Final In-Depth Post

Welcome to Brian’s In-Depth Night Blog Post!

Good evening! My name is Brian, and this is the concluding post for my first In-Depth on flip book animation.

Before we get into my In-Depth project, I would really like to thank my mentor, Simon Piniel. Simon was always an incredibly supportive mentor who recommended very helpful resources and provided constructive advice to both Ben and I (we had the same mentor). Without his guidance, this project would not have been possible.

I hope that you’ve had or will have an enjoyable experience this evening. Thank you for taking the time to join me today. As my concluding and final project for this year’s In-Depth project, I’ve prepared a short flip book animation of one of my favourite scenes from the animated TV series, Steven Universe.

Animation (I apologize for the lighting): Steven Universe and Lapis Lazuli

For reference, this is the scene I was trying to create (3:53 – 3:59). Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to animate as much of the scene as I wanted to accomplish. I originally planned to include the scene of Lapis’ gem healing (3:59 – 4:09), but I realized this was much too ambitious for the time I had to work with. I’m still very proud of the work I’ve accomplished, considering I’ve never attempted animation before this year. The animations aren’t as fluid as the original, and some minor details can be fixed, but I’m happy with the progress I made throughout my journey this year.

Some of my previous studies 

Article A)                                                      

Article B)

Article C)

Article A: Study of different walk cycles. In this study, I observed the poses that compose walks which display different moods and atmospheres.

Article B: This page is from the notes I created on the 12 principles of animation, which was shown to Ben and I by our mentor, Simon.

Article C: A study of the facial expressions and poses of different cartoon characters.

 

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comment section. I will be answering any questions that you have. I hope you have an enjoyable evening looking at the In-Depth pursuits of my peers, and thank you for joining me this evening!

In-Depth Post #6

1. An update on your progress since the last post #5 as well as an reflection on your mentor meetings online or over the phone.

Since my last post, I have started to create my final project. I plan to animate a scene from the cartoon series Steven Universe. Steven Universe was one of my inspirations when choosing flip book animation for my In-Depth project, and I always admired the series’ seamless animations and transitions.

These are some of the frames I have created so far.

I believe there are many challenging aspects of this animation, but I think it’ll be a great summarization of my learning throughout this year’s In-Depth. I’m disappointed in myself as I haven’t been keeping in contact with Simon, especially since he’s been a very supportive and active mentor. As I continue to make process on my final project, I will be updating Simon with details on my animation, and I’m very thankful for his guidance and cooperation throughout the whole process.

2. Describe how you are going to present and share your final post to our guests during our online In-depth Night on May 25th.

Since it’s impossible for me to upload every single page of my flip book animation, I’m planning on uploading a video of my finalized flip book animation. I will also be posting some of my previous works and highlights of the year so our guests can view my progress and provide short pieces of writing to offer further explanation to some of my uploaded photos and videos. I hope that the projects I display will be able brighten someone’s day, and I hope that our guests will have an enjoyable and immersive experience.

In-Depth Post #5

Due the recent COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been trying to adjust and adapt my work schedule in order to keep track of all my assignments with little to no success. Lately I’ve been preoccupied with other tasks and haven’t be able to find the time or energy to work on In-Depth other than looking at useful resources online. Over the past few weeks I have been studying resources specifically tailored to flip book animation and not animation as a general category. I mainly looked at videos because I prefer having a visual aid, and the commentary specifically in Youtube videos provide room for explanation and reasoning behind certain techniques and steps. I thought that many of the tips were very helpful and made a lot of sense to me. Such as numbering pages and creating key poses as reference. I think the one that I will use most will probably be taking videos of myself performing actions in order to make my animations seem more realistic.

  1. How to make a flip book
  2. How to make a flip book – using reference and weight
  3. Flip book examples
  4. Flip book examples – Andymation

I really enjoy the videos on flip book animation created by Andymation because his animations are always filled to the brim with personality and humour. I hope to emulate this quality in the works that I create in the future. I believe the concept that I’ll struggle most with is weight and proportions, as I’ve never been to great at maintaining any of them. Since I currently don’t possess a flip book kit, I’ll most likely improvise a flip book kit using elastics paper strips and a screen.

  1. What kinds of learning opportunities does the mentor provide to expose you to new learning?

As Simon has a lot of experience in the field of animation, he’s been great help in finding great books and videos on animation principles and concepts. Simon understands the process of being a beginner in animation, and he’s been able to guide us through the process by equipping us with as many concepts and techniques he can in order to aid our learning. As well, he’s been able to share some of his experiences with Ben and I, and has helped me learn more about the industry of animation.

2. What kinds of learning opportunities exist to reinforce new learning?

At the moment, not many learning opportunities exist to reinforce new learning, since I have been keeping in contact as much with my mentor, but I’ll be updating him soon on my progress through email. From then on, I’ll try getting into contact with ben and arrange a video call meeting with Simon.

3. What kinds of opportunities exist that might accelerate learning?

I firmly believe that the only way to accelerate learning is through practice, which I have not gotten enough of over the past few weeks. I think that the best way to learn is to use studies in practice by implementing the techniques and concepts that I’ve learned so far. Practicing as much as I can allows me to look back and reflect on my previous and current work to see areas that I’ve improved on and areas that I still need to work on.

4. When you get together what do you talk about?

When we meet with Simon, we usually review previously learned concepts and move on to learn something new. Our meetings have mainly served as a time for us to ask questions and clarify details about the concepts of animation that we learn or have learned. Simon provides me with ways that I can improve my technique, as well, he suggests studies for me to practice next. When we met in person, Simon was able to pull out books from his collection to show us. We would also spend some of our time getting to know each other better and ask about each others’ days.

5. What is going particularly well in your mentoring relationship right now?

Something that has been going particularly well is that Simon has been a very constant figure to refer and ask questions to. Simon has been providing many helpful online resources as well as being very supportive during these times of social distancing.

6. What are you learning about one another?

Through this mentorship experience, I’ve learned a lot about Simon’s mentorship background and his experiences within the animation industry. As well, I’ve had the chance to briefly meet his wife and son. I hope that I’ll be able to learn more about his experiences through our future interactions.

More to come – Brian Cheng.

Categories: Uncategorized

TALONS Digital Literacy Post #4

Science 9: Parts of the Cell Presentation

For our biology unit in science, we had to create a few slides for a presentation that would provide a brief one-minute explanation of the parts and function of one part of the cell. Each student was assigned with a of part of the cell to present on, and I was responsible for presenting on the flagella.

Link: Flagella Speech

Link: Images and sources

The PowerPoint is unavailable at the moment.

 

Criteria:

Digital Citizenship (14)

I ethically use content that is not created by me by using Creative-Commons licensed audio, video, or images and by properly citing these resources within my work

In the slides for my PowerPoint presentation, I had to use illustrations and diagrams as a visual to present with. I included the source of every image that I used for my presentation under the image. The presentation seems to be unavailable at the moment, so I’m unable to display any evidence, and not all my resources were backed up.

 

Research and Information Literacy (9)

I critically assess research sources for Currency, Reliability, Authority, and Purpose

When I was researching, I made sure to avoid sources that can be altered by individuals such as Wikipedia. In order to assess the reliability of information, I compared my research with the information that I had gathered from other sources. I also tried to search for recently published articles and website addresses that ended in .gov or .edu.

TALONS Digital Literacy Post #3

English 9: ZIP

ZIP is an open-ended inquiry project that we were tasked to complete as an English assignment. Each student was required to create an inquiry question for a topic which they wanted to learn or experiment with over the next eight school days. At the end of our project, we had to prepare a final learning artefact that would display our learning, also presenting our findings with the rest of our classmates. In the end, my ZIP inquiry ended up being, “What are the essential elements of creating an illustrated children’s book?”

The layout of my book got altered when I transferred it to word online, but this is the final print layout that I used for my illustrated children’s book

Link: Emma’s First Cake

Link: ZIP proposal

Link: ZIP bibliography

 

Criteria:

Communication and Collaboration (2)

I tailor my work to appeal to my intended audience, and use language and visual design elements appropriate for them.

For my final artefact of learning, I decided to create an illustrated children’s book. To tailor my work towards my intended audience, I tried to make elements of my book more playful by implementing brighter colors and made simpler, shorter text/language. To make my artefact more appealing for children, the characters within my story were created with a simpler cartoon-like style constructed using simple shapes and colors. I tried my best to make the mood as obvious as possible for a younger audience. In many cases, I used dramatic tones of colors to cue the audience visually that there was a change in mood.

 

Creativity, Innovation, Technology Operations, and Concepts (5)

I enhance the impact of my research or presentation through creative use of technology

When I started to create my illustrated children’s book, I had to decide what medium I wanted to use. In the end, I decided to create my illustrations digitally because I already had a drawing tablet that I could use for illustrating. There was also an online drawing program that I wanted to try out called FireAlpacha. Using FireAlpaca, I was able to access multiple different brush styles, and I was easily able to switch between different thicknesses. Using FireAlpaca I was able to use different layers to create my illustrations which helped to enhance the effect and impact of my research.

 

Digital Citizenship (13)

I attribute credit to ideas that are not my own by preparing a Bibliography/Works Cited and by using in-text citations

I am able to prepare a bibliography that attributes credit to ideas that are not my own. For the four days in which we conducted research for ZIP, we were asked to cite our sources and create an annotated bibliography in order to recognize the ideas that we used to support our learning.

 

Digital Citizenship (15)

My work demonstrates a positive, productive, and empathetic worldview

When I created my children’s book, I had to think of a moral that I wanted to encapsulate for my audience. In my story, the main character (Emma) tries to bake a cake which she fails to do multiple times. Emma almost gives up, but in the end she and her mother bake the cake together. Through this moral I wanted to convey that we always have loved ones who will guide and support us through our hardest moments, which I believe demonstrates a positive and empathetic worldview.

TALONS Digital Literacy Post #2

Socials 9: PTI Presentations

In a unit within socials, we studied the past of Canada’s First Nations. In groups of four we researched a relevant topic regarding the history of First Nations today such as reconciliation, the Indian Act, and cultural appropriation. In our presentation, we had to cover two recent stories that related to our topic as well as come up with a discussion question for the class to consider after we gave our presentation. My group was responsible for giving a presentation on cultural appropriation.

Link: Powerpoint presentation

Link: Word document

 

Criteria:

Communication and Collaboration (1)

I use digital spaces to plan and execute collaborative projects with my peers

During the process of planning our project, we used word as a digital space to plan the execution of our project. By leaving messages with each other we were able to collaboratively work on the project at the same time, working on our individual pieces while still being able to give each other guidance and advice.

 

Communication and Collaboration (4)

I constructively build upon or synthesize the ideas of my peers

When we had the opportunity to work on the project in class, I helped to synthesize the ideas of my peers during our discussions. We thought a lot about the boundary between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation, during the discussion of this topic we all constructively built upon each other’s ideas.

 

Research and Information Literacy (11)

I go beyond google and use databases to find scholarly research sources

In order to find recent events regarding cultural appropriation, I used the Gleneagle library to find useful websites that helped me discover recent events on cultural appropriation, but it seems as though I can’t access the same recommended sites. I ended up being able to find a CBC article that covered an of cultural appropriation on December 17th or 2017.

 

Research and Information Literacy (12)

I look at controversial issues or topics from opposed perspectives to gain a more complete understanding

One of our most prominent discussions when we researched about cultural appropriation was when we discussed what the line was between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation. In order to come to a conclusion, we had to look at the motives of both from opposed perspectives. In the end, the conclusion that I came up with is that appreciation and appropriation is demonstrated by the intent behind a person’s actions and whether or not a person feels as if their culture has been offended.

TALONS Digital Literacy Post #1

English 9: Midsummer Night’s Dream Character Analysis

For a unit in English, we studied William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. After we finished our unit, we would complete a character trait analysis of a character within the play. This project would be carried out in groups of four. Literary paragraphs would be split between the group members, as well as the task to create a central image that would display our group’s representation of our character. Our group chose to analyze the traits of Titania.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The central image for Titania from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Literary paragraph: Titania’s conflicts

 

Criteria:

Communication and Collaboration (3)

I respond to the work or ideas of my peers in a way that is compassionate and productive

At the very beginning, my groupmates and I were deciding how we wanted to divide up the tasks. My group members wanted me to create a central image because of my strength in the arts. At first, I was hesitant, but I agreed because I didn’t want to let my group members down. Since I like art so much, I would be the most comfortable and efficient in creating a central image in my group. My group members would be able to focus on writing the literary paragraphs without worrying about having to create a central image.

 

Creativity, Innovation, Technology Operations and Concepts (6)

I determine and use the most effective medium to present my work

I decided to use watercolor paints for my central image because watercolor is a medium that takes very little time to dry. I believed that if I used watercolor, I would be able to include very fine details without spending too much time. Watercolors also have a very calming feel and has the ability to create flowing and vibrant colors, as well as sharp and clear lines.

In-Depth Post #4

Due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, I have not yet had a meeting with my mentor since my previous post, but I have been studying online resources on tips and principles in the world of animation. Since I am not particularly experienced with animation, I have been spending the past few weeks mainly reviewing the twelve principles of animation and different walk cycles. Right now, I’m trying to create a note package for a Youtube video which discusses the 12 principles of animation.

I have currently completed notes for 5/12 of the principles of animation

For the past few weeks I’ve worked on studying different character walk cycles as well. I began by drawing the steps of a standard walk cycle. From there I wanted to draw walk cycles that conveyed a story and expressed emotion, and at that point I found a page from Preston Blair’s Cartoon Animation Book titled the “Movements of two legged figures.” This specific page of the book provided many different walk cycles, each of which made use of posture and body language to convey a message to the reader; the material on the page was exactly what I had been looking for, so I studied many of the walk cycles the page had displayed.I decided to study some of the walk cycles that were shown on the page by attempting to replicate the form and posture as well as I could. I found it fairly difficult to create forms that flow well into each other, this process was a really good learning experience, as it helped me grasp a better understanding of key poses and Inbetweening. After this post I plan to begin actually creating flip book animations and make use of the time I have because of this prolonged break from school.

1. What has been the most difficult mentoring challenge so far? Why?

The most difficult mentoring challenge so far has been meeting with my mentor during the recent COVID-19 outbreak. Because of the virus, meeting with my mentor in person is out of the question, so our only solutions are to stay in contact through email and hold online meetings with each other. I’m planning on emailing Ben and Simon soon to organize an online meeting on a platform such as Zoom.

2. What is working well? Why?

Something that is working well currently is going back to the basics of animation. After the studying and research that I had completed over the past few weeks I’ve started to realize that there are many concepts in animation that I am not remotely familiar with, so the notes that I took are a really good summarization of the learning I have done so far, and they’ve provided me with a sturdier foundation for the concepts that I’ll learn in the near future. I hope to begin animating after this post, and I hope to make good use of the time I have because of our prolonged “break.”

3. What could be working better? How can you make sure this happens?

Right now I am struggling with motivating myself to work on my In-depth project. Since our break has been prolonged I have more than enough time every day to work on my In-depth, I don’t have to worry about the time I spend on public transportation between my home and Gleneagle. I’m currently worried that I’ll push off my project because of how much time I now have, so, in order to counteract this issue I’m going to schedule a block of time each day specifically to work on my In-depth project over the break.

More to come – Brian Cheng

 

 

 

In-Depth Post #3

        Over the past few weeks, Ben and I have met with our mentor, and I’ve done some studies on facial expression and posture/body language. So far we’ve planned with our mentor to have a meeting around every month; there’s room for Ben and I to meet up independently with our mentor in order to further develop our In-Depth projects. Each session will most likely be around 1-2 hours depending on how our schedules line up and how much content needs to be covered within the session. A big portion of our communication will be through emails, as they’re easily accessible by both parties, even though it may take a while to get a response. Many of our questions and ideas will be brought to our sessions and will be answered in person. Depending on whether or not we have parental supervision, we will be meeting either at Simon’s animation studio or a local restaurant, library, etc. It’s best if we meet at Simon’s studio, as there will be more resources that we can access. In order to maintain our connection with each other, we’ll be communicating regularly with Simon through our email chain and updating him with new information on the progress of our projects.

        During our first meeting with Simon, we discussed the 12 principles of animation (squash and stretch, anticipation, straight ahead action and pose to pose, etc.). Simon also showed us many different animation books for us to review on our own time, such as The Illusion of Life, Cartoon Animation, and The Animators Survival Kit. Simon recommended that I further study bone structure, muscle, and human anatomy, as they contribute very much to every animation.

After my previous post, I tried to draw and replicate different emotions from popular 2D cartoon characters, in order to study facial expression and posture. Through this study, I wanted to analyze how posture and expression impact pieces by setting an atmosphere, and how they create unique moods. With this study I tried to experiment with different styles and explore 2D drawings, as I don’t typically create 2D characters. I also wanted to find elements that make certain cartoon characters so iconic, I found that many cartoon characters were deceivingly simple. Recreating some of these characters took many tries, as every detail needed to be very sharp and precise in order to capture the true essence of each character; as each character is very simple, even the most minute details could fairly drastically alter the end product. After doing this study, I realized that a lot of expression in many cartoons is displayed through the eyes and mouth. Body language plays a very major role too, as they can heavily influence the mood that is actually displayed by a character. I was surprised to find that a majority of cartoons don’t use eyebrows to eventuate the emotions within characters.

Expression Study  

 Previous work on facial structure

As I’ve already studied facial structure, facial expression, and body language, I hope to study more settings and landscapes over the next few weeks, along with muscle structure. I plan on beginning to storyboard my first flip book animation and start to create my first animation. I haven’t progressed as much as I’ve planned to, so I’ll have to catch up over the break.

What three strategies could improve the quality of your mentoring interactions?

        Strategies that could’ve improved the quality of our interactions could be having questions prepared ahead of time, so short amount of time together could be spent efficiently. Another thing that I could’ve done better would’ve been to have done more research, and come to the meeting prepared to participate in longer and deeper conversations. Finally, I should organize my time in a better way so  I can have more work to show my mentor, as it would be easier for Simon to identify which areas I still need to improve on.

What is the action plan for implementing each of the three strategies?

        In order to prepare ahead of time with questions, I could carry a notebook around and jot down notes related to my In-Depth project. That way, I could spend time to review my notes and address areas of confusion within my meetings with Simon. For the research side, it would be best if I organize a block of time specifically to research and study areas of interest for my project, and areas that Simon has recommended I apply myself to. For time management, I need to assign strict due dates for myself, and block out time every once in a while to continue to develop specific skills. The due date has to be a few days before the due date that I would’ve instinctively given myself, so I’m less likely to procrastinate to the point where I leave everything to the last day possible.

What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?

        During our meeting we covered a lot of content and information regarding the basics of animation. This session was really important, because Ben and I got a crash course in animation. We were taught information regarding the 12 principles of animation, we looked at different styles and mediums of animation, and Simon introduced us to some essential resources for animation. Within the hour or so that we met, there was a lot of important information for us to process, and I believe that all the information helped with my understanding of animation.

More to come – Brian

Categories: Uncategorized

In-Depth Post #2

This year, Ben and I are attending a mentorship under an animator named Simon Piniel. Simon owns an animation studio called Spin Animation, the variety of portfolio works displayed on the studio’s website showcases a large array of artistic styles, ranging from stick figures to human figures. Simon jumpstarted his interest in animation through an animation course with Rolf Bächler in Zurich. This experience managed to ignite his passion for animation. His first time working in a professional animation studio was when he worked on a movie called Night of the Carrots. When he first entered the industry he had difficulties with understanding film language and artistic style, but through this experience Simon was able to learn about the processes of professional studios. In 1998-1999, Simon participated in a student exchange program at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design, this was one of his first experiences among fellow animators. At the school, Simon particularly enjoyed the clear outlines of the projects and the variety of assignments and styles of art that they were exposed to.

Some wisdom that I’ve gained so far is to be aware of my boundaries. Since animation is a very tedious and long process, it’s best not to overcomplicate projects, especially when there’s an upcoming deadline. I’ve also learned that animation is a process that involves copious amounts of studying, implementing, and practicing many different principles and concepts. In terms of facilitation strategies, I found that it’s best to come to a consensus on the purpose of a meeting with others so that time is not wasted. Another reason why it’s important to understand the purpose of a meeting is so that people can prepare for an active conversation, so there isn’t awkward small talk. I’ve also learned that students teach mentors how to teach. As each student’s learning style is different, mentors have to adapt to find teaching styles that are most suitable for specific types of students. Sometimes this may involve meeting with specific students in private, or change the specifications of an assignment to fit their needs, all in the hopes that they are fully equipped to comprehend and apply the knowledge that they learn through meetings and classes.

Over the past few weeks, Ben and I have met with Simon once, and communicated through a fairly long chain of emails. Simon asked us draw three people and three inanimate objects that we encountered throughout our daily lives. For these drawings, I had decided to take on a hyper realistic approach. By utilizing the complex boundaries I set for myself, I was able to better study facial structure and lighting. It wouldn’t be realistic for me to create a hyper realistic flip book animation, so my animations will be much simpler than the sketches I made for this assignment, as the assignment was more of a way for me to study technical aspects of my animations. After evaluating the sketches that I made for the assignment, I realized that the shading and rendering weren’t as smooth and fluid as I would’ve liked.

For our first meet and greet Ben and I met with Simon at the Ninja Bubble Tea on Gleneagle Drive. At the meet and greet we handed the forms to Simon; we both brought our drawings/sketches so that he could review them and provide us with advice and technical critique. For the most part, our meeting was spent communicating our motivations behind pursuing animation. After The meeting our mentor sent us an email with recommendations on what to further practice; they recommended that I look into the Loomis Method to further understand the fundamentals of facial structure. This week in order to improve my study of facial expressions, my mentor has requested that I try drawing myself making faces in the mirror.

My goal for the next few weeks is to continue my studies into facial expression, lighting, figure, colours, and facial structure. At the same time, I would like to find products that I plan on using for my flip book animations. I have already considered getting a flip book animation kit and some Posca Paint Pens. I have never used Posca Paint Pens before, so I’ll be trying out a new medium, and from reviews I have read that they have a very large and sustainable reservoir of ink. In terms of the flip book animation kit, Simon has recommended that I find a kit that includes flip books that can be taken apart and reassembled, as I might be scanning some of my flip book animations onto a computer.

(Posca Pens)

Image result for posca pen"

More to come – Brian Cheng

Categories: Uncategorized