Monday, January 16, 2017

Studying Gesture—Combining Methods

Last year I made the mistake of going through the Prokopenko Figure Drawing Fundamentals lessons too quickly. I saw the lessons as "easy" and in my eagerness to improve quickly, I dedicated no more than two weeks to each lesson.

Needless to say, NONE of the lessons stuck!

Once it became clear that the skill of gesture drawing was the foundation for all figure drawing, I returned to studying and practicing it mindfully.

I'm dedicating four weeks to each lesson this time to ensure that I get it. I'm also combining methods from various instructors to see which work best for me.

Currently, my daily practice involves a warmup of circles, ellipses, egg shapes and straight lines. The circles, ellipses and straight lines I got from the Watts Atelier. The egg shapes I do because of Samantha Youssef.

I returned to the Youssef method after dismissing it the first time I studied it (I also dismissed the movie Tekkonkinkreet the first time I saw it and now love it having watched it again recently! Funny how age changes the way you look at things.) Originally I found the method involved too much thinking and too many steps to follow in the short period that models pose.

Well, I looked at it again and now understand how her methods relate to Prokopenko, Vilppu and Nicolaides. I'm making the connection among these various methods, finally understanding what they mean and how they're different ways of teaching the same principles. This is how I'll eventually arrive at the best gesture and figure drawing method for ME.

Next post: what combining Prokopenko and Youssef looks like.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

New 27" iMac!

I'll admit, I didn't necessarily WANT this gigantic computer (it weighs 21 pounds and my arms were sore for 2 days after from carrying it home.)

What I DID want was a computer with the power to last for several years and to handle my animation, 3D rendering and film editing software. I would've preferred a laptop for the portability option but a desktop will do fine (especially since the latest MacBook Pro eliminated most of its ports and I REALLY need ports.)

It was recommended to me that I get a computer that will allow for parts to be removed in case they fail instead of having one where everything is integrated. That requirement combined with a video card that works well with both Toon Boom Harmony and Adobe gave me one option: the 27" iMac.

It's been a few weeks now and I'm absolutely loving this machine! Yes, it's a little big for my desk and I miss the portability of the laptop but the power of this machine makes up for all of that. I no longer have a use for my second monitor since the iMac's is so large.

I swapped out the 8GB of RAM that it came with and replaced it with…32GBs! It boots up in 10 seconds and effortlessly runs animation and video editing software simultaneously. I. LOVE. IT!

The speakers are so awesome that I no longer need the external speaker. The wireless keyboard and mouse frees up ports (4 USB, 2 Thunderbolt). And although I chose the smaller 512GB Flash storage instead of the 1TB, having less space forced me to clear my harddrive by moving all of my iTunes music to an external drive (the drive that I salvaged from the MacBook). Besides, I can always upgrade it later.

The only issue was that I was now forced to switch from Animate Pro to Harmony mid-project which is exactly what I didn't want to do. The change, however, has gone a lot smoother than I expected and Toon Boom even converted a few files for me.

I'll talk more about how much I'm liking Harmony in another post.

Ultimately, I consider the purchase of this machine as an investment into my future.

Now back to work!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

White MacBook Crashed!

It was going to happen eventually.

My white MacBook stopped booting up suddenly. The only bright spot of losing that computer is that the harddrive didn't fail. It was more likely the logic board.

Bye bye laptop, hello shiny, new desktop!

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!