Saturday, March 31, 2012

How To Fold Fitted Sheets

Here it is, the first day of April and big changes are going on here at SonjebasaLand. After much consideration we have decided this blog would get more hits if it full of really useful information that EVERYBODY (mostly college students) could use. As you can see we have altered the design to fit this thinking. Please let us know if you love or hate this idea. We probably won't listen but you can still try.

Anyway for our first entry, folding fitted sheets. Because how the heck to you really do that? I mean, what evil sheet maker thought this was a good idea and why did everyone else jump on board? When I was a college student, there wasn't a single person I knew within a hundred miles that could fold a fitted sheet and every single one of those darn things just ended up stuffed in a closet of drawer doomed to wrinkle and ruin the love lives of many.

But DON'T WORRY! This page has some step by step answers for you.

Like all things, wash and dry these sheets. Place them in a laundry basket for folding. Fold immediately. Those of you who just throw them on the floor, there is a better way-keep reading...Fold the easy stuff first; pillow cases and top sheets (the ones that cover you) so you end up with nicely folded easiness and "Holy crap, what the heck do I do with this?!"
Next, set the folded stuff aside for now and find a corner with elastic sewn in on the fitted sheet (shown below)Next, find the other corner down on the same side and tuck one corner neatly into the other...... so the elastic and seamed corners match or are in the same position like below. You will need to use a hand to push the corners together. The other hand can be used to hold a camera phone (sorta) steady to take a picture that will be out of focus.
Let's move on. Now you will see that you can almost lay the halved sheet flat. Almost but not quite. Throwers-of-the-fitted-sheet-on-floor-people, don't give up, this is not as hard as say figuring out your taxes or even walking and chewing gum at the same time so stay with me. Above you see the corners tucked together and below you see the other side all tucked neatly together.
I don't mean to freak you out but here comes the most difficult part; taking the tucked corners shown above and tucking those together. It will be okay, let's all take a deep long breath here (I'll wait) and we'll continue. You can do this. if you can walk down a hallway more than a foot without crashing into a wall, this will be a piece of cake. Gather both pre-tucked corners and...
...begin to slide one corner in under the other as shown below...
...and pull them so they fit neatly into each other as shown below.Now you find that the tucked parts actually fold over completely effectively getting the weird elastic-y weird parts out of the way as seen below.
See that wasn't so bad, now all you have to do is fold over the whole portion treating it like one piece of fabric...
...bringing corner to corner...
and then smooth out with your hand while your other hand takes out of focus photo below.

Which will give you a very nicely folded fitted sheet your mother would be proud to see you do.
You can even fold it again (if the sheet is small enough to do so - shown here is a set of twin sheets).
Now take all of the folded sheets and stake them neatly into a, um, stack...
.and you're done. Wow, that was great! Go and pour yourself a nice glass of WAIT!!!!
You need to put it away first. NOW you are finished, go get something cold to drink. You know you're a master of folding fitted sheets when you can do a set of queen sized sheets (they work the same way as twins, fulls, kings, and even Cal kings). Woot, high five! Now go fold other stuff, like those socks all over your floor. Next time, using the washing machine to actually wash those sheets of yours. Because after two months, it's like, dang. Right?

I hope this was helpful thanks for tuning into SonjebasaLand. Special thanks to my son for sharing his bitchen Star Wars sheets for this tutorial.

April Fool!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

X Sheeting: Getting Started

Welcome back! Talked about using an X Sheet (or exposure sheet or dope sheet etc.) and I think some folks got confused so I'm doing this quickie post to make sure everybody gets it and or at least can pretend to get it. I would also like to introduce today's guest blogger; Salty Macgraberflagon who loaned us his X sheet. Say hello Salty.Salty was using the x sheet to time out a ball bounce for class review due tomorrow. Using an x sheet is very helpful in figuring out the timing of practically anything especially dialogue sequences and beyond. Below is the ball that was used for this, because my daughter was helping and she chose this ball because "it was all cool and spiky and blue." - her words not mine. I think she liked it because it bounced all over place but... moving on.Salty started by filling the X sheet below. Notice that he will be shooting on "twos" which means the frame rate is 24 frames per second (fps) and each drawing will last on screen 2 frames. That means there are 12 drawings in 1 second of screen time.On an X sheet, each row represents a frame and the columns you see represent layers of animation. Salty used layer 1 as his background layer, the arrow representing that it will last he duration of the test (he will use extra pages as needed as this x sheet only has 41 frames per page).Next Salty, labeled the second column as 'ball' and will use this column to figure out the timing of his ball bounce test. Because all animation needs to begin with a first frame, he wrote in a '1' and circled it to show it was a key pose. I am just going to assume you know what a key pose is to move along, if you don't check back some time later for post on that topic.Now the time has come to use a stop watch. Salty used his trusty smartphone but anything works. He dropped the ball and registered .4 seconds from drop to first bounce. That is just under a half second which means it's just under 6 drawings.
So Salty opted to use five drawings to show the time of the drop to first bounce. That means that from the first key (circled 1) to the next key - the first bounce - (circled 9) and he wrote this in on the X sheet. He also used the space to the left to write in some notes. This space will be used for dialogue and other cool stuff later in a bigger production but it works a note taking place for now.Now Salty has figured out is inbetweens from drop to first bounce. Because he opted to us 5 drawings to show the timing leading up to the first bounce, and because he used two of those drawings for keys, he has three inbetweens (3, 5, and 7). A fall is pretty even so note the even spacing in the notes.Now Salty needs to plot the second bounce to third bounce, he gets out the timer and gets .5 seconds from bounce to bounce. That's a half of a second and that means it's 6 drawings with the keys being frame 9 and 19. Salty made a note of this at left.Now Salty will again figure out his inbetweens from first bounce to second. Despite is his dulled looks he is a smart fellow using pose to pose rather than straight ahead to figure out his timing. Pose to pose is one of the twelve principles of animation, as is timing, squash and stretch. Read about the twelve principles here. Drawings 11, 13, 15, and 17 are inbetweens and Salty has plotted them as shown.Now Salty has moved on to time out the second to third bounce. After several tries, he gets .5 seconds -another half second. realistically this should be a tad less but it's a fine start point.So Salty times out the next half second from frame 19 to 29 as circled in keys below. Notice also arc is smaller so the slower drawings are closer together.
Salty then inbetweens using frames 21, 23, 25 and 27 as shown below. Drawings are getting closer together which means the action is slowing down. At this point it looks like he will need to check his work when he gets to animating because the action in the second bounce doesn't quite seem right. He will be able to fix the positions of the ball drawings when he goes to shoot his animation work but for now he has a pretty good idea of the overall action.He checks the time from third bounce to fourth.
.4 seconds, again, about 5 drawing or ten frames. He writes this down on the x sheet. His keys for bounce 3 to 4 are frame 29 to 37 ( as shown circled).Now he figure out his inbetweens again; 31, 33 (his breakdown) and 35. Keep in mind, he could just as easily plot all of his keys and then go back a figure out all of his breakdowns and inbetweens. he has ended up with this first page from his x sheet which I hope gives you an idea of what needs to happen.
Have fun x sheeting! Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Gesture: Staying Loose

Recently a group of students called Austin Kleon's link to my attention. He has written "How to Steal Like an Artist" and he posted this image 'stolen' from Peter Jenny's "Figure Drawing" book.While I agree with with both Messrs Kleon and Jenny, that drawing from photos is pretty handy assuming you can't get out in the world because you're very busy writing books and can't draw from life. But know that any drawing you do from a photo is going to just appear flat due to the source. But drawing the way regrettably shown above is, in a word, 'yawn'. At the risk of alienating the two writers above, maybe I should clarify with 'dull', 'dead', 'stiff', 'uninteresting', or just 'LAME'. At least for you animator types or folks who think drawings should be dynamic and alive. Drawing from an inside wire frame, especially as in the regrettable stolen photo above automatically stiffens up a drawing. I think perhaps Mr. Kleon and Mr. Jenny are really busy writing books and when you're busy writing books you tend to overlook important stuff (I mean, heck, just writing this post made me forget to feed my kids) but as an artist, you need to present images especially figures that are ALIVE.

Let's take a look at a photo and see where I'm going with this. Google Sports illustrated and then go to the images search and....uh...okay, don't do that because you won't find many sports photos because they have that Swimsuit issue thing which can get pretty distracting. So just go to Sports Illustrated and look at their photos link. I found this photo of Connie Mack giving the what's what to a rookie back in 1920. ( I love old sports photos) And then we'll just drop in the implied shoulder to medial line to hip connections and link up the arms and legs and viola instant totally awesome drawing, right?I know you're saying, "Golly, it's hard to see that much awesomeness with the actual photo behind it." so I removed the photo to really highlight the lines. It looks like a 3D rig now, so it must be right, right? Well let's use that to get a drawing.
Above is a quick drawing with said 'interior lines' and added construction. Something has gone amiss with this. Perhaps it the overall stiffness of simplified lines on organic forms.Using an 'interior line' setup such as this really only enables you to get an very simple idea of whatever action is taking place. There is little to no hint of weight or suggested action and therefore the drawing becomes nothing more than just a set of mannequins. Which will in turn, do not lend an essence of life to the drawing which will make the viewer linger. So unless you have a writing contract and you're in a hurry, how about taking a step back and looking at the photo again.

Ask yourself, "What am I seeing and why am I drawing it, what's the story?" In the photo below there are two men, one who had a strong career and retired describing some finer point of pitching to a relative newcomer (who is youthfully confident) to the game. Then breakdown the poses; the one on the left is describing and pretending to throw what looks like a knuckle-ball. He is in mid pass/throw favoring the start of action. His right leg is planted and energy is traveling upward through his pelvis and being transferred through his ribcage. That energy is called Thrust or Force and the ribcage must Torque to transfer the energy. Ultimately this prepares the right shoulder to move across the chest dragging the arm and thus catapulting the "ball" from the hand. The guy on the right is watching in a polite, yet arrogantly distracted slouch."Okay, so what? I have more books to write." says Mr. Kleon and Mr. Jenny. Well, fellas, if you really stole like an artist you would know that as an organic form, force and torque would cause the right side of the upper body to stretch, in turn making the left compress slightly. Conversely the transfer would cause the left side of the pelvis and lower trunk to stretch. A slouch on the other figure pushes out the back and forces forward the anterior portion (that's the front for you busy writer types) of the pelvis. Below is an example of what is really going on as far as the gesture in the photo.
Which in turn allows for a more active drawing of the figures below.
I know you're asking...
And I'm glad you asked. because if you draw loosely and really employ the action you 'stole' from life you can create gestures and animate characters such as the ones below. I used the same gestures from above to get these two fellows. More story, more life.Here's is another example. And it's a doosey! Have a glance at this amazing photo also from SI by Eddie Keogh. I am not a fan of soccer (which puts me in the less than 1% of the human population) but this photo makes me want to be one. Well sorta. Look at the drama happening here; the guy on the right has leaped way up high to head in a ball past the defending guy on the left who has turned, or at least in this split second photo, is turning into a protective block to spare his body the collision with the ball. Dang!So let's go back to 'stealing' like Mr. Kleon or 'gesturing' like Mr. Jenny. Using this method we get this.And because we want to see that awesomeness again, we have taken out that pesky distracting photo and we get the lovely below.I know what you're going to say, but I haven't even put in the construction lines yet.
Okay there they are. Look at positively 'UN-dynamic' those poses are. Bleah, I bet Eddie Keogh is face-palming right now. How insulting a drawing like this would be to such a magnificent photograph?! In fact really the only way to save the drawing is to make it into two toy robots from the fifties fighting like below.Ah, that is a tiny bit better. Insert your own laser sound effect here. Pew pew pew! Incidentally, if you want to see fantastic paintings of toy robots AND donuts check out my buddy Eric Joyner's work and you will not draw toy robots because his are more awesome then the awesome you can only pretend to be at drawing robots (with donuts).

So, what's really happening here, Mr. Kleon and Mr. Jenny? Sorry to bug you while you're busy writing. Well, the guy on the right has just launched himself off the field with his left foot while twisting his body around to blast the ball with his forehead. His left arm is in mid-pitch which will then paddle outward to give the chest and neck full thrust in the opposite direction. his entire right side is painfully compressed and his right arm is tucked just to get out of the way. The guy on the left is in mid-flinch. His head has whipped around to the right away from the ball as the left shoulder raises in preparation of impact.So really, the energy looks like this.That means that the gesture really looks like the image below. Draw to the areas of most torque, not through the center. Another post is coming on this subject but you'll have to wait until I feed my kids.Here are some quick notes I made while stealing from nature.
Which lead to this drawing below.
Mr. Jenny, you are probably asking,
Because (and again, I'm glad you asked) we are PUSHING what we've stolen. Pushing the force, the torque, the energy, the very essence to make a drawing live outside of realm of stillness and bad drawing-ness. Which allows for a drawing and then leading to animating drawings and poses that are alive and filled with energy. Speaking of stealing, I was drawing other poses for this post when my (unfed) daughter suggested I draw Princesses (because she loves them no matter how much food she has) so I drew these according to the gestures I already established. This was impacted by her saying every couple of seconds, "That doesn't look like her." or, "She wouldn't do that." or "Can we watch 'Tangled'?" But at least you get the idea.
Princesses locked in an epic battle of 'pretty'. Sound effects: Bliiiiing! Now go steal as Mr. Kleon suggests, but steal with the ability to push the poses and not draw stiff, dead, lame drawings. Steal to breathe life into your work, it will push push your characters, figures, and maybe even you book out of boring-ville to WONDERLAND! Thanks for stopping by.