Mannequin 1

September 22, 2006 at 4:56 am (Photography)

Mannequin 1, originally uploaded by Cathryn’s Gallery.

This interesting store window display downtown makes me think that I should really carry my camera with me everywhere.

I see so many creative ideas every day and I’d like to photograph them for inspiration.

I’ve been a bit busy lately. Not thinking creative thoughts …


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Dahlia, bursting

September 20, 2006 at 5:33 am (Photography)

Dahlia, bursting, originally uploaded by Cathryn’s Gallery.

The late summer flowers are still out full force.
We forgot to plant our Dahlia bulbs last spring, so I have to photograph the neighbour’s instead…
(hope they don’t mind me lurking around their gardens)

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Vector Portrait

September 16, 2006 at 3:21 pm (Artwork, Photography)

Ivana, originally uploaded by Cathryn’s Gallery.This is an Illustrator vector drawing I did using a photo I took as reference.

Here’s how it’s done:

I used large areas of colour and details along with tiny brush strokes made with my Wacom tablet and pressure sensitive pen. I actually trace the photo – sometimes making the colour shapes transparent until I’m finished.

I built the whole thing in a series of layers (turning some on and off to see as I go):

(Noote: – the layers are listed from the bottom up- just as they would appear in Illustrator – so you may want to read it numerically)

8) The finest details (eyelashes, eyebrow hairs, tiny lines in mouth, etc.) using a very small brush with minimal pressure.
7) More shadow shapes for darker areas – overlapping the the shapes below to create more shadow.
6) Shadow shapes in a transparent black over areas that have some shadow.
5) transparent colour shapes for light colour changes in face and clothing.
4) More full colour shapes that appear on top of the others below (pupils, lighter colours on the lips, block in the eyebrow shape, etc.)
3) full colour shapes to block in detailed ares like lips, eyes, etc.
2) Full colour shapes to block in the main colour areas (the skin, shirt, hair)
1) the original photo
(sometimes I will have as many as 30 layers)

All along I have decisions to make about where one colour begins and ends, what colours I am going to use (I can change the colour of the shirt or hair, if I want), and how detailed I want to get with the drawing.

It takes me about 3 hours to build up one of these portraits.

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Dusk Lights

September 14, 2006 at 3:37 am (Photography)

Dusk Lights, originally uploaded by Cathryn’s Gallery.

This is one of my more popular pics on Flickr. I almost didn’t get this shot. Waiting at the docks for the ferry to take me back from Toronto Island, I took a few pics. I didn’t have a tripod, so I steadied myself against a tree (covered in caterpillars, I later realized) (actually – I’ve seen tons of Monarchs flying around lately ,… maybe one of them…)
I’m glad I took the time to go out, and remembered to bring my camera with me!

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So Bright

September 13, 2006 at 1:55 am (Photography)

Brown 06, originally uploaded by Cathryn’s Gallery.

I love to experiement with lighting. Sometimes it works and sometimes… well…
This one is overblown a bit – but I like the effect it gives to her eyes. I might try something like this again with more appropriate lighting – and maybe a flashlight just to highlight the lashes.

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Animation Action Notes

September 13, 2006 at 12:55 am (Animation)

Action, Reaction, Secondary Action, Overlapping Action, Line/Path of Action

Action – The actual movement (which is made up of a number of drawings, each specially spaced and placed on the page in relation to the timing of the gesture).
Reaction or Secondary Action – The movement that happens just after a previous action (a slight frame delay) , and directly as a result of it.
It is any action that supports the primary action, thereby strengthening the illusion. For example: Using emotions and body language, and/or body parts like hair moving after a head is turned, a tail following an animal, floppy ears/coattails, gelatinous bellies, etc; Also, having a character smile with his eyes, wrinkles, ears, toes, etc. as well as his mouth or the flustered attempts to regain composure after a “take”, etc.
Ask, “What’s the rest of him doing while this happens, and why?”
– It’s usually a loose item. It’s the Extra business. It must not go against or have more emphasis than the action it supports.  I.E. – Don’t put anything there unless it has reason. Don’t make it too busy. USE WITH CARE.
Projects: A stalk of grass blowing in the wind. A whip snapping. A “Take”. An emotion or movement that shows in the whole face, and perhaps even the body.
Screen Examples: Disney’s 101 Dalmation, the character “Edgar”. Hercules, the Cyclops’ hair and clothing and body fat. Mulan, Mulan’s sleeves and long hair, the flags. 

Follow-Through or Overlapping Action – This is a secondary action (see above) that has time to run its course. E.g. When the ears or the hair is allowed to swing to a stop. It shows the effects of gravity/wind or force during movement.
Projects: Swinging pendulum. A Pendulum that slows to a stop. Character or animal head turns with hair or floppy ears following
Screen Examples: Most feature film animation pays special attention to these kinds of details.
paintbrush.gifLine or Path of Action – There are two related definitions:
– In characters, the line of action is the invisible line through the character (the first line drawn) that represents the summation of their action. It expresses their pose, and makes for a more dynamic character drawing. When used with two characters, these lines play off each other as compliments, making a well-planned scene.
– In an animated scene, the Path of action refers to the continued movements of objects or characters on a predetermined path. As in the bouncing movements of a ball. The ball’s path follows a rhythmical decrease of arcs.
Projects: Line – Any character animation… Path – A bouncing ball or other simple exercise.
Screen Examples: Almost all animation

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Morning Cup

September 12, 2006 at 4:44 am (Photography)

Morning Cup, originally uploaded by Cathryn’s Gallery.

tea.JPGI got this great tea from a health food store – it’s a green tea with toasted rice in it… I’ve never dreamed of tea before I tasted this.

Now, I think about drinking it when I’m not… I get this great rush of comfort when I smell the tea brewing… I cherish the whole cup … it’s a little (surprisingly not unhealthy) luxury I look forward to every day.

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Fall has its Perks

September 12, 2006 at 4:33 am (Photography)

originally uploaded by Cathryn’s Gallery.

So, fall is around the corner… and I am normally not happy to welcome the blustery days of winter… BUT, I’m getting my camera ready. Fall’s one consolation for me is the colours. They are so inspiring!

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Animation Principles

September 12, 2006 at 2:39 am (Animation)

The following notes have been compiled from numerous sources during my studies. They’re in no particular order (quotes were taken from various animation books). These are princilples that can be applied to almost any type of animation (flash, stop-motion, computer, classical…)

The Principle of: 

Solid Drawing and Appeal

– This means: Putting proper balance, weight, depth, asymmetry, pleasing lines and life into the drawings. Make the drawings fascinating. Toss those weak, complicated, hard to understand ones. Do them again – better.
Projects that highlight this principle: All animation.
Screen Examples: Warner Bros.’ “What’s Opera Doc?” has great appeal and very solid shapes. It’s masterfully drawn.

– Make the storyboard point the main action in the scene. Leave out extraneous stuff that might distract or be lost. Be clear about what is going on.
Projects: All animation 
Squash and Stretch

– By maintaining the volume, but changing the shape (in relation to how it is moving) you can show how that movement is affected by gravity and centrifugal force. It’s the rubber-like ability an animated character or face has to change shape as it moves. When reaching up or falling (any elongated action) it stretches to accentuate the action. When hitting the ground (or other gravity-type action) it squashes in response.
Projects: Bouncing ball, jumping sack. Character walks.
Screen Examples: In Disney’s Mulan, when Mushu grabbed the jaw of the lead Ancestor, also watch the troops fighting. They squash and stretch.

thot3.gifPushing an Expression or Exaggeration

– Overdoing an action so it isn’t missed. It’s that one extra drawing that pushes the expression to the limit, before the character changes. It is used in facial and even body expressions when the character gives a look; by taking that look a step further in the next drawing and accentuating it almost to a distorted level, this will give the action extra energy and verve on screen.
Projects: The animated “take”.   
 The “Cheat”

– These include: Speed lines, multiples (arms and legs for a scrambling run or scrappy fight), distortion (extreme perspective in the key poses only for a wacky look), smear and blur (accentuating speed of movement or “morph” quality), etc.
Cheats are used for some drawings in between key poses that show exaggerated action, like a “take” or a run. By stretching the in-between drawing to include a little of both key drawings the character is distorted or smeared, representing speed. Extra extremities can be added also to show fast moving limbs. This creates a zany look to the movements.
Projects: Animated “take”, run.
thot1.gifScreen Examples: Phil in Disney’s “Hercules” when he is sitting on Herc’s shoulders wizzing through the forest after Herc’s date with Meg. Do frame advance to see Phil’s face distorting. Elmer Fudd in “What’s Opera Doc?” where he is demonstrating the immense power of his helmet to Bugs. Elmer’s arms do amazing things.

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Brown 04

September 11, 2006 at 2:27 am (Photography)

Brown 04, originally uploaded by Cathryn’s Gallery.

I pulled out my tungsten light to take some pics this weekend. I know I’m doing something wrong (with the colour temperature), but I don’t mind the colour cast on the pics so much…
We had a fun time…

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