Monday, 8 December 2008

Walk Cycles

Walk cycles return again! Well practice makes perfect I guess... But I think that's a long way off. This whole thing started with our walks being filmed, which for some was a task to see how silly s walk they could do. I stuck with a playful/thoughtful walk that I sometimes do. Walking up and down in front of everyone did feel a little embarrassing, but I was happy with the results (And I believed my walk is possible to animate).

Before I started animating I went through all the little details of my walk like;

  • The way my arms swing and that they hang a little at the top of the arc,
  • How one of my legs stays straight through half of the cycle,
  • My legs accelerate as they are swung forwards,
  • The direction my hips swing as the weight goes from one leg to the other.

It doesn't look like a very long list but I found it quite tricky taking all of them into account at the same time.

I decided to get Maya out of the way while there were computers free. I had a play around with the new rig and when I finally knuckled down I had a few problems with silly mistakes I had made and had to start again. But I'm pleased with the final result, especially the little hip wiggle that I have. What I found hard is that my recorded walk is from side on, so its hard to tell what the rest of the body is doing. Easy solution... Do the walk for real!

Time seems to fly when your animating, I guess its the concentration and problem solving.

With the 2-D animation I spent ages on working out how I was going to get all my points into it. I think I did OK with that. However, I'm not completely happy with the arms and how they don't really have much momentum. But I'm quite pleased with how the legs move, and I think Ive got the timing pretty right.

Until next time...

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

More walking!

Well, some more walk cycles it ll be...

Making the 3-D rig walk on the spot wasn't too difficult, and I'd would like to think I'm starting to get the hang of this Maya thing. They was less confusion about what to change to fix what, and more actual work.

The 2-D walk with character/emotion was much more difficult to do. I had to do lots of 'depressed walking'. I tried to think about what was happening with each limb, and the way my shoulders, hips and head moved. I'm not so sure about the way the hands more, I think they may be a bit too airy. The movement of the legs and feet are alright, but could appear more heavy and really drag along.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Cube Man gets Legs!

Well now we've moved onto walks the cube man has evolved some limbs and is able to walk around!

I like the idea that with walks there are key positions that the legs go into throughout the cycle. The main problem I had was getting the drawing in the right order because I filled in around the key frames. But I got there in the end.

I think its the arms in this cycle that give this character an angry looking walk, because they never straighten and the balls for hands look a little like fists... Maybe the next one will look less determined and more friendly.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Maya Gets Colourful!

Finally some colour is added to the world of Maya in the form of a rigged girl. No more box man! I really enjoyed the task of making her walk, or as I described it "strutting down the cat walk".

I think what made this one of the more interesting tasks is the fact that you could be very creative with what you did. And also your final outcome is usually different from the person sat next to you, your character has a totally different attitude. (plus you could animate her pony tail...)

Friday, 31 October 2008

Update on 'Principles of Animation'

I wanted to do an update on the last two Principles of Animation sessions as Ive finally got some time to myself after coming back from Wales.

It feels like there is already so many things to think about when animating these simple things.

1. Timing

2. Squash and Stretch

3. Anticipation

4. Overlap

5. Emotion

I think they're the ones... overlap feels like the hardest to judge. Sometimes its too much, and others its not enough. Also I felt like the overlap in this animation moves too fast, so the character is too spring loaded.

This week in the 2D animation session we were looking at body language and emotions. I could grasp this a bit easier then some of the other principles. The only thing is that I MUST remember not to make the animation too busy, and to try to only have one character moving at a time.

So that's the 2D side. As for the 3D, its more buttons to learn in Maya. It seems like the models (I think) are harder to manipulate then they look. You can make some really weird shapes of you move them around enough, even without trying. It all looks quite good if you can get the timing right, with the squash and stretch in the right place.

I'm not sure about my jumping cube man tho. Its looks OK, but the timing could be snappier.

All in all Im still loving the course and new things just keep coming my way.

Friday, 17 October 2008

The Jumping Cube-Man

Well that's another week over and more principles of animation taking up my thoughts. There's been more things to animate, draw and read.

History and theory proved that you should always read your 'reading', thankfully I did else I would have no idea what people were discussing. I even enjoyed finding out about stereotypes. Later on in the lecture things got more twisted when we were shown that genre isn't always a simple classification. Some things fit perfectly, while other don't seem to just have one genre of their own and draw on many different ones. For example a favourite of mine... Star Wars! Western? or Sci-Fi?

The screening this week was one of my favourite animations, 'The Iron Man'. At least when you're at home you can cry. Its not so easy where the lights come on in the lecture theatre and you have to look dry eyed and 'hard'. Bit like "Pfft, its only a robot... that the boy loved... that died to save a town..." *watery eyes*

I really enjoyed 'Animation Principles' this week. Its getting more complicated as you have to think and more elements, but I think I'm keeping up. At the moment it feels like I have to spend a long time thinking this through to work out things like timing. The bouncing ball idea was a tricky one, and I thought I'd messed it up. But as soon as it goes through Stop Motion Pro, It makes you think; "Wow, I did that" and it wasn't half bad.

The next task was to animate the jumping cube man. I found this really hard to get my head around because of the timing and anticipation. I didn't want it to be all so fast that you couldn't work out what is going on, yet I didn't want it to look like Cube-Man was just floating down as light as a feather. I gave up on the Tuesday and finished it today. And I think it looks good, the timings not bad and he spats into the ground quite nicely. Have a peak:

Maya... Maya, Maya, Maya... The bouncing ball theme continues into the arms of this beast. It wasn't as complicated as I first thought it was going to be. As long as you remember to save your key frames at different points on the time scale... its not that bad. Going though the different stages of the animation, and how accurate it looks helped me understand the properties a ball has. However, when the ball needs to 'squash and squish' I think it will become a little more tricky.

Thursday was real life drawing. I decided to go along for the full 3 hours because of how rusty I was last week. (Oh yeah, better do the muscle groups work) I thought it would be really off putting and hard to draw with a naked man stood posing for you, but it wasn't too bad. I just need to work a bit more on proportions and perspective.

Any how, Bye for now!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Starting out...

Well the first week of three years is over, and I'm looking forward to the rest! Each part has been an appetising taster to whats to come.

Monday started out with something to kick start my brain after months of chilling out and shelf stacking. Thinking bout concepts and representations of objects/images reminded me of the little twists life has (and the sausages really can defeat an army). To end the day the controversial 'Coonskin' (1974) by Ralph Bakshi kept my brain buzzing. It was interesting how Bakshi magnified certain aspects of the groups in a population... and how fighting for power involves some really nasty tricks.

After a short nights sleep, full of 70s flares and disco music I arrived at the animation studio. This is where I became part of the group 'Scratchy' and began animating... simply and slow but it moved. I made a couple of strips for a 'Zoetrope', and realised that if I ever want to finish anything I'm going to have to speed up. Here's one of my strips of a bouncing ball;

We then went up a step. I grabbed the task of animating a morphing ball by the horns. A light bulb! Of course... a light bulb must b the end product. I really enjoyed watching as it started to fit together, but found it quite hard when you cant see through the pieces of paper. I used Stop Motion Pro to put it into the computer earlier today with only a few catches.

All in the same Tuesday I met Maya. Now, it may all be scary buttons and labels, but I understood the three or four we got taught to use on a simple shape. I hope I remember it all for next time... Oh yeah, and I enjoyed it, making a purple doughnut thing float was fun! Best way to end a day.

I dragged my bag of materials and my sketchbook to my lecture on the Thursday. Sitting in front of that skeleton reminded me how long ago it was since I had drawn anything... and how really rusty I was. I think Ill opt for three hours of life drawing, I really need the practice. Oh and charcoal... I really need some of that. Well I'd better go and draw my picture for the day. Bring on next week!