Monday, November 10, 2008

James Baxter Workshop!

Nov 6th ASIFA India International Animation Day event, Hebbal- Bangalore.

Most of us animators know James Baxter (supervising animator DreamWorks) as one of the greatest animators ever...and the fact that he would be conducting a workshop in Bangalore was the sweetest of news we could get to hear!
The ASIFA India- International Animation Day was a glimpse of the Genius he is..The event turned out to be 3 hrs of pure animation bliss!! :D
His workshop covered a variety of topics that go into making animation believable... the stuff that many of us find difficult to implement in our shots.

Points he touched upon:

Performance and Acting:

> Actor performs..Animator is that much more harder and challenging for us animators to stay in the moment for as long as possible than it would be for an actor.. added to that..we need to think of a bunch of other technical things to get the Computer generated performance to read.

> Considering character traits and personality while shooting video reference...cause if you just enact out a will end up being just "you" and not the actual character you would want to animate...before enacting out vid ref, you shouldnt be thinking abt the gestures and the postures you are gonna hit...they will just happen almost like a second nature if you "become" the character..this highlights the importance of planning, building/analyzing character history before starting off..something that would push your performance a step ahead.


> the factors that go into showing weight in your animation...
its not that heavier objects move slow..its just that they take more time to reach a speed "x" than a lighter object would take to reach the same speed...(im not talking abt free fall/gravity here)and this "extra time" the heavy object wud take is what we need to reflect through timing and spacing to make the animation look weighty.

> the other things he covered were on the body mechanics front - mechanics of a walk...analyzing and looking at it as "controlled falling"...and how the planting of feet influences the weight shifts etc ....

This was followed by the making of The Kung Fu Panda Title sequence...I was amazed at his experimental approach...the animation was a combination of tweaking still images and traditional cell animation..the result as we all saw is a stunning hybrid form of animation!

that apart, there were lots of other cool things he mentioned, but these are the more prominent ones i can remember as of now...whats stunning was the way he was able to hold our attention till the end despite the fact that it was just a vocal presentation with occasional doodles...

Sitting just a few of meters from him as he went thru all of this and getting to meet him in person was a blessing..something I will remember for a long time to come!!


AM buddies with Tim Ingersoll (Animation Instructor - DreamWorks Bangalore)

Vinod, Anand Baid a.k.a Andy Maxman (DW Bangalore), Prash and Tim

Post event meet-up!

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