January 6th, 2007

Ann Vole

Drawing the different genders.

I used to have trouble making drawings of a particular gender. I could draw characters who were definatly one gender or the other but I could not make a character of the same design of the other gender. I figured if I only knew all the things I am supposed to do to make each gender that I would be able to draw each gender. I looked long and hard to find any definative explaination of the details that make each gender and never found much. It seems I have developed the ability to make a drawing of the gender I want or even to change a drawing from one gender to the other with a few adjustments. I don't know how I developed the ability and I am still in the dark as to why these subtle line changes creates each gender, I just let my hand scribble a bit and turn on my inner female or inner male and it just happens. The same goes with emotions but I had the emotions down long ago (just get into that emotional state of mind and the character just gets that emotion as I draw it). Working with plastercine is the same way. I just softened up a bunch of plastercine and found I can change the gender in seconds with a few subtle adjustments (which I don't understand, they just happen). Using my cel phone camera, I can view it with great extreme foreshortening (close parts of the face are way bigger then far parts) and then sketch the character accuratly with that up-close feel.

Based on the heads I made with plastercine, I figure I am going to have to make them almost the size of human heads to get the expression details I want on the head. For bats with their complex and unusual body, I figure I am going to have to make a five foot high model with a 30 foot wing span to get the poses I want correct. It will also be loads of fun to push the perspective envelope to the extreme as we do very close shots of a crowd of bat characters from strange angles like bats playing a little rugby while hanging upside down in the rafters while another bat flies beneath them and almost touches the veiwer with the wing and a bar full of animal characters are sitting below! I can sort of see it in my mind but a photo reference of each bat in each pose would make everything exactly right.

I also got a few graphic novels out of the library that use simple lines to convey increadible amount of characture information without much in colour and shading cues but only line thickness. If I can achieve that skill (characture and shading with solid black lines on white by only varying line thickness... And caracture so preciese that I would recognize that character if I met a real person on the street that was the model for that caracture) then I will be ready to do Nightlife as I envisioned. At work I am going to try making caracture drawings of photos in the newspaper to gain that skill. I will have to develop skills using a graphics tablet to draw lines of varying thickness (my graphics tablet is pressure sensative to 1024 levels of pressure).

I still have not set up my computer even though I brought all the parts to my place (from my brother's place) and got a high speed internet line set up. Maybe I can get that going tonight so tomorrow I can post some drawings.
Ann Vole

Eragon is an awesome name

I asked my brother if he knew of any films which would be a good reference for animating bats or dragons and he suggested the new reliese called "Eragon". He also pointed out that it is spelled the same as "dragon" but the "D" is advanced one letter to an "E". I then noticed that it is also the two words "Era Gone" but without the silent "E". It also has the word "ago" in it (as does "Dragon").

This post is mostly just a note so I will look up stuff on the internet about Eragon but if you know of good reference films on flying and landing of anthro bats or mythical dragons of various types, let me know and I will rent and frame-by-frame some interesting parts as I get back into animation starting with bats and dragons (with the cross-purpose of preparing to draw Nightlife comics) or of anthro squirrels (for my paper-puppet animated film project and later an Arnis stick fight sequence between two anthro squirrels as the jump through the air in the trees for use on a demo tape). Just add film names or web links to this post as you think of them.
Ann Vole

Puppets vs computer programs Studio and Poser

I want to make rough versions of films in a very short time and so am always interested in bonus on DVDs where they show rough versions of scenes (usually deleted scenes but Ice Age 2 had a few scenes done in various stages of development that can be viewed simaltaniusly). Many of the shots in these rough sections are things made with the programs Studio or Poser. I know my paper puppet versions will look many times nicer and feature nice animation. Some stuff is also done using software or film techniques where pencil drawings are put together into the shot but you can see through the characters and foreground objects so things can get quite confusing for the viewer and, in my opinion, not effective to show the timing of the film editing and the animation or to show if the various elements have conflicts like foot-slip (and some serious foot-slip problems got to the final film in many computer generated shots including shots in most of Disney's films in the 80s and 90s). My paper puppets eliminate those problems and create a perfect match of moving elements (the are physically scotch taped to each other) for reference to the animators who then can embelish the animation without fear of being wildly off for interconnecting animated elements. I have not used these programs to make characters so I cannot compare the speed of creating the computer character in these programs to the speed of me making my puppets out of photocopies (or print-outs) of the character in the original drawing style but I am sure my paper puppets are faster. Odd angles and interesting lighting and camera moves while animation happens can all be done nicely in these computer programs but I can also make plastercine models and animate camera moves very easily so to make several minutes of film time per hour (but flawed ... Just for testing film ideas and the feel of the shot). I think such shots will be far better as puppets at getting the feel of the shot then these programs do as I have seen them used. Everyone seems to be using the computer programs though and Studio is supposed to be freeware so I should give it a try. I also saw an outdated student version of Poser on sale for very cheap... I should shop for used copies or deals. In the mean time, I think I can use my paper puppets to make films good enough for final films ... not award winners but good enough to add impressive filmography filler and demo tape filler. I doubt Poser stuff could ever pass as a finished film unless it is like te film "Tron" where someone is trapped in a computer system.