I posted on being part of the first cohort of this first course back in October in the middle of the fall quarter. I learned lots more since then and wanted to share it here. We continued using The Animator’s Survival Kit(this is the link to the more recent Expanded Edition) and Timing for Animation as our main texts There were three projects since that last post and I’ll give you some background on each.
This short was a study in vibration. We used a leaf at the end of a long stem blowing in the wind as the example to animate in class. It involved alternating a series of frames and repeating some of them to mimic a back and forth motion. I extended the principle to show the roaring dragon’s head moving back and forth. I felt like I was really beginning to get comfortable with Flash by the time we got to this project at week seven of the term.
My animation skills definitely went up a notch this fall. Can’t wait to continue on the development of my during the winter quarter in January.Read More
Just before the beginning of the Fall 2011 quarter the School of Cinema and Interactive Media in DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media acquired the graphic design department from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. This development has provided a slew of new courses for us. I’ve always wanted to take Adobe Illustrator and learn more about vector graphics to accompany pixel based Photoshop. It’s a freshman level course but it’s one I can imagine using in a variety of ways in my future animation projects.
Our lecturer for this course was Chris Kalis. Although one of his specialties is graphic design this wasn’t a graphic design course, just a basic “how to class”. We learned some important basics such as masking, creating our own character fonts and learning how to create abstract shapes with the line and circle tools. We got a lot of good work in with the color tools too.
Chris didn’t let us off the hook just because it was a beginner class though. We applied design and composition principles to our projects with the layouts he assigned using a variety of techniques. On our first major project he took our head shots, we turned them into silhouettes and then got creative blending it with our initials in a variety of ways. Here’s one of mine.
This is the reason I took the class. To learn how to draw in Illustrator. For this exercise we found a picture of an interesting object and traced it. After Placing (sometimes preferable to Importing an image) the picture on the art board you lower the opacity to make it more opaque but not completely transparent. Then the line tool is used to draw the contours of the object. In the end the closed spaces can be filled with color. The file below was my boat project which included a labeled diagram.
This is my final project, my re-imagining of a Donald Byrd album cover. It is a process book layout of one of his jazz album covers. The objective for the final was to pick an album cover, create a few stylized versions of it, including the logo, and then picking a color pallet to use as inspiration for something unique in the end. This exercise gave us more practice on learning about fonts and duplicating them as closely as possible. The PDF flip book will let you leaf through the pages of my final.
I learned more than expected from this class, especially creating custom fonts that I can use in any animated situation. Christ is a great instructor. This is Chris’s personal site. If you’re a student of animation or graphic design I definitely recommend that you take a course from him. And if you need a vector based alternative to the pixel based PhotoShop you should definitely fire up Illustrator and start playing around with it.
ANI421 is the first of the new cohort of courses for the Master of Arts in Animation program that was recently split of from the Master of Science in Cinema program. Animation was previously just a concentration of DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media‘s cinema curriculum but we now have our own standalone degree program as of this fall 2011 quarter!!!
Our professor for this class is Scott Roberts who heads up the animation program within the School of Cinema and Interactive Media. He’s a renowned digital artist in his own right so we’re getting the benefit of a wealth of experience.
Scott has us focusing on the fundamentals of effective animated motion. We’re digging into the details of many of the 12 Principles of Animation as outlined in The Animator’s Survival Kit. Our other reference is Timing for Animation which is helping us learn how to move different parts of the body at different speeds.
At this point at least we’re focused on using stick figures in Flash to be sure we nail down the principles. Some of my classmates are really accomplished artists so they are beyond stick people. Drawing on a monitor is definitely different than drawing on paper but I plan on getting beyond the stick people too before the end of the term as I get more comfortable with sketching poses in the software. In the meantime I’ll share some of what I’ve made so far.
After four weeks I’m really getting a lot out of this class. I’ll be able to apply this to any of my future 2D and 3D work. Can’t wait to see what’s next. Read More
For the fall quarter of 2011 I will take my third class with one of my favorite professors, Lisa Barcy. Much of it will be an overview of the animation industry and careers. It’s going to cover a lot of aesthetics and cover some international styles. Our first night of class we looked at a Japanese short film and a slightly longer Czech film so she has us hitting the ground right from the start just the way I like it. Lisa is our main stop motion professor. If you’ve never seen her work before this one is my favorite. Check it out.
During our “getting to know you” introductions I learned that we have a couple of working animators in the class as well as a few people with an interest in comics, something that has been recently rekindled in me. Plenty of opportunity for collaboration and to learn how to make the transition from classroom to the animation workforce by people who have done it and are doing it.
Lisa is also making us spread our wings and see more of the local arts community outside our campus walls to events at venues like the Gene Siskel Film Center, Columbia College and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. We’re also going to have professional animators including some of our own DePaul College of Computing and Digital Media professors as guest speakers in class and off campus. I’ll give a plug to my advisor Alexander Stewart who is curating his second Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation (this year’s URL coming soon).
We’ll also have lots of good reading and reaction papers to the reading and to films that we screen in class. Each of us will give informal presentations of subjects that we’d like to explore further and final animated projects because although this isn’t a production class it is ultimately it’s about producing some work. I’m thinking about doing something with a superhero character especially since I’ve been inspired by all the comic artists I’ve met this summer. I’ll keep you posted on that when we get closer to actually planning projects.
Lisa is starting us off with the first couple of chapters of “A Short Guide to Writing About Films” as a compliment to writing our papers more effectively and we’ll be using “Animation in Process” to learn about a variety of aesthetic approaches to the animation craft.
It’s going to be another great term and I’m going to soak it all up in sponge-like fashion. Of course I’ll share some of my papers and projects with you guys over the next ten weeks so leave comments and tell me what you think as we go along. Read More