Friday, 7 March 2008

Submission, Conclusion and Reflection

Well, the project is submitted, it's all done and dusted. Now all that is left is for me to reflect on what I have accomplished and learned.

I have mixed feelings on the results of this project. I wanted to specialise on 2D conceptualization and animation. At the end of the project I am supposed to submit Character Designs, Model Sheets, Rigged Models in Maya and some expressive animation.

The early character design I am quite happy with. I think I came up with nice characters that could stand up to the benchmarks I set myself. I am pleased with the way they came out. I would be more than happy to put these on my show reel. I enjoyed this stage very much.

I discovered something about modelling and rigging from this project. I dislike it with great intensity. The models were problematic, and rigging was a colossal pain. On the plus side, having to re-model, I learned a much quicker and more cost-effective form of modelling. I tried to use spline curves and IK handles to make my rig easier but learned that they are very hard to set up correctly. Paint-Weighting is annoying too. I am not quite sure what happened but the cute design I had for the little girl has come across quite scary in the model. For some reason the translation into 3D turned it lost the cuteness.

The animation I am not so pleased about. The first point is, due to the massive problems, I didn't do enough animation. I had to essentially make a film out of a walk cycle. There are some point that I like, Cornelius came off quite well, especially in certain shots. Pocahontas however didn't come off so well. She vibrates around like she's hyper on sugar. I don't know exactly what caused this. Also the hair rigs were awful, I did my best, but the hair animation is bad. I did learn how to use the Trak Editor though.

My few thoughts about the project are that the actual character design process went well, I dislike modelling and rigging and that I didn't do enough animating. I also learned that, even though I enjoy working by myself, animation is not something one can do well alone. If someone is much better at modelling and rigging than I am, by all means model away.

In conclusion, do I think the project was a success. In some respects yes, but in other respects no.


Hello, I just posting about the final render. I will talk more about what I thought of the project in the next post. Here are some images of the final render.

I decided to put some images in the background of London Zoo. There not much, just to brighten it up a bit. I pan some of them, if they are large enough of course.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Together at Last

Here are the two characters, Pocahontas and Cornelius, finally together in the same scene. I haven't done the secondary animation yet, hair etc, and I haven't animated the heads yet. The reason is that Jared suggested that create a little personality movie out of these two walking next to each other, giving each other looks etc. So I mocked up the rough storyboard and timing you see below.
So I needed both characters in the scene before I could animate their heads cause I needed to judge where their heads should look. I just got to figure out how to use the trak editor.

On the plus side, they do look quite nice together.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Reflection and Points to Perfect

Hello, I just wanted to use this post to look back on what I learned from this project so far and what I have to perfect for Friday.

I learned that for character design a couple of important things. Mostly, it is to design for purpose. To be honest the first designs, they would be difficult to move in around even in 2D. They were just too fat, too extreme in places. I know now to keep to three points in my mind for design,

a) Design for Character Physical Description, i.e. if some physical attribute is stated in the brief, e.g. the little girl wanting to be a gorilla, so has gorilla Esq proportions.
b) Design for the personality of the character, e.g. Cornelius bald heard and beard give of a kind a sensible air.
c) Design for physical movement, could it actually move (very important).

These are all important points to keep in mind when designing characters in the future.

I also learned how to model in a more effective way. Starting from a sphere is a much more effective a process because the roundness is already defined. Then creating the arms and legs out of polycyclinders and joining them up is much easier.

It creates a much simpler model.

A few points to fix for Friday is to

1) Fix Pocahontas' bobbing head and animate her hair. This could be fix by placing both characters in the scene and having them interact with each other, looking at each other.

2) Fix Cornelius' Spine movement and arms, make them more smooth. Not so extreme and arching.

Hopefully these are a few points that could help make the walk cycles even better. We shall see by Friday.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Animation Research and Early Tests

Hello, I have finally started animating. Unfortunately I won't be able to do the personality sequence in time for the deadline but I hope to at least do walkcycles for both characters. Below is some of the research I have done based on those two gorilla walkcycles from YouTube I placed in a previous post.

Here is a video from Youtube aof a gorilla walking from it's side. It's perfect.

I have also looked at a BBC Horizon documentary called "Chimps are People Too?" I was very interesting. Here is a piece of it. Unfortunately, embedding has been disabled so here is a link instead.

Here are some quick thumbnail drawings I have done to figure out the timing. Here are just the keyframe walkcycles for both Pocahontas and Cornelius. I was kinda limited in their walkcycles by their designs.

Saturday, 1 March 2008


This is just a test to see if the models and rigs work and if the characters look good together.