Monday, March 20, 2006

Rowland Wilson on Composition

I don't know if you all have this already...but here's Rowland's amazing handout on Composition.





Thanks to everyone who left a comment. Many people have e-mailed me and even talked to me at work about what they feel I should keep doing or how I should change the site. Glad so many people are excited about what I'm doing. I hear all of your suggestions and I will try to incorporate all of your suggestions as well as I can into what I want to do myself.

Again, if you're frustrated by my focus or my leanings...please start your own blog! It's free and anyone can do it. I would love to read another site like this!

17 comments:

Steve said...

AWESOME!!!!!

I'm curious Mark, what are some films you would reccommend for studying some of this stuff, actually seeing it applied masterfully?

Also, are there any drawing, or writing exercises for that matter, you would say have been beneficial to you over the years?

Thanks a ton for all this cool stuff you're sharing =]

Judy Warner said...

Thanks so much for doing this blog. Everything you've posted has been so helpful--I'm not an animator but all applies to drawing and painting in general. I look forward to seeing what you've got every day. Judy

chickennuggets said...

great post mark. great ass too.

pbcbstudios said...

don't listen to nuggets. He's all fluff.

Thanks for posting these.

DanO said...

one thing skeeps going thru my head over and over as i look at these simple rules(which are brilliantly dead on).
i once saw Mel Gibson on Charlie Rose afetr he won a lot of Oscars for "Braveheart". he explained that before he committed to the project, he blindly called up Clint Eastwood to ask for some advice or guidance.
Clint told him "you know, so much of this is all instinct"
and i agree.

thats not saying that directing a scene is an inherent ability that only graces some of us, its that i get kinda flustered when i look over all of those itemized guidelines. because even though i hate golf, i think of storybarding like golf.
golf requires that you apply a huge number techniques with every swing.

-keep your feet planted, stay balanced, head down, follow thru, use a nice grip, use the right club, keep your left arm straight, bend your kness...

if you go out to play and try to apply everything with every swing, you'll hti the ball into the woods everytime and throw your clus in a lake on the 5th hole.
you've got to focus oin one ata a time and let the others come naturally, you've got to let it become instince.
same with storyboards, i would advise against studying all of thses rules before working or constantly refering to them during a project because you'll go crazy.
just barrel ahead with your heart in the right place and then loo back at your work with an idea of "what could be better" and "what doesn't work"

these fundamentals of composition will tell you.

willipino said...

more cool handouts! they're so simple and informative. can't wait for the next batch.

DanO said...

i hope everyone can extrapolate my meaning thru that typo laden post....

Steve said...

I hear you loud and clear Dano, that's actually good advice...

I feel like I have an ability to do things the way I feel them, but this info is perfect for what you were saying, if there is a direction I want to go, but don't know why I can't get there, I'd definitely refer to these notes...

Benjamin De Schrijver said...

Well, a lot of it IS instinct, but maybe for some people that just doesn't work as well. It's the same in animation, some beginning animators already have the 12 principles in them, and apply them almost automatically... other people have to learn and study them, until they get to that point where they don't have to think about it anymore.

I feel like your boards or animation should be spontaneous, and not overly analyzed or construced with "rules" or however you'd call it, but that doesn't mean studying these principles should be advised against.

J said...

Great stuff Mark. I'm really loving your blog. Keep it running.

Gabriel said...

I don't have much to say except I like it, but this blogs is so cool that i must comment.

Cholki said...

Mark, you rock man! Thanks for these.

mark kennedy said...

Great comments everybody. I am very pressed for time right now - I will try to throw in my 2 cents here.

Steve- I recently saw "Copote" and I was struck by how much they created great compositions within the movie. There's a lot of scenes of people talking and scenes in uninteresting environments. They used a lot of different techniques to keep the visuals interesting. The best technique to get better at seeing this stuff in movies is to watch movies with the sound off - makes it easier to see when you're not listening. Any good movie can be followed clearly WITHOUT hearing the dialogue. See if the visuals are communicating w/out the crutch of dialogue.

The best techniques for getting better at drawing for me are carrying a sketchbook and trying to capture what you see, reading books about drawing, copying the work of artists you like and analyzing what they're doing and taking a good drawing class (if you can find one - I can't). The key to learning to write better (to me) is to study people around you - always observe, observe, observe to learn to draw and write better. Your characters come to life when you write them based on people you know and people you've seen, not on other characters you've seen in movies. Listen to the commentaries on movies to hear it straight from the horse's mouth! The Pixar movies have great commentaries - start there if you haven't heard them, they're great.

As far as the other thread, great thoughts - here's my take. Some people can draw well with just instinct. And everyone has an inherent good sense of design, so if you have enough time to experiment you will come up with a good composition eventually. But for a storyboard artist, you never have time to experiment, you have to bang out drawings 8 or 10 or 14 hours a day. You have to do it right the first time - fast - even when you're tired or sick or a director is staring at you and a room full of people is waiting for you to draw it. Then the knowledge needs to be there for you to pull it out with speed and accuracy. I totally agree with you, DanO, that when you try to think of it all at once you will get confused. That's why I think you have to study, study, study to KNOW it so well it's secoind nature. Like anatomy - you have to study human and animal anatomy so that you are so certain of it you can whip out a drawing that looks great without having to concentrate on what shape the deltoid is. That's what good golfers do -learn the basics cold and they become second nature.

But everyone is different and has a different approach and different needs. I am focusing on the needs of storyboard artists, and the interesting challenge in being a board artist -or animator - is that you have to do drawings that communicate very specific things. A pretty drawing is useless. You have to learn to convey every emotion and action there is, with an amazing amount of subtlety. I think that takes an amazing degree of knowledge in these basics to be able to pull that off and meet crazy deadlines at the same time!

DanO you are absolutely right that boards need to be spontaneous. The great Vance Gerry said that the key to great drawings was to struggle over them and yet not have the struggle show!

DanO said...

i'm glad to have you agree with what i said, i'm thrilled.
i wasn't looking to add any kind of subtext to a post with so much stellar information. i always feel like i'm learning and when i peruse those very practical and insightful hints by Wilson i end up keeping some kind of score in my head.
i imagine it must be even more complicated for people just breaking into the industry - so i thought i'd add my "license to freewheel" caveat to try and make all that info a little more... digestable, so to speak.

Michael said...

And thanks very much to Michael Hirsh over at animation-backgrounds.com for scanning, optimizing and uploading these notes!
He has a new blog (just started) at www.articlesandtexticles.co.uk that will have a lot more of this kind of thing available soon.

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