6 Jan 2011

2011, Making a better animator out of myself..

The last few days have been significantly productive; constructing new showreel and new material for it etc. However, when choosing material for my showreel I wished I had more classic exercises to show that I could use character models and could animate a classic sequence. Ive done alot of my own animations which are based on my model sheets but being your own boss and creator has its massive disadvantages.

When animating my final film for Uni, I found I improved on my characters all the time which meant that updating my model sheets was a regular occurrence and a pain in the arse. Being my own boss also meant that I could get away with things..because I wasn't about to call myself into an office and punish myself! So...this is why Ive finally decided to sit my keester down and animate a few movements from an Oswald Rabbit dance sequence which Jon K posted up, what seems like years ago.

Whilst drawing out the roughs of the Oswald Keys I took it upon myself to be a massive hard-ass perfectionist. If I was going to do this I had to do it properly.

Oswald Frames
 'Simple',I hear you say. 'Shouldnt take you long', you exclaim! Well actually NO

I challenge any animator or artist to get this little bugger down to a T on their first attempt, it wont happen unless you are an animation genius!

Drawing Oswald is made all the harder by the darkness of his surroundings and the quality of the print. As its in black and white, the black tones of Oswald's fur even hides the details of his fingers unless they are silhouetted. This also makes it doubly hard to see the negative spaces between his limbs and his body not to mention the complication behind the white detail on his face and the black of his head! All in all this character comes across sweet and innocent (when it comes to drawing him) but really its a fine lesson to be learnt; even with its seemingly basic construction Jon K asks young animators to start here because if you can master this you can master almost anything.

My attempt
 Yesterday I was all over these drawings. I felt confident with what I was about to set out and do and I spent alot of time correcting and going back into my drawings. The 1st attempt (above) is clearly the worst. It takes some getting used to to get the proportions right, shapes and the pose.
 Alas, my little joi was short-lived when I moved onto the next step of my development exercise:

As you can see, my version of Oswald was slightly...oky ALOT different to the original. Ive broken it down to label my mistakes:
 As I start with the head for most of my drawings, I failed at the 1st hurdle with this attempt. The head is too small but the body was almost spot on, minus the shorts. The legs were way off, possibly because I measured the right leg along the right arm's placement, which was also wrong. As I had drawn the arm and right leg, I then measured the space between the right and left leg and proceeded to draw the left side. The left arm isn't such a disaster but was a little too large and slightly the wrong angle, as with the ear.
Oswald Frame 2

 This was slightly less of a disaster. This time I drew with alot more confidence and pace and completed the drawing in little under half an hour.  However, I still miscalculated the size of the head and placement of the legs. I did however hit the mark alot more than on my 1st attempt. The body was more or less spot on, in shape and placement as with the arms. The problem with the darkness of the shot and the blackness of the body hindered me succeeding with the arms but I feel I did the best I could here. The Left leg is also spot on but went a bit South with the foot's position, size and angle. The right leg is a complete fail in general possibly because I modelled it on the distance and angle I has drawn the right ear.

I will be making another attempt at these drawings and I will certainly be checking them this way again because I think theres alot to be learnt and gained from this type of self criticism. Had I not checked my drawings against the originals I probably would have been quite happy with what I had drawn and not given it any more attention. I think Ive become a little lazy in some respects especially with things like this. Its so important to have good structural skills so I will be making a conscious effort to make myself be good at it.

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