Friday, November 11, 2011

Grab bag #2

First out of the bag are two recent drawings. I had a lot of fun developing the border in the first picture, a birthday present. I enlisted the help of some of my Punjabi friends for the writing.

Everybody loves mountains:

Second from the grab bag:

Awhile back I started drawing Cruella DeVille from the various frame sheets posted on Andreas Deja's awesome animation blog, as a practice exercise. I liked the wild expressions that the origianl animator (Marc Davis) came up with, and so only concentrated on her head and face instead of full body poses. I ended up with so many that I could practically read dialog from her mouth as she thrashed back and forth, hair and bangs whipping as she cackles and snarls. And so, in the early morning I was motivated to animate my own sequence, borrowing some of the expressions.

I decided to start with something relatively easy (the Cruella heads and faces), compared to the other ambitious projects I had in mind. I'll tackle those after I struggle through some initial shorter, relatively simpler sequences to become familiar with the mechanics of making a cartoon. Voila my pencil test (scroll down). The original idea was to have a woman huffing and puffing and screaming at her cats. I got through that sequence pretty quickly (and roughly) and thought next about what I could add to it; hence the cat-thrashing and strangling. I don't intend to make this too much longer, as there is no real plot to speak of.

One common thing people write in animation books and on the blogs about pencil tests is that they aren't about producing the final clean, perfect drawings. They're important to get a rough approximation of how the movement in the animated sequence flows. Does it look believable? Do drawings need to be added or subtracted to make the motion work? Then once you've decided that the sequence works, you go back and clean up all the mess and keep the final lines. It is painfully obvious to me that my pencil test will need lots of work to make a "final" product.

Admittedly, I didn't take as much care as I could have to keep the character on model, as they say. Throughout the sequence here her head balloons up, her arms stretch, the dimensions of her face change. But overall I'm happy to have done it, considering I'm teaching myself everything. Also, I am using a hand-held digital camera to capture the images, which explains the shaky aspect to the video. Until I meet my goal of "completing" a cartoon short, I'm withholding from buying a scanner. As I posted before, I use ImageJ (a program provided free by the National Institute of Health) to assemble the drawings into a Quicktime movie. Someday I'll explain step by step how to do that so people who otherwise wouldn't make cartoons (no animation software) can learn how to do it relatively easily.

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