An Animator and Vis Dev artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios.
I’d say start developing your eye and taste for believable acting. Look at actors that give you the feels, and also actors that you don’t buy at all. Ask yourself what the differences are, there are plenty.
The other part is to study motion, of everyday things as well as fantastical. Body mechanics, animal locomotion ( I still have lots of study to do on this one), I feel like all of those things will make or break the spell with the audience.
On top of all of that , start thinking about how to caricature these things. Because its animation, we have the ability to move beyond live action. Why caricature? To capture the essence of the performance, and make our statements clear, and leave behind all of the extraneous( I hope I used that word right) that get in the way of what we are trying to say.
I’ll make a humble attempt at an analogy now. Check out this photo of Duke Ellington, http://www.the-jazz-cat.com/images/duke_ellington.jpg
Now this Hirschfeld caricature of Duke Ellington, http://media.liveauctiongroup.net/i/10853/11339901_1.jpg?v=8CE66A7247A8740
From a graphic standpoint, the artist has chosen only what he felt was necessary to describe what he looks like, and eliminated everything else. On top of that, he’s exaggerated what he felt was important to make it feel like Duke, the curl of the lip, the wisp of his mustache, the way his smile push up his eyes, reducing them to simple curves,etc. From a commentary standpoint, you get a sense of how the artist felt about his subject, he’s making a statement about WHO he is. You can hear the artist’s voice.
The end result something that feels more like Duke Ellington, rather than the way he is, simply photographed. That is animation to live action. To me anyway. I could be wrong=)
Both! I use photos to remember the look, proportions and shapes of someones face or body. And I also try to think about what the person…. “feels” like, if that makes sense? What it’s like to talk to them, or interact with them, or how you’ve seen them behave. What their general attitude is maybe. And I try to interject that into the drawing, when you can nail that part, that usually when people say “thats totally them!”
My favorite caricaturist is Hirschfeld by far! I see something new every time I look at his work.
I had a hard time adapting to 3D Animation, there werent a lot of resources online that I could wrap my head around, it was so technical and foreign to me. If I were going to do it again now, I would try to take a class, online or otherwise, that focused on the animation part of learning 3D, and slowly start to get comfortable with working with rigs, the timeline, just working with the tools. Keep at it and soon you will get to the point where the tech stuff comes second nature.
When animating for film, Yes, you always have to keep the cameras in mind. I like to have my camera view up as well as perspective, to make sure my animation is working in real space as much as I can, though there are times where you do cheat to camera to get a specific shape, a clearer silhouette, or a more graphic pose, but you just have to make sure that you are controlling that cheat.
I went to the Art Institute in Seattle, so I’m not sure exactly where to recommend you to in the Bay. I have seen some impressive work come out of The Art Academy in San Fran, and San Jose State University. I’ve also worked with a few folks that have come out of these schools. Good luck!
Hey unglucklichen !
I went to the Art Institute of Seattle for 2 years, later I did Animation Mentor for 2 more, which helped me get a reel solid enough to get into features. Along the way I’ve tried to take as many classes as I could, I took a Schoolism term w/ Stephen Silver, and when things aren’t so busy around Disney, I’m interested in taking a class at the Concept Design Academy in Pasadena.
For me what’s worked so far is to keep telling myself I could be better, I could know more. I like putting myself in class type situations where I have a teacher/mentor, I have deadlines, and I have peers around me that make me want to do better work.
Here at work, I’m always seeing something that knocks me out, and I just can’t help but ask that artist how they did it , what was there approach, what were they thinking about, and the artists here are always more than accomadating. And that kind of small interaction can change the way you think about your work, or how you approach your work.