Monday, 30 April 2012

11 Second Club: Final

After making a few tweaks here and there, here is the final render of my 11 Second Animation.

The rendering has taken me a whole 7 hours to do because a) I'm an idiot and I didn't know what I was doing, b) I'd forgotten how to use the Qube render farm and find all the niggly things that the guide doesn't tell you about, c) I had to re-render so many time because I'd rendered with the wrong aspect ratio, failed frames, tweaks to the animation, d) had to wait until the other lovely classmates got in so I could pick their brains.

Massive thanks to the people who helped me and laughed at me when I did something stupid :)

If I can figure out how, I'll enter this into the 11 Second Club competition, mostly for a chance to get some feedback from people than anything else.

**EDIT** - day after - I didn't enter the 11 Second Club competition in the end as it required a specific aspect ratio. That's the really the best excuse but I was so sick of the render farm by then (I'd have had to re-render the animation and battle with the render farm, then battle with adobe premier pro which I'm not very familiar with..) I couldn't bring myself to do it at the time. Kinda regret it now that I've slept but lesson learned. I plan to do these competitions when the Masters course is over so that I keep animating. I plan to enter when I can too :)

The Bricklayer's Disaster

This is one of the funniest student animation's I've seen in a while.

The best thing about it is that they've kept it so simple! They only modelled the things that they needed (i.e. the building, tree, bricks etc) and were essential to the story, nothing else. Another interesting thing is that the story is actually from the Darwin awards which means that you don't have to think of an original idea, you can tell an existing story but put your own spin on it.

 The animation is great too. My favourite parts of the representations of the presence of mind. There's a lovely walk cycle in there that's just fantastic. I like the whimiscal and seemingly oblivious to everything else it adds to the personality. Everything that has been done in the animation just enhances the hilarity of the story.

I'm hoping to carry some inspiration from this simplicity into the final project. Basically where it can be simplified without affecting the story telling, it should be done.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

11 Second Club: More or less done..

Running out of things to do... so I'm going to finish off cleaning up and polishing the animation and then stop touching it (unless someone suggests something) because I don't want to over do it.

Will take this into uni tomorrow to do a final render.

Friday, 27 April 2012

11 Second Club: Auto 2

Fixed the hand. Only a small thing but I noticed and it bugged me.

I'm not sure what else to do with it if I'm honest... I'm still cleaning up but I'm not sure about it. I've sent an email to my tutors with a link to the video. Hopefully they can give me some feedback on it.

11 Second Club: Auto tangent

Put my animation on auto tangent and fixed a lot of the drifting (I hope!)

Hoping that at the very least the majority of the drifting is fixed now. Going to move on to polishing soon.

**EDIT** Just noticed that when Mrs Crawley's hand goes to grab her muscle, it moves way too fast. Gonna slow that down a bit.

11 Second Club: Last linear and drifts!

Last linear playblast. Gave it to my classmates for feedback and they said it was still drifting a bit. This drifting thing is driving me nuts but I'm glad they're telling me about it, even if they're telling me multiple times! I think I know what the problem is; I'm putting what I believe to be holding poses on things that are unnecessary. I need to look into holding poses much more because what I actually seem to be doing is putting in drifts! What an idiot I am!

Massive thanks to my class for all the feedback :)

Anyway I asked them to tell me where the drifting was happening because I've started to hit the blindness and can't see the woods for the trees. They also suggested to put the animation into auto tangent (better than splines apparently! No overshoots!) so that I can see it clearer. I took the advice and yep, plain as day now. So I'm fixing all that now.

Mime: IT'S DONE!!


It's done!

I'm going to make a separate page now for this video and ready for the final 11 second club video, as I have done for the previous modules.

11 Second Club: New reaction

Worked on Mrs Crawley's reaction. Tried to make her look envious of the belt so I hope that comes across alright. I've taken out her jerk back movement and just moved her to follow Grandma's movements.

11 Second Club: Feedback

It was suggested that maybe I should change the reaction to be something more towards disgust or envy (Thanks Scotts!). I agree that this would be the best way to go.
After sleeping on it and looking at the last playblast again, I can agree that it doesn't really make sense for Mrs Crawley to be surprised at the belt.

So today's plan is to:
# change the reaction from surprise to envy (I think envy would be best fitting)
# take out the jerk back movement - have Mrs Crawley's eyes follow Grandma's as she stands up before glancing at the belt
# add a couple of jabs at the beginning as per the reference.

And then hopefully I can put the whole thing into Splines. Hurray!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

11 Second Club: To change or not to change?

After changes made as per suggestion from last post.

I got my partner to watch it and he questioned why Mrs Crawley reacts so much to the wrestling belt because surely she'd already know about it when it's in front of her. He thought Crawley would naturally follow Grandma upwards she stood up.

Now I'm wondering whether to change it to having Mrs Crawley's eyes follow Grandma upward instead, perhaps sparing a glance at the belt. I've posted this playblast and asked the class what they think on facebook. We'll see what they say...

11 Second Club: Linear Test 6

Playblasted this off when I couldn't see anything else to do. I posted it up on the facebook group to get some feedback from the class.

Scott told me Grandma's hands don't reach the belt quick enough and should be on it before she's finished standing. He also said that Mrs Crawley was still kinda floaty.
So I've been working on that.
Will uploaded updated version after it's been looked over again.

Brushing up

I'm coming to a point where I think I'm running out of things to do when I know there's plenty to do. I know when I'm lying to myself. So I've been brushing up on polishing.
Keith Lango has an awesome list of things to think about when polishing here: Click Here!

Here are some tips and bits and pieces from Animation Tips and Tricks blog:
# How Do You Deal With Curves...?
# What Is Your Workflow To Polish A Shot?
# Work Smarter, Not Harder

I've been looking into eye darts too as I'm not very good at them.
Animation Tips and Tricks:
# Eyes and Blinks
# Eyes and Eyebrows

Best thing to do really is watch reference of eyes darting. Someone on the 11 Second Club forum recommended this video, as the lady does a lot of eye darts. Looking at about 2 frame breakdowns for eye darts, second breakdown should favour the final pose. Some people even use 1 frame breakdowns.

While I'm here I've got a couple of other bits of yummy useful things.
# PDF on Body Language
# Webinar on Timing and Spacing <-- really useful!!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Ryan Woodward's Bottom of the Ninth

While I wait for my work to playblast, I'm going to post about animated graphic novels.

Apparently Ryan Woodward (the awesome animator who created the 'Thought Of You' animation I love so much and posted about near the beginning of the year) has announced his first issue of 'Bottom of the Ninth', a graphic novel he is working on. The difference between this and average graphic novels is that his will be animated. The trailer below looks pretty interesting.

The only shame about it is that it will be released for the iPad and iPhone, none of which I own. However it does sound really interesting and I would love to check it out. Maybe this will open new doors for animation.

Source: Cartoon Brew
Website: Bottom Of The Ninth

Maya hides things from me.

It's true.

Rachel R has just told me that you can create an editable motion trail in maya. This is awesome because if you're not sure if something is moving in an arch or something's not quite right, you can bring this up and edit it using said trail.

Why has no one told me about this before???

Anyway, here is how:
#Click on object, nurb, control, whatever you want to see the motion trail of
#On top menu - Animate > Create Editable Motion Trial. Easy.

If Animate is not on top menu; click on scroll box in top left corner and pick Animation. Animate should appear on top menu then.
It should create one for you like this:

#Click and delete to get rid.
This will be incredibly useful and I wish I'd known about it sooner. But isn't that just life? Ha.

Personal Development

Animation Mentor have posted a blog about what key areas of personal development they have seen in successful animators. It's always really nice to see what/how/why successful animators have done to... well, succeed. I firmly believe there's always room for improvement and that applies to yourself too, not just your work. Here are the six key areas:

  1. Be humble. Attitude plays a MAJOR role in your success. Who wants to work with a jerk? I don’t, and I’m sure you don’t. This does not mean that you need to let someone walk all over you, either. Build confidence in who you are, share your thoughts, and respect those of others. Remember, there’s more than your way to tackle a challenge.
  1. Be thirsty. I LOVE this one. It’s also been called “the beginner’s mind.” At Animation Mentor, we call this Continuous Improvement and it’s one of our core values. Never feel like you have “arrived.” There’s always more to learn. When you get stuck, look for ways to pivot your thinking and you will find renewed inspiration.
  1. Share everything you know. There’s a famous quote that states, “It is in giving that we receive.” I really love this and find it so applicable. Those who give comments and share their knowledge are those who seem to accelerate quicker. Those who hoard information only go so far. When you learn something that accelerates your skills — share that knowledge. You’ll be surprised at what comes of it.
  1. Never give up. Don’t lose focus, it’s just a matter of time. This may be easier said than done, yet remember that you cannot ever stop learning, practicing, and growing. Be sure to water your mind and feed it goodness whenever possible.
  1. Beware of the “gremlin voice.” Most likely, there will always be a "gremlin voice" in our heads that expresses our insecurities — and most likely, there’s no way to ever fully turn off that voice. So think about "turning the volume down." If it's blaring at 10 max, then what would it be like to turn it down to a 5? Or even a 7? Over time, learn to identify the voice and slowly begin to turn it down.
  1. Nurture balance. The life of an animator should not be all about the latest animated movie. Those who succeed have a passion for life just as much, or more, than they do for animation. Be sure to cultivate YOU.
My favourite is number 2; Be Thirsty. One of the main reasons I want to get a job with a company is because I want to learn. I love learning. In animation, you can never learn everything there is to learn. There will always be new ways/thoughts/methods to what could be anything. I would absolutely love to just sit and watch a professional work because just by doing that you could learn something. Imagine how much experience and advice you can get by being surrounded by these people.

The one I am already working on at the minute is number 6; Nurture Balance. At the moment, I have to fit in a part time job around my Masters course and I won't lie; it hasn't been easy. I could not do the job at all but I need the money as me and my partner are supporting ourselves. Every little helps. Then I have all my friends who have already graduated and are all in different places (in terms of personal lives and careers as well as actual location) who I want to still keep in touch with. There are other things I want to do. Sometimes it can feel a bit like I'm drowning in all of the things I feel like I'm trying to keep up with while doing my university work. But lately I've just stopped doing that. I realised that I need to have a life. I need to see/do other things because it's from life we as animators get our inspiration and knowledge of how everything works. It's also important to have a goddamn break!

So I've made it something I need to think about from time to time and learn when to recognise that I need to step away from the computer and go outside, see some friends or even just play a video game. Have some fun. That way I can come back to my work, feeling refreshed and ready to tackle it again.

The next one I need to work on is number 5: The 'Gremlin Voice'. I have gotten a lot (a hell of a lot!) more confidence in myself and my work but there are still the times when I'm working and I'm thinking 'this isn't good, no this is rubbish, what if my tutors hate it, what IF I need to change everything, will I have time, I HAVE NO TIME!!' As I've said before, I'm learning when just step away and take a break and this would be one of those times. However, sometimes I come back and though calmer, I'm still thinking about all these things and worrying about my work. I even worry about home life in the background and such things as my sorry looking bank account. The worst worry is what if I don't get a job in animation and all this will be for nothing. I think this is the next thing I need to work on a bit for my own sanity.

The rest I'm mostly already working on. I just wanted to highlight a few and talk about some thoughts that run through my head from time to time.

Link to Animation Mentor's blogpost: Click Here!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Mime: Final feedback

We had a final feedback session today for all of our work for this module (Mime and 11Second).

For the my mime piece, the feedback was mainly move the camera in and down a smidgen and sort out the getting up animation (which actually wasn't intended to be shown, I'd cut that out because a) I didn't want to animate that - being honest! and b) for timing).

But I had a go at animating it but I discovered I would have to move everything on the timeline over to fit it in properly as it still looks light and jumpy - no weight is being shown as it's over way too quickly. You can't even really see the difference:

Test 1

Test 2

I discussed my concerns with Raff, pretty much saying that if I were to animate this properly, I would have to move everything along the timeline and make it all longer, which would mean messing around with the voice acting more. Plus we have a deadline next Monday (30th April) and another animation to do.

We decided it would be best for now to leave it and cut out the getting up, as I had been doing previously. It would have been nice to animate it properly but unfortunately we're too concerned about how much time we have left and the fact we're all still working on the 11 Second Club animation...

Monday, 23 April 2012

11 Second Club: Linear

Both characters are now on linear. I've still only lip syncing one but I have tweaked that a bit and I've added and killed a few key frames here and there to help with timing.

Was a bit worried but the two characters are timed pretty well with each other, particularly when Grandma touches Mrs Crawley's hand.

Shall lip sync Mrs Crawley next.

The Box

Raff has put together a final render of our Mime animations!

Looking pretty sweet :)


Just mooching through youtube while waiting for feedback and I found this cute animation.

It's a pretty cute and simple story with a lovely visual style by some students at the Academy of Art University.
The characters are defined simply but quickly so the audience immediately know who each of the characters are (the Dragon is a gentle boy who loves the Princess, a girl who seems to share the same feelings towards the Dragon, and the Prince who is in love with himself...)
The set up is a school play and a familiar story of the prince rescuing the princess from a dragon. However, the story has a nice and welcome twist where the dragon wins and love conquers all because well, the prince is not a nice character and the audience don't want him to win.

The animation is lovely. There is no dialogue other than a roar and some screams but the animation of the characters tell the story effectively through showing the emotions of the characters and their reaction to the other characters.

I still have much to learn, mostly in polishing my work for a clean and smooth animation as shown in this short.

Linear and Lip sync Test

Put Grandma into linear to see how the timing is working. I've also lip synced her in splines (I like to lip sync straight into spline as I can see the mouth movement clearly straight away, I don't know if that's a bad way to work but at the moment it works for me).

I kinda missed the Malcolm rig while I was lip syncing grandma as Malcolm has a really nice facial rig set up with which I find you can get a cleaner lip sync. I'm new to the Norman rig base so maybe I'm just not used to it but I can't seem to quite get the clean mouth shapes that I could with Malcolm.

Hopefully I've done an okay job for the first go though. I've posted it up on the facebook group for some feedback from my classmates. I hope they can give me some advice on how to perhaps make it a bit better.

11 Second Club: Breakdowns 1

First stage of breakdowns for the 11 Second Club April Competition.

Looking for fully block Grandma's facial expressions next. Also want to get some basic hand movement in there.
Purposefully leaving out lip sync for the moment as personally, I don't really like blocking lip sync in the 'stepped' stage. Mostly because I like to see the movement of the lips at least in linear and if I need to move anything about I stand a chance at messing up the lip sync.
I don't want the chance of that, especially in Maya with which I'm still learning.

Looking forward to seeing this in linear!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Mime: Final 1

First final test with sound and camera cuts. Also includes the footstep sound recording we did last week! Yay!
Sent this off for feedback from my classmates but I'll be leaving it for the time being to concentrate on the 11 Second Club animation.
If I don't get any major feedback I'll be sending this file to Raff who will be putting our animations together for Tuesday.

Some fall tests.

Needed to speed up the fall in the mime animation as it was a bit too slow. Here are a couple of tests that I've just done after making changes.

Last test was still a bit slow, I thought it could stand to be a couple of frames faster.

Pretty happy with it now, going to leave it here for the time being as Team RRR wants to get this done for tomorrow so we have enough time to put it all together for a final show and tell on Tuesday.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

11 Second Club: Camera Tests

Been messing around with the camera to try and get a nice camera movement from the first shot to the last.
After getting feedback from my class mates I ended up using a camera cut when Grandma starts walking.

Test 1: Original Test

Test 2: After adjusting the first shot to hide the belt more and cut to next shot. Also moved the cut to a bit later in the scene (when Grandma starts walking). Got the resolution wrong.

Test 3: No change other than I actually found how to change the resolution. Had it right the first time but didn't set it to the right camera (I am dumb...)

11 Second Club: Blocking!

Done the initial blocking on both characters now:

Going to have a play with the camera, see if I can get a camera movement that works.
After that I'm going to put the break downs in and block with a bit more detail.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Mimes! Splines Test 2

After some clean up and fixing various limb tweaks. Still need to make that fall faster.
Looking good I think but I've hit the 'wall' a bit so can't really see anything that could be improved and I'm sure there is. That's why I sent it to the team's facebook group for critique :)

Mimes: Sound Test

Been playing around with fitting the animation to the sound and basically, something has got to go. Either I leave it as it is, cut the beginning so that the sound starts sooner or take out the extra 'A BOX!' line as I can't really fit everything in.

I made a video of options to show Team RRR for their opinions.

Both thought option 3 (take out the extra line) was the best one. So that's what I will do!

Mime: WIP

Work In progress of mime animation in Splines.
Complete with new voice recording and camera cuts.

Timing is way off now and I need to fix that. There are also some bits and pieces I need to fix and then I can move on to Clean Up.

11 Second Club: First character blocked.

Blocked the first character this evening.

Adapting some of Kyle Balda's blocking method, I blocked the first character using mostly the main controller around the hips. Also blocked the spine, head, wrists and feet when absolutely necessary.

I like this way of blocking and it's actually helping me be more conscious of what I'm doing, as these Norman rigs don't seem to have a key all option anywhere. I've had to block in the rest of the joints where they landed but I intend to block in stages, focusing on different things at a time, rather than everything at once.

This is nearly the shot I want to start at. I want the wrestling belt as much out of shot as possible to be revealed later.
As I don't yet know how to zoom the camera in and out (or anything actually, other than creating one) I playblasted another clip to show the rough shot I want to zoom out to for the reveal.

So far so good, hoping not to annoy Maya.
I want to block a few more things before blocking the next character, which hopefully I'll start tomorrow.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Mime: New Sound Test

Basically, the animation no longer fits the sound recording so I'm going to have to fiddle with the timing. Definitely need to slow down the hand flare thing for the listening pose.

11 Second Club: Reference

Put together the reference clips we shot last Wednesday/Friday

Really useful video I should have posted ages ago!

Because it took me a long time to find it again!

Monday, 16 April 2012

11 Second Club: Work In Progress

Spent most of the day setting up my scene and fiddling with rigs and stuff.

Imported the belt and fitted it to Grandma:

She's well chuffed!
I also modelled another belt with the intention of posing her holding it up in triumph and making a poster out of that to have on the back wall in the scene. Would have to hide it (strategically place it) from the first shot for revealing later at the punchline.
After messing around with the second rig (see previous post!), I imported it, fixed all the things I needed to and posed both rigs ready to start blocking.

I need the shot to be tighter. The characters are too far away and I need the wrestling belt out of shot for the first part. Also need some of the wall hidden so that I can have this poster I intend to put at the back.

If I can sort that out, then I just need to sort out my reference footage and import the sound clip and I *should* be good to go!

**Edit** Also need to sort out lighting and cameras...

Note to Self about Norman Rigs

If any of the controls are not visible (e.g. facial controls), select VIZ Ctrl at the rig's feet and check down the channel box on the right side. If any are '0' (meaning off in Maya), switch to '1' (on). Controls should appear where appropriate. (Source of info: 11 Second Club Forum)

Also, to switch between FK and IK. Same sort of thing, select the EX controls near feet or hands (kinda like control vectors in Softimage) and use '0' or '1' to switch. '0' for FK and '1' for IK. (Source of Info: 11 Second Club Forum)

The romain database website mentions that there is a common problem with the Norman rigs and that is sometimes parts of the geometry don't render. This is apparently because the visibility of those parts have been turned off. To turn them back on, select the geometry that isn't rendering (it appears fine in the viewports), hold down SPACE BAR > Window > Rendering Editors > Rendering Flags. All the objects in the scene appear in the window, scroll down to find the ones you have selected (will appear highlighted so long as you don't deselect the geometry) and make sure Visibility and Primary Visibility are 'on'.

In hindsight, this may have answered the same problem I had with the Morpheus rig when the skin was not showing up in the render view. The more you know...

Can't believe it's taken me about an hour to figure this out!! Gaah!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

11 Second Club: Scene building

Spent some more time on building the scene today and imported it into Maya. Had to recolour everything and smooth out the geometry again and do some other general tidying up but should be all good now.

I referenced in the Old Norma rig into the scene and resized a few things. Haven't gotten her wrestling belt done just yet but I'll be working on that next.

Here's a WIP Picture :)

Lion King - Reflections

Massive thanks to Em for posting this on the facebook group! We all need something to remind us why we love animating occasionally.

I remember going to see the Lion King when it first came out in cinemas (Wow, back in 1994!!) and being amazed. I didn't know anything about animation at that age or even that I could be doing that but I think that made it feel more magical to me at the time.

I saw it again last year with the Masters Class (we went for a 2D showing, we didn't want to see it converted into 3D!) and it was still amazing. I suppose I was always inspired by Disney movies from a young age but I didn't really know what to do with said inspiration. Now that I have a direction in life when I watch these movies, I know I'm in the right place :)

Yay inspiration!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Bit of building, bit of messing about.

Spent some time today to start building the scene for the 11 Second Club animation. It's basically a trophy/living room sort of room.

Still have to add more trophies and hopefully a poster and another wrestling belt in the background and we'll be good to go. Trying to keep the scene as simple as possible but with the necessary things in the background.

Also been messing about with another Old woman rig.

I like this one better than the other one as she looks more gentle than the first one. I think this one can still look like she means business but at the same time have that Grandma look about her. This is actually based on the Norman Rig, same at the first rig I was looking at, so it works the same. Still getting used to it. I think the challenge is really going to be in the lip syncing because the lip controls are kinda hard to select and then kinda weird to use. Maybe I'm missing a trick but I'm sure I'll get used to it.

We've been shooting reference this week so I'll have that up as soon as I've put it all together.

Extreme facial expressions.

It was mentioned to me by my tutor a while ago to exaggerate the facial expressions on my Mime character and referred to the movie The Mask for reference.

I've been trying to get hold of it but using Youtube clips for the time being. However, I came across this load of pictures of Jim Carrey doing what he does best. Posting here for reference later!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Mysteriously broken wrist.

Sometime while I was blocking in the revised explosion actions, the right wrist broke and animated at an odd angle all the way through the animation. Had to correct every key frame but it's done now.

Clip is without camera cuts and sound because I wanted to show all the things that are happening this time. The camera cut will cut out the awkward animation between lying down position and sitting up position.

James Harris came in yesterday to record our final version of the sound and now I need to adjust the timing of my animation to fit it.

There are also a few things I need to fix such as the end walk off stage. It was rushed so that we could combine our animations for James to see so only the rough timing is down, it still needs breakdowns.

Noticed a couple of freak outs from different limbs of the character, will fix that now.

Also, I need to swap around the part where the character is first defining the box so that the hands define the bottom before the top, rather than the other way round as it is now. Just so that it makes sense and that the mime box doesn't defy gravity. Not even mimes can defy gravity.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Scanning Done!

Finally able to scan.

Updated some posts with the appropriate images:

11 Second Club Idea

Revised Explosion

Observational Drawing from Spring break

Finally been able to scan my drawings, was supposed to last Wednesday but I fell ill. Never mind, here they are now!

Had a go at sketching an environment because I don't like drawing them, I feel they are one of my weak points and the only way to overcome that is to just draw life. This is at Maze Park near the Newport bridge.

WIP Vid for Show and Tell today.

Just a work in progress vid for showing the class today, with camera cuts but no sound. It's only up to explosion because I'm halfway through working on the bits afterward.

Will write later about any feedback.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Ticking Test 4

Another test playblast after previous feedback.

Looking better :)

Moving on to the revision of the explosion now though, will make changes to this later if needed.

Feedback for Ticking Test 3

I showed the classmates the last ticking test for the mime animation and they agreed it needed to be more subtle.

Kristian pointed out that the face would be the selling point of this part of the animation.
The character is currently looking up to the left, imagining what it could be inside the box. He suggested what if the character squints his eyes a bit and perhaps lifted a part of his lip to look like he's really concentrating on what he's listening to.

I really liked this idea so will definitely try it out!

11 Second Club: April

Our second animation is this month's 11 Second Club competition, as I mentioned.

I was going to scan some sketches and a storyboard in today but since the university library's colour printer/scanners are ALL out of order and the other university buildings are closed... I'll have to update this post tomorrow/wednesday.

I've got a fair few things to scan that were supposed to be done last Wednesday but I caught a bad cold from someone at work the night before and spend that day curled up on the sofa being all shivery and owie... So, will get scans done tomorrow or Wednesday. Hopefully.

So! My idea for the 11 second club animation. Voice one shall be a grandma who runs an over 60s wrestling club and Voice two is a plucky young woman who wants to be part of the club (she knows it's for over 60s, her own grandmother is a member, but she tries anyway).

Voice two has just finished telling Grandma that she wants to be part of the club and that she can take anyone down, she's got her fisticuffs on playfully when the scene starts.
Grandma is a patient woman and looks kindly on 'Mrs Crawley' but isn't interested in letting the young woman compete in the club. After all, she's not over 60!
She lets Mrs Crawley down gently and stands up as she says that things are best left to the professionals. As she stands up, she reveals she's wearing a championship belt. She heads towards the door (camera is steadily zooming out revealing the room and the wall of trophies in the background) while saying she has to go and warming up her shoulders and then leaves the room. Leaving Mrs Crawley to look about at the trophies.

That's the gist of it. Sketches to come soon!
**EDIT** Updated with sketches

Stuff to scan:
# Dialogue Storyboard
# Character Profiles/Sketches
# Observational drawings from spring break
# Explosion revision sketches.
**EDIT** Stuff scanned.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Ticking Test: Feedback and test

Classmates thought hands were the best thing to tick with and that it would look better ticking side to side.

Here's the test to try it out. It's a bit floaty because for some reason, even though I copied and pasted the frames, Maya insists that they're different and should move when I wanted a pause.

Could do with being more subtle and possibly another one squeezed in but we'll see what the classmates think.

Ticking Test

I realised that I completely forgot to sort out the ticking mime.
Having sound was inconsistent with Raf and Rachel's animations so I'm testing ways of miming the ticking so that the sound can be taken out.

The only ideas we've really had are ticking the hands or head. I've done both for testing and am about to post them both on our Masters facebook group for votes.



I don't really know which to go for as both do the job but I've looked at the character so much now that I can't really decide what's better. My head's still a bit lazy from my cold too so that doesn't help.

3rd Set

Gone through another set of 200 frames.
There wasn't a lot to fix here but I added extra keys here and there.

On to the more difficult bit; the explosion. My idea is make it a smaller explosion and not have him thrown off screen as it's too difficult to mime. I have some sketches but no access to a scanner right now so I'll edit this post when uni opens again (closed for Easter Bank Holiday weekend).

**EDIT** Scanned sketches of revised explosion.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Fixing more things.

Fixing the wrist freak out was easier than I thought it was going to be. I thought Maya was going to make it as difficult as possible but no, deleted a breakdown frame, problem fixed. Then keyed another so it actually moved the way I wanted it to. Done. ... Wow, must be getting better at this Maya thing.

Anyway, second lot of 200 frames done. Same as before, fixed some things, killed some children, added some frames where needed.

Fixing things

I went through the first 200 frames of the linear animation, fixing the walk and doing a bit of clean up as I go (which just me deleting frames that are no longer necessary or re-keying some things that have gone weird).

The walk is now about fixed. Won't do any more to it until the splines stage. Looking a lot better now, the feet are slipping about much less and the animation is generally a bit tidier than it was.

I'm going to wait until splines before I go any further with it because it's now about the timing and the slow in slow out principle, both of which would be easier when I can see the f-curves.

Moving onto the next 200 frames though and I have this little problem to fix:

I have no idea why this happens (I think it may be something to do with the way I move the joints while blocking - could be wrong) but this isn't the only time it's happened, there are a few 'spazz-outs' here and there. Should be fixable by deleting and re-keying some of the frames.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Malcolm FK/IK controls.

Basically there is no switch between them as far as I can find out. All the controls are already there on the picker.

However, as you can see on my screen capture above, the hand IK has been left behind... According to the AnimSchool forums, you need to press the 'b' button next to the IK control if you want them to follow the rig. I don't know if they will permanently follow or if you need to click on it every time (forum does not say) but obviously I should have done this from the start. Clicking on the b button now does nothing. The FK2IK and IK2FK switches also do nothing (red error message appears at the bottom of Maya window).

Now that I understand a bit more about what I'm actually looking at, it appears I've been animating the feet and knee vectors in IK and everything else in FK. Admittedly, my understanding of IK/FK is pretty shocking. I don't really know the advantages of animating in either and the only difference I know is that once you key something in IK that control stays where it is in space and is not affected by other controls while FK controls are affected by other controls. I really ought to learn more about it.

Anyway, as far as I can tell so far, this is just untidy and might make some things difficult for me. However, it *should not* be too much of a problem to carry on with the way I've been animating. Should remember this for the next assignment I start though.

Update on mime animation. Walk is just about fixed. Working on the first 200 frames, thoroughly sorting out any problems. I plan to work this way through to the end and then back through it again on splines unless there's a reason it's too early for splines.

Other Resources:
11 Second Club forum

Playing with Rigs

While I get over being a sicky, I've been browsing some rigs to use in the next animation assignement which is the 11 Second Club April competition.

The dialogue is two women. Here is the transcript:

Voice One: "Please don't think we're ungrateful for your enthusiasm, Mrs Crawley, but there comes a time when things are best left to the professionals."

Voice Two: "But I..."

Voice One: "And now I really, I really must go. Good day."

I haven't really had any ideas yet but I wanted to have two old women play the parts which I've found on a Norman rig database someone has made:

The rigs seem simple enough to use, though I find the lip controls a bit weird but hopefully I can get used to them.

...Or maybe voice two could be a young woman. Applying for some kinda grandma wrestling match. But obviously the grandmas are the professionals... hmm...

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Mime Feedback 03-04-12

Took notes from the feedback from class today:

# Perhaps zoom the camera in slowly to create tension when the bomb is ticking.
# Walk - fix it. Feet are slidy.
# Try ticking the head or hands for ticking effect. Experiment using no sound.
# Explosion needs to be snappier. (I can see a lot of movement that needs to be snappier!)
# Timing. Sort it out.
# Technical issues with FK and IK. Try and sort it out.
# Body too still when moving the box.
# Sound is inconsistant with the others' animations. Try to take out ticking and explosion.

There are a fair few problems created by the Malcolm rig's FK/IK functions. Mainly that I cannot tell what it's on because they don't change at all and there seems to be both of the functions on the control picker. I shall investigate using the power of the internet and AnimSchool Forums.

I'm thinking about revising the explosion action completely because there is no way I can think of the make the movement make any sense. There's no visual explosion so it is hard to see what's flinging the character about and the present anticipation and jump I have now are confusing whether there is even an explosion or not.

My first idea is to have the character bring himself back in a bit after cutting the wire (anticipation) and flinging his arms out to mime the explosion, perhaps windmill them once and then drop to the ground. The camera wil stay where it is and the audience will see the character's feet up in the air from the ground. I'm going to draw it out tonight and try and get some reference tomorrow.

Monday, 2 April 2012

3 in 1s!

Raff's put together our linear animations for feedback from the class tomorrow.

Think it's looking pretty good but there's so much I need to sort out with mine. It feels way to slow in places and it looks like the character snaps from his 'pssssh' pose to starting to define the box. I know there's a couple of rig 'freak outs' in there but hopefully they will be ironed out as I move on to splines where I can see the curves better.

Basically just continuing to work on it.

I don't think I posted the 3 in 1 video for our blocking stage so I'll put that here:

We've also got our second animation of the module to do: a clip provided by the 11 second club competition (April's competition). Not sure what I'm going to do for it yet but I'll be thinking about it and speaking to our tutors on Wednesday.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Brave and La Luna

Two things I am REALLY looking forward to seeing this year; Brave and the new Pixar short to be shown with it, La Luna.

La Luna looks absolutely stunning! The environment is gorgeous and the animation is amazing. This was the level of beauty I wanted to achieve in my Final Year Project (only in 2D, as my FYP was in 2D). My FYP was also similar to this, involving stars. We don't know if the stars in the short are sentient or are going to be characters but it feels like the focus is going to be on them or one of them and the little boy.

Definitely an inspiring trailer for me already!

Brave looks just as stunning. It's really nice to see Disney Pixar try out different styles and cultures. Merida looks like she's going to be a headstrong character indeed, not your typical princess who wants a Prince Charming and live happily ever after in romance (not that there's anything wrong with a princess that wants that!) The animation looks awesome as always. There are two trailers but I picked this one because I really liked Merida's hand animation when the camera's close up on it holding and letting go of the bow.

Looking forward to both of these! Will blog again with more to say when I've actually seen them.