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AnimSchool Spotlight Student: Angel Antelo

AnimSchool would like to introduce Angel Antelo. Before AnimSchool, did you have any other experience with animation?

I actually had no experience in animation.I just had a slight prior idea of how Maya software worked due to some online tutorials I could find at that time. Also some books like the well known “Survival Kit” began to guide me through this world and not much more. So everything has been new for me.

Why do you want to become an animator?

I guess it’s the simple dream of a child. It’s something that captured my attention since I was just a little boy. I remember watching some Disney movies back in the day: Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King… I remember how much I enjoyed them and how they sparked my interest in drawing. They created a hobby and a passion that I still carry with me today.

One of the things I remember was when they showed the “making of” from one of these movies on TV; I loved to watch how they made those drawings, animations, visual effects… I recorded it on a video tape and watched it over and over again. I liked to watch how they carried out all that work, which tools were used. I would just watch all that super-complex stuff on the screen of their computers which I couldn’t understand. I was fascinated. It was something that I was delighted to see, and loved. To get a glimpse of that creative environment, the people whose jobs were to create different worlds that we could enjoy later. I just remember watching all that and thinking to myself: One day I want to be part of that.

 Angel Antelo’s test from AnimSchool’s Class 4, Body Acting

What inspires you to work hard towards your career goals?

It’s related with the previous answer. It is doing everything in your power to reach that goal. That dream.

It’s not easy. The knowledge you need isn’t going to reach your brain by a magical lightning that hits your head. You have to spend a lot of time, long hours in front of the computer and sometimes manage to find the time to do that thing they call sleeping at night (it’s ok until you start seeing pink punk cows in your room. Then you know you need to stop). You really have to like it to avoid getting tired of it and to stay motivated. My start was  a little “late” in this field if I compare myself to others that started much younger, but it came to a point in my life that it was like “now or never”. I had the chance and I made the decision, I brushed my hair, I joined AnimSchool and I decided to spend my time and energy on it. I think it’s one of the best decisions in my life ever. It almost seemed unreachable and impossible for me to start studying and getting prepared for what I always liked. So if I could, anyone can…

The goals are still far away. Someday being able  to do something that could captivate, excite, thrill or just make someone laugh. Create something that people can enjoy. I still have a lot to learn to get even close to that point.

What is your favorite animated film from your childhood, and what is your favorite film now that you’re an adult? What do you think makes these films special?

The Lion King, Aladdin.. all these great classics that will last forever, are kept in a special corner in my heart for being those which lit up that little spark in my head. Then came films like Toy Story that left us all with our mouths wide open and a new world of possibilities opened up right in front of our eyes. Ratatouille seems perfect to me. script, animation, characters… Rio was a nice surprise, I also have to say that thanks to AnimSchool I’ve had the pleasure to meeting some of the people who had actually worked on it. It makes me appreciate it more, if that was even possible….

What do you enjoy about animation the most?

Maybe it’s a bit hard to answer or explain. It’s like “creating life” from scratch. At first you find that character, on your screen,and it seems like a toy with nothing inside, staring lifelessly into the distance, as if he had just seen Death wearing high heels and eating tacos. It’s like when you’re drawing, it’s a blank canvas. You have countless possibilities where the limit is a road sign with “no limit” graven with fire on it; it’s where the imagination (and your current knowledge, of course) takes you.

It surprises me every day with new things I find out and

learn. Even right now, answering these questions amazes me; about 18 months ago I learned that the little red stick is a “keyframe” for example… I’ve barely begun this journey. If I’m sure of one thing, then it’s that I cannot express how happy I am with this experience.

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

AnimSchool is great!!! I cannot say otherwise. I have nothing but good things to say. Almost always at the beginning of each new assignment I get that little fear and I start doubting myself and whether I can do it or not. But since teachers get involved in your work, your progress, motivate you and really care about your shots, I find all the fear and doubt disappearing. These professionals show you their workflows, critique your assignments to make sure you get a better result, they share with us the little tricks they’ve learned over the years. I’m really grateful for everything they taught us…

But probably one of the best things, beside the great teachers, beside the assignments, beside the awesome rigs provided, is all the amazing people you meet from all over the world. People who like and love the same as you do. It has created a little atmosphere that makes you feel at home and supported in this great adventure. They become your friends… and that’s priceless.

AnimSchool Classtime: Starting a Dialogue Shot

AnimSchool Instructor and DreamWorks Animator, Tyler Phillips, talks about the steps he goes through when starting a dialogue shot, from AnimSchool’s Facial Performance class.

AnimSchool Classtime: Simplifying Dialogue

In AnimSchool’s Character Performance class, instructor Garrett Shikuma, covers animating dialogue. Here’s one of the tips he gave his students about the importance of simplifying mouth shapes when animating dialogue.

AnimSchool Classtime: Acting Essentials

In AnimSchool’s Character Performance class, Instructor Garrett Shikuma, lists 10 Acting Essentials to think of, when planning your animation test.

Garrett continued his lesson by showing different film clips, illustrating points made in his lecture.

AnimSchool General Review: Camilo Guaman by Tony Bonilla

Tony Bonilla, reviews Camilo Guaman’s animation from his Animating Characters class. In this assignment students focus on interacting with a heavy object.

AnimSchool has these General Reviews every week for students who can’t attend their normal class review, or for those who want an extra critique.

AnimSchool Webcast: Jeff Gabor, Part 2

Jeff Gabor uses his reference video from AnimSchool’s Animation Principles Lecture, to show his process and what tools he uses, when creating his reference for animating.

In upcoming Part 3, Jeff goes over making poses appealing.

AnimSchool Review: Peter Nagy By Mark Harris of Pixar

AnimSchool presents: Pixar Animator Mark Harris, reviews an animation by Peter Nagy!

AnimSchool Classtime: Adding Smear Frames, Part 1

In AnimSchool’s Body Acting class, Instructor Tony Bonilla, goes over how to create and place smear frames.

In Part 2, Tony will show how to continue the smear by deforming the arm.

AnimSchool Review: Mitchell Coote By Mark Harris of Pixar

AnimSchool presents: an animation by Mitchell Coote reviewed by, Pixar Animator, Mark Harris.

AnimSchool Interview: Peter Nagy, Part 1

When we first announced the public release of the Malcolm rig, we were very excited to see what the animation community would produce. We were gratified to see this past month’s 11 Second Club winner again using our Malcolm rig. Congratulations to long-time contestant Peter Nagy!

Peter, thanks for being a part of this interview. Can you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself, your background and how you became an animator?

I started this profession at Kecskemetfilm, in Hungary in 2000 as an inbetweener. This studio took part in the animation of Secret of Kells and the fresh Chico & Rita. I moved to Budapest after that, where I worked in Mr. Bean: The Animated Series. I have been using traditional animation technique since 2005, which I like a lot. Since there was less and less 2D work, I took up digital animation, from about 2008 onward. At first I used CG 2D technique (Anime Studio), then I worked with Maya, which I have been using ever since. The latest known production I worked on was Assassin’s Creed Revelations at Digic Pictures. Presently, I’m lead animator at an advertising studio, Gyár Post Production.

Why did you decide to use AnimSchool’s Malcolm rig for your animation?

More and more new characters have been appearing on 11 Second Club lately, and people always welcome animations related with fresh rigs. I heard about the appearance of Malcolm, but at that time only his XSI version was available. My hard-working Hungarian colleagues at Puppetworks made the Maya version of the character and sent it to me for testing. However, at that time I was so busy I couldn’t have a look at it. Only at the beginning of this year could I manage to open the file to test it. In your first promo video the animation of the character is amazing and I was interested in the rig. Only then I saw that your Maya version is available too, so I used that one.

Was this the first time you used ever Malcolm, or did you have any previous tests to warm up before?

The very first time. Previously, I didn’t even have time for a wink-test. I’m very pleased that my first animation with Malcolm became so successful.

What was it like working with the Malcolm rig? It looks like you were able to get some strong lines of action and appealing poses.  

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.

I’m impressed with your Malcolm modifications. Malcolm has pants, shirt, and shoes, but you’ve managed to make a totally different wardrobe. My favorite part is the new foot with little toenail pieces to suggest toes. Very creative and all your changes add up to a convincing new look. How involved was that process and what methods did you use?

At first I thought that for all those naked body parts a supplementary foot model would be needed for the character (I used this supplement for a previous work of mine, in Pinocchio). But in the end, I managed to transform the sneaker to a foot. Separate toes were not made, but with the toenails, it had the foot-effect. It was a much greater task to put together the creasy trousers and the leg-elements. This is the reason why the leg moves so limited in the scene. I also had to put together two objects at the neck, this part required vertex animation for the final appearance. From the camera’s viewpoint, the head luckily covers out this part and the render blurred together these small irregularities on the skin.

Mother Earth – Winner of 11 Second Club January Competition from Peter Nagy on Vimeo.

Interview by: Andrew Tran and Dave Gallagher

Watch for Part 2 of this interview, coming soon.

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