Month: July 2013

AnimSchool Interview: Animator Camille Campion, Part 2

We would like to welcome back, March 11 Second Club winner, Camille Campion. Camille are there any artists or animators that you look towards for inspiration?

I’m not a good follower… I don’t have a list of famous animators. I spend time looking for all the good animations I can find, sometimes from a famous animator, from a big american studio, and sometimes from a student’s short film.

I’ve had the chance to work in different places with talented animators. My inspiration, many times, comes from my colleagues. They don’t necessarily need to be very experienced or extremely talented to be inspiring for me. Sometimes regulars animators just have that good idea for their shot that makes it awesome.

I have special thanks for different people who’ve really improved my animation level- Yoshimishi Tamura who was my first “mentor” when I start working, Drifa Benseghir my second director of animation who transmits her good energy to me, and many colleagues in Kandor, French and Spanish!

Could you tell us a little about your process for your animation “Interview” from planning/reference to splining?

My planning for this animation was a bit rough. I didn’t have much time to do it, that’s why I didn’t use any video references or thumbnails. I usually don’t use a lot of video reference in my animation process, but to find more ideas when I’m in an inspiration crisis.

For my animation “Interview” I dedicated one day to write the idea, think about characters, and the staging, two days to make the two different versions of malcolm I use, prepare the props and the background (modeling and rigging) and compose my shots, and five days of animation.

11 second club March 2013 – Animation Process from camille campion on Vimeo.

First, I started making golden poses in the step I name “Rough”. I work fast and think only in narration and posing. Next, in the “Blocking” step, I start working on the timing, and how I can improve my narration. The first splining step is the part I don’t like, the boring technical moment.  That’s why I develop a very strict methodology to do it as fast as I can. First, I clean a bit my curves. Then, I modify the timing just moving my poses in the timeline and adding some breakdowns, to be sure about the energy. Next, I use motion trail in the camera view, following the mass hierarchy of my body, first I clean the Root (the hips), next the chest, the head etc… The objective is to have something working efficiently without noises.

When I have this first splining pass, I can look at the rough version of the animation, change some details, refine curves and arcs, improve the timing, refine the lip-sinc to make it Final.

What was the most difficult part when animating this dialogue, and how did you work through it?

The adaptation when you are discovering a rig is the most difficult part for me. Next, as I said before, the blocking is a real pleasure, there is no part more or less difficult, it just takes time. I need more motivation for the first splining process…

Your hand motion felt very fluid. How did you come up with those particular hand gestures and in general how do you approach animating hands?

I don’t have a specific treatment for the hand. Hands are include in the blocking process composing the silhouette of the character, I try to make it cool and appealing. In the splining process, I spend time cleaning the curves frame by frame, improving the spacing and the timing when I can. Many students make the error of systematically having the hand follow the chest, but the hand expresses many emotions like the eyes or facial expressions. Many times your fingers nervously react before the rest of your body

Lastly, what advice would you give to students that are just getting into animation?

You have to find your method, your way to animate for fun and pleasure. The better shots are made by happy animators. We need to have fun during the full process.

Animate and animate and animate again, this is the practice that we find all of this and how we can improve our level. Try to find people who can give you advice, and feedback on your work. If you’re a student,  ask your teachers and the others students. If you are working,  ask your colleagues. And, if you’re alone in front of your computer, try to contact animators by vimeo, linkedin etc.. to asking for feedback on your work (there are many generous animators in the world).

AnimSchool’s Malcolm Coming to Life in the 11 Second Club June Competition

We were excited to see that AnimSchool’s Malcolm was featured in 8 of the top 10 animations from June’s 11 Second Club Animation Competition (the other 2 of the top 10 were 2D animation entries).

AnimSchool founder, Dave Gallagher said: “Before there was such a thing as AnimSchool, I had a personal dream: I wanted to make very flexible, appealing, and expressive characters that people all over the world could use for free.”

Over 15,000 animators from all over the world have downloaded the Malcolm rig. We can’t wait to see what the animation community does with AnimSchool characters next!

Here’s what past 11 Second Club contestants have said about Malcolm:

Camille Campion, March 2013 winner
“The first important thing for me is the model, the design and appeal.
Malcolm looks good, his design is simple, but with potential- I like
that. The rig is very complete, the facial rig is superb and powerful.”

Aju Mohan, September 2012 winner
“I was blown away by its flexibility, and I knew instantly, that Malcolm was the one for my shot! “The Malcolm rig is fantastic for facial expressions, actually now when I
look at my shot again, I think I could have pushed the expressions a
bit more.”

Aulo Licinio, April 2012 runner up
“I looked at other animations and his flexibility looked amazing. I just kept imagining all the things I could do with it.”

Tim Kallok, March 2012 winner
“I would like to thank AnimSchool for making such an awesome rig
available for public use. I really love Malcolm’s design and his overall
flexibility. He can be pushed and pulled further than any other rig
that I have used. His facial setup is awesome; it’s really easy to get
appealing shapes and expressions. Because of the nature of the
competition’s dialogue, I didn’t get to utilize the rig to its full
potential, but for my shot, the IK elbow pinning and the IK/FK switching
came in very handy.”

Peter Nagy,  January 2012 winner
“Malcolm is the best rig I have ever worked with! (And I’m not only
saying this because I won with Malcolm) Until now, I have always
thought that there are no bad rigs, just weak animators, but I have
found out, it is crucially important how much latitude a rig can
give to the animator. At first I got frightened by seeing the amount
of controllers, but with a little practice, it can easily be seen
which controller should be used to which action. It was a great help
that I could change body position by moving the hip or the abdomen,
and the shoulders kept their position at the same time. I loved that
I could handle the arms in arch and that I could stretch the
character. These are very important factors on a rig for a nice
cartoony animation.”

Will Sharkey, September 2011 winner
“The thing about the Malcolm rig is there
are also lots of additional controllers for specific situations (e.g.
elbow pins, hyper extend), things that aren’t essential, but really help
when animating.  It took a few poses to work through the controllers
but Malcolm Rig is very light weight, so all that extra control isn’t
slowing the rig down. All these details really speed up animation and
makes things a lot more fun.”

Featured animation images from 11 Second Club June competition animators. In order from top to bottom: Muhammad Irfan Farooq, Ozan Basaldi, Sean Liu Jian Woei, Kiran Jay Babla, Muhammad Zohaib, Josiah Haworth, Linus Gan, and Kenta Lee.

AnimSchool Student Spotlight: Ricardo Puertas

We would like to introduce Ricardo Puertas. Ricardo, can you tell us a little about yourself and what animation experience you’ve had before AnimSchool?

For as long as I can remember, drawing, video games and films have fascinated me. So, when I had the opportunity, when I was 17, I started to study Illustration at an Art School.

I had never had drawing or art lessons before, so it was very difficult for me, but I was very grateful to learn. In school I learned much more than before, because in the past I had always taught myself. Those years, I learned so much about my passion of drawing, and I finally had the opportunity to start 2D animation.

After that, I had a course in Animation at the University of Balearic Islands. This gave to me the opportunity to better know the 3D world. In the course they taught us a bit about the process of creating an animation short, so we learned a bit of everything, modeling, rigging, and animation.  Then each of us focused on what we were interested in for our final project. Obviously, I decided to go into animation. My final project was selected for several national and international festivals, and I won some awards.

Thanks to that, I had several opportunities to begin my career as an animator, and I finally started to work in a little studio dedicated to making Films and TV Spots. I have been working and enjoying animation for about 7 years. In the last few years, I have mostly been working in video games. Most of time we animate the body, making cycles, transitions, etc. I felt that I needed to improve on the acting of my characters, I was a little rusty in that aspect.

For this reason, I was interested in learning from better professionals of the animation world. I know that this world is a continuous learning cycle. For this reason, I decided to apply to AnimSchool to improve my knowledge in animation hand in hand with great professionals of the animation industry.

Student Ricardo Puertes – Class 4 Body Acting from AnimSchool on Vimeo.

What inspired you to get into animation?

I remember one day when I was 5 years old, while I was having lunch with my grandmother, I saw the Woody Woodpecker show about how to make animation. I liked drawing so much, and this gave me the opportunity to see all these people drawing, and giving life to the characters who fascinated me. At that moment, I said to my grandmother: “Grandma, I want to be an animator.”

What stands out the most to you when you’re watching an animated film?

As an animator, I can’t avoid looking at animator’s timing, poses, etc. I’m always looking and focusing my attention on the character’s movement. I don’t know if this is the best, but I can’t avoid it. After that, when I have the opportunity, I always buy the movies. I can’t stop myself from watching some scenes hundreds of times. I go frame by frame to see how it’s done. I love it!

Student Ricardo Puertas – Class 6 Facial Performance from AnimSchool on Vimeo.

With every AnimSchool test comes new challenges. Out of all the tests you’ve done, which one has been the most challenging and why?

The most difficult part for me was my beginning with lip sync. In video games, most of time, we’re animating the body, making cycles, transitions etc. Some times we get to animate the face, but I never had the opportunity to go too far with facial animation in TV or film. So, when I started my facial assignment, I was really exited to learn and go further with my character.

Can you talk a little about your process for your Facial Performance class shot, from selecting the dialogue to polish?

It was a lot of fun. The most important thing to me at this time was to enjoy the assignment, so I wanted to select funny audio to work with to have fun all term.

All the pre-production was really fun: sketching, searching for and making video reference… this was crazy. But, the most important thing for me was to enjoy it. When I had my sketches, planning and references ready to start, all went easy.

To begin with the blocking, it is very important to have a clear idea. You have to keep in mind all key poses. In this aspect, I had it in my mind from the beginning. In this process I needed to make some changes and to adjust the timing, obviously. But once timed, I passed into splining and it was simple enough to fit and polish the rest.

It’s very important to spend your time in good planning. You can save a lot of work.

What is your favorite part to work on within your process, why?

Obviously, all the phases are a lot of fun. The searching of ideas, the first sketches, when you start the blocking and you can see how your character starts to become alive… But, I think that the best part is polishing your shot, because you can play around and add the little spark of life to your characters.

Student Ricardo Puertas – Class 7 Animating Appeal And Entertainment from AnimSchool on Vimeo.

How has your experience been at AnimSchool? What is your favorite thing you’ve learned?

First, I want to thank all my teachers, Anthea, Mike, Tim, Tony, Stewart and JP, and all the teachers and people who make AnimSchool possible. Especially Dave, for creating this fantastic school. Many people haven’t had the opportunity to learn animation in their city, and thanks to AnimSchool, they’re making their dreams come true. I want to give thanks to my wife too, for supporting me from the beginning in all of this, and my baby, for always being there laughing at his father while I’m recording video reference.

To me, applying to AnimSchool has been one of the best decisions that I’ve made recently. I’ve learned many things each term, but I think in the beginning, I learned a great important thing that I’ve used in every term. In Term 2, with Anthea Kerou, she taught us that the most important thing is that the character, as simple as it can be, has to always, always, always, have one story that motivates him to do what he does in the shot.

What advice would you give to students just starting out?

For the people who are starting in the world of animation, I would say to them that they should be persevering in their work, and go forward. Do not be afraid to show your work to other people, this is very useful. Sometimes you spend many hours working on a shot and it’s not possible for you to see some issues by yourself; other people can indicate those to you.

When someone gives you a critique, this isn’t a bad thing, quite the opposite. It’s the best thing that can happen to you, because you always learn new things from your mistakes. Another thing is, you should keep your eyes open and look at the world with “animator eyes.” 😉