Animation Journey

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back.

So I refined my walk cycle, and I think its worse than what I originally turned in! Man.. how did that happen ! :)

So, I have to work harder on this part of the class. I've been real busy lately,but have spent about the same amount of time on these assignments. The assignments clearly require more time.

Here it is:

Walk Refined.

I know, its getting tiring to hear me complain about my work after its done. This time its definitely deserved tho. The Walk is lots more stiff, and has no "glide" (not that last week really did either) but I was trying to get that Glide, and didn't find the handle. I'll KEEP SWIMMING until I get it tho.

So Our QnA was awesome as usual, but this time it was a 2 HOUR MEGA BLAST with Derek and Chris Hurtt. sweet. Lots of great stuff when those two perform together :) Anyway, one of the ideas form the QnA was ask EVERYONE for critique.. Anyone will do, because just about anyone eventually becomes the audience. So I showed my Stu Pose for Concern by my wife Kris.. and she looks me in the face and sez "Doh!".

I'm like "what?" Now my family is openly mocking my animation efforts? What she meant was the original pose looked like Stu had just realized something that should have been obvious to him (sniffing any irony in this yet?).

So She was absolutely right. I looked at it after hearing that and then I said, you guessed it "DOH!"

And I watched my wife's tape of Desperate Housewives looking for good reference for "concern". There was lots! (hey, they're desperate) I got some great ideas and sketched out some poses and ran those by Kris again.. (She sounded like an art director now "Hmm, thats better. I'd like to see more of this...interesting choice here...)"

Anyway, Kris went form "animation widow" to art director and it made my assignment that much better.

So here is the DOH pose...

and here is the one I turned in....

Well just two more weeks! I can't believe its gone by this fast! I think our group has really lucked out getting Derek as our Mentor. He is obviously creative and funny, but you can tell he really makes an effort to get good information back to us. Even when he is swamped at work and is having to do late nights to pull it off. Thanks D! we all appreciate it.

Next week ... Walk with Personality!


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Walk This Waaaaaaayyy

This week was our first walk cycle. It kicked my butt a little bit.

I mean, the more you learn about truly animating, and not just moving things around on paper, the more you realize you don't know about it.

I don't have much time to comment this week. Im busy as hell and have to get back to work. But here is my walk cycle for this week.

Walk This Way

I'm always unhappy with my work after its done. Its just my way of pushing hard. And this is no exception. I got some good feedback on why it was not quite right...

  1. the heels may be lifting a little early.
  2. The hips take the weight, but they don't counter back to allow more clearance for the lifting foot. My stuff drags the foot under ..that is a BIGGEE and I'm glad to get that kind of crit. I can't wait to fix this and see how it looks
  3. Leaning a little too far forward.

But otherwise pretty solid. With this single ball and legs there is no where to hide if you get something out of joint. You can't dazzle anyone with a nice hand gesture or shoulder counter to take attention away from an errant hip or step.

This was hard, but once again, i found myself unable to tear myself away from the assignment until early morning hours...its just a gas to do.


Monday, May 16, 2005

So, a One legged man hops into a bar...

Ok, ok. I thought I had the squash stretch bouncing ball stuff down cold. But I didn't. Its a little humbling.

Maybe its like a surfing thing... you know, a "searcher". But not for the perfect ride or wave, but for the interior meaning of the squash and stretch. Why does it squash and stretch? I'm sure this sounds silly to anyone out side of the this discussion.

The bottom line is I thought I knew. But I didn't. And this has kind of rocked my center a little bit. The good news is that I was willing to be wrong. And willing to be concerned about something that to the vast population of the world is quite silly.

See, I though bouncing a ball was about the way a mass reacted to events that occurred to it. It hit the ground, and that made it squash. It left the ground and that made it stretch. But that is entirely NOT the point! Its not what the physics of the world do to a ball and its materials (although that is a consideration), its the perception and READ of the ball in its action to better "SELL" a movement.

Man I'm such a DOPE! I would have told you this VERY thing if you have asked me last week or even last year. But I just finished an assignment that DIDN'T FOLLOW this very principle.

Well, that is making me review everything now. How have I gotten by so long not knowing the core aspect of this very fundamental attribute?

One of the things mentioned in a Guest lecture (Dean Deblois) was he was afraid that "they" would find out that he is not qualified to do what he does... Clearly he is being modest to a fault. But that is EXACTLY how I feel today. And that makes me feel pretty good actually. Because I know that one of the biggest things I have to learn in this Journey is to take crits and realizations like this and use them to be better.

This Animation Mentor thing is really pretty mind blowing. I am really beginning to understand how this is going to make me a better animator, and really separate me (and all of my classmates) from the pack.

So here it is:


  • i added a chaotic twitch in the anticipation to make it look a little less robotic.. but now it just a looks a little sloppy.. will fix that for the revision
  • and the squash and stretch thing..oy
  • need to push out the foot rotation a bit more.. maybe at least the instep of the foot more in parallel with the calf.

....and a bonus low res render!
(I'm going to continue to render scenes for my Blog only as I learn more about Maya materials and shaders. This was just a simple lesson in color, nothing more.)


Sketched at the Zoo with my family :) Observing life as they say..Sketches here:

Zoo People

Zoo Animals

See you next week!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Weak 6

Yes WEAK. Man, I stubbed my toe on this assignment.
I got cute and it cost me. I got all concerned about making this exercise "interesting", and it detracted me from the main point of the assignment. Fact is, the assignments are going to get tougher anyway, and I have a finite amount of time I can put to each assignment, so I'm going to cool my jets a little bit and stop wasting time on things that deter me from the "point" of the assignment.

This week was overlapping action, wave action, that sort of secondary movement that brings believability to the shot. Animate "Tailor" hopping across a side view.

Here is what I turned in ("Imagine me cringing now")...

Tailor Animation

So I lstened to Carl Satalling for a bit and decided to go with a Tex Avery looking exit to the scene. It looks like crap. It all started when I tried to do things that the model was not neccessarily set up to do. Like extreme pulls and stuff.. so I got into the model and BAM! I broke it. With no real backup file. DOH! what a dope. So here I was at 1:30 AM trying to salvage the file and the assignment. Man i was kicking myself all over.

Lesson? If I had spent the same amount of time on the actual assignment ( the tail action) I would have noticed and polished a lot of what Derek found. Lesson learned. Go big and hard, but don't make up a new assignment while I'm doing it! Sheeze I’m like a bazooka in a china shop on this one.

So I revised my Stu pose , but I don't think it improved it much.. I was just trying to get away from the symmetry in my pose, as I had seen others do so well. Bottom line, it didn't do much more for me, and Derek didn't see the need to do it either. Derek seemed to think he looked more "punched in the face" than devastated. I agree.

Stu Revised

So while I was disappointed with some decisions I made this week, I feel it was a valuable week and I learned more lessons outside of the animation space, and more in the art management space.. which is extremely valuable.


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Week 5 Obstacle Course

This week was a bit easier. My work load was a little higher, but my social obligatiosn were lower, so I could spend more time thinking about this one. I really didn't spend more time actually at the computer, as much as just giving it brain space to block and tackle the shot.

This week we had a ball and an obstacle course. This was some fun, as it allowed us for the first time to exhibit "life" in the ball as a character. Though not much.

I decided at the beginning of this course to treat every assignment, regardless of how simple or familiar the task, like it really counted. The more we do, the more I start the process by imagining me doing a scene as a bit part on a film. Bouncing balls sounds easy enough, but I'm really enjoying going inside the simplicity of this and really "getting it". Sounds corny, but anyone who knows me will tell you, I'm an open book and a shameless enthusiast of most things big and small.

The requirements were to keep it to 120 frames, which made it challenging to bring a ball to a violent motion and back to rest without looking unnatural. I take things too literally. I should have gone the extra dozen frames to slow to a more natural stop.

Anyway, two versions to see: profile no blur and one perspective with blur.

Profile (1.1 MB)

The profile version does not accurately show the high rate of spin on the ball. It began to strobe because the rotation of the ball was faster than the frame rate to display it... so it may look a little impossibble on the last bounce.

The Perspective/blur version shows the high rate of spin more accurately.
Perspective (800K)

My mentor makes a good point about the mass of one of the stretches getting out of whack a bit...I'll be mindful to add my own deformers to adjust for scale when I can't get the model to do it for me in the upcoming assignments.

Next week is secondary motion and cool stuff. Im stoked, and alreay planning my shot.