Sunday, January 22, 2012

Things learned- and Back In the Chair!!

Hey Guys,

We are Officially back on LINE- Me and Shel have been spending some ART time repairing Our stars for some acting in their new upcoming shots....
Dry clay and broken fingers repaired.....Dober and Flea are ready again for Action....

Here is the first Failed shot of my return to the Film- BUT- it was a FUN......
I was really unhappy with the performance and too many tech problems to use the shot...........So....I am looking at the shot as a block and an opportunity to do it better...

so..........I have been back on the computer for 2 weeks now and I am truly sad to not be touching my characters and working with real sets.....

I have to tell you guys........ I am Dearly missing working in Stopmotion and at LAIKA
Sigh.....

BUT- I feel that the work on LINE will start feeding my soul again...and the excitement of working on our film will .....fill that void....until I get back.

One thing that working at LAIKA made me really wana do is get that camera Moving......

It of course complicates the shots .....but it adds tons too.....so we are going to try and mix in alot more camera moves for the remaining film.

This is gona be FUN to design and we will share it here.

Some -LAIKA Lessons-

so......on my 2 day drive back HOME from Portland......I really had time to reflect on the lessons learned from PARANORMAN....


1.FEATURE Stopmotion animation is REALLY REALLY .......REALLY HARD....

2.Make sure you Have good shoes- cushy floor pads

- and try to sit down when you can....healthy FEET are super important in this field.

3. When getting directed- Take good notes

....and do your best to give them what they want- even if the puppets try to take you elsewhere....which happens...

4. Even though you feel time constraints pressuring you-
Make sure you have a very clear idea BEFORE you start animating
- you can always improvise if the puppets start pulling.....knowing where your going saves soooo much more time than what you invest into planning.

5.Make sure your puppets are capable of the Poses you dream up- Test your poses before hand....

working with real puppets creates REAL limitations.

5.5. When you are planning your animation visualize-time out your .........what I call {HangTime Moments}

this is when your spacing gets small like at the top of the ball bounce-{For any part of the body}

I tended to speed through them when I first switched to 1's.......I just wasn't HANGING long enough in those bits coming from 2's......and When I started pre visualizing them I was able to create enough frames to read properly....

6. STUDY- the other Animators work -

soooooo much to learn from all the VETS -Alot can be discovered by framing through their succesfull animations.....and their - RARE - failures.

7. Keep Inspired!!!!!!!!!!
The DAY to Day of creating HIGH Quality animation in such a HIGH stress- HYPER Focused - ZONE - can be incredibly Draining......Remember to juice up with your fellow artists amazing work

....It really is just like a SHOT in the vein...seeing the amazing work....and it can keep you moving

8.When giving a time quote for a shot -It always takes longer than you think-add in time for all the unexpected LONG setup-camera- broken puppets- rigging-you name it

...you OFTEN-{90% of the time} lose time in animating if you don't prepare for that in you Quote.

9. Dont try to copy-roto- your Rehearsal shots -In transfering to 1's - this can often stifle you in trying to match.......use it as a guide--and concentrate on finding your FLOW

......flow is sooo important.....

10. Sit back every once and a while - and take it ALL in......

- because it is a JOB- because its a HIGH pressured job......make sure to not miss the moments in between - Sit back and really look at where you are at -Look at the Powerfull Puppets- Sets and ART you are surrounded by....Its Inspiring!!! .....try not to lose sight of that.

11. Eyelines are so important on the BIG SCREEN and even more in stopmotion puppets......

make sure they are clear....and if you have any doubt- BRING in a 2nd pair of eyes to confirm......director even if needed.

more to come...

Tricks of the week-
Shamus at SkyHigh-
Danger room Swing Globe Challenge-
2 step wall flip-just started workin on this one....Ill get it very soon
jriggity

29 comments:

M-Flem-Jr said...

This is awesome stuff Justin, very cool of you to share your lessons learned with us. I appreciate that. It's really cool to see Dober and Flea moving around again. Paranorman sounds like it was a total blast to work on. Can't wait for more on Line's progress man.

Dean said...

Wow, great post, super advice. I need a bigger notebook. I think all these things can apply to amateur productions as well as the high-end professional stuff.

It sounds like you've set yourself a new bar for the quality of your animation, 'cos I can't see anything wrong with that 'failed' shot :)

I've been trying some camera moves too. When they're smoothly done, they totally enhance the shot, but if they come out jerky, they look terrible. Having the right equipment helps, of course :)

It's exciting to hear you're cracking on with Line. When can I order my DVD? :D :D :D

Jeff Lafferty said...

Great advice, glad to see your back at it!
Jeff

JON said...

Hey, man! Congratulations on your completed term at Laika! Like Dr. Seuss said, "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened".

Thanks for sharing the wisdom you earned there! Looking forward to The Line!

Sven Bonnichsen said...

So very, very proud of you! You're going to bring so much more Quality to The Line after having done ParaNorman!

Shelley Noble said...

Great advice. Sounds like a lot of hard work.

Alonso said...

uff, reentry must be hard. Don't suppose animating with a tablet will give you a smidge more tactile feeling.

How are you doing the black underneath the earth in Line? Is the whole table covered in black, then in orange?

Love the lesson's learned, keep 'em coming.
How do you estimate how long a shot will take? Any rules of thumb like taking your estimate and doubling it? You were working some pretty over the top overtime hours (to get more screen time), were you counting those hours in your estimates or were they off the book (or were they off the book because you weren't up to pro speed levels yet and should have been able to do accomplish the shots within regular time? )

Nice 720 by shamus

(hey, I put up a blog post on some of your super early stopmotion work so I wouldn't have to dig to find it, just wanted to give you a heads up in case you wanted the post pulled down.)

Don said...

Love the Advice. This is the sort of thing I could have used more of while making BAS. Not getting feedback (or asking for it) was a mistake and I'll be sure to get more "audience involvement" on the next one.

These are great insights, all of them.

jriggity said...

M-Flem-Jr}Thanks man...glad it is helpfull...and its super exciting for me to see the puppets again as well...

Dean}these can definitely apply to any production...

the failed aspects of the shot were mainly technical....camera issues- but I wasnt happy with Dobers Dive roll either...plus the black mud was jumpin around....too much

Ha- DVD - we plan on Premiereing the film at the end of this year....I cant WAIT!!!

Jeff}Thanks jeff....and yep....another winter in the garage...
cold hard clay...under hot lights.

JON}Im definitely smileing that it happened....and great words for sure..

Sven}Thanks a TON sven....means alot to have your support.

Shelly}it was ULTRA Hard...but ULTRA rewarding!!!

Alonso}i might be switching to a tablet soon....more for wrist aches than tactile...but...Ill let ya know what it feels like.

the black is just black clay or black foil for lighting...

as far as estimating how long as shot will take....I base it on How many characters? how many frames- seconds- and comlexity of shot- rigging- movement....props to work with?

and I think about what I typically learned in my output over the last few years...

and Its always at least a HALF day in camera lighting - puppet setup-
usually more.....so I will add at least a half day for that sometimes more if its a complex scene.

My speed definitely wasn't up to pro levels but....I wasnt super slow either...I had a good handle on the process at the end....

alot of my EXTRA hours were trying to do as good a job as possible- and learning how to properly QUOTE....so being squeezed due to my greenness...


Don}thanks yeah man....an extra set of eyes is invaluable man....glad you got somthin from the post man...

Rich Johnson said...

Congrats on completing your 1st journey into feature film stopmo! Look forward to reading about the progress with Line. End of year premiere! That's fantastic!

Freckles said...

Great post as always, I can't wait to see Line!
Remembering to try out poses on a puppet is key... It definitely took me a while to learn that lesson!

Anthony Straus said...

Hey Justin, We're missing you at Laika. The animation will be finished in less than a MONTH! Can't believe how fast the time went. I'm going to feel lost afterwards too.

Keep doing your thing, the skies will brighten. Hope we can work together again soon bud.

-Anthony

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Chris Tootell said...

Good to see this great advice, I really need to keep reminding myself of this stuff. Good working with you Justin, hope the short is going well!

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