Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Blog Updating: Completing Class 02 and This Update

So you'll have seen a lot of this post already, but this post is going to be a wrap-up of Class 02!

Like I've said, the past few blog posts have covered everything else that's in this reel, but if you haven't seen 'em, voila!

Ray was an awesome mentor to have. I really did learn a lot from him this semester, and picked up some nifty new tools from him as well. Isolate Selected is now something I've been using a lot lately. I found a cool script online that acts as an on/off switch for the Isolate Selected for the current Panel. I don't know this person, but I'm going to personally thank them for the script here, it's exceedingly useful!
//Toggle Isolate Selected in Current Panel
$currentPanel = `getPanel -withFocus`;
$state = `isolateSelect -q -state $currentPanel`;
if ($state == "0")
    enableIsolateSelect $currentPanel 1; 
    enableIsolateSelect $currentPanel 0;
 And also, I know this one is more common, but the K+Middle Mouse scrolling is also something I've spammed on this last animation. I didn't know that it worked in any window, and that's why I didn't see the point in it before. I could just scroll through the timeline in perspective window. But what if I wanted to have the main monitor house the Graph Editor and my extra monitor hold my shot camera? How would I scroll then? Why, the K-Scroll method! It's especially helpful having it attached to a function key on my mouse. I've also got "Alt" attached to another function button on m mouse, and the W and E keys as well. So I can do a lot without ever touching the keyboard!

I just wanna take a second to say what an awesome guy Ray was. He was so cool and fun, and it was awesome seeing his breakdowns and progressions for some of the shots in Epic and Ice Age. He was a character lead for MK in Epic, and it shows! He did what i think must've been one of the most difficult shots in the movie, where she goes from being human size and shrinks while spinning in a whirlwind and grasping the pod. Insanity to me! He's working on Peanuts now, super excited for it! He's also really cool for still allowing us to message him and talk to him and get feedback from him outside of class as well! He even said he'd be willing to check out reels and stuff later on, how awesome is he?! He was just an awesome teacher, and he told us a lot about Blue Sky and working there as well. It makes me really want to get there soon. Hopefully at the very least, I can tour there sometime and thank him in person. Goal set. (Bring it Zeina!)

Back to learning animation, Ray told me that I have an alright eye for weight in my animations, but the one thing I need to work on is spacing. So That's what I'm gonna focus on this semester!

Speaking of the new semester, I actually have my first chat with my class 03 mentor tonight! This time, for Advanced Body Mechanics, my mentor is Steve Cunningham. He seems like he's gonna be a touch kind of mentor, but I think that's a really good thing for me! Here's a link to his reel if you're interested.

Really excited again for this semester!

Blog Updating: Physicality Assignment

This blog is about the last assignment from my semester in class 02. This one was all about physicality and weight. AM gave us a bunch of options to choose from, and each one had a difficulty level. I chose one of the level four difficulties, naturally, haha. It was carrying a chair, setting it down, and then having the character sit down in it. I decided to give myself another difficulty level by choosing AM's character Stan, who has very strange proportions. It was a very interesting and challenging animation assignment.

I will say this before I get into the assignment. I'm glad I got the chance to work on Gaiaspora. I say this here because being on that short allowed me to understand object interaction animation, and how you set up animations with objects technically inside Maya. I became fairly well versed with parent constraining objects to characters or vice versa. That came in handy setting up this animation, took no time at all!

Where better to start an animation than with the reference!

So when I picked this assignment, I thought "I've got a chair that's perfect for this assignment in my room!" And then I went to shoot the reference... and I don't remember the chair being so heavy. So there was no faking weight at all in this one. I tried to get a more awkward way of carrying it for interest. Then after all these, I took it into Maya. 
Stan was way more difficult to get used to than any of the characters I've used thus far. I couldn't get the same poses that I got in the reference videos. And his arms were so long, I had to really play with the hand poses while holding the chair. His off top-heavy size and body proportions also made the weight read completely differently than mine would, so all in all, crazy exercise!
That's what I ended up with! Using Stan changed a few things in the animation, and I decided to drop the chair for time constraints on the assignment. I also had a whole other half of this animation planned, so I might go back and add on to this one sometime, who knows.
I also tried more of a blocking plus stage in this assignment, however I did this after the blocking pass. I think after this assignment, I'm going to start making my blocking phases as detailed as the blocking plus pass was in this animation. It also seems to be more of what the larger studios look for in initial blocking phases as well. So new challenge!

And with that, my class 02 career is complete!

Blog Updating: A Quadruped is Walking

If there's anyone out there who's been reading these, than you'll know that one of my posts was going to about my quadruped walk cycle assignment! Welp, here's that post.

Poses of a Quadruped Walk
I'll start off by sharing the sketches I worked on. I got a lot of information from the Animator's Survival Kit. However when I was sketching from it, I decided to add some of my own tweaks to it, like with paw placements and landings. The most important thing to note when doing a lateral walk like this, which most animals have, is the foot chasing. When the back foot is moving forward, it moves to take the place of the front paw. It gets placed down in almost the same spot as the front paw, and only two to three frames after the front paw leaves the ground. I took each of these sketches into Maya as my blocking phase.

Ray, my class 02 mentor, wanted to make sure we got the full experience for our primary foray into quadruped walks, so he told us not to do the cycle in place and make sure we translated Sloan forward. And I'm glad he made us do that, it was nice practice!

Here's the progression reel. You can see all of those individual sketches in the top left corner version of the shot. When I got into splining, I began to give it a little personality by loosening it up through some head movements. One of the bigger changes I came across was the footfalls. In the sketches and blocking, I had the paws landing on the heels. It felt a little weird, but I went with it because I saw that in the notes that I sketched from. However, Ray commented on it too, and I switched them to hitting toes first. This helped a lot with how the footfalls felt.

For a closer look at the final version:

This was a fun assignment, I liked animating a dog! It was a good challenge.

Blog Updating: Class 02 Poses

Unfortunately it has been a while since I've added anything to my blog. The shame! So I'm gonna backtrack and get this updated as much as I can today. So let's start with some of the assignments from Class 02 at Animation Mentor!

This was the first experience I've had with a character with more than two legs. These posing assignments spanned three consecutive weeks, while we were animating a quadruped walk cycle. So let me post these poses here!

Sloan was an interesting rig to use. These poses were harder because they were the first real experiences I had with researching animals. I think the last one is my favorite of the dog poses!

But this class wasn't all about animals!

These poses were way more fun to do than the ones from class 01!!