Monday, December 19, 2005

Animation Tests finally!

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Here's a little development art i did for the film. ha, just kidding. This drawing is actually really old, but i still like it. This post is decidedly about KING KONG. I just recently saw it Friday night, i wanted to see it Wednesday morning at the 12 am showing but it didn't work out. But all i have to say is WOW. i absolutely loved it, in fact, i can't stop talking about it. I know some people are predicting that it won't be a hit, but a movie that costs 207 million to make is hard for it to become to a financial hit. as far as i'm concerned though it is definately an artistic success for sure!
You got to films wanting to feel something. Wanting to have an experience. I felt everything i wanted to feel and that's hard for a fellow filmmaker to get that way because i know it's all fake. It's even harder sometimes for me to take that leap emotionally, but when i film takes even me there i know it's powerful.
Sure, there were somethings i would have done differently, maybe would have trimmed up some spots editing-wise, and yeah, there were even some bits of animation that i thought could have been a tiny bit better. But then, there were WAY more moments that made me go "wow", or feel incredibly sad.
Anyhow, the point of it all is GO SEE IT. You don't even feel the 3 hours. honestly, your just sucked into it.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Finally! some time to write!

Ahhhh, finally a little time to write! Sometimes life can be all consuming unfortunately. It can be difficult to keep a good balance. especially when your an animator. It seems that there's always time to fix animation, but never time to do it right on the first try. I have been back at warner brothers working on this looney tunes christmas special thing. most of it is being animated in Korea, but we're keeping a few shots here for us to animate, and posing out some other scenes. It's funny, as a kid i never liked drawing the looney tunes. I always liked the disney stuff the best, and i still do i guess. But i can't tell you what i've learned from doing the warners stuff. Someone once accused those characters as being "easy" to draw. they obviously never has drawn them himself. Yeah, there are tougher characters, but you try it. Some of them are hard! Mainly Bugs, Daffy' s a little easier, but bugs is a booger. The thing that you learn when drawing and animating these characters is that emotion dictates the design. these characters are all about good design. They really teach you to loosen up and have fun with the design. Pushing it, pulling it, caricaturing it. And frankly, that's what animation is best at. Not that Prince of Eygpt live action crap. Yeah, some of it was beautifully animated, and well performed, but i don't think anyone liked drawing that stuff. It has very little, to NO appeal. these characters do. So anyway, here's some stuff i've been working on since i last wrote. later everyone!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Ball Bounce

Ahhh, the infamous ball bounce. But there is much to learn from this simple animation exercise. Physically speaking, it's got most of the animation principles rolled up into one test. But today i will focus on spacing, planning for ones, and contact.
Spacing is obviously half of what will or will not make this work. Note that the chart on this ball bounce is not the same for both the "up" and the "down". On the Down I made the dropping slightly more 'even' than the bounce back on the 'up'. It seems to me to feel more natural, and the sharp gap in spacing on the up give the ball a feeling of intention, like it's really trying to bounce. The only problem with the spacing is the gaps. BTW, All lines in graphite are the odd's (on 2's), and the reds and the added inbetweens for ones. Anyway, the gaps on the graphite lines don't overlap. And when things are on 2's and they don't overlap your animation will "strobe". That's when you can see the actually drawings kind of flicker a little. that's bad! So, to fix the problem we need to add ones. This isn't always easy. it's not a matter of simply putting even inbetweens in there, you gotta plan for ones. In this case, because it's a ball bounce, we need the feeling on 'contact' when the ball hits the ground. For this we need at least 2 frames for the contact to read properly. So imagine you just evenly inbetweened this stuff when it went onto ones, you'd lose that 2 frames of squash contact. So what i did was evenly put 10 as a strech drawing touching the ground to avoid strobing and placed 12 as a 3rd to 11 still touching the ground. Thus we maintain the gap of space on the 'up' needed for spring and maintain also the contact we need.
Also here's a little quick sketch i did in collage of some girl soccer players. Just for fun!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Motion Analysis

These are some motion analysis doodles i did before i started work on Curious George. Unfortunately i never got the opportunaty to use very many "monkeyisms" in the film... that's something i think the character of George might lack a little. So yeah, i totally recommend anyone going into animation whether CG, stop motion, or hand drawn study relentlessly live action footage. It is our basis from which we caricature... if we don't know what's really then how can we caricature BELIEVEABLE performances. believeable is the word, not realistic. if you want realistic shoot live action. anyhow, i do these as often as i can. and seriously, stop frame everything! study weight distribution, what does the body do to prepare itself to change direction, how long frameage wise will i need for that contact (rule of thumb: for contacting an object with another at least give it 2 frames of contact to read). Recently i've been studying eyes and how the eyes dialate in certain emotions, wrinkles for certain emotions. The face is a fascinatingly complex thing to study. oh by the way, ignore the charts on these pages, they're wrong!
This week was a busy one! we are getting ready to ship out stuff to over seas on monday :(. I am finishing some mouth charts for them right now. they pulled me off from animating to help get these done. Just finished posing out a shot of Daffy falling through a tree and hitting every branch on the way down. Got to hit a lot of fun graphic shapes! hopefully Korea will inbetween in correctly. here's hoping! So i thought i'd actually post a real drawing for once. I've been so busy drawing things that i'm not aloud to post that i haven't have much to share recently. so check out this character design i did.

Monday, November 07, 2005

More Notes on Spacing

Good evening folks! back here with some more notes on spacing! this is a simple trick that most people know, but some neglect to use. When your doing a head shake, say on 4's, make your inbetween favor the previous key as a 3rd. If you evenly inbetween, it will look mooshy and not have any punch or weight. The more physical explanation is that things need time to start moving and stop moving. Therefore, the excelleration is at it's height on frame 5 (see pic above) which is why the gap of space between3 and 5 is the largest. Now, if you want to put it onto 1's i've added another chart right below to show you how you could transfer that info into 1's while keeping the weight you need.
Work was pretty good today, am doing some shots that require me to more fully plan out stuff. So am basically animating, but were not calling it that because the big wigs at Warners don't like that word!
Has anyone seen the new King King trailer? Pretty flippin' sweet if you ask me! pretty sweet. Seeing stuff like that just maes me LONG for cool projects to grace the face of hand drawn animation. I have enjoyed working on films like Curious George, or Looney Tunes: Back in Action but i have never felt the concern of letting the film down. ya know? i usually feel like i am trying to make so-so ideas work in my animation instead of trying to live up to something. I also LONG for depth. I've heard so much junk about how hand drawn just can't get the facial depth that CG can. Yes, there may not be all the detail that a CG model would have but the depth of performance is just as much a possibility! Just look at Sergio Pablos' Doppler stuff, or James Baxter close ups. Both those guys get sublty... so again, i really long for one really amazing film to grace the face of hand drawn animation. Maybe Brad Bird will eventually do "Ray Gunn" in hand drawn? who knows.
Anyhow, hope everyone enjoys these notes! Someday I'll find time to post more drawings up! cheers!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Making Characters Breath

On Monday i was starting work back at Warners and had a little time to blow till' they got me all set up for work so i decided to drop by my friend Frank Molieri's room. Frank is the best animator i've never heard of before. I met him on LooneyTunes and he's one of these guys that no one has ever heard of before but can draw the cartoony stuff like you wouldn't believe! he's also be an incredible friend to me... i owe him a lot. so anyway, as i like to do i showed Frank some animation i had done from Curious George and some of my own personal stuff. I like showing him cuz he's encouraging, but also very honest. sometimes to the point of bluntness, but i'd rather have it that way that have it sugar coated for sure! anyhow he watched my reel, said a lot of nice things and then made the infamous "but". and i looked at him and saud, "but what". He smiled and looked at me like he had me cornered and was gonna check mate me. He said "Matty, your characters don't breath." It was one of those comments that sorta hits you in a funny way cuz of the truth in it, and the humilation that you haven't thought of it yet because it's SO obvious! There are times in shots were i've thought about making a character take a breath for a pause or something, but it is NOT a usual part of my thinking. I haven't really ever built it into the performance. It's not a litteral rib cage expanding and closing kind of thing, just building into the performance kind of a thing.
The other thing i've really been anxious to study more is eye lids. I've studied eyes quite a bit, but i've really been wanting to get into eye lid stuff. There is so much intricasy to the social triangle (mouth, eyes, eye brows, nose).
Speaking of eye brows, here's something i tend to do when i am animating close ups. The muscles that make your eye brows move up and down and very short, so when they contract it makes a very short quick motion. The same is true of your eye balls-- notice how eyes tend to dart, not move smoothly. anyhow, when animating eye brows i will make the cushion drawing very close in spacing and not last long. in other words it you are moving from 1 to 7 i would make 3 and 5 3rds. as always, i have to warn that this is NOT to be used all the time but generally, for natural eye brows this works great.
i suppose that's enough for now everyone, stay tuned and i hope to write a lot more this week than i did last week. cheers!


AHHHHH, the old days of feature animation. This whole last week you've probably noticed that i've be quite absent. well, it was a real busy week with a lot of early mornings. I've been back at Warner Brothers Animation this week. and honestly i am thankful for the pay but the work is slightly boring. I've been doing Character Layouts, and in TV it's all about quantity NOT quality. So, i've been thinking back to those greats not so distant days
when i got paid to work on features. This photo right below is of the Looney Tunes: Back in Action crew. I was 20 when i was working on that thing. I'm wearing the navy blue shirt with the yellow letters in the top right. Eric Goldberg is in the bottom center.

Here's another one of me watching a little approval session with Jeff Sergey and another animator.

I'll try and dig up something cool to talk about soon... but for now i must jet. later!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Spacing: Tricks of the Trade

Good evening class! This one goes out to all you animation students out there... hopefully EVERYONE from the CalArts guys up to working professional still consider themselves students. anyhow, today we talk about the technique behind spacing. This, i feel, is something few animators truly understand. There is always a balance between your concentration between technical stuff, and performance but i feel that without proper execution of technique your performance will not be as powerful as it could. Different animators value it differently ie: Glen Keane vs. James Baxter. I personally take the view that if your technical stuff is off it could potentially ruin the performance because when that ear slides all over your characters head, or he just doesn't have the weight he needs it could pull you out of the moment.
Here is a very simple trick that can really help you on your slow in's and slow out's in a shot. Looking at the pic above you'll see that all the inbetweens are halfs EXCEPT number 3. It is on a 3rd favoring 1. The reason for not putting it on an even is because the space between 1, 3, and 5 is even. Even spacing will KILL weight and give you a watery look. What's funny is that not many guys use this method. Even skilled experienced guys! but you, now you can have to upper hand on your spacing!
Now, this IS NOT a 100 percent "always use this chart" kind of a thing. Sometimes you want a watery look, in which case this would not be useful. Or, if your slow in is about 36 frms long you may not need to put your last inbetween on a 3rd because the spacing would be so tight that you wouldn't feel it.There are lotsa different scenarios about why it could not work but if you want something to be progressing or degressing in speed, this is the way to go!
anyhow, Matt Williames signing off for now. Next post will cover some more tricks of the trade on spacing! later!

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Today i thought i'd write a little bit about the upcoming Curious George. I've been hearing a lot of bad mouthing about the film, and I think, frankly, a lot of it's unfounded opinions by people who just like to have an opinion or feel like that it's the 'popular' opinion to have. I worked on the film, and i have to be honest and say that i think the first screening was pretty weak. I walked out of the screening room shaking my head like everybody else thinking "this is gonna suck." But as the film progressed and animation started getting approved, i really liked how the performances started to add a dimension that wasn't percievable while watching the story reel. Plus, i have to say that i think Matt O'Callaghan (the director) really did a great job in reeling everything together. Once he replaced the last director he started over from scratch, and from what i heard the film needed it. Plus he was overseeing animation from probably at least 12 different studios. He was always cool and collected when i would have my approval sessions with him, and some people would flip out with that kind of pressure and treat others around them poorly. Is the film going to be an Incredibles? No. Is it gonna be better than the last few Disney features? Heck ya! My point is that it is what it is... it's a fun film and i think people are gonna enjoy it.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Some fun stuff!

Here's some realllllllllly old quick sketches i did back when i was at CalArts (2000-2001). I feel like quick sketching is a lost art now with computers and all. I used to LOVE it, but i just got out of the rutine of it. It was fun going thru that old sketchbook, anyway, check'em out!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Remember to Be an Artist!

Just got off the phone with my good friend Steven Macleod... we talked for an hour, just geekin out about animation and hand drawn especially. Talked about our favorite animators like James Baxter and Sergio Pablos. It just made me think about being an artist and having artistic integrity with your work. cause a lot of people don't do either in animation (although there are plenty who do as well). I know a lot of people who have either forgotten or never loved this artform. It makes me sad cuz i know a lot of guys who DO love it but can't find an opportunaty do use their skills (in hand drawn). I'm posting this drawing because i drew it at a point in my life (about 3 years ago) when all i had to worry about was being an artist. Now that i am, i guess, a professional almost everything i work on is a lame idea with a short schedule and very low budget. That can kinda sucks it out of ya after a while and your personal sense of artistry dwindles. So here's to remembering the passion God gave us that we might use it to Honor Him with.

My very first post, no way!

I never thought it'd happen, but it has. I'm finally online. I've contemplated for years doing a web-site, and have had the desire but never the time or knowledge. So anyhow, i am starting my own blog now cuz i was having so much fun keeping updated on all of my CalArts friends' blogs like Steven MaCleods and Elizabeth Ito's (i don't have her link handy yet). so anyway, no ones knows about this yet so i'm gonna take a shower and then come back and start uploading a few drawings and pics to keep everyone updated! cheers!