Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Animation Principles 003

Drawing for Animation

Character Development (Ongoing)

I am in the process of designing a character to animate based upon myself. I started with some pretty quick sketches to get an idea of the direction I want to go in. plus some other doodles.

Body Type Experiments

I wasn't liking how my hairstyle looked and I was unable to see anything different when looking at myself so I asked for some perspective from other people and they suggested an Elvis style. I took this and applied it to some characters and started toning it into something that I am now happy with,

Face Tests

I took the designs I like and started pushing the character in different directions. This helps me find extremes that I may like and also allows me to narrow down that the character is not.


Further Body Design
I think I am getting closer to the design I want, however, I will need to further my research on Plastic characters to full understand the construction.

Further Life Studies
Note: May be some doodles between studies.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Animation Production 004

Character Creation Experiment
After learning more about texturing and UV unwrapping, I now feel much more inspired to start creating characters in Maya. There's just something satisfying about turning an idea into something that appears tangible.

For the purpose of experimentation I started modelling a character without any reference to see where it would take me, I also decided I would use the mirror tool and only model half of the character as I noticed the mirror tool also takes UV maps into account.

I am not overly happy with the model, however, this was mostly an experiment with UV unwrapping and texturing. UV unwrapping probably took longer than it felt, but for whatever reason, I find the process enjoyable. Each model is a new challenging puzzle.

Not the best unwrapping, could probably do some manual adjustments to straighten some of the edges that don't necessarily need to be curved, but doing this caused a little bit of distortion and I thought I would look into it another time.


I ran a subdivide on the model to see how it would look. I then began to worry about how it might affect my UV's, when I looked into my UV's they were all mostly filling the same bounding box and I didn't see this causing any issues. With further experimentation and modelling I am sure I will learn more about what I can and cannot do with my model while the UV's are already done.


While experimenting with the textures themselves I found that I could draw the textures directly from the PSD file which helped a lot with looking back and forth between the model at a fast rate, this was also helped significantly with my second monitor.

Full Character Turnaround Render
Note: Right Clicking the video and hitting Loop makes the sequence easier to watch.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Animation Production 003

UV Unwrapping and Texturing

I am legitimately so happy to have learnt more about this, the whole concept was completely out of my grasp, never had I found a good enough tutorial to full explain what UV Unwrapping was until today. We've learned a number of different methods to break a mesh down into UVs with different projection methods, of which I now feel capable of being able to do my own experimentation with unwrapping, which is impressive since it was only a few hours ago of which I barely understood UV Unwrapping.

I've always had an interest in texturing ever since I started to look at the textures in games, especially World of Warcraft and how they manage to make low poly models look so good with mainly texture work.


Because I did a lot of research trying to figure out UV Unwrapping previously, I found that I already had an understanding of the various aspects of UV Mapping. I was so excited to start texturing I skipped lunch and immediately went and started up Photoshop and Maya for some experimentation.

I can't wait to start UV Unwrapping some of my other models and start modelling new characters and texturing them. I have also found a method to have my textures auto update when the texture file is updated, this is handy to quickly see results of my texture work. I plan to combine this with the PSD Network function to see how it will affect my workflow, which should work nicely with the multiple monitor set up in my office.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Animation Production Process 003

Introduction to Rigs and Animation

Got given a download for this simple cube rig to do some experimental animation. Initially I started with what is essentially a 3D equivalent of straight ahead animation, going from one pose to the next. This mostly gave me a feel for what the rig is capable of and to see what I could do.


This method works, however, similar to straight ahead, if there is a mistake or a change, you then have to fix or start over after doing a lot of work. Using another method, similar to painting, blocking out main animation first before working into the fine tuning is a much more efficient method of working. Perhaps not as intuitive or fast in some cases, however, more concise and reduces the potential for wasted work or mistakes.

As mention, this method starts out with various blocking phases, first phase of this animation was creating a satisfying bounce that I am happy with. The third bounce in this sequence is unnaturally long, but I really like the rhythm it adds to the bounce.


Secondly, I block in the second translate direction. For an added bonus and experimentation I added a 360 degree rotation throughout the animation and cleaned up each of the contact points to be a multiple of 90 degrees. I find this satisfying as it rotates against the direction it is bouncing.

Adding in some squash manipulation to the poses using the default step preset for frame easing. Which gives a better grasp on where the key frames are and how they look as it can be easy to get caught up in the graph editor unnecessarily.

Some stretching. this is where I realised that my idea for rotating the cube caused me a number of problems as the cube rig is designed to stretch and squash in a very particular manner that goes against some of the directions I have the cube move into.

Because I was unable to maintain the rotation throughout the stretches the animation inherently started to look like a regular bounce, however, the cube appears to pull back in the air almost depicting a sense of character and anticipation for the motion.

Finally, for fun, I took what I learnt about texturing and applied my cube texture from a previous exercise onto the Squashy Box. This helped a little in showing the rotation.

I may attempted this again, but what I will do differently is keep the same contact points, but instead of a full 360 rotation throughout the animation, limit to multiples of 180 degrees for each bounce with emphasis on the apex, this should keep the cube in a sufficient position for squash and stretch on contact while simultaneously slowing down the apex to give the viewer time to process the rotations in the air.

Animation Principles 002

In animation principles we've started covering exaggeration and caricatures, essentially covering more methods and techniques following on from the previous class of breaking objects and people down into fundamental shapes, now we're starting to take those shapes and build them into characters through physical and kinetic traits.

This is a caricature of Jack I did in the class, I made his ears and eyebrows larger for emphasis while simultaneously creating smaller eyes and nose. I took some of these new skills into personal studies and found after drawing a few people that walk by I was able to distinguish the different facial features fairly quickly and create a character / caricature of that person pretty quickly. I also found that fast drawings often pick up on the most predominant traits.

Now the challenge is to apply both the structure of the body with the caricature of the face. This is quite an enjoyable exercise as its quick, gestural and doesn't require a huge amount of visual analysis, at least from my personal experience. I feel fairly confident in picking up someones character after warm up exercises.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Animation Principles 001

Animation Principles has started with believe-ability, a concept that is used to convey information to an audience in such a way that they are able to look past the fact that all they are looking at drawings. Seeing through the artistry and feeling the characters they are watching, this is where we start learning our first principles, Solid Drawing and Squash and Stretch.

Solid Drawing : A method of drawing that incorporates 3-dimensional space, convincing the audience that the characters have depth and that they exist in a 3-dimensional world. This can of course be done with shadow and light, but that takes time. The core fundamentals of 3D involve perspective, no matter the shape, perspective will be involved. But of course, there is no time to draw out a perspective grid for every frame, but we can take the core fundamentals and turn them into a specific set of rules and consistencies. Another trait of perspective that is overlooked is how it begins to warp objects as they get closer to the focal point. i.e, if you are close enough to someone you'll notice you will see the top of their feet, while simultaneously seeing the bottom of their chin, although this may be extreme, the same is often present in animation as we see the top of characters feet from an angle.

Squash and Stretch : We haven't dove into a huge amount of depth of how this effects animation, but it is the deformation of shapes based on how they move, as something moves fast it begins to stretch etc. This is also based on some parameters such as the object material, but material is completely in the animators hands. Squash and Stretch lends itself well to Solid Drawing as you can begin to Squash and Stretch objects into 3-dimensional space.

Life Studies : refining people down into characteristic traits and gesture.


Self Study Time : Been doodling characters and shapes for studies.




This being my first week of work, I was making a lot of rookie mistakes, most notable is not drawing from life or reference. I have since been capturing character and movement in people. But I feel it is necessary to find the courage to post all my work, whether it is good or bad.