Saturday, July 25, 2009

Jumping Jack Flash

We generaly don't have a lot of time to actually create something decent in our Toon Boom class. It's just a few short hours on a Saturday morning, so we usually watch a demonstration and then get a quick task to do to test the tools and methods shown.

The walk cycle below was done a few weeks back in Storyboard Pro, which I'm not all that impressed with (I find it extremely limited). We just had a few minutes to put a walk cycle together and try out some things, like adding and editing sound, so it's not a finished piece or anything. It was a stroke of luck that I found this sound clip on the computer I was using, complete with dog yapping and chariots of fire. And it was the first track I opened! Definitely had karma on my side that day. I only wish I'd had time to do a bit more with it.

The second short is what I managed to do today (and last Sat) in Digital Pro. Things are starting to get a bit more complicted, but I'm not yet convinced that I couldn't do all of this in Flash, which to me seems a lot simpler and easy to use. I'm sure that once I get the hang of Toon Boom and start getting into the nitty gritty of cut-out animation, inverse-kinematics, lip-synching and so on, that I'll be a whole lot more impressed, but for now it's slow going learning to do some basic things in a seemingly complicated way. The good news is that we're going to have a bit more time to develop this little short as next week we finally get to create backgrounds. Yay! But this is where it's at for now.... I know - it's tiny, but I have my reasons for that...

Monday and Tuesday I'll be attending Animation Day 1 and Day 2 which is being run as part of the Durban International Film Festival - there'll be presentations by some of my CFAD teachers, screenings of animated films, a Toon Boom presentation, and some discussion about the animation industry... so we'll see if I have anything interesting to report back.

Right now, Im totally distracted by ET which is on the telly... and they've just done the flying bicycle scene. :) Love that. And how weird to hear the voice from the 'Speak and Spell' thing that we had as kids... "Spell nuiscance. Correct. Now spell question...." I remember that voice like it was yesterday!

Friday, July 24, 2009


It's been a busy month. I've mostly been working on the compilation and layout of a 77 page corporate branding document which outlines the guidelines for application of the client's various company logos and other design elements. And doing some fun animation which I'll post here soon. Only just got around to finishing my cartoon for the next issue of Spill the Beans Mag which comes out in the next week or so, so here's the preview:
(click to see larger version)
I've had the idea for this one in my head for some time now, and every time I thought about it, I'd crack up laughing, thinking it's the funniest thing on earth. But now I'm beginning to wonder about my sense of humour. I tested it on my dad last night and he didn't find it funny at all. But then, he didn't get the last one either.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I only have eyes for you

Having now watched WALL-E for the second time, I am once again amazed at how little is required to breathe life and emotion into a character. There is practically no dialogue at all in a large part of the movie, which is pretty incredible in itself, but what struck me the most was the simplicity of the face of EVE. She has only eyes. No eyebrows or even pupils. No nose, no mouth, no malleable flesh to move around. Just eyes. And yet she has so much character and is able to communicate and show emotions really successfully. Using just her eyes. Granted, the tilt of the head, the speed of the movements, the sound effects and other obvious or even subtle elements of scene itself, all contribute to getting the message across, but EVE is basically a floating shiny white egg, with eyes (and occassionally arms).

So the lessons I have learnt from EVE: 1. How easy it really is to present an emotion by simply changing the basic shape of your characters eyes.

and 2. Your eyes will always give you away.