Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy Birthday Bugs Bunny!

Is Bugs flipping off Elmer?

Today, July 27, 2015 is Bugs Bunny's 75th Anniversary: "A Wild Hare" premiered on July 27, 1940. Directed by Tex Avery, story by Rich Hogan, music by Carl Stalling, editing & sound effects by Treg Brown, character designs by Robert Givens, BG designs by John Didrik Johnsen, animation by Virgil Ross, Charles McKimson, Robert McKimson, Rob Scribner, and voices by Mel Blanc and Arthur Q. Bryan. The great rabbit of the Golden Age of Animation is born!

And here's something that was made only about 25 years ago...


Monday, July 20, 2015

WU HS Summer Academy 2015

Recently, I taught a group of 14 High School students  a 7 week course from Woodbury University called "Intro to Animation". For seven Thursdays, I gave them a taste of 3 different types of animation production.
Stop Motion
In the first and second class, we explored Stop Motion production, where everyone got to animate themselves in front of the camera and learn how to move frame by frame. It was an exercise called Pixelation, which got everybody outside and thinking of what they wanted to do. It was also a fun way to shoot stop motion and a great way to get to know one another.

After lunch, the class returned and four groups were formed. Two groups went to animate on two table top sets while the other two groups got to shoot on a large whiteboard. We only had one whiteboard and one camera, so while one group was making their artwork, the other group setup and started shooting.

Drawing Animation

The third and fourth class, we went into the drawing animation studio where the students learned how to animate a bouncing ball and shoot a pencil test. I also had them bring in a horizontal color image of whatever they wanted for the Metamorphosis project.

They taped down their images onto animation paper and then we had to figure out what image we would begin the film. It was a fun and very noisy process, but eventually a list was drawn up and everyone then knew what image they would begin and end with. The hardest part is figuring out how to go from one image to the next, because there are millions of ways you can go. Here's what this class came up with...

Metamorphosis from Toondini on Vimeo.

Computer Animation

The last two days, (actually 3), were dedicated to learning how to animated a simple box rig called "Johnny the Box" in Maya software. The students also learned how to make simple polygon models which the box could interact with in the scene or use in their set. 

Students learned that sometimes Maya or the computer does not always work as perfectly as they imagined. When they saw the tab called Paint Effects, they were like crazy little kids in a paint store and I spent a lot of time removing paint effect choices from their outliners. Adding features like these will slow down the animation process and take more to render. Here are the final Maya animation projects.

Johnny the Box from Toondini on Vimeo.
First Maya projects using the Johnny the Box rig

We had the final screening for the students and their families showing all of the above animation work. Everyone got a chance to see their work on the big screen in Woodbury's screening room and it was a great way to end the class.

If any students would like a copy of the above projects, please send me an email and if you enjoy this blog, let me know. Hope you enjoyed the class!