Thursday, 22 July 2010

VFS Day 2 & 3

Sorry to anyone who reads this for not updating yesterday, I got back from Tuesday completly burned out and slept for 10 hours. But, refreshed this morning I went right into Day 3.

Day 2

Against our scheduled timetable, we had History of Animation, and in the afternoon we completed our classical animation sessions with learning a walk cycle.

Apprehensive about History, we walked into the room to be greeted by a quietly enthusiastic guy. As soon as we all took our seats he dove right in with describing the specifics of how moving pictures and animation works on screen, onto different types of animation there are, to discussing what films have inspired us to come to VFS in the first place. A lot of people influenced by Pixar films, so he talked about what inspired John Lassater when he was at CalArts. One inperticular he showed us was Fredric Back's The Man Who Planted Trees. a 30 minute animation which is fantastic! We watched a few more films and had discussions about each of them. The most phenomenal one is a film made by doing finger paintings on glass called The Old Man and the Sea by Alexandra Petrov. A FINGER Painting! :O There where loads more. All in all you came away from the session with a more broad perspective of the whole of animation, rather than the diet of Disney that you usually get. It was brilliant to get a condensed 4 hour lecture from someone who really has a massive amount of knowledge and appreciation about the field. Rather than hating History of Art, I left wanting to come back for another lecture! Maybe next year.

Classical animation came to its conclusion for the week learning a walk cycle. Different to the sack of flour yesterday, being more planning and getting the movement right over 12 frames. Quite difficult, I went through about 3 different cycles before I got one that looked even remotely realistic. Its something you really have to keep doing over and over again. Which we did. Iain, the guy who was helping teach, when he wasn't teaching anyone, he would sit and draw. By the end of the session, he had a stack of paper about an inch thick that he had made during the afternoon, and each of us in the class had been drawn around 4 different times. Im very aware of my own circular shaped head...

The day finished with a few drinks with the people from Game Design on the other campus. Sat around our table where 2 Autralians, 2 Americans, 1 Mexican and 1 Englishman (me). You had to take a step back and see how VFS had brought people from nearly every continent together in one place. And these guys are really on fire about their fields. They love animation and game designing. Us all talking about our work was exculpating into a inspirationgasm, so we called it a night. After a few days of getting up early and staying up drawing, I was beat.

Day 3

Refreshed, I made my way to VFS for Life Drawing! With Adam Rogers, a guy who looked like a shorter Hugh Laurie with glasses. Neat!
He started talking about the specifics of how life drawing affects your view on the world, and how drawing people all the time improves your style and can bleed into whatever animation discipline you end up doing. His real passion for the subject really shone through, and it was almost infectious! We all went ahead and drew our model in 30 second poses and 10 second poses and so on. By the end of the session each of us had used almost a whole pad of paper. and looking at the first drawing we did compared to the last, everyones was a hundred times better. If that was a 4 hour session, extrapolate that to doing that every week for a year. The message was simple. More drawing makes you better. Im booking myself in for life drawing when I am back in Newcastle!

After scoffing the sandwiches, we made our way to the computer labs for our 3D animation session. We got our basic orientation onto the computers, then in came our tutor, called Magic Eslami. I had a basic knowledge of Maya, our 3D package we where using, but even I had trouble keeping up with the speed at which he wanted to teach us. By the end of the lesson we each had modelled a fish, gave it a skeleton, coloured it, parented it, skinned it and animated it. For me it was a great little recap of the basics, and learning the shortcuts and other really useful tips from a guy who had been teaching there for around 10 years! Here is my fish:

Tonight there is a HUGE firework display on around 10, so I'm heading out to that later on. Will put some pictures up of that. According to pretty much everyone who lives there, it should be something magical.

More tomorrow!

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