Friday, 2 November 2012

Blog Catch Up - Spec Anim

I finally got around to updating my blogs colour scheme, still have a little work to do on the banner and a slideshow of work to add but it's almost there.

We've just started our next project in uni, which is the pre-production work for our major project so there'll be plenty of thumbnails and animatics etc coming up. Before that though, I think I should catch up on the spec anim module I handed in on Wednesday.

In week 1 we were introduced to Maya and had to do a simple bouncing ball sequence using a light and heavy ball in order to get used to the software. Once that was done we also had to do a ball bouncing around an obstacle course. I didn't find this part that difficult since I've used Maya before. Getting a really nice bouncing ball animation though is always quite tricky.

In week 2 I managed to get the brief tweaked so that I could spend the week rigging a quadruped in Maya. having not much rigging experience and being the first time rigging in Maya I found this quite a challenge but also quite fun to do. There are a few things I could do with fixing on my rig but they've taught me what I need to know next time.

In the final week of spec anim we were introduced to another new piece of software called Motionbuilder. Motionbuilder allows you to manipulate motion capture data and turn it into a sequence you like. For this project we had to blend 4 mo-cap pieces together along with our own piece of animation. Once that was done we had to tweak the sequence and give it a different mood (eg. tired, angry). This was the most difficult and frustrating part of spec anim since the motionbuilder rig is not designed for ease of animation.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

New Uni Year

Uni has started again and it looks set to be a busy but interesting year. For the first week we had to decide what we want to do for our major project this year. The major project will cover most of the year so it’s very important to figure it out early on.

We each have to complete 4 projects for the major project, for each of which the practical work will take 4 weeks. The pre-production is done awhile before that but it’s easier to find out now how you want to spend the third and final year.

As for me, I’ve decided to join in three collaborative projects and work on one personal project. The personal project will be to animate and possibly rigging some interesting quadrupeds. I was thinking of looking into cats, squirrels and deer’s as they all have interesting ways of moving.

Collaborative project #1 is a game project which at this moment is referred to as the “Fae Game Project” and will possibly be called “Echoes”. This game is set to be a third-person action game in which you play a fae character that has to help a human girl get back to her world. The game will be run in Unity and has quite a large team working on it. I will be doing animation on this project on a centaur, a wyvern and a small section of the girl. As I want to head towards creature animation, I’m quite excited for this project as it gives me an opportunity for creativity with animating creatures that don’t exist.

Collaborative project #2 is another game project with the working title of “Form Wars”. It’s a turn based strategy game in which the player tries to take over as many tiles on the board as possible and summons creatures in an effort to defeat the opposing king unit. In this project I’ll be doing rigging and animating of whatever needs to be done. I will also have to learn how to create game engine friendly animations so that it can be run smoothly.

Collaborative project #3 is a short VFX film project. It involves a CG animal being placed into a real city street scene and walking down the street possibly interacting with people in the street. In this project, at the moment I’m the only animator but there is a possibility of getting second-years in on this project too and extending it.

As I said before, a busy but interesting year. I also have a dissertation to write this year but I’m planning on linking that in quite strongly with my practical work so that should make things a little easier.

I’ll post more on these projects as I work on them.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Horsing Around (I'm sorry..)

I apologise for the title, I just couldn't resist. Next update is the Rhett horse rig I was working with on Maya. Hadn't used Maya at all before this, so considering that I think it went pretty well.

I did three horsey animations. A walk and gallop cycle and a horse standing one. The cycles were fairly easy to do, especially with the help of The Animator's Survival Kit and Muybridge's photos.

I'll also be doing a horse trot in my spare time to complete the set, so that'll be fun to do. Although I will have to learn how to set up a lighting system in Maya. (As a said before, this is my first time using it and it took long enough to figure out how to animate and render - Learning to light on it is next on my to do list).

Horse Standing. Quite a challenge to do. Didn't get it quite as much as I would have liked but I'm pretty proud of it on the whole.
Horse Gallop. Due to the speed of the gallop it can be quite difficult to see any mistakes in the animation - which is both a blessing and a curse. Scrolling through the animation frame by frame and slowing the speed of it down was the only way to catch any flailing limbs.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

It's Your Lucky Quarter...

I had to do this two-person dialogue piece as part of work for uni. The dialogue is from No Country for Old Men. It was challenging to animate to, especially the lip-sync as they talk so fast.  The benefit of the fast talking is that you can put less key frames in for the speech as the eye wouldn't be able to catch all the movement anyway.

I'm pretty happy with the way it came out, I know there's a few things wrong here and there, but time was not always a friend on this piece. (I don't think time is ever a friend if deadlines are around).

Dialogue pieces are my weakest point, so I hope to work and improve on them if I get a chance.

Over and out.

Friday, 22 June 2012

In the Summer Time..

Hi Again,

I've been busy lately sorting out my imminent move to Cardiff so things have been a little slow on the blog front. As of next month though I will be in my new place - hopefully unpacking the pc first to get on with animation!

Lately, "Project Dragon" has slowed to a crawl as I've been focussing my attention on my personal projects. I will make some starts on turning the animations into a film very soon though so watch this space!

As for my personal projects, I've been animating a 2 person dialogue piece on 3DMax which is proving quite long and challenging at 350 frames. I'm finding that limiting the frame number to say frames 0 - 50 and then blocking those before continuing to the next part quite helpful. I'll hopefully be posting the full blocked out version up soon.

For my other personal project, which is the main one I've been working on lately, I've been creating a set of creature animations on Maya. Now, this is my first time using Maya so it's very challenging to say the least, still I'm happy with all I've managed to complete so far and should be posting one of the completed cycles on here as soon as I've figured out how to render videos!

 Rhett rig by:

As you can see I'm using the non-commercial rig of Rhett the Clydesdale which is so fun to use. It can be found here: if you would also like to play with it or challenge yourself to get a nice horse gallop cycle going.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Second Try!

What with the deadline for the project fast looming I completely forgot I even had a blog.. Oops..

Personally things aren't going so well but the animation is getting back onto track now finally. Deadline is officially this friday but i'll hopefully be getting mitigating and get to hand in a little later.

Which takes a load off the mind...

On the film directing front though, things are coming together smoothly. I've found that writing lists of who's doing what and which element they are doing as well as how far along they are very helpful. (Example being: Sean; Animation; Man walking; Almost done) Although using tables makes this alot neater and easier.

I also find with deadlines looming that things tend to go a  bit pear-shaped on the organisation front, which is one of the worst things that can happen. It leads to rushing and panicking (trust me I know). To counter this I find that doing a daily list of tasks to complete helps. Although it must be warned that you can only do so much in one day and to make these lists reasonable achievable goals or you'll get more stressed and worked up!

I'm currently trying to finish the run cycle on this guy. Only have the back legs done so far but getting there!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Pre-Viz Finished!

Finished the pre-viz for Project:Dragon finally. Got to animate badly and let things slide along the floor and get good marks for it! :D

I passed the pre-viz files with all the cameras already set up onto the animators who can then use the camera moves and work from the terrible animation. They just add their decent animations and DO NOT touch the camera at all and hey presto.

The Knight foot glitch is being fixed and the file being passed onto the animators that need it later on then it's full steam ahead until June for me when the deadline for this Project is.

Monday, 5 March 2012

The beginning

Finally started up a blog yay! Everyone else had them so high time I had one myself. Hopefully be posting fairly regularly. It'll mostly be uni work and some personal animation stuff.