Katrina modelled at this special ‘animation’ life drawing session with short poses. Normally there are poses from 2 minutes up, but we had several 1 minute poses and (after I begged) some 30 second ones too.

We began with a sequence of 1 minute poses.

1min

There were several longer poses dotted about through the session. The hand studies were drawn during a 15 minute pose, and the others were 10 minute poses.

It was fantastic to do some live 30 second drawings again. It’s such a good way to learn gesture and storytelling, and to train to speed up in longer poses.

Near the end of the session we had some more 1 minute poses. By this point I was able to get details down more quickly.

It was great to have more quick poses at life drawing. Hopefully this will become a regular thing, and, who knows, perhaps I’ll manage to convince everyone to do 10 second poses next time …

I’ve been busy with work and a family wedding, so it’s taken me a while to post anything new! Here’s a group of studies from one of Muybridge‘s wonderful sequences.

Horse_01

I led more high school-age animation workshops this year, expanding on the morphing workshop from last year. This time everyone who took part was in complete control of their own piece of animation between their character and the next person’s. Whether the character melts, explodes, shatters, or morphs, this was planned out in thumbnails before it was animated. I also asked those taking part to begin with simple shapes – this encouraged them to animate the movement before animating the details.

The results are fantastic!

 

Recently I’ve been working on an storyboard about a pigeon who finds the mother of all crumbs, but discovers eating it isn’t all that simple. Here’s the result!

Based on a true story …

Sound effects copyright BBC

Recently I animated a couple of elements for the new Skoog advert, which you can watch below.

I animated the girl’s moustache, plus several ‘flourishes’ throughout the video. I’ve added a couple of examples as gifs below.

BoltFlourish

Recently I taught some animation workshops for groups of mainly high school aged children and youth. This is the first time I’ve taught animation in any depth, though I ran one workshop on pixelation a few years ago. My main goal was to give a basic framework for people to think about animation in a different way, and teach skills that they can use themselves.

In the two and a half hour workshop everyone drew a character or object on a piece of animation paper. This became a key frame. I gave a very brief overview of key frames, breakdowns and in betweens and explained charts so each person could add a chart to their key frame. Using the chart, everyone then created breakdowns and in betweens to morph between their key frame and the next. For anyone who is unfamiliar with 2D animation, this blog post may help if you want to learn a bit more.

I ran two of these workshops, and you can see the results of both in the video above.

At the end of the workshop, I gave everyone paper and clips to make flip books. I left the direction of these completely open, and the results were varied and brilliant.

The final session I ran was a day and a half long specialism workshop, where I began by going much more in depth with the technical aspects of animation. I showed a few short animations as inspiration including The Illusion of Life, which is a brilliant little video summarising the 12 principles of animation in a clear way. As individuals and as a group they worked through a couple of exercises exploring timing and weight. I was impressed with the way people picked up on some of the principles from the video, thinking about squash and stretch and anticipation in particular.

After drawing thumbnails for their ideas, they began animating on paper. I encouraged everyone to key out their animation, using their thumbnails as poses. The group really thought about how many drawings they wanted between each key, and after the exercises they’d learnt a lot more about breakdowns and in betweens, especially the fact that they don’t have to be exactly halfway between one drawing and another.

Given that there was only one lightbox I pushed everyone to learn to flip the pages, and seeing people pick it up in only a couple of hours was incredible. Flipping the entire scene was also fantastic. I think there’s something really tactile and fun about animating on paper, and I’m glad I could share that.

The films that were created are far beyond anything I anticipated. Real thought went into the making of them, and everyone made an effort to put into practice principles they’d only just learnt. The end results are beautiful and funny. I’m thrilled to have been a part of it.

If you haven’t seen my previous storyboards from the Animation Base Camp, you may want to start here or here.

The story revolves around odd-couple animals at a therapist’s office. The scene below, featuring a bee, was worked on by several different people throughout the Base Camp.

I’d recommend looking at Erin’s version – she’s the one who came up with the bee/flower gag in the first place, and developed the bee’s wonderfully pathetic character.

The background of the alleyway was a sketch of Hajnalka Szanto’s beautiful design.

I designed, storyboarded and animated this video for trypraying. The trypraying booklet is a seven-day prayer guide which encourages people to try praying for a week and see what happens.

Some of my concept art for the project is below.

CharacterDesign

I began with some rough character sketches from the script. From the outset I wanted designs that were simple but attractive.

BGDesign copy

BGDesign

I also began to explore the background environments and colour design. For the background, I wanted to have a very flat, “false” perspective. I wanted to tie the colours to the trypraying booklet.

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02_01_02

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I created colour keys using the storyboard, finding a range that would work through each scene.

Policewoman2

Once the storyboard and animatic were complete, and the colours approved, I made last-minute changes – like the policewoman’s new hat – and then began building the characters and backgrounds in Illustrator and Flash.

Characters

Characters2

J_02

I drew some sketches of how the characters would need to be broken up for animation.The minister only needed to wave his hand, whereas the main character had to be able to turn, walk and move his arms. The main character’s trousers were simplified as a result.

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Here are some of the final scenes in the video. I’m really pleased with how the colour and designs came out. This was a fun project to make!

And here’s a little extra: I added a caricature of myself sitting on the bus!

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 20.59.53

dreid_01

My short film “Dreid” is screening at British Shorts in Berlin on the 25th of January!

For those of you who haven’t yet seen it (or want to see it again!), you can view the short here.

This is a walk cycle WIP from a short scene I’m animating. It’s the first time I’ve animated with the Mery rig (available from meryproject.com) and it’s been a lot of fun to use.

Create

I’ve been going along to several events at the Edinburgh International Film Festival this week. As part of the EIFF’s Youth Hub events I took part in a filmmaking competition. Each entry had to be made in under a week, and include the dialogue “young and the wild” and the prop of a mobile phone. “Create” was my entry, drawn in about a day and a half. It won second place.

The narration was kindly provided by Philip Todd. You can see more of his work here: philip-todd.com

I’ve also added “Create” to my Shorts page.

New Portfolio and Showreel

I thought it was time for an update of my portfolio and showreel!

Here’s a peek: click on the image to view the full portfolio.

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My latest animation showreel, featuring Maya and paper animation:

Music: “Dial Up” by Kris Oliver www.krisoliver.com

Paper Animation (Photoshop / ToonBoom): All character, background and colour design by myself.

Maya – Personal Project (1): Character (Morpheus) from here: www.joshburton.com/projects/morpheus.asp, chair prop provided by Aardman.

Maya – Personal Project (2): Horse rig by Tomasz Jurczyk and Carlos Contreras, from www.mothman-td.com/portfolio_items/horse_rig/

Maya – Aardman / NFTS: All characters and props provided by Aardman.

All sound effects from www.freesfx.co.uk

Deer

I cleaned up and inbetweened the deer over the last couple of weeks. At first the movement appeared very even, so I removed some of the inbetweens and rejigged some of the remaining drawings to get back to the feeling I wanted. Once I was happy, I coloured it, added a little more to the background, and had fun with sound effects from freeSFX.co.uk to create some atmosphere!

You can also view the first line test and the line test with breakdowns.

Deer Background and Breakdowns

I returned to my deer animation today, changing quite a lot of the ending and adding more breakdowns and inbetweens. I’m planning to clean it up in Photoshop, something like the deer shown below: quite loose and free, hopefully keeping some of the rough nature of the original.Deer03 copyHere’s one of my favourite breakdowns from today:

deer0015

Deer Line Test

This idea I’ve had for a while, but today I had the chance to get all the keys and some of the breakdowns drawn. Lots of issues here still, so I look forward to working on it more.

Rude Awakening

Character (Morpheus) from here: http://www.joshburton.com/projects/morpheus.asp
Chair prop provided by Aardman
All sound effects from http://www.freesfx.co.uk

This is a short animation I created while a Trainee Animator at Aardman. I wanted to push my animation and go for a more cartoony style. For reference I watched a lot of Tex Avery takes! However I still struggled to push the rig (even Morpheus) to get the same exaggeration as a drawn figure while keeping it looking good.

I’m glad I tried to replicate part of the Popeye test a few months ago, because what I learnt doing that (see here) was very helpful with this.

Here are some of my favourite frames:

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Animating a Horse III

Polishing

Previous posts: Posing and Breakdowns.

This is actually the hardest stage to describe, I think; there are so many small things that I do it’s hard to summarise them. But I’ll give it a shot!

I normally don’t use the graph editor all that much before the polishing pass as I know I’ll have to come back to it again anyway. What I do is pick a point on my character (in this case, illustrated by the horse’s head).

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I then open the graph editor to see how the head moves. As seen by the graph below, the curve begins and ends smoothly but in the middle it changes direction quite sharply with the points all over the place.

Graph_01 What I do is adjust the points until the whole curve is smooth. I try not to make it perfect, otherwise everything will move evenly. The idea is to keep the general shape while smoothing out the kinks.Graph_02

It’s at this stage that I make sure to get rid of all evenness and stiffness in the movement. I adjusted the horse’s feet so that the hooves don’t lift off the ground all at the same time, and so the hind legs don’t kick out at exactly the same time. I adjusted the tail so it follows the movement of the body. The ears were looking pretty stiff, so I added a little flick in there – hopefully just enough to keep them alive. If you look really closely, you’ll also be able to see the horse briefly open its mouth.

There are many things like that which have been tweaked and adjusted since the last video I posted. The aim is to recreate life, to make it believable – an illusion people want to believe. By rolling the body from one side to another as it lifts and lands, I’m making the horse look like it has real weight.

As seen by the graph editor, smoothing things out is important. This is also seen in the arcs of the character – how the hoof moves across the screen, for example. Below I’ve used Maya’s handy sketch tool, Grease Pencil, to examine how the left fore leg (on the right) picks up and then sets down. I’ve already adjusted this leg in terms of timing (slower as it lifts and falls, faster in the middle) and the arc is getting there. You can see by the purple line that it is quite straight in the middle, and wiggles around at the end.

GreasePencil_01 Using a different colour I add another line to my sketch – this is the arc I want the leg to have. (The leg is now on the left.) I’ve picked out the keys I want to change the position of: 16 needs to be slightly raised, 18 needs to be shifted quite significantly to the right, and 19 needs some adjusting to fit between the new 18 and the final key. Once these are changed, I’ll get that nice smooth arc.GreasePencil_02It is possible to use Maya’s editable motion trail, but I prefer the old-fashioned way because then I can measure the arc against exactly what I want to, in this case the point of the hoof.

Here, then, is the final animation:

The problem with the polishing stage (and 3D in general) is the ability to go back and revise and revise again. Even while making this post I discovered more things to change – and I certainly can see many more things in previous animations I’ve done! However I’m pleased with this little project and I hope to use this rig again.

Previous posts: Posing and Breakdowns.

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