Sunday, 30 October 2011

What's Inside...?

Sketches for 'What's Inside...?' Poses.

Looked up sneaking in the Animator's Survival Kit because when I first drew a sneaking pose, I unintentionally drew the tip toe sneak pose which I didn't want. I don't think it suits such a long character, though I suppose it would look funnier. I thought a longer pose would suit him better.

I went for the traditional sneak as I thought as a still image it would be more easily recognised and easier to see what he is doing. I think it makes him look less on edge but still trying to distribute his weight as to not make a sound.

Pose 1.

Pose 2.

Pose 3.

Malcolm character courtesy of

Friday, 28 October 2011

Poses Assignment

As said before, I'm not much of a modeller. So I've been playing with a few rigs to see what I like best because I intend to use the same one throughout the rest of the year if I can.

I was going to go for Guy v1.0 (found here) but for some reason I was getting a blue band object across his eyes when rendered. I looked for anyone with the same issue but as I couldn't find any answers I abandoned this one and looked for another.

After going through the few that are on blackboard I settled for Malcolm (found here!). He's got some complex controls but overall it's not too hard to use as there's basic controls and more advanced controls.

I had a go with my first pose out of three for 'What's inside...?'

Pretty Sneaky...

Will upload some sketch work soon.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Ball and Tail: Final

Following the feedback I received earlier today, I have made changes to my ball and tail animation. They're fairly subtle but hopefully they've made a difference.

The feedback was to a) take a few frames out of the first jump, b) the character's landings looked 'cushioned' and didn't have enough weight and c) the tail at the end isn't as soft as the rest of the animation.

I've made changes to reflect the feedback and hopefully it looks a bit better now.

Life Drawing - 24-10-11

Some pictures from my life drawing session last Monday.

I experimented with a pastel stick which didn't really work out very well. The life drawing tutor said I'd have been better off using a pencil pastel as sticks are used more for shading. He also gave me a bit of feedback and said I need to be less concerned with joining all the lines up and just get the curves down.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Ball and Tail: Test 1

Test 1 of the Ball and Tail assignment:

Pretty happy with it so far.
Feedback so far suggests to take out two or three frames at the first jump because it's too long.

Ball and Tail Problem: Solved.

Short post as a note to myself.

My tutor looked at my animation today, particularly the swivelling problem.
Apparently this is caused by the rigging of the tail being made with a 3D chain rather than a 2D chain.

Note to self, 3D chains are harder to control. 2D chains would probably have been better!!

To fix the problem in the animation (without re-rigging the model and starting again) I will have to key ALL frames inbetween the keyframes.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Ball and Tail: Problem - Possible Solution.

Unfortunately my tutor wasn't able to spot the problem. She suggested trying to use the function curve editor to fix the problem. I had tried this but to no success. The problem would still remain even if I deleted the key frames in the unwanted axis and kept the only one I wanted movement in.

After much messing around I finally tried to use Global rotations instead of Local rotations. This seems to have stopped the unwanted swivels. I'm not sure if I had been working in Locals from the start or had accidentally switched half way through but from now I should really check before doing anything.

If I get some free time this week or next I'm going to try messing around with this ball and tail rig in Local and in Global to see if this is actually where the problem is and if switching resolves it.

**EDIT** Scratch that, blogged too soon!! 20 minutes after I posted the same thing happened on Global rotations... guess that wasn't it!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Ball and Tail: Problem.

I've had this happen a few times where a movement would be in the wrong axis. I would want a limb or in this case the tail to move downward in a straight direction (in one axis) and would key it so but for some reason it would move in another axis, looking like it is swivelling into position. This movement is unnatural in some cases and immediately looks weird.
Here is a clip of the problem:

I've tried deleting and re-keying which sometimes works but not always. I've sent this clip and the scene file to my tutor in hopes that she could shed some light on why this happens. Hopefully I'll be able to understand the problem and be able to fix it in the future.

The rig was made by Em Johnson, a class mate. I tried to make my own which didn't work out well and the previous rig that I found online was complicated for what it was and couldn't do certain things that I wanted it to be able to do, such as scale without effecting the tail.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Ball and Tail Rig

Modelling is not my strong point so I have found this rig just in case my attempts don't go well.

I want to have a go at making my own first but wanted to put the link here so I know where to find it again!

Life Drawing

The best pictures from my life drawing sketches this week. I will admit I didn't get much of a chance for a lot of sketching this week but now things have settled down at work, uni and home, hopefully I can get a lot more done.

Attended the life drawing evening class at uni on Monday:

Forgot to put the date on the pages and little notes about the pose but to be honest I wasn't sure what to put anyway as the model was just posing..

I also managed to get a bit of sketching done at the Costa coffee shop in town:

The second time I was in there, I knew I wasn't going to be long so I focused on one lady and tried to sketch as many poses she did as possible... and then she left!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Pendulum: Test 2

After the feedback I've had, I've made the changes suggested and am a bit happier with the results. Still think it needs tweaking but hopefully the feedback tomorrow will help me see where tweaking is needed.

The second drag is still not quite right so I'll remedy that tomorrow after the class 'show and tell' session.

Pendulum: Test 1

I rendered a quick first test of my pendulum for feedback from other students yesterday. I wasn't really happy with it. I thought it was too long and not enough really happened to demonstrate follow through and overlapping action.

I got some feedback on it last night from last year's Masters students who pointed out that the pendulum's swings weren't quite swinging lower than the previous. I agree with this as someone had previously said that the swings 'snap' more than actually swing. I also noticed the second drag isn't quite right either.


I also had feedback about my latest render of the ball animation from previous students. Both say the second arc of the yellow ball needs less air time and the arcs need widening a bit. They also think that the black ball enters too quickly and suggest spacing it out a bit.
Watching the reference of the black ball again, it does seem that the ball does enter really fast but it does not play well in my animation. So I will follow the advice given to me and try and space it out a bit to see if that improves. Another camera angle might also help..

EDIT: Also, I have some sketches I need to upload from the previous week (note to self).

Friday, 14 October 2011

Ball Animation: Test 3

Apparently I've already exceeded my weekly upload allowance at Vimeo so I've had to open a new Youtube account so that I can put more vids on here.

Anyway, after feedback from other students on my course, I've tweaked the animation. Main feedback was the yellow ball's slow down wasn't natural (slowed down too fast) and the 8 Ball zoomed off screen too quickly. I've also rendered from home so the textures are fixed now. I'm pretty happy with this test though it probably could do with some more tweaking. I'm not sure where to go from here so I'm going to leave this and begin the pendulum assignment. I will get feedback on both on Wednesday.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Ball Animation: Work in Prog 2

Here is where I am with the ball animation now. The textures are still not fixed, purely because I didn't render at home where they are. I'm happy with what I have so far but still think it needs some improvement, for example the slow down of the yellow ball. It's doesn't slow down naturally enough. I've been messing around with the fcurves but with no success yet. Perhaps I should re-key that part...

I'm going to post it up on facebook for feedback, hopefully I can tweak it and fix that slow down before Wednesday.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Ball Animation: first W.I.P

Here is the first work in progress video which was rendered a day or so ago. I'd only very roughly plotted the 8 ball's animation and hadn't touched the other ball at this point. Unfortunately the textures I had put into the scene were left on my own computer at home and I had rendered this on a computer at university. This will be sorted out before I start rendering final pieces but for the moment I want to concentrate on the animation.

I have just rendered another work in progress video but it will take a while for me to post it here as vimeo takes half an hour to upload a video (because I don't pay for an account). I'll have it posted here by tomorrow with another reference video that I used.

Presentation: Follow Through and Overlapping Action

I gave my presentation today on my given subject which was 'Follow Through and Overlapping Action'. The presentation was to last a maximum of ten minutes, of which I think mine lasted 3 or 4 minutes. I also ended up using the two videos I found and posted in the previous post (Digital tutors and Disney's Tangled).
I have added the notes that I had put into powerpoint below each slide.

 Slide 1: No Notes

Slide 2:
Nothing all moves at once. When we move ourselves, everything has its own arcs and speed.
Basically means “One part starts first and other parts follow” ~ Richard Williams – The Animator’s Survival Kit.
Overlapping action can effect clothes, hair and loose skin. Can even effect limbs, depending on the pose or action. (Weighting on loose skin can also be referred to as ‘Drag’.)
Picture of Rapunzel and Flynn (Glenn Kean doodle – Disney’s Tangled): If Rapunzel here were to take off running, her skirt would fall behind a few frames due to being effected by Rapunzel’s movement but not an actual part of the action. Same with her hair, some of it will lag behind and fly around behind her. However, due to its length and weight, not all of it will follow suit and drag along the floor.

Slide 3:
Works the same way as overlapping action but opposite. Everything does not start at once, so nothing stops at once either.
Can also effect clothes, hair, loose skin and even limbs. Again depending on the action and weight.
Picture of simple man with javelin (
  After man has completed action (when the javelin has left his hand) the energy does not just disappear, he must follow through. It would look very unnatural if he didn’t and would take away the weight and life out of the animation. Follow through can be done a few different ways. For example, in the picture the man just follows the weight shift and his arm continues slightly. This could be taken to a more humorous level by exaggerating the action which may cause him to fall head over heels following the weight shift.

Slide 4:
Explain pic (from Richard Williams’ The Animator’s Survival Kit)
The starting movement and main action is the turning of the dog’s head. His jowls follow soon after the main action is made. Due to the weight of his loose skin, the jowls ‘drag’ back a little bit/few frames. This gives the sense of weight and realness to the character.
When his head stops, the rest of his skin does not stop at the same time. It still needs to catch up. It should still be lagging behind a bit at this point.
Everything now follows through and rushes forward. This could be taken to a humorous level with some added squash and stretch or exaggeration but here it is simply thrown forward.
The loose skin will catch up and settle back into a resting position. It may swing slightly as it does so.

Slide 5:
Video 1: Digital Tutors: Follow Through and Overlapping Action
Video 2: Rapunzel’s Hair

Slide 6: No Notes

I am now waiting for feedback on how I did.

Personally, I'm not really happy with how I handled myself.  I think I may have rushed a little bit (due to nerves and other stresses at home) and I quickly noticed while watching other presentations that I had forgotten to reference my images and videos on the presentation! I think I could have constructed a better presentation.
Hopefully I will get another chance to do another one where I will be able to improve and make less mistakes!

Follow Through and Overlapping Action: Research 2

I've been trying to think of a good 3D example of follow through and overlapping action. Can't believe it took me so long to think of Disney's Tangled!!

 Her hair is a signature part of the Rapunzel as well as an extension of her character so it was vital they got it right. The way she throws it around and uses it requires plenty of overlapping action and follow through. Take this video as an example. When she travels down her own hair she's going so fast she almost leaves part of her own hair in the dust! And when she suddenly stops just before touching the ground, the weight and 'realness' is portrayed very nicely in the follow through.

I also found this digital tutors video on follow through and overlapping action. It shows the principle very clearly using a 3D rope. This will be quite handy for the presentation and the pendulum assignment.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Ball Animation

I've been working on the ball animation assignment, not quite done yet but hopefully should be done soon. This needs to be done (along with a pendulum animation) by next wednesday... or at least roughly done. I can still tweak it up until I have to hand everything in at the end of the module (in about 8 weeks time).

I have taken some video reference on my poorly focused digital camera which I will put here as soon as Vimeo's finished uploading them. I will also post soon a work in progress vid which is still VERY rough!

My presentation is pretty much done. I will upload that tomorrow once I've given it to the class :)



The light ball is as I thought it would be and should be quite fun to animate. It slows down at the top of the arc which I need to get into the animation.

The 8 ball is interesting because it bounces once or twice and zooms off for a while before slowing down. Usually in my vids it would hit something before it slowed down to a stop but I think I'll have it zoom off screen in the animation.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Follow Through and Overlapping Action: Research

For my animation principles presentation on the 12th, I have to focus on 'Follow Through' and 'Overlapping Action'.

Everything doesn't move at the same time. A character does not stop after finishing an action and then move to do the next. Hair, ears or loose skin, for example, will fall behind a few frames due to only being attached to the main action rather than part of it. How it moves depends on other principles such as weight, sometimes referred to as 'Drag'. This is overlapping action.

To 'Follow Through' basically refers to the movement following a main action. For example, when a character stops moving, everything doesn't stop at once. Any clothes, loose skin, hair or even limbs make take a few frames to catch up and reach their stopping point because they may move individually to the skeleton.

Here is a short, simple video on this principle:

I also looked up the principle in 'The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation' by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston:

I watched 'Mickey's Grand Opera', particularly Donald Duck's movement (though the principle is present in all the characters shown) and you can see that though he holds his position sometimes he doesn't actually stop moving. His arms are usually doing different things from each other and his legs are walking this way and that. By following this principle his movement is much more life-like, or more accurate to how movement works in real life.

Richard Williams' 'The Animator's Survival Kit' very simple but effectively explains Follow Through and Overlapping Action:

For my presentation, I am thinking of including this particular image to illustrate the principle. I have added my own notes over the image below to show the flow of movement. I may draw over the clean image in my presentation as I think that would be the most effective and interesting way to explain the principle.

References in order:
# Animation Training Video. Linked from Youtube, created by
# Pages from 'The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation' by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston.
# 'Mickey Mouse: Mickey's Grand Opera' video. Linked from Youtube, created by Disney, 1936.
# Pages from 'The Animator's Survival Kit' by Richard Williams.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

6 Pages of Life Drawing

These are the 6 pages of life drawing we were asked to do for the next day. I drew these outside the Mima Building in Middlesbrough, Middlebrough Town Centre and in the University Library.
Outside, most people had the same pose because it was a cold day and a lot of people had their hands in their pockets, arms folded or holding their clothes across themselves. It was hard to get everything down so quickly so I know I need more practice.
The main feedback I got from my lecturer, Penny, was to write little notes near the sketches such as 'looking at leaflets' or 'kid annoying people' etc. so that later on when I look back at these I will remember what I was drawing. I've written a few notes down since scanning these images in but already I've forgotten what a lot of people were doing so I'll remember to do so as I sketch them next time!

And it begins..

First day on the Masters course was Tuesday 4th October and I already have plenty to do!

# 6+ pages of sketches from life. (Images soon to be uploaded.)
# Presentation for 12th Oct on an animation principle (Follow Through and Overlapping Action).
# Ball Animation:

"Principles employed: Timing, ease in ease out.

This task lets you explore some basic principles with the simplest of models. Using the 3d software of your choice; animate 2 balls with different physical properties. Such as: a beach ball and a bowling ball or a balloon and a tennis ball. I would like you to explore the difference between how the two balls move. The balls should not have personality at this stage; this is a simple exercise in physics. I would like to see the balls bounce and also hit another simple obstacle such as a box. How this happens is up to you. The balls should have some sort of texture or marking to show rotational movement."

# Pendulum Animation:

"Principles employed: Timing, ease in ease out, follow through and overlapping action.

Create box and a ball and link them together by a three boned chain. The box must be at the top and the ball at the bottom. Move the box and animate the action as the momentum travels down the bones to the ball. The quicker the box moves the more exaggerated the resulting pendulum movement will be. Experiment with moving the box in different ways."