AM - Class 2 / Week 2 - Lecture


This was another lecture that talks about animating a shot from Blocking all the way to the final stage.
It was hosted by Dimos Vrysellas who is a great animator, worked on a number of features like:
The Wiled, Shark Tale, Sindbad, Spirit, and The Prince of Egypt.


AM - Class 2 / Week 1 - Lecture


Blocking is setting up the foundation for a shot.
In order to sell the idea to your self or the director first you'll need to block it out , blocking should convey your thoughts
on the shot with a bunch of posses, this is the best way for you to know if your idea is working or not.

1 - Things you need to know before you start blocking:
-Understand the shot.
-What are my goals in this shot?
-What dose the shot calls for?
-What are the limitations in the shot?
-What is the duration of a shot?

2 - Once you answered all these questions, you can go a head & find / shoot a reference video for the action you're about
to animate, even if you know exactly what you need too do you still need to take this step because it will help you finding
this nice little gestures in the reference that you can slide into your shot to make it more interesting.

3 - The next step is to draw little thumbnails poses with the help of the reference, its good to accompany the drawings
with frame numbers to know on where each pose will fit in the timeline.

4 - Then you start blocking in Maya with Stepped Tangents keyframes.

5 - After you finish blocking, re time the posses in the timeline

6 - Push your posses further (exaggerate) to get the most out of each pose.

7 - convert your keyframes to liner, at this stage show your work to others ( director, colleague, wife ) to get feedback.

8 - After you're done with blocking here is a check list that you need to double tick:
-Dose the shot reads correctly??
-Are the posses looking interesting??
-Is the animation looking interesting??

If all the above are OK, you can proceed to the next steps, which is Blocking Plus, then Splining, and finally.. Polishing.

Have fun!


AM - Class 2 Starts !!

For Class Two, I got assigned to mentor John Nguyen.

John has been working in the industry for over 13 years, he worked at studios like Disney, DreamWorks, Warner Bros,
Digital Domain, and Rhythm and Hues.

I'm sure its gonna be a great learning experience with John, wish me luck!!


AM - Class One Q&As

Yayyy !! Finally.. Class two has started after two weeks of waiting!! but before we get into that I still have some unfinished business with class one!!

I would like to take a moment to talk about the Q&As we had with our mentor Adam Green.

As I probably have mentioned in earlier posts, each week we have what's called a Q&A session where we get to see our mentor live through a video camera talking about different aspects of the animation industry, and we get to ask questions.    Working at Disney and  BlueSky, Adam had so much information to share from his past experience,but since our small
group of students was the quiet type, it was all up to him to fill this weekly hour with juicy tips & interesting stories.

On our last Q&A he told us about his inspiring story struggling to learn animation, and all the devastation he faced from people around telling him that he made a bad choice for his career becoming an animator because he sucked at it (at the time).. but he ignored all that and kept on practicing and climbing up the ladder until he became the animator he is today.
He used an inspiring phrase that caught my ears which was "the ones who make it through are the ones who don't give up"
So always keep that in mind young animators!!

Anyways, here is a couple of notes that I wrote down during these Q&As:

- Characters are very similar to a bouncing ball in the way they move, squash & stretch, hang time.
- Workflow is very important, take your time on planning & blocking, it will make your job of splining the shot easy later on.
- Keep your timeline & graph editor clean, so you'll be prepared if there is any changes in the future.
- When animating a walk, offset the keys of the body a couple of frames from the foot for a better sense of body wight.
- When applying squash & stretch, stay faithful to the the material your animating, rubber, wood, metal..etc.
- Everything moves in arcs, so always keep track of your arcs.
- Do not over animate your shots.

At the end of each term, the mentor will make an assessment for each student he mentored during the class.
Here is what Adam had to say for me:

Areas of strength: EXCELLENT first term Manar. Overachiever through and through. I could fill this page up with positive things to say about you. You have a bright future and I'm excited to see what you do in AM and in your career. You have a lot of talent, great instincts and a huge imagination. Nice work.

Areas of improvement: The only thing I can say is that your one weakness is letting your enthusiasm for animation sometimes overwhelm what you're trying to say with the animation. The animation can be too broad or too busy. At Disney, we call this "over-animating." When you're animating a film for a director, many times over-animating can be worse than making bad animation. I think in the future you should focus on being more discerning about your choices, and finding a balance between nailing the focal point of a piece of animation, versus bombarding the audience with tons of motion (no matter how sophisticated that motion is). I think you'll find that the more you "keep" from the audience, the larger the contrast will be when you "really give it to them." It's all about finding that balance, and I've learned that the best animators are masters at minimizing what's unimportant as much as they are at maximizing what is. Regardless, you're very talented and you'll go far. Never stop learning. Good luck Manar!!!!!

With this highly appreciated advice from my mentor Adam Green I will wrap up my posts for class one.

Class Two.. coming up!!


AM - Class 1 / Week12 -Assignment

This was the last week for Class One, Unfortunately.. I missed watching the lecture, As for the assignment it was to collect
all the work we've accomplished during this term in a progress reel and upload it to AM site... Hope you like it!