture. His method is that you're to feel the movement of the whole form in your whole body. You're to focus on the entire figure and should keep the whole thing going at once.

But I think this is the key to gesture drawing from the book: "Draw rapidly and continuously in a ceaseless line, from top to bottom, around and around, without taking your pencil off the paper. Let the pencil roam, reporting the gesture."

When I first started doing these studies, I removed my pencil from the paper to draw each part of the body separately. But once I read about keeping the pencil on the paper, I found that both the experience and the results improved.

So that's the Nicolaides scribble gesture method in more detail. "The Natural Way to Draw" has gotten mixed reviews. I like it's discipline and the way it breaks learning to draw into a curriculum that let's your newly-learned skills build upon each other. Even if you don't follow the curriculum as presented, I recommend trying some or all of the book's exercises in the time that you have.

Happy drawing!

Friday, November 18, 2016

See Robert Valley's "Pear Cider and Cigarettes" NOW!

I've been inspired by a lot of animation lately.

The work coming out of the Ecole de l'image Les Gobelins is amazing. Like this:

So there's a lot of animation—especially hand drawn/2D animation—out there to inspire and emulate.

And one person's work that I'm really loving is Robert Valley. He draws like this:

And he animates like this:

He's amazing! And although I wish that all of his women weren't insanely skinny, I love the ethnic diversity of his characters, something that many artists don't do. Usually diversity, especially of women, translates into one blonde, one brunette and one redhead. Hair color diversity! Obviously, that leaves out a lot of other people.

So when I heard that Valley not only made a 35-minute mature film that was accompanied by an ebook and tutorials, all available for purchase, I bought them immediately!

A page of thumbnails from "Pear Cider and Cigarettes" making of book. Valley explains why doing thumbnails is important.

And if you're interested in being an independent animator, I recommend you purchase the film and the bonus features of the ebook, tutorials and commentary.

I've watched the film twice (and intend to watch it again with the commentary), studied his ebook, which contains the original script, and went through all four of the Photoshop tutorials. And it was the most inspirational and educational experience for which any independent animator could hope.

A page from "Pear Cider and Cigarettes" making of book. 

One idea in particular that I thought was incredibly smart was that Valley designed the artwork for the graphic novel to also be used in the film. To keep the work to a minimum, he used a specific aspect ratio— 19:9—that worked for his graphic novel panels as well as for the film frames. The graphic novel ended up essentially being a storyboard for the film! 

Each panel of the graphic novel is a layered Photoshop file. Valley then takes that completed panel and puts it into a Premiere file and times it to music. This creates a placeholder/animatic showing the timing of every scene. He would then take the panel art and extend it and adjust it to create the animation for the film. So awesome!

A page from "Pear Cider and Cigarettes" making of book.

The ebook contains links to YouTube for the music, which is just as great as the animation. I downloaded the whole playlist. I'm listening to it as I write this! And it has a private password to watch Valley's "Shinjuku" animation, a precursor to the methods he used in "Pear."

A page from "Pear Cider and Cigarettes" making of book.

Valley's "Pear" is a big step in the direction of convincing people that animation isn't just for children and is a great medium for adult topics.

"Pear Cider and Cigarettes" is available for rent or purchase at Vimeo.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Part 04—Andrew Loomis's "Creative Illustration": Informal Design

In Creative Illustration, Andrew Loomis explains that one of the functions of line is to produce informal design.

Here's an animated version of Loomis's various examples of informal design: