Monday, May 31, 2010

Getting a Flash AVI

When animating in Flash it can be sometimes frustrating, sometimes challenging, always interesting to try and export a good quality AVI (video clip).

Exporting an image sequence and then recombining the frames in post production software (VirtualDub, to build the AVI; Premiere or AfterEffects, to add the audio and editing) will produce the best result.

This animation tip may be handy for the second years animating in Flash.

Sometimes AVIs exported from Flash have unwanted junk pixels appear in the render. Exporting an image sequence is a way to beat this problem.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dragon Lessons are Animation Lessons

Many a time student animators set their aim on the stars to discover the weight of the sky crushes dreams.

In other words, when an animation teacher suggests planning a short animation as a step toward greatness, it is done with concern for the student's well being. That is why in-class exercises are short 60, 120 to 200 frame animation sequences (usually of the bouncing ball variation).

Then when an animator is set loose on their major project in second year, they can have a full appreciation of why the teacher keeps suggesting to keep the story to 1 minute, or less. This hurts, especially for animators who dream of animating a 4 minute music clip*.

"But what kind of story can you animate in less than a minute!?", is the outcry.

DreamWorks made an excellent film this year that we explored on an animation field trip. Here are some animation lessons, disguised as dragon training lessons. They're all less than a minute long. Actually they are only about 30 seconds long including titles and fades.

*The trick for animating a 4 minute music clip is study the song and animate for the verses (same beats) and chorus (repeated over and over). Then loop and edit the 30 seconds of animation together in interesting ways.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Student work from Hollywood USA

Click to go to a page full of show reels Recently I posted some work from students in the United Kingdom, a film by a CalArts 3rd year animator, and a film by 4th year graduates from a French animation school. This post is linked to Californian student work in visual design, which includes animation.

The research stemmed from listening to a radio program about design where it struck me that starting in an animation course opened up so many potential pathways for an animator who considers themselves a "visual designer". (If you are impatient, want to "cherry pick", scrub to 20m:43s, or 25m:28s (about the importance of drawing in design) using the time slider on the audio player that pops up in the link)

The length of course time varies between courses as do the costs.

A key motivator is to ask: How does your work compare, if you were applying for the same jobs?

Below is a reel by one of the students above. I thought it would be interesting for students to see what Max for Maya gets up to in the USA.

Demo reel as a "3d generalist".

Monday, May 3, 2010

What could you do with a 3rd Year?

3rd year Calarts film.

Currently Southbank animators have to create their own 3rd year. A tiny number conquer the requirements of the bridging course and articulate into third year at Griffith University, Bachelor of Animation.

Animation schools in France, like Supinfocom, in a society where animation has cultural significance over and above entertainment business beancounting, have extended their animation courses. There seems to be the thinking that like fine wine, an animator needs time to mature.

Should the Southbank Institute of Technology animation course be 3 years?