Wednesday, 3 April 2019

April Eleven Second Club is Now Live

This month, our masters' degree student animators are working on DA702, their character animation Module, with a view to entering The 11 Second Cluba monthly character animation competition in which aspiring animators practice their skills.

Animators from all over the world participate, animating a character speaking a line of dialogue, which is provided every month by the 11 Second Club. Our MA students are encouraged (but not obliged) to enter the monthly competition as part of their formal submission.

Character animation by Bucks Student Lee Caller
What is the 11 Second Club?
The 11 Second Club is a monthly animation competition, free to enter. Throughout the competition, participants can share their progress with one another and critique each other's work - just like in a real animation studio.

At the end of the month, all the participants vote for the submission that they consider the best for that month. The idea of the 11 Second Club is "to give animators a chance to practice their skills in a fun, challenging environment".

April 2019 Competition
This month's competition is, as ever, an eleven second piece of dialogue, but with two characters.

Voice 1: Yet, d’you know...I’m still no closer to figuring out your secret.
Voice 2: Because I don’t have a secret.
Voice 1: Well you must. One that explains how you are able to be so, you know....frustratingly you.

To find out more about this month's competition, follow this link.

Imagine the scene
Who are the characters? Imagine who they are? Try to see the scene in your head - remember that every scene starts with an idea.

Animating a two shot
Remember that even though the dialogue includes two characters, you don't have to animate both of them. One character could be off screen, so we hear them speaking, but don't see them.  For example, see the shot below by Victoria Bailey. Remember that if you animate two characters in one shot you double the amount of work you have to do.  For more tips on how to animate a two-shot, see this blog post

Planning your shot
A good animator imagines the scene in their head before starting out. What is the scene about? What is happening? Try to see it as a movie in your head. Then, do thumbnail sketches, and perhaps film yourself acting out the scene. You can import the footage into your shot and use an image plane to help create your key poses.

Thumbnails sketches help you plan your animation
Draw Thumbnail Sketches, Shoot Live Action Reference
Once you have done your preparation, and you know exactly what you plan to do, execute the plan.

Create character poses in Maya on stepped curves, and get the blocking of the shot right. Get feedback, tweak it, and, once you are happy, use a free tool like the TweenMachine to help break down your poses.

Finally, when everything is working, spline your curves and refine the final result. Most animators tend to leave the lipsync to the end - this is the least important part of a good acting shot.

To see more about how the Eleven Second Club works, read this blog post. And to see more about how to use thumbnail sketches to create great animation, watch this short video.

And good luck!

For more on the experience of studying at Bucks New University, come and visit us at one of our Open Days, take a virtual tour of one of our animation studios, check out what our students think of our course, and see why we're ranked in the top 12 creative universities in the UK.

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