13 December 2011

Week 11 - Splinning the Personality Walk

I'm so sorry to be late this week! Got started early with the holiday celebrations and was enjoying life around Barcelona! Great start of the week, but now I have to settle down for a while and start working. First stop: Updating my blog! Whatever comes next, I'm afraid you'll have to wait to see! So this last week was heavy workwise. I had to redo the peg leg at leats 6 times! And still, I wasn't happy with the result. But first the pose (Balance) - it's a breakdancing rastafari. Why not? It's almost Christmas, after all...

Now about the peg walk, I chose to had some fun with the scenario, I did the bridge, waves and background myself and downloaded and modified the boat. Was hard to find a good angle for the walk, I think this was the best choice to show the animation in it's best. It's the assignment I'm the least satisfied with so far, but hey, hopefully me mentor Chad will give me some genius insights on how to improve it, as usual, and I'll be able to make it better!

And for the weekly bonus, I give you a 22min short from Dreamworks, based on one of their best movies to date, "How to Train Your Dragon". Enjoy, I promise it is worthy the time! (edit: ooops, video has been removed, guess that's not an option anymore... Well, enjoy the trailer then!)

04 December 2011

Week 10 - Personality Walk

Hey animators (and regular people too!). Here we are, we've reached week 10, which means 2 weeks left for the end of the term. It's amazing how time is flying in this school! This time I'll start out with the pose - exhaustion! Inspiration came from another AM«s student previous work i found on google, where a serial killer is tired of killing loads of innocent people. I've changed a bit the context, why not putting it on a Roman/Greek war instead? Who doesn't like Gladiators!? The final result was more or less like this:

Last week we had to do a Vanilla Walk. This week's flavor was to our own choice, the only requirement was to use our imagination to make a walk with personality, obeying to an harsh time constrain of 100 frames maximum! My walk is an wooden leg guy's walk. As you've maybe noticed already, I usually enjoy hurting my characters (look at my poses! There's always someone/thing hurt!) - don't have a bad impression of me tho, I love people and animals! <3 - sooo anyway I'd LOVE to make my character fall of a cliff, resulting in the comic yet unfortunate loss of the only leg he still has! Here it is:

And for this week's weekly bonus (i love to say that!) I give you Gotcha, my faithful dog! This is me recording myself for reference, but he came over and just stole the show. Also, I'd like you to see this amazing showreel of the Animation Studio "Blur". Cool game cinematics, commercials, really top stuff! And thumbs up for the song!

27 November 2011

Week 9 - Introduction to Walk Cycles (Part II)

What a week! I had way less time to work on the assignments - I didn't do any work until Wednesday, as I was in Barcelona spending some quality time before I left to Portugal once again. There were 3 birthday dinners, one of them which happened twice - my brother's, who turned 18! (Now he can go to jail, just like I already can, but we won't hopefully. Saturday night was also pretty big, as the two football clubs from my home city, Lisbon, clashed against each other! My team lost, but at least our supporters gave hell to their stadium... it was literally burning! And also I got a new addiction, which I will control in the coming weeks, but I'll leave that part for the weekly bonus section.
Now, about the assignments. This weeks we were supposed to finish last week's work - fill those empty frames, spline those stepped keys, unblock the blocking! It was harder than I first thought, but that happening doesn't surprises me anymore. Only someone who knows how to animate or to create 3D stuff in general really understands how hard it all is. It looks so easy from the cinema bench! Here's my final result - Can't wait to hear my mentor's eCritique, I know it can improve in a lot of ways but I'll need some guidance with that! Here it is:

And once again, and for the last time in the full AM course (!) we had to pose STU. This week's feeling was "Concern". I choose to illustrate it with fair-play between 2 rival football players, as it was Derby week. It looked more or less like this:

And that's that. In this week's bonus I'd like to share an awesome videogame. It's called Skyrim, it comes from a line of games that I didn't really heard of before (Elder Scrolls), but I've been playing it this week for a while, it's quite cool! You are free to do what you want in the game, go wherever you want, the world is Huge! The soundtrack is amazing, it's the most interesting game I've seen, the studio did a great job, I would love to work with them! Here's a video about it:

And yes, this is the new addiction I was telling you about :)

18 November 2011

Week 8 - Introduction to Walk Cycles

Hi ladies and gentle-animators. Seems like this week I've done everything too fast! It's only Friday and I'm happy with what I have. I'll upload my assignments, but if I change something I'll upload the new version.
This week we started a 2 week long assignment, called the Vanilla Walk. "In what differs a Vanilla Walk from, say, a Chocolate one?" some of you might wisely ask. A Vanilla walk is the most simple walk possible, without any personality. The type of walk a normal person, in a normal day, is walking from one place to another, for no reason, would do. In this week we're supposed to Block the Animation, making the key poses of the walk, which in a 24 frame two step cycle would mean 6 frames actually animated. We have to make a 4 step walk cycle, which means 48 frames long! next week we'll smooth it out, and working on the timing of everything. Here's mine:

And the planning:

Also poses are back. The theme: Physical Strength. I took this one a bit far, as I used it to serve my sweet revenge against Tailor, the really hard character to animate! instead of 1 pose, I did 3 poses, who work together as a single on, or at least that's what it is suppose to!

And some sketches I did on a train - the trembling made it really hard!

And for this week's bonus, I leave you with some trailers that are rocking the animation world! Ice Age 4 (will Scrat ever get boring), Brave (next Pixar film, based in the clans of Scotland!) and Immortals, a movie that I found out today but it looks very promising!

And here's tha making of some animation and 3D effects of Immortals - Pretty impressive!

And for last, I'd like to let you know that I'm meeting more AMers, based in barcelona, Spain! Dan Raigorodsky, who is starting in Winter, and Carles Salvany, who is already on the Acting classes, both from Barcelona. I've met Dan and I'll see Carles on Monday, before i return to Portugal. Also, good to know that Kiko Romano is being awesome at his 3D degree in 9zeros, in barcelona as well ;)

14 November 2011

Week 7 - Meet Tailor!

Hey again! So I'm a tad tight on time to do this one, I'll rush it a bit. This week's assignment was to animate Tailor, one of the least animated characters in the Animation Mentor course, yet one of the most famous and without any doubts, the most popular! He's a ball with a furry tail attached, fact that somehow makes him a squirrel. It's like Scratch from Ice Age, but without legs, arms, spine, eyes, mouth, nose, and so many more stuff that a ball doesn't have!
It was fun yet hard to animate it. That's a good thing, I learned so many things from it! I did 957 versions, and I think I've changed every single key twice. By the end, I decided to delete a big part of my animation so I could animate it frame by frame, control by control, and I think the result was pretty satisfying. It was just like last week, where we had to animate the pendulum, but now the "pendulum" was not only affected by the physical movement of Tailor's body (the ball), but also by his personality, his feelings. That resulted in a contrast between Happy and Frightened, regarding tail movement, and that was a nice final touch. Enough of blabla, here's the video. Again, Motion-Blur first, and the normal assignment version afterwards. Oh oh, and by the way, first time I didn't use the maximum frame limit. It was 120 frames maximum, I used only 96! I hope Chad let's me use the ones I saved for next week's assignment!

Sadly, I can't think of any cool animation related weekly bonus today. I'll just share this video, shared by my mom on Facebook. In these times of crisis, it's inspiring to see a video of this nature, I hope it touches you! English audio, Portuguese subtitles:

08 November 2011

Week 6 - The Pendulum

Damn! The first phrase is always the hardest, then it just kinda flows! So I'll just start with a simple: Hey! Lost some minutes there deliberating a cool entry start, this one got lousy tho! Sorry for that, let's move on.
This week we had to work on overlapping action, successive breaking of joints, follow-through, drag, all of that good jazz! It looks easy and simple on paper, but when we get down to animating it, all that magical world of easiness, rainbows and fancy unicorns disappears! In my opinion this way, by far, the hardest assignment so far! And I made it a bit harder by adding a bouncing ball (just couldn't get enough of animating that). Here's the final result:

And my initial Planning:

And just so I can give you a reason to check this weekly other than to meanly laugh of my assignments, here's my weekly bonus of the week!
It was just another fresh Autumn end of the day, waiting for a Q&A that never was to start I was. Suddenly, a ray of bright white light comes from my window, as everything in my room starts to levitate and shake. The angels start to sing, and a lonely tear comes to my eye... Bobby Beck is talking to me individually on the AM chat box, by his own initiative! I run and I jump and I scream and I cheer and I cry of happiness! For those who don't know - shame on them - Bobby is one of the 3 co-founders of Animation Mentor, a legendary animator from another planet who everyone admires! He worked on all the big names, he's to me what Kelly Slater is to my surfer brother!
He was super nice, he was after some student's point of view of the school, and wanted to check if everything was going well with me, both in and out of the animation world! I congratulated him for his recently born first child, and we chatted a little bit before he had to leave to do something awesome, probably saving puppies from a fire or defeating a two-headed Godzilla. Or whatever awesome people do nowadays. Here's a pic of the chat!

30 October 2011

Week 5 - Squash&Stretch it!

Hey folks, week 5 is over and I have to say, this week was a lot of fun! The lecture was about the principles of Anticipation, where Squash and Stretch were widely explored. It was interesting to watch as always, there was a part when Shawn Kelly showed us a "no anticipation land", to explain how vital is anticipation, even if you're animating "realistically" - anticipation is everywhere, no matter how small it is!
To demonstrate we mastered the notions learned, we had to animate our old friend Bouncing Ball (spoiler: it's the last time!) going through an obstacle course! With the frame limit just at 120, we had to come up something cool, using (and editing) one of 11 possible scenarios provided by AM. My choice was to edit my own, resulting in this:

First Part is with motion blur, disallowed for the "official" assignment, and the second one is without, therefore, the official one.

And, STU is back to get Posed big time! This week's emotion was Devastation. I made a tad exaggerated theatrical one - and also, to show the actor's true feelings, I killed his pet squirrel on stage. Sadly, I've discovered that I'll need that squirrel for one of my future assignments. Bummer.

And the weekly bonus:
This Sunday I went to "Festival Internacional de Banda Desenhada 2011" (www.amadoradb.com), which is pretty much the Portuguese version of Comic-Con, and I've met Filipe Andrade in person! Filipe is an award-winning illustrator who's working for Marvel, in America. We've just spoken briefly online before, and it was so cool to chat with him - he sketched this while we were speaking!

You can find his blog on the "cool people" tab, on the left side menu of my blog. Check it out!
That is all, see you next week!

23 October 2011

Week 4 - Dealing with weights

That's it, 1 month of Animation Mentor as already passed by! I feel like these next 17 months will pass FAST.
So this week was all about Timing and Spacing, which combined are one of the Principle of Animation. We were taught on how to use it depending on other factors such as Weight, Inertia, Momentum, Gravity, Acceleration and Deceleration. Keys, Inbetweens, Slow-in and Slow-out, among others, were concepts also successfully brain-washed into our brains! So bottom line, we had to learn all this to animate this amazingly complicated, creative and awesome scene, full of emotional breakdowns and story twists: The 5-second 2 Ball bounce. Our assignment was to use time and spacing in order to show the difference of weights on two balls, through animation. You're right, I lied about the scene, but it was still pretty interesting to do!
This week I followed my mentor's wise advice and I did my planning BEFORE i actually animated the scene! Here it is:

I know, it looks awesome, with different color pencils and all! From this, I've animated and re-animated and counter-animated and angry-animated my scene several times - I'm sorry, I've lied again. I'm never sad or angry when I animate) - and with the help of my awesome peer buddy, my cool class-mates and this campus mentor dude who casually dropped by, improved it until I got my final result:

And there was no pose this week :( Next week though we can canalize all our positive energies on sketching and posing the pose of DEVASTATION, so look forward to that please!


16 October 2011

Week 3 - Excited about Bouncing Balls

And week 3 it's coming to the end! Two hours before the deadline and everything is ready to go.
This week there were two different assignments:
For the first one, like last week, we had to sketch some simplified pose drawings and then use the pose on STU in Maya. Only difference this week was that we had to give a feeling of excitement to the pose. Here are my sketches and the final pose:

The second part of the assignment was to animate (yes!) a simple bouncing ball on Maya, based on how a basketball or football would do it - we had to search/film some video reference. This is how mine turned out, I'm quite happy with the final result even tho I wasn't very creative on this one! I was trying to learn the basic stuff so I can innovate in the next bouncing assignments!

And great news, everyone! I've an awesome Peer Buddy (peer buddy is someone who is more advanced in AM than you and is your own student-mentor!). She's from the UK, I present to you Tegan Jephcott! here's her blog

And here's the bonus printscreen of this week's Q&A with Chad! (pay attention to the chat box).


07 October 2011

Week 2 - First real assignment, posing STU!

And here I am for week 2 update. This week I'm finishing early (Friday) as I won't have any free time this weekend, as my girlfriend's family are now doing a 10 hour long car trip to visit me in Lisbon, from Spain!
About the assignment now, we were required to go outside to a public place and start drawing people in a simplified way, the only thing that matters here was the "pose", and not the drawing skills or detail on the sketches. I did some tries and it was awful at first. Then I read Wayne Gilbert's "Simplified Drawing for Planning Animation" (http://anamie.com/anamie_book.html) and it all became easier. I also got some inspiration from comics and draw some cool poses. Here they are:

Posing STU was more complicated than I expected, I've done loads of options and 2 different poses. In the end I preferred the Shovel pose from a sideways point of view, mainly because the silhouette. Here they are:

To end this week's post, I'd like to thank to all the people who gave me feedback, they've made my work much easier. People from AM are incredibly helpful and cool! Here's a picture from our Q&A:

28 September 2011

Week 1 - First Q&A! Meet the class, meet the mentor

These last few days have been crazy excitement-wise! After being assigned to the "Tuesday 7AM" class, with John Nguyen - we got to chat for a while and I was really sad about having to change my class, as I considered him as my new master already! But then when I knew where I was reassigned to, it totally made up for it! My mentor is Chad Stewart, the lead animator of one of my very favorite animation movie: Surf's Up! Between others he was also in Tarzan, The Simpsons, Open Season, Stuart Little, etc. Amazing, right? I told him Surf's Up inspired me greatly, both in Animating and Surfing itself, and that me and my brother were big fans, and he said that it was great to animate it, as he's also a surfer! Coool!
It was also very nice to know that Sue, Tom and Yuri are in my class, they're really cool people I've met before starting this adventure!
For this week our assignment is to meet people and get used to the AM system. pretty easy!
I'll leave you with a picture of the Q&A (not me on cam, i totally forgot to take a screenshot! :( - it's Yuri!) and two clips of Chad's Work. Look forward to see the next update, I will have assignments then!
Great Scene
Surf's Up cool scenes
Chad's Reel

And something I've just made :)

27 September 2011

Just before AM starts...

I got a little non-animated related CGI task! I was asked to film and edit the info video of an online school, just like Animation Mentor! But in this case it's about the wonders of the brain! Here it is, fully finished. Had to go and play a little with motion graphics! That was an career option when I was younger, I was deciding between Cinema, Design, Animation, Motion Graphics... Animation it is!

19 September 2011

One Week Left! - Books and meetings

And finally, the loooong wait I've been submitted to since I first decided to join AM finally turned into a tiny little week!

During those painful months of waiting, I've been feeding my Animation hunger by reading books! I've read Richard Williams' "Animator's Survival Kit" and Kenny Roy's and Eric Luhta's "How To Cheat in Maya 2012" - both great, great books. I've learned a lot, specially in the first one, I already feel like my animation skills started to get a bit better. I'm also pretty sure that as soon as I start doing a bit more complex stuff in AM, the second one will turn incredibly useful. Another thing I've read is Shawn Kelly's "Tips and Tricks" blog, I've printed all it's entries and got them all together with a fancy cover! His skills to motivate are incredible, I've set many personal goals from reading it, it's fantastic, highly recommend it!

Here you have the links:
Animator's Survival Kit
How To Cheat in Maya 2012

I'm currently thinking of buying those, have you read them?
Stop Staring
Ideas for the Animated Short
Timing for Animation

My next step tho, is watching Richard William's DVD lectures.

During this time I've made new friends and connections related to AM and Animation. Eager Beavers, the Facebook group, is great for anyone who is about to start AM. Also, I won't forget soon all the Coffee Talks with Victoria Tripp and the Office Hours with Jay Epperhart! Such good times. I've also arranged the time for a short trip to Porto to meet the other Portuguese who are doing or are about to start AM: Leo Cunha, Sue Alves and the Martins twin bros, Sergio and Edgar! Here's a photo of us:

I'll now leave you with a short test animation I did when I was waiting for my girlfriend to come from work! The course starts in the 26th, expect an update not so far away from then! Greetings, Fonzo

29 August 2011

Work so far...

Hey again! After the boring, dull and endless introduction (sorry for that!), here's what everyone really wants to see: work. I've done all the Modelling, Rigging, Animation, Lightning, Texturing and Render of the AvR Episode, music by Joshua Buck.

My first Episode of Alien vs Robot


Hope you like it!

Background story

So this section is for the people who doesn't know me. Here's my life! Enjoy!

Born 20th July 1989, Lisbon, Portugal, I was created in a family where jokes, comedy and humor was always present. As a result, I grew up being the funny kid of the class, all the way from Kindergarden to University. Some times my playful character made everyone laugh, other times my over sized imagination made everyone think I'm crazy.

My poor parents received letters from teachers for more than a decade, saying my concentration levels were the lowest in class, as a result of my constant drawing. When I was 11 I started my own comics, called "Xugo", which I continued until I was 17. Every single edition (if you can call a couple of grid paper sheets a edition) was drown in class. Some friends joined me over the years and we made various editions together. In the last year of school, my Geometry professor, Hugo Nave, who is also a man of the arts, demonstrated interest in my work and introduced me to Toon Boom Studio, a 2D animation software. Two days a week, we would meet in the Digital Arts room and make rough animations of my cartoons. This sessions aroused my interest in animation, and somehow, defined my next years.

I was always an artistic student, and like every other student of this type I wasn't sure of what course to join when I finished school, in 2007. After deciding that Architecture wasn't my thing, I joined the course "Cinema, Video e Comunicação Multimédia" degree at "Universidade Lusófona", Lisbon. I was enjoying my degree, and my favorite subject was editing as I was able to use Adobe After Effects. Creative writing and Visual Effects were the only two things I really liked to do in the degree. I also took a professional course on Web Design during the first university year.

But it wasn't until the second year when I fell in love with a class: Animation, where we were taught the basics of 3Ds Max. The final project was a simple walk cycle with a jump in the end, using a downloaded character. I took it to the next level and made a scenario, made my own character, and made him run and do a backflip over a car that was going to hit him. the result wasn't great as my knowledge was low, but I truly enjoyed working on it. From that day on I started messing with 3Ds Max for kicks.
Decided to follow my new love, In my 3rd university year, 2009/10, I went to England as an Erasmus student. My destination was University of Salford, in Manchester. In this year I made the full local 2nd year, and successfully transfered to this University, being able to finish the degree in 2010/11. 

In Salford I was finally studying what I really wanted and what I was made to do: 3D Animation. I changed my software to Autodesk Maya, and continued working with After Effects. I felt like I was in student's heaven when I was in my first class: "Character Modelling".  The final year project (to create an animated short film) made me reach creative student's Nirvana, as I created my first art piece where I could use my creativity without boundaries. I obviously chose to do something related to my school comics, with it's characteristic non-sense humor (you can call it the "stupid type of humor"). As great references of this kind of humor, the world famous "Monty Python" (Brittish) and famous in a national level "Gato Fedorento" (Portuguese) are my idols, although neither of them is animated. 

The result was the creation of "Alien vs Robot", my first personal project I intend to continue as an animated web series. 

My next step is Animation Mentor, where I intend to learn the Art of animating characters, being a Digital Actor!

The Blog is Born!

So, as I'm currently eagerly waiting for my AM classes to start and I'm preparing myself as well as I possibly can, I decided to give birth to this online wonder called blog! As I've noticed that countless other students/mentors/professional animators/wannabes have one, I had a quick peak at some of them and they are informative, useful, and fun! The main goal of mine will be keep people who are not in AM informed about my progress and work, and to give people I'll meet in the future through AM some insight of my backgrounds. Also, it makes me feel damn important and cool!

So if you read this far, thanks a lot for the interest!
Cheers and I'll do my very best to keep this updated.