Week One

If you can dream it, you can do it!

…Walt Disney said and I thought so, too and applied for that course and now I’m in Bristol. Time rushes by and my brain has a small delay. Things happen so fast… It’s just one week ago that I had moved out my house in Münster and said my friends good bye. And today I’m sitting in my new room in Bristol, trying to remember all the last week’s stuff to report it to anybody who might be interested in it.

I’m now doing this Three Month Animation Course at the Bristol School of Animation. The aims of the course are to introduce student’s to industry standards, to work on the student’s timing for animation and to produce a student’s demo reel. I myself am mostly interested in the timing for animation because it normally gets a raw deal during everyday life. Life drawing and lectures and theoretical advises are also part of the course but the practical work is the main part of our week.

We get those weekly exercises to work on. The first week’s exercise was to move rigid objects and to give them personality only by animating them in the frame of our camera. We had to think about composition and about performance. I decided to use two boxes made of cardboard. My initial idea was the smaller one is being afraid of the bigger one which seems to be very heavy and mean. But then they’ll get to know each other better and become friends. Because the course also deals with time management, I tried to keep it simple. I really want to concentrate on the animation. But thinking about performance and becoming these boxes literally was so time consuming that I had just finished the first half of my “story”. But I guess it’s okay. It’s the first week and I learned my lesson well, I think. For a bigger version of the storyboard just click the picture.

storyboard week 1

I worked out my timing on a dope sheet for the first time which was difficult at first because I didn’t have my own “code” to fill it in. We got dope sheets from our tutor and I wasn’t very familiar with its structure. I myself perhaps would do the dope sheet in a slightly different way. The one we got is also for drawn animation and I’m not sure if it’s better to keep one for stop motion simpler than that. For the course I’m going to use this. I’m not sure of the template’s copyright so I won’t post it here. But see the picture for all the paper I used just for the bigger box’ walkcycle:

Dope sheets for boxes' animation

And after breaking down the movement into smaller steps and into a rhythm I build myself a kind of rigging tool to have always the same distance. With that I hoped to archive constancy in movement which has worked well I think. See the animation here:

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

So these are our tutor’s notes on this: At the beginning, the intention of the small box isn’t clear so one isn’t really sure about what’s happening there. The beginning was a bit more slowly before but I cleaned out some frames to get a better understanding. I shot the incoming on threes to get it very slowly but there has been a flicker on the right edge of the box then because of the high contrast. Now it’s on twos. The walkcycle seems to be okay although the key poses could have a bit more time to imply the heavy weight of the big box. We agreed on the second shaking is better than the first one because it’s more steady than the first. This consistent shaking is clearly readable as a being-afraid shaking.

29. June 2008 by Jessica
Categories: Stuff | Tags: , | 4 comments

Comments (4)

  1. Thank you for taking us to school with you, Jessica! Some of us would never have a chance to learn these things otherwise. I thought the big box looked heavy and scary–just right!

  2. Thanks, Shelly! I’m glad it makes sense to you that I’m sharing my experiences with you. As I said in one of my first blog entries: I want to give the things back to the community from who I had learnt a lot of things.

  3. Wow, that already looks quite impressive. I especially like the camera shaking synchronously with Bigbox’s impact on the ground, and Bigbox shaking to a still, rather than just stopping to move. Looks like Bigbox has not too much control over its own movements, which is maybe why it is scaring other boxes.
    The always-complaining part of mine nags me about the sellotape reflection on Bigbox. Also, it is not quite clear which face of Smallbox actually is the face. You would probably suggest that the face of a box is only the front part in motion… But for telling where the perceptive organs of capsa cartae are, we should probably rather refer to an experienced boxologist.
    The sheets again look impressive to me (mhhhm, numbers, graphs & plots). Kind of gives me hope that some time, someone in animation would need a mathematician to produce and exploit numbers, giving me a well-paid interesting job :)

    I wonder what the results look like after three months of training. Anyway, holidays for august are nearly through (still need the boss not only to accept it, but also to give his OK for definite times).

  4. I really enjoy reading your diary! I especially like the storyboard, one can see that youve already improved your skills- after one week. that’s really great, pumpkin, wonder what there is to come:-) hope to hear you soon!