Hey, I’ve got a new blog, come follow me HERE for updates on my second year of studying animation 🙂
Hey, I’ve got a new blog, come follow me HERE for updates on my second year of studying animation 🙂
Here’s a weird portrait of Dermott I painted while he was sitting across from me, it’s kind of relevant. Its very flat and blurry but looks kind or artsy, I wanted to try and understand the volumes in his face better for the last.
I messed around with the software for a bit, I tried to mark out bone structure as I saw in one of my reference videos.
Dermott and i used his camera and tripod to take lots of pictures of our head rotations so we knew what we’d be modelling.
Here I’ve started to create the sculpt for Dermotts’ head, starting with the base human head mesh was really helpful. I used the grab tool to pull out the main masses of the head to a more realistic volume.
I thought I would start creating the facial features
I’ve started to mock out the lips here, looks like Dermott is puckering up. I’m using the wax brush to apply volume to the sculpt and the inverted foamy tool to add detail, I’m also a big fan of the smooth tool, maybe too much of a fan…
Adding in some more facial features like the eyes and some ear detail
I thought I could sculpt the head without adding my reference images to the scene but I knew there was some inaccuracies that I wanted to clean up so I added a reference image to my front facing and side camera’s.
I had the ears in the wrong place so I had to pull them down and edit the mesh.
Fixed up the ear using Dermott’s side profile picture. At this stage I have most of the detail i plan to do done as i don’t know the retopology to get too complicated.
I had some trouble with behind the ears of my model, I was reluctant to split my mesh again, I was getting jagged lines, I smoothed these as best as I could without compromising the shape of the ears.
As you can see in the image below I had a similar issue with the parting of the mouth.
Here I have began to add more unevenness to the sculpt, faces aren’t perfectly symmetrical so i wanted to look more closely at my reference pictures and identify what elements of his face weren’t symmetrical like a small bulge on one side of his nose.
I widened the jaw a small amount upon Alec’s suggestion, I think the sculpt has a relatively decent resemblance to Dermott. H
I watched this video which was great help, just to see the oder that this person used
Dermott suggested I used one of these reference pictures as it shows in colour the pattern of the mesh.
I’m reduced my polycount down to 500,000 from suggestion of Allistair who help me import the file into Maya as I was having trouble. This worked and so I was good to start my retopology. I made the sculpt surface i imported’Live’ and then started using my quad draw tool to create some polygons/
I realised here that I’d been doing the eye incorrectly, I was not intending to make a spidey suit.
Heavy on the polygons, hoped this wouldn’t cause me any bother (it did). I quite liked how my ear turned out so I was ambitious to keep the shape clear to the end.
I think the face mesh is coming along nicely.
Some shots of the re-topo smoothed out with the omission of some polygons and of course half a head.
Here’s my retopology I’ve tried to follow the references, I think there is logic behind the topology as i followed the structure in the structure in my references for the most part. the range of polygon sizes which I used when creating my head has given me bother but given the time that I had left to finish the project I think I made it work. There are some mess ups in the mesh that Im not happy with.
I selected the edge vertices in the front camera mode in maya and I turned on snapping. I snapped these vertices to the gird so that they were all even across the axis, i made some fixes to edges and vertices that had messed up. I then duplicated the half head in object mode, I selected the scale tool and pulled the side of the head the opposite direction and it easily inverted for me, I scaled both halves to a very similar size and the combined them.
This gets really messy as I tried to reduced the number of polygons as they moved away from the ear, there’s definitely a more efficient way for this to be done.
I added a couple of spheres behind the eyes to be eyeballs.
Messy work behind the ears could have been work on longer or had more subdivisions added.
I’ve really enjoyed this module. I’ve worked hard for it, the floating city project was very enjoyable, I loved the freedom that we had, that we could look at the statistics and interpret the design in whatever way we wanted, looking back at the project I think if i was to make any changes it would probably be with my process, I probably had 300 ‘pcubes’ lined up in my outliner, I think my team had a good grasp on the project and although we had some technical hiccups we came out with a successful outcome. I really enjoyed viewing my classmates floating city projects, it’s interesting to see the different approaches people take to a project and how others are progressing with the software. This module has involved some really interesting lessons such as when me learned to make blend shapes, it has helped me widen my knowledge of maya. The most recent project, the head sculpt, was very enjoyable, the sculpting in particular was really fun to do. The biggest issue I probably had with the project was time management, I was quite rushed in the end to finish the topology which meant that it wasn’t at the standard I wanted my final project to be, despite this I feel I have achieved a likeness to Dermott who I sculpted, I would really like to sculpt more things over the summer break. Looking back I have really enjoyed this module and I know I’ll be able to take the skills I have learned and apply them in future projects, my own or in university. Thank you Alec for taking the Module!
This is where I started off. i wanted to base my character of something important, something of relevance to our society. I went onto the BBC news website and looked for an interesting story, nothing seemed to catch my interest or creativity.
I remembered an article I read a while back which Conann linked on Facebook, I found it an interesting read. The idea is that the artist of the bull ‘Arturo Di Modica’ was not pleased by the marketing stunt of the fearless girl. The girl was intended to be positive, a symbol of female empowerment, the Latina girl placed in wall street, showed that no matter of gender or race women can face down any task, people recognised this and were angered at those who opposed it. The Mayor of NYC eve tweeted ‘Men who don’t like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl.’ It’s not the point though, it’s not why it was opposed my Di Modica at least, it’s because understanding the history behind Charging bull. ‘The idea for the bull was never to represent the possible trampling death of a small child, his lawyers explained. The idea was to project optimism and strength amid adversity, which at the time of the sculpture’s creation included a market crash that sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average down a terrifying 22%.’ The fearless girl was placed by a company, it uses Di Modicas art to paint another picture, it has changes when his art meant, a sign of hope and strength or the American People, this isn’t fair. The Fearless girl is important, it is great that it exists, just under the circumstances I don’t think it’s fair how it does and maybe it should be moved.
‘Charging Bull’ and ‘Fearless Girl’
So aside from all of this controversy I wanted to shine a light on the topic. The bull is a sign of strength and the girl fearlessness, sounds like a good team to me. I decided to design two characters, a pair who face the world together, not one that have a showdown.
Here’s some exploration of ideas and inspiration, as you can see blow I liked Spot from Pixar’s ‘The Good Dinosaur.’
I had some more character exploration but I must have forgot to scan it, you can see it in my sketchbook.
Mia is bold, fearless and an adventurer. Lived in a scrapyard in her younger years, took to welding and made herself a Metal Chest Plate and accessories. Mia is an Orphan, Her mum died when she was 10, her dad had left, she fended for herself and Axel. Mia has a scar on her face from when she saved Axel, she carries a satchel with some tools and essentials. Mia is Spanish.
Character silhouette and skeleton to show how well she reads and also who she is built.
Born with twisted horns and had them removed, Axel was due for slaughter as his expense was too great for his usefulness as he was no longer a viable bull fighter. Axel was given his horned hat by Mia, it helps him scare off unwanted attention. Axel has a flat friendly face but is very strong and would die for Mia if they came into harms way.
Character silhouette and skeleton to show how well he reads and also who he is built.
I decided to look at staging for my characters, I thought it was important I capture their relationship, an animal with a human could easily be construed as a pet but I wanted Mia and Axel to have a friendship. I’ve painted them with their armour off to show that they can be comfortable around one another, they don’t need to be tough when it’s just the two of them. I’ve painted them in a cave as I imagine they sleep wherever they can as Mia is an orphan.
I’ve decided to show squash and stretch because I feel the characters might look a bit stiff but I think that they should be able to squash and stretch to an extent to exaggerate emotions like surprise of anger
In this video clip I really roughly drew Axel running and sliding to a stop his volumes are definitely compromised, i was on a bit of a time crunch, I think his slide captures some of his innocence in personality.
I wanted to show his hat follow through when he stopped so as he stops abruptly his hate follows moments after.
A very important Principle as it lends the illusion of weight to a character. It can be used in facial expressions as a form of exaggeration. This principle is used throughout animation, it could give a human character body weight or it could show how a bouncing ball acts.
Anticipation is the pre-action, it’s bend in the knees before the jump, the pull back of an arm before landing a punch, it prepares the audience for what is about to happens. ‘A backward action occurs before the forward motion is executed.’
A pose or action should capture the tone of the piece, how it feels, the attitude in relation to the story line Camera shots are a part of staging, they can heavily influence the audiences’ interpretation of the scene such as when a camera is looking down on a character it could show them as vulnerable as opposed to a camera placed at a lower angle looking up giving the impression of power. Every shot must be staged correctly to utilize the limited time of a movie. Don’t attempt to be too fancy with camera movements or positioning, it must be relevant so it’s easy for the audience to understand the action. Sets should not be over detailed so that the main character or item of interest is overlooked.
With straight ahead animation, you begin drawing the character at the start of the shot and you work drawing to drawing to the end. This method can lead to loss of proportions, size or volume but it is fresh and can really captures a character’s personality; through the movement it shows. Pose to pose is carefully planned as it helps maintain proportions, it also helps the lead animator as they draw out the main poses and they can hand it over to the animation assistant to fill in the tedious drawings between
Nothing stops all at once, in terms of a human like character, when they stop their body parts must catch up with the main mass, this applies their clothes or any accessories they have, nothing stops all at once. Overlapping action is when say the body starts travelling in a different direction but the likes of hair stays flowing in the same direction. ‘DRAG’ is when something doesn’t keep up with the main body movement like a dress not moving exactly when the person does but moments after.
Fewer drawings will make an action faster whereas less drawings will make an action slower, by using less drawing you can ‘slow-in’ and ‘slow-out’ which softens the action. Not using slow ins and outs can give the action more snap and a comedic effect.
Arcs give movements more realism, the arms and legs of a human use arcs as they are on pivot, arcs allow an animation to flow better. You can imagine a pendulum swinging back and forth, it doesn’t jolt it flows. Even smaller movements such as eye movements are executed using arcs.
Secondary action acts to reinforce the main action. An example could be s fella prancing through a meadow, the primary action his legs skipping freely, the secondary action would be his arms swinging happily by his sides, even the slight tilts of his head or facial expressions or dialogue classify as secondary action, the action id the prance, the secondary action the body movements that come along with that. These actions should support one another.
Timing gives ‘meaning to movement,’ it helps translate to an audience the idea being expressed. Timing as well as squash and stretch helps define the weight of the character depending on say how long an object might take to fall. Timing is very important, it can help translate a characters’ mood or a reaction, you can imagine a sad character trailing their feet along slowly. Ones and twos are used in animation, a drawing could be photographed on two frames, this is used most of the time, ones are more likely used for camera moves or for quick dialogue.
Exaggeration need not be excessive, it adds to the appeal of a character or action or any sort, in facial expressions exaggeration can be used so that the action reads better. Cartoons often use a lot of exaggeration which is often extreme which works for comedic purposes or getting the emotion or action across very clearly.
Solid drawing gives the illusion that a character or object is three dimensional; gives it volume. we draw the character in 2D but how the lines are shaped will allow for the character to appear 3D.
All characters must have appeal whether they are a hero or villain, a mentor or a trickster. Appeal comes from an interesting that is not over complicated but reads well, appeal is not just achieved through drawing, it is also based on character development. ‘Like all forms of storytelling, the feature has to the mind as well as the mind’
One of the critiques was that the camera moved too much, I re-rendered out the frames in the push scene where the camera swoops to a side view and replaced it with a cut just to calm the scene down a bit and allow the focus to be on the characters .
Glenn worked on fixing some continuity errors
‘With this scene in particular I also had other improvements that I wanted to make. Firstly the scene was a flipped version of what it should look like as I messed up building the swelling blend shape from the wrong side at the start. Another error we noticed ourselves when evaluating the shots was that there was a clear split between two planes in the background. This was because the outside background was actually just an image on different planes and this revealed the edge of the plane.’
Another continuity error we had noticed was that because we flipped the scene, the characters’ button features were at the wrong side. The first shot below shows how the button panel is closest to the sofa for the Cola machine while the button panel for the Soft Mint machine is closest to the window. Well in the next shot, the button panel for each character has switched sides as we flipped the scene to pull off this shot. I want to recreate this shot especially because of this intentional error as it is just a typical continuity movie mistake.’
The above are Glenn’s pictures identifying errors
‘Working with N Cloth and Constraints for the first time was a challenge. I found that in some frames the wire is being disconnected from the plug and I would like to apply the Point To Surface Constraint again to attach the wire and plug.’ -Glenn
Glenn also turned down the ambient colour and placed another light on the machines to allow them to stand out and the logos to be clear as this was one of the critiques.
Here’s Glenn again on re-rendering the foam
‘After spending a few days working on other projects, we came back to collect the final renders and put them together. We collected all of the renders off the different computers and put the scene together. Unfortunately the renders didn’t seem to match up as the skydome had lost its texture on some of the Mac computers, even tho it showed the object having the texture, it was rendering as if it wasn’t placed. Another thing that wasn’t rendering was the foam on some of the computers. We tried to look for a solution that we could use to fix this but the only way would be to render out the scene again. I got David to put this scene in with the rest of the production anyway to see what the finished animation would look like after taking on board the feedback. Despite the lighting in that render messing up and the foam disappearing, the textures looked far better and clearer now; therefore making the foreshadowing of the explosion clearer.’ -Glenn
David added in some more ambient noise to the animation and worked with the timing of sounds
Here is the animation with amendments
Continuity errors were fixed but the errors we faced when re-rendering are very obvious, we are still in the process of re-rendering these errors as we want the final outcome of this animation to be as good as possible. We also felt that the new foam by itself didn’t read as well with the end scene so we are rendering in the old foam and the new foam together for an even bigger bang. I also think when re-editing the final kiss scene needs some timing fixes.
The camera cuts were applied;
*Final Final edit still to come*
Our animation was a success in my eyes, I’m really pleased with what we were bale to produced especially given how late it was before we actually had our final idea. The tutors liked it too, they had some critique for us;
Noise at the end
Scale of foam
Animate the running more from the chest up
Too much camera movement – I will re- render these shots
Sign Value Backlit
Camera cut too much
Coke can sound
We will make sure to make these amendments in the next week. I was really happy to see all of the animations in class today everyone did such a great job, it’s rewarding to see everyones hard work paid off!
Fist week back an we started off with some warm up one minute poses, I don’t have much here to show as I had a rough start. The class finished with us drawing the model in a chair, I think my attempt wasn’t too bad but my perspective could be more informed, mike drew the figure on the right hand side of this drawing.
Started off with some warmups, still a bit rough, I need to practice drawing people more so I am quicker at identifying how i should shape their curves and add perspective. At the end of the class we did a dead rotation, mine sort of has a resemblance to Jackie but could use a lot of work, I struggle doing drawings like this with Conte.
This week didn’t go well, my drawings aren’t showing weight or balance, the perspective needs a lot of fixing also some of my warmup drawings are ok though. At the end of class we had to draw imagining we were looking at the model from a different perspective, this was fun and confusing and quite hard as my attempt shows.
I think that this week went well, I liked my warmup drawings I think the proportions, weight and balance show. I also really enjoyed drawing the hands which I didn’t expect to happen, thinking about the underlying form as simple cubes helped a lot.
Also completed, page flip hand animation
Another good week in my opinion, I feel my warm up studies are fairly accomplished, the balance is iffy in some but other than that I’m quite happy with how they are turning out. Drawing feet wasn’t too bad either, the simple shapes made them easier to draw.
This was a difficult week, we had to draw storyboards as Mike told a story of a lady who was trying to catch a bus as Jackie did poses. Looking back at what I drew I’m not sure what plot line I tried get across, it was an interesting exercise to say the least.
Warmups were a bit off today, my lines weren’t very solid, the shapes could be improved upon. At the end of class we did a head portrait, I struggled at the beginning, my second attempt was bit better, I sometimes just find it difficult to put complex shapes in perspective, I need to work on this.
Robert’s back and lifting boxes, i like some of my warm ups more than others, I think the show good balance. For today we were supposed to have a character idea so we could draw our character using Robert as a reference, i did not have this done so I experimented with different designs, I liked the last ones I did, kind of just long, strong slender men.
My apologies for the awful picture quality…
Blend shapes created for the character
I tested out the rig to explore it’s possibilities, shown below.
Our main characters ready to fall in love.
All of our characters textured and ready to go.
The deadline is fast approaching and we haven’t started to animate yet as we are still waiting on the rigs to be complete. We don’t need the rigs for the opening shot so I said i would set up the camera for it with the dummy characters in the scene. Originally we were going to use this camera movement showing the room before moving onto the vending machines but Mike suggested it was pointless and that is should just start with the vending machines.
Glen had the idea of having the title on the digital display of the vending machine, I think this worked out really nicely as the focus is clear from the beginning and it’s an innovative way to show our title, Glen and David animated the eyes for this shot. Here’s the playblast;
I composed and created this over the shoulder shot shot showing the audience what the main vending machine was looking at, its shows the girls looking at one another to indicate (as awkward as this sounds) they like what they see. Originally I wanted to use the rig to give more movement to the girls however due to issues cause by my key framing the life out of everything i was unable to animate the daces and use the rig.
I like this scene it’s quite funny, physics doesn’t really apply the the leaning vending machines here but I think it adds to the humour. I tried to keep in mind that how facial expressions would be affect as the yellow machine bumps the red, I shut his eyes and altered his smiling mouth slightly as a reaction to using his face to push the red vending machine. I animated the blue vending machine to be finding his balance however I let him rest on the pivots for too long and it doesn’t look smooth.
The camera switches to this view for a closeup of our protagonist.
This scene was fun to make as I got to play with all of their mouth shapes and where their eyes followed, i’m not sure where I’ve left this file so I don’t have a playblast to show. I animated the purples vending machines’ eyes to look the boys up and down in a sassy manner, the pink vending machine blinks seductively and the green girls eye lids lift as she stares over. I created a heart on maya, duplicated it and imported them into the scene, then I animated the hearts to come towards the camera as if radiating from the pink vending machine to draw the attention to her, it also clarifies the attraction between the cola and mintoes machines.
The team decided that we wanted to create all of our own brands for our products inside our vending machines, we also thought it would be funny to throw in some references to our classmates or events when creating the logos. Everyone contributed some designs, here are some of my own simple designs;
This is the logo for the Female Vending machine, it is a clear rip off of ‘mentos’ as I’ve branded it ‘Mintoes,’ I don’t think they will sue me.
I made some packaging variations so the texture could be mapped on to the products.
I created some variations of the logo to see which would look the best, the team liked the middle one so I went with it.
I created this shot in maya by modelling some Mintoes and their packet and then added photoshopped it onto the logo for the side of the vending machine so the viewers could better understand what the product was.
This was the final logo fro the side of the female vending machine;
Here’s a mix of logos created my the rest of the team and myself
Teams art above
I also created a couple of simple assets for inside the vending machine, a mint packet and a chocolate bar.