Friday, February 7, 2014

You've Gotta Strut What You've Got

So here's that post I was talking about for my walk cycle. Haha, it's a bit late, but I've got it and then some!

So here you will see my first full-bodied animation from AM. Both my mentor from my first semester and my current mentor talked about how when starting an animation, it's useful to come up with a back-story for the character if they don't have one. So since we were using a female rig, I originally planned on doing a runway walk. However I saw a bunch of other students chose to do that as well, so I wanted to try something else then. Then I thought about strutting. And once I'd decided on that kind of walk, I came up with her back-story.

Stella: Stella's just been asked to prom by the HOTTEST guy in the ENTIRE school. That's right, not Lindsey Shields, HER.

That's the gist of the profile I made for her. So naturally I started with reference videos. Then I blocked it in Maya; and submitted the blocking for an assignment. Then I went into splining and finishing the animation, but I was seriously pressed for time so I wasn't able to polish it as nicely as I would have liked. After that critique however, I took a bit of extra time to work on it. So, without further ado:

Strutting Animation! from Nick Arbeiter on Vimeo.

I must admit, to help myself with the reference videos, I was totally playing that song on repeat while recording. Speaking of video reference, want to see parts of mine?

Strutting Comparrison Reel from Nick Arbeiter on Vimeo.

So here we have my reference, my blocking, what was submitted for final, and then finally, my edited, completed strut.

This is also the first time I've done a double-bounce walk. It's not very apparent, but my mentor Ray pointed out that the blocking pass didn't feel as energetic as the reference footage. A classmate had told me that she a double bounce in it as well, so hearing it from two sources made me feel like I'd missed it. Ray then explained to me how a double-bounce works. Instead of the normal poses in the walk (contact, extreme down, passing, extreme up), Ray told me that a double-bounce actually has a fifth pose in a way, at least for the hips and feet. This extra pose takes place between the extreme down and passing positions. Normally, the hips raise out of the down position into the passing.Then they continue up higher for the extreme up. However, this fifth pose is actually higher than the passing position. So to create that second bounce, the hips start at their lowest point in the extreme down. Then they lift up higher, as if they are going to go as high as their extreme up poses. Then because of this, the hips have to go down to get to the passing position. After which they raise again into the extreme up. See, two apexes, so two "bounces."

You also may notice that in the last version, she has only one ponytail. I couldn't get the other one working, something weird was happening with it! However, I think she looks more interesting this way!

So this next vid is one that I just had fun to make because I was curious how it would appear. I've always liked seeing all the different versions a shot can go through, so that's exactly what I did for my own animation! This will show you my exact process for animating this shot. How I went through a full body blocking phase, then started splining the individual pieces. Then I retweaked some things based on my critiques. So... why wait?

Strutting Progression Reel from Nick Arbeiter on Vimeo.
This can also illustrate to any non-animators how many versions even small, short animations go through to get made.

So here's my Strutting Stella! Tell me what you think! Coming soon, a quadraped walk and poses!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

3D Atmospheres Made From... 2D Plates? What??

So a friend of mine was having some trouble trying to do something in Nuke, and he asked me if I could make a tutorial for him. The trouble was making some atmospheric effects inside of a composite that felt 3D without having a 3D render. He was already using the 3D camera tracking abilities inside Nuke, so I suggested using Cards inside of the 3D Scene Node. He asked how that would work, and then this little brainchild was born!

So here is a tutorial detailing a very quick, but effective, method for using NukeX's 3D capabilities to create haze effects using 2D plates. (It seems like a lot of weird things happen when you keep going back and forth between saying 3D and 2D, haha. I had to keep rereading this as I was making it!)

NukeX: Creating a 3D Haze Effect with 2D Cards from Nick Arbeiter on Vimeo.