Animations again!

It’s been a while since I updated the blog, but it’s not out of idleness. I’ve been actually pretty busy learning things and going to conventions (where I’ve learned quite a few things I might add) and updating my webcomic and my multitude of blogs and social networks that were gathering virtual dust during this semester.

Speaking of gathering dust, I’ve had this post stored for a while because I wanted to finish cleanup on some projects that I was proud of but was barely visible thanks to eraser smudge and my very thin lines which tend to be almost invisible to the lightboxes.

Each animation takes a big chunk of my time, because I’m extremely insecure of how I’ll be doing them and also because I always want to add something else that exceeds my knowledge or skills.

Let’s begin with the simple stuff: A four legged walk cycle.

 

THE WALK CYCLE

 

The goal was to make an interesting looking four legged walk. So I chose a bear, because gorillas would’ve been way too hard.  But in order to do that I made sure I did some prep sketches from anatomy books and looked at some youtube videos of bears doing silly stuff in the zoos.

 

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Looks like really cool stuff, until I sat down to animate it and every stroke looked weird. I did the first pass on paper and then took it to the laptop so I could finish the assignment at work thinking I could somehow fix it.

The result looks like a person walking in the back and something else happening in the front. Weird.

 

 


 

THE SLAP

 

This exercise is for a 6 second lip sync and action.  For my inspiration I chose that god amongst actors: Christopher Walken. I love his SNL sketches and I can spend hours failing at doing impressions of him.

In particular, I love his recurring skit for The Continental:

 

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I had to simplify a bit and figure out a way to set it apart from being just an attempt of an impression, so I went for a slap. A big crazy Tex Avery slap.

But there was a problem. I couldn’t do the voice. I wasn’t FUNNY enough.  My accent can do funny things, but it lacks the oomph necessary to make you sympathize with such a creep.

Enter Bojan.  Bless his absurd way with words.

 


 

 

TARANTISM

 

Then there’s the 20 second animation project.  For this one we had more time, so I went all out.  I didn’t just want a simple exercise, I wanted to make something that made sense and that would reflect more of what really dragged me to animation.  So, after a four legged walk and lip-sync, one of the things that I fear the most in animation, is dance.

Dance is beautiful. Well animated it can tell you a lot about the characters and about the skills of the artist behind it. Otherwise it turns into Thumbellina (look it up, or don’t if you’d rather not have animated nightmares).  So I put on my dancing shoes, went to salsa class and looked carefully at the moves I wanted to do, learned them (or attempted to) and used the knowledge in the animation.  It was fun.

But Blair told me it had to have something more than just dancing. There had to be some lip sync in this one too, so I needed the characters to say something that could lead to the dance.

Writing is hard. I can do it in Spanish in the blink of an eye, but in English it’s really hard for me.  I couldn’t think of any dialog that could be smooth enough for this.

One morning, I found this word: Tarantism.  I wrote it down on one of my sketches and it just clicked it. I wrote the bit and then looked for people to voice the characters. And failed repetitively until the deadline was looming dangerously.  Thankfully Mershad and Jean gave me the right amount of awkwardness to make it work without being creepy.

In the end it looks rough and the lines are shaky, but I’m incredibly proud of it.

 

 

 

BONUS: TRICK OR TREAT

 

The semester is over and I have spent the first month out making sure my stuff looks nice and shiny.  As an extra dose of punishment I went back to one of my animations from last year and gave it a clean up. It’s silly and gross and it was a pleasure/pain to make.

 

 

Once again, thanks for watching.

Sketch dump!

The first week off has been spent goofing off, but it’s time to get back on track and clean up a lot of the things that I left incomplete during the past few months.  There’s animations, storyboards and layouts I want to retouch and lots of ideas that are just scribbled in notepads that should be committed to paper.

I’ll do my best to make at least one full piece a week and try my hand at new techniques.

It took a while but I scanned most of my sketchbooks from this semester.  These are the ones I liked best. Enjoy!
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I’m very into toned paper sketchbooks now. I love them.

 

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And some digital stuff, just for fun.

 

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Keep visiting. It’s harder to let things go if I feel under surveillance.

Acting Assignment: Luthor Jr.

This semester had the particularity of being the most diverse when it came to assignments. Traditional Animation had assignments involving lipsync, so it became a voice acting and acting class where you had to come up with your own designs, Storyboard asked for more layout elements and character designs, Layout had a strong element of cinematography, which meant learning film appreciation and composition, the Toon Boom class was a short film production, Life Drawing focused on colors and Acting had a character development assignment.

We had to chose an animated series (existing or defunct) and come up with a character that would fit the tone of said series, while not being against the story structure of the series. It had to be a secondary character.

Our series of choice was Young Justice. A series about legacies, rebellion and breaking from the mold of our parents and mentors. What we proposed was the dark mirror to the protagonists: A group of younger villains, trying to show they’re better than the ones who preceded them.

With that in mind, I offered my take on what would be the younger mirror of one of DC Universe’s most famous villains, Lex Luthor.

Alexander Luthor II’s stat sheet:

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He presents himself as Lex Jr., a younger, more laid back leader and more approachable than his dad. He wants to show that it’s time for a new wave of villains, because he feels the old ones are out of touch with the realities of the new century. He’s all that his dad was never able to be or have. He’s handsome, admired, loved by the press, stronger, smarter and thanks to some genetic modifications, he has flowing red hair. More Richard Branson than the Wall Street tycoon that Lex Luthor is portrayed as in the modern interpretations.

He wants the heroes dead and out of the picture, and the world to know it was his idea and his methods that led to their demise. Villains are the new heroes. Villains can be popular. Greed is good and all the moral codes are a thing of the past.

However, deep insecurities lie deep under his mind. Is he just being a young version of his dad? Are the “improvements” added to his genes what makes him great? Is he just being used by his dad?

The final look of Lex Jr.:

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I played with the colors of the older incarnation of Lex Luthor, back when he was a mad scientist wearing robotic suits. And making the face as smug and punchable as possible. The red hair was another element from the old comics that amused me, so I threw it in.

Layout Assignment: Vertical Pan

This semester we had a very open assignment for Layout: Two layouts, based on our own concepts, with no restrictions besides having to show the stages of development and that the final would have no visible evident lineart.

Of course, this meant I had to come up with something crazy and complex. Here’s the first one, I’ll post the other one next week.

Concept:

A cityscape. The perfect buildings are on the background, while our POV character sees it from the shanty town. The idea is to go from detail to a very abstract cityscape.

 

Inspiration:

Real life shanty towns, like the ones you can witness in Latin America vs. Stylish cities in the vein of Robert Valley’s style.

 

First Rough:

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I know, it’s a mad man’s scribble.  The idea is barely there, while the horizon line jumps all over the place.

 

Line Art Rough:

 

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Still a bit terrible… but it starts to take shape.

 

Second Detailed Rough:

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It looks muddy and weird, but everything looks a bit more solid.

 

Final:

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There you go, some more shading, lots of screams of pain and we get to a finished piece.

Storyboard Assignment – Pan’s Labyrinth

Here’s one of those I have been wanting to share, but had no time to upload. It’s a simple concept: We have the script and an element we have to change in it. In this case, I had the choice of doing Pan’s Labyrinth instead of Buffalo 66 once again. The change: The pale man is not sitting down as the scene starts.

This was done in Storyboard Pro, and I didn’t know how to separate the scenes, but I still like it. Every line looks really crisp.

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The Portfolio for ANI – Game Design Stream

It’s time to face a Robert Frost dilemma: There’re two roads to take in the ANI program. One is for 3D Character Animation Stream (oriented at animators who want to take their craft further into 3D Animation with Maya) and the other one is for 3D Game Art and Design Stream (oriented at those artists who make the bits and pieces that go into modern videogames).

I love both paths, but I have already taken a very good course in CentreNAD for 3D Animation for Film (which was what motivated me to go further and aim for a full bachelor on Animation), so I chose to go for the Game Art path, which has more modelling involved.

However… you need to apply for it.

The creation of a new portfolio scared me and it took me a long while to figure out what to throw in it and what to take away. I took away a lot of my old 3D stuff, but left the car, lots of cartoony or designy stuff was also discarded, pretty much most of my life drawing was stripped from the final piece… and I still feel I went a bit overkill in how many things I crammed into the application.

But it’s done now and I already handed it in.

Wish me luck.

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Storyboard Assignment: Symbolism

It’s been a while since I’ve posted storyboards. Let’s fix that.

This assignment was a fun one. The idea is to use symbols and visual metaphors to foreshadow elements of the story and drive the plot forward. Flagg suggested a few extra elements and to watch Lair of the White Worm.

I decided to use a Brian De Palma kind of set-up for this one. After the last image I’ll tell you what the metaphor used was.

I hope you enjoy it.

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So… the idea was “Fly gets eaten by a spider”. Read it back and if I did it right, you’ll see the hints about that.

Note: The tattoo on her neck is the symbol of the black widow, if you didn’t catch that one.