Monday, October 29, 2012

Introducing Frank-Joseph Frelier!

As I mentioned in my last post, during Friday's meeting we gave a nice, warm welcome to our newest board member. For those who haven't had the privilege of meeting him -- and so our online community feels just as welcome as our on-campus community -- here's a little bit more about the newest man behind the curtain...

Howdy, animators! 

           I'm Frank-Joseph, your newly-appointed Tea Time board member! If we haven't met yet, I'm the flamboyant grad student that references "Jurassic Park" and Britney Spears in every meeting. When I'm not racking my brain trying to figure out parent constraints, I enjoy organizing movie outings, drawing dinosaurs, and analyzing Star Wars.

I hope to get to know you all through Tea Time events, movie nights, or sketching field trips! 
(And yes, I generally speak with that many exclamation marks!)

PS: Han Solo shot first.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Power Centers and the Importance of Body Language

This Friday, after letters and interviews and much deliberation, Tea Time was proud to welcome the newest member of the board Frank-Joseph Frelier (more on him later).

In commemoration of his first official day on the team, he was in charge of planning and delivering Friday's lecture: Power Centers.

What is a Power Center? 

Essentially, it's where the essence of a character comes from; It is what drives the character. Designing characters with strong Power Centers informs the character's nature, which, in turn, informs the motion. 

For example, if a character's Power Center was held in their head, that character could be more cerebral and focussed; or if a character had a Power Center in their hips, they could be more seductive. Here is a list of the Power Centers we discussed with some possible adjectives, as well as some characters we found to be good examples of each.

Head - Cerebral, focused or distracted, goal-oriented, regal
Ego, Carlie Brown, Iago, Sir Hiss, RattleSnake Jake, Quasimoto

Chest - Assertive, seductive, arrogant, macho, confident
Mr. Incredible, Superman, Jessica Rabbit, Hercules

Stomach - Sloth, jolly, giddy, lesser, intellect, improper, slovenly, sluggish
Po, Santa, Ed, Pregnant ladies, Patrick (from Spongebob)

Hips/Pelvis - Seductive, lewd, cocky, confident, sexually suggestive
Ace Ventura, Jack Sparrow, Meg (Hercules), Shakira/belly dancers, Izma, Woody

Legs/Knees - Clumsy, Lesser intellect, tired
Kramer, zombies

Feet - Graceful, light, awkward, burdened, injury, sneaky
Cowboys, ballerinas, Pochahontas

Using power centers can help you to create recognizable traits with ease, but it can also help you to think about entirely unique characters and get out of the vice-grip of cliches. 

Finally, in addition to Frank's excellent lecture, Tea Time joined students from all over the Bay Area at the Reel Feedback event at the Animation Collaborative after club! It was an excellent night of having our work torn apart (with love!) interspersed by pizza eating, Mike Makarewicz demos, and networking. As per usual, it was a wonderful experience and we can't thank the review board enough for providing such an amazing opportunity to students like us.

Friday, October 26, 2012

To Reel Feedback -- and Beyond!

If you're planning on attending this evening's Reel Feedback event, it's important to come prepared. Here's a quick check-list you can use in preparation for arrival.

Your Work

Although we talk about the event as a great place to meet people, it is first and foremost about the opportunity for really, really great critique. If you have one piece -- show it. If you have 50 pieces! -- well, you should pick your favorites and show them. Make sure you're not missing out on getting feedback straight from the proverbial horses' mouth, it is truly an invaluable opportunity to improve. All work should be brought on a flash drive or an external hard drive.

A Backup Plan

If you're not on the ball about this, Murphy will most certainly get the best of you. Bring a back up drive. Make sure you have a drive that works on both a PC and a MAC. Don't have a spare? Put it on your friend's! Don't let bad planning get in the way of getting this crit.

A Notebook and Writing Utensil(s)

Again, the feedback you will receive here is invaluable -- TAKE NOTES. You're doing yourself an injustice by not trying to soak up as much of the info as you can, and you'll be insulting your reviewer for not taking his feedback seriously. Even if you have some kind of amazing photographic memory, at least pretend to scribble on a page so you don't look arrogant. Additionally, like the back up drive, make sure you have more than one! Pen, pencil, don't want to be "that guy" that gets up there and looks unprepared. Plus, you only have about 10 minutes to begin with, don't waste two of them harassing prepared strangers for their stuff.

Don't Be Apologetic

When  you actually get up with your reviewer, it can be intimidating. Fight the urge to prelude your work with excuses or apologies or things you 'already know'. i.e. "When the guy takes that first step, you'll know the one, I know it's slipping already, so just ignore that..." No matter what you say before hand, your reviewer is still going to see the same thing. Besides, to someone who hasn't been staring at the piece for hours upon end, they might not even see whatever blip you're concerned about!

Be Confident

Again, it can be super intimidating sitting side by side with a professional as they judge your work, but don't worry! They are there for you. The entire platform of their company is designed to help students become better animators. Be proud of your work -- or at least be proud that you've got courage to sit down and have it lovingly ripped to shreds while you sit there and take it.

Do Some Research

It can be really beneficial to take an hour or so and look up the board of reviewers planning to attend. It doesn't take long, and it saves you from potentially embarrassing moments (of which I, personally have had too many). Find out who they are, where do they work, their official title, if you can! Save yourself from accidentally mistaking important people for homeless men (long story...).

Turn Your Cellphone Off

I know it's difficult to part with how popular you are, but at least turn that thing on silent -- and I'm not talking vibrate. SILENT. I don't think anything could be more disrespectful than your phone going off in the middle of a critique. Not only is it a rude interruption, but it says that you were never 100% invested, because someone more important might need to get a hold of you.

Contact Information

If you've got business cards -- bring 'em! If not -- make some! I'm not talking design some in 20 minutes and get them rush-printed from Copy's easy to make something in an hour or two that's faster and looks nicer than pieces of loose-leaf ripped out of your notebook. Get some card stock, printer paper and glue from Walgreens, and you can easily have some cute, double-sided cards. Did you take color and design? Print as neatly and nicely as you can on old swatches, and those are some pretty cool cards! Obviously it's not the most important thing about the evening, but it's certainly a nice thing to have.

Remember, you can use many of the points from same check list for every review you get. Whether it be in class or in a full-out interview, it's important to keep these things in mind

If you want to BART with the group, we will be meeting outside of 180 New Montgomery at 6:00 pm. We will be leaving by 6:05, so don't be late!

See you at Tea Time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Reel Feedback This Friday!

Hey everyone!

This is just a quick reminder about the Reel Feedback event this Friday at the Animation Collaborative.

If you're looking to go with the group, we will be meeting at 6:00pm outside of 180 New Montgomery Street, and leaving shortly after -- don't be late! We will not wait for you (but we'll give you a high-five when you get there!)

For everyone else, hopefully we'll see you there.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tea Time Member Spotlight - Andy Wu

For anyone who participated in the T-shirt competition, you may remember that the winner of the competition gets to be featured on the Tea Time Blog! Well, awkwardly enough, my T-shirt was the one that one -- BUT only by a few votes.Thus, because one one wants to hear more about me, here is a little more about our amazing second-place winner: Andy Wu!

"Hey everyone! I'm Andy... 

I'm a graduate student at AAU. I'm actually not so much of an animator as I am a texture painter and lighter -- but I'm also highly interested in visual development and story development. My undergrad was at University of Washington where I studied painting & drawing. My initial major choice was graphic design, but upon deciding that I wanted to get into visual development for animated films, I wanted to work on developing my drawing skills more. 

While UW didn't have an animation program, under the CSE department there was a 3-quarter series animation production class. It was through that class that I really got involved in all the different areas of the pipeline. I wanted to develop my technical skills more which is why I chose to come to AAU. 

The top two studios that I would love to work for are Disney and Pixar; Pixar being the ultimate job that I would like to stay at. 

I like tigers.

Here's a sample of a piece Andy lit!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


As you all know, our Tea Time T-Shirt Competition came to a close two weeks ago with this 
as the winning design:

In order to get an accurate quote on how much these are going to cost us, we need numbers -- fast! Click here to fill out the poll on our Facebook page.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Drawing with Bill Sanchez...and more!

For anyone who happened to be absent from club the last few weeks, we've been having a lot of fun reinventing the wheel, as it were.

We've been revisiting classic animation assignments -- weight lift, ball bounce, pendulum, etc... -- and seeing how far we can take it out of the box without losing the essence of what it needs to be. It's been a great way to stretch our creative muscles, and a lot of fun to see what people come up with!

From mustachioed menaces to nerds being rejected to hell, it's amazing how far a little group brainstorming can take you. It was also a good lesson in the importance of team work, and getting used to working in a team! So much of our industry is about working well within a group of people, and being able to contribute to the creative process is a big part of that.

Even if you're adamant about tackling a project all by yourself, at some point or another, chances are there's going to be someone in your life you bounce an idea or two off of -- girlfriend, neighbour, dog -- and finding someone who is an effective brainstormer could really speed up the process of weeding your garden of ideas.

In addition to the exercise, we also covered some info on the Reel Feedback event happening in just a week and a half! That's right, it's that time of semester again -- possibly lacking pizza and beer, but certainly still worthy of a BART ride over to Emerville -- this time, in the Animation Collaborative facility!

Don't miss out. Click for more info.

In other news, this Friday Tea Time will be convening in 540 Powell for a clothed figure workshop with the Academy's legendary Bill Sanchez. See you there!

A Word from Steven Spielberg

Thanks, Frank.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Guest Speaker - Nicolas Villarreal

Don't forget that tomorrow, Friday, October 12th we have guest speaker

Nicolas Villarreal
7:30pm - 79 New Montgomery Theater

Has worked at the likes of:
Disney, Sony, Sega, Warner Bros., Digital Domain