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.
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.
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:
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.
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.