Saturday, June 20, 2009

Incredible Silhouette

In the immortal words of Syndrome, "Aw man, I'm STILL geeking out!"

As promised in last week's post, I searched the movie The Incredibles for a confusing shot, in order to test my theory on the clean-confusing-clean combination that worked for Kung Fu Panda's close combat fighting.

I thought the sequence of Mr. Incredible fighting the first version of the omnidroid would be a good sequence - it was a one-on-one fight, with two bulky characters with close combat fighting styles, much like Kung Fu Panda. However, the character design thwarted me at this point; while Mr. Incredible was fairly bulky, the long arms and claws on the omnidroid allowed it to keep it's round body away from the action, while still allowing a good grappling shape around Mr. Incredible's hulking form.

The next scene I thought of was where the four were reunited - surely with the four of them running about, with no colour-contrast to distinguish them, as well as tons of grey-clad grunts running around. All that chaos simply must clog up the scene, right?
Once again, shock and amazement! Clean and clear! The only shot where any two characters overlapped was still a clear shot, whereupon Elastagirl jumped into the scene to where Violet was standing, serving only to leave the scene just as balanced as it had been before.

But lo and behold! One shot in the movie jumped out as crowded! As the company run towards their home, in fear of JakJak's safety, the movie displays the sequencing that I had seen in Kung Fu Panda - a clear shot of them leaping from the car and across their front yard, followed by the lone crowded shot from behind as they all pile through the front door. Then they part, revealing a(once more) clean silhouetted shot of Syndrome holding JakJak, which cuts to a clearer shot establishing them, frozen by Syndrome's ring on one side of the room, and Syndrome and JakJak in the foreground.
This results in a shot organization like so:

To conclude, I should have known better than to question the storyboarding mastery of Pixar's geniuses.
And as a footnote, I'd like to apologize for the pun in the title. Sometimes I don't even know I'm doing it anymore!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Silhouette Studies

One of the things that I've been considering a great amount recently is the use of silhouette in animation. A lot of the times, I've considered it as one of those things that is, in theory, very good, but in practicality, very difficult to keep throughout a sequence of animations.
However, the project that I'm working on now at Starz demands strong posing and clear silhouettes, regardless of what happens through the shot. In order to make myself understand how to pull it off better, I've been looking at the features which I think were successful.
So - Kung Fu Panda! With quick-paced fighting moves, and a bulky main character, it seemed like the epitome of complicated posing.
I was surprised when, during the final fight scene with Tai Lung, there were a few shots with not so clear posing. In fact, when taking things frame-by-frame, rather than at real-time, things were rather confusing, like so:

I was confused as to how this could happen - I mean, in such a large production, with so many professionals on board, how could it be that they would have such a confusing shot?
But then, I looked back over the entire sequence, where the combatants tumbled and whirled through the air, fighting over the Dragon Scroll, and realized what they had done. There was a very clear shot, just as they take to the air. Then, the confusing shot from above, where they spin around, but the silhouette doesn't really change, despite how they spin. Immediately following the confusing shot, was another extremely clear shot - the three of them together progressed like so:

Pretty spiffy. I want to look through a few more fight scenes like this(perhaps when he's sparring with the Furious Five), and see if this technique is being used in more places, or if it was a one-time shot.
Once I'm done with that, I want to look at The Incredibles, just so I can have a span of how common this is.
Horray for learning new techniques!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I've started my internship at Starz Animation, and as a direct result, this blog got... rather abandoned. Oops.
In any case, I'm back at it again, with more sketches and wonder! Let there be PIGEONS!

(thumbnailed! Click for a nice big version)

This was drawn for the Sketch Jam which the Mighty Jim Graves hosts at the end of every semester at Seneca College. The theme for the Jammy, which is the contest which runs at every Jam, was "Creatures"... although this wasn't so much a creature as an animal, I still had a lot of fun doing it.
I'm finding that experimenting with shape is a lot more fun when you stop thinking so hard about the functions of what things have to do. I don't honestly think that most of these pigeons would be able to walk, let alone survive in a basic city setting, but I still like their shapes and individual personalities and neuroses.
I'm starting to try to think more like this - drawing not just figures and shapes, but actual mindsets and thoughts. It's proving to be an interesting and amusing experiment - let's see how it pans out.
In the meantime, this poor little guy didn't make the cut to sit with the other pigeons, but I'm still rather fond of him.