Work process through Splines for Actor Emulation assignment - Anim Collaborative Fall 2018 - Advanced Acting

Whose Fault Is that?! - Splined, sans lip-sync v01

This is the splined version of my last assignment for Advanced Acting for Animation, Animation Collaborative Fall 2018 term. The goal of the assignment was to take an actor and character and emulate them in a scenario of our choosing. I settled on actress Frances Conroy, playing Ruth Fisher, from HBO’s Six Feet Under. What I loved about that actor’s performance is how restrained and tight she was, usually bottling up tense emotions, but every now and then those emotions just burst out uncontrollably, and it rattled her body, hands shaking, mouth working….yet, even in those moments, she would hide her eyes, shutting them at powerful moments. So I took that reference and made up a story of my own involving a fledgling romance between a hard working nurse and a doctor that happened to go abruptly south for some unknown reason (at least to her). He doesn’t know if she might still accept him if she only knew… When I started this shot I had a terrible camera - the characters were placed at awkward positions to camera and it felt just weird. Plus, even though I had a fair idea of what the nurse was feeling, I had yet to really get into the Doctor’s head and I needed to get really specific and simpler with both characters and their motivations and wants. As the blocking and revisions went on, I simplified their story, from a pretty detailed story of their relationship and the activities that had happened to get them to this scene, to whittling this down to just their raw emotions and simpler internal monologues. When I did that, I felt I knew my character and was able to give them choices that made sense and were specific. I was able to feel the tingling rigid anger flow through the nurse, and how it would flow and get contained…I could feel the doctor’s timidness and uncertainty. The nurse wanted to strike out at him for hurting her, for his crazy disapearance when things were going so well. She also wants to not have this conversation now bc this is her first time as a nurse and she can’t screw this up. The doctor wants to be accepted for who he is, flaws and all, however serious. I learned a ton working on this assignment, having a lot of fun dissecting an actor and applying what worked from the acts and also creating my own nuances and beats. I have yet to lip sync the characters, and the background hospital is rudimentary at the moment, but will fix all this soon!

Rough blocking Works in Progress for Actor Emulation shot. Versions 41 and 69

In these rough blocking passes, I am emulating Ruth Fisher from HBO's series Six Feet Under, applying that actress’s mannerisms to my nurse character. In version 41, I was not quite sold on the acting for either, so I took it back to reblocking. I honed in on their subtext and internal monologues with more clarity, and I feel that lead to more specificity in the acting choices in version 69. Still some timing and mechanics to revise, but I like the choices better in 69. The doctor is only blocked out through his line of dialogue, FYI.



WIP Motivated Head Turn for Advanced Acting AnimC class

For my first assignment for Advanced Acting 2018 at Animation Collaborative, I was assigned a motivated head turn. No more than 100 frames of animation, a close-up camera, with a focus on the head turn and why the head turns the way it does, the speed, timing, etc. I chose a dad that has broken a promise to his young son, and the son is pretty angry/hurt. Needing to polish my spine offsets and overlapping action through spine and shoulders/ arms. Also might hone the energy a touch, especially with the head throw/leading action of his angry “I hate you” pout.

Penultimate shot for Intro to Acting, Spring 2018 at Animation Collaborative

For this shot, I settled on a conflict between brother and sister. Brother has been a carefree, rather irresponsible guy most his life, and the sister has had t be the grown up and take care of most the family responsibilities. We enter the scene at the family home, after the death of their aunt, and now is not the time or place for argument or getting into "the issues". This is still a work in progress, so check back for updates!

 

 

More Intro to Acting work! Hiding your frustration, I'm FINE

In these progression shots, I picked some dialogue that sounded niced and stressed and halting, with the character shutting it all down and just saying "I'm fine" (leave me alone/you can;t help/gotta keep up happy face). This is all work in progress, but I may or may not finish this one. there is some thinking to work out here to get MORE specific with his mental state, and some reposing and timing needs to happen. Curious your thoughts!

Another Shot progression for Intro to Acting, Anim Collab Spring 2018!

For this shot, I wanted to try out a little lie, between 2 close female friends, and really push myself on acting honesty and clarity. I worked hard to figure out who these characters were regarding their history, the character traits, studying the art of lying, and in general asking a lot of folks for feedback on lying, men and women alike. Interesting to note how the face has trouble hiding emotions, as they kinda pop onto the face and then get suppressed. That is something I tried to get specific on, from sneers and disgust that show up, to the blink patters, to the little lying negation of the head shake at the end and the small shoulder shrug. I think all the effort I put in paid off! Still some body mechanics to polish but I feel pretty good about the acting, and how much I learned from this shot!

Another One Person Dialogue for Intro to Acting, but to be fully animated with mouth lip sync

For the next assignment for Spring 2018 Intro to Acting class at Animation Collaborative, we did another one person dialogue - but this time, it was to be fully animated, mouth lip synced and all. For this exercise,. I chose a line from Innerspace - Martin Short freaking out. This is my rough blocking towards the beginning of the project.

In the second video, I started doing more draw overs and feeling out his emotions. The posing got stronger and more interesting.

The third video is after class critique revision notes. I was to hold longer on the character pausing for the "shut up" line, and move directly into staring at the top of the swaying Jenga tower - because the middle part was just too much motion and eye darting.I think it is a stronger piece now but I do have lots to learn! Starting got really consider the character and honesty and clarity in my work - trying to find ways to NOT over animate things. Seeking ways to do "less is more" in my work.

Mouth Lip Sync animations for Intro to Acting assignment. Spring 2018

This was the mouth focused lip sync assignment for Intro to Acting Animation Collaborative Spring 2018. This is a work in progress. I learned I needed to add more variety in the energy and the shapes, making the first line smaller mouths, and larger on the second half of the line. In the second video,  I adjusted the mouths - the first line has smaller mouths, focusing on the character speaking kinda more to himself, and going larger for the shout on the second half of line. Learning to focus on energy and size changes for interest in the animation.

First acting assignment for Intro to acting, NO Mouth Animation v01

This is the first acting assignment that I had for Intro to Acting in Animation Collaborative Spring 2018. The instructor supplied us with a bit of dialogue, and we were to animate the character in whatever situation we liked, focusing on the eyes and brows. We were not to animate the mouth or do lip sync, beyond a mood pose for the mouth. This was an unfinished blocking pass. Given the exercise nature of the class, we did not make revisions, but moved on to next assignment. I learned that my eyes were off a lot and some tips on how to better aim them, and work with the lids better.

2nd Pass Facial poses and transitions exercise. Intro to Acting 2018

2nd pass for the facial poses and transitions assignment for Animation Collaborative Intro to Acting 2018 class. I revised eyes and brows some, tweaked the mouth, worked to push some of the posing a little more, adjusted head tilts and some other micro adjustments. I am finding that perhaps one of the hardest things to pose is the mouth. So many controls, and the mouth shape can get really gunky and weird looking, really quick. So, I have my work cut out for me to get more skilled in that mouth shape sculpting. This was a tough assignment - lots of controls to manipulate, and then decide how they all relate to one another for a fleshy, organic feeling face. 

Facial emotional posing and transitions exercise. Intro to Acting 2018

This is my work in progress animation for the second assignment for Intro to Acting for the Spring Animation Collaborative 2018 session. The assignment is to animate 4-5 facial emotion poses, and transition between them. It is NOT an acting exercise, more of a technical exploration for the face and how all the parts move as an orchestra, with leading and following action, to create an organic, fleshy, elastic face. I added some head turns just to help with the facial pose, but did not super finesse the head turn and kept the transition timing between face poses kinda even to show the poses easier. Fun exercise, it is putting into action the lessons I learned so far about eyes and eyebrows! I chose happiness, anger, fear and sadness as my 4 emotions.

Final Assignment, last shown WIP for Winter Intermediate Animation 2018 for Anim Collab

Here is what I showed as my last WIP for the final class of the term. I feel really good about where this ended by the last class. learned a lot about not just weight and physics and constraints (which was hell, mind you), but also about trusting in my gut and my abilities to be able to get this done. I found that I worked faster than I thought I could, with a more clear mind, and more confidence. I learned that my background in 2D animation and drawing still have a very important place in my 3D workflow  I did a lot of the initial ideation and blocking in 2D! I also pushed my poses and lines of action, by doing a lot of drawovers in Maya with blue pencil) Yes, there are some things I might revise, but overall I feel proud of my growth in this class, as shown in my last shot. And maybe one of the best lessons of all - I learned to keep asking myself WHY and WHAT. WHAT is the character doing and WHY? Using that, I restrained myself from over animating unnecessary things, and kept the animation more clear, I feel. The class thought so too!

Revised Blocking, change of story focus, for my final assignment for Intermediate Animation at Winter Animation Collab Class 2018

This is a rough blocking for the final assignment for the Intermediate Animation Class I took with Animation Collaborative. The exercise was to have 2 characters exchange forces and show weight shifts. I chose to do a father son reunion at an airport. Originally, I started the shot on the boy, center screen looking around for his father. Then the boy sees his father walk in from offscreen, turns and runs into his arms. After a bit I decided that I did not like my staging- mainly because I did not want to confuse my audience, having them think that the boy was lost, and looking around for his missing parent - something that might have been the case had I kept with the staging. The boy looking around did feel lost.....So I change the story's point of view, from the boy to the father instead. I think I worked better, for clarity, while keeping the heart and intention alive.

Last WIP until Summer for Dance Animation. Winter 2018 Anim Collaborative exercise

I went back and re-blocked the beginning section of this to give the maid a more clear reaction transition from cleaning to recognizing this song, pulling her into her dance and her joy. Based on notes from my class. I really liked animating this and learned a lot battling constraints, staging, camera and absolutely physicality and mechanics of motion. I may finish this over this summer.