Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Its all about the idea guys... all about the ideas! Being able to animate at its most basic level is of course pretty essential, but once you have a grasp on these methods no amount of god like software (or drawing) skills will ever hide poor ideas or bad performance. Check out Matt Strangio's reel for an example of just how important ideas are - and the best part is, his first shot isn't even finished! A cracking character animation reel indeed.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Drawing voodoo!

Ah its that question again... “why draw? I do 3D animation”. Oh so many moons ago, when i studied animation before Animation Mentor the industry was still focused on 2d, and that was the path i thought my future was going to take. So i signed up for a classical animation course which had a strong focus on life drawing for animators. Eventually the whole industry changed over, 3d animation came along and now seems to be the norm... but is there still and need for the fundamental drawing skills....... absolutely! It is true that you can get by in 3D without drawing, and there are plenty of top animators out there who do, however drawing would be something i strongly encourage you all to do. The real benefit is in posing, taking thing time to sit down and draw a person in a given pose is basically making you study that pose, how the body holds weight and energy..etc. This ability to deliver a clear and readable pose is one of the fundamental building blocks of good animation, and drawing helps you develop just that. Whenever i hit a moment where i can’t quite achieve a particular pose, the chances are is because i haven’t spent enough time studying it. So out comes the sketch book, and off i go. Perhaps the best part about drawing to develop your 3d animation skills is that no one actually has to see your drawings – they are just for you and your own development. Which is great, because if you’re like me and struggle with drawing then it doesn’t matter. What matters is the learning experience and the way you train your eye to see poses, which in-turn will help you deliver clear and precise posing in your 3D animation. Another benefit is after a little practice it will relax your mind, your analytical left hemisphere of your brain will switch off and the creative right side will kick in. In time this will help you reach that point of ‘zen’ where you stop consciously thinking and let the your creative actions guide you. (am i sounding like obi-wan yet?). So yes, drawing isn’t essential, but if posing is something you struggle with or you like to take some time out and let your mind just wander creatively – then i recommend giving drawing a go!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

break stuff.

I admit i have been pretty lazy at updating my blog of recent. None-the-less here i am... writing some gibberish or another. AM is moving on swiftly, and doing an 8 hour day in games then coming home to sit on the computer again is proving to be a little easier than I had imagined. I find the key is to make sure i’m animating shots which get me jazzed, this way after a working day of animation i still have enough energy to pull out some hours in the evenings. Every so often i still get hit by the ‘lazy bug’, but how do i get out of that? Watch some of my favourite films and it soon gets me buzzing. Or in some cases it’s just good to take a break and place myself in a situation where I’m unable to think of anything else, (this usually involves riding down a hill side avoiding rapidly approaching trees). I guess the truth is, we all need a break sometime or another – otherwise without it our little heads would probably pop.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The begining of the madness!

Hello you amazing people. You have just entered my blog – and you are more amazing for doing so!

I set up this blog some months back before starting Animation Mentor so that i could document my progress along the way – its been some time now so i best get cracking! I’ll also post up some random other pieces connected with animation along the way.

Well i must admit for a long time i have wanted to do Animation Mentor but could never justify the cost. I had already been through the animation education system, studying traditional techniques and then onto finding work in the games industry. However, i found myself continuously hitting a brick wall with my animations. therefore I took the plunged – sold a kidney or 2 and signed up with AM, and I must say.... its very good indeed! Much like anything in life, you get out if it what you are willing to put in – it provides some great tuition if you are willing to invest the time. Students get taught by professional animators who continue to work in the industry – at top studios, are taught the ‘real’ principles of animation and its around half the cost of a super god-like university – i can’t argue with that.

Without further ado – here are some of my recent weekly assignments.