Thursday, December 22, 2011

Recap!

It has been a few weeks (maybe months) since I've updated this. I really try to keep this updated...I swear. My life just gets too busy. I like updating this, even if I'm the only one to read it. Reminds me what I've been doing and how I've felt about certain things. Hopefully, I stay on the topic of animation.
Since September, I've been working pretty consistently at Edgeworx Studios. They do get some awesome projects. In November, we delivered a project called 'Bones of Turkana' for National Geographic. It won't be airing until April. My co-worker, Edmund, really took those challenging renders and made them manageable. And the renders came out beautifully. I won't give away too much, because I think you should watch it. Its pretty interesting if your into science and history. Really gives you some incite into our history as a species.
The project I'm currently working on is a Titanic special on how the Titanic actually sank. Apparently, James Cameron got it wrong. As far as the sinking goes, that's all I'll say. I'm trying to get you interested in tuning in. Its a lot of fun working on modeling and animating something that everyone has heard of. This project is still in progress. It'll be airing in April (100th anniversary and all).
I'm not sure of the exact air date of these projects. TBA (the air date is probably already set, I just can't announce it if I don't know it). There are also some exciting projects coming up on my roster that I'm pretty sure I can't mention. Just know that they are cool, because I said so.
I've also started the People & Polygons NYC group. So far, we've had pretty good turn outs. We'll be planning our next meet-up soon. Aiming for early February. It's been a pretty solid turnout so far. I've met some cool people and have managed to get friends working at different studios to come out and meet other friends they hadn't met before. If you're interested, leave a comment and I'll get you the info. Or you can email peopleandpolygonsnyc@gmail.com.
That's been it really. Not too interesting. Hopefully, I'll get some more animations and art up on here. Its been too long. I'll have to make a more conscience effort.

Friday, September 2, 2011

When to use Motion Capture

The question. When is it better to use motion capture over hand keyed animation?
-Many people are under the impression that mocap is a faster way to get animation done. - If everything goes according to plan and you use the mocap as is, without splicing together clips, then sure. But no one wants to just use the mocap as is. The actors are usually different sizes than the characters the actions will be placed on. An animator will have to go in and make adjustments to the file in order for it to look natural. In reality, most of the mocap I've cleaned has been anywhere from 50% to 85% there. That's anywhere from 15% to 50% of cleaning and retargeting.
-It looks real and it doesn't require a good animator to make sure the movement is correct. - Well, in some alternate reality, that might be the case. Here on earth, you can always tell when a good animator worked on a mocap file or a mediocre animator. In my experience, the animator behind the scenes makes or breaks the motion. An advanced animator can clean up to 10 times as much as someone just starting out. Rule of thumb, an animator can average about 10 seconds of animation a day.
-Mocap gives you the freedom to work with many different takes before settling on the final one. - Here I agree. The actor can take on a scene in any number of ways. A good director will now how to get the actor to perform well. If there is no direction on set, however, the actor will most like produce poor movements or do things incorrectly. I don't know how many times I've seen shoots where the clients came ill prepared and expected the studio holding the shoot to play the role of director. As clients, they know more about what they want then the guy sitting behind the capture station. His job is to capture the files and organize them so that it won't be a headache to go through them later.
 Its like real acting. You can't just stand there and say to the actor 'Go, do the movements'. Every time that has happened, the actor just stood there, and shrugged. There was no walk through, no direction. How would they know what to do? Knowing what is needed is key. A script, a shot list, and a goal.
-Mocap is used for every game out there, it must be easy. - Ummm, that's not true at all. Depending on the video game, some of the studios out there have preferred mocap. But not every game is made with mocap animation. Yes, its a great tool to use for characters walking or interacting in a certain way. Have you played any games lately? I really don't think that anyone has a big enough stage to capture certain leaps, dives, bounds, swinging from trees, rafters, etc. Some of that motion might be mocap, but no one can mocap a person flying. People don't fly by themselves. An animator has to go in there and make it look like we can fly. My hat goes off to them.
-Mocap seems like a pain in the a$$. Might as well just pay an animator to do it by hand. - I do love animating key poses. Its a lot of fun. But sometimes mocap is just a better solution. If you want real movement, like super realistic, mocap can be a great asset. You'll need good actors and a solid director to get the motion you want. And not to forget, a great mocap team. If you want a more cartoony look, well, you're better off staying away from mocap. Mocap really is for a more realistic look.
-"I have this great idea for a short/show/pilot. It's about this ::insert animal here:: and takes place in a ::insert scene here::. I've been thinking about maybe using mocap for the main character who is a ::insert animal here::. It would probably be easier to mocap a person, right?" - LMAO. I'm not gonna say how many times I've held back tears when someone has asked me this because of how hilarious this seems. No. You cannot ask a Human to walk around like a specific animal. No matter how many times you try to get them to move like a cat or a dog or an elephant, it just isn't happening. Yes, Andy Serkis has been a great actor, but I really don't think you realize how much of a budget comes with him and his type of service. There are very few humans who can move around like animals. Mostly because we have different skeletal structures. Maybe we can do Apes and other primates, but a horse? Are you kidding me? If I really have to explain the differences, I might just cry.

I think I got most of the obvious issues when people think of motion capture. It really is its own art form. Mocap has some great advantages. People just need to educate themselves a little more when they think about using mocap.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dear Ladies of New York

Please Close your Legs! Ok, so I might not just be talking to NY ladies. Probably ladies everywhere. But if you wear a skirt or a dress that is on the short side, when you sit, please don't show the world.
I don't want to see your inner thighs. I don't even want to see my inner thighs sometimes. Yes, its summer and it is hot out. But do you have to spread your legs on an air conditioned bus or subway? Think of it this way. Do you want to see some strangers inner thighs and undies? Do you want a perve to give you dirty looks while placing his hand above his crotch? Do you really?!
I'm sorry about this rant, but its not just a courtesy to cross yours legs or keep them closed. As far as I'm concerned, its a safety issue. Even if its just a safety issue for my sight and every other person who would rather not have a full on view of something that should have been covered.
This blog is supposed to be about animation and art. But sometimes something happens when you must address the world or your small audience. We shouldn't have to stand, or sit, with issues like short skirts and the issue of how to sit in a short skirt. Either don't wear skirts that short, or don't sit (at least, across from em).

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Animation Test I did recently

video
This is an animation test I did recently for a job. Any feedback is welcome.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The ESPYS

Anyone going to watch the ESPYS tonight? Well, if you are, you'll be in for a treat. Along with some fellows over at Mocap NYC, I worked on cleaning the mocap for some cool character stuff. I'm not exactly sure when you'll be able to see the pieces I worked on.
Here's the info for the ESPYS: http://espn.go.com/espys/#!/behindProduction/video=6764850/
It was a fun project and I enjoyed working with the fellows over at Mocap NYC.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Reelly?!

I just looked at a bunch of reels for fun, and I'm not afraid to admit, I like to sniff out the competition, but it seems like a good portion of them put a little bit of everything they've worked on. Even the not so pleasant looking stuff. I know. They spent a lot of time on it. That's fine. I just want a quick taste of your talents, not to watch every single thing you worked on.
Does this bother anybody? I'm used to thinking that 1 to 2 minutes tops is what a good reel should be. What's with the 3+ minutes for a personal reel? Studios can do more than a person. I've seen some awesome reels for some larger studios that got close to 10 minutes. I didn't get bored cause it was all cool stuff. But someones personal demo reel doesn't need to be that long. I was watching a few were I kept looking at the timeline. If I look at the timeline at all, there has to be something wrong. (Or maybe, again, that's just me.)
And what is with the focus on stuff that looks like it might be student work? I like looking at student stuff. As a matter of fact, I think I have bits and pieces of my own student stuff on my reel. I can understand people right out of college doing it, but if you've been working awhile and have the ability to make a reel that is 4 minutes long, cut the student stuff! Not all of it, just chop it down to a few seconds, maybe like ten. And if you really want to show you student stuff, put it on your site as such. Put your thesis up, put assignments up. I'm not opposing the whole student work. I just want to see what you can do, personally and professionally. Is that too much to ask?
Sorry for the ranting, I just get passionate at times and want to slap people onto the correct path in life.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Updated Reel

I've recently updated my reel. Its almost there. I've gotten some feedback already, but I can always go for more.
What do think? Any parts bother you? Let me know!

LizzKupfer.com

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How Long is your Reel?

So, I've seen a bunch of reels and I've made a few myself. My own reels are almost all under a minute. In and Out. No extended cuts. Simple and to the point. But does there come a time when a minute is not enough? I posed the question to a few friends and most agree. Get whatever message you want to convey in a minute.
How long is your reel? Do you agree? What reasons do you have for having a longer reel?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Been a few weeks

Well, its been a few weeks since I last updated my blog. I've updated a few things on my site and resume. Haven't done that in awhile. I don't like updating the info, but its necessary. How else will people know what I've been up to? I'm working on getting some animations polished up and hopefully posted in the next week or two.
Working on my own stuff can be kinda awesome and daunting at the same time. You can only blame yourself for failing. But then you can also only credit yourself for succeeding. And you can never know with out putting yourself out there.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ideas!

So, I've actually been playing with this in my head for a little, and I think it'll make for a great short animation. It's pretty much a modern take on a classic dance scene starring Fred Astaire and some dancing shoes. Having a background in dance, I've always had an admiration for Astaire's handsome footwork. So smooth and confident.
Anyways, here are some images of what I'm thinking of doing as far as the style of the shoes go.




These are a pair I saw on that were nice and clean with some great color (black is cool too, but I'm really feeling the color). You can see more angles on this blog: http://www.indigofan.com/tag/shoes
I am also playing around with the idea of woman's shoes.

Aren't these shoes darling? I thought so too. Maybe I'll do a dancing pair of shoes.
If your having trouble trying to figure out why just shoes, here's what I've been watching over and over: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xsddz_the-best-of-fred-astaire_fun I wish musicals would make a big comeback, the choreography is always awesome to look at. And when you have dancers like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers to stare at, its always a great show.
Well, that's all I have for now.