Saturday, May 30, 2009

AM week 208

Hey everybody!

Here is the blocking for my new assignment, which I chose because I want to learn more about cartoony animation. Hmm, right now I'm detailing the blocking and I'm realizing that it's more difficult than I expected :) The action may look pretty simple, but stuff like staggers or cartoony jumps aren't so easy to get right, especially if you're used to a more realistic type of animation. But that's why I'm doing this whole course, to learn about the aspects of animation I know almost nothing about. It can be frustrating if it doesn't work, but that's an important part of the learning process...

Ok, so here we go, rough blocking:

My mentor asked me to change the camera if possible, so the next version will have a closer camera angle.

If you haven't seen it yet, definitely check out the new Toy Story 3 Teaser, which is really cool and sweet. The Toy Story films are among my favourite CG-movies and were one of the reasons I wanted to become an animator.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

AM week 207

Time for another quick update with the final version of my Parkour shot as well as the planning for my current assignment, where I wanted to do something more cartoony. So the last scene for "Body Mechanics 1" will be a run-in, then the character will reverse direction and run back the way he came from.

I shot some video-reference for it, but couldn't really perform the broad actions I want to animate, so this time I'll rely more on my thumbnails and imagination and use the video-reference as more of an inspiration and for analyzing basic physicality.

As additional reference I watched some Warner Brothers Cartoons featuring While E. Coyote, Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny. There I found many very cool moments, where the characters skid on their heels, jump up, reverse direction, hover in the air running before the friction takes effect and they speed off screen. I'd like to do something like that, mainly in order to learn more about cartoony animation.

Parkour Polishing

Run + Reverse Planning

As usual, comments are welcome! I will most likely change the heavy ball that falls in to a mummy coming out of the treasure chest, because that will work better with the timing.

Have a nice week everybody!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

John Rabe

I wanted to take a minute to write about the last bigger project I worked on. It is a German feature film called "John Rabe", which was released theatrically in Germany on April 2nd, 2009. For trailers and more information, please visit the official website (not available in english as far as I know), or check Wikipedia.

The film is based on the true story of a german businessman working for Siemens in China during the second world war. By establishing a safety zone, he helped save more than 200.000 chinese people from the japanese army during the so-called Nanking Massacre. While largely unknown in Germany and the rest of the world, he is still adored in China to this day, and his house was turned into a museum.
After he had returned to Germany, Rabe and his family lived in poverty until his death in 1950.

His diaries, which were the foundation for the movie, have been published in book-form as well. In the U.S. the book is called "The Good Man of Nanking: The Diaries of John Rabe", in German it's called "John Rabe. Der gute Deutsche von Nanking" by Erwin Wickert.

The film was produced by Hofmann&Voges Entertainment and directed by Florian Gallenberger. I had the chance to work on the movie for almost 6 months, animating the japanese fighter planes for the various air raids. The warplanes were done completely in CG and then integrated into the live-action plates. I was the only animator on the show and animated almost 50 shots, ranging from 20-frame-scenes featuring one airplane to the city attack with more than 30 fighters and bombers. Joachim Grüninger was the VFX supervisor for the show, Alex Lemke was the Compositing Lead.

Although the movie was recently awarded with four "Lolas" (German Movie Awards), including best film, as well as two Bavarian Film Awards, it was not successful at the box office. It will get quite a large release in China, though, and I hope it will reach more people there.

AM Week 205 + 206

Hey everybody!

Here comes a quick update for the last two weeks. I didn't post much since I was busy preparing for the fmx conference in Stuttgart, which I attended from May 5th-7th. I wanted to update my demoreel so I could present it to some of the companies that were recruiting there. Not that I'm looking for a job right now, but first of all it's great to get some feedback on the demoreel, and apart from that I really want to hand in my stuff early, so they know I'm there if recruiting for future project starts early.

I'll probably write more about the fmx in another post...

Over the last 2 weeks I have been blocking and refining my Parkour assignment, so here is the blocking for week 205 and the blocking plus/refining for week 206.

This week I'll have to finish the piece and plan my next and last animation for the body mechanics class. Time sure does fly!

One more note: Pixar is opening a new animation studio in Vancouver, Canada! I find this to be surprising as well as amazing! There are many AM-students from Canada, so I'm sure they are working even harder now :)

Have a good week everybody!

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