Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Holidays!

What happens when the bad guys mess with Santa?

Happy Holidays! 

Share this link with your friends and family!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Walks and Turns

Walks are important for getting a character from point A to point B. It takes some practice to animate a walk properly. Today, TV animation will animate the character taking a step and then cut to a tighter shot of the character from the waist up. The character now can bob up and down as the background pans behind them creating the illusion of walking motion.

Here's a walk with a turn.

Here's a series of walk positions where the character is getting smaller as he is walking away from us. This is a complete 2 step walk which can be repeated and reduced in size to link up to the previous walk series.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Animating Holiday Scenes

When I was a kid, I would always plan out and print up Christmas cards for friends, family and relatives. It all started off with linoleum block printing, later it was screen printing, then photoshop and finally animation. Here are a few animated cards I've done in the past.

Making Holiday cards has always been a way for me to get into the Christmas spirit. My cards have become less hand made as the years have gone by, but I still like to send something out. And so, that's one reason why I have been working to finish up this project up.

Here is the rough blocking of animation for the Holiday Watchcat card so far.

Any feedback about this is always welcomed, please let me know and Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Making an animated Holiday card

My final animation class has ended allowing some free time to animate a Watchcat Holiday episode to send off to friends and family as an animated Holiday card to end 2016 in a fun way. I installed a 21 day trail version of ToonBoom Harmony 14 with a goal of documenting this production and show more about the animation process using Harmony.

To begin with, I made this animatic with final voices and sound effects as a QuickTime file  imported as a movie into Harmony . The bottom layer holds the animatic which I will use to keep my scenes in sync. The layer above holds a white background until I create a final one. The layer above the BG is where I will create my rough poses.

There is only about 6 scenes in this project and I've designed it so that after one shot, the camera will pull away from one setup to reveal something that is happening in the foreground or in the background. You can see the animatic in previous a post entitled "Making Christmas".

By setting up different layers; the animatic, white background card and a rough animation, this will keep everything organized and easier to animated. The rough animation is also made up of several other layers and since we are zooming away from Santa and the Robber,
those drawings are both attached to Pegs.

Harmony allows you to create different layers by clicking on the +  button near the timeline and by holding it down, you will see other layers to choose from. Peg (ctrl + P) allows you to attach a layer and then move the peg, everything on the layer moves with the peg. In this case, Santa and the Robber move away from us on the Z axis. 

By clicking on the peg twice, Harmony opens a control panel showing the Key frames on a graph line. You need to determine which frame you want to set a Key on by clicking on +KF button. The -KP will remove a Key on the timeline. You can add ease ins and outs to each XYZ avis with the Velocity editor which is shown in the video below.
Watch this short video to see how it all works and where everything is located.

Each scene is a separate Harmony file that you will export a separate video file. Each file is then imported into an editing software program like Premiere or Final Cut Pro.

Next Posting: Animating Holiday Scenes

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Prowling CTN expo Part 2

CTN animation expo was so big this year, it takes two blog posts to describe it all and so, here is part 2.

When I first heard that the exhibit floor would be housed in a tent in the parking lot, I was worried. They had a small tent last year which housed a second part of the exhibit floor, since the main exhibitor floor has packed. The tent became very hot inside due to the warm weather and all the extra people. A lot of exhibitors were sweating and some even had small fans going to fight the heat. 

I am happy to report that this year's CTN's exhibitor floor fit nicely into a hugh air conditioned tent in the parking lot. They even included the parking lot trees into the interior design, added lights to add to the very creative environment inside.

The weather was cool and comfortably, but Sunday there was rain and there were a few leaks overhead inside the tent which caused the lights to be turned off.

But even without interior lighting, the convention went on and the dusk like interior added to the atmosphere of the expo.

While the lights were on, we managed to meet up with old friends and fellow colleagues who we had met before. I got the opportunity to stand between the Twin Towers of Animation, Tom and Tony Bancroft! 

And then, I ran into Lenord Robinson, who I met when working on "Meet the Patels".

We met this new guy, Max Narcisco, who was busy designing characters and had a very interesting booth full of his creations.

And of course, James Lopez, the creator of "Hullabaloo". Next year, you may be seeing the release of the  first Steampunk animated series!
The nice thing about this expo is that it is made to network and a place to meet your favorite animation artists and heroes. It not like Comicon, but rather a place to find new work opportunities and meet new people. 

Hopefully, we will run into you there next year! 

Did I mention Watchcat 02 is done and we are working on something new. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Facial Expressions

Here are a few animation videos you may be interested in, beginning with Character Design tips from Sergio Pablos.

And on the CG side, a very expressive rig showing us a variety of facial expressions.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

CTN animation expo 2016

Its so true, Disney is currently turning all their animated features into live actions ones. Here is a new one coming out this Summer.

But this post is about this year's CTN animation expo which you should attend once in your lifetime...
When I first heard that the exhibit floor would be housed in a tent in the parking lot, I was worried. They have a tent last year which housed a second part of the exhibit floor, since the main exhibitor floor has housed inside. The tent became very hot inside due to the warm weather and extra people. A lot of exhibitors were sweating and some even had small fans going to fight the heat. 

I am happy to report that this year's CTN's exhibitor floor fit nicely into a huge air conditioned tent in the parking lot. They even included the parking lot trees into the interior design as well.

Most of the weekend was dry, however there was rain on Sunday, the last day which caused leak and minor damage. I'm sure next year they will make sure they are prepare every other weather condition. All in all, it was very enjoyable inside.

The main area which use to hold the exhibit area, now held all the lectures or panels.  Not sure how many people attended, Saturday was the biggest  day and the big tent held everyone quite comfortably. 

There were places to sit and talk, surrounded by several lighted trees and even a roller skating creative spirit who dibbled sparkly dust on top of the heads of unsuspecting attendees, like me.

If you attend, you will always run into creative people who's artwork will inspire you and is for sale. You can talk to them because this is a place to meet new people, so don't be shy. You will run into people you have worked with or for and even meet new friends as well. A lot of animation studios were there to review portfolios and meet new talented artists. 

Disney was giving away movie posters of "Moana" and I was luckily enough get one of the last. A young lady approached me asking where she could get a poster, but unfortunately they were all gone.  I discovered she was from Denmark and was here to was visiting CTN for the first time and wanted get into animation.

And so, I had to give her my Disney poster and a postcard of our Watchcat Episode 2 to take back to her country. The rest of the day, I met lots of artist and attendees by giving them a postcard about our project telling them where to watch it online. Self Promotion is welcomed.

Meeting some of my previous students again and they still like me!

Meet friends again, like the one and only, Lenord Robinson

And not to mention (but I did it anyway), a chance to stand between the Twin towers of Animation, Tom and Tony Bancroft.

Or reconnecting with our good friend, James Lopez, who is wrapping up his long awaited project, Hullabaloo.

Even meet new people like, Max Narciso. He had a dark and mysteriously looking booth full of his unique characters made from burlap and other fibers. Very organic and whimsical looking creatures.

We are finally getting a great response from viewers of our Youtube channel, Watchcat Films Episode 2 moved up to 130 views to 225. After CTNX, our video views increased to 342 and are continuing to grow hire. We also began with 27 subscribers and now are up to 69! And each day, the numbers are growing.

During last week of all this excitement, we came with a solution of producing shorter videos in order to complete them in a few weeks as oppose to a few years. 

We want to thank you again for supporting Watchcat and letting us know you are out there and like what you see. Help us share our Watchcat Film youtube channel and subscribe to it if you haven't done so already.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
From: Greg, Jim and Watchcat!

Click on the ads and give money to a homeless dog, cat or bunny.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

For your consideration, Watchcat Episode 2

As I write this, I can't believe we have finally come to the end of this project. What started off as a webseries to introduce Watchcat in episode 1, only hinted at what this cat could do. A Batman in cat form, a mysterious protector of the neighborhood on the watch for crime and criminals alike. 

Could we tell a story about a crime fighting cat in animation, with editing and original music? A mini motion picture of a cat hero that people would want to follow in every episode? Would we find an audience, get millions of hits and maybe even fund more episodes using a crowd funding situation? All these questions take time and effort to answer, but hopefully we will find out what you, our audience thinks about all of this.

We made Episode 2 to continue to follow the characters we introduced and and how our cat would deal with them. Both parts equal a whole and if people like it enough, we will do more. Maybe not 3 minutes an episode, but shorter situations could add to this cat's tale. 

And so, for your consideration, please enjoy Watchcat Episode 2.

So if you like what you see, click on the ads. the Google money generated will be donated to our local animal shelter. Click on our facebook page, like the page and share this with friends, family and other Watchcat owners!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

WatchCat Episode 2 Premieres

What does an animation teacher do for fun? He spends two years (on and off) making a short film as part of a web series.

Its November and over two years ago, we posted our first Watchcat episode and added our Watchcat Films channel on Youtube. 

That same year, we attended the CTN Expo in Burbank in our Watchcat T-shirts and handed out Watchcat post cards to people including...

 John Musker, one of the directors of the latest Disney film, "Mohana"

After CTNX, we were inspired to finish what we had started and even made this Christmas video card promoting the next WatchCat Episode.


Time flies, we have tried to find an audience by posting this weekly blog to show our production process. We also attempted a few Live "Blogcasts", which might not have turned out as well as we had hoped, but we learned alot. Its hard to make an animated film with limited free time and resources, but I learned a lot from this project and how I can improve on the next.

We tried to educated you in the animation process and keep you entertained every Watchcat Wednesday along the way.

We appreciate all the comments we have received and are amazed that our blog has reached the following countries all over the world. Besides the United States at 6639, we had all time viewers of our cat cartoon reach the following viewing numbers!

United Kingdom

And so, check out the Watchcat Files next Watchcat Wednesday, Nov 16th 2016 to see Watchcat Episode 2. If you are going to the Burbank CTN Expo this weekend, looking us walking around in our Watchcat T-shirt. Say hello and get a free Watchcat postcard!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Know your Animation History!

Here is an new book about the history of animation called,"A new History of Animation" by Maureen Furniss of CalArts. The book came out of teaching an animation history class to help students understand where animation has come from and where it might be going. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Lip Sync Animation 2

It was 1927 when Warner Bros. released the first live action film, "The Jazz Singer" and introduced audiences to sound in the form of "talking pictures". And in the Summer of 1928,
Walt Disney's "Steamboat Willie" was the first to introduced audiences to lip sync sound, sound effects and music in an animated cartoon.

Lip sync animation is something that takes a little time to master and their are a variety of books that mention how this is accomplished. Here is a great link to more about the history of sound in animation. 
For this post, i would like to take you step by step through the process and give you some tips along the way.
Here's a Lip Sync Chart of the Mouth positions and what sounds each mouth can make.
This character's closed mouth would be an "A" mouth, which would be a closed smile with lips, no teeth. In this scene, the character never used an "A" mouth, since she was always smiling with her teeth. Below you can see her mouth positions.
Before you begin reading your sound track, you need to determine your character's mouth positions will work. This would be a model sheet showing the various mouth positions.

Before you start animating a character, you need to create a series of modelsheets showing the character in various positions, etc. Check this previous post all about modelsheets. 

Using the mouth positions modelsheet will help you determine what mouth to animate once you have filled out your X sheet. The mouth positions should have both happy, sad or angry mouths. These modelsheets make sure everyone is drawing the character's mouth expression in the same way.

I have given a few demos about how to "read" or breakdown a sound track and its like watching someone knit a sweater. By the time I finish showing the process, I ask if there are any questions and no one does. I feel like this something the students need to do on their own, make mistakes and learn from them.

Here's a short video explaining the process I use with my Cintiq and laptop for lip syncing a scene from Watchcat.

You Learny? You Likey? Then Clicky on the ads or write Commentskis below!