Friday, December 3, 2010

11 Second Club

Every month, an elite club of animators known as the 11 Second Club gather on the internet to battle in a competition of skill, talent, and wit.  They are given an 11-second sound clip and a month to animate the hell out of life into it.  Once the deadline has passed, club members cast their votes to determine the winners.

I'm usually a little disappointed by the high ratio of CG compared to traditional Disney-style animation. It's even more rare to see something in a style other than these two. But the top ten entries for November held a few surprises:

The Second Place winner (out of 295 entries) was not only traditionally animated, but was done by VFS classmate Aniket Natekar. I was impressed by the animation he did back in school, but he just gets better and better. Structural figures, clear poses, variety in timing, smooth action with subtle moving holds... just beautiful:

The Sixth Place entry, by Chris O'Hara, is really funny and is drawn in a flat, graphic style that is rarely seen on the 11 Second Club. I love the character design of the lion! It's not one that lends itself to a head rotation, but maybe that's part of its appeal. Using this snappy style of animation, it doesn't matter how you get from one pose to another. Great stuff:

I had never seen an 11 Second Club entry animated in clay. Last month we had two, the Fifth Place entry by Stuart Coutts, and the Eight Place entry by Michael Parks. Oddly enough, both of them feature bananas, which I wholeheartedly approve of.

Simmon Keith Barney is an animator living in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Afiŝo de mia filmo * My film poster

Jen la oficiala afiŝo pri Ĉapeloj, la unua animacia filmo origine en Esperanto:

Here's the official poster for my student project, Ĉapeloj, the first animated film originally in Esperanto:

Simmon Keith Barney is an animator living in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Life drawing alternative

Every animator understands the importance of figure drawing.  It gives an artist valuable practice drawing the human body in a variety of poses from a variety of angles.  This practice makes it easier to pose out strong key frames which are important for good animation, regardless of whether you're animating traditionally on paper, using stop-motion, Flash, or CG.  It teaches you to draw fast, which is essential to meet the strict deadlines of a production.  And, if you bother hanging on to your life drawings, you also collect a plethora of reference that's useful when you're struggling to extract a pose from memory.

Character animators aren't  the only ones to benefit from figure drawing.  Age-old wisdom states that if you can draw the human body, you can draw anything.  There is certainly some truth to this.  An inanimate object, such as a car, has a finite number of states; it has a limited number of positions it can take.  You can open the doors, the hood, the trunk, and recline the seats but, without opening up the engine, you won't see many moving parts.  If you can draw it from a 3/4 angle, you can essentially draw it from any angle.  Not so for the human body.  It twists, squashes, stretches, contorts, and takes on an endless number of shapes.  Becoming a great artist begins with training your eye to see and training your hand to draw.  If you train them on the human body, everything else is easy by comparison.

Unfortunately, unless you have access to classes through school or work, life drawing can be expensive.  And it can be hard to work into your schedule, especially if there isn't a class nearby.  So what is an artist to do when attending regular life drawing classes just isn't an option?  My colleague and fellow animator, Ayla Radies found just the thing -- an on-line Figure & Gesture Drawing Tool at Pixelovely:

Although drawing from photos isn't as good as drawing from a live model, Pixelovely's drawing tool has hundreds (maybe thousands), and automatically cycles through them at the rate you select.  I prefer 30-second gesture drawings, but the tool also does 60 seconds, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and will even emulate different length "classes" that start out short, and progress into longer poses.

They also have an Animal Drawing Training Tool, which is great if you can't make it to the zoo or the dog park to draw.

Simmon Keith Barney is an animator living in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Korpaj Desegnaĵoj / Life Drawings

Here are some life drawings from the year.  I'll need to cull it back, but for
now they should suffice.

Jen aro da bildoj desegnitaj per vivantaj pozantoj.  Indas redakti, sed ĝuste nun sufiĉas publikigi ĝin.


5-minutaj * 5-minute

2-minutaj * 2-minute

1-minutaj * 1-minute

30-sekundaj * 30-second

Simmon Keith Barney is an animator living in Fort Collins, Colorado.