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Saturday, 15 December 2007

Timing & Mechanics - Week 11,12 & 13

Our longest project so far, and properly the funniest one. The project it self is like an avanced version of the Pacman project, in which the aim is to further our skills in animation and our understanding of timing within animation.
Our brief was split into three sections, which corresponded with the three weeks of project time:-
  1. Single Objects
  2. Linked Objects (Forward Kinetics)
  3. Linked Objects with Inverse Kinetics

The first week we had to do a series of animations showing acceleration and deceleration. We were given a toy car to animate. It was good that they kept it simple for us, but they wanted us to animate the toy car like a real one which proved to quite a challenge. Though it gave me a good chance to really work with the timing in my animations. Further we got an introduction to the curveeditor within 3ds max, in which we can better control the timing and speed of our animations.
Two very important terms that we had to keep in mind was anticipation and followthrough. Anticipation is about showing a build up before an action, so in the car example the car would oves slightly backwards before accelerating forward. Followthrough is the action that extends the primary action, again in the car example the car would bounce forward when it stops harshly.
Heres a couple of examples of the car animations:-

The copyright is reserved for the University of Glamorgan, Cardiff School of Creative and Cultural Industries.

In my opinion this part of the project wasthe most boring bit. Its very restricting to animate the toy car, because it lack movable parts. Now the second week was a lot more interesting, where we dealt with linked objects with forward kinetics. Forward kinetics is when you move each seperate part individually. In this week we had to put aerials on our cars, then move on to make a swinging pendulum and an swinging arm.
I really liked doing the aerials, which were all about the bounce from the followthrough. I learned that if you get one part of the aerial to work, the rest comes automaticly. The same kind of goes with the pendulum, which is basically an inversed aerial. Now the swinging arm was our first taste of figurative animation, sweeetttt.... The biggest challenge about the swinging arm was not to caricature the movement too much. In animation we have to caricature the movements a bit to get the message across to the audience, but it easily gets too much and controlling this balance is what makes the diffence between animators and NINJA animators (aka briliant animators).
Talky talky, now showy showy:-

The copyright is reserved for the University of Glamorgan, Cardiff School of Creative and Cultural Industries.

I think the pendulum is the worst one of the three. We had to end the animation at some point within a reasanable time frame, and this makes it just a bit unbelievable because a pendulum would properly swinging for quite a long time. The arm is in my opnion a good start on the figurative animation. All ninjas need training before mastering the stuff:-)
Lastly the third week with objects linked with inverse kinetics. Inverse kinetics is when you only have to move the "master joint". In the case of a leg you would only have to move the foot or the torso and the knee would bend accordingly. Whereas compared to forward kinetics where you would have to bend the upper and lower leg to move the foot into the right position. if someone dont understand this stuff, I really wont blame them cause this stuff is even hard to explain as a tutor without showing it. Unfortunately I cant show you it because you have to sit infront of a computer with 3D Studio Max installed.
The character that we made and animated in the third week was a one legged egg with an aerial. Sounds a bit crazy, but heck its animation so you can do what-ever you want:-) Our objective was to animate the egg bouncing across the screen 3-5 times and coming to a stop. At first the IK (Inverse Kinetics) was a pain to animate with, and it still kind of is but Im begining to see the anvantages of it. Lets look at what came out of that week:-

The copyright is reserved for the University of Glamorgan, Cardiff School of Creative and Cultural Industries.

Dont pay tooo much attention to the second animation with the egg falling. It was done as a quick reminder of how fun animation can be, when I got a bit tired of the primary animation.
I think I pulled the bouncing off quite well, but the ending is definately something I will get questined on in the critique. I just a hard a really time figuring out how to stop the egg, then spend some time in my room jumping back and forward to get the feeling of the stop. I realised finally that when you have that amount of momentum in you action, you dont stop suddenly. The momentum from the bouncing pulls you forward and to stop you have to do the extra small jump.
The final handed-in video was a compiled version of the best animations, which you can view here:-

The copyright is reserved for the University of Glamorgan, Cardiff School of Creative and Cultural Industries.

In other subjects we handed in our first essay and did our first proper presentation in Contectual Studies. The presentaiton did go that good because I totally ran out of time and hand to rush things a lot. The objectives of the essay was to pick a 40-60 second scene from a movie or animation, indentify the themes and mood and analysize the ways these and conveyed to the audience through the filmic language. I chose the live-action version of Aeon Flux as my film and the final scene in that. It was a good study to get us into the academic way of looking at movies.

I think Ill stop here, because I WANT HOLIDAY!! So these were the words for this time, I hope you enjoyed the reading... Ill continue again in the new year, where we start on figurative animation!!! wuuuuhhuuuu, looking forward to that...