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Saturday, 26 January 2008

Figurative - Week 2, 3 & 4.

Full on animation now!! Our first taste of animating humanish characters with arms, legs and spines. Our objective was split into three categories:-

  1. Walking
  2. Pushing/Pulling an object
  3. Throwing/Lifting an object

The walking had to be a "vanilla" walk, which is a straight walk with no character like drunken walk/sad walk/happy walk and so on. Its actually really hard not to add any character to the walk. Further everyone in the world know how a walk should look like. They may not know about animation, but as everyone has seen people walking their whole life they immediately know if there is something wrong with the animation.
For the second and third objective we could choose between pushing/pulling and throwing/lifting. On both I put the responsebility of choosing to a coin. I figured that if I hated the decision I could blame the coin instead of myself:-) The coin decided that I had to do the pulling an object and lifting an object. There wasn't really any restictions on the two, only that it had to look realistic. So we could do cartoony pulling and lifting.

Before doing any work on the computers, you have to do the prober research and planning. Here the internet is a very good place to look for reference material. Especially places like BBC's motion gallery; But nothing beats doing the motion yourself and recording it, cause then you can get the exact angle and motion that you need. Personally I dont think I did the prober research for the walk, cause I relied too much on the stuff from the internet. I experienced on the pulling and lifting that I made it easier for myself to do the planning, by recording myself doing the motion. Here is some of the recordings we did of myself:-

The research for the pulling and lifting is a lot better than for the walk, in my opinion. We (Leon Roberts, Leon Dexter and I) set out one afternoon and did it all. When doing the research it is a lot better to be in a group. In a group there is more heads to get good ideas on how to do the action, more people to record and you look less silly if you are in a group:-)

The next step is to make the planning. This is done with simple thumbnails to illustrate the key poses. These key poses are also the ones that you use when making the animation. The planning stage is, if possible, more important than the research stage. The planning is basically what your animation is going to look like, so if you planning is crap then your animation is going to be crap. I found that the best work flow was to make the key poses, then describe what happens in between the key poses. In this way you will have the whole animation in front of you on paper, when working on the computer. Heres the thumbnail and planning I did for the three animations:-

The animations was a bit more work than I initially thought it would be. The best workflow I experienced was to make the key poses next to each other on the timeline, then do the poses in between. From there you space out your poses and work on the timing of the animations. Finally you start ajusting and polishing the animations. Since the walk was a "vanilla walk", there is kind of a formula that you can go by. You make two strides and loop it. Here you can get by with just 9 poses. So then you dont have too many poses to ajust. Where as my pulling and lifting had 32 and 27 poses. Still I found the walk to be the hardest one to animate, because the walk has to flow, where the pulling and lifting does not have to have this fluid motion. Allright wont bore you anymore with this animation talk. Ill bore you with the animations instead:-) Heres the product from the last three weeks:-

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

I liked the "rig" (Rigging/rigged, in computer animation, parts of a 3D model are rigged so that an animator can easily select and move parts of the model (such as an arm or leg) without having to painstakingly select every single vertex in the desired part. The rig also helps the animator with constraints and movement of other attached parts.) from the walk a lot, so I played around with it whenever I got bored with the walk. Heres some of the stuff I made, while playing around with the rig:-

The copyright is reserved for the University of Glamorgan, Cardiff School of Creative and Cultural Industries.
Well that was it for this round, hope you enjoyed the reading and animations, I did making them:-)......