Could You Become a Better Filmmaker Using 3D Previsualization? 0

A website for animation competitions

A website for animation competitions

The good news about starting a blog is that it always gives me new challenges to face and experiments to try out. That could be from figuring out how to be more productive with my content, to determining which direction my blog structure will move towards. There’s always something to improve, test and learn.

I’ve given myself another obstacle for March, since it seems like I’m willing to stress myself out somewhat; I’m going to be starting an 11 Second Club animation project and see how far I can get with it.

I don’t necessarily feel like doing anymore book or video tutorials on how to learn Maya, so I’m going to be throwing myself into a project, which will definitely result in a poor attempt of animation.

Why poor?

My skills aren’t close to being good enough yet. I gave up a few times when it became too hard to learn Maya. I’ve done a lot of tutorials, and schooling, but my knowledge hasn’t been used for any independent projects until this one. Which is why I’m guessing the results are going to suck.

But I’m failing anyway to see what I learn, and what areas I need to get better at.

If you aren’t familiar with the 11 second club, it’s a website sponsored by the well known online animation school, Animation Mentor. They use it as a tool to help animation students.

The 11 Second Club holds an animation competition every month from the time it strikes midnight in New York, on the first of the month, to midnight on the last day.

The site supplies common use animation rigs and an 11 second audio clip, usually from a popular movie. This month, March has an audio clip from the movie Ghostbusters, which suits me just fine:


Voice One: “There’s something very important I forgot to tell you.”
Voice Two: “What?”
Voice One: “Don’t cross the streams.”
Voice Two: “Why?”
Voice One: “It would be bad.”
Voice Two: “I’m fuzzy on the whole good-bad thing. Whattya mean bad?”

This competition is mostly being used for the purpose of animators who want to become professional animators-or who are already professionals in the industry-and want to improve their craft with all of the principles associated with doing that through competition.

Animators download the audio clip and use it to come up with any scenario they can dream up to match the audio with their acting. They have a large forum of tutorials, great words of advice and a thriving animation community to learn from, which is great to know. But what if you want to become a filmmaker and not an animator?

I want to begin teaching myself film language using previsualization.

I like the idea of mixing audio found on the internet, creating storylines, and exploring short film form better. If you’d like to become a professional, like I do, getting a handle on professional techniques is important.

Sometimes, you just need a way to practice learning film language over and over again to gain a full understanding of it, and to also stand out from the crowd with your artistic vision.

I definitely need the practice, and using Previs animations might help me get it. My thoughts for now are to test out some storytelling ideas, while looking to find my specific filmmaking style.

A new term to be added to the studio language is to be able to “fix it in Pre”, meaning that if you use Previsualization, you’ll see where you can fix your story plot, or how a shot or camera movement will work best before you film any of it, along with many more benefits. Most of all, you’ll be able to improve how well you tell your stories through movement, way past the point of where static storyboarding can leave you-even though storyboarding is a crucial element to your planning.

I can’t say that 11 seconds is long enough for this idea to work yet, or that I’ve built the skills needed, and I can’t say I know what I’m doing at all, but this could at least be a start to help me use Maya more efficiently so I can work on longer project ideas of mine in the future.

I’m going to be documenting it here while I experiment. I’m not sure if I’ll post the finished video product, or if I’ll finish at all. Don’t judge me too harshly if I do!!

This week I’ll be focusing on storyboarding. Stay tuned.

Do you think learning previsualization would help students understand how to create better films?  Can you think of other ways to use Previs?