CAGD 493 (Animation): Senior Portfolio:
This week, I have been crunching to finish my 445 animation. I’ve had most of my scenes blocked and half splined for some time now, but I’m beginning to clean them up. The plan is to have them all finished in their entirety by Friday/Saturday for class on Monday and then render all of our scenes out by Wednesday. This is the first part to my shot 10:
I would like to have part 2 of shot 10 still in if I have the time to finish the run cycle, but I spent most of my time working on shot 10 part 3:
Shots 12 and 13 have changed a bit since the beginning, I don’t have the shots on hand but I do have the old compilation that I can post here:
These are the things that I’ve worked on over this week. I am going to finish all of the animations for 445 and then finish my 493/441 Animation 1.
This week (or rather, past 2 weeks), I’ve been focusing on finishing up my first 441 animation (and fixing details). Like last time, I finally got my graph editor to adjust my keys so that they match up and sync with the table using the += function. I’m pretty happy with the majority of how the animation plays out. I’ve finally gotten her hand to attach to the sandwich and I figured out (through Jocelyn) how to turn a blend shape on and off so that my IK controller isn’t messed up for the rest of my animation. I’ve got the sandwich attached and working, I just have to animate the up and down minutia into something smoother. I also started to fix a bit of the reactionary animation from the guy screen right. I fixed his shrug so its not so robotic and I also moved his hand on his hip, and I just need some swaying and weight shift in his legs and I think I’ll call it good. I’ve animated the eyes and some of the brows, I still have a little bit of polishing to do and then I have to put in all of my overlap, but I think it’s looking pretty good. I hate how long I’ve been picking this animation apart and trying to find the right fit for it, but alas; here’s what I have on Madame Sandwich:
I also continued working on my second 441 animation. I’ve begun to add some more poses and started modeling a little bit of an environment. I want him to be inside a kitchen (the kitchen window to the dining room is stage left) and I want him to be yelling at another chef who again, similar to my last animation, is a reactionary character. Here’s what I have on Malcolm and Chef Ramsay so far:
I don’t expect to finish this animation by the end of the semester, but I’m excited to finish it outside of class. I’m also going to start working on the blizzard animation competition over the break, and even though I know I’m not going to win any awards, I think the animation practice will be a fun and new challenge.
This week, I worked even more on finishing up my first 493 animation. I tweaked her hips, I started adding eye animation, and I’m in the process of getting the sandwich visibility to toggle on and then have her hand pick it up. I still have to adjust her fk controllers in her arms in the graph editor so they’re accurate to the table’s new orientation. I plan on having this animation completely finished by the time I present next (so, the week or two after Thanksgiving Break). I’m pretty happy with it, but there are some problems with my planning that have lead me to not become as fond of it. In other words, I’ll have done as much as I could’ve to make it as good as possible, so I’ll happy with it. Here’s where I’m at with that right now:
I also started a new animation for 441, and this one I’m super excited to work on. I’ve got it all planned in my head, I have a couple different secondary actions that I’m playing with in this audio clip. I’m using a clip from Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen, where he gets upset about overcooked (rubbery) scallops. If I could change anything about my approach, it would be to get a better audio recording; unfortunately, the music in the background makes it more distracting so I’ve done all I can to eliminate the background noise and have Gordon’s audio be isolated. Here’s the clip of my blockout that I have so far:
As you can see, there isn’t much to see yet. I spent the most of last class modeling both the golf club and the scallops/plate. I might change the scallops later on down the road, but for now, I’ll work with what I’ve made.
This week, I worked on tweaking some of my animation parts (and models in the scene) to better fit my animation. Raising the height of my table will allow for less awkward posing to the camera and will also allow her head to be more forward (and this way we won’t lose track of her eyes when she looks down). Once I adjust Claire’s body and throw in some more facial stuff, I can work on Tom (which shouldn’t take too long). After that, I should be ready to render!
I still have to readjust my rigs for this scene (I’m having a hard time adjusting Claire because the knife is being finicky). I’m planning on having the whole thing (rigged bread and all) done by Thanksgiving. I’m excited to see it fleshed out and will hopefully have the time/patience to render it out (and maybe bring it into Marmoset for a beauty pass).
I also started working on my next animation for 441 using a (slightly distorted) audio clip from Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen. In this scene, Gordon refers to someone’s scallops as “rubber” and that “Tiger Woods would tee off” with them.
Already reached the halfway point through this semester! Time is flying and I’m constantly in a state of either busy or stress, but usually a combination of both! Despite all my real world monetary struggles and other things, I worked some more on my 441 animation! We turned it in this Sunday, but alas, I didn’t finish it in time. I ran into some constraint problems and decided to push that back. I want to make this piece look really good for my animation reel/portfolio, so I’m going to polish this piece while working on my other 441 audio animation. Here’s where I’m at so far:
I finished the lipsync (although there are some moments where she pops pretty quick, and I want to make that more smooth) and now I’m working on polishing her body animation and facials (other than mouth movement). I also tweaked some of the posing for my other character who grounds us in the scene. I shifted the girl’s spine after receiving some feedback and made it more curvy like she was working to lean forward. I was also told that I have a very low counter and I’m going to look into raising the height on the counter while maintaining most of my animation (although if I struggle too much with this, I might just stick with the low counter).
I also added lighting! I need to adjust the light on her brow when she frowns (it freaks out a little bit) and I also need to make her eyes more visible when she goes down to spread the bits on the sandwich. This is just a first pass on lighting to make it look a little better, but I think I’ll fine tune it later when I fully flesh out my animation.
For my next 441 animation, I’m going to focus on a really angry, over-exaggerated character using a clip from Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen. I think this is a really neat and fun idea and will make my portfolio stick out from the rest.
This week I continued working on my 441 project, and I managed to move onto facial animation. It’s coming along quite nicely, and I’m proud of how much I’ve managed to accomplish now that I’m only focusing on this animation! Here’s what I’ve got so far:
As you can see, I still need to clean up the last few frames of body animation and add the rigged sandwich to her hand so it flops back. I pretty much polished the beginning facial and body animation, and I’m nearly halfway done with the lipsyncing. All I have left to do after that is some additional detail in the facial animation and some cleanup on the second guy (who isn’t pictured here because I’m focusing on the girl right now).
Once I finish this, I’m gonna go ahead and jump into the second dialogue assignment and attack that head on to try and really polish that for my next portfolio piece. Not a lot of progress to show through multiple videos, but this video alone should suffice for progress!
This week I stopped working on my happy cycle. I tried fixing the previous one I had, then I restarted, then I restarted again, and I’m just not feeling it anymore. I’m not really enjoying doing it and I want to focus on punching out my 441 animation with what little time I have left, so for this week and the next, I’ll be working on my 441 animation solely (in order to punch it out before the due date). Here’s my progress on that so far:
Mark suggested that I got rid of some poses, so I did. I think I struggle with finding good poses with as little work as possible going into the animation. As an ex-keyframe/2D animator, I’m used to doing a bunch of in-betweens, but I think I just need to get used to doing smooth pose-to-pose animation and refining it from there. I also think I’m finally getting the hang of holding my poses.
I also took part in the anim jam! Boy, did that take up way too much of my free time and wore me out. I thought before that I didn’t have a lot of free time, but now I remember that once a year feeling of truly having no free time. Here’s our final movie:
I think that from here on out, I’m only going to be focusing on facial animations (and I’ll jump into some exciting dialogue to tackle next to my 441 project).
This week I completed the calendar I said I’d work on, and I filled in some space and I feel way more organized. This first image is the calendar in a harder format to read:
Here’s a better visual of the first image, but it contains literally everything in my life:
This is a nightmare to look at, so I emptied out the areas where there’s time for me to work, have free time, etc.:
Onto actually relevant animation things, I couldn’t find a lot of time to work on my 493 things, I’ve been working a lot on my 445 and 441 stuff. So for this week, I’m gonna post some of my progress on my character animation, seeing as how it’s still relevant to my interests (character/facial animation). For reference, I’ve been working on a scene with audio from the movie La La Land, where Emma Stones’ character is audibly upset and frustrated. This is the blockout I did last week:
As you can see, it’s missing some flair, some purpose. I struggled with finding my path for this animation. I initially thought of something completely different, but Mark helped me with secondary action and trying to find proper posing, so I’ve tweaked it around and this is what the first spline looks like:
It’s pretty bad, but I’m not too worried about it. I have a general idea with what I need to do to fix it. Mark told me I worry too much and put too many poses in my animations, which I agree with. I think if I solidify my key poses and remove some unnecessary poses, I’ll fix a majority of my spline issues.
This week I worked some more on animating and blocking my happy walk. I decided to use the Ellie rig from the bodymech pack because I thought it might be fun to use her pigtails to express emotion (and have some overlapping action in there). It seems that rotating shoulders and arms causes Maya to crash often, I experienced this not only with my walk cycle but also with a different 441 assignment. I’ve learned my lesson and begun saving more often, especially before I rotate a controller (you would think I already do that, but I digress). [EDITORS NOTE: As it turns out, I did not in fact learn my lesson and I twisted the shoulder rotator and arm rotator and lost 10-12 poses while I was trying to add some in-betweens]. Here’s another crash log: I’ve never had so much frustration and problems with Maya before now:
Here’s my blocked progress on my happy walk (I lost some because, again, I’m an idiot and Maya doesn’t like me):
I didn’t get much done this week because of some financial and car problems, but I aim to spend a majority of my free time next week working. I have my poses blocked and I did a second pass on blocking and added some in-betweens, all I need to do now is go back and add some more overlap on the spine and head and get some hair physics going, and it’ll look nice and pretty when I spline and polish it up.
My plan for next week is to make a schedule, because so far I’ve just been sitting down and doing work whenever I have free time, but it doesn’t do me any good when I don’t have discipline to focus. I’ll post a pdf or jpeg of the schedule when I post next week’s blog post.
Goals for the next 2 weeks:
- Create Schedule
- Finish blockout and spline
- Finish polish on happy walk
- Start animating dialogue
This week, I finished up my vanilla walk cycle. It’s not perfect, but I’d rather put more effort into something more interesting and unique. In addition to this, as I was polishing up the arms and fixing some gimbal lock issues, maya decided to crash. I tried looking in the temp folder for my Maya file, and it didn’t save it out. It’s my fault for not spamming the control+s button, but I’ve decided that it’s sunk cost at this point and I’ll continue forward with working on the next part of my assignment. The only point to me working on the walk cycle assignment was to reattain a grasp of animating because I haven’t animated in a while. I also did it to touch up on my knowledge of the principals of animation. Here’s the crashlog file for those who wish to bask in the glory that is Maya (all I did was rotate the arm, what gives Maya?):
For now, I’ve started referencing a “happy” heel click walk cycle. Here’s a couple videos for reference as to what I’m aiming to achieve.
I also recorded my own reference, as seen here:
I’ve also started the blockout of the “happy” walk cycle, and my plan is to have it splined and polished by next week. so I can move onto animating some dialogue and facial expressions.
This week, I’ve started off with a vanilla walk cycle just to get back into the rhythm of things and make sure I can do that before I start my emotive walk cycle. Depending on if I get the emotive walk cycle done in one week, I might do 2 different emotive walk cycles. After this, I plan on moving right into my facial animation.
Anyway, here’s the first part of my blocked walk cycle.
As one can see, it’s really slow and somewhat jittery in some spots. It looks good so far though! So I went ahead and splined it:
Immediately, I ran into issues. I’m not sure if Maya has always done this, but with auto-key/spline, it gave some of my movements automatic anticipation (probably to try to make the curves in the graph editor as consistent as possible). It preemptively moved my feet in a lot of places where I didn’t want them to move, so I fixed those first. After that, I went into the COG and adjusted the Y-values to match up with the ups and downs of my character.
After that, I cleaned it up and did a little bit of polish (I’m not too worried with making a basic walk cycle perfect). It looked great from the side, and then I moved views to the front. It was all over the place so I’m gonna fix it over the weekend and then start my emotive walk cycle. I’m gonna keep it honest and say I probably only spent around 5-6 hours on this walk cycle, I’ll be putting more effort into the next post to make up for it!
For this semester, I plan on working on honing my skills as an animator and focusing on emotion and storytelling through animation. I think a lot of three-dimensional animation in this era (though, not all of it) is stuck in a sort of uncanny valley. Because animation is such a new facet of technology, I’m hoping my ambition and dedication can help me perfect the process of emotional storytelling before it becomes obsolete. I hope to bring life to characters and rigs by focusing on facial animation and emotion. I’m going to start the semester by animating a couple moody/emotive walk cycles using the body mechanics rigs, so I can focus strictly on creating character and conveying emotion through a (dare I say) personification of a non-humanoid object.