Sunday, 23 December 2007

Class 4 - End of Class 4

Well ANOTHER 12 weeks have flown by and this time its Christmas already!!!! AM has gone so fast and I have been working so hard to get all the work done on time and read. Mind you I still have more work to do on my final shot to get it all the way there but below is my AM showreel to date.

Looking back, I have come a long way over the past year, made and met some amazingly talented people and now im slowly coming to the end of AM journey. Two more classes and im done. Class 5 is mostly production work and Class 6 will be mostly doing all the animation. Out of all the Class's so far, Class 4 has been a real learning curve and I think really pushed and moved my animation learning/understanding forward. Meeting the deadlines and slowly getting to the level of quality animation I wanted to meet by the end of Class 4.

As of yet i still need to finish off my current animation as i want to add in the final few notes my mentor recommend and i also would like to go in a fix some of the mouth stuff and eye stuff.

Sorry for the lack posts over the last 12 weeks, Thanks for all your comments, questions and emails.

Merry Christmas and Happy New year :)


Class 4 - Refine/Polish

This week for me was all about keeping the character alive. I have the main things working but now its adding in all the character and fleshy-ness to the character - well hopefully. Creasy stills needs work as its tricky marrying the loose hand to the book which is constrained to the other hand lol. SO that will be a frame by frame job, once i have refined the rest of the animation in the body. For the most part the little girls fingers and settles have been worked on so there is no intersecting on the table, things have a nice natural feel to them. AM don't show you how to do these types of this as such, but its more about watching your video ref and know what leads and follows.

So for example in the first shot of this animation her arm comes down, the hand hits then all the fingers squash, the elbow moves out and plants down while the wrist/hand follows. Once the wrist plants then hand rotates a bit with small finger animation. All this happens in real life it just a matter of finding these things and watching what your own body and adding them in. One note my mentor did point out for this bit of the animation, was to add more settle/easing-in to the little girls arms when they on the table.

Class 4 - Finishing up

Wow the final week. So this week i had to clean up all the dead spots where things stop moving and remove any areas that feel stiff. Its mostly cleaning up curves (which i do as i go) and tweaking the spacing of them keys in the graph editor. I do have weighted tangents on but i don't really like breaking the tangent weights, i'd sooner just add in an extra key. For the most part i don't offset my animation all the time, i normally add in keys and tweak curves - maybe that explains a lot if you feel my animation looks a bit poo. I do offset in places, but most of it is moving keys up and down in the graph editor and making sure i have decent curves (not changing the timing but changing the value of the key on the curve). You can't always get nice curves but for the most part i try to. Sometimes you might have the right timing but the spacing (the value in the graph editor for that key) might be wrong, so before you start changing all the timing check your curves. A lot of people are afraid of the graph editor but once you play around a bit and give it time, you get to know what to look for in a curve. Even now i still wonder if im using it correctly!!!!!!

Class 4 - Blockout

This is the first real start on my scene. The camera cuts are working but I really like the angle at the start of the scene and at the end. But what i don't like is how it starts the same and ends the same. Im still trying to work out my cameras, as soon as i can nail the cameras, the sooner i can get on with the rest of the animation.

Class 4 - Block Plus

This week I mostly wanted to focus on the spine and adding in more breakdowns. As soon as the spine is working everything else off of that gets worked on. The hard thing about this animation, is IK elbows. For this scene, the girl (green character) is IK arms and IK spine, Creasy is IK right arm, FK left arm and IK spine. The reason being that his left arm will never be leaning on the table and i could get better arcs and more fluid movement for dealing with the book. On these rigs the IK arms stretches and it can't be turned off. So this can bring up lots of anti animation to do. Also on this rig is you can lock the IK Elbow in place but when you start moving the hand around it will stretch. SO the whole time you have to make sure and keep an eye out for any strange things. You don't want the character to start with small forearms and by the end of the scene they have grown some what!!!!! That would be bad!!!

For this scene i did a number of tests on what would be the best way to set-up the puppet for the book to change from one hand to another. Constraints would be fine but it can get a bit messy, but i have opted for having two books in the scene. Each hand has a copy of the book which is constrained to the wrist (for different finger placement). So bearing this in mind i had to find a good spot in the animation for the change over to happen and feel very fluid F225 (one book turns off)-F226 (the other books turns on). This is still in the blocking pass so its looking very rough but the change over is there and its working clearly. The key to pulling this off is making sure the placement of the two objects is very similar and making sure the action isn't feeling too forced.

Class 4 - Breakdowns

Seans Back and wants me to change the the camera. As much as he likes the camera angles on the first take, he felt the side on shot and then the end "2 shot" made the shot feel strange it was like an odd jump cut. He liked the second layout, but this to me made new problems!!!!! book starts to go wrong now the scene doesn't cut to the "2 shot" camera at the end... So if i go for that, it needs to be fixed and ironed out asap.

Apart from this new problem of the odd book going crazy, the shot over all is working out well. Also i have started a really rough pass on the head and face.

Class 4 - Face Pass

This week, i really had to push myself and had to make sure i covered all the mentors notes and really get the face working asap as time is running out. Firstly I broke down my week to what I felt was the most important parts to be fixed first. Seans crits/feedback normal gets done on a Tuesday and i would pick it up on a Wednesday morning (timezone) so it gives me time to clean up the areas that i know are problems - like that book at the end of the scene for example. This book problem stemmed from where i blocked my scene out to the old camera move and not worry too much how it looked outside of the camera. AS it looked fine in camera for the old camera- until the camera change. SO always check that you animate to the camera your going to render too - like i did at the start. But at the same time check that things are working relatively in your scene too, just in case anything happens - like a new camera cut or poses need change etc.

Also i was cleaning up most of the spine and head, refining the arms and killing most of the floaty-ness out of the animation. From here on, this is where cleaning up and polishing the rest of my shot happens as its about a good 60%-70% done now.

Class 4 - Knowing the Cuts

After going over the audio clips and working out which one my mentor liked, and i felt had good acting moments. The audio from clip I went for was from Man on fire. The scene its self has over 5 cuts, which are nearly all medium close up or close up. But only being able to use around 3-4 cuts MAX i wanted to make sure capture in my cuts the essence of the scene and how the characters bounce off one another.

Sean has left for a few weeks and we have a covering mentor called Raquel Coelho.
Below are thumb nails, video reference and a number of different CG takes on the scene. I shot loads of video reference, and narrowed it down to three, but only uploaded this clip as i feel it covers most of the things i want in the scene.