Animators by day Animation teachers by night.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Virgin Voyage coming soon


We did a cool new short film in the 3rd level Pixar class. Its called: The Virgin Voyage. Here are some images of the characters and a short clip of some of the animation. Basically, we recorded some improv actors and built a story around it. It was a really fun excercize and we hope to get the whole thing up and rendered soon.

19 Comments:

Anonymous Davidbernalr said...

Aaawesome!!!!!Cant wait to see it all!!

12:43 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be perfectly honest I wasn't impressed with the trailer, the acting (both voice and animation) felt uninspired and without much soul.

The animation is nice and smooth, trademark of AAU, but the motivations behind it didn't feel real to me. Hopefully the completed story will help the scene when it's in context.

9:58 PM

 
Blogger Nick said...

I really like the settle on the shot "everything's 5x5 captain", when he pushed his chair out and settles, really sweet...

keep it up...

10:27 PM

 
Blogger Dr. Gordon said...

Hey Anonymous,

Everyone is entitled to an opinion. I happen to think that this is really excellent student work. I think the students really tried to get life into the characters. I can understand your point though.

-Andrew

ps, your name wouldnt be spidermanfreak by any chance would it?

10:50 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the animation was good, definitly better than most of the student work I see. But I really expected more from the pixar class, with some of the best pixar veterans as mentors, one would expect that the animation should go beyond just "good student" work and reaches feature quality.

like anonymous, I too am of the opinion that the performance lacked that spark of life and fell kind of flat. But I keep the right to change my mind once I saw the complete clip.

I have a question Dr. Gordon, is this animation good enough to pass the bar and be considered for an animator position at pixar? in other words, if the students involved in this project simply put it on their reels and sent it to pixar, would they get a job?

12:26 AM

 
Blogger Dr. Sclark said...

Hello Anonymous,

Scott here. Before I answer your question I'd like to take a moment to defend the work the student and voice actor had done. The voice actors are professional improv artists I have learned from and seen in shows in San Francisco. Their ability to truly appealing characters and story constructed on the spot are amazing to me. In choosing improv to animate to we were looking for was a truth to the performance and character. We're not interested in animation that feels stock or by the book. We challenge our students to find something unique in their characters. The actors intentionally underplayed the beginning of the scene so there was somewhere to go by the end of it. And Andrew and I intentionally directed the student to underplay the acting in the beginning as well. In other words, sometimes life is boring and not much is happening before the s*** hits the fan! Animated characters don't have to constantly pop around the screen to prove to us they are alive. I hope that seeing the full project will show this in the end. For 10 weeks of work, I personally consider this to be excellent student animation, and more entertaining than some over-animated scenes I see in some "feature quality" animation out there. Okay, enough of that. On to answering the question. . .

Being one of the Supervising Animators at Pixar that sits in reel reviews, I will tell you that the answer is far more complex than "is this animation good enough to make it in." An artist shouldn't worry about trying to make it into a place based on the name. An artist should do their best to raise the bar and caliber of their work; to entertain the audience with something they are familiar with, yet may have never quite seen before. That is what a good script and good acting do. And that is what we are looking for in someone's reel. The reels that stand out have characters that feel alive. I believe the best character animators have something really great actors have, an instinct to bring scenes to life that make us feel that everything we are seeing is happening for the first time ever. And though it takes blood, sweat, and tears to pull off the performance, it seems effortless and compels the audience to want to know what is going to happen next.

Thanks for your comments and questions. I hope you enjoy the rest of the students film when we post it. They really worked hard for us and I'm proud of what they created in the end.

10:16 AM

 
Blogger BrandonBeckstead said...

Wow, this is really impressive! I can't wait to see the whole thing. Great job to those involved!

11:07 AM

 
Blogger Jean-Denis Haas said...

I would wait until you see the whole thing. Like Scott said, there needs to be contrast and room for a performance to go, you don't want to wear out your audience.

Imagine you have a movie where a character is moving insanely all the time. And during the climax you see him just stand still, with a bored look on his face. That contrast might be the funniest thing ever in the movie. But when you take that one shot and put it on your reel, all you will have is a "boring" shot.

Let's wait for the whole thing.

12:02 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Dr. Clarck for your insight. Of course what I said was only my opinion and based on the clip I saw, never meant to attack the animation in any way.

Thanks also for your answer, I know what you mean about trying to put your best effort and i know hiring someone is not a simple yes or no, but you didn't really answer my question, what I asked was that, if this very animation was on a reel and you saw the reel as a supervising animator, what would be your intial response, is it good enough to be seen again? maybe so good to bring the guy for an interview or not so good and should be thrown into the recycle bin?

2:09 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, why don't you stop asking them stupid question.

1:12 AM

 
Blogger Jean-Denis Haas said...

Hey now! We are not on AICN, let's behave.

1:51 PM

 
Blogger Rico said...

Hello folks,

I'm not in the Pixar 3 class but I've been following this project this past fall semester as a interested AAU student animator. Wait for the complete version, hopefully you won't be disappointed because the story was pretty funny.

I agree with Scott, you can't have appealing characters if they're moving around all the time just for animation sake. Remember, CHARACTER comes before animator in character animator, as someone mentioned to me before.

2:53 PM

 
Blogger Dr. Sclark said...

I don't believe in stupid questions. You also may want to dig deeper into our blog because I actually posted on this very topic. Hopefully this can clarify Anonymous' question a bit. . .

The Long Answer:

If I saw just this clip it would not be enough for me. I would expect to see a wider range from the animator/actor. A real life example I can think of are a lot of the reels I've seen from friends at ILM, Tippett, etc. These guys are super-talented animators and have done some of the best animation of dinosaurs, aliens, spaceships, etc. Their physics and weight are amazing. What is usually missing are some scenes showing character and acting. Just something to round it out. One of my friends from Tippet had a reel like that and I recommended he do that very thing. He came back with a HILARIOUS scene of Hellboy talking to Hellboy Jr. with some dialogue from the British version of "The Office". He's been working at Pixar for almost a year now. All this being said, some animators are better at animating dinosaurs than Buzz Lightyear. And that's Okay!

Now, The Short Answer:

A Well Rounded Reel that shows good story and acting choices and a sense of believable physics is what I respond to. Making me laugh ain't bad. Showing me something original that I haven't quite seen before (something that seems TRUTHFUL and OBSERVED from life) will really get my attention.

Hope this helps. . .

3:20 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your answer =]

12:12 AM

 
Anonymous funny guy said...

Scott Clark, Dr Gordon and all spline doctors hats off to all you guys.
Firstly i think the animation is fantastic, one has to appriciate that its a students reel and not a pixar animators reel.
You have helped the students to come up to this level of acting and animation, iam sure with your fantastic help they will do well in the times to come.

11:33 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like a few others, I didn't feel the animation was very impressive. Several things felt out of place. Especially when the captain leans over and has those few hand poses "mark".

It has been done so many times and just didn't seem to fit. I realize this is only a snippet. But, hrmm. I would expect more from this class.

If you are going for dry and boring, this didn't really sell for me.

To each his own.

2:22 PM

 
Blogger Peter said...

I really enjoyed the snippet. :) I don't think this is boring at all. It felt very real and i could easily identify with both characters, even though they were very different. I love the part "and the computer is.... flying through". :) Love the front teeth too. :D Can't wait to see the whole thing. :)

8:10 AM

 
Blogger Evil Squeezy said...

Or was it "the computer is... flying True"? Eh, I wish I could edit my posts. :)

11:38 AM

 
Anonymous Millicent said...

I saw so much worthwhile material here!

8:27 PM

 

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