Saturday, April 9, 2011

1RST Week in the can!

Hey guys,

Here I am having completed my very first week as a LAIKA animator.......what can I say...... HUGE deep breath!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My first 15 minutes in the building I got to sit down with a bunch of the LAIKA crew in the giant screening room and watch a bunch of the AMAZING shots being created for the new film.

This was the very first time I got to see the designs and characters for the new film...and I was Incredibly PLEASED....They are excellent and incredibly appealing. POWERFULL.

can you say INTIMIDATION.....FEAR...... OUTCLASSED.......and THRILLED to be there!!!!!!
This are how I felt through out the week.

This is going to be a Defining Artistic experience for me guys...

So before I talk about my week I have to say that the BIGGEST thing I have learned in my very short time here is ?

{NO MISTAKES ALLOWED} the animation has to be PERFECT guys ...100% PERFECT!!! Zero room for error....

I never realized how much imperfection I have allowed in my work until coming here....working on 2's give you so much breathing space between your frames....its so so forgiving in a sequence.

This was a very quick and Very hard HAMMER to my Psyche.

My first task was basically to just play with the some pose tests in character......and just familiarize myself with how he moves-works. this went just fine....and was very fun.

One of my next tests during the week was to do a walk with the puppet across the stage in character.....on ones.... this was not easy at all....and I was felling very bad about my first showing....{especially since all the other staff has access to your work } YIKES!!

WEAKness....will not be hidden

I have never done a walk at this level of perfection before - on ones - and zero mistakes allowed.

after being critiqued by the animation supervisor I set out to do another Improving upon my mistakes from the first job.....This sounds simple enough but I was so full of fear of messing up that I just could not perform like I know I can...

after creating a sub par 2nd -walk....I decided the only way to deal with this fear is to GRAB a hold of it and BEAT it into submission. {Take charge}

I decided to stay late and do it again-It was much better....but still I need to do better....

A method for taking controll of the fear i was having was to Start BLOCKING all of my work out in advance....

This was INSANELY helpfull!!!!!!!!!!! I have never blocked out my work in stopmotion before....I always thumb nailed my work but Never Blocked.

After Blocking my walk....It gave me all the confidence to do a clean piece of work...Which I did
Pppfffeeeewwww!! Wipes the sweat from the brow.


In finishing the week of work and getting my pass to the building....I spent all Saturday...{after a slept in ofcourse}-......Animating something just for FUN!! {Blocking Actually} I figured this could be a nice FUN reminder and practice session directly related to my first shots I am scheduled to do.

This was very theraputic....and I am excited to go in on Sunday and Put it together in animation form....

a piece of info that I did not know in FEATURE stopmotion film production....PROCESS

when given a shot for the film...the first thing you do -

1.Talk to Director-

2.If scene is complex or has elements that are unique- TEST animate them...

{cameras- particles-trees-leaves-certain specific motions - car bounces-bikes-u name it}

3. BLOCK Shot- {all posing- and camera}

4. Let Director-Supervisor give Approvals comment...

4. Rehearsal - {Animate entire Shot On 2's}

5. Let Director-Supervisor give Approvals comment...

6. LAUNCH- Animate Shot on 1's ALL the way...

8. Daily's Approval by Directors -Supervisors...

9. JUMP UP AND DOWN SCREAMING at the top of your LUNGS!!!!

That is the process and I cant wait till I get that first shot approved.

Wish me luck going into week 2 guys...

SOOOooooo much to learn!!



Dean said...

Yikes! Sounds like you're walking into the lions den. But that's okay, 'cos you're a lion! Raarghh!! :D

BEST wishes for week 2.

Jeff Lafferty said...

Hang in there dude, everybody’s rooting for you!

pkbrooks said...


Just wanted to let u know that its good to see you writing. I have u bookmarked on my phone and it was almost five weeks of daily checking with no updates. The silence was suspenseful. :) Now to see what has transpired...exciting stuff. Love reading your experiences. Im a writer and can only long for my stories to have that kind of creative outlet that stopmotion has provided you. Hope you keep sharing your life.
ps. Dont know how your other readers feel, but in some ways I feel like im part of your family. Im praying for shels recovery and for the destruction of fear in you. Boy do I hate fear! Keep pounding!

Gregory Sesma said...

Sounds like a blast. Go get 'um.

Mexican Viking said...

Break an armature's leg! (Metaphorically speaking of course.)
If you ever get a chance to talk more about blocking that'd be great to know more.
You can do it man! Keep it up! Shot will be in the can soon!

Anonymous said...

I didn't realize how much you relied on two's until reading this post.

I had the exact opposite experience- when I went in for a test on Coraline, I had to shoot it on two's and I was used to ones! So what would have been easy for you was hard for me. I've dabbled in twos a bit, but for strong character animation I prefer ones because even though the arcs are not as forgiving, you have more frames to work with and it's easier to fix a bad pose (especially with clay).

Shelley Noble said...

Loving how you are sharing this part of your process, Justin. You're not about putting only the shiny face on this, showing the challenges as well. Way to go!

And when you triumph the way you want, it'll be all the sweeter because we'll all know you had to fight with everything you had to get there.

My only thing is that I already love your animation skill better than any I've seen, so I'm not sure if I personally admire the "perfect" animation they are doing up there. But you do, so hey.

Creative Skull Productions said...

I have been coming home every day to check the blog to get some news. Thanks so much for sharing. You're so inspiring. You can do it, we all believe in you, and tell Laika they already have my twelve dollars.
And thanks PKBROOKS, I also feel the same way. I feel like i'm on this journey with Justin.

amoebaboy said...

wow !
congrats on the job J it sounds mighty scary but i reckon if any body's up to it you are.

Mattson Tomlin said...

exhausting. excellent stuff!

Alonso said...

Awesome, so scarey :)
so blocking on 4's or 8's about? That's interesting you do a whole rehearsal on 2's before 1's, so when you go to do the final you've already done it twice
so aside from the practice runs, any other tricks for animating on 1's? (breaking out the calipers and ruler for good eases or anything)
Rock on man, just think in a few months when you can look back on this learning curve and smile.

Rich Johnson. said...

ya!!! Facing fear and spitting right in its stinky pie hole. good on ya. I love your passion and determination. Great post!

jriggity said...

thanks dood.

Jeff}will do man...I keep thinking this is where you find out what your made of.

pkbrooks}aww thanks glad you swing back....yeah your Dreams man....

write those stories...and get them out there.

Gregory Sesma}will Yaba daba Dooo!

Mex Vike} Ill cover blocking more in my next post man.

Don} I use both ones and 2's in my work.....the difference in the LAIKA work is that....the increments are TINY between moves...

TINY...and they have to all be perfect - thats the HARD stuff...let alone...translating my spacing knowledge of 2's to ones.

it will come though.

You live out here....Im totally suprised you havnt tried to get on the project.Whats up?

Shelly} thanks lady! yeah...I think the level of perfection is Insane there....but I get it.

its human to keep striving.....and competing with CG audiences it makes some sence too.

otherwise...this definitel is the Biggest mountain I have ever attemped climbing...and It gona be tough!!!!

thanks for your constant support!!!

Creative Skull}thanks man!! your gona be blown away by this one...It really make Coraline look like an Indie garage film.

amoebaboy}thanks bro

Mattson} aww man....its like what I image Highschool football player going into the NFL....OUCH...BIGTIME!!

Alonso} yep- blocking can be very rough...Though I will put in more poses just for my mental state.

and do animate it at least twice ...sometimes more.

as for tips on ones....My biggest is having the timing in 2's makes it much easier for me to take it to 1's

thats all i got right now besides drawing on the screen and FEELING the flow of the frames.

as I gather more technique Ill let ya know.

Rich}Thanks man!!

j.spake said...

hey man relax! you are going to be totally fine!

EdHead said...

Hey Justin-- Congrats on the new gig at Laika! I land on your blog every so often to check out how the short is coming along. Keep up the posts! -Ed

Darkstrider said...

Laika has just grown stronger!