Thursday, 29 September 2011

Well, Semester 1 is over and done with. We learned so much cool stuff, it was a struggle but so much fun. Yes, it is overwhelming at times, but luckily the course material is all so interesting.

The Semester 1 final project is basically to produce a CG picture of your choice. You can try to reproduce something you found or come up with your own concept. Of course it all needs to be approved, but it’s pretty wide open to whatever you want.

In a character design workshop with Zoe Evamy I decided to try creating a cartoony scene featuring a boogeyman with a sack full of children on his back. There is a hole in the sack and unbeknownst to the boogeyman, one of the children is escaping down a dark street. Thanks to all the help I had from instructors and classmates, I think it turned out pretty well. I don’t think it’s amazing, but I finished it on time and achieved the concept I was going for.

Here are some of the concept sketches and reference I used:

(this image grabbed from a Google Images search)

Here is my final image:

Semester 1 projects

Here are a couple more assignments that I worked on earlier in the semester.  BTW, all models are provided by the instructors unless I say otherwise. This is Hank, and in Digital Imaging class we got some more practice with textures and various maps. I was trying to make Hank look like he was wearing some owl-ish war paint. I think I succeeded on his face, but not so much on the wings. Digital Imaging class is a good mix of technical and creative work, lots of fun! Hopefully you can see the textures, this preview looks a little small.

Here is a walk cycle I did in 3D animation class. I really enjoyed working on this, and am pretty happy with the way it turned out. Up until this point in class we had mostly worked on constraints of various kinds, so it was fun to finally get this robot really moving.

Here is a Vimeo link that should be a bit bigger:

A little more about the school itself in case anyone is interested: the small class sizes are awesome (12 student max). It gives each student a chance to actually build a relationship with the instructors and nothing beats the one-on-one feedback you can get each class. During the summer break, a few of us in the class were having trouble with rigging so we asked Scott if he could come to the class and help us out. And Boom! We got an instant 45-minute bonus lecture that cleared things up. So helpful!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

1st Semester

I'm going to use this blog to record my progress while attending Think Tank Training Centre.  Maybe somebody who is thinking of attending Think Tank will find this informative, but if nothing else, it will be fun to look back on my earlier assignments.

First, a little about me: I am 33 years old, married to the most supportive wife in the world, and father to two wonderful children. A couple of years ago, the manufacturing plant in which I worked laid off 200+ employees and I began searching for a new line of work. I looked into a very practical career that was somewhat related to my previous job before I realized that I could look into a new career that I would actually enjoy: 3D animation!

With virtually no past 3D (or artistic) experience, I wasn't too optimistic about my chances, but with my wife's support, I started looking into schools. I really liked some things about Animation Mentor's program, but they turned me down, presumably because of my complete lack of experience. At this point I contacted the Vancouver Film School and Think Tank.

VFS's program seemed good, and some of their alumni have certainly gone on to do some great work. After contacting them regarding some info on prerequisites, they kind of turned me off in a couple of ways. I decided that I would apply there if I wasn't accepted at Think Tank.

My first contact with Scott (co-owner) at Think Tank was friendly and informative. After meeting him for a tour of the school I was hooked. There are so many great things about the school, but to sum it up, I was left with the following impressions: the school atmosphere is awesome, it's run by some cool people, and they provide every opportunity for success that a student could ask for. I felt (and still feel) that if I put in the work, they would teach me everything I needed to know.

So, to cut a long story short, I applied to Think Tank with some still photography, gesture drawings, and a short essay, and was miraculously accepted. Many months later, I am now nearing the end of my 1st semester at Think Tank and all of my expectations have been met.

This semester has been great, and has required a lot of work. I am going to be an animator, and have found those classes a bit easier to absorb, but almost all of the others have been hard, but enjoyable, work. It's difficult to find the balance between spending time on the assignments I enjoy most (animation) and the assignments that are more of a time-consuming challenge (I'm looking at you, modeling!).

So, as often as I can, I will post updates on my assignments as I complete them. To start off with, here is a barrel I created near the beginning of Digital Imaging class. We learned how to create a very basic texture and apply some maps (bump, specular and transparency).

This is my first assignment in 2D Animation class in which a flour sack jumps from one pillar to another and back again. Obviously the goal was to get the hang of some of the core principles of animation.

Thanks for reading!