Tuesday, March 23, 2010

sketch 4

A little sketch that needed to be taped on the fridge next to the cat dishes.
Just a little friendly reminder for my sons.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mark's Notes - 1 - simple eyebrows and expressions

Just a quick note I gave one of my students recently regarding drawing story boards for their short film.

The early story board pass just try to keep things simple.

I drew them these quick examples on the cintiq where by just having very simple lines for the characters eyebrows you can very clearly show what the expression and attitude is.
Keeping it simple so you can experiment with your ideas and not having to worry if you need to change the ideas or throw them out and start again, only to make it stronger.

The idea is to really try hard to make it work but keep the drawings as simple and as clear as possible to tell the story. Oh yes, they also wanted a few 'simple' hands as well ...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

MEMORY LANE 5 : The MUSICROOM > Don Bluth Studios 1985-86

Here are a few of my photos from my collection of 'The Music Room' during the productions of 'An American Tail' and 'Land Before Time'. The years being 1985 and 1986. The studio was located in Van Nuys California and there were 2 buildings that held all the various crew in all the different departments.
The musicroom was the area where storyboards were hung up and Don and other supervisors would meet and work on different issues of the day. From animation tests to storyboard revisions, etc. There was usually something going on in this area during the day.

In this photo a young David Steinberg { assistant director } is running the Moviola helping out Dorse A Lanpher who was the directing animator for special effects on the movies. Cynthia Ankney who was Gary Goldman's { Producer } assistant is taking notes while in the background the films other assistant director, Sue Shakespeare is busy working away.
You can visit Sue's company by clicking HERE.
This is the musicroom looking towards the east, looking away from Don Bluths room.

Here is a photo taken in 1985 during the 'An American Tail ' Days. My college friends Dick and Ralph Zondag are walking around the studio again, as every now and then we would have to get up from our desks and just go look around. Stretch the legs for a moment. This is late at night, most have gone home yet wanting to have our work look as good as possible and needing to keep up with everyone else, we would have quite a few late nights .... or very early mornings. New in the business, learning the ropes, doing what you had to do to get better. Fast. These were definitely challenging days and nights as new animators in the business but they really were very good times for us. Amazing group of very talented people that were very open to help us learn. Ralph Zondag is on the left with Dick Zondag standing on the right. They have recently started a new animation company up here in Vancouver and are currently very busy with pre-production on their first feature.

Here is a shot of the music room from the other direction looking toward where Don Bluth had his room. On the far wall on the left side of the photo, just left of the 3 scene stacker shelves is Don's door to his room. The moviola machine is still there as it was in the top photo above. That's background artist Barry Atkinson standing outside of his room. Barry joined us at the studio a bit after we had started on the film.

3 early TEST scenes for a new series

Late 2008, my first assignment for RENEGADE animation studio in Glendale California was
a freelance job that was to be done using the animation software ' Maya '.

I was given 1 week to animate 3 quick scenes for a upcoming new preschool show based
on a french artist's children s books.

Making the character animation have a softness to the performance, hopefully making it appealing to any parents and their kids watching.

This was going to be quite a different direction for the director { who was directing the Mr Men show } as the style of animation timing and look was completely different than the fast paced snappy animation style of 'The Mr Men Show'.

The tests worked out well enough that Renegade offered me a full time position and if the series was going to go forward, I would supervise the animation.

I really do love subtleties that this kind of animation calls for. Making acting choices that can hopefully have some charm to them, making the performance and characters have a cuteness.

The Character rigs were limited as this was put together fairly quick but the darkness of the textures covered some problem areas up. All in all, with help from the technical crew at Renegade, I felt that I was still able to get across somewhat the ' feel ' of the show.
At least enough for these 3 early test scenes.

Here are the 3 scenes :

Friday, March 5, 2010

< FLASH > 4 more ' Mr Men ' scenes

Working last year at RENEGADE ANIMATION studios with
Darrell Van Citters and crew, I was able to learn the
animation program ' FLASH '.

Even though the footage needed per week made the schedule
tight for time, the show itself ' The Mr Men Show ' was a perfect
show for learning this new way of animating.

Due to the limited time, as an animator you needed to learn fast
on what to move and what not to move so the scene could play out
with hopefully good acting choices making it as entertaining as possible.
Many times, as we animators do, I would get another idea for a scene,
but it was too late to add or re-do the scene. You just had to finish it and
let it go and get onto the next one.

That, btw, is called being professional and getting the job done ;-)

Here are another 4 scenes I animated for one of the shows:

Monday, March 1, 2010

How to train your Dragon > New Trailer

Been hearing very good press from friends working on this film. From one long time senior animation supervisor : " This very well could be the best film I have worked on. "