Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Neutral Walk Cycle Revisited


I had a strangely productive day, this past Sunday, where I felt the need to return to my old friend the neutral walk cycle and fix him using all the constructive criticism I'd received from his group crit. The awesome thing was it all went surprisingly well. I only have him keyframed so far:


But I think he's looking pretty good. I fixed the angle of his shoulders, the curve of his waist, the shortening of the legs and the huge ape like arms. Reading over the group criticisms the only things I didn't do were more follow-through on the wrist, which should be no problem to fix, and a snap on the knee which I didn't really see as a problem in the first place.

I didn't really want to talk too much tonight, unfortunately, as I am quite tired thanks to an overly-energetic drama class yesterday which I am still suffering mightily from today. I will, however, get my ass into gear and will soon let you know how my current project, Mr. Flour Sack, is coming along and I will most certainly get an upload of the final emotional walk cycle - hopefully complete with sound - and bring Mr. Punk to a nice, happy conclusion.

Till then!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Punk Walk 3: Punk With a Vengeance


Punk hates to walk. No, that's a lie, he hates to do anything other than the one walk I've got him doing. Stupid punk.

This has been a week of not doing very much and regretting that I have done so little. I have, however, been occupied with family and overly-long boat trips to actually be in front of a computer to get work done, and now I need to cram. Punk is due in for assessment on Monday (26th October) before 3 o'clock so he needs to be done soon. Preferably tonight so I can do something else that isn't After Effects related.

I've decided, through this experience, that I am little lousy at straight ahead animation. See if I had the key poses of my punk's walk all laid out in front of me and I knew exactly what he was doing I would be fine and this would have been completed days ago. I think it's because I just went for it without actually thinking anything through that I am now struggling with him. Overall, for me, "winging it" is not a good idea. This I shall have to ensure I remedy before I do anything else with a two week deadline.

Well here he is so far...


I am off to fix him some more.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Punk Walk 02

Haven't been blogging much of recent because, to be honest, I haven't really done much this week! I seem to have had very little drive for some reason and I've struggled to just get my head down and focus on work. It has been a busy week though, and out of it all I do have the beginning of the completion of my punk walk After Effects project - yey!

Here he is so far...


I went back to the beginning with this one. The most important changes with him were that I broke his feet to allow them to bend when he walks, and I re-scaled everything so he fit onto a 1024x576 screen (before he was something like 3006x2379 which was stupid). This one also has a background! Hurrah for moving backgrounds!! There is also a ghetto blaster which will appear during his walk and this will be the enzyme that changes his mood.

Last week I spent 2 hours working on my ghetto blaster and backgrounds, making them tileable and looking good and what-not, and low-and-behold Photoshop (the devil that it is!) decides to "close unexpectedly" without me having saved. Let's just say I was not happy. Not a happy chappy at all. So I angrily chalked this background up in half the time so it's quite plain, but thankfully I think it still works quite well. I only really have a day and abit to go until group crit so I want to get it done and out of the way, cause on Thursday we are getting introduced to Mr. Flour Sack himself! Really, really exciting stuff!

We do have a holiday interlude next week though before we really get our teeth in, but this is good. I'm going to use the time wisely to catch up. I don't want it to come to December and try and get everything done in a big panic. That would be silly.

Right. Let's get this uploaded and tomorrow I will begin again.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

See Punk Walk. Walk Punk Walk.

Hells yeah I got Mr. Punk to walk today!


He's not uber high quality but you get the picture. If there was any way it could be looped you'd see the awesome shoulder action and head recoil as he walks, but because it's pretty tiny and unloopable it probably doesn't come through, which is sad.

[EDIT: I am posting this so Leanne can see - HALLO LEANNE! :D :D :D Leanne is my most wonderfully talented and working in the video game industry fellow 3DS Max sufferer and Pixar enthusiast friend who is soon to leave to pursue bigger things in the beautiful City of Cambridge. She always has really good feedback and she picked up on the moody vibe from Mr. Punk which I was trying to achieve. I like that I don't even need to provoke her, she has such good perspective - which I'm going to miss when she leaves!!]

So today was my first experience with Adobe After Effects, and I LOVE IT! It's been relatively easy to use so far, but, to be fair, it's like someone's taken Flash, Premier and Photoshop and made this awesome little cut-out animation program of JOY. I know I am saying this now, and will probably regret it later, but I would really love to use it for a short animation sometime. I had a lot of fun today being back on the computer and animating again. It kinda reminded me of animation using Max, and I can definitely say all those hours spent honing walk cycles with Lynn in HND really helped with today's work. My practice has paid off! Hurrah!

There are a couple of wee things I need to work on though (isn't there always). Things like breaking his feet in two so his back foot bends instead of floating off the ground at the back, and sorting out the creases in his arms and legs where they animate over one another. I have two weeks for this brief so I've got plenty of time to get it perfect. I also need to find out a better way of exporting the movies, cause the one's I've done so far done seem to work at all. That hopefully won't take too long though. We shall see.

Right tomorrow is starting soon and my sleep pattern has been rubbish these past couple of days. Tomorrow is a half day so I think it will be After Effects in the morning (if I can get into the AWESOME super secret mac room to work on it again) then Photoshop in the afternoon. Good fun!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Emotional Walk 01 - The Design


Another week begins and it begins with Photoshop! Hurrah! Learned some new tricks in class and even went as far as getting the old wacom out of the box after its long stint in hibernation. I've literally spent the entire day working on my character (<--------) and I've just right this very minute finished colouring him in. I am very pleased with how he's turned out so far.

The original drawing was scanned in and I copied/morphed him into what he is now using wacomface. I didn't have high hopes regarding my tablet talent but I am pleasantly surprised! He is still missing a leg, and if you look closely you can see his right arm through his belt (working on it!), but overall I am proud.

Tomorrow I'll be learning After Effects and I should, by the end of this week, have him in the beginnings of a walk cycle. Fingers crossed. Right now I have to cut him up into pieces so he is ready to be animated. A couple more hours work yet I think then I will be done. Or at least I sincerely hope so. Till tomorrow!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Group Crit: Neutral Walk Cycle

Hallo :D

Neutral walk cycle group crit was on Thursday, shortly followed by our new project brief, which I'll get onto in a second. Shown first was my skeleton from two posts ago who received quite a good response. The only things I needed to tweek were to add more follow-through on his hands and maybe loosen up the body a bit because it was quite rigid. Then Came Mr. Mannequin of Death, which again got quite a reasonable reception! Overall it was critiqued as "a very strong attemp" and with a few corrections he'll be spot on. They were:

  • there's a snap in his knee when the weight comes down onto it. Some people liked it, some people were not sure if it was realistic. Maybe something to look at.
  • there's a strange angle on the shoulders (which was one of those things that was staring right at me but I couldn't see it - the benefits of group crits!), I have to bring the furthest shoulder down to it doesn't look like he's walking at a tilt.
  • there's leg shrinkage which I kinda already knew about but didn't have time to fix before the crit.
  • the waist is off model. Instead of an hourglass shape it should be more paralleled convex in shape (if that makes sense).
  • the arms are a little long (he looks a little ape like) and they need to be shortened just a bit.
  • more follow-through on the hands.
So I have a little work to do. I don't know if it would be easier starting again with this one or working from the model I already have. There are somethings that I really like from the model, but things like the growing/shrinking of the legs I think I might just start over with. Probably save more time.

But yes, overall I was quite happy with it. There are some very strong animators coming through, which is getting me a little competitive (good thing? bad thing? I dunno yet). For the walk cycles I would say Tom Paxton had a very strong walk. He literally channeled his own walk into the drawings which was pretty cool and very impressive. In life drawing on Friday afternoon I noticed David Gorman (not THE David Gorman) has a spectacular drawing ability. For 5 minute poses he had full body drawings AND amazing face detail, where I was struggling to get down to the ankles in time! Then there's Lynsey Schaschke who draws how I want to draw!! It's like she's mixed Disney with Steven Silver and made beautiful, beautiful drawings! I'd like her talent now please thank you!

Right, new paragraph. New project: emotional walk. This week we learn After Effects!! We are to create a character, upload them onto After Effects in bits (i.e. arms spereate from hands, legs seperate from body, etc) and then animate them doing emotional walk cycles! Apparently it's like Photoshop mixed with Flash so it's going to be quite fun to learn. I might have to get myself a copy. We shall see.

But yes, this is all I have to say for today really. I did want to quickly add a note about a most awesome 4th year project I just came across on the VLE (virtual learning environment). Her name is Meg Park and she's doing a short film called Kahani about a boy and his dog searching his backyard wilderness for the one who's been destroying his toys. The culprit turns out to be a huge man-eating tiger and they have to find a way of defeating him. Her work so far is BEAUTIFUL and the animatic is quite simply the most awesome and inspiring thing! It really makes me want to work harder and get better! Being surrounded by such creative people is possibly the best thing to encourage you to do more. That and Steve Jobs. Man that guy is inspiration.

So onto work I go. Next post most likely will be character development (uploaded with the help of my new scanner!!) Until then.