Sunday, 30 December 2012

Final Animation: Sixth Draft...

Here I've added a few close up shots and tweaked the penultimate and final scene to make them work a little nicer:

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Final Animation: Fifth Draft...

Here I've adjusted the spiral scene to add a little more movement and tweaked the pie chart scene to seem as though he's pushing it rather than chasing it:

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Final Animation: Fourth Draft...

Here I've added and tweaked a few intercuts. One in the spiral scene and the rest are in the window scene:

Final Animation: Draft 3.5...

Here I've re-added the first intercut and then re-arranged the other two in the spiral scene:

Monday, 17 December 2012

Final Animation: Third Draft...

Here I've adjusted an intercut in the spiral scene and the character now reacts to the pillars falling into darkness:

Final Animation: Draft 2.5...

Here I've added an extra shot into the spiral sequence and tweaked the chasm scene so that the pillars fall at different times:

Final Animation: Second Draft...

I've added the new spiral scene and him falling into the horizontal stripe scene from the previous chasm one:

Friday, 14 December 2012

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Final Animation: First Draft...

Here's what I've been up to:

It's working pretty nicely so far! There's still a lot of tweaking to be done but it's nice to see it as a rough whole animation now.

I've had a few suggestions and there are a few additions I'd like to make to certain scenes so:
  • The scene in which the floor disappears beneath his feet and he falls into the chasm below will have the pillars sink quickly in to the black instead.
  • This scene will be linked to the next by the character falling and into the next scene from the previous one.
  • The windows may need to slide in instead of having the instant 'light off' animation they have at the moment, allowing the character being squished to feel a little more like it's part of the scene.
  • The two sequences before he sits on the cube feel a little off still. This may be an issue with the editing or the camera and I'll find out soon.
I'm still new to animating and although some of it isn't that great I'm quite happy with how jerky it can be, and he's been a pretty cute character to work with so far so that's great. Any more suggestions and feedback is much appreciated and I'm looking forward to getting this animations polished and lovely :D

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Progress Update...

I'm currently working on animating the bulk of the scenes in Maya. It's going okay, some of the scenes aren't particularly smooth yet but it's a good starting place, and it allows me time to refine it later. Once I've got them all done I'll post up a new pre-viz to see how it all fits together. For now though, here are a few renders of the scenes I've got at the moment:




Monday, 3 December 2012

Run Cycle Update...

I've adjusted his cog joint to give him more time in the air:

It's definitely better, although I did struggle to make it look like he was going up and down from this view. You can see it from the front but I think it just about works now. :)

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Reaction Test: Surprise...

He gets a few nasty surprises in my animation so I thought I'd get a bit of practice going, using some of the reactions in the Animators Survival Kit as a basis:

I had a good go and I think it works quite nicely.  It's not amazing of course, but I think for a quick test it works pretty nicely, and I now have a few more poses for my PoseLibrary! :D

Run Cycle 2...

Below is my second attempt at a run cycle put into a bit more context, the first is at 25fps and the second is at 30fps just to see if it looks a little better:

I've been struggling with this one for days but I do think it's almost there. I've been having trouble loosening him up so he doesn't feel as if everything's moving at the same time, but when I do I seem to come across very random and unpleasant jumping in his arms.

Anyway, I could do with a break from this cycle so it's time to continue with a few of his behaviours. 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Run Cycle Attempt 1 Tweaking...

I tweaked the arms, added foot pressure and trouser movement below:

It's definitely a little tidier and I'm glad with how it's coming along after the little trouble I had earlier. Might have a break from these cycles and have a go at some reactions. After looking in The Animators Survival Kit, I've found a guide to creating surprise that I'd really like to have a go with. Onwards and upwards! :D

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Run Cycle Attempt: 1...

It's a bit wobbly but I like how lumbered his run feels though.  It's starting to look like a run too which is good, but I've got my copy of Richard Williams' Animators Survival Kit by my side, so I should get there eventually :)

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Current Walk Cycle...

Here's how he's walking at the moment:

I've added more delay and made his heel now hit the ground first.  I like the delay in his arms and his head bob, I think it's almost there. Now to try putting a run cycle together!

@Alan, Walk Cycle Update...

After making a couple of blend shapes and adding some laces to the feet, this is where his cycle is currently at:

The texture's simple, but it works, and the blend shapes are working nicely on the trousers and shoes. They're controlled by a driven key one the foot control, which seems to be doing the trick nicely.

Any pointers about how to improve the cycle are much appreciated though, but he seems to be coming along nicely other than that :)

Monday, 26 November 2012

Updated Walk Cycle...

I created a blend shape to make the trousers respond more to his weight and movement, here's how the cycle looks at the moment:

Definitely is a big improvement, it actually makes it look like they're moving with him now. Good stuff! :)

Tweaked Heavier Walk Cycle...

Here's a slightly heavier version of the previous walk cycle:

Below is the same cycle bit with a few tweaks:

It's definitely working more now, thanks to the sad walk cycle Phil sent me, but maybe the coat expanding as he comes down is too much? Maybe he just needs to drop further down. I shall try all of these options and see how he looks!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Playing with Walk Cycles...

Since I've been using the magical Pose Library script I thought I'd have a go at putting a rough walk cycle together. Here's how it's currently looking:

I also had a go at combining this walk cycle with another pose I made below:

They're a little stiff but I can see already that he's moving exactly how I wanted him to. I also love how his belt moves as he walks. Great stuff, now onto more posing! :D

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Face and Rig Tests...

I've been busy getting our hero's rig together, so in the meantime here's how his rig is working:


And here's a new face test too:

Exciting times indeed! :D

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Character Rigging Test...

I've been having a good go at rigging my character and here's how he looks at the moment:


There are a few problems, such as the arms don't move with the rest of the body and the squash and stretch is a little too effective on the face and arms. However, this has been a really good experience so far and hopefully it won't take too long to get him finalised and ready for animation! :D

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Interim Presentation...

Pre-Viz Animatic Update...

I've now changed the vertical & horizontal stripes scene to add a little more peril to our hero's journey:

It's definitely much more dynamic now, and I still get to have the moment when he's trying to hold back the blackness before it engulfs him entirely. 

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Updated Pre-Viz Animatic...

I've tweaked the opening sequence and added a close up in the scenes with the vertical stripes. I also followed some more advice and turned the slope into more treacherous stairs and the chasm now disappears so our hero falls into the black, into the next sequence:

I think it works nicely now, but please let me know what you think! :)

Monday, 5 November 2012

Pre-Viz Animatic Update...

Here I've continued with the close up from the first scene, instead of having it cut back to the long shot:

Below has one other scene slightly changed. In the scene with the horizontal stripes, as the character passes through the middle and decreases in size I've also made him flip to the top of the screen:

Maybe that's an unnecessary addition, but let me know what you think! :)

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Pre-Viz Animatic: Part Four...

I've removed the jarring place-holders and instead made some new footage that I think fits in much better:

It's definitely an improvement on the previous post, but I've used a few cross fades to indicate that the scenes are supposed to match. For example, the chasm scene is supposed flip down into the stripes scene,as it did before, but I couldn't get it to do that in pre-viz with the new 3D steps. I think it's still much clearer though, but let me know what you think! :)

Pre-Viz Animatic: Part Three...

I've made the character react more appropriately in the old scenes and also tried to incorporate some close up shots too:

The close ups are a little jarring at the moment but when it comes to the animation there will be more of an emotional reaction with his face and body too, these are just place-markers at the moment. I think his reactions are working better now in the old footage, it's a little clearer what he's trying to do but do let me know if you have any feedback for me! :)

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Pre Viz Animatic: Part Two...

Trying to adopt more of a 3 Act Structure:

It is better and there's definitely more of a feeling that he's being bullied here, but I'm not sure if it's enough. I'm not sure if all the sequences work now either, but let me know what you think! :)

Friday, 26 October 2012

Pre Viz Animatic...

I've been struggling a little with visualising the in-betweens and transitions so I jumped in Maya and put together a rough pre viz:

I think it's starting to work well. It's a little jerky and I think my timing could do with a little work, but I don't think it's too far off. Let me know what you think, any advice is much appreciated! :D

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Animation Reference...

After my tutorial with Alan it was clear that the animation is going to be tricky for me, but one way he recommended I could do it is to have key poses that the character would jump between. They would be the 45 & 90 degree angles of the character, similar to these animation examples below:

This style creates a kind of jerkiness that I think would really suit my character and its world. The animation wouldn't be quite as lo-fi as these examples, and if there's time it may even be smoothed out further, but it would have a real charm to it that I think would work a treat, especially as it seemed to work so nicely with my previous eye test! :)

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Tweaking the Model...


I added a few extra edges and then softened the normals to give him a smoother silhouette. I then went in and hardened a few select edges, such as a few on the sleeves, the bottom of the coat and the creases around the belt.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Modelling Our Hero: Part One...

Here's how his model looks at the moment:

Looking good I think! I just put a few surface shaders on him to represent the colouring and style, keeping everything unsmoothed too because I like the sharp edges. Once he's got all his elements in there I'll see where to go next.  In the meantime, I'll be having a nose at some of the cartoons Alan recommended and making a post about their animation style, along with the very helpful advice from my tutorial today. :)

Animation Reference...

Some great reference for when I come to animating (Thank you Andriana! :D)

Monday, 22 October 2012

First Character Turnaround...

As I feel pretty confident that I understand how he would look in 3D space I've put together my first turnaround:


I'm excited to get this started but I think the next job, before I get too far ahead of myself, is perfecting the Animatic. I'll get some advice there tomorrow during my tutorial! :)

Back Coat Ideas...

I didn't want the back of his coat to be completely plain so here are a few ideas:

I forgot to number them again so, assuming they're 1-5, I quite like the panel on 5, maybe 4 too if it was a little wider. Let me know what you think too! :)

Sunday, 21 October 2012

First Piece of Concept Art...

Thought I'd start putting a few concept pieces together to really see our hero in his environment. Here's the first:


Working quite nicely I think! Onwards! :D

Quick Environment Test...

Below are a couple of comparison images I've put together to see whether the black elements of the environment should be matte black or whether they should have a little of that pen texture on there too:

Although I quite like the additional texture I think this world is one of solid colours. The pen does make the black areas seem a little more alien, which enhances the contrast between the white and the black, but it, along with the previous boil effect, might be too much. Let me know if you have any thoughts! :)

Face Animation Test...

Thought I'd have a go at testing how his face might be animated:

It works quite nicely I think. I used a few different groups of planes that have their visibility turned on and off to change the expression. I know it's still early days and the transparencies have outlines on them still, but little tests like this mean I get to see him start coming to life and that's really exciting! :D

Friday, 19 October 2012

Final Character Design?...

After taking into account everyone's feedback, this is how our hero looks:


Here are a couple of test images:


I think he's quite cute and sad, but let me know what you think too! :D

Mudbox Week 3 & 4...

Week 3 - Scarlett Johansson's lips (sort of):

Week 4 - Anatomy  work:

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Hair and Face Designs: Part Two...

Here I've taken the favourite faces from the feedback I received, along with the recommended hair, and played around with different eyebrows on each as the proportions stay the same (except for 2A, I moved the face a little lower there). Here are the results:


I'm a little torn between keeping his face abstract to fit my style, which also allows the audience to project their emotions onto him, and still keeping him universal. Perhaps I'm reading too much into it and the two go hand-in-hand, either way let me know what your favourites are! :)

More Face and Hair Work...

Below I have all my previous face designs but with the shine taken from the eyes to make them matte:


Here are some new hair designs after I adjusted the favourite faces according to the comments I received:


I think the top 2 rows are the strongest here but I did come up a little short when it came to painted hair shapes. I'll keep working on this but any suggestions would be gratefully received. :)

Tidied Character Designs...

I think the scruffiness was perhaps an unnecessary addition because, as Phil pointed out, this character should be a kind of 'every man' and the advert should be universal so here are some tidier versions of the character:

Each is slightly different in shape and has different features on his coat. I think 1 may be too bulky, I quite like 2 though. It's very difficult to choose between them as I so like the bell shapes of 2 and 4.

I'll get onto some more face and hair tests and again, all feedback is much appreciated! :D

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

A Few New Character Designs...

My newest attempts at shaping the hero of my animation:


The four drawings on the left are the previous designs that I used as a basis,  and I think that he's coming along really nicely now. He's starting to have the right amount of hunch and I like how the arms just hang down like the unkempt trench coat. I want to give him a name soon, but hopefully this'll come along with the design process. Again, all feedback is much appreciated! :D

First Character Face Sheet...

Trying to keep it simple, here are the possible faces I have so far:


Generally I like them.  I think the mouth works in some of them and I think I am drawn more to the eyes in 17-19, which is why I thought I'd try adding some features. I think I like the faces most where the mouth is small and low on the face, giving him the traditional 'long face' of someone upset.
It's going to be difficult to choose though so any feedback is much appreciated! :D

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Some Character Development...

After getting my initial animatic done it's time to hone the design of hero of the story. Below are my most recent attempts at trying to understand and design this character:

They're nice and it's starting to come together now but it's still not quite there.  To try and correct this I had a talk with Justin and he gave me a  lot of great advice:
  • To portray his anxious feelings he needs to seem more nervous, and more hunched over.
    • On edge all the time like a deer or a bird.
  • To support this his coat could also be dishevelled and untidy.
    • He's too busy worrying about things to take care of himself.
      • Coat could be lumpy, missing buttons, trailing belt, needs a good iron/clean.
    • Reinforce the feeling of neglect.
  • In the end the coat could be straightened out and clean to signify his control over his anxieties. Perhaps even adjust his proportions to seem more heroic.
  • The collar could be representative of him and his state of mind.
    • It could be a ying and yang to represent the conflict between the two states that are currently imbalanced. The collar could be dark and light greys instead of complete black and white to keep him visible in the black and white environment.
      • This could even be literally one half of him the light side and one the dark.
  • The final coat could again be different, perhaps more muted version of the previous coat using lighter greys.
Here's my work after Justin's advice:
Here I tried to make him more hunched over, but perhaps it reads more like craning over rather than a hunched posture. The bottom two images are my first attempt at illustrating a before and after. The first is the more hunched and dirtied character and the second is the pristine, well balanced character at the end.

I think I need to do another page of illustrations based on Justin's help to really pin it down, but I also feel confident that I can take the advice and really run with it. Good stuff! 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Mudbox Week 1...

Week three was supposed to be here too but I think the computers hate loading the files up. Hopefully I'll have it up over the next day or so!

Super Cow

First Animatic...

I was struggling a little to get all the transitions to work but I think I'm on the right lines here. I also missed out on fitting in one of my favourite thumbnails but as I work maybe I can get it in there later.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Character Design Concepts...

Here are the ideas I have so far. I forgot to number them so if anyone fancies leaving me some feedback row 1 is #1-5 then row 2 is #6-10 from left to right:


Using the idea that he's in a kind of trench coat and playing with the simple shapes from various trench coat styles. They're nice, although I think I prefer the bell shape more than the rounder ones and I quite like the more simplistic designs such as #6 and 7. Good stuff though! :D

Initial Newsprint Style Texture Tests...

These were my attempts at making a newsprint style texture in Photoshop:


It didn't work well, I really don't like the idea of it being square so I downloaded some rasterizing software and it gave much nicer results:


The white areas seemed too white so I added some more newsprint to the chest:


I tried to blend the dots a little better by making some areas lighter than others:



It's working well so far, even if it's a little blotchy at the moment, and I really like how the shadowed areas look. I didn't add any lights as I wanted to see if I could create the illusion of shadows and I think it's worked pretty nicely. I can see myself having a little trouble when it comes to keeping the dots matching up seamlessly but it should suit the world when it's done.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

More Animated Texture Tests...

Here's a selection of pre-viz playblasts, some with some basic animation too (the 720p version is ideal as it can appear a little blurry otherwise):

It's getting exciting! I'm enjoying this, and although the animated texture might need a little work still, it is definitely starting to come together. :)

First Moving Texture Test...

It's an icky video but you can still see what I've been up to:

I'd like there to be a little more contrast between the black and the white but it's getting to look quite nice. There will be better, higher quality videos later tonight.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

New Project Proposal...

First Thumbnail Ideas...

After my research I've put together a selection of thumbnails of sequences I might include in the narrative. They're all in pencil and marker pen as I found it the most appealing way to get the first few ideas down:
















I'm enjoying this thoroughly. The research I've got is great and I'm looking forward to creating more of these thumbnails and finally piecing it all together! :D