Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

Hope everybody has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Sorry for the bad digital photo, 16-field paper is too big for my scanner.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Started a new animation

Princess Animation from Matt Long on Vimeo.

Well it was fun to post something in color, but now it's back to the good ol' graphite on paper. This is part of a new animation I started at my internship at July Films. There will be 3 characters in the scene. The context of the scene is they'll be seeing something that they've all been waiting for and become excited by the reveal. This is Princess with popsicle in hand. This is just the first pass and I was pretty happy with how it turned out, so I'll be starting to refine it and making adjustments to it as I work out the two boys in the scene to make sure they all work well together.
One of the things Mike saw in my animation was as I phrase out my animation I usually work from one idea then another and then another. I don't transition from one to the other smoothly, it's too sudden. So when I go over it again I'll be working on that, getting her excitement to build up a bit in the walk before the hopping. Something that seems simple and obvious but somehow eludes me still. Also the skirt reacts too much to the hop, it needs to be scaled back a bit and she should maintain a little more control over her popsicle hand. I'm also trying to figure out a way to make her move a bit more feminine to differentiate her movement from the boys.

Here are my thumbnails for the whole scene. The two who are hopping move right to left, and the other left to right.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Here's something out of the ordinary for this blog, I did something in color and not just col-erase pencils either! This was for a flier I did for a person at work for a Christmas themed charity event coming up in early December where people tour decorated homes. I created it on a PowerMac in Photoshop but when I look on my desktop monitor the colors look way off, much too bright, not sure which monitor is more accurate but I tried to correct it as much as possible. I was inspired by John K's posts about Mel Crawford and experimented a bit with colors, still a long way to go but I had fun and learned a few things along the way. Some of those being I'm way too slow when it comes to color and I always feel like I've run out of color choice so I end up with too many similar colors near one another. Oh well, hope you enjoy it since it will be back to the good ol' black and white for awhile.

I ran out of time and didn't get around to indicating the slanted ceiling which is causing the tree to bend and the chimney to get cut off at an angle, but I think it's obvious enough that it isn't necessary. As for the dog, it seems everybody I talk to these days has or is getting a Maltese or a Shitsu or a mix of some other similar breed as can be seen here, so I put one in rather than the cat I had originally planned on.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sorry for the delay in posts, been busy the last couple of weekends so I don't have much to post tonight but here is the final combined composition of the sack hopping boys. Time to move on to something new.

Sack Hop Race from Matt Long on Vimeo.

Also I'm in a sort of grieving period right now, my 2nd Xbox 360 has died within 1 year. How's that for quality control eh Microsoft? Error code 74. The first one died within a week of getting it for Christmas last year, so I returned it and got a black Elite system which is supposed to be built with newer more stable parts. And I just got a new game too, if you haven't played Fable 2 and have a 360 check it out, it's really cool as far as I can tell from the couple of days I had it before my system flipped out.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Another animation clip and some thumbs

Run and Hop Animation from Matt Long on Vimeo.

Here's the 3rd of the last set of boys hopping. This one is taking off from a run and into the hop. There's not much to the rest of the hop so I'm just showing the first part. Some minor things to change but overall this conveys what I wanted. I originally did the whole thing and it looked horrible, so I erased it all and started over, some of the old one can still be seen on this as a ghost image. This is all on 1's done straight ahead.

I had these thumbs lying around and figured I would share them, this is the first set that I did above. Not much analysis or anything being done here. The very first tests I posted on my blog of the hops were following this.

I went back and watched some videos, further acted out some hops, and broke everything down into the basic mechanics and did this sheet of thumbnails. The animation I posted above is a mix of the 3rd line here and the line drawn on the back that you can see showing through lightly on the bottom.

I call this one "My Little Land of the Lost" my take on Mike's
My Little World. During a break from doing the hops after the first pass failed I sketched this really quick on the side of some scratch paper, just a random drawing that I thought was fun. I learned I shouldn't draw dinosaurs from memory.

Just a little teaser, I'm animating something in my spare time at home, above are some quick lunch-time studies for it from stills of Disney's "Wonderful World of Color" with Ludwig Von Drake. So stay tuned for some stuff from that in the next few weeks if it's worth posting

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More Straight Ahead Animation

Sack Hop Race Animation from Matt Long on Vimeo.

Here's what I've done recently. As you can see these two have a bit more personality than the last ones and are breaking away from their patterns a bit. It helps add a lot of life and interest when you break the cycles, which is something Mike has been trying to get me to break away from. I have a tendency of finding something that works and sticking with it, and it gets repetitious and boring, so that's my next step in this journey.

One of the things I've noticed is I'm getting much looser with my drawings and speeding up quite a bit but am still able to maintain and even increase the quality of animation. I think because of this I'm able to keep my thoughts and feelings within the first pass more than before where I'd get new ideas mid way through and start losing the essence of the animation. With the first boy I wanted him to think he can get ahead with a larger bounding leap only to find it takes time to recover from and ultimately doesn't pay off. The 2nd boy I wanted him to lose his hold on the bag and then regain it while for the most part maintaining much of his momentum. Hopefully it comes across clearly.

So that's all for now, also if you didn't know Vimeo lets you download the original video file (you may need to register) if you want to frame-by-frame any of these recent animations. I like it much better than Youtube for that.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Soccer kids animation

Soccer boys animation from Mlong128ir on Vimeo.

This animation pretty much speaks for itself. It was the first animation I did at July Films not for any production, just for my own practice under Mike's guidance and took seemingly forever. I re-did so many parts of it and made many dumb decisions. For one, I didn't plan it out too well and it started to snowball out of control, luckily I found a way to wrap it up in the end. I also analyzed my movement when acting things out and animated that rather than finding the force and animating the feeling I felt acting it out, so it came out mechanical. I learned so much from this animation about what not to do as well as made some discoveries that will help in the future. If you watch it you'll notice it loosens up as the animation progresses towards the end with the runs, this is because I didn't work the whole thing all at once and refine it but instead worked on it in sections from beginning to end. So the last part with the runs was animated much later than the beginning when I started to loosen up and get a feel for the characters. Not a very good thing to do as it makes everything seem disjointed and ruins the pacing.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sack Hop Animation 2nd Pass

Sack Hop Animation 2nd pass from Mlong128ir on Vimeo.

So here is my 2nd pass at this particular sack hop animation, I made some minor changes to it after this like some things with the hands, but overall this is pretty much the final version. Mike went over my last one with me as mentioned in my previous post and gave a great critique and sat down and animated over my drawings to really emphasize the points he was making. The major thing was to push the delayed parts to allow the drawings to breathe more naturally, to create overlap. I've always tried delaying parts, but when Mike sat down and showed me on my own animation it all just clicked. I wasn't delaying enough, he was really able to push things (check out the drawing below of the 1st squash on contact) and just by seeing the still drawing it feels like it's in motion. I naturally tend to try to move everything all at once so texturing the timing of separate parts of the body has to be a conscious effort for now, I just didn't know by how much it should be done. Hopefully it will become more and more a natural tendency.

Another thing he had mentioned was in some of my drawings while the boy is in the air, I jump from the beginning to the end poses and shapes too quickly leaving myself nowhere to go for the follow up drawings. That's why in my original a lot of the drawings are very similar, they're just advancing forward in space. So to counteract that he had me change the sleeve to a ball form while in the air for a frame to give a transition from the concave to the convex sleeve shape so the change is more pleasant. Edit: Here's a simple diagram I did to clarify this.

He also had me push the curve of the torso in the ascending part of the jump so that it can have somewhere to go while in the air by reversing direction. Also he reminded me to add change between the drawings by making sure the angles in the pose, in this case the torso/upper legs/lower legs and sometimes the bag increase or decrease in succession rather than just having a squash, a stretch, and then another squash that last several frames into another stretch. Seems like an obvious concept, but it's so easy to get sidetracked when focusing on the other things. Here's Mike's quick diagram from when he was telling me, so simple but it drives the point home.

Finally Mike really pushed the head and neck out to give it that urgent strain that somebody in a potato sack race would have, which he then delayed way more than I had. He also really pushed the contact squash more than I had which gives it a bit more spring and personality. Here are all of Mike's drawings in sequence that demonstrate everything I mentioned up to now.

And here I my originals below so you can compare, they look really stiff and lifeless in comparison.

Mike now wants me to animate more kids hopping, this time giving them all different approaches to the hop that display their personalities. From hitch steps, to small quick hobble-y strides to stutter steps and large leaps, anything that will break it up and make the scene breathe.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sack Hop continued

Sack Hop Animation from Mlong128ir on Vimeo.

Here is my latest version of the sack hop taking into consideration many of the notes Mike gave me on the last two. This one actually is about the 5th version of this particular hop if you take into account all those eraser marks you can see at the beginning. Right now I feel it's just "good enough"mechanically but can be better overall, Mike had a few notes on this one as well and felt the bottom portion was working fine, but the upper body can use some work. The way he put it was, "You have the technical aspects down, now it's time to work on the emotional." He said next week after the holiday he will sit down with me and draw over my drawings to demonstrate exactly how he goes about doing that. I know I'll have many "A-Ha!" moments when I see him plus-ing my work as is always the case when I see him demoing. Stay tuned for the results from that in a couple weeks.

Also this time around I tried out Vimeo, I think it preserves the video quality better than Youtube. Hopefully you can all see it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sack hops

For those of you who visit my blog (anybody left?) that may not know, I've been fortunate enough to be allowed to hang out around July Films www.julyfilms.com a few hours a week and learning some things about animation from Mike Nguyen www.rainplace.net okay learning A LOT of things.   It's been a great experience and I can see the growth in my work and confidence in animation. Staring at a blank page before getting started is no longer as scary and intimidating as it once was.  

Above are two quick animations I did last night at July overlayed into the same video. Both share the same first two drawings, and both need work. The ghost images that appear are due to this being done on old pieces of animation paper, it pays to recycle. Just thought I'd share since I thought this place could use an update.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Another FX post

Here's an explosion I animated a little while back, just trying some new things. It was fun to do.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Just a little something

It's been a long time since I last updated, and some people have been giving me a hard time about it. Maybe I'll begin updating it more often to silence them all.

Here's a flame FX animation loop I did the other week really quick, my first time trying to animate fire. It's not looping very well though.