AM Class 5 – Layout Pass

I am back! It has been a crazy couple of weeks for me and the start of the new term at Animation Mentor has been keeping me busy, a long with some really great new things going on in my life. (I got engaged to my beautiful fiancé last week!) First I want to briefly talk about how class 5 at AM is structured and who my new mentor is. Class 5 at Animation Mentor is called “Advanced Acting”. This class is different from the rest in that we only work on ONE shot for the entire 12 weeks of the term. However, this shot is comprised of two characters interacting and and the length of the shot is much longer it has to be between 15-25 seconds. It is really going to be a challenging, exciting and fun term.

The mentor I chose for class 5 is Nicole Herr. She has been in the industry for 16 or so years and has animated at some of the biggest visual effects and feature animation studios. She has a very impressive list of projects that she has worked on and I absolutely love how enthusiastic and engaging our Q&A sessions with her are. Currently she is a Freelance Animator, but prior to becoming freelance she worked for studios such as Sony Imageworks, Digital Domain, Rhythm & Hues and many more.

Class 5 started last week but I did not make a blog post as the first week assignment was just to gather different options for dialogue to use in our scene. Our mentor then reviewed our choices and chose the best clip for us to do based on our current skill level and strengths. The clip my mentor chose for me to animate was a piece of dialogue that I found while watching the movie “Stranger Than Fiction”. For this week’s post I am going to post the “Layout” pass. This pass is prior to blocking and focuses on the cinematography of the shot. We had to focus on staging, composition, camera cuts. There is very little animation in this pass as it is all about staging the shot properly. We also had to record video reference and create some thumbnail sketches and provide a back story analysis for our scene. Our mentor really wanted us to get into the minds of the characters and think about all the details leading up to our shot and why our characters are in the situation they are in.

I think that is enough rambling for one post so here is a look at my layout pass.