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mccabejc
12-09-2007, 04:31 PM
Hmmm....

I just finished watching the Albee "Foundations of Character Animation" DVD, and I'm kinda baffled. I'm certainly not even close to being an expert at character animation, so maybe I'm missing the whole point. But it seems to me that 80% of the DVD was nothing more than him tweaking his character to match an already-posed, static version of the same character, while rambling about his philosophy of life.

Is merely matching another character's static pose really that important in character animation? I *assumed* that the DVD would cover stuff like analyzing human motions and timing, avoiding common mistakes in CA, etc. But geesh, even the "bonus" walk cycle section didn't even talk about analyzing or generating a walk cycle.

ericsmith
12-09-2007, 08:37 PM
I haven't seen this particular DVD, but from the ones I have seen, it seems like there's not a whole lot out there that really teaches how to animate.

A lot of them spend most of the time on just rigging, or are similar to what you've described.

The Jeff Lew character animation DVD is probably one of the best of the bunch that I've seen.

But I don't think that the lack of really in-depth animation training is the fault of those that create these training DVDs. I think that the real issue is that character animation is a very deep topic, and much of the skill comes from gut intuition, rather than just a list of do's and don'ts. Of course you can get the twelve rules of animation from a dozen online tutorial sites for free, but that just scratches the surface. That's why if you really want the training, there are things like Animation Mentor, that will give you a personal mentor, and genuinely educate you (at an understandably high price tag).

Eric

faulknermano
12-09-2007, 09:54 PM
hehe... i got albee's book on lw8 character animation and i know what mccabejc is talking about regarding "life philosophy". in the book it was tolerable enough, although it did throw me off on some parts. however, in some parts it was "justifiable" to throw in some of the reflective aspects of animation. however, truth be told, i did feel a bit cheated by the book which, on the whole did little to further open my eyes to character animation. i was already pretty experienced in character animation to begin with, and it was argued that the book could have been targetted to novices. nevertheless i do think that if techniques and methods were emphasised and less of his philosophy (which was next to useless to me mainly because i either totally agreed with some parts of it, and totally disagreed with the rest of it - and thus did not reveal anything new) then i believe it would be have been a more profitable for me to read it.


But I don't think that the lack of really in-depth animation training is the fault of those that create these training DVDs. I think that the real issue is that character animation is a very deep topic, and much of the skill comes from gut intuition, rather than just a list of do's and don'ts.

if animation is a deep topic it surely is not being expressed deeply enough in books, at least speaking from albee's lw8 character animation book, or in most other digital animation books i've read in the past (although past books are excusable because it was new back then). again, if the book's intention was not to be deep, then no problem. but the problem is not that animation is complex, but that no one knows how to "instructionalise" it effectively enough.

maybe you're right: an "animation mentor" is the best medium. i think instructional DVDs still can play a huge role, as well as books, though.

however, i prefer learning on my own: observation, trial and error and all that. of course, that has nothing to do with albee's book. :)

Titus
12-09-2007, 10:07 PM
If you want to learn animation read The Illusion of life or The animator's workbook. IMO technical books aren't the best choice to learn the craft.

Nicolas Jordan
12-11-2007, 04:10 PM
I recommend the The Animator's Survival Kit. This book is about classical animation techniques that can be translated to cg.

calilifestyle
12-12-2007, 10:42 AM
lol i have this dvd and while it may be fun to hear Albee talk about life... i have to say i cant manage to stay awake while watching the dvd. i mean its was cool when he got down to business, but again i haven't managed to finish it. but on the other hand i felt i learned more from his Kaze film. huh oh well.

Dexter2999
12-25-2007, 07:01 PM
Actually I enjoyed the DVD, but taken at it's name "Foundations" it is really just a starter disk. I had hoped he would introduce a series of disks, no such luck thus far.

cresshead
12-25-2007, 08:03 PM
i've not seen the Albee Character Animation DVD but i do have kaze warrior dvd so i know of his style of delivery...

i recieved 3 jeff lew dvd's on christmas eve and i'd Definatly recommend those
to anyone learning character animation with any 3d app.

IMI
12-25-2007, 08:12 PM
I'm glad I read this. I'll have to cross that one off the list...
Larry Schultz's videos look like they could be pretty good for both rigging and animating, but I haven't seen anything but snippets, so couldn't really say.

I don't know much about character animation either, but to me it would seem that the most important part would be setting it up properly so everything moves as it should, without weird and unexpected results. I can create skelegons and bones all day and apply them to weight maps - or not use weight maps at all, but just as one rotation seems right, the other two are off.
So I think I'd prefer a seriously in-depth training course dealing with nothing but the finer points of rigging.

Followed by a week-long lecture on IK Boost and using the graph editor....

So, those of you who make video tutorials, take note: We need some seriously in depth combination rigging/animating video training extravaganzas. :D

IMI
12-25-2007, 08:14 PM
i recieved 3 jeff lew dvd's on christmas eve and i'd Definatly recommend those
to anyone learning character animation with any 3d app.


Oh? I'll have to check into those.

IMI
12-25-2007, 08:39 PM
You all probably know this, but for anyone else reading this, there's a 34 minute demo of the Jeff Lew training DVD's here:

http://www.jefflew.com/DVD_content.html

Mipmap
12-25-2007, 09:23 PM
But it seems to me that 80% of the DVD was nothing more than him tweaking his character to match an already-posed, static version of the same character, while rambling about his philosophy of life.

LOL

Honestly I knew it was going to be something like that. The guy to me comes off as a total fruitcake. I bought the DVD of his "movie" and his book on the making of his "movie" and I ended up feeling really ripped off. I don't mind when personality of the instructor comes through, but many times it was just distracting and inappropriate.

With the book I had similar issues. The guy drones on and on about meaningless crap. I bought his book to learn something, so I don't want to read about his love affair with his sled dogs and all sorts of other things which have nothing to do with why I'm reading his book in the first place.

On the DVD the movie made no sense at all, and what little there was wasn't even complete. There are action sequences for example where little to no sound at all is happening. The video commentary where he turned on a camera and sat down in front of it to talk had the same problems as the book. He rambles on so much at at least one point that I can remember that there was a visible chop in the movie to where after the cut he is suddenly back on track again.

In the end I couldn't believe that he probably has made a good amount of money off his DVD and books, all because of the attention got for getting good at Sasquatch. My observations is that he probably just desperately needs somebody to talk to and to get laid. :thumbsdow

Aside from that though I can at least recommend the Jeff Lew DVD as being pretty decent. Looking at his site it looks like he has split the parts into individual DVDs.

coremi
12-26-2007, 03:36 AM
bought the book, pretty bad for a begginer in CA, small amount of practical use of ca in Lightwave. For any tehnical knowledge of Lightwave check Splinegod tutorials, lots and tons of things to learn. i found Dan Ablan's books Inside ... very good too, don't know about dvd's.

cresshead
12-26-2007, 03:47 AM
the jeff lew dvd's are in run time:-

1.tools and technical methods 92mins
2.artistic principals and applications 82mins
3.animation exercise start to finish 58mins

the dvd's are proper play on TV dvd's by the way.

well worth the cash.

IMI
12-26-2007, 03:56 AM
the jeff lew dvd's are in run time:-

1.tools and technical methods 92mins
2.artistic principals and applications 82mins
3.animation exercise start to finish 58mins

the dvd's are proper play on TV dvd's by the way.

well worth the cash.


I watched that demo, is interesting enough for me to want to buy the DVD's. Although I fell asleep in the middle of it. Hey, it was late. :D

Does he use Hash Animation Master through the whole course? I find it really hard to believe that's his chosen software.

cresshead
12-26-2007, 04:07 AM
actually he used hash animation master back then but maya now...also note he was THE LEAD animator on the matrix films so he's conversant with a few 3d apps.

also hash is well regarded for character animation and is far more capable in that regard than many 3d animation apps [no names mentioned!]

you'll find that hash animation master doesn't get in the way of what he's teaching you and you can apply all he teaches you in most any app as long as they have ik, fk a curve editor and a dope sheet....

IMI
12-26-2007, 04:15 AM
OK. No, I read about him and knew he was the Matrix man, which is what surprised me somewhat seeing him using Animation Master. I would have expected some program only the Biggies know of and is kept hidden away from the common masses. :D

cresshead
12-26-2007, 04:26 AM
OK. No, I read about him and knew he was the Matrix man, which is what surprised me somewhat seeing him using Animation Master. I would have expected some program only the Biggies know of and is kept hidden away from the common masses. :D

you'll find that some of the big animators who now work at pixar or ilm cut their animation 'teeth' with hash animation master..:D

and to neverko...these actually work well as tv dvd's..yeah i agree that lo res training with full screen captures look blurry but he's done a great job with this as it's not a how to use hash animation master dvd but how to character animate and so works much better.

http://www.jefflew.com/DVD_content.html
http://www.jefflew.com/images/dvds_all.jpg

cresshead
12-26-2007, 04:44 AM
drat 5 min edit!!!!

also there's his character he uses on the dvd..so you can follow along in your app of choice

http://www.jefflew.com/l3dca/models/

Boris Goreta
12-26-2007, 06:47 AM
I would recommend CA videos from http://www.keithlango.com . They are superb !

Kid Mesh
12-26-2007, 05:28 PM
Personally I wouldn't be so harsh on Timothy's DVD. We all process information differently and learning techniques aren't necessarily the same for all either. Let's just at least appreciate that these guys are willing to "try" and share their ideas, philosophies and techniques with us.

With that being said, no one DVD will ever make you a professional animator. I don't believe that it is even possible. What I do believe is that if you want to learn and understand animation, then focus on the foundations and principles of the medium.

AFAIC, most DVD's are just a glimpse into the work flow of that particular artist. Sometimes, you get those "ah ha" moments and the DVD seems to be worth the coin you've spent. Other times...they make great sleeping aids :D

Regardless if you really need to get one...Jeff Lew's DVD is great and is just fun to watch. First and foremost the guy is funny as hell which makes him seem like you or I. That made the subject seem less intimidating and enjoyable technically.

Was I ready to be a pro level animator after watching?...nope, but my IQ was definitely higher technically speaking. I walked away knowing that as I learned more I could come back to the DVD down the road and grasp the other stuff later.

Larry Schultz is the man. His DVD's are basically the cut and dry of "this is how you do it" period. If you have some sort of idea of what your doing then Larry is sure to help get you over the top. Love that guy.

Dan Alban? nuff said...who doesn't own just about everything this guy puts out.

My final two cents...

Like I said, you might as well give up on DVD's making you a pro. That just requires "real" knowledge that gets applied through tons and tons of practice.

Did I mention practice?

If your money is burning a hole in your pocket then I advise of the following:

1. The Illusion of life
2. The Animators Survival Kit (Richard Williams)

Really that's all you need along with "practice".

LW, Maya, XSI etc are just tools for you to show case your animation talent in a 3D medium.

Rent DVD's from Blockbuster or NetFlix instead :hey:

mccabejc
12-26-2007, 05:58 PM
Personally I wouldn't be so harsh on Timothy's DVD. We all process information differently and learning techniques aren't necessarily the same for all either. Let's just at least appreciate that these guys are willing to "try" and share their ideas, philosophies and techniques with us.

I hear ya, but in this case I don't think this is a case of processing info differently. I don't think there's a whole lot to be learned from watching someone tweak a character so that it matches a different pose. Of course nobody is expecting to find a DVD that makes him an expert animator, just a DVD that we can glean some useful stuff from. And honestly I'm scratching my head trying to figure out what useful info he was intending to convey.

Kid Mesh
12-26-2007, 06:36 PM
Totally understandable, trust me :)

Just to play devils advocate.

A lot can be learned from watching someone pose a character believe it or not. Posing is an essential part of animation and is the basis for the pose to pose method.

Now of course you could argue that you already know how to pose a character and that may be true. But then begs the question...do you really know how to pose a character?

Does your character exhibit weight? Can you look at the pose and read the body language and or know exactly what the character is doing/thinking?
It all goes back to the basics again.

Honestly, it's that simple and that complex at the same time. Once you (not you specifically) have a grasp of a mediums basics principals. Then your able to appreciate even the not so well delivered tutorial DVD's that exist. :D

For example, I'm consider myself to be very good at modeling. And for the fact that I understand generally modeling principals. I could point out some DVD's that are awesome but would suck for a beginner. Especially when the artist is just talking and not really going the step by step route. Yet, I'm on the same page with artist and I get it. I don't need to know step by step...I just need to either see it or experience it "his/her way".

Same could be said for time lapsed videos on the web of others peoples modeling work flows with no audio. If you know how to model those videos can be an awesome resource.

Like anything else animation is an art form which can and will be interpreted in many ways by others. But like anything else...it all derives from a base. Even diamonds had to be polished at some time.

Point being, you might not see the value in it today, but with some effort it just might turn out to be a diamond in the rough later.

Dexter2999
12-26-2007, 06:46 PM
I stand behind my statement, Timothy Albee made a good first disk. But the name is FUNDAMENTALS and that is what the disk is. A second and third disk would be welcomed by me at least covering INTERMEDIATE and ADVANCED TECHNIQUES.

Seems like Mr Lew already made his a three disk set.

Mipmap
12-27-2007, 10:12 PM
I think originally Jeff's DVDs were one complete DVD. It looks like recently he decided to break the chapters into three different discs so people can buy the pieces they want, should they not want to buy all of them.

My issue with the Timothy Albee stuff isn't that it fails to magically make someone a master animator. I think the issue I and many others have is he drones on and one about pointless crap that often times has nothing to do with what he is teaching, what you want to learn or why you paid money for his product in the first place.

One thing I liked about the Jeff Lew DVD was at the end he has a running video that I believe has little or no cuts in it where you just watch him do a complete animation of a character doing a running jump kick or something like that. He lets you watch everything he does as he talks, but otherwise works normally and lets you see everything including random mistakes.

I just wished he made more DVDs, but after looking at his site I think that I realized why he never did. The reason is that in his spare time he's been finishing up a feature length, high definition animation based on his "Killer Bean" shorts. I thought that is a lot better than Timothy Albee making a boring 20min movie about an crying, emo tiger man and deciding to release DVDs and books about it. As far as the "lone animator makes movie" thing goes, it sounds like Jeff will have blown him out of the water.

cresshead
12-28-2007, 04:27 AM
yeah just waiting for jeff lew's full feature film...should be a blast!
re timothy albee's short dvd film and book...at the time it was quite inspiring to see someone make a short all on their own and there were some good info contained in the book and the dvd behind the scenes so i wouldn't slam it wholsale but he does drift off tack quite abit...but that's him really...

we also had menithing's le freak.as well.

iojabba
02-02-2008, 11:32 AM
LOL, I know what you. I have one from "Class on Demand" (Character Builder) and I can't even watch it because it looks so bad on my TFT.


You mean the kind that looks like compressed crap when viewed on a second TFT, while working along on your primary? :D

The old Gnomon titles that were "proper" play-on-TV DVDs look really, really bad compared to the new crisp QT "PC only" ones.

I'm totally done with mpeg2 DVD for artistic training. You can't see half the details due to low resolution and compression.