It's always good to be informed about the industry and this doesn't only apply to what's currently happening or the projects that are coming out in the future but also what's happened in the past. Industrial Light and Magic played such an important role in the development of cinema and it's great to know how it happened. This is a very entertaining and informative video about ILM and how it evolved and changed the seventh art.
I've already mentioned the site posemaniacs here, but I think it's time to bring it up again, since I've been using it a lot lately. Observing people and drawing them gives us a better sense for body structure and posing, which helps with the balance, appeal, shapes/silhouettes, and so on. It is also a lot of fun, so don't postpone it any longer :-)
taken from posemaniacs
It's amazing how some people get the hole pose across in 30 seconds!! But I felt that was too fast for me so I started with the 90 second drawing tool. In the beginning, that wasn't much and sometimes it wasn't possible to finish a pose. However, sketching 15-30 minutes every day, I managed to get to 45 seconds.
Each person has their own approach to sketching and it might change over time. I started using some of the reference lines in the body that show how chest and hips are positioned. I also use the negative space to help: seing how much white space there is between the arm an the body, for example, might make it easier to position the arm. It's also good not to get into small details, since it's speed drawing.
So here are some of my sketches from last month, just to show they don't need to be perfect, you just need to feel you're learning. Get the proportions, the angle the person is viewed from, the basic pose, etc. And as one of my mentors once said: if you're struggling, it's because you're learning. Sounds simple, but it's helpful to see things that way.
60 second sketches
Another interesting site for poses is http://pixelovely.com/tools/gesture.html were they don't show the internal body structure. You can set some parameters for the drawing session: male/female, clothed/nude and for how long you want the image on screen. You can also chose the animal drawing tool - but I'll get to animal drawing later.
I hope this was interesting and wish you happy drawing. It's actually addictive, you always want to sketch one more pose :-)
After working on one shot for a long time, it's not difficult to become blind about that particular animation. The best thing to do is ask for feedback from people with fresh eyes and rest your own while eating a chocolate to get back with a refreshed view of your shot. In case that's not possible or if it'll take too long to get comments, there are a few tricks to help see your animation with a different perspective:
1) make it black and white. This is not such a strong change, but might help a bit since you take away some of the usual visual input.
2) if there's sound, turn it off to feel the movements better. Of course, the sound is an important part of the work and the animation needs to be in sync with it, but sometimes this helps a bit to feel the accents, the weight...it helps you get less distracted.
3) hide a part of the character. When the body seems to work, but the arms or head don't you might lose focus about what exactly is or isn't working. So hiding a body part is a good way to make sure you see if the hips are working, then the lower spine and so on. As always, first the root needs to be working before correcting the other parts. So you might want to hide all the rest and check the root – usually it's the hip. You can hide it using the software making the parts you want not visible. Or, if it's a simple movement, you can even hide it with your finger (if it's just the head during a walk for example).
4) track! Track the hip, heels, hands, nose and other parts of your character to make sure you have nice arcs when you should. There are some moments when you don't want nice smooth arcs, but more often than not, you want them. This won't give you a new perspective, but if you're looking for something to improve, tracing the arcs is a good idea.
Tracking the hip
5) flip the animation. This is a very simple thing, but it is really powerful :-) One way is flipping it in a software, like quicktime or windows movie maker. The other, a lot faster and easier is using a mirror.
Oh, and if you have any other suggestions, please share! :-)