August 24, 2013

Getting Into Character!

Woooo I just finished my first pass at acting out and filming reference for scene 10! I've been wanting to get this done for a couple weeks and finally was able to find the time. I put on an A-line dress, red lipstick, heels and pearl earrings.
 I felt pretty good about the acting I did... But I still have to download all the footage onto my computer to see how it looks. I'm excited to nit pick my own acting and then improve upon it by doing solid and communicative drawings of my characters.
I'm just trying to look and feel like Birdie and Babette! I think it's essential to try to physically be your characters when doing something like this. I had a little bit of rum too to try to loosen up but not enough apparently to feel anything. I got red lipstick on my cup. Babette is tipsy in scene 10 so I figure I should have a drink too. I'm going to have to get myself a wine glass and take some photos of my hand holding it. I do not have any wine glasses these days, not since leaving Vancouver. I used a cup to film my reference since it would have some weight and I would be able to actually drink from it. It had occurred to me to hold something stemlike, (such as a paintbrush) to simulate the poses that would come from holding a wine glass, but then I wouldn't be able to pretend to drink properly and it wouldn't have the necessary weight.
Here's the fancy schmancy camera I got to use; a canon 7D. It's a pretty sweet camera for photos as well as filming video. I used a 10-22mm lens. It's suuuch a wide lens! It totally peeks around corners and sees things the human eye can't from the same position. I think it's going to be pretty interesting to look back at my years of footage and see all the places I lived and the situations I was in at the time of filming. This time I'm in my apartment in San Francisco. It's tight living quarters here! The camera was placed just outside the kitchen so that I would have to space to move around.
There's one take where I tried to actually drink while filming and got a little too ahead of myself. The rum dribbled down my face so I had to break and reshoot that :P Behold, hair twirling inspired by Babette:

August 20, 2013

Preparing for a Character Animation Scene!

Anyone else thinking of going to CTN Animation Expo this year? I've wanted to go every year that it's been held and haven't made it yet. Maybe this is the year to go. It would be sweet to go with other artists!

I've been incredibly busy recently, particularly this past week. I've started an online course to learn the basics of Maya with Animation Mentor. Tomorrow is going to be the start of week three. Every week there are two online Q & A sessions, 2 assignments and 1 video lecture. On Monday night I had to take the hubby to the hospital and we spent the whole night there with him to find out that he's got kidney stones. I napped for 2.5 hours in the wee hours of Tuesday morning and then got up to go to work. I've begun to really feel the pressure to get the animation (a baby dragon; hand drawn) for my day job completed. On Friday I worked on the dragon animation for 12 straight hours. Saturday was spent getting my homework completed. Then on Sunday I was back to working on the dragon! (I can't wait to share that animation!) So my entire week was a blur of working and sleeping and the occasional bit of Fez to relax.
a storyboard panel from shot 10
I have started to think about one of the big animation shots for Pickled. It's scene 10, the shot when Birdie speaks to Babette at the dinner party. Both of them have dialogue in this shot and it's the only dialogue in the whole film. It's pretty foolish (in an amusing way) how much walking there is in my film. Of the shots with animation in them, 17 have walking, 17 do not, and 1 has a character floating in a gravity-less environment.
Here's the scene:
Pickled: Scene 10 from Andrea K Haid on Vimeo.

I've got a really good idea of what I want to do with the shot at this point. The next step will be to film reference of myself acting it out. This is going to help me technically, and it will also give me a chance to crawl into the character's minds a bit more. The toughest part about animation, at least for me, is truly understanding and communicating a character to an audience. I've put the pressure on myself to succeed at this at least somewhat. It's so difficult! Here's the challenge: I have to think about what the two characters in the shot are thinking and feeling, and how that manifests itself in their body language and movements, as well as the messages that they are consciously and unconsciously communicating to each other through their body language, and make sure it's all clear for the audience to comprehend as well.

I shot a bunch of reference for the 2 shots that I've already animated. I put on an outfit similar to the character in the shot and acted it all out like 50 times. That kind of thing is so thrilling to me. I want to make sure I really get into the skin of my characters because... it is not easy at all and I want to look back on my work and know that I succeeded at least a tiny bit. Here's an example of embarassing footage of this:
That there is the kitchen I had when I lived in Australia!! Oh how I miss it. There's a dishwasher.... and a dining table... a microwave... organised utensils in a drawer... cake decorating supplies... such finery I no longer possess.

And this is why I will be alone when I film the reference for my next shot. It's a lot easier to act silly and natural for me when no one is watching.

August 11, 2013

Art Roundup! Images from my short film; Pickled

I just wanted to showcase a few paintings and character designs and such as I haven't done so before.
Here's Birdie; a 1950's lady who was raised to think that being a great cook is the best way to score a hubby!
Designed by the fabulous Deanna Marsigliese who now designs for Pixar.
This is a hand animated shot of Birdie
Here is the lucious Babette and her whiskey loving hubby
The outdoor dinner party scene
Some costume designs for Birdie
Here's a screen cap of the finished Cash rig done in Toonboom and my reference files
The cathedral
A wonderful jello mold, with olives! Mmm.
The kitchen
The dinner table
Knives in the kitchen at night
An early pass on character designs, very UPA inspired!

Scene 10 - Progress Update

I've been polishing up this shot for a little while and was happy enough with it to put it on a demo reel. It's not %100 done ye...