Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Last year I had the great honour of being chosen to represent George Brown College as one of the 2012 CG&VFX Instructors of the Year. Time to pick a new winner!  Show a GBC instructor how much you appreciate their hard work by nominating him or her for this year's award!

WEEK 9: Game Project Dev 2 DESN2017

Concept sketches by Scott Robertson

Welcome back after your break!
I hope your futuristic tank modeling is going well.

I'll be on hand to help you with your design & rendering choices to help you make this project a great portfolio piece.

Reminder this project is due in 2 weeks, March 21st.

Here's a video by amazing concept artist and industrial designer Scott Robertson who I saw giving an inspiring lecture the other day. He has many instructional videos on YouTube and Gnomon. 

Here he's speaking about the process of finding inspiration:

WEEK 9: Asset Dev DESN1086-A: Assignment 3, continued - due next week!

Jumping... continued!

By now your thumbnail studies should be done and your rough animation should be ready to start.
The final artwork is due next week in class!

Your jump must fit into the style of your piece just as do these brilliant pixel art frames from local studio Spooky Squid Games' "They Bleed Pixels": 

The art style really fits the action of this game - here's a sample:

We'll get into the physics of jumping - the power comes from a weight shift in the center of gravity and the extension of the legs. Anyone who wants to challenge the idea that legs must straighten before they contract in a landing is welcome to demonstrate that for us all :D
The 12 Principles of animation are probably familiar by now but we'll quickly review one for the jump. As Disney giant Bill Tytla said,
"There are only three things in animation
and these imply the rest.
Learn to do these things well
and you can animate well."

There's a ton of great information on jumps in Richard Williams' The Animator's Survival Kit from 212-216 and on anticipation from 273-284. Buy this book! It takes several readings to get it to sink in.

WEEK 9: Game Project Development 4 DESN3012

Welcome back after your break!
Today I'd like to hear about your projects-in-progress, find out how you're setting and tracking your production deadlines and collaboration efforts, and help you sort out any animation-related issues you might be having. Let me know how I can help!

One question I'd like you to find an answer to - and this could take years - is 'What is your workflow?'.
The idea of WORKFLOW in animation is a very personal one.

Generally most animators will do at least most of the following:
  • read the script/watch the leica/look at the storyboard
  • draw some thumbnails for key actions
  • act out the scene on video
  • block the broad strokes of their shot using stepped keys or very pose-to-pose timing
  • approval or peer review
  • start breaking it down 
  • approval or peer review
  • add polish, layering, offsetting
  • final approval
  • revisions or retakes  
Some variations:
- key all controllers on each pose, adding all the detail needed to sell the posing
- key only the basic controllers on each pose and layer the complexity in subsequent passes
- work straight ahead keying only the main controls and adding finer detail in subsequent passes

.. and there are more where that came from.

With 3D, it's important to stay SIMPLE because of the complexity of fixing animation on several controllers moving on different frames. That said, you need to show the director what you're planning, and that means adding even expressions and finger controls from a very early stage.

See this example of VFX workflow from John Carter from Animator Patrick Giusiano

Here's another interesting feature workflow from a Shrek the 3rd animator named Justin:

What you don't want to do is randomly start working without any plan.  Think! Plan, then start animating. "Measure twice, cut once"

Sunday, March 3, 2013

WEEK 3: 2D Digital Art 1 - Comic Book Art in Photoshop, continued -- Adding the Ink Effects

Today we'll continue our comic book illustration - step 2: adding the ink effects.

We'll learn how to make the most of Photoshop's many brush presets and settings to create custom brushes to make ink splatters, textured shading effects and other details that make the piece look dynamic and painterly.

Click here for some excellent tutorials on Digital Tutors about creating and using custom brush effects in Photoshop.

If you're not a DT customer, there are lots of tutorials on the web such as this one: Creating a custom brush in PS

Here's a great 'cheat sheet' for Photoshop:

Reminder: Next week's class is cancelled for March Break. See you back in class on Monday, March 18th!