Tumblr is For the Birds
Another 25 minute straight-ahead piece of animation. It’s unfinished, but I may put some more time into it sometime this week, depending on how busy I am.

Another 25 minute straight-ahead piece of animation. It’s unfinished, but I may put some more time into it sometime this week, depending on how busy I am.

Another scribbly dodo doodle animation, this time he’s practicing the hammer throw for the next Olympics.
I did the animation straight-ahead in about 20 minutes or so. While animating straight ahead is fun, loose and much more organic-looking, there are several big drawbacks. For one, the character’s size/proportions tend to change and foot placement slides around. Also, because you’re drawing one frame after another with no planning, it throws off your timing a bit, making actions go on longer than they should. And most importantly (at least to me), the poses aren’t nearly as strong and dynamic as they can be if you planned them out beforehand.Usually when I animate, I usually start with strong key poses that I plan and time out, add the breakdowns accordingly and THEN I straight-ahead animate between them, keeping an eye on arcs and things like that. By doing things that way, it’s more likely to get the best of both worlds and have a solid piece of acting or action. But since I sorta mindlessly put my pen to Cintiq this time, it lacks that solidity I usually aim for in my work. That’s what I get for waking up so early in the morning and getting bored. 

Another scribbly dodo doodle animation, this time he’s practicing the hammer throw for the next Olympics.

I did the animation straight-ahead in about 20 minutes or so. While animating straight ahead is fun, loose and much more organic-looking, there are several big drawbacks. For one, the character’s size/proportions tend to change and foot placement slides around. Also, because you’re drawing one frame after another with no planning, it throws off your timing a bit, making actions go on longer than they should. And most importantly (at least to me), the poses aren’t nearly as strong and dynamic as they can be if you planned them out beforehand.

Usually when I animate, I usually start with strong key poses that I plan and time out, add the breakdowns accordingly and THEN I straight-ahead animate between them, keeping an eye on arcs and things like that. By doing things that way, it’s more likely to get the best of both worlds and have a solid piece of acting or action. But since I sorta mindlessly put my pen to Cintiq this time, it lacks that solidity I usually aim for in my work.

That’s what I get for waking up so early in the morning and getting bored. 

While I was going through my old files, I came across my original roughs for the “Suicidal Chicken” scenes I posted earlier today.

As you can see, I animated some pieces on a separate layer in Flash. I’d do my initial “emotion” roughs in either light blue or gray, then do my tie-downs (or TDs) in red or blue. “Follow-Through/Overlapping Action” bits like the comb, waddle, tail and helmet I did last, as well as the water and the wires on the electric chair, which I couldn’t do until the main action (chicken) was animated first. The only things I didn’t animate were the bubbles and smoke in the acid. Some of the effects animation for the show came from stock libraries that we had on hand during the course of production, so we just used those and changed the colors to be more “acid-like”. The glow on the acid and lighting/shadows on the characters were composited in later.

While his body acting was animated traditionally, the Miner’s facial acting and lipsync were symbolized, like they did on shows like MotorCity. The mouth and eyes were on separate layers inside the head symbol. I would animate the lipsync to the provided audiotrack first (the Miner was voiced by the wonderful Carlos Alazraqui), then I would do the physical acting. Once I did that, I would go inside the head symbol again and do the eye acting last (unless the eye acting was crucial or more important in an action).

Perspective isn’t my strong suit, but I had to do a little bit of it when laying out the poses for the electric chair. Because of that, along with all the other actions going on in the scene (the chicken, the helmet swinging, the switch, etc.), that particular shot took me most of the day to animate. Shots like the first two took me roughly half a day, give or take. The initial rough animating doesn’t take me much time, but tying it all down and doing final clean up takes the longest for me. Luckily, Ryan DeLuca was there to take my roughs, clean them up and color them for me afterwards. 

Here’s a few gifs of some scenes I animated for one of the “Suicidal Chicken” shorts on TripTank on Comedy Central. I animated roughly 80% of the short myself (the rest was done by the awesome Caroline Foley!), but these three shots are the only ones I feel came out somewhat okay.


I really tried to go nuts and animate loose and cartoony for the shots involving the chicken. Animating should be fun and not a chore, and the chicken was definitely a character I could go all-out on. My co-worker Ryan DeLuca (who is also a really awesome artist) went over and cleaned up my scribbly, nonsensical roughs, and he did a really fine job of it!

I recently saw the final short as it appeared on TV, and I’ll admit I wasn’t too keen on the editing and shot-order swapping, but it’s still okay. It’s definitely one of the more fun assignments I did for the show.

Quick, rough, sloppy, poopy 20-minute animation test for something SECRET I’m working on. Well, I guess it’s not really a secret anymore, now that I’ve posted this… but there’s a LOT more to this secret that you people don’t know about yet. So there.

Quick, rough, sloppy, poopy 20-minute animation test for something SECRET I’m working on.

Well, I guess it’s not really a secret anymore, now that I’ve posted this… but there’s a LOT more to this secret that you people don’t know about yet.

So there.

A Poem from an Introverted Animation Artist

Every morning I come walking in,
through the big old studio door;
To an empty space devoid of din
The silence I adore.

I love to work in quiet zen,
despite my early rising;
the only sound is of my pen,
my storyboards revising.

At times I’ll hear a voice somewhere
between the walls and rooms;
And although my psyche is aware
my working pace resumes.

The stragglers eventually file in
to fill their desks and seats;
The clamber of my artist kin
A dissonance, non-discreet.

And so you know my daily fate
My peaceful plight lambasted;
With a shrug and sigh, I faintly state:
"It was real nice while it lasted."

RANDOM QUESTION TIME!

Thanks for sending me some cool questions today guys, they were fun to answer! But now I have a question for you!

Oddly, one of the few things that creep me out in animation is when the camera smash zooms into a character’s mouth, usually when they’re screaming or singing or to be used as a scene transition. Like this:

image

Sometimes there’s a vibrating uvula, like this:

image

And sometimes even the uvula has a face or mouth and screams, like this:

image

My friends and I have a good laugh whenever we watch some animation stuff and this happens, and I thought it would be funny if I just compiled as many of them as I can find into one compilation video, probably with some stupid but fitting song playing over it, just for kicks and giggles. So far I’ve found only about 13, but I know there’s more of em out there!

If any of you can think of any instances of these in a cartoon/show/movie and can direct me to where I can find it, it’d be greatly appreciated!

Here’s another old animation test I found that I still kinda think holds up. At one point I was gonna do a short about a short greedy king who tries to go on living in his castle after all his servants, tired of his demanding selfish ways, quit on him. I was gonna do it in sort of a graphic, UPA-esque inspired style, and I made this little test to see how it might look. Looking back, those colors are absolutely garish, and I sort of half-assed those columns and background elements. Now I just dig the little animation cycle I did of the king, who’s face I based off of my dad’s. 

I stumbled upon a folder filled with some old rough animations I made back in 2012 (which to me feels like a LONG time ago). And surprisingly, some of them didn’t make me go “YEESH!” like they usually do. 

Here’s one of them; an unfinished piece with a pirate finding “treasure” on the beach. 

To commemorate Don Lusk’s 100th birthday, here’s the Arabian Dance sequence he animated for Fantasia way back in 1940. Apparently, there were so many drawings of these coquettish fish that there were stacks of ‘em piled up to the ceiling (the scene is animated almost completely on one’s).  

Just look at how gorgeous this scene is. And to realize the amount of progress and development that these animators made over such a short time is simply astounding.  In barely ten years they progressed from the black-and-white rubber-hose Mickey Mouse cartoons to the complexity and beauty of Snow White and Pinocchio. I’d go as far to say that this sequence (among the many other breathtaking scenes from Fantasia) was the pinnacle of the medium. At this point, there was no limit to what they could do.