AM - Class 4 / Week 2 - Lecture

Introduction To Pantomime.

Quoting Bobby's words: Mime is acting without dialog & props, Pantomime is acting without dialog, but with props.
Pantomime in animation is communicating through the body posing & gestures, it's the root of character animation, its being able to convey the idea without having to say it.  The best animation scenes out there are the ones that you can watch without audio & you can still tell exactly what's going on, and what's the character is going through.

Pantomime acting is all about the idea, keep always exploring for new ideas & don't fall into the first idea that comes to your mind, & as always, plan your shot carefully before you start animating, the great Frank & Ollie once said: Spend half of your time planing, & the other half animating.

Proper acting choices are the ones that will determine the quality of the animation, Bobby's advice is to unplug & try to think out of the box beyond the great animated movies that are out there, find something that is more related to yourself, this will keep you away from Cliché, and make your work different.

The basic animation principles as important as they are, but they are even more important in a Pantomime shot than any other shot with dialog, things like: Staging, Posing, Clarity, & silhouette, are key factors.

Hopefully you guys still remember the Phrasing lecture from class 3! Well, in a dialog shots phrases and beats are already pre-determined by the dialog in that shot, as for Pantomime shot, you'll have to work hard to look for & create the beats and rhythm through the performance of the character, and add contrast between these beats to create texture & make it more interesting.

AM - Class 4 / Week 1 - Lecture

Acting 101.

Most of the time when your working hard on your shot to make it look good, you kind of lose track of the overall picture, and 
what the main focus of your shot is. The main focus of any animated acting shot is: Clarity, Honesty, Sincerity, & Simplicity , And one of the most important thing to keep in mind is that the audience watching your shot are waiting to be entertained, 
so its your job is to make sure NOT to let them down.

When you're trying to implement a certain acting gesture into a shot, you have to make sure that its clear enough and understandable by the audience & not just to you, look for a universal appeal that is clear to everybody, so its always good 
to ask around and show your progress to others to know if the shot is communicating well.

Before you start working on a shot its very important to understand the context, and where the shot is going to fall in production, what happened before, what will happen after, and what your character is thinking at that same exact moment.  Once you understand all that you can move on for staging your shot.

Certain staging requires different settings for animation. For instance, animating a long shot requires Broad Big character performance in order for it to read well from far perspective,  as for animating a close up shot you'll need to spend much of your time tweaking the lips & cheeks and finessing all the little details in the face, as for a medium shot with multiple characters, you'll need to choreograph your motion to grab the attention of the viewer to the right character in the right time.

If you want the audience to look at something on screen It Has To Move, then they look at it, and they'll keep looking at it until something else moves.. and so on, so you have to make sure that the important stuff are happening in obvious movement, and the rest is passive, Not Static, but moving without distracting the main motion.

if you have a dialog shot to animate, you'll have to keep looping it over & over again until it gets stuck in your brain, to the extend that you could memorize all the little things between the words like the little breath,spits, and gargles, its all these 
little stuff to animate that will make the shot very character rich.   
Then start looking for the key phrases to animate, & always keep in mind that you are Animating the thoughts behind the words, not just the words!

Its highly un-recommended to directly sit on your computer and start animating without planing, because you'll end up with 
a week shot with a week performance, you'll need to shoot references, thumbnail planing, then you can start animating.

Quick notes:

- Make proper, clear acting choices & avoiding Cliché will make your shot stand out and unique.
- Eye darts (on 2 frames) keeps the character alive.
- Keep the eye, lids, & brows all connected to each other.
- Hands are very expressive, so use there appealing posing to the maximum.

Class 4 starts!

Finaly, we I made it to the acting class!  This term I was assigned to be mentored by Marek Kochout, He was one of the Animation Supervisors on Kung Fu Panda 2!! Wow!

Check out this great interview with Marek talking about his experience working at DreamWorks.


Q&As with Jason Martinsen

Although I was unable to interact during the Q&As this term because I was attending them from work, but I really enjoyed every minute of it.
My mentor Jason Marttinsen used to grab clips from animated movies & analyze them in terms of posing, overlap, anticipation.. etc.    Also it was Super Awesome to watch him drawing on top of my work frame by frame, then hit play!! and Wow!! the shot is alive!! I mean all mentors draw on top of student's work but not all of them can draw frame by frame on a sequence!! Hats off.. Jason :)

Here is Jason's assessment about my work in this term:

Areas of strength: It was a pleasure seeing Manar work. He has very strong posing and blocking. Good sense of body mechanics and weight. Has natural feel for splining. Experience or talent is helping him overcome some rushing of the planning. Good understanding of arcs and weight. Strong ideas and camera staging.
Areas of improvement: Time. Working two jobs probably not helping. Just keep looking at spacing, arcs, slow ins, slow outs, moving holds. In some future assignments, trying to get more cartoony/interesting breakdowns, subtle, asymmetrical anticipations to get the most out of your work. In others, try something more realistic, push yourself and you will find the happy medium that is your style and challenge yourself along the way, thus learning the most you can. Always keep trying to find ways to offset arms and legs and stuff in and out of holds to make animation more organic and interesting. Good luck!

Best wishes to Jason :)

AM - Class 2 / Week12- Assignment

Gathered all the shots, added the environment, did a proper light & render, and added audio track.
Hope you like it!.