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Category: Inspiration

The Nature of Code

Take some inspiration from nature for your animation and you might be able to create something that is a little more appealing and or interesting (hopefully)

To do this cool stuff you will benefit from learning some key concepts in maths. Learning maths is like eating your greens. Its probably good for you but Gaaah! its maths.

Take heart with some useful videos from Daniel Shiffman. With an engaging style he explains how coding, math and computer science concepts including vectors, trigonometry, noise etc can be used to simulate nature using forces, mass, friction, acceleration etc. The concepts are illustrated with practical examples in processing software. I found the content useful in gaining a greater understanding of how the concepts can be used across 3D including: shading, lighting, rigging and animation. It gets even more interesting with videos on autonomous agents, neural networks etc. Also check out his site where you can view the entire book or order a physical copy / ebook.


Inspiration of the day

The Art of Pixar – Amid Amidi – 320 pages

Eye candy aplenty. As its says on the cover you get to see “the complete colour scripts and select art from 25 years of animation” at Pixar. Rendering styles include, acrylic, gouache, markers, pastels, pencil and digital. Looking through you can quickly see how they are so important to guiding the production team on the emotional development of the script through color and lighting. Favourites for me include the pared down graphic style of Lou Romano and the digital work of Dice Tsutsumi.

Inspiration of the day

Back in the 80s there was a arcade game called “Dragons Lair” that had zero true game play but looked gorgeous and was a true coin eater. It was the first interactive animated video game for laser disc arcade games. It wasn’t long till Laser disc was to join all the other defunct formats!

Animation legend Don Bluth was involved in the making of Dragons Lair along with many other productions. Don Bluth has generously donated production artwork (1979 to 2000) to SCAD. They’ve made a start to uploading but as they say on the site “Though the processing of the collection will continue for many years, materials already processed are available to researchers now”

There are cels, animation drawings, storyboards, color models, and other materials created by Don Bluth and associated production companies.

The question is when are Disney and the ARL: Animation Research Library going to join the fun and put their archive online. Now that would be the mother lode. Though I guess while they’ve got the IP for all those “making of” art books – which I’m a sucker for – they won’t have much motivation.

Inspiration of the day

Away from the screen and for those who like the feel of real paper then I would recommend two books that I’ve picked up in the last while. If your inclined to buy them them, why not click through and I’ll get something for all your effort > ). I got “setting the scene” for £20 – down from the regular £40 – so worth splashing the cash I think.

Setting the Scene – Fraser Maclean – 260 pages

Takes the reader through from the early pioneers of 2D to 3d, stereo cinematography, previz, gaming and where ideas in layout crossover and diverge. The book isn’t a How-To but writer Fraser Maclean includes interviews from over 100 artists, technicians and historians. These gave me plenty of knowledge juice. In particular I was interested in the discussions on combining 2D and 3D contents. One of the appeals of hand drawn 2D layout offers is pushing the reality and the drama of a story.

As an example have a look at this clip from Roger Rabbit and how they pushed the background layout