Hey guys... remember me?
I think it goes without saying that "apologies" for not posting recently would be like an awkward joke, maybe a slightly offensive one, in a crowded elevator, on a Monday morning. I'll skip all that and just say the obvious... I've been busy.
My time at ILM... what can I say? it was AMAZING. It honestly was everything I could have dreamt it would be... fun, bloody hard, challenging, bloody hard, rewarding, enlightening, bloody hard, nostalgic, and bloody hard. Transformers 2 was a great show to work on, and the movie is going to be a really entertaining robot smashing mash up that you would expect from the likes of none other than Mr. Bay... The amount of incredible shots in this movie will blow your mind. I'm really grateful to the guys at ILM for letting me ride with a bunch of complex shots that I can be really proud of for years to come.
The point of this blog is to share and write about my discoveries as I travel the path that animation seems to pave for me. If I was to summarize my learnings from ILM I would put it this way ( without being too specific of course ... I know you guys all understand ):
- "You'll get it in the end"
My mindset moving forward is this... yes, often it will feel crappy. Sometimes terrible. Often you will make mistakes, often it will seem like the shot was animated by a 3 year old child. Keep at it... and you'll get it in the end.
- Blocking is its own art.
We often hear about the importance of "selling an idea" or "showing your thinking clearly" and the main reason is simply so we don't have to keep doing stuff again before we get something that we all know will work the best in the sequence.
The trick is not to sweat the details in blocking. I find that the layered or straight ahead approach animator takes satisfaction and understanding of his work from the details. Its like we need to see every jiggle and settle before we can tell if our animation works or not. Its a tough mindset to get out of, but the truth is always that those details are secondary to the broad communication of your motion. Nail that, then nail that.
- Your work getting hammered is great.
I think a really large part of what makes great animation great, is the continued change and iteration that a variety of minds will shape. Every shot I did at ILM is a melting pot of ideas created by a number of people. If I had just stuck with what I thought worked, what I though looked cool, what I thought looked heavy... my shots would not have turned out the same at all.
Its annoying to change animation. We all know it ..."but how are my footplants gonna work?" "how is he gonna get into that pose in time now?" "oh man, that's way harder to do that way" "man I spent all that time on that other idea"... these are the thoughts of an animator improving his skills. Its key to trust your leads and colleagues.
- Keep it simple.
- Slow it down.
- Movies are brilliant.
I should also mention that I'm right back at square one.
Just a few weeks here literally has me shaking in my boots. The quality of work here is of the highest caliber in every respect. Exactly as it was at ILM. I have an immeasurable amount of learning and catching up to do before I will be able up to the level of these guys.. but here's to hard work!
Stay tuned people...