28 September, 2010

Spying for Lying.... Huh?

I found a link to this on the Spline Doctors' blog and found it rather interesting! The Spying for Lying blog goes into great depths of non-verbal communication and facial emotions. It's an interesting site for anyone into Character Animation. Check it out.

The second link is about capturing emotion through their gestures/body language... a great source of reference.



What Takes a Demo Reel From Good to Great? ~Nelson Brown

I was fortunate enough to meet Nelson while attending Animation Mentor since graduating last year he went to Reel FX to work on Open Season 3 and now he is working at Dreamworks on their latest and greatest movie Megamind. He talks about taking your demo reel to the next level and making it awesome! Thanks Nelson for your insights!

For me, it's the little things.

As animators, our goal is to make the audience believe that the character is alive. For me, a big part of that is a convincing secondary action. Don't get me wrong - clear acting, good body mechanics, strong poses, etc. are all crucial and are all necessary in a good reel. However, once those things are there, it's those subtle human imperfections that take it to the next level.

Something as simple as breathing, blinking at the right moment, fidgeting, darting the eyes, if done right, can be so powerful by adding another layer of human believability to your character. These are just examples, of course, and it's important to remember not to pull the focus from your primary action. I like to think of secondary action as a "spice" that can be used carefully to add some extra interest to your shot or reel.

This is a big reason why I like video reference. If I only plan out in my head every motion that my character will make, I find it often results in an overly "choreographed" look. However, if I act out my shot in front of the camera, I often notice all kinds of little things my body does that I never would have consciously noticed.

In my opinion, the best reels are the ones that make me forget I'm watching cartoon characters and make me truly believe that I'm watching a living being.