Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Top 5 Acting For Animation Resources

                 Animation is Acting, Infact, as I see it, its beyond acting. Its more of controlling an actor than being an actor. As they say, An Actor Performs and An Animator Describes. I would say any good acting shot get developed once you have a fantastic acting reference.

I have noticed over the years that students/ artists tend to run away from recording a video reference and try doing things from thr mind. However, I feel any artist or animator can do stuff without recording reference too but given that he has studied the action, performance carefully.

Video Reference is never recorded to copy or do a roto over the video. Its just a part of study to make more believable animation. So, its not very important to record urself, one may try to find out different places to absorb actions and reactions of people.

Some of my top resources for finding out great looking gestures and great moments are listed below:

1. Recording yourself: The best and the foremost  resource is to go and stretch yourself, have full size mirrors installed and perform your shot for atleast 20 mins. Just put a camera and start performing. Do loads of retakes until you feel totally comfortable and have forgotten about the camera. After you are done watch all clips and take out the best moments.

2. : This site is an amazing source of great stuff having mostly clips from all the films. Has capability of searching and sorting by props, mood, theme, actor, director. If you like a clip, i use Internet Download Manager IDM, to download these clips and later convert them to mp4 using Real Player or any other FLV- Mp4 Convertor.

3. Just for Laugh Tv : Though this link takes you to thr channel on Youtube. But this stays one of my biggest resource for getting true reactions and funny pantomime. Filled with loads to superb, fresh ideas, expressions, if you want to get rid of cliche'. Here is an Example:

4. Vault :  No web link for this, Long back someone shared this idea of maintaining a personal vault where you put images, videos, audio or what ever that inspires you the most. These collections are invaluable and they can become the place to search when you find nothing online.

5. Other Online Resources: Like Youtube, Vimeo, BBC Motion Gallery, Artanatomy, Etc.

Above are some of the resources that I use. Feel free to add comments, any new resources.

Happy Animating


Sunday, October 09, 2011

The Life & Times od Disney's Pluto: Must watch video.


Found this short featurette about the history of 'Pluto'. Frank, Ollie, Andreas Deja, and John Canemaker talk about the development of Pluto's character. 


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Toy Story 3 (2010) - Character Design

Toy Story 3 (2010) - Character Design:
© Disney / Pixar


And Many Many More... LINK


Nate Wragg Art & Illustration,
The Art of Disney Animation, Disney Animation Archive, HeyUGuys: Part 1, Part 2,, My True Light & Network Ocean

Reference! Reference! - free database for animation

This is so Awesome! A webpage full of references.

Title says it all! Check it out at

Tangled Ever After

It was revealed that the directors of Disney's Tangled are creating a short film sequel to the film that will air on the Disney Channel next year. You can read a little more info here. I'm betting it'll involve her hair growing back in some way... Drop by our store if you're looking for Tangled artbooks and posters!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Disney Pixar: Upcoming Films Announced Officially.

Hi. I know its always so exciting to know whats cooking inside Disney and Pixar Studios, Though as always, it will taste good! :)

D23 event had some news, here are the highlights on the upcoming flicks:

Disney Planes:

Planes Disney DVD D23: Disney Animation Round Up
I thought it was a short film or a gag on Cars. But seems its going to be a feature film. Below is the trailer released long back.

Wreck it Ralph:

"Ralph follows a video game villain subjugated to destroying buildings, but longing to not be considered the bad guy. It starts in a 1983 arcade, but jumping many years to reflect the more modern era of this entertainment form. The clip featured was pretty hilarious, involving Ralph attending a Bad-ANON meeting that featured various villains reciting a bad guy affirmation speech. Director Rich Moore shared details of various locations in the film, such as Game Central Station and a Candyland-like environment called Sugar Rush. Members of the cast, comedian Sarah Silverman and 30 Rock star Jack McBrayer, shared their excitement on working on Ralph. Silverman kept it clean, and the audience roared after her line, “I always wanted to go to Anaheim, but not to Disneyland.” Similarly, she received laughs after saying, “I hate that they (films) make me feel.”


"Brave followed this, with more details of Pixar’s next film shared. We understand that Scottish leading character Merida is forced to marry a suitor soon, she encounters a witch at a cottage, a spell goes askew, and she attempts to break this fate. Many mystical elements come into play, and we were shown an entire scene from Brave, in which Merida watches three potential husbands compete in a game of archery. She disobeys her headstrong mother by shooting arrows herself. Kelly MacDonald (Merida) and Kevin McKidd (Lord MacGuffin, one of the suitors) came on stage, joining director Mark Andrews and producer Katherine Sarafian. Andrews even dressed up in a kilt for the occasion."

Monsters University:

"Monsters University followed, and we’re told “it is an animated college movie.” A technical glitch that provided the audience with just the audio of the beginning of a featurette was fairly-quickly resolved. The video was properly restarted, and we found out that Mike and Sulley were enemies at grade school. Some concept art of the beautiful college campus was shown, and we discovered that many characters will return, including Randall (voiced once again by Steve Buscemi). Director Dan Scanlon showed younger versions of the characters. Sulley now looks youthful and svelte, whereas Mike boasts a retainer. Additional voices in the cast include Dave Foley, Julia Sweeney, Joel Murray and Pixar’s Peter Sohn. Billy Crystal and John Goodman starred in a video, apologizing for not being able to make it… but then, before you could say “Monstropolis,” Crystal emerged from backstage to great applause."

The next of the two original films to be released will be directed by Pete Docter and produced by Jonas Rivera. Before the movie was mentioned, Docter reffered back to Petersen’s involvement in doing voice roles. Docter said he has given life to many characters – albeit less recognizable. For instance, he voiced the father in Monsters, Inc. who says “good night son” to the fake boy in the opening scene. “The Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside the Mind” will presumably explore elements of psychology and human thinking. This seems very appealing.

Thts all for nw folks.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Planet 51 Animation Video Reference

Digital Domain Plans its First Animated Feature Film

Digital Domain Reveals First Animated Feature, “The Legend of Tembo:"
 (via: Spungella)

A few months ago we reported about Digital Domain’s plans for its CG animation studio in Port St. Lucie, Florida. They announced recently that this studio, which they’ve officially dubbed Tradition, will work on The Legend of Tembo. Slated for 2014 release, the film will be directed by Disney veterans Aaron Blaise and Chuck Williams.
Former Disney exec Pam Coats, who is heading up creative development at Tradition, told TCPalm that Tembo is the story of a baby African elephant who is captured and shipped to India:
“When he gets to India that’s where sort of the journey takes place, and this is a guy who becomes someone else. So, he has to transform himself into a fierce, battle elephant, which is based in truth. They did use elephants in battle in India. He has to become something he is not in order to return home.”
Check out the TCPalm website for more pre-production images from the film.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Some Common Beginner Mistakes: We all do it :)

Some (of my) Common Beginner Mistakes:: "
Sorry for the lack of post recently... But sometime, "life" take a lot of your time and your "virtual life" is (hopefully for you and me) not as important :D As for now, I'm animating 1st person weapons animation (as Call of Duty) at our top-secret studio and guess what ? Our game is gonna be announce soon at E3 !

Say hello to my animation notes !

When Eric Scheur publish his last post on the 11 Second Club, called : The Top Five, which list some of the common mistakes beginner will make in the Club's competition. It gave me that idea of just going through all my animations notes I had take at work since the beginning of the universe ! And do a list of the mistake I would normally made (or had made). This is really personal stuff, but I think it has the merit to show that everyone make more or less the same mistakes at the beginning.

-“Glitch” of all kinds and nature! :
As when it look as the character or parts of the character are hitting an “invisible walls” or being pull by “an invisible rope” or being “teleported” from one point to the other. A glitch may also exist when some part of your body change direction two times in a few frames. As when you have an elbow or knee snapping back and forward to a full extension to a non-full extension in one frame. To fix this, you should make your elbow or knee snap a few frames so that it doesn’t look like a glitch.

-Weak pose or having a bizarre pose somewhere in our animation :
If you frame-by-frame in your animation, there shouldn’t to be any bizarre or “gay” or weak pose. Even if it “just” an in-between (a drawing that you get from the interpolation of the computer) and not a key pose there should not be any bizarre pose out there.

-Having poses in motion, paid attention to poses than should not exist :
I remember I once did a mistake when I spend around 15 minutes building a pose that did not exist in my animation. I was doing a backward step, one where the character was doing a subtle jump from one position to the next. And as I was working on my animation I spend some time building that pose where my character had still his two feet on the ground. But obviously, if I wanted my character to make a small jump as he was making that backward step, he should not had that pose where he had his two feet on the ground at the same time. By doing so, I was making a pose that did not exist (the two feet on the ground) in relation to what I wanted in my mind.
So we must think of what a pose should look like at one particular moment in the animation, so that it is representing an idea (intention) at a certain moment in time. We should not know at What Time it will be yet (on the timeline). But we know that at this moment (the moment where my character is drinking a cup of hot coffee for instance) that pose should look like that (where he just realize the coffee is super-hot).

-Not having enough change, angle change, position change, pose change : Well Contast. It's about abstraction of masses and not seing your character as different body part but as a few big Boucing Balls. Bellow are two animations I could remember showing a good examples of no contrast and contrast. The first animation is from the Spungella Online Workshops (check out the first and second critique by Jean-Denis Haas) as the second one is from Kevin Webb animation blog (seem to have been hacked !)

'Also, think of contrast, visually. How can you make this interesting without crazy poses and fast timing. Try to incorporate visual changes so that tone wise the shot doesn't feel stale.' -Jean-Denis Haas

-Sometime I put too much emphasis on the feet, which is not always necessary since the audience look generally at the head.

-What to paid attention and look for when we animate the feet :
  • Do some little step will give more life to the character. Or as a negative way to see it, doing no little step when a character is moving/jumping around will seem too much perfect and will take away some realism.
  • Feet slide and rotate generally on the toes.
  • Because we want to conserve our energy, we don’t lift our feet high when we do a step.
  • Planting the feet on the ground and they stop moving 100 % on one frame will give an IK feel to them.

-Arms and legs are moving independently from the rest of body:
As if my arms were moving (more than in a subtle way) and were not affecting the rest of the body at all. Changing shape will show deployment and absorption of forces. If my torso and hip doesn’t react when my character is climbing a ladder and my arms are moving independently, I am not showing the deployment of force with changing shape that should happen in the body.
The character body is an integral system so even seemingly separate movements involve the motion of other parts of the body. For example during a head turn in dependence of the situation the character will slightly move his shoulders and his centre of mass. During a walk the entire body will be involved in the animation not only the hands and the legs, even the head will have specific movements.”

-Put a key on the hip every time I’ve put a key on the arms or legs :
In reality I can move my legs and arms without affecting my torso very much or even my hips (if I was doing circles with my arms; my arms will need a lot of keys, but not my torso and hips). To finesse some part of the body, it is not necessary to key the entire body, or my blocking will become very hard to manage as I won’t know anymore where my important keys are when I look at the dopesheet. And managing the Hip rotation and translation will be hard to as there are too much keyframes of these.

-Add more Breakdowns (keyframe on the timeline) to “correct” a movement that is already wrong. If it doesn't work, do I need to add more poses ? No ! (See the end of that other text I had written on posing).
-I had the tendency to spend too much time in my first blocking pass with my keys next to each other’s, and not working on my timing until I had many keys and breakdown in my timeline. The good side of it is that you are not “distract” with your timing (more on Flip Online). But the bad side of it, is that in this “non-interpolation” blocking stage it can be difficult to see if your animation really work as you intended or to track your arc (easier to see them when things moves). More on this here :
-It should be obvious, clear what is happening in the animation when we look at our blocking (Check this post by Shawn Kelly). Or in other word, your blocking should tell a clear story (More on this here).

-Sometime when I begin to just “move things around” as the hand more there, or that feet more there without a clear goal in mind, I will then ask myself question as: what I’m doing, what I want, which pose I want… Or this “I’m just moving things around” mind-set can really be time consuming. We just don’t care if that hand is 5 cm more or less to the right, what is important is the general movement. When that happens, maybe it’s time for a break!

More common beginner’s mistake I had noted:
-As someone tell me one time: Don’t worry about the timing yet, worry about the poses, your important poses to get strong silhouette and dynamic line of action. Worry about the poses and spacing first. Not the timing.
-Begin to animate before we know what and how to animate something…
-Pose-to-Pose syndrome VS Overlapping Action…
-Not taking into account inertia and momentum of objects.
-Character not in balance...

-Giving a beat to your animation will add the spark that it need.
-Having too much ideas, poses (movement) for a specific period of time so that we get “readability issue”, or on the contrary not enough movement.
-Having a lack of contrast on poses and timing so that our movement seem “even”, uninteresting.

John Celestri Animation Drawings: Seen and Felt

Animation Drawings: Seen and Felt: "Some drawings are meant to be seen (such as attitude poses), while other drawings are meant to be felt. These are drawings that convey movement that are accents and action.

When figuring out how to draw an accent or action, I start by imagining the emotion I want to convey, then analyze what tempo conveys that emotion. Let's take the emotion of enthusiasm. That would be a bouncy tempo...maybe a 4 to 6 frame beat.

Then I imagine what type of action my character will perform to convey his enthusiasm. In this case, he's going to spin in the air, making a complete rotation in 4 frames...and so on and so forth.

The above is all timed out on my exposure sheet before I make any drawing. (Note: I use the old school reference of 24 frames per second.) The reason I time everything out first, is that my analysis of the character's timing will dictate how the forces moving that character affect the body in motion. Thus, I draw the body squashing and stretching based on that analysis.

I offer as an example, drawings from the Hank the Spider Monkey test I posted previously. In creating these drawings, I started each drawing from the area of the body that was instigating that particular phase of the movement: head, shoulder, leg, etc.


























And below is the finished animation in color.