Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's been a while!

It's been a while since my last post (8 Months tomorrow)! A lot has happened since then. I finished up on Big Hero 6 at Disney Animation, then headed over to DreamWorks Animation a little over a month ago, and had the pleasure of working on a cool Christmas Project called "DreamPlace" (Directed by Gary Trousdale), which will be a fun experience for the kids. It will be in malls this Christmas (The Glendale galleria, if you live in the LA area). After that I started working on some marketing animation for "The Penguins of Madagascar", which has been a very cool experience so far! Be sure to check that film out in November! It... Is... HILARIOUS!!


DreamWorks has been great so far. I'm learning, growing, and just continuing to find ways to push myself. The free food is a nice perk as well, haha!

On the more personal side, I found out that I'm going to be a father at the end of November!! That's been the biggest news for me all year. I'm really excited about this new journey in my life. Growing up without a father- there's been a lot of things that I've missed out on. I want to be there for my son, to help teach him, guide him, and just be a solid role model for him. Show him that you can literally do ANYTHING you are willing to work towards! My mother always put that in our heads growing up. There are no boundaries, don't let people tell you where your abilities lie. If you want to do something in your life, find a way to make it happen!

So, this has been an interesting year so far, and there's still more of the year to go!

Keep it goin' everybody! ;^)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pantomime, Character, Simplicity!

Last night, I was talking to my students about pantomime, and simplicity in communicating who a character is.. Also reinforcing the idea of seeing, thinking, and acting, because at times when we know what we want to do going into planning and reference, the spontaneity in our shots can suffer (at least with me sometimes, lol).
So, I wanted to share one of the clips I analyzed with with my class, just as inspiration. I think Rowan Atkinson is so good at what he does, and his poses, intention, etc are always so clear!!
In this clip it's cool to see how the conflict is established, as well (as the character), then how his actions during the story/journey reveal nice character specific choices.
Enjoy!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Disney update..

So it's been about 2.5 months since I started at Disney. The training has been really fun, and incredibly challenging. I haven't been at a studio where I can focus on Acting in a few years, so it's been a real treat! Although I've done some personal acting tests, it's not quite the same as being in that type of environment. When I got started at Disney, I began training with some of the Wreck-it Ralph characters. Those characters are fun, but also challenging! You can easily over-complicate a pose, using too many controls etc. Keep things simple, clean, and clear.

The latest shot I've been working on is a dialogue test with a character from Disney's "Frozen". When I heard I was gonna animate one of these characters I was pretty excited... I've had a rough time doing this shot. #1 They are human characters, so I felt a level of complexity had to be there, but it's not always easy to execute. #2 It was hard for me to find a way to connect with the line I ended up getting. I understood it, but I didn't quite connect with it (if that makes sense). I had my heart set on animating something else, so that could have played a factor in my lack of connection, I don't know.

I'm getting through it, and throughout this shot I've learned a lot of things. Some key things were:

1. Trust my instincts- 
I began getting too wrapped up into what I felt the Sup's would want to see based on their feedback, rather than taking their feedback, and adding to it with my own flair.

2. Make sure the mechanics are right, even if the legs aren't in the shot-
I made sure I animated the legs in the shot, but through shifting things around, and seeing how the acting etc was playing in the scene camera, the mechanics slowly began to fall behind. I was getting lost in the acting, and forgetting to keep an eye on the fundamentals.

3. Make clear choices-
Some areas in the shot lacked a sense of connection. The connection with whom the character was talking to, and the connection with the character and their own thoughts. This was a result of not having clear choices in the acting. Letting the audience know how this character feels in the SIMPLEST way possible.

4. Don't move just to move-
Motivate your outward actions from within! Moving a character well isn't enough! If you can do that, AND show what's going on in a character's head that leads to movement, you're on to something...

I've gone through some ups and downs on this piece. There have been times where I felt like I wasn't good enough to be at the studio, and there have been times where I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I knew exactly what I needed to do. You'll never have all the answers, all the time. It's a learning process. You learn, you grow, you progress.

Animation is tough- you can't take shortcuts with performance! If you're working for someone in animation keep in mind that, although you're doing work for someone else, most likely you were hired for that special something you put into your work. So keep adding that special something and trust your gut!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Headed to Disney!

A few weeks ago, I accepted an offer from Walt Disney Animation Studios down in Burbank, CA. I can't wait to get started and learn as much as I can from these talented people. The first movie (not just animated), that I remember seeing, was "101 Dalmatians".  It was the first movie my mom got when we moved into our new house when I was a kid. I remember getting "The Lion King" as a gift later on, and I would watch those movies almost every day. Disney, played a big part in my being hooked on Animation and story telling. It's pretty amazing to think that I'll hopefully be a part of doing the same for someone else.

I'll post some cool news as it comes.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A lot has been going on over the past year. I just recently finished up on "Tomb Raider" this past Friday, which has been a long road (2 and a half years)- for some it's been even longer... Outside of that there's been a lot of struggles, tough decisions that had to be made, and a lot of times where I've questioned my skill as an Animator.

I'm not going to write some drawn out post about everything, but I just wanted to get to saying that the animation industry can be a rough place to be in, try to get into, and even stay in. We're often judged and categorized based on where we've worked, or how many years we've been in the field, rather than the actual quality of our work. Some of us go through countless cat and mouse games with companies, before getting a chance to work for them, only to find out things weren't quite what they seemed. You see peers move up in their careers, and you try your hardest not to compare yourself to where they're at. These things are bound to happen in life, but when it involves what you really love, it's affects are different. It can really tear you down if you let it! Don't let it! Push through that and let those moments fuel your motivation. Nothing can keep us from growing as artists! Nothing, except ourselves...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Amazing 360 panorama of Mars (Images not from "Curiosity")

Seeing this definitely brings me to a certain state of "WOW" about how small we really are in this universe. We are exploring a completely different planet. Pretty crazy when you think about it!

http://www.panoramas.dk/mars/greeley-haven.html 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Update on what I've been doing!

So it's been a while since I've posted on here... Reason being that I've been working overtime, and I've been animating in one of the iAnimate workshops! I decided to try it out after seeing their student showcase, and the great rigs they have there. It's been really fun, and I've learned some useful things there. I have about 2 weeks left, but you can see what I've done so far in my Workshop 4 progress reel.


Frank Abney WS4 Progress Reel from Frank Abney on Vimeo.