Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How do I do a Short?

No sleep... No food.. No football on TV... No bathroom breaks... No social life.. No woman..

WAIT!.. You got to draw the line somewhere but not that far. I need My Woman..

      Where was I? oh yea, a lot of no's.. What I'm trying to say is that you need to keep your eye on the finish line. You don't necessarily have to give all of those things I mentioned up when trying to finish your work, but you HAVE to be prepared to give them up if they stand in the way of your work. As for me? I have a good balance of everything. I'll still go out to catch a screening of True Grit for the second time even when I have something due in a week. I'm not a hermit, but then again I know my limits and how hard I can push myself if needed so I can afford to spend that time on superficial pleasures :)

     Do you know how hard you can push yourself? What's your breaking point? You don't know?? Then you better break yourself now before you accidently break yourself when you least want to. I know I can animate for 4 days with 3 hours of sleep (and I never the fuck want to do that again..) I broke and I have eye witnesses if you need them to vouch for me. They say I wasn't a human being, I was a zombie shell of who I used to be. I looked tore up from the floor up...  Knowing my limit, I found my comfort working zone (5 hours). I most of the time do from 9PM to 2AM in the morning animating and still wake up at nine. (that's pushing it) but still I know I can do those hours no problem. FIND OUT YOUR LIMITS OF WHAT YOUR BODY CAN HANDLE. That's information you will find the most helpful when you need to weigh how bad crunch time is going to be and how much work you can realistically finish in a given amount of time. 

Right now I am doing a short on the side. It is about 19 seconds long and done on paper. I started January 3rd and plan on finishing around Feb 4th. Here is some photos from like one or two weeks ago..

      You might notice some small pieces of paper on the lower left hand side.. that's the perfectionist in me. I plan every frame before I ever draw a line. If I'm using music or a sound clip I need to figure out any patterns or irregularities there might be, I need to dissect it and plot it out so I can see it clearly. This way I can plan my animation movements and acting choices accordingly to make the most out of it. I use a lot of math and precise measurements to make sure everything is timed out and matches my drawings. A bit dorky but if I wouldn't have it any other way. This allows me to animate it ONCE and only once and nail it the first time I down shoot my animation. For example.. If you are familiar with my work, the animation called 'Death and Beauty' was done in one try. (over a period of 2 weeks) If your planning and math is right.. then your animation will right. Most of animation is physics (weight, inertia, potential, and kinetic energy, etc).. If you are lucky enough to of listened during high school, then animation should be a breeze... 
       And to the right of those papers that you will see I animate on ONE sheet of paper before I start 'animating' for real. I need to work all the arcs and poses on top of each other to make sure they work with each other and adjust their spacing in needed. This way when I start animating I know EXACTLY what I need to draw. The exploring and mistakes are done when I start on animating frame by frame. Why waste time and paper when you can plan it out before hand? 

This picture above is once I started 'animating'.. yes I BLAST my music when I animate. though I do only play music with the same tempo as the action I am animating... if I am doing something hard, fast and physical, maybe some Ice Cube will be playing on my itunes.. If my character is moving slow and mellow.. maybe some Jack Johnson. You get the idea. Music does affect your animation, even if you might not know it.. 

Ah.. walks... stupid stupid walks.. :) do not underestimate the walk. If your still in school, make sure you learn the 'walk' inside out and how to do all kinds of walk. I love walks, infinite kinds of walks, all different, yet they follow the same formula...

Here is one frame so you see how I draw my character with no clothes. I have to make sure I get the anatomy right and the weight. All the details can be put on later.. 

In two weeks I will post my animation. And then you'll have the chance to rip it apart. I hope this post helped those who might of needed it and gave insight to those who where just curious. Until next time,
-Daniel Gonzales


  1. I'm a bit of a perfectionist too; Intense planning is better than spending tons of time doing something that might be thrown out in the end. And yeah, I agree, music does affect the way you draw :P Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Thanks for sharing your thought process! I value it greatly. I use to be as perfection driven as you were when I started animating in animation school. and while the technical perfection and results are brillant, it feels overly controlled and difficult to make spontaneous or soulful (which varies when you actually need it). I do however, plan my important poses and everything else to the "n"th degree. And yes, if you've been paying attention in high school, good animation comes easily with diligent planning and effort.

    I really liked your Death and Beauty animation! Good luck!

  3. Thanks to both of you, sorry, this reply is 2 months too late. but I appreciate the comments! best of luck to the both of you and I really think you guys will like the latest post.

    -Daniel Gonzales