I have a whopping total of 0 views on my last post (probably because I have done zero social media marketing of the updated website until I get a real demo reel up), but I figured I would add another post to the blog for a bit more shtuff for us all to hopefully learn from and talk about.
The next clip I wanted to post was one that is very near and dear to my heart. When I was first learning to animate, I also really wanted to learn to model, texture, rig and light as well. It was my goal since I was a kid to create my own characters and make them play on the stages that I built for them. By the time I got to animating this shot, I had built a few characters/rigs. I had modeled and textured a few elements and felt like I was really starting to get the hang of things. I was also learning other software like Photoshop and trying to understand the world of UVs. While I might not have really understood how to do a proper UV layout, I did figure out that I could get a halfway decent UV map for my head models with a basic cylindrical map. That and my new found love of the liquify tool in Photoshop gave me a great idea.
Could I take pictures of someone's face and smoosh those pictures around and form a color map on a model of that same persons head!? If so, who would be my lucky subject!? I wanted to enter a submission into the 10 second club contest of that month and from the sound of it, I needed a tough looking guy to be interrogated by some cops. I landed on trying to model my dad as he was a bit of a caricature in his own right and came with tattoos and long hair. He would be perfect! Besides, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, right?
My dad is awesome and supportive and allowed me to take some front and profile pictures for reference. I modeled (using the term loosely) him and tried out my fancy projection idea. It looked so good (at least I thought so at the time)! I rigged up my dad and my cop characters and got to work on this beauty:
Yikes. Okay, so maybe I hadn't learned anything about timing, spacing, arcs.... or anything really, but I was SOOO proud of one very small thing. It looked like my dad! Maybe not the model and texture and things... they were alright, but I felt like I actually captured a piece of his personality. There is a particular mouth shape right at the beginning when he looks at the screen right cop that I felt was so perfectly my dad. He does this "o" mouth shape where he kinda bites the corners of his lower lip, and he raises his eyebrows without raising his eyelids in a "I'm listening, but I don't care" sort of way. I remember showing the shot to my mom and her pointing at that particular expression and saying "That is your father 100 percent! he looks at me like that all the time!!" Haha might have sparked a bit of a tiff there... but it felt like just the right acting choice for the right character moment. While the animation might not be excellent, that lesson was one that I still remember to this day.
Who is the character? What is his backstory? Why is he being interrogated? What did he do and does he really care about being harassed by the cops? What do you hear in the dialogue track? He sounds like he thinks he is smarter than the cops, so how would he hold himself with that mindset? Get deep to the truth of the character and act your way out from there! Did I do all of that on this shot? Hell no! But that one little facial expression taught me that there was something to explore in that direction. For that, I am thankful to this wonky animation!!
What do you find the most challenging about acting? What helps you get into the right head space?