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Friday, 25 April 2008

Character Exploration - Part 2 - Week 16 & 17

There is is not a lot to say about the last couple of weeks, BUT there is definitely something to show. The last two week it's been about animating our character with a walk cycle and two traits.

If you haven't read the previous blogs then here the Golden procedure of animating; Research, research>Planning>Thumb nailing>Blocking in the key poses>Do the inbetween poses>Polish>DONE.

Actually the very first thing is to think about the walk/trait. Figuring out how the character moves and where it moves from and to. Then some do a rough thumbnail and then moves on to the video reference (acting it out). I found it better to act it out from the beginning. In any which way you do it, you have to have a clear idea of what is going to happen before recording your video reference. Here is some of my video reference:-

Heh.. The humiliations we have to suffer, all for the glory of animation:-) Allright, let's have a look at what that turned into. This is NOT the final animations. They are close, but they can undergo change before the deadline in two week:-

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

Well that was it for this time. Next time it will be the final thing. Looking forward to it:-) Hope you enjoyed the reading and animations...

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Character Exploration - Part 1 - Week 11, 12, 13, 14 & 15

Final project of the school year, and probably the most important one as this one is the project thats is going to be send to the industry for judgement in the Glammies for the best first year student!!
In this project we have to design, model, rig, and animate our own character. The animation is going to be;
  1. Walk cycle.
  2. Traits
  3. Lip-sync.
  4. Performance.
The walk cycle does not have to be a vanilla walk (see figurative) or realistic, but suitable for the character. The traits are characteristics shown through a situation, and how the character reacts to the situation. The lip-sync. (lip-synchronization) is the synchronization of the characters lips to a monologue. And the performance is the acting to the same monologue.

My character is a 10 year old naughty angel called Emilia. Emilia find heaven incredibly boring, and wants to spice up the place with some pranks. The problem is that nothing goes unnoticed by God... Ill leave the rest up for the animation, cause that is our main purpose of this project To portray these characteristics through the design and animation.

The first week was spend on the idea and concept drawings. Nailing down the idea is the hardest part, cause of the number of character that has been made so far. Something truely original not only needs a good imagination, but also a lot of development after the initial idea. My initial idea had a feeling of realism instead of cartoony. When I pitched my initial idea to out teacher, Gareth Cavanagh (his blog), he pointed out that my idea was not suitable for the amount of modelling/animation that we are doing for this project. So I simplified the idea.
The first week of this project was the week before the easter holidays, so I had 3 weeks off to develop the concept of the character further.
This past week we have been modelling and setting up for the rig, so we are ready for animating the walk cycle next week.

My concept drawings developed alongside with the story of the character. So first I tried to nail down the gender of my character, then avanced to the head where I had to convey 10-year old girl to the audience. Lastly the body, which also had to say 10-year old, but still making the character interesting by playing around with the proportions.
When I finally had a clear idea of the character, I went on to the facial expressions and action poses. The whole process can be viewed here, by clicking the image below:-

After getting your character down with expressions and poses, its time for a model sheet. A model sheet is the character view from different angles, where the most common is a front and side view. As the purpose of the project is to animate rather than modeling character has to be split into simple shapes, and linked directly to the biped rig. This is visualized on the model sheet (click on the image, to view a bigger version):-

Now to the modelling, the part I really enjoy:-) I dont really want to comment on the modelling process, cause it gets quite technical, but if anyone has any questions they are welcome to ask.
After modelling comes the rigging, which was quite easy as it was linking the objects directly to the biped. Now comes the rush of the whole project, seing your character move for the very first time. Very additive to breathe life into something you made!!!
Unfortunately I have not got any animation to show, that will have to wait to the next time. But I got a beauty shot (a rendered pose, with nice lighting), and simple turn around animation (the halo got adding after I did the beauty shot):-

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

Well that was it for this time around. I am really looking forward to start animating Emilia. Hope you enjoy the reading, see ya next time....