Thursday, November 24, 2016

Acting Through Hands

Acting through hands is important. They should never be limp. They always have an energy to them.  When drawing hands, especially for animation, you should always focus on drawing the expression or action and making it super clear, rather than the anatomy--the anatomy comes last. It is especially important that they be clear when working in TV animation where the animators are overseas--the animators probably won't be able to ask the story artists what the hands mean in a certain shot if the animators are in Korea and the story artists are in California, USA.

Hands should also never be limp or fanned out (like pancakes). Hands always have a purpose. This is especially evident in dance and performance work. Below is a great example of expressive hands:

A Great New Animation Blog

A great new animation blog I discovered:

Friday, October 21, 2016

My First Stop Motion Test of the Quarter!!

Woo!! I made a thing! This is my first stop motion test of the quarter from the other day. It needs work, but I'm happy to dive in.

My First Stop Motion Test!! from Sarah Stroud on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Visual Storytelling

After a long time of soul searching, I finally found my niche, which was kinda my niche all along... visual storytelling. I really want to go forward and focus on animation (I love 2D and stop motion, but I'm learning to love 3D as well--I am strongest in 2D), storyboarding/comics, and concept art. I will probably mainly be pursuing 2D animation and storyboarding right now, but I'm not writing the others off. It's good to be flexible in this industry--you never know when things are gonna change.

I think I will try to push this blog in the direction of visual storytelling--whether it's reference I find, exercises I do, or things I learn along the way. It feels good to have a direction. I'll start things off with a couple of FANTASTIC references I found on storyboarding. They are below:

The first and third sources were the best for me, personally. As someone who's trying to build a storyboarding portfolio, these two were the most specific (although, Mark Kennedy's blog post was a great help--aka, the second one). The first one gave me a TON of reference and cheat sheets to work from, while the third gave me a HUGE flow of information on everything I needed and wanted to prepare for possible story reviews (I'm applying to CTNX's interviews and portfolio reviews--the deadline for the first is this weekend and the deadline for the second is Nov 2nd).

I really connected with the third resource. Justin Copeland, especially, went into a lot of depth on storyboarding for animation. I finally feel like I have an exact direction to go in, and he also took away any doubt about it being the right niche for me. I have always been passionate about storytelling.

He also reaffirmed my huge belief in research and preparation before working. I tend to see a lot of people, especially students starting out, not wanting to research (nothing against lower year students--school is a good place to learn and develop your research tactics and art skills). I would try and say something, but get ignored. For a while, as a result, I was deemed "queen of research" (or so I've been told). But I was excited to hear that Justin preps about as much as I do!! He even makes 3D models (although I'm sure his are MUCH better) in SketchUp like I do (although, I also make some in Maya) and basic 3D mock-ups of the scenes to experiment with camera angles and movements. I have found my people (now if only I could get them to hire me :P)!!

Anyways, I feel like this blog will be a nice place to keep my research and thoughts going. For all of you artists out there, I HIGHLY recommend keeping a morgue file or some sort of digital database for your research so you can look at it for inspiration and go back to previous research if you need it. I also recommend backing everything up in triplicate, with one being online for easy access, one being offline on a portable hard drive (I hear online sources sometimes take out anything copyrighted from your database in an effort against pirating--which I don't do, btw-- but it's good to be safe), and one wild card. I keep a Pinterest, a Tumblr, a Dropbox, an Evernote, a portable hard drive, and a Carbonite account for all of my reference. My research Pinterest is here: Feel free to follow me or any of my boards if you like!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Medieval Cat Drawings... Disturbing, Yet Awesome

Just discovered medieval cat art. It's terrifying, beautiful, disturbing, and I love it.

And then these aren't medieval, but they are really cute (I couldn't help myself)...

Thank you History Channel for this discovery! Ended up watching a special on myth hunters, stumbled onto an episode about scientist Philippe Chevalier and his investigation into the supposed bones of Joan of Arc (it was really cool--he ended up having professional perfume smellers smell the bones), and they showed some images of medieval cats. 
It's so weird how I end up discovering things like this.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Bird Boards

I'm working on a new set of boards based on the script below that I grabbed from, a site about funny customer stories.

This is my first go at the boards. Keep in mind that I will rework these a few more times. If you have any critiques, I'd love to hear them.

Night all!

Friday, March 25, 2016

A Study in Breaking Up Movements

I was shown this animation blog post about breaking up movements in animation. This animator drew over a Disney gif and mapped where a few body parts hit to look at spacing and arcs. I enjoyed the post so much that I did my own.

Like my last GIF exercise, this is also an example from 101 Dalmatians (didn't realize it until after I did the exercise). Below is the GIF reference...


Here's my map:

I highly recommend doing this. It was really illuminating.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Honest Portrait

So my friend, KJ Murr, started an honest portrait frenzy in school over finals. It looked like fun, but I was consumed in work, so I couldn't get around to doing one yet. Now that my finals are over, I jumped right in!

Below is KJ's honest portrait:

He was, in turn, inspired by J.R. Goldberg's honest portrait:

So I created mine today. It's below:

This was a really fun exercise. I hope to keep up the productivity over break.

Night all!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

My First GIF!

I made my first GIF tonight from an animation exercise I did.

I found this animation master exercise where you find an animated GIF and animate over it with basic lines. That way you get the feel of the animation without getting sucked into detail. I just downloaded ToonBoom Harmony, so I figured this would be the perfect time to test it out.

Since I was on a PC, I had to break apart the GIF I found, so I used IrfanView to break it apart into separate images, then imported the images into Harmony, drew over them, and exported them as separate images. Then I brought them into Photoshop and made a GIF using these directions and voila!

I rather enjoyed this exercise and will be doing more in the future.

The GIF I found:

The GIF I drew:

Night all!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Never Be Content

Never be content. One of my favorite professors told me that. Once you're content with your work, you stop growing.

You're never too old to learn new things. You're never too brilliant to learn new things. If you stop trying to grow, you'll stay stuck and ignorant.

If you're an artist or a writer, you need to use reference and research your work. Fantasy and made-up worlds need to be believable, and to be believable, they need to be rooted in reality. If you have strong work, it could always be stronger. Never stop trying to improve.

Just my 2 cents.

NEVER STOP LEARNING and the world will always be new and wondrous and exciting.

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Struggles of Wanderlust

At the risk of sounding whiny, I need to vent on a subject that it seems not a lot of people actually talk about... wanderlust. Yes, I know it's a big thing on the internet, but it refers more to beautiful images of faraway places, interesting travel blogs, and is used as an excuse to talk about the joys of exploring new places. But the struggle is real for me folks. You know why? It means something else to me.

I've never felt truly at home in the US. The lack of interest in learning/reading, the difficulties of going to another country, the feeling of superiority that Americans seem to have that travels above pride. Call me ungrateful, but I need a break. I loved living in France the couple of times I did, and I have this fascination with Ireland and England that rivals very few things in my life. I want to move to England SOOOO badly (it's close to France and Ireland, but with less of a culture shock), but I want to live in Portland, OR at the same time where my friends and my rain and my comfort level are. I want to settle down but I want to travel. I want to challenge myself to get outside of my comfort zone but I want to stay in my comfort zone. I want a house with a huge library but if I travel that won't happen. I want to settle down now but I don't. All of these mixed feelings drive me crazy each and every day.

Then I worry about getting a job abroad. If they were to even pick me, how would they push my request for a work visa through? How would Kyle get a work visa to go with me (because he WOULD be coming with me). How would we get the dog and cat there safely? What about our books (and NO, we're not selling them. That's not even an option). What about money?

Then, if we did make it to England, what if all I'd want to do is come straight back here? What if I miss our family and friends too much? What if I miss driving? What if I miss my America comfort level? And pizza?

I don't know what I'm doing with my life, and it's so frustrating. I know I need a job (a better one), and I know I need to be able to support myself, but I have this insane wanderlust that makes it so damn hard.

I'm twenty-fucking-four years old. I should have my shit together by now.

At least Kyle puts up with me. He seriously is the most amazing husband ever.

Does anyone else struggle with wanderlust? This kind, not the kind that's all sunshine and rainbows and fancy cameras. If so, how do you deal with it?

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Honeymoon Memories

Day 1--12/19/2015 and 12/20/2015--Travel from Portland, OR to Orlando, FL.
-I hate airplane travel. The seats are so tiny and you're crouched over, breaking your back the whole way through.
-We were met with the Disney "Motorcoach" (I love that word) at the airport, which was welcomed, except for the 30 solid minutes of ads all the way to the resort.
 -The Port Orleans Riverside resort is beautiful with picturesque mansions from the plantation eras. The only awkward thing is that the mansions kinda remind me horribly of slavery in our American history and it doesn't help that 99% of the cleaning staff are black. I feel like it's a bad joke to them and us, even if the architecture of the time was gorgeous. Maybe it has a different meaning to those born and raised in the South. The rest of the resort was amazing though with no bad connotations whatsoever.



-Thanks to everyone's help, we got to spend a little more than we ever will again. It was frustrating that Disney's Honeymoon registry was set up to book our activities, and then they notified us a few days before we left that they didn't book anything and then they wired us our money and told us good luck. Good thing Kyle and his parents thought to book the room a while back separately. For the other things we wanted to do, they were all booked up, especially the horse-drawn carriage (which made me sad. The lady wouldn't even let me pet the horse). So we got souvenirs, not the original plan, but we're happy. We don't get to go shopping that often for fun.
-I should also add that Disney is the WORST at providing proper clothing sizes. I made the smart decision of not checking to see if my swimsuit from 3 years ago fit... it didn't. So I bought a new one at our resort's "General Store". They only had MEDIUMS. 10 swimsuits of the same kind and NO OTHER SIZES!! I bought it. I was desperate. And the thing about a honeymoon is, you usually only wear white (or so the strange thought stuck with me). Most of what I had was white and would've scared the kids if I got in the pool with it on. It looks like the swimsuit below, but wraps around the back of the neck. The way Kyle and I strapped it on, it felt like the swimsuit had a vice grip around my neck (which was the goal, since I didn't want to flash any young kids and spur any awkward conversations about female anatomy).  It would have fit perfectly if I was 5'2". But we had SO much fun swimming! We haven't gone swimming in a long time!

-I also got a cute little pullover thingy for the pool so I wouldn't feel like I was stripping in front of people when getting down to my bathing suit.  

Day 2--12/21/2015--Magic Kingdom.
-NEVER ask the Disney Vacation Club for directions;

Disney Vacation Club (aka Disney timeshares)--
Us: Where's the bus stop?
DVC: It's outside, but let me tell you how you can save some money.
Us: giving us some?
DVC: Not exactly, but in a way...yes.
Us: ...
DVC: You can vacation with us anytime, and it only costs half price to your normal costs!
Us: We can't even afford health insurance...
DVC: But you can afford this! It's only $16,500 over the course of 10 years!
Us: Let us think about it (not)...
DVC: Let us take you to the open house! We'll give you fast passes, drinks, and ice cream!
Us: Ummm... we've gotta go. We'll think about it.
*We hurry away.*
DVC (shouting behind us): We'll even drop you off at the park after!
Me to Kyle Stroud: I just wanted to know where the bus stop was... let's just ask someone outside.
-Kyle Stroud and I got spooned by a rather large Indian man in the line to Pirates of the Caribbean, who then proceeded to slip ahead of us (thank goodness) and take flash photography on the ride (argh!).

-A young girl wore a hot pink shirt that said "I love Jesus more than my shoes."

You know how there's a People of Walmart site? There NEEDS to be a People of Disney site. Kyle and I saw some of the WORST fashion choices we've ever seen. It was simultaneously entertaining and painful.
-We made it on 3 rides in the Magic Kingdom; The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Space Mountain.
-We're having tons of fun.

-When we got back, we celebrated with some dinner at the resort's restaurant, Boatwright's Dining Hall, and took our red velvet cake to go and got a bottle of champagne and toasted later.
Day 3--12/22/2015--Animal Kingdom and Disney Springs.

-I've decided that I hate people when they're in large crowds.

-Animal Kingdom is a bit of a zoo... of people.
-I've never been so close to a rhino... it was SO cool! I was sitting by the window and there was a baby rhino next to me. I was too tired to take a picture (it was SUPER hot out), but I wish I would have. He was so cute!
-I bought a colored pencil set for kids. I lost my pencils... I was desperate. It worked okay, but for the price we paid, they should've been MUCH better quality.

-I thought I was good at chopsticks... until I tried to eat a large piece of Mahi-mahi on rice. Boy, was I wrong. But the restaurant was FANTASTIC. It was the Yak and Yeti. We had a really great waitress from Portland, OR, and we nerded out about Portland the entire time. It was fun!

-Oh, and I also read to some dinos when we went on the dinosaur ride.

-We also found a Santasaurus Rex!
-We went back for a nap and then took a boat ride.
-We went to dinner at Portobello Country Italian Trattoria. The dinner was pretty good.
-Christmas at Disney is like combining the dreaded Christmas shopping crowd with the dreaded Disney crowd and multiplying it by 10. Going to Disney Springs was so stressful that we could barely get through the stores, much less the crowds outside.
Day 4--12/23/2015--Epcot.
-I love how understated and elegant the Christmas decor and music is. That mixed with Disney music and decor makes me happy.

-We went on the Land ride. We were a but sad that we couldn't find the Ellen ride, but enjoyed this one nonetheless. It's really cool what Disney's doing with agriculture and it was fun to see the greenhouses and fish tanks decorated with holiday baubles and garlands.

-I need to learn to live in the moment more. The day was lovely and there weren't many crowds. We got there before the World Showcase opened (opened at 11am) and went on a few rides and enjoyed the lack of people.

-Everything in Epcot Japan is SO CUTE. Kyle was in charge of the wallet because I just ran rampant.
-I'm really upset that they replaced the armory exhibit in Norway with a Frozen exhibit. That movie is HORRIBLE.
-We also saw a really adorable miniature town with a train track! I love miniature worlds! So cute!
 -Today was really nice and I loved getting to speak a little french in Epcot France. Although, I miss the real thing. We also had delicious Lobster Bisque.

-We also went to Epcot England to get a beer at the pub where Kyle and I split our first beer together.

-Apparently the only busier time of the year than Christmas is New Years, and on that eve, there are over 90,000 people at Disney World. @_@
-I love that Epcot has a Holidays Around the World celebration that shows off all of the different cultures' and religions' celebrations.

Day 5--12/24/2015--Hollywood Studios and Disney Springs.
-I hate the sun, but I'd love to live in golden age Hollywood.
-The Great Movie Ride had ALL the nostalgia. I loved going through all the old movie scenes.
-There should be more bookshops in all of the Disney parks rather than just a few books in each store.
-We went to Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano for lunch. It was delicious, but a long wait, even for reservations. It's a good thing we made reservations or we never would have gotten in.
-The Tower of Terror is SO MUCH FUN and reaffirms my fear of sketchy hotels.
-The Aerosmith ride makes me feel like a rocker in the 70s and I love it!
-We went to the House of Blues restaurant and had the BEST FOOD EVER. Their bread pudding had banana, white chocolate, and caramel in it. It was AMAZING.

Day 6--12/25/2015--Magic Kingdom. 
-We opened the door that morning and I shook my head and closed it. It had to be about 95 degrees with a TON of humidity. We decided to stay in and go to the park that night.
-I cannot do puzzles as fast as I think I can. I bought a 1,000 piece Pirates of the Caribbean puzzle to do in the hotel (since there's no dog or cat to mess it up), and only finished putting together the border pieces and some of the lettering.

-The Disney hats are super small. We bought Mickey and Minnie Christmas hats and they barely fit on our heads. I took them back the next day after wearing mine while doing the puzzle. It stuck straight up the whole time. I felt like a wizard... a puzzle wizard. WORTH IT.
-It's nice going to and from Disney Springs in a nice little boat. It's soothing.
-Although the crowds weren't so fun.
-I love ALL THE IRISH THINGS!! Kyle had to stop me from buying everything at the store at Raglan Road that night. -Raglan Road is the BEST Irish pub ever and the Irish dancers (who were all actually Irish except for one from Virginia) were AWESOME! Although, I wouldn't want to be sitting behind them... this one lady stared wide-eyed, hoping not to get hit in the face behind the lead dancer.
-We sat next to this awesome couple from Scotland with their daughter (around 9 years old) who went up to step dance with the dancers. We each exchanged stories about our weddings (they got married in Florida in 90 degree weather and we got married in Oregon in the snow. We showed them our snowy picture and they loved it! I show everyone.:P). We told them we're looking at jobs in Canada, England, and Ireland... they told us to just skip them all because Scotland is better. Lol. They said that there's a relatively big video game industry over there, so here's to hoping!
-I also got Kyle an "Irish Drinking Team" cap with a bottle opener on the rim. I think he looks dashing in it, does he not?
-Magic Kingdom was SO UNCROWDED!! There were lots of people leaving by the time we got there, which was around 9:30 pm.
-The castle was dressed up in lights so much that it looked like an ice castle. It's so beautiful.
-It was super cool, around 70 degrees, which was the coolest it had been our whole vacation.
-We waited in line for 40 minutes for the 7 Dwarves ride while a 9 or 10 year old girl dubbed us evil and not evil the whole time with her Mickey Mouse light saber. It was awesome. It is difficult to read in the lines at night though... there's very little light. Kyle squished his balls on the ride because the seat was so small and yelled, "MY BALLS!" in front of little kids. I felt bad for how much I was cracking up at his expense. He did a dance to fix himself when he got off the ride while the ride person laughed. It was pretty funny.

-We waited only about 10 minutes for the Peter Pan ride and found Ariel! Yes, you read that correctly.
-We went on Mickey's Philharmagic and got splashed by the magic brooms (spoilers!).
-We literally walked straight through Pirates of the Caribbean to the ride. There was not a single person in the boat ahead of us, which was cool, cuz we got to pretend they were dead when Barbossa said "dead men tell no tales". It added an extra cool creepy factor.
-We got ice cream before we left, went home, and then crashed.
Days 7-9.5--12/26/2015 to 12/28/2015--Read "Honeymoon Hellride Back Home" to Read What Happened On Our Way Back.