Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Happy Haps!

Over the past few weeks I have kind of been stressing about how I want to get where I want to be in life, which mainly is a character animator. I think I have spent way too long bogging myself down with technicalities and not just getting down and doing it. This has led to my one decision. I am going to try and apply to the Animation Mentor character animation course. I always said to myself that if I cant improve my skills with my own learning disciplines then it will be time to seek help. Now is that time.

I love stop motion with all of my heart and can dream of doing nothing else but the fact is I also love CG and always have. After seeing 'Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs' I was in awe. Then 'Tangled' came along and slapped me in the face. As much as I want to be a stop motion animator I would also love to do CG and who says that you cant do both! There are plenty of people out there that have done the same. Justin Rasch has worked in games, Webster Colcord as a VFX animator and even the great Phil Dale has dabbled as animation supervisor on "Tales Of Despereaux'.

So I am going to give it a shot as I believe Animation Mentor could really help me with being an all round better animator for both CG and stop motion. Its all the same principles.
Getting myself into even more debt cant be all that bad...can it?

Anyway here is two shots from a little practice piece I am working on. There is still some polishing to do but I am happy enough with them.

I am still doing bits and bobs on my owl project. I have the armature built and padded out but am a bit stuck with how I am going to pad the wings out with and also how I am going to give the fella his feathers. I will post up some photos of that soon when it looks a little more respectable ;)

I have also been doing a lot of practice with digital painting. It has been nice to sit and actually try and paint something instead of it being super quick concept work.

A scene from Sweeny Todd.
--Please click the thumbnails to view them bigger--

Here is some screenshots to see the progress of it

And here is the second digi painting I did.

Quorra from 'Tron Legacy'
--Please click the thumbnails to view them bigger--

And a close up and some process shots to go with it.

I did start another one but as it took me around 13-14 hours each painting its going to have to be put on the back burner until I have some more spare time.

I hope everyone is doing well!

A big congrats to Justin on his awesome new venture !!!


  1. Nice animation and art, Ben. And I fully agree that CG and stop motion animation are related in terms of movement/timing/story telling.

    To me the main difference between them (or should be to me) is that the stop motion character and world is created by physical hand in the 3D world, primarily w/o digital tools in it's creation. At least that's what I love about stop motion vs. even excellent CG animation (or the woefully digital looking stop motion we've seen from some companies).

    I dearly love the irregularity of the hand-crafted frames, etc. For myself, that's the art of the art.

    There are many many forms of story telling, many many ways to tell your tales. That you have tales to tell is the main thing I think.

    I don't believe in going into debt for nearly anything though. That seems a sure fire way to financial slavery. I listen to Dave Ramsey the money radio guy and the refrain of student loans being a horrible albatross around people's throats is nearly universal.

    The steep debt dogs the graduate for decades and ultimately binds them up with stresses that didn't have to be.

    Have you considered funding the education you want with work exchange programs or by volunteering to start at the bottom of a working animation studio to pick up skills that way? I was thrilled to sweep the floors for productions in New York, just being there gave me my bearings in life.

    Plus, then they get to know you as a person they find essential to work with. The skills come up.

    Threw in my 2 centavos on this Cinco de Mayo.

  2. So much great work here, Ben! The character animation seems quite professional to me. I don't see how the movement you've captured could be improved upon.

    And the digital paintings are really nice. Do you prefer digital to more traditional painting? I'm a canvas and paints man, myself. I still appreciate both, but only the real-world stuff carries my full admiration. Like animation, I guess. I need to physically feel the substance of my art. Maybe that's my handicap?

    Good luck with the next step of your career and all the paths you take.

  3. Hey Shelly! I hope your doing well!

    I completely agree with you. I think for me it is definitely the hands on touch that I love. Saying that I love absolutely everything about stop motion!

    I did forget to mention in my post that I seriously doubt I will be able to get the loan to do the course. If not I am going to make my own curriculum and try to get some people from the industry to give me critique. I think I am going to do that anyway and when it gets closer to the time to apply for the course I will see how I am doing in my own and sum up if I can do it alone.

    The problem I have with getting some work as a runner to fund things is that there is only one studio in my city who I get on with well but they are a small studio who cant really offer me anything work wise. Going for other studios would mean me needing to move which I cant do as I don't have the money to do so.

    I just have to keep positive and keep going I suppose.

  4. Easy Dean!!! I have never been able to paint traditionally how I want to but somehow can manage it digitally. I still looove sketching with pencil and biro though!

    Hope your doing well bud!

  5. The clips look really good Ben, I’m sure you can take it as far as you want to go with it. Don’t stop doing the puppet thing though, you and Shelley and Justin are where I go when I want to be inspired.

    When I see stuff like the concept art for the owl, and I think back on that unbelievably cool light house set you built. Well … all I can say is I’m going to be totally bummed if you quit making movies