Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Jump: Fight scene Blocking

Here's where I'm up to in blocking the fight scene so far..

I've been blocking Aaron as well as it is much quicker and easier to get the timing down straight away as there is a LOT of character interaction in this scene. It is probably the most difficult scene we're going to animate.
Since I'm not so savvy with Morpheus as Rachel is, she's going to go through it and tidy up Aaron's poses and make changes here and there where necessary. Quite happy with the work so far but it can stand to have much more work done to it but the foundations are down now which is what we really needed. Saving now and sending to Rachel.

Here are the sketches I've done for the headlock part of the blocking. We had reference for that part so I sketched the key poses I wanted.

Rachel's Blog

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Jump: Updated Progress Animatic

Rachel's been doing an excellent job of keeping our animatic up to date with all the most recent work we've been doing. Here is the most updated one so far.

 We've now added the 2D clouds (Option B won outright) and I have to say I am very surprised at how much the overall look of the animation has improved. I didn't see it before but not only were the 3D clouds distracting they were also blending the animation together too much. The 2D clouds now look like they are in the background and are much more subtle than the previous clouds, allowing the focus to be on the characters which now seem to pop out a lot more.

I'm also glad I made them transparent because they look amazing when they go through the 'Jump' title (or when the 'Jump' title goes through the cloud). I do need to draw some more clouds from another angle for when the characters jump out of the plane but that's not urgent right now.

Rachel's Blog

Jump: Tree Scene Blocking

Blocked Malcolm in the last scene.

Going to pass the file on to Rachel so that she can block Aaron. Here's the sketches I did for the blocking. The sketches stop before Malcolm falls because the reference was a bit different to what Malcolm could do in the scene (branches were a bit closer than the 'branches' in the reference footage). I still used the reference for timing but I had an easier time working it out in Maya straight ahead as I could see the space I had to work in better.

Next I'll be blocking Malcolm in the fight scene.

It was suggested that we take individual control of some scenes (for example, I take control of this scene and say Rachel controls the fight scene) and block the entire thing ourselves. The main reason was so that we didn't have to pass it back and forth for timing and changes.
We've thought about it and decided that we were happier doing it this way, even if it's maybe a bit unorthadox. We've already started working the way we're working now (I primarily block Malcolm and Rachel blocks Aaron) and we discussed each other tweaking each other's timing or making minor adjustments to the other character and have agreed that it's fine to do so. So far we've had no problems working in this way. And as they say 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'.

Rachel's Blog

Monday, 23 July 2012

Jump: Clouds

The 3D clouds were distracting in the previous renders so it was suggested we go for a 2D background that would blend in with the overall scene better. I've rustled up a few different attempts at a 2D cloud background with the intention of picking one and using it in our scenes.

I dislike D. the most and like B. and C. the most. Rachel likes B. and C best too. I think I'll post this up on the Masters facebook group and see what the others think..

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Jump: Reference for last scene

Clipped together some reference for the last scene (Tree scene). I'm going to go through and draw the key poses I want for the blocking stage.

I've started making a point of going through the reference and drawing the poses I think I'll use for the blocking. It helps me picture the character in the pose and I seem to notice the smaller movements better when looking at the reference closely. I'll think that I quite liked the curve of that movement or that it wouldn't work for the character and change it slightly. Basically I feel that I analyse the animation and plan a lot better if I take the time to go through the reference frame by frame and draw what I see.

Rachel's Blog

Jump: Swim Trick blocking

Completed the swim trick blocking after fixing the arm. Might try to block another trick if this one isn't working but for now I'm going to move on to blocking the last scene as the blocking stage needs to be done soon.

 This still needs more breakdowns to get a better idea of how it's going to look. However the animation needed for making the characters look like their falling through the air is a lot of flapping about and if I blocked that now it'll look weird and distract from the character acting as this stage. I'll leave that until we add the final breakdowns before moving on to splines.

Rachel's Blog

Saturday, 21 July 2012


During feedback this week, it became apparent that the hand stand trick was pretty weak compared to the rest of the poses. It wasn't really better than the previous pose so it was suggested to try something else.
Two things suggested were a swimming trick and a bigger, better back flip perhaps with more flare. Here's a WIP of the swimming trick and the quick stick man sketches I did to work it out.

 As you can see, the arm's shoulder rotation has skewed. It's possible that I've knocked something and not realised until now, I can't find a way to fix it. To be honest, I'm not sure IK is really the best way to blocking the arm animation. I think I could get better results blocking in FK as I could control the upper arm, lower arm and wrist better, rather than control the entire arm from the wrist and using elbow vectors. I think this would achieve a better 'floaty' (not as in drifting but as if in the air, later I will building upon the blocking to look like it's being affected by air rushing past) this way. Since I would have had to re-block the arm anyway due to not being able to fix the skewed rotation in one go, I decided to get rid of the blocking on both arms and re-block in FK to see if I could get better blocking.


Arm is now fixed and I've got both arms almost as blocked as they were before. They both need more breakdowns but I wanted to get the first round done so that I could finish blocking the trick. Breakdowns will be added at another time. I think I've achieved a better blocking already, though the timing needs to be refined and it will look better once I've finished blocking the rest. I think Malcolm's left arm definitely looks better when he pulls out the sign. I remember having trouble with that part when blocking in IK. This time I was able to get a nice arc movement in the elbow and wrist and therefore the sign as well. Smashing!

 Next I need to finish blocking his trick and sort out the timing. Then I will be done with this scene for the time being (unless there are problems, as always) and move on to the last scene for blocking.

Rachel's Blog

Jump: Last 'Dare' Blocking

Completely forgot to post this update last week before I left to visit family! Basically, me and Rachel decided it would be best if she re-adjusted Aaron's timing after I'd finished blocking Malcolm according to the reference timing. Here is where I got to before passing the file on to her:


 When I got back she had gotten this far!


 She'd also put it together with the other video files and animatic as we were suggested to from the feedback


 It is much better viewing the whole thing like this as we can see how it works together all the time, making it easier to see if anything isn't working or something could happen differently. Unfortunately I haven't scanned the remaining sketches for my blocking so watch this space and I'll get those up asap.

Edit: Scanned in the sketches!

Rachel's Blog

Monday, 9 July 2012

Jump: Blocking 'dare' test 1

Here is the first playblast test I did to have a look at the characters' timings. I used the edited reference for timing but Aaron was blocking without reference (we didn't have it at this time). The characters at the moment are out of sync so we have a few options which I've just posted up on our facebook project page to discuss with Rachel. We need to tweak the timing on one of the characters. Basically we either tweak Malcolm to respond to Aaron's timing or tweak Aaron to match the reference material. Then it comes down to either I shift the keys about while I work on this scene or finish Malcolm and let Rachel have the file back to tweak herself. The only difference will be how long I work on this file for. I honestly don't mind either way but as it is Rachel's work I would rather she decide.

 Here are the sketches I've done so far which are what I used to decide my key poses and block Malcolm up to where I've got to. I will be continuing this way. To draw these key poses, I looked for good pose in the reference material and sketched them down as Malcolm.

There's a lot more detail to these sketches because I had reference to look at and I was noting/sketching down some of the small movements that I particularly liked. This will be very helpful when it comes to putting in the breakdowns and going on to linear as I will be able to better animate natural movements.

Jump: 'Tricks' Sketches

Yaaaay got to a scanner! These are the sketches I did for the 'tricks' scene I was working on. There's not a lot of detail other than the key poses I thought I wanted because our supervisor thought it would be best to just go for it on this scene. I ended up adding and/or changing some things because I thought it worked better otherwise. I'm glad I just went straight ahead with this scene and went into linear probably sooner than usual because it made it easier to create breakdowns between the key poses to keep an airy and floaty animation.

There are a lot of notes on this however because there were certain things I wanted to remember for creating Malcolm's posing. For example, I felt it was important that Malcolm's arms were as straight as they could get when he flings them down in anger. It gives a good 'looney tunes' feel to the animation plus his arms need to be that straight to look like he's resisting the air (by locking elbows).

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Progression shots

This progression shot from Tangled was posted on our facebook Masters page and I came across another one from Ice Age.

Progression of an Animated Shot: Gothel & Rapunzel Disney's Tangled from Jamaal Bradley on Vimeo.

Ice Age Animation Walkthrough - Jeff Gabor from Stewart Jones on Vimeo.

The level of detail that goes into blocking is incredible. I love watching these progression shots because to see industry level work is amazing and invaluable. The biggest thing I want to take from watching these and put into my own work is definitely more detailed blocking. I believe if I put more breakdowns in my blocking (where necessary of course, more everywhere is just going to clutter it and make more work for when I need to polish it) I can get a better grasp on timing and a better looking final animation.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Jump: Edited Reference

Just posting up the edited reference I'll be used to block the 'dare' scene.


 Also I've realised that I haven't put up the pose sketches for the previous scene so I'll get them scanned and upload asap. Watch this space! Rachel's Blog

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

JUMP: Feedback

I showed the last playblast I did and Rachel's blocking from the first scene at the feedback session today.

It went well, our tutors seemed happy with what we had so far. I took some notes from the feedback everyone was giving me and I typed it up for Rachel, here is what I wrote:

# They thought the clouds may have been too distracting and think a 2D background would be better, less intrusive. So I'll refer back to the tests I did and mock up some backgrounds.

# It was suggested by Siobhan that we edit what we've done with the animatic in future, so they can always see the full picture. If that makes sense?

# It was also suggested that we consider helmets or something to help with the falling illusion (flappy straps I'm guessing). Basically stuff to wobble about I think.. I'm unsure about what else we could do but I said we'd consider it.

# Just said to consider the camera (that was aimed more at mine, since I hadn't cut it or anything ~ I explained how we were planning to cut the shot which was why Siobhan suggested editing with the animatic just to make it clearer).

# Definitely consider dialogue ~ they really liked the reference, particularly the shouting over the fan.

# Timing (more aimed at mine but without the cutting it did seem slower than it should, also explained that and they understood - again edit with animatic)

# They were happy with yours and are looking forward to seeing both the characters move.

Hope that made sense, if something doesn't just ask 
Penny mentioned something about being away in August, sometime around the 6th - 24th... just a heads up really.

Useful thing the examiners said about last years dissertation reports is that they weren't reflective enough. So we need more 'why I did this' rather than 'what I did'. So basically more reflection and critical analysis. Word count is 10,000. I think it was mentioned you can go up to 14,000.
The two reports Penny sent us are the best to look at, both were A grades.

...I think that was about it.

I also spoke to Penny about the project specification we have to write. I've already written a rough go and she said I should outline how we're going to go about researching the topic i.e. look at what other animators have done and realism vs. cartoons. I shall get that done and sent to Penny for feedback by the end of the week.

We need to start thinking about the written part of our final project which is a 10,000 - 14,000 document. I'm putting off starting it until I go to see my parents next weekend as I won't be able to animate while there so I'll be doing that instead. Here is a list of things I need to look into again for research which needs to go into this document:

# Skrat from Ice Age - particularly when he falls.
# Wile E Coyote - 2D and 3D
# Possibly Rio, for the background character hand gliding - slightly different to skydiving but the air affecting the character still applies.
# Tex Avery
# Animations other people have done (skydiving)

# Point break - skydiving scenes.
# Power Rangers - skydiving scene.
# Youtube videos of people's skydiving experiences.

#Skydiving information - websites etc. For technical details.

Rachel's Blog

Monday, 2 July 2012

Jump: Linear Test 8 - Fixed

Fixed the problem in the previous post!


 Couple more things popped up while I was fixing Malcolm's rotating through himself. The head and one of the wrists acted the same way. The problem was me rotating them the wrong way (shame on me!). Another factor was that for some reason the rig disagreed with the back flip, it probably stemmed from my rotating parts incorrectly but when I deleted some keys and redid them it still behaved odd. To fix it I had to put in a lot more breakdowns than normally required to keep it on its path. Note to self; watch which way you rotate joints! I think I've reached a point where I can stop now and Rachel has also hit a dead end with her file so we're saving and swapping. The only things that need fixing on Malcolm in the 'Tricks' file (the one I've been working on) is the few hiccups and shakes in the linear animation and the timing could do with adjusting, especially around the end. These things can be done when I get the file back for further work. I'm going to work on the file Rachel has been working on ('Dare' file) as she's reached a point where she can't adjust the timing any further without Malcolm's blocking (for his reactions etc). Rachel's Blog

Jump: WIP - whoa...

Here's a work in progress video!


 I'm pretty sure you can guess what I'll be fixing next... wasn't expecting that to happen! It looks like I've rotated it incorrectly during the blocking stage (my first guess) or there's not enough breakdowns so it's chosen the shortest/fastest way between the keys. Either way, it's my mistake (schoolboy error) and I'll be fixing that now. Hopefully it won't be too problematic. If it is it should be a case of deleting the entire key and re doing the whole pose but I can't see it going past deleting just the hip keys at most... I could be wrong though, I am no maya wizard yet. The way the sign is taken out needs to be fixed too as the rotation is off. More breakdowns should be enough to remedy this. I'll be switching the last 200 frames or so back to stepped so I can block in more breakdowns. I could have just fixed everything and then playblasted the animation instead of showing my mistakes but I think it's just as important to document your mistakes as it is your successes. I'll bet even the best animators still make silly mistakes here and there and if not they will have done once upon a time. They learned from it and that's exactly what I'll do now. Get better. P.S. Plus, I did not see that coming so I laughed when Malcolm just defied biological sense and rotated through himself. I'm sharing the laughs! Rachel's Blog