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Thursday, 15 April 2010

How to train your dragon



I just watched How to train your dragon in IMAX 3D with the animators from work and have to say I am very impressed. This movie is by far Dreamwork's best, not only are the character animation beautifully stunning but the story that holds it all together works for the most part fluidly. As with any story, there are a lot of areas where it can get too cliche and predictable, but I'm happy to say that this isn't the case here. I suspect the story guys at DW must have worked and re-worked this to get it this good.

Character animation was one of the best, if not the best I've seen. The best characters were Hiccup and his father; they felt so believable consistently throughout the movie. The acting and performance was incredible to say the least. Really excellent work.

Special effects were really great too as is the music. Overall, everything holds together very well in this solid piece of animation that is both moving and a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Rating: 9.8/10

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Sunday, 14 February 2010

Animex Week



Last week I attended the Animex International Festival of Animation and Computer Games (8-12 feb). What an awesome week that was! It had one of the greatest lineup of speakers this year: James Baxter (Dreamworks), Andrew Schmidt (Pixar), Michael Defeo (Blue Sky) and Ed Hooks, to only name a few!

The speakers talked about their latest projects and provided great insight into the industry. Perhaps the best of it all was the networking event. All the pros stacked into one room, where they are open for discussions, answering questions and providing feedback. What more can you ask for? I made the most out of it, spoke to most of the speakers, and got feedback on my animations. The kind of immediate feedback from the pros is a rare opportunity indeed and I have learned so much from them and now have a good insight of how I can progress forwards and push my animations to the next level.

Listed below are my key points of improvement in my future projects:

1. Staging
-Camera placement is important to how well a sillhoute reads
-Keep head/facial within the frame of your shots

2. Less is more
-Find more natural poses
-Avoid over exaggerated poses that aren't motivated.
-Subtlety is key

3. Style
- Explore a more definite style of animation
- Is it cartoony or realistic?

4. Shoulders / Body structure
- Shoulders can be very expressive.
- Explore how the human body is constructed to find how it can move.

Other areas I am keen on exploring:

5. Study body anatomy and rigging
- Should improve my understanding of how each body part can move in relation to each other.

6. Study physics
- A scientific approach to understanding force and how things move in real life

7. More basic animation training
- For a more solid foundation in the mechanics of movement
- After all, the most complex animations is a combination of solid understanding of the basics.

So there you go, a lot to learn with so little time!

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