Tweet @ Rio 2 Animation Supervisors!
Your Twitter Questions are in and Jim & melvin are here to answer everything you want to know about animation and Rio 2!
Melvin and Jim, Take it away!
Q: Jim and Melvin, in a CGI-animated studio, like Blue Sky Studios, how does choosing a lead animator for a character work? -@KT Koskela
A:When casting character work we consider the technical and creative strengths of each individual animator that could lend to and benefit the animation performance.
Q: From a supervisor's perspective, what qualities make an animator a great addition to your crew? -@Timrudder
A: Animators that are a great addition to our crew are self-motivated, adaptable, easy going, team players and bring interesting ideas to the table. It is very crucial that they have a strong drive to keep learning. They need to be good collaborators and be able to take constructive critique. In the animation world we look for good acting and appealing poses. Drawing skills are important and can help plan out a shot and communicate ideas to others. In addition, having outside hobbies and interests are always beneficial- we want animated animators. You also need to be able to design your cube in an interesting way!
Q: Blue Sky has a lot of great ideas and visual jokes driving their shots, how does an animator hone that part of their skill set? -@Timrudder
A: A good way to study is to watch silent movies and classic cartoons such as Charlie Chaplin, Tex Avery and Chuck Jones. As for what makes the punch line work? Thumb nail the gag and shoot short sequences to try and experiment. Also, look at what makes you laugh in real life and try to figure out why you laughed. Keep questioning why humor works. Keep observing and learn from it.
Q: How do you produce the amazing colors of the Amazon in Rio 2? It's spectacular how you manage to do it brilliantly! -@Robertm96873157
A: Our incredibly talented Art Department truly understands color theory and work with the director to create a brilliant pallet for each film.
Q: How long does it take to make a family movie like Rio? Is it hard? -@HerbertKick
A: It takes a crew of about 500, and 3-4 years to make a film like Rio 2. Yes, it's hard but it's fun!
Q: Loved the huge musical numbers of Rio 2, how do you keep control of so many characters dancing and singing in one scene? -@Kristinaalfonsi
A: In short, we took the idea of a kaleidoscope as the organizing theme and then had to break it down into manageable pieces. You have to see it as the big picture first. Then you break it down to small chunks. For choreographing the motion and pattern of large groups we used simple objects like spheres. This helped us visualize the choreography of a large group without dragging down our computer systems. At the same time we had to create the individual performances of the characters. We researched dance reference and also shot reference ourselves.
Q: I love the style of Rio 2. How do you achieve such a fun cartoony quality and maintain believability at the same time? -@Kristinaalfonsi
A:We don't want to copy live action. We always want to caricature it. So we start with reference first then we find any way possible to exaggerate the motion to make it more appealing.
Q: What is the future of content delivery with regard to animated features? Also, what's your favorite food? -@Deer_chair
A: No one can really predict the future but... baked lasagna. Definitely baked lasagna!
Q: Which character changed the most over the course of production? -@IanSylvester1
A: Nigel was originally in a circus and his henchmen included a jaguar and ostrich along with Gabi and Charlie!
Q: What software should we train on to understand CG Animation better? I am an amateur, with 2D animation experience from EU. -@Marengonix
A: At Blue Sky we use Maya, but you can learn with any software. The key is to apply the basic animation principles to your CG animation.
Q: What are some things you guys see that make or break a demo reel? -@thewarmiswood
A: Original acting choice, entertainment value, polish, mechanics and timing make a great reel. It's important to show ONLY your best work.
Q: Hi Jim and Melvin, when animating you tend to start with reference but how do you go about animating what you can't reference? -@BHartley94
A: Even if it's completely imaginary and we can't act it ourselves there is always something based on reality you can use for reference. We research videos to find similar motions and actions and then embellish it to create something original. Some may draw thumbnails to explore ideas.
Want to learn more about Jim and Melvin? Check out their backgrounds here!
Jim Bresnahan graduated from New York University in 1984. He started his animation career at Connecticut-based Weston Woods Studios (now part of Scholastic), working on film adaptations of children's picture books. He directed and animated a 9-minute film based on the book Picnic, by Emily Arnold McCully. He then went on to work as a freelance illustrator, 2d animator and director. Jim became very intrigued by the early developments in CGI, so he acquired a primitive Amiga computer and started learning how to make CG animation in Lightwave 3D. After that, there was no turning back to 2D, and in 1995, Blue Sky Studios hired Jim. He has been with Blue Sky ever since, animating on many of the studio's milestone projects, such as it's first foray into feature film character animation, Joe's Apartment; it’s first short film, award winning Bunny; and it's first full feature animation, Ice Age. Since then, Jim has had a hand in all of Blue Sky's movies, most recently as Supervising Animator on Rio 2.
Melvin Tan was born and raised in Singapore. Before deciding to go into computer animation he studied business at a local Polytechnic and then served 2 1/2 years in Compulsory Military Service in Singapore. He soon realized that he wanted to pursue a career that combined his love for art and computers, so he went to school for computer animation. During the summer of 2000, his supportive parents helped send him to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco to achieve his dream. Four years later Melvin graduated from AAU and started at Blue Sky full time as a Jr. Animator on Robots. Melvin was the Supervising Animator on Epic and Rio 2.