April 23, 2006

Class 4 Session 3. Facial is done!

Here’s my final test with facial animation. I’m looking to put this on the reel, so please let me know what you think.

Final Facial Test

At Mike’s suggestion, I also broke up one of the poses toward then end. Still not sure how I like the change so please let me know if it’s helping or hurting.

Final Facial Test – Alternate

Thats it. New project gets rolling next week!

February 8, 2006

Catching up megapost

So, I’ve been neglecting the AM log for too long, but it’s time to set things right again. So here, in chronological order are the things that I’ve been working on for my new assignment, involving a character going through a change in emotion.

Sketches. I did a few poses just because the ideas weren’t really flowing. I figured I’d start drawing and see what happened.
Random Poses
Some are better than others.

One idea I had involved stewie getting a present that turns out to suck.
Stewie gets a present

The other idea has a sneaky hunter getting caught in a bear trap.
Hunter in a beartrap

I remember that last semester one of my classmates had done a bear trap gag, so I decided to not use that. I wanted to be original. Kenny suggested that the gift scenario could be better. To obviously dislike a gift that was given to you right as you open it is kind of rude. If the character was going to have a big reaction, the ante had to be upped.

I decided to have the character receive a violin case. This way, even though it was a gift, he would know what it was. The twist comes when he opens it to find there’s no violin inside.
First pass blocking.

Next week we had to smooth it out. I decided to start more in the middle so the character wouldn’t be starting from nuetral, he’d be starting from an emotion. Also, the ending changed a bit to add some scratching at the end.
Refining pass.

The head nod didn’t really seem clear. I wasn’t sure if it read as a “thank you.” So I added a couple more nods. Also, I cut the ending. It was adding more than was really necessary. It didn’t help the scene so it was gone.
Second week of refining.

Note: AM just switched to one standard for all students to use for video compression. To watch this video, and all future videos, you will need a reasonably up-to-date version of quicktime, one that includes the h.264 codec.

This week we’re supposed to polish it off. I’ve gotten some feedback that the new nods read as conversation, but not clearly as a pantomimed thank you. This is my big fix for the week.

So that’s about 4 weeks of assignments that I’ve not posted. I’ll try to keep the breaks shorter.

December 5, 2005

Week 10 – Sleep? Maybe later.

This week we had another cool video diary detailing of a student workflow, this time by Matthew Garward. He’s married, has two kids and a full time job and still manages to find the time to do some amazing work at AM. Having recently entered the workforce myself (unfortunately in a position that is not animation related), I found his tips very worthwhile. Mostly he stressed that it was important to get as much done early, and not to procrastinate. Not only does this help if you’re schedule is full, but it gives the other students and your mentor a chance to see your work mid-week. His other secret? Don’t sleep very much. I decided to try it out myself, more out of necessity than anything else, and found that it makes the work days seem long, but it’s tolerable, and you can still get a good bit of animation done in the evening. The key is to make sure you don’t stay up so late you get dimishing returns, and hours go by while staring at the computer screen without any real work getting done. If that happens, it’s time to go to bed! My hat is off to you, Mr. MattG! To do this with a wife and kids as well as a job, you are truly a time management master!

Speaking of animation, this week we were supposed to have our assignment switched to spline. The first and last bits of mine are switched, with varying degrees of success, but I ended up reblocking some things in the middle, so they’re still in stepped for this week. This is the final week for this assignment, and I would really love to have a good, polished, demo reel quality piece coming out of it, so crits and comments are welcome as always.

Puke Animation, half-polished.


November 28, 2005

Week 9.5 – Extra Blocking

So, there was some server trouble at AM this week. For anyone who’s not enrolled in Animation Mentor, I just want to say that this is the first time there’s been any sort of big technical woes, and the staff at AM handled things brilliantly, putting in a lot of time over the Thanksgiving holiday to get things back in order. Those of you who are currently studying with AM, I’m just saying what you already know.

Anyway, point being, I had an extra week to refine my blocking, so I added several breakdowns and some more storytelling poses. Now the animation is much closer to what I originally envisioned

Puke Emotion Test – Further Blocking

This coming week will be our first with the animation transitioned to smooth. Look for exciting things! I’m really enjoying working on this one, and appreciate the feedback so far to help improve it. Please, keep it coming.

November 24, 2005

New workflow – More Puking

This week AM put up a video made by the uber-talented Rebecca Perez-Dominguez that detailed her workflow for one of our assignments. I decided to try to use some of her very, very good ideas while advancing my current project.

Her method included drawing all of the main storytelling poses out on paper. Although the final animation will be CG, the paper is super fast for thumbnailing out a pose. Here’s the paper version:
Week 09 Sketches

Next step: Put these sketches into maya with Jason Schleifer’s amazing grease pencil tool. With this I’m able to get the timing somewhat nailed down, and it goes much more quickly than posing the character.

2D Grease-Pencil Blocking.

Once I’m happy with that, it’s time to put in the model and pose him.

3D Blocking.

And it’s as easy as that! Next week I’ll be taking this to a smoothed version, so comments and crits are welcome, as always.

November 16, 2005

Week 8 – Goodbye Push, Hello Emotions

After one final crit, I’m finally putting the Heavy Push assignment to bed. I’m happy with how this turned out, and while I could fiddle with it forever, I’m going to call it instead. It’s done.

Final Heavy Push

This one’s going on the reel.

Now that that’s taken care of, it’s time to start something new. This week we were to block out our 4 main emotion poses. I decided to work on what I will refer to as the puking scenario, which I outlined last time. I actually filmed reference for both the puking scenario and the croquet ball scenario, but over the course of acting/transferring/watching the footage, I decided I couldn’t not go with the puking. I do have one thing to say about this, however. My goal is to make it more funny than gross. I don’t want people to watch it and get ill. With that in mind, I’ll be trying to keep things classy. Well, as classy as possible.

Here’re the first four poses, sans any sort of timing, to get you started:

Puking Scenario Poses

See you next week with the scene much more blocked.

September 7, 2005

Week 11, from Orthographic to 3d

This week I had to make the walk work in 3d, so I had to work with the x-axis as well as the z and y that I had done for the first walk. Luckily, I had a good idea of what I wanted and was able to quickly thumbnail out and get it going in 3d. Here’s the planning sketch, and the 3/4 view shot required for this week. I also threw up a version where you can see the orthographic views, just for help critiquing.
Planning for 3D walk

3/4 view walk

Orthographic view walk

And, of course, a pose. This week, the theme was balance. Here’s the planning sketches and final version of that.
Planning for Balance Pose
Balance Pose

Yo, and that’s it. This is the last week of the first quarter. One last revision aside, this may be it. Second quarter looks very worthwhile, and I’m really looking forward to it.

September 1, 2005

Week 10

Wow…Quarter’s almost over. The week 10 assignment was for a walk with personality, which was lots of fun. I decided to do a walk that conveyed a feeling of tiredness and depressiong. Here’s the planning as well as the final animation.
Planning for the depressed walk
The Depressed-Tired Walk

Once again we had to come up with a character pose. This week’s pose: Exhaustion. Here’s the sketches and the final image. I actually put a shadow in this one, so the character’s orientation to the ground plane could be clearly seen.
Sketches for exhausted pose
Exhausted pose

Finally, revisions from last week’s assignment, as per Scott’s suggestions. The feedback I’ve been getting from him is solid gold! Critiques have been getting longer and longer as the quarter goes on and the assignments get more complicated. He’s been getting really detailed with things that need correction and advice for improving what we already have. So thanks, Scott. Here’s the stuff.

Smooth Vanilla Walk, Revised

And the revised concerned pose:
Concerned pose

And that’s it till next week.

August 21, 2005

Week 9 done

As promised, this week there’s a fully animated version of last weeks walk. The poses aren’t quite the same, due to Scott’s sage wisdom and adjustments that had to be made during the animation process. So without further delay…

Ballie’s Smooth Walk

Also, a new pose for this week. This time, the pose is concern. This one was a little trickier, since everyway I could immediately think of to show concern were in the face. So this one’s a little more subtle than usual, but I may have done it allright. Here are some thumbnails along with the finished pose.
Thumbnails for concerned pose
Concerned pose

And finally, adjustments to last weeks pose. Nothing huge, but Scott pointed out a good way to add a little more interest with an arc through the arms.
Strong pose, revised.

August 17, 2005

Week 8, finally posted

Here’s week 8. This week we had a couple things. First was to block a walk in stepped mode, using the character “Ballie.” The instructions were that the walk was supposed to be “vanilla,” and devoid of personality. Here’s the planning, as well as the clip, in all it’s jerky glory.
Week 8 Planning
Ballie’s blocked walk.

Next week, that will be smoothed out.

Also, we had the pose. This week’s pose was supposed to communicate “strong.”
Week 8 Pose

Finally, revision of last week’s clip. Scott challenged me to make the jump much more cartoony, so I pushed it as far as I could, perhaps too far. You judge.
One leg jumps again.