Friday 5 June 2015

Ugur Yetiskin interview

Hello guys and gals,

February's winner was created by Turkish animator, Ugur Yetiskin. I was introduced to Ugur's work a few years ago, upon the release of his facial tutorials (Animation Scout). I was pleased to see his name pop up as the winner, both for him as an artist and for myself for being able to ask for this opportunity to talk about his work.

Here goes!

Artist portfolio  
Winning Entry

Your winning entry poses the hypothetical question of how Walt Disney would evaluate the positions of both 2D and 3D animation in today's world. Please share your thoughts on this?
All of us animators should be grateful to Walt Disney for where the animation quality is today. They (The Nine Old Men) discovered the main rules of animation and they did wonderful jobs that we still examine their timings, squash & stretch, etc. to be better at what we do. I believe that they are the cornerstones of modern animation. So much that l have one of Walt Disney’s quotes tattooed on my arm.

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them!

Three of Disney's early cast of characters are Mickey, Donald and Goofy. Which is your favourite?
I do really like the character Goofy. He was actually characterized in a clumsy and silly way, though this expo isn’t always distinctive with him. Goofy has shown as intuitive yet clever in his own unique and eccentric way. I believe multidimensional is what makes a good character, and we must admit he is pretty funny.

Which other animated characters are you most fond?
TMNT is one of my favourites; especially the last movie was very well animated. Furthermore, I still love their parkour movements, heroic attitudes and differences amongst each other.

Have you personally studied traditional animation
I honestly didn’t but yet l researched some classics frame by frame back at my early years on the field. And l sometimes animate 2D blocking poses for my shot planning with FlipBook program on PC.

Tell us more about your background and art education
Well, my journey began with my good old Commodore 64 when l was fourteen years old. My bro loved the games but l was way more curious on how those intros and 3D animations were developed than the game itself. During these years l started to learn 3ds Max with programs help files. During those years there was no tutorials, books or even proper Internet connection – we were connected with 56K! I was graduated from university as a Computer Teacher but l managed to find a job as a graphic designer while I was still struggling with the 3D programs. In a few years l mastered the tools and combined my experiences well enough to land a job offer for the Motion Graphics Designer position. Through all that time I did TV commercials, on-air brandings, promos, 3D models and designs to many brands.

I decided to focus on character animation in ’07. I graduated from Animation Mentor and worked on projects as character animator and in a few years l started to lead projects. I’m keep working on my animation projects as freelance jobs nowadays.
As well as producing beautiful animation, you possess skills in lighting, modelling and rigging. With each demanding time to learn, how do you manage your development of each discipline?

Through my daily routine l work as a 3D generalist to keep myself updated with new programs, plug-ins, workflows, disciplines and furthermore. I surf through inspirational websites to feed my visual intelligence every day. (That includes; 3D modelling, motion graphics, calligraphy, character design, product design and rendering.) When l bump into a challenging projects that l like, l usually try to figure out how l can produce it by myself. I honestly believe that’s the most important part of the learning process.

Your series of rigs are available to the community and utilised by schools, including CGTarian. Please can you talk about upon your stance in exchanging animation information and resources.
Unfortunately in Turkey, some of the leads in the field keep their experiences to themselves. For that reason I have learned most of the tools all by myself. This led me to experience that keeping knowledge is not the ethical thing to do.
I believe that the real wisdom comes with sharing. I also have another tattoo emphasize that belief ;) I never hide any information or knowledge among my community and co-workers. At the end of the day, it’s all about creativity.

Your series of tutorials, Animation Scout, provide advice and details regarding facial animation. In what order do you approach the face?
For facial animations I use layered animation, which generally refers to the idea of blocking in one part or section of the face at a time. First of all you must examine how the facial muscles work in real life via reference videos for your scene. Layered approach requires careful planning, reference, observation and a fair amount of adjusting different layers to work properly with each other. To begin with, you can find a facial landing pose to work on. (Not rigs, a characteristic default pose.) Then you can layer the expressions, lip-sync, eyedarts and eyebrow movements. Those steps are crucial; you may use asymmetry and arcs for mouth or eyelid shapes. I strongly suggest y’all to watch Jason Ryan’s video on the matter.

Link to Animation Scout is found here:

Please tell us about your animation workflow.
I use pose-to-pose animation workflow. They’re more example videos and articles on this than any other alternative. At this point, l just don’t want to bore the readers with the subjects. That’s why l want to suggest Mike Walling’s workflow and Amrit Derhgawen’s article because l pretty much use the same techniques.

Which rig did you use? Can you please talk a bit about its modification into Disney?
I use CGTarian’s Ray ( rig because its body proportions are very suitable for Walter Elias "Walt" Disney. Then I researched Walt Disney’s pictures on Google and videos on YouTube. I decide he generally wore shirt, sweater and tie. His characteristics are his moustache and hairs. Then I adapted these modifications to the rig on Maya. I highly recommend this awesome rig to all animators. Thanks to CGTarian for great support.

Walt's turn to the desk is quite large in comparison to the rest of the movements. In your eCritique, the mentor suggests toning this down. Please can you share your thoughts on this?
I really tried that at my planning stage with reference video. But I think without a momentum/anticipation there is no possibility to turn and push the chair with legs. I still can try that on my chair while writing these sentences but I can’t do that with little movements. But other critiques have awesome tips and my forgotten points. Thanks to Animation Mentor to provide e-critiques.

The audio and performance is quite subdued. What advice would producing an animation of this tone?
First I decide where could be the contrast body movements/poses, head accents and expression changes. In that sound I decided to place left hand down before he stared to talk about spheres. I achieved to do that with both movement and visual contrast by raising his hand front of the window to achieve clear silhouette. I wanted to lead audiences eyes with that and making a contrast! But up to that time character movements were still subtle for me and I decide a make big contrast while turning his body and leading audience eye to the classical drawing at the animators desk. With that movement I tried to make big figure 8 movement with characters nose tip. The timing & spacing was too important for me. I tried to break the subdued audio with contrast poses and visual style. I decided all of these at planning phase. I also designed window position, chair height, and desk position for storytelling and staging.

I'll leave you guys by show casing his beautiful showreel. Thank you Ugur for your time and I hope you guys enjoyed!