Animated short: Creative and Technical model planning

Today we discussed what we are going to make for our creative and technical model. Since we are making an animation, we decided it made more sense to make the characters as our creative and technical models so that they would be done sooner and available for the animation part quicker. We split the tasks of the models that needed making so that Ebonny is making most of the environment assets, and I am making the base character model. After the base character model is made, we are going to make both of the character models from that, so Ebonny is going to make Zach, and I will make Lilith. Here is a visual representation that I made to try and work out how to make it…

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The modelling pipeline consists of first doing the research, collecting reference images and/or concept art for the model, then working out design choices and concepts for the final sketches and annotating as necessary, then making the low poly model, then UV unwrapping so that the UVs are set, then making the high poly model, this point is a good time to work out naming conventions, then bake the model to get the normal map, then texturing, making sure to check that the model will work in the required destination, then exporting to the necessary engine.

My next steps for this model are to make the low poly base model so that I can then make the high poly one to distribute to Ebonny so that we can finish the characters as soon as possible.

 

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Summer Project: Ballet movement animation part 1

Over the summer holidays, I decided to try and animate a ballet movement for my portfolio. I myself am a ballerina, so I filmed a movement and used that for reference. I then repeatedly watched the footage and looked for the main poses within the movement to use as the main keyframes. I made rough sketches of each keyframe poses, along with taking note of the time-stamp, and then worked out where this should be in frames.

These images will be replaced with proper scans later on…

I then took the time to keyframe and animation block the main poses of the movement. This took quite a long time because I was having some issues with actually getting the frames to save into the timeline, however I managed to sort it out through the graph editor. I made a quick playblast so that I can show what I have so far.

Unfortunately, this was as far as I managed to get with the project so far because I took quite a lot of time to make the hammer textures, however I plan to try and complete it as soon as possible so that I have something unique for my portfolio.

Animated short project: Inital ideas and planning

This afternoon, we worked out most of the Trello planning for our project. We added in the deadlines and worked out when we need to have things done by and what to prioritise. We then got to brainstorming some ideas and planning what we are going to animate.

We considered making either a victory animation style dance sequence, a magician and assistant short, a general performer short, a cooking mishaps short, or a map reading mishaps short. We then discussed what we could do for each one, and looked up some inspiration to try and develop our ideas. Our strongest ideas were victory dance, cooking mishaps, and map reading, because we developed some good ideas for those right off the bat, and then we took to the internet to do some research and whittle down our ideas.

First, we wanted to research victory animations from various platformers, because those animations are good examples of cartoony, fun, and appealing dances. We looked up Jak and Daxter, the Overwatch character emotes, and Kirby to see what works and what doesn’t for their victory animations

Jak and Daxter – https://youtu.be/vuJPTUlVqIo

Kirby –   https://youtu.be/Eo4YRyugCMs

Overwatch dance emote – https://youtu.be/RoFLh5e3D7E

We then discussed what we could do for the cooking and map reading animations. We ended up having some great ideas about making the characters get lost and make something inspired by the animation from the Trail we Blaze from Road to El Dorado (https://youtu.be/DsWklwCFOoI).

We then talked about how we want to make the environment around them, and we considered making a 2D background so that we could have the characters scrambling through the foreground, mid-ground, and background to try and find their way. We then looked at the scenes from Miraculous Ladybug where Marinette is explaining things, and she is still a 3D animation, but the background is an animated 2D background, and we are hoping to take some inspiration from this.

Overall I feel like our planning today has gone much better, and I feel more optimistic about our project in general. We took some time to figure out how we are going to make and rig the models, and our next step is likely to be our concept sketches and planning related to that.

3D & Animation – Animated Short project: The beginnings

Today we started off on our group project for the next few months. I decided to take the animated short project because I plan to specialise in animation this year, and the animated short project seemed like the most appealing choice.

Our team started off as a big team with 6 members, which from the start seemed like a big team that would be difficult to delegate jobs to. We brainstormed some ideas and split roles to people based on their strengths, and came up with some ideas, however after consideration we felt like the team was too big and that the overall product might not come together so well if too many people worked on the project. So after that talk, myself and another member of the group split into a duo and decided to work on a project on our own, because we had already worked out an idea before joining with the others.

We spent the rest of the lesson starting to set up the planning for the project as a board on Trello. The specifications require it to be an interaction between two characters, and so far we have decided to make a cartoony and stylised dance short inspired by victory animations from games such as Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank, and Kirby.

So far, I am feeling nervous about starting this project because this is a big task and we are a small group, but I’m feeling a small amount of optimism. We have a basic idea of what we want to make, and I’m sure that once we properly get started, everything will run smoothly.

Break the cycle: Walk cycle submission post

This is my submission post for my walk cycle.

 

 

To make this walk cycle, I made the pose to pose keyframes, then made it straight ahead between each pose. Links are below for all of my step by step posts on how I made this.

Overall I am moderately happy with this walk cycle. I feel like it need vast improvements but I’m not really sure how or where.


https://nextgenrachaelwingate.wordpress.com/2017/04/24/break-the-cycle-making-my-first-walk-cycle/

https://nextgenrachaelwingate.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/break-the-cycle-splining-my-walk-cycle/

Break the cycle: Splining my walk cycle

I spent today splining my walk cycle. Admittedly, this is a task that I have literally been working on for weeks, but only making little progress. However, today I got a huge portion of splining done, so I felt it finally warranted a post about it.

Last time I posted, I had my main keyframes done, and today I spent time making each frame inbetween these pose to pose frames. This was a long and arduous task, however I am now satisfied with these poses between. (I forgot to loop that cycle, so for now it is just two steps, however for my final product I will work out how to loop the animation so that you can really see it.)

My next step was to go into the graph editor and smooth out this animation. I set everything to spline and looked at it, and it didn’t feel right. I asked for some opinions from my friends, and the general consensus was that the wrists looked weird, so I went back and changed some of my key frames. Previously, I decided to use broken joints to make it look more cartoon-like, however when this was splined it looked really weird and didn’t look like it was properly splined. So, I put everything back to clamped and stepped, and I took out the broken joints and instead made it look more natural. I also removed the last frame, and frame 0, because it made the leg look like it was snapping down into place, so hopefully this will look better for the final product.

Overall, I am very happy with the progress I have made on this animation. I was stuck in a rut with it for a very long time, so my progress today feels overwhelming. Everything is batch rendered and ready to put into Premier Pro tomorrow, so I am pleased to be at this point. I like how this walk cycle looks now, before I felt like I was losing hope because it didn’t look like much, however now it looks much better because it has been fully fleshed out and splined.

 

Break the cycle: Making my first walk cycle

For the last week, I have been trying to create a walk cycle. I hadn’t made much progress until today, so today feels like a good day to blog about it. I used the Jack rig to make this walk cycle, and spent today blocking and making the passing poses for this walk cycle.

Most of my time this week was spent on researching techniques and planning what I want to do for my animations. I planned a lot of the technical things for this animation, including the tempo for the walk, which I decided to keep realistic at walking on 12’s (even though this means annoyingly splining every frame), and I decided to make a happy upbeat walk, because it’s more fun to animate something that is full of life.

For my animation blocking, I made each 3 frames that were the frames where the model’s legs were most outstretched, because these are the most definitive poses in a walk cycle.

 

Then, I started to block out the passing poses in the animation. On frames 7, and 19, I made the model start to bounce up a little, and on frames 4, and 16, I made the model squish down a bit for authenticity and add a bit of vitality to it.

So far, I am confident about my animation and how it looks. I don’t think there is anything I don’t like about it currently, but I know that a lot still needs to be fixed with the graph editor, so that might be my next step, and I also might add in some more frames just to smooth out the arcs of the movements.