Posts tagged reference

Screen-Capture Warehouse

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It’s called Leave Me the White ( ) and they store countless screen captures from LOTS of films and tv-shows.  Including seasons of Battlestar Gallactica, all of Firelfy, comedies like Arrested Development or 30 Rock, films like The Usual Suspects, Pirates of the Caribbean, Fight Club, the list goes on and on and on.  The actual amount of images is quite mind-boggling.  For a random example, there are over 2,100 images captured from the film The Departed, and between 600-1000 images per episode of Firefly.  Wow.

“Why is this relevant?” you may ask…
Well, this can be a great source of inspiration for staging ideas, color keys, lighting concepts, facial expressions, posing, etc.

Random screen capture of screen captures from a random episode of Firefly.
(The above sentence actually makes sense. Honestly.)

I suggest you bookmark it.  You never know when you might want to reference a film/show for inspiration.  A series of still images forces you to see composition and color far more than when you’re distracted by movement.  Note that in the image above there are 10 pages containing over 900 images.  It’s almost too much.  (almost.)


Over-thinking your acting

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When you get up in front of the camera to act out your ideas you need to remember to let it flow naturally.  The more you think about what you’re doing, the worse it gets.  Whether you are acting out an intense dramatic moment or merely walking from one side of the room to the other, you can’t over-think your actions.  Over-thinking makes it feel forced.

If you start your animation from bad reference footage, guess what you’ll end up with.  Bad animation.

Here is an awesome clip from 30 Rock of a character trying to act in front of a camera and over-thinking every move he makes.

He concentrates so hard on the physical actions he performs he forgets how to do them.  Suddenly he doesn’t remember the natural way to walk.  He doesn’t know what to do with his hands when delivering dialogue (another common problem we see in animation).  As a solution, he wants to hold a prop (something we go to as well) and then comically ends up with a prop in each hand!  HA.

If there is enough interest we can dive into this topic further, but mostly this was just an excuse to show this clip from 30-Rock.



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Animating convincing flight is a real challenge.  Just like anything else, you need to do your research. Flight is VERY easy to get wrong, and then you risk losing your audience.  Viewers can just feel that something is… off.
The animators who worked on How to Train Your Dragon spent countless hours studying flight from real life reference of flying creatures. They also looked at both convincing and unconvincing animated flying creatures in films.
Brendon Body, animator on Legend of the Guardians, has done plenty of similar research and put it all in one place for your educational pleasure!  Take advantage of his awesome tutorial for animating flight.

I highly suggest reading this tutorial and studying all of his great examples.  He picks apart live action footage to help you understand bird mechanics, and has compiled plenty of wonderful reference materials that are now at your disposal. Don’t pass this up.

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