Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Anatomy of a Shot!

Hey guys,

So after 4 sleepless nights in the garage I came out with what I THINK is a decent shot. I had to wrestle quite a few challenges in the creation of this shot...... But Shel gave it the seal of approval.

Process -

{Step one} in approaching the shot was to figure out what was required of my actor Geralds performance. He is Excited to see a new person! He is trying to seem cute and Loveable maybe a bit goofy. This means Happy faces , BIG smiles and Cute Poses!

I had worked out the Choreography {on paper OR post it notes} a long while back but now I will be faced with the task of Getting my puppet ......whos limited physical properties challenge every step of giveing his performance.....to ACT.

Before animateing I always go down into our Gym and act out the actions of my character. I do this to {experiment-Break down}.....and to physically put the performance into my body.I am a very Physical person so If I can Feel a movement I can definately animate it.

Shel usually gives me feed back and suggestions if somthing isnt reading or flowing. Once I feel the movement I have a direct connection to how the puppet should feel in his movement.I ALSO have a DIRECT emotional experiance of how my character feels in the shot. Its very common for me when animateing a {Sad / happy /Excited scene} to wear the very expressions that my characters wear as I pose the characters . This is being inside your character {ONE FRAME at a time}...I am essentially Gerald the DOG as I animate him.

This I feel goes all the way back to playing with my action figures as a kid. I was down there on the floor in their universe. I was feeling and believeing everything my Gi joes, Star Wars , HE MANS or Transformers would encounter. Its really funny to think Im essentially 33 doing the same thing.....Ha! POWERFULL!!

I also some times video tape my self or have Shel act out my performance so I can see what It looks like from the audiance point of view. She sometimes can bring a whole new angle to the performance I never thought of. She also has different ideas about things that can really add to what Im trying to accomplish.Her dance and performance background come in handy in this reguard.

After this I have a good idea what replacement heads I will need for the shot...I at that point need to resculpt new ones or fix damaged ones from old shots.This takes some preparation and is not one of my favorite parts.

If all is good I move to the garage.I usually go into the garage with a few KEY DRAWINGS on paper that I really want to hit.

I then set up the lights - set up the computer - and Get the camera positioned and focused. Monkey Jam loads up - set up the spycam. ANIMATION.

This shot ended up being {30 seconds long - 4 nights of animating} I really was trying to make this shot a keeper so I back tracked more than once to make sure I was not short changeing the acting. This shot also will have key moments where it cuts to little girl reations and then cuts back to Gerald.

{Night One} -I stop at the part where he sits back up from the cute Roll over pose.

{Night Two} - I got him to the tail chase and comeing out of it.

{Night three} - YIKES!!!!! My bowl was trashed and All my dog food was gone????

were the kids in here? whos been messing with my hot set? I then realized that the most likely culprit would be our cat "Cosmo" DAMMIT.....I had to rebuild the food particles and bowl then get them resonably back into place. I wasnt too worried about this since the blank plate saves all.

I get all things into place and continue the animateing I get him rolling back from his dizzy flop...and into the sitting position

{Night Four} Pop in seinfeld to play in the background...{I always have somthing playing as I work} ... it all goes well....FINISHED.

Heres what came out....

This is the last of the big shots I had to do...all though there are a few more parts of this sequence to shoot....I am rolling down hill now FULL Steam. I just started another second job for a week....so I wont be able to make my quota this week. It should be fine though since shel scheduled 3 weeks for this shot.

over an out!



Sven Bonnichsen said...

Excellent post! Thank you so much for the glimpse into your process!!

Darkstrider said...

Yo dog!!! Dog gone good acting there!!

Shelley Noble said...

Stunning. Brilliant. Unbelievable! The performance is of the highest quality anywhere.

It not only looks as though Gerald is adorable (!, and how!) BUT--it also looks as though he's "trying" to be what the girl thinks of as adorable!!! Unbelievable performance, Justin.

You know, this post alone is ready to be printed as an incredibly valuable animation book. Actually, with blogs transforming life as we know it, maybe your blog is a new better kind of "book".

This post was beautifully thought out and prepared. I love the way the storyboard sketch was paired with the final screen shot! Wow! The one with the live shot of Gerald on his back actually caused me to laugh.

Shel and Justin, way to rock.

Pram said...

I love the poignance in the pauses, the way a pose is held just long enough for it to read, and the counter motion that helps ease out of a hold. You think of things I would never come up with, let alone attempt.

When your film comes out, I'm buying it.

Alonso Soriano said...

I've been lurking on your blog for a while now. You are amazing!! Every time I come here I'm impressed! How can you possibly have time to be making this short while working and having a family, do you just not sleep, you must be a machine :) !? And it's so high quality and smooth, such great spacing and arcs and complete lack of that stop-mo jerkiness(which is endearing but telling), you are a definite master of the craft. Keep it up, and please keep sharing, every time I come here I'm inspired to take a swing at stop-mo (just have to learn to stop wasting time sleeping)

jriggity said...

Thanks sooo Much guys!

I am fed every time I visit your sites so I feel happy that you guys get somthing from comeing here.

and NO.... I dont sleep.

at least not for about 6 more months.{Film Finished} Then I get to remember the way it feels to rub my toes in the covers once more.


adam said...

ssSAWESOME! I saw another shot of yours on YouTube:


Craig Harris said...

Super bad ass!!! Best yet man...the pup lives!!!! Powerfuhh....Heft heft!!!

Mysterious Ron said...

Sometimes we animators can get lost in the technical how-to of animation creation but, you are clearly all about the character through every step of the process.

What's more, your a great teacher... icing on the cake! Thanks :)

mefull said...

Thanks for sharing your behind the scene process.

Great animation as usual. Gerald really moves like a chubby dog, especially when chasing his tail - nice work!

Grant's Animation said...

Hey Justin,

Gerald's movements are certainly organic and natural and very canine. And the weight shifting rolly-polly quality of his torso is perfect. I'm seeing some magic!

Joel Brinkerhoff said...