Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Raidohead is Back


Radiohead just released a new song with a cool stop-motion music video from director Chris Hopewell.  It seems to be some sort of tribute to The Wicker Man.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Newton for After Effects


Newton is an awesome plugin for After Effects that simulates 2D physics. As someone who has worked with 3D programs such as Cinema 4D where simulating physics is very smoothly built in and advance, this plugin is a great crossover. Instead of key-framing a ball bouncing for example and trying to make it look as real as possible, Newton allows you to tweak real world physics properties of your objects and simulate real physics. It is great for having things that react to gravity such as objects falling. You can set objects as static and all objects will collide with each other automatically, which is very handy. The plugin has tons of possibilities, which I look forward to exploring, and I have been using some on my third project.

The program is $250 but you can get a free trial and try it for yourself. Here is the website, and here is where you can download it. I highly recommend you check it out.


Friday, April 29, 2016

Animation VS Animator

This is the second animation in the series.

Since I've been posting a lot of Flash videos lately, I thought I'd add one more.

This animation is a part of the Animator vs Animation series. According to creator Allan Becker's website, he started the series in 2006, his junior year of high school. The series was incredibly popular, and was nominated Newgrounds movie of the year in 2006, 2007 and 2011.

This is a really fun series and I'm impressed that a junior in high school was able to come up with the idea for it. I really enjoy how the stick man breaks out of the animation program and begins to interact with items on the desktop. I think takes a lot of creativity to imagine the different ways one could interact with everyday items.


Be a Friend PSA

I saw this commercial today and it has cute animation, but I also think that it sends a good message. It was created by Katherine Duffy, the 2012 winner of the Project Yellow Light Scholarship, which is a scholarship given to those who promote change, and send in these types of videos to help spread the word against texting while driving.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Animation of Man

While searching through Vimeo once again I came across a short stop motion animated film that used paper cutouts. It's a simple story, the evolution of man, but the paper cutouts are charming and give evolution a whole new feel.

Another aspect of this short that I find incredibly intriguing is that the created left markers on the paper, so the process of stop motion is visible. I think this helps the audience realize that stop motion animation is incredibly time consuming and a very involved process. I also like that the creator put themselves into the work, even if they were just a hand.

This is a beautiful example of paper cutout animation and I hope to try my hand at it someday.



The Animation of Man

Oma, a short animated film




I recently found this cool animated short called Oma by Karolien Raeymaekers.
It's about a young girl who has to conquer her fear for her own grandmother, who is terminally ill.

Change in Animation & Alice in Wonderland Behind The Scenes

What's really interesting to me is just how far we've gotten in animation. The technology and the process compared to the beginning of the whole idea of animation is just so wild to think about compared to the amount of software's and such that we use today. However when looking back on it, you can still see the core of the animation, especially for classic Disney films like Alice in Wonderland. It all comes back to a paper and pencil and from there what happens next is anybody's guess. I thought it was just fascinating watching this video, to see how much hand work went into the animation compared to the programs we use today.

A Cool Tutorial and A Cool Website


I might be catching you off guard with this one, but - I found something cool on reddit! This week it was a tutorial I found on /r/VFX on how to create the HUD (heads-up display) from Iron man, aka the cool hologram stuff you see when Tony Stark puts his helmet on. While the tutorial was pretty fast moving and involved a lot of things I had never seen before, I liked the light humor throughout it and it kept me engaged. Engaged enough to make it to the 5:45 mark that is, when the maker of the tutorial shows off his website. I went over to productioncrate.com to check it out and I found some pretty cool stuff there. They have lots of cool video FX and royalty free audio you can download, as well as some tutorials (although I haven’t yet looked at any of the tutorials besides this one). To download things you need to make an account, but a free account can still give you access to download some pretty cool stuff. I’ll definitely come back soon to check out exactly what I can get with a free account and see whether a pro account is worth it. Because in the grand scheme of things, $40 per year for a full-access account can save me a lot of time and help make some things a lot cooler.

End-of-semester Reflection

Motion Graphics and Animation was exactly how difficult I imagined it to be. I didn't think it would be easy at all and I knew going into the class that I had absolutely no knowledge of After Effects, Maya, or anything related to stop-motion animation. But I'm proud of myself for giving it my best shot and at least attempting to use all three.

I used to think I wanted to have a career in animation (because I love animated movies), but now I know that industry is just not a good fit for me. What I like about animated movies and television shows is that anything is possible. You're only limited to what you can come up with in terms of characters and the world they live in. I am taking Program Development this semester as well and I've learned that story development is much more my style than actual production. (I also kind of learned this after taking Fiction Field 2, but that's a whole other story).

Another thing I learned about myself this semester that is completely unrelated to this class is that I really love working with and helping people. Feeling like what my job is significant in someone else's life is important to me. This semester I started teaching group fitness classes at the Fitness Center and I absolutely love it. I'm going to study over the summer to become a certified personal trainer. So I guess if I were to relate this to animation, I would rather work with voice actors than actually animate the production.

As I look towards the future, I don't regret taking this class at all. I learned a lot and now I highly respect everyone in the animation field, even more than I did before. If I apply to intern at an animation studio when I study in Los Angeles, I will most likely apply to be a part of their development team.

Finally watching Zootopia!


Over the weekend I was finally able to see probably one of the greatest animations Disney has put out in recent years, Zootopia! And while it is a rockin’ children’s film it is also very culturally relevant and people of all ages have most definitely enjoyed it. I mean went to see this film in theaters about last week and the theater was nearly full. Zootopia has most definitely rekindled my love for watching not only animations but movies in general. Although Zootopia is most definitely a movie for children, there are some jokes that are thrown in there for it’s probably not so intended older audience. Zootopia is more than just a children's movie that is about how any “animal” can be what it wants to be when it grows up but goes into the deeper relations with other “animals” that aren’t like you. The Predator vs. Prey dynamic is a main story element and the way that it is deal with in a way that shows not all Predators are evil at heart but also not all Prey are always innocent. This film shows a a wide range of characters that could easily be from the everyday life and because of this it is easily one of the most relatable Disney Animations to date.

Lemonade

Its hard to overlook the impact that Beyonce's Lemonade album has made in pop culture this week. It was not only a relatively secretive album drop, but a full hour long visual film with all album tracks and spoken word. The visual album is absolutely phenomenal, bottom line. There were seven directors, one an Ithaca College alumni that produced this cinematic beauty. If you have access to the video the section around 4:52 has great examples of After Effects and wonderful visual effects. I high recommend checking it out if you haven't yet.

Tame Impala- Mind Mischief

https://vimeo.com/59407115


After going to an all guy high school, I really related to the story being told in this video. This is just one of many music videos Tame Impala has released that has gotten a lot of attention through their creativity with story lines and use of graphic effects. This video specifically is interesting because half of it is filmed and the other half is all done with animation. At 3:21 the music video does a complete 180 which is always exciting for the viewer because it comes out of no where. Please check this video if you haven't seen the video/heard the song because I assure you'll enjoy it. Im guessing the second half was edited on photoshop seeing that most of the animation is drawn out.

Carn

Carn is a short animated film created by French filmmaker Jeff Le Bars. The story revolves around a boy who becomes lost in a snow storm. Desperate and afraid, he meets a dying wolf and makes a violent pact with it.  

The use of color and lighting really help illustrate the dire tone that the film portrays. A lot of the scenes utilize silhouettes and beautiful backdrops that give the audience a memorable experience even with the short 5 minute runtime. The story, visuals, and editing were all produced solely by Le Bars and it definitely shows his expertise with animation.


Carn is a beautifully animated feature that is packed with dark imagery and a violent ending that takes the audience by surprise. You can watch the full film using the link below:
                                                         https://vimeo.com/69700933 

Adobe - Remix - Ash Thorp

I came across this animation by Ash Thorp that I thought was really awesome. It is a trip through this psychedelic space they have created and it leaves you almost hypnotized when you're watching it. Whats even cooler is there is an equally as mesmerizing animation taking us through the process of its creation. Its amazing how even the production of this piece is almost as great as the final product. Definitely would recommend watching the final animation first and then moving to its creation.

REMIX - ASH THORP

https://vimeo.com/138571008

REMIX - ASH THORP - PROCESS

https://vimeo.com/138574427


Power Trip

Power Trip is one of my favorite songs by the artists J. Cole and Miguel. It has a very relaxed and emotional feeling to it and zones me out every time I listen to it. This video displays typography to go along with the song and it's done in a very creative way. The lyrics are shown on the windshield of a car driving through a city during a rainy night. The lyrics are animated perfectly with the song, giving off a very urban feel. They appear and disappear creatively by being wiped away by the windshield wipers as though the words are raindrops. The video is extremely simple but it managed to capture my attention throughout the entire song.


Game Of Thrones Is Back!

Game of Thrones is back! That also means we get to see the opening credits again of the kingdoms of the various places in the series. This title sequence started as a concept to help people figure out where everything was since it can be confusing otherwise. It was then pushed to the opening credits and involved an intensive process. Through practical models and eventual CGI Maya models, the structures came alive. It is also interesting to see that the models resemble Leonardo DiVinci  concept designs. Art of the Title interviewed Angus Wall who is the creative director at Elastic on the project. The one thing that proved difficult at first was what was beyond the map as the  camera moves along. This was solved by making the sun that is seen at the end of the title sequence. If you haven't watched the opening already, I highly recommended it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

3D Animation Meets 2D in this Amazingly Colorful Music Video

I'm not sure how many people are familiar with Animal Collective, but their music is awesome and they usually have some great videos that go along with their more catchy songs. "Floridada" just came out and it's exactly what anyone would want out of a music video. Weird patterned 3D people having a baby by doing yoga? Check. Epilepsy warning? Check. Amazingly smooth and fun painted 2D animation? Double check.

Who says 2D animation can't marry 3D animation? It just did. In this music video. So enjoy! Get up and dance! And don't forget about that epilepsy warning there are some seriously bright flashing colors in this.

Animation Using Physics in Maya

I wish we spent more time in this course learning about Maya and all the things you can do with it. I understand that Maya wasn't the primary focus of the course (that's what COMP 290 is for (and it's being offered this coming Fall, if anyone's looking for a couple more credits in their schedule (shameless plug))), but I definitely wanted to incorporate it into my third project somehow. I found this really cool tutorial that describes how to use gravity fields and various other variables to create a simulation of a Newton's Cradle, which I used as part of my project. I figured I'd share it here, just to give a small look at Maya's physics engine. This is probably one of the least complicated tutorials for dynamic animation in Maya I've seen. Most of them are 30+ minutes.

Also, the website that made this tutorial, Studiofourmedia, has some other really cool Maya tutorials on their site. Some of them require purchasing to view, but the free ones are still in-depth and very informative.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Visual Effects in the Jungle Book

The new live action version of the jungle book has come out recently. While reviews are mixed and I am not sure if the film itself is worth seeing, but it is absolutely full of complicated visual effects. This video shows some of the work and compositing that went into this film. So much of this film from the characters to the backgrounds are computer generated. It looks pretty cool and is definitely something that I would like to be able to do in the future.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Stabilization

Steady and stable shots is one key filmmaking technique that can make or break a shot. Most notably in student films, the cinematography can give it a very "amateur" look. In the past few years with the DSLR revolution, because so many people bought cheap, entry level DSLRs and used a non-image-stabilized kit lens, there was a very noticeable jitter in every single shot that wasn't professionally stabilized. 

Nowadays, there are many viable options to help stabilize cameras. The DSLR revolution is fading out, as the craze to get the cheapest DSLR isn't as popular as it used to be. Image stabilization in lenses has gotten better, and there are a multitude of semi-professional, slightly expensive camera stabilizers. The most popular, the Glidecam, provides an impressive level of stabilization for a fairly small and inexpensive rig. There are larger and more robust systems that get you an even more stable shot, but more often these are designed for larger and heaver camera systems with cinema-quality glass, storage, batteries, and more on one rig.

There are now systems like the Movi and Ronin that allow consumers to get near-Hollywood level stabilization in a package that won't destroy your bank account. Renting them is an even more viable option now.

Overall, there are many more stabilization packages than there used to be. As cameras themselves, and software solutions get better, We'll be seeing less DSLR jitter, and more Hollywood-level smoothness is our shots.