Friday, March 17, 2006

A character to avoid animating

For those of you who've been looking and wondering after the initial splurge of posts, "where's some more?", sorry I've been rather busy. I've now got a week left of employment in the animation department of Uncle Walt's Aussie Studio. Next Friday the animation department will cease to be as approximately 40 animators are released onto the job market. So, I've been busy polishing the showreel, acquiring further work, packing up our house as well as trying to stay motivated at work. You could hardly say that many animators would claim that they got into animation to work on a character such as Cinderella. I know I didn't. A feminine, realistic character with subtle acting is not on most animators wish list, especially when trying to crank it out at ten feet a week and knowing that you'll be out of a job at the end of it. But it has provided some unique and rewarding challenges.
All that life drawing experience is put to great use- having to really understand anatomy, and solid drafting is really put to the test. Each drawing now takes more time- the ruff has to be carefully thought through paying particular attention to construction and proportion to avoid headaches down the track at the tie-down stage. Not that construction and proportion are to be ever played down, but as any of us know who've tackled a realistic character there is very little forgiveness. We are so familiar with how humans move that something the slightest bit out will look hokey. And that's all amplified in the tie-down stage as those drawings now take twice as long, with such little room for error.
And then to really cap it all off, we have to make her act and look alive and not "as stiff as a board".
I suppose the most appealing thing about animation as a career (apart from being paid to draw) is the constant challenges, of tackling something new; and the pay-off is obviously achieving it. In that regard, this show has been quite rewarding. Whilst not my favourite, I actually surprised myself by including a number of scenes from it on my reel.
Above is a fairly simple one, during one of Cindy's emotional low points, a simple short piece of dialogue and a turn and walk away- but one that I felt I pulled off rather well. This was the scene where after a couple of months of struggling with the model, it finally clicked into place.
One of the benefits of the studio shutting down is that it forces you to take notice of your surroundings. I rarely made copies of my scenes before (I have the shot versions archived), but on this show I have photocopied the actual drawings from a number of my scenes now, and regret not doing it more earlier.