Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mario Talks

Welp, I had high hopes for this animation, but I didn't quite reach the level I wanted. I'm still proud of myself for working at 24 fps, drawing a bulk of it frame by frame, and actually getting it done. It just doesn't look the way I expected. I guess I thought that if I worked at a higher frame rate then I'd be blown away and it'd look so great, but I think that'd only happen if you really know what you're doing. One problem I have is that I don't know what my keys should or should have looked like. I sketched them side by side, cleaned them up and added one more, and went straight to flash. They weren't sized consistently or edited or otherwise fleshed out. How do you know if your drawings are working? Or your timing? Trial and error? That's the only way I figure it out, but it'd be nice to be able to tell in advance.

I learned a lot by doing this, mostly "dont's". I jumped back and forth on body parts before I finished any. This meant that limbs, bodies, and heads weren't attaching correctly all the time. God forbid something's out of place. I moved part of the body downward which meant I had to adjust all the arm and hand frames from that point. The arms are duplicated 3 times, within the body, behind, and on top, and the hands twice. This gives the effect that the arms and hands move in front of and behind the body. Then there are layers with frames there just to cover up any imperfections. If I were to do it over I'd still work in pieces, but I would've done the whole head, then the whole body, then the hands and then the arms. But I'd LIKE to be able to do this sort of thing without the aid of computers.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tracking progress

I decided to tackle this thing the best way I know how. With a mouse in flash.
For timing's sake, I'm sticking with 24 fps over 15. I'm using a combination of drawn frames and symbols. The head is mostly symbols. Things like his nose and ears and face parts stay the same while things like the rim of his cap and his mouth switch up. Even the M is split at the middle so that I can create an angled effect by squeezing one side while stretching the other. His eyes will blink as well, but for now I have sleepy eyes holding the place.
On top of a big fat mess of symbols and keys is a layer of keyframes. There I draw in over the imperfections of the symbols. Because he's drawn in chunks from a frontal view while he keeps turning sideways and his hat moves both in front and behind his head, pieces don't fit together flawlessly on their own. The top layer is drawn in to make it look like it does.
His arm is almost all keyframes except for long pauses. Same goes for his hand, which I found was a little more complicated to draw tweens for, but it's turning out well so far. I've been jumping around with the body parts. When I get tired of working on one part I'll work on another.
I'm looking forward to seeing it done. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it to become a better animator. I've got to keep pushing myself. And since this is a higher frame rate, and a character in a moving standing pose with a longer line of dialogue, it's more of a challenge. One concern I have however is that even though I put in the work, I need the aid of a computer to animate. I drew the keys by hand, but I don't know if I could do a full clean animation by hand or not. Flash makes it easier to fix inconsistencies in the drawings.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A week or so ago I saw Jake and the Neverland Pirates and have been watching it off and on since. The animation style inspired me to do something in flash. It makes me hopeful that I can get some very non-flash and more cartoony looking results with the program. When I look at the animation, I analyze it. I look at it as if I was animating in flash and see the break down of parts, the squash and stretch, the separate keys.
I put it off for a while, but since I promised myself I'd try to animate something, I sketched out drawings to a Mario soundbite. "Hey, you're very good. See you next time." The keys run at 15fps on 2s as it is. I usually work at 15fps in flash, and after looking at the playback and the lack of room for tweens, I'm wondering if I should attempt draw everything myself. Usually when I draw characters, the head is mostly symbol animation while the limbs could be a combination of symbols and drawn frames. I also need more practice in toonboom and more practice with hand drawn animation. Because he moves around so much, it'll be a challenge no matter how I do it. I'm not sure what direction I should take it though.

Black History Portrait

Friday my mom asked if I could do a portrait of the mayor, and of course I didn't want to but I said okay. She wanted it by Monday. So, Monday comes around, it's some time in the afternoon and mom's like, "Are you working on the picture?" and I'm like..."OOPS". I ended up using a different technique where I shaded everything by hand in pencil. That made coloring a lot quicker and easier and gave the picture a more artistic look than my last ones. I'm fairly satisfied and it's the quickest I've ever done a realistic picture from start to finish. I wish I had thought to do portraits this way sooner. But then, I barely do portraits as it is. Something bugs me about her right eye though.

Saturday, February 19, 2011