Friday, August 14, 2009

Fifty-Two Quick acting notes from Ed Hooks

Here are some tips that I myself find absolutely gold when animating.

I have these in the back of my head when animating as well as the twelve principles of animation. These are not rules meant to be followed specifically (your work would automatically be good just because of that) but think of them more as helpers. These tips from the worlds sweetest guy Ed Hooks apply to both Animators, Actors, Screenwriters as well as Directors. Use them well and double-check you work up against these. you will be amazed how much better and clearer your work will become. (It also help on speed and creativity process)

1. Scenes begin in the middle, not the beginning.

2. A character should be "doing" something 100 percent of the time.

3. A character enters a scene for a reason, and he exits for a reason.

4. Thinking tends to lead to conclusions; emotion tends to lead to action.

5. A gesture need not be an illustration of the spoken word.

6. Audiences empathize with emotion. The key to good animation is in empathy.

7. Comedy is drama heightened, oxygenated.

8. An action pursues a longer term objective. (Smile at the girl because you want to date her.)

9. Short term memory causes eyes to glance upward.

10. Long term memory causes eyes to glance downward, into the soul.

11. The human sense of sight is many times more powerful than the sense of hearing.

12. Humans act to survive. Find the survival mechanism in your character.

13. Play an action until something happens to make you play a different one.

14. A scene is a negotiation.

15. "Actors are athletes of the heart" - Artonin Artaud

16. Anxiety is a high or heady power center; confidence is a low power center.

17. Emotions are automatic value responses.

18. Characters that make steady eye contact for more than a few seconds are either going to fight or make love.

19. The human smile says, "I won't hurt you."

20. Never underestimate the audience.

21. When you animate, you are saying to the audience, "I understand this." When the
audience applauds, laughs or cries, it is saying, "I see what you mean."

22. Actors lead; audiences follow.

23. Background characters can be defined with shadow movement - a jiggling knee, a charcter's mouth moving when he reads the paper, biting fingernails and so on.

24. "The Iron Giant" is an animation classic. Every animator should study it, like visiting Mecca.

25. We see things before we hear them; we hear things before we touch them; we touch
things before we smell them; we smell things before we taste them.

26. A villain is a regular person that has a fatal flaw.

27. A hero is a regular person that has to rise to extreme heights to overcome an extraordinary obstacle.

28. The "beats" in a scene or script are better perceived as "beads" in a necklace. One bead leads to the next to the next and so on. Put the beads together, and you have a story.

29. The purpose of (character) movement is destination.

30. Acting has almost nothing to do with words.

31. Commercials convey almost zero actual information. They are about emotion.

32. Humans and other animals negotiate status continually.

33. To energize a scene, convert the character's "wants" to "needs."

34. Theatrical reality isn't the same thing as regular reality.

35. Acting is reacting.

36. Animators are not mimes. Mime is a specialized art.

37. A key ingredient of empathy is distance.

38. Old people stoop because their bodies ache.

39. A drunk character tries to counteract the effects of the alcohol.

40. To show that a character is hot, have him try to get cool.

41. To show that a character is cold, have him try to get warm.

42. An "adrenaline" moment is one the character will remember when he turns eighty and looks back on his life. The best movies include plenty of adrenaline moments. (Re-read #24)

43. A character analysis is like a character biography.

44. When a character is faced with a choice, be specific. Avoid ambivalence.

45. Allow your characters to be affected by the atmosphere in a location, the "feeling" it projects. (A car wreck has an atmosphere; a church has an atmosphere; a marriage bed
has an atmosphere.)

46. Yelling is a weak acting choice.

47. We speak of memory in general terms, but it is referenced in specific mental images.

48. A character that is listening to another is actually preparing to speak.

49. The camera tends to follow the character's gaze.

50. A scene should have conflict, otherwise known as an obstacle.

51. Trick for suggesting villainy: tilt head forward; eyes peer upward, exposing whites in lower portion of eyeball.

52. Character "personality" is actually character "behavior."

Source -

PS: Be sure to read Ed`s newsletters where he gives tips to aspiring actors/animators as well as sharing his view on the latest movies etc. Very good read!

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The Spine. An animated short film by Chris Landreth

For The Spine, director and scriptwriter Chris Landreth joins forces again with producers Steve Hoban (Copperheart Animation), Mark Smith (Copperheart Animation) and Marcy Page (National Film Board of Canada), who had collaborated with him to make Ryan (2004) – Oscar winner for best animated short. Entirely computer animated, The Spine is a bold film whose dazzling artistic style pushes the limits of animated film. The Spine uses uniquely bizarre but strangely believable imagery, to tell the story of an ordinary married couple whose lives are in turn tragic, absurd and beautiful. The Spine was produced by the National Film Board of Canada in association with Copperheart Animation and C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures, with the creative participation of Autodesk Canada CO. and Seneca College School of Communication Arts.

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Tron Legacy trailer

The trailer for the newest instalment after the amazing Tron movie released by Disney in 1982 is now finaly here!. The movie did fenomenal at the box office`s in 82 as it took movie-goers into the very heart of computers as we followed lovable arcade game champion and dorky self proclaimed ubernerd Kevin Flynn (Played by Jeff Bridges) inside the electric gladiator ring as he was tricked by the movie villian "Master Control Program". He now must battle his way to find a way out again. The movie also helped a rather small effects company called "ILM" to be the most profitable CG Companys in the world, toutching every movie that comes out of America and England as it was the first movie ever too have entire 3d generated shots in a feature movie, putting it firmely in the books about CG history.

The trail has been cold after small-talk in Hollywood about a reboot or prequel but atlas Disney said "Screw it" and greenlight a fully fledged sequel with most of the cast from the first one reappering and hiring ILM once again to create some mind boggeling effects and once again capture the heart of millions of nerds. Lets just hope it dosent end up as Wargames 2 did.. direct to dvd with no charm or fun

The company produced this "teaser" a year ago and it was first show to a unsuspecting crowd at Comicon, and is now presented in HD as the official trailer for the movie which is due in summer 2010.

Sam Flynn, the tech-savvy 27-year-old son of Kevin Flynn, looks into his father's disappearance and finds himself pulled into the same world of fierce programs and gladiatorial games where his father has been living for 25 years. Along with Kevin's loyal confidant, father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe that has become far more advanced and exceedingly dangerous.

The score for this movie is going to be done by none other then Daft Punk!

Que Nerdgazm...!

The trailer/teaser looks incredible and is 100% (last years) CG all exept jeff bridges scene offcourse and as almost everything ILM produces its mindblowingly awesome! Im going to be in Tron rush for a year now at least.

Fun fact: Back in the realy 80`s, it was so resource-demaning to work with 3d at that time, that the animators and modelers had to work in wireframe and moving the objects by punching in the X,Y and Z numbers to then wait a couple of hours just to see the shaded view inside the program. THEN it had to be renderd out

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mudboxing 101

Hey`al.. Started some mudboxing in my sparetime now. Been doing tutorials today and this is what I got after a couple of hours. Nothing too fancy but have to start somewhere right?

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are Movie Trailer #2

Watch the trailer in high definition on Yahoo. The rumored Flaming Lips song does not appear, but I can certainly tell you Arcade Fire’s Wake Up gets another airing. That song will probably now be forever associated with Wild Things in the way Mr. Blue Sky is eternally Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Free HD Green Screen and VFX Plates you can download and play around with!

It has always irritated us that there are no green screen and VFX plates around the internet you can just download and play with -- everything is owned by some production. So we decided to donate some of the interesting plates from Visual Effects For Directors to the community, so you can download them and practice keying, matchmoving, compositing, tracking, and much more! -

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Trailer for Peter Jacksons The Lovelybones

Plot: Centers on a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family - and her killer - from heaven. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal.


This and thats

Some random stuff:

Delphic - This Momentary

- Although the cinematography for this music video is incredible strong, I do find it a bit out of place. It could easily have gone to this. Oh well, powerful photography and great song.

Modest Mouse - King Rat

This movie is really weird.. Even for a modest mouse video. Its directed by the late Heath Ledger during his Terry gilliam faze =D

Bag Raiders - Shooting Stars

Also a really weird video for a incredibly kool track.. Seriously.. Its been looping in my head for a long time. The vid is kinda homemade tron/Miami vice feel.. Its sometimes cringe-worthy but at the same.. I cant stop watching.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Heads Will Roll (Passion Pit Remix)

Passion Pit remixed this new track from "Yeah Yeah Yeahs" and they did a incredible thing with it. *dance*

The Presets - A New Sky

Love the Presets.

Make The Girl Dance - Baby Baby Baby

Theres a song?

I concure. This is the best cinematic clip in the world


Creativity Truths Every Freelancer Should Know

It’s the golden standard of freelancing — a holy grail of sorts. . .

We all think that we know what "creativity" is. It’s the beautiful logo, the smart web design, or the clever prose. Surely, those things are evidence of the creative process at work. But, there is something more to being creative.

What is Creativity?

Creativity is that rare combination of skill and innovation. It’s the ability to look at a blank wall or a dead end and see something else there — something much more meaningful.

Creative people aren’t stopped by obstacles. They don’t know the meaning of the words “it can’t be done.”

Four Characteristics of Creativity

What does creativity look like? Here are four characteristics of the creative person:

Persistent — If you look at the history of some of the most creative people in the world you’ll notice one thing about all of them: they never quit. A creative person doesn’t give up.

Unconventional — Creative people are often unconventional. Some may even be described as “eccentric.” They get this label because they don’t do things in the “usual ways.”

Imaginative — A key element of creativity is an active and vivid imagination. A creative person is able to imagine solutions and possibilities that other people cannot see.

Flexible — Creativity demands flexibility. Creative people are usually not bound by rigid rules, expectations, or circumstances. They are able to work around or see past their environment.

How Does One Become Creative?

This post might cause you to wonder, “how does one get creativity?” Or, you might ask, “can one become creative?” These are both good questions.

Many would argue that you can’t get or teach creativity, but that one is born with it. They have a point.

- Stephen Wiltshire, an autistic artist who drew London from memory after a single helicopter trip

On the hand, many of us live and work in an environment (sometimes even of our own choosing) that does not really foster creativity.

Here are some steps you can take to find your own creativity:

Slow down - As freelancers it seems that we are always in a hurry. If the project isn’t due today, it was due yesterday. Although sometimes creativity is born out of stress, most often it is not. To find your inner creativity, give yourself some extra time.

Allow yourself to dream — Rather than accepting your current circumstances, ask yourself the hard questions like: “what if?” Then, don’t be afraid to answer those same hard questions. Creative people aren’t afraid to answer the difficult questions of life.

Consider alternatives — Our society loves boxes. It’s more efficient to do the same thing the same way every time, but that doesn’t necessarily foster creativity. “Think outside the box” has become a cliché, but it’s a true cliché. Do something different.

Follow your passion — Is there something that you’d rather do more than anything else? Many of us have laid aside our passions to pursue our professions, but the two don’t necessarily need to be separate. Follow your passion and find your creativity.

You may find that you actually have more creativity than you realize.
Are You Creative?

What is the most creative thing that you’ve done? Why do you think that it was creative?

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