Sunday, March 29, 2015

Animation Mentor Assignment Ten and Eleven!

Wow! Time has sure flown by! I can't believe that I'm already done with my first class at AM! For our final assignment, we had to do another walk cycle, except this time we got to add some personality to our walk! One thing I've always wanted to Animate was a Moonwalk! I thought it would be a fun animation, plus I knew it would be a bit of a challenge. When animating a walk you don't want your character to slide, however, with a moonwalk, your character HAS to slide. I needed to find a happy medium where it looked like my character Ballie (Jean) was sliding with some weight! Like every other assignment at AM, the first step was to do some planning sketches.

Luckily for me I can actually Moonwalk, so I already knew this walk inside and out! I ended up watching a ton of videos of Michael Jackson doing the walk, so I could figure out some sort of spin I could add to the end of my walk. Unfortunately I'm not talented enough to do any crazy dance moves outside of the Moonwalk, so watching all of these old clips of MJ performing was more than just me getting to listen to some awesome music. After I had my idea planned out, I jumped into blocking. Again like I said in my last post I'll make sure to go more into the blocking step in future blog posts. After I got that approved by my mentor, I spent a ton of time working with the always amazing Lorenzo to get this walk to look as good as possible. Finally I ended up with this!

Well I hope you enjoyed this animation as much as I did! My next post will be my Demo Reel for the class and will have all of the finished animations. Thanks for reading!


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Animation Mentor Assignment Eight and Nine!

Wow it has been a long time since I've updated you guys with my work from AM. Sorry about that! Honestly I've been so busy getting my work done, that I haven't had much time to update my blog! I'll make sure that next semester I do a better job of doing that!

Our second to last assignment was to do a vanilla walk cycle. Now I've done walk cycles in the past, however a vanilla walk cycle is a completely different beast. A vanilla walk is a walk that has no personality. It is a walk in its most basic form. Like always the first step was the sketch out what the walk would look like.

The next step was to block out the animation. Blocking is where you only animate the key poses. If an animation can read well when it's in its blocking pass, then 99% of the time it will read well when you put in all of the poses. I'll go more into the blocking process in future AM assignments.

After the blocking stage is finished, the next step is to go back into the animation and add the poses in between the key poses and clean up any mistakes. That should leave you with this, the finished animation

And there ya go! That was my finished walk cycle! I thought it would be fun though to see how far I've come and include the first two walk cycles I ever did. Keep in mind that these two animations were NOT vanilla walks, as they have a lot of personality.

Well that's it for now! I'll be posting the remainder of my assignments at AM along with my final demo reel soon!

Thanks for reading and as always enjoy!


Monday, March 16, 2015

Product Review - Kayla Rig by Josh Sobel

As many of you are well aware, Animation is my life. One of the fun things about being an animator is getting to play with cool rigs. Recently I stumbled upon a rig by Josh Sobel called the Kayla rig. I got in contact with Josh and asked if I could do a review of the Kayla rig and he was gracious enough to provide me with a copy.

So before I get into the review, let me show you a quick animation I did with the rig.

If you couldn't tell, that clip was Michelle from Full House, one of the best shows from the 90s. Now lets get into what you get with this rig.

Josh has provided a few cool things with Kayla. First you get the rig herself, along with a male version of the rig called Kyle. You also get a file called poseLibrary, which has various facial and hand animation poses you can copy over into your own work. Personally when working with Kayla I never used the poses provided, but I have to say the variety of them was quite nice. You also get a few custom shelves with the rig that work as a character picker. Rather than create a visual GUI you are given a shelf that has every control as its own icon. This is nice because it allows you to access different parts of the rig while hiding the controls. Personally I prefer the GUI approach of a character picker, but it was really nice that Josh provided you with this shelf so you didn't have to make them yourself.

Meet Kayla!

And meet Kyle!

Now lets get into the rig itself. If you're a beginner, the rig could be a bit intimidating. Josh packed this thing to the brim with as many controls as possible! If you want to limit the amount of controls you see though, all you have to do is click the gear icon at the base of Kayla's feet and in the Channel box tun "Minor Controls" to OFF. This section is also where you can turn on and off the visibility of Kayla's glasses, hide parts of her body, change the hair style, and the coolest part of this rig, age Kayla. Basically with this control you are able to age Kayla anywhere from 6 years old up to 18 years old. Her default age is 12. In the animation I've included at the start of this review, I had Kayla at 6 years old.

Here is where you are able to access these options.

Now Josh has come up with an interesting system with his rig. Typically on most rigs, the controls are color coordinated. Red is left, blue is right, and yellow is anything in the middle. With Josh's system, he has it set up so Yellow is your primary controls, red is your secondary controls, and purple is used to tweak your shapes. I thought this was a cool idea, though it did take some time getting used to remember which color was which.

Kayla's color coded controls

Kayla also features a unique spine that I haven't seen before. Rather than including an IK or a FK spine like most rigs, he's created a spine that works in an anatomically correct way. This was actually pretty cool and a feature I would love to see in more rigs!

I'm going to link to a few videos from Josh's site that explain all of the features of the rig

Kayla's rig was a pleasure to use and once I have more time to really sit down and work on animation outside of my Animation Mentor work, I have some exciting stuff planned with her. Josh was also a pleasure to work with, answering all of my questions almost immediately. For only 12 dollars, you'd be foolish not to pick up this incredible rig.

In the end I would have to give the Kayla rig a 9.5/10. I knocked off .5 because of the fact that I would have preferred those extra controls to be hidden, and because I would have loved a GUI character picker, but honestly at this point I'm being picky.

If you wish to find out more about Kayla, or her creator, Josh you can find Josh at the following locations!

Thanks again to Josh Sobel for providing me with this rig!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Animation Mentor Assignment Five, Six, and Seven!

The past two weeks I've been working on the same Animation assignment. For this assignment we had the option to use one of three different rigs. Of course, me being the overachiever that I am, I chose the most difficult of the three rigs. The assignment was to focus on anticipation, overlapping action, and squash and stretch. All three of the rigs were essentially different variations of a squirrel. Because of the amount of work this animation required, this assignment was our first multi-week assignment. Like all of my other Animations, the first step was to plan it out. I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do in my head, so the next step was to sketch it out.

As you can see from my sketches, I wanted the character to bounce off of a branch like a diving board, do a flip, and bounce on the ground. I also sketched out some of the shapes that I wanted to achieve in the tail. This assignment was definitely difficult, but once again with the help of my peer buddy Lorenzo, I was able to figure out what issues I had with my animation and fix them. So without further ado, here's the final animation.

In the end I was quite happy with how this turned out, considering how crazy I felt working on that tail! Seriously, that was one hell of a challenge. Ray liked the work I did, specifically the weight my character possessed. His only comment was to adjust the tail a little bit so that it's overlap looked better.

Thanks for reading, and as always, enjoy!


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Animation Mentor Assignment Four!

This week we moved past the bouncing ball and focused on overlapping action. As an Animator, Overlap is one of my favorite things, so I was really excited for this assignment. Like every assignment, the first step was to plan out the animation. We got to use this cool pendulum rig, which was basically a block with a tail attached to it. I ended up having to break the rig to get it to work the way I wanted, but I knew that I wanted to have the rig do a few loops in the air before coming to a halt.

Now that I knew what I wanted to animate, the next step was to jump into Maya! My peer buddy Lorenzo was a HUGE help this week and taught my some cool tricks to get my animation looking the way that I wanted it to!

I was pretty happy with how this turned out! Ray, my mentor, pointed out a few things to work on, mainly making sure that the tail part of the pendulum was never straight, to adjust some spacing issues, and to make sure my arcs were good.

The second part of the assignment was to do another pose, this time focusing on devastation. Now honestly I had a really hard time with this pose. I wanted something that showed devastation that wasn't cliche, not an easy task. I did a ton of sketches and tried a few of them out with Stu in Maya, but none of them felt right. Finally I came up with an idea like 5 hours before it was due and went with it. Here are my sketches!

So as you can see, the pose I went with had Stu clutching something in his arms. How about I just show you the final image.

I ended up having my pose set up so it looked like Stu had hit a squirrel with his car and was devastated at what happened. Ray suggested that to make this pose read more as devastated, rather than just sad, I should have Stu's head back and have him sitting on his legs.

Well I think that's everything! Oh before I forget, if you want to download that Squirrel rig I used you can! Animation Mentor has two rigs free for you to download (just make sure you credit the school)! You can find them both here!

As always enjoy!


Friday, January 30, 2015

Animation Mentor Assignment Three!

Last week I animated a bouncing ball, so this week we had to kick it up a notch and animate TWO bouncing balls! Ok maybe its not THAT exciting. This weeks assignment was the "light and heavy ball" assignment. I decided to use a beach ball and a softball for this assignment. Like last week the very first step was to plan out the animation and film some reference. Now I didn't own either type of ball so I found a clip online for the softball and asked Lindsey to film reference of her beach ball for me. You can check out her post about the assignment here if you're interested.

Now that I had my reference and planning done it was time to animate! This assignment was interesting because I've never really put much thought into how I would approach to similar objects of different weights. Unfortunately this past week I was sick, so I didn't get to spend as much time on it as I would've of liked, but overall I think I did a good job. But I'll let you be the judge!

I got some good feedback from my mentor. The big thing he told me to be aware of was my spacing. He said my timing was pretty good, but its my spacing I have to keep an eye out for. Check back here later for the updated assignment!

Thanks for stopping by and as always enjoy!


Monday, January 26, 2015

Animation Mentor Assignment Two! Part Two

Here it is, part two of my Animation Mentor assignment. This time you get to see some actual animation!

So our very first animation assignment was the classic Bouncing Ball Animation! I've previously done this assignment before, first in 2D and then again in 3D. Despite this I was still very excited for this animation, and I'm very happy with how it turned out! We had to animate a ball with the same weight as a basketball or as a soccer ball, so I went ahead and grabbed a soccer ball and filmed some reference, which you can see here!

After filming my reference I planned out my animation in my sketchbook. I had an idea as to what I wanted to do before I filmed the reference, so the reason I did my sketch afterwards was so I could take not of the timing I would need.

I went ahead and matched my animation so it was similar to the reference I shot. Then with some help from Chelsea, I was able to get my rotation to look pretty natural thanks to a tip she learned when she was in Class 01. Finally with some great feedback from my Peer Buddy Lorenzo, I ended up with this!

I was quite happy with how this turned out. I feel that this bounce was a lot more realistic than the other ball bounces I had done in the past. During this weeks Critique, my mentor said that he liked the sense of weight I had, but he wanted me to adjust the timing a little bit and also have it so the ball comes to a halt, rather than rolling off screen. I'll be doing a revision to this bounce after I finish this weeks assignment, so I'll update this post with the updated shot!

Here are the other three ball bounces I did previously when I was in the Character Animation program at UCF.

Oh before I forget, I have two more cool things to tell you! The first is I got a comment from one of Animation Mentors founders, Bobby Beck, on my ball bounce! Bobby works for Pixar and only commented on a handful of peoples assignments (including Lindsey's!) so this totally made my day when I saw it!

And the final thing is I just signed up for my next class! I got Jon Collins, who has worked on Star Wars Return of the Sith, Ice Age 2, Wall-E, Up, Toy Story 3, Brave, and more! I'm super excited that I got him because his class filled up super fast!

Alright thats it for this post! As always enjoy!


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Animation Mentor Assignment Two! Part One

Alrighty so another week has passed and another assignment is completed! So I'm actually going to be splitting this post into two parts. The first part will focus on the pose assignment this week, and the second one will focus on the actual animation assignment. With that being said, lets get into this weeks assignment!

For this week, our pose had to convey a sense of excitement. One thing my mentor stressed for all of our pose assignments, was to have a reason for why they are feeling that certain emotion. I decided that the reason that Stu, the rig we used, was excited was because he just found out that he got his dream job! Now that I knew what I wanted Stu to feel, I had to get into sketching out some ideas.

Here are the sketches I did. I ended up liking a few of them so I decided to do two poses this week, with the second one being for extra practice. I decided to use pose #1 as my actual assignment and pose #5 as my bonus.

For this pose I really enjoyed the line of action that it had. as you can see I really exaggerated it past my original sketch. Now my feedback for this pose this week was that the feet felt a bit broken. Ray suggested that I take the camera right foot and pose it a little bit more up (ironically like my initial sketch) and then for the camera left leg to not make it as straight.

For the second pose I did, Ray ended up liking it more than the one I turned in for a grade. Isn't hindsight fun! He liked that this pose, along with some of the other ones I drew, weren't as cliched as a standard jumping up in success pose. He liked the fact that by having the character dancing, it was a different approach to the "excited" idea. His one thing of critique was to be careful of the sense of weight this pose had. Fun fact I actually did this pose to see if I could keep my balance this way and I was able to. Guess that means I have a better sense of balance than most. I should keep that in mind when I pose things for now on haha

Well thats it for this post! I'll have a new post up soon with my animation assignment. I'd love to know if you guys want me to show you all the different versions of the assignment before I had my final product, or if you like me just getting to the final pose?

As always thanks for stopping by and enjoy!


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Animation Mentor Assignment One!

So last week our very assignment was to go out and draw some people. After we finished doing our sketches, we were supposed to go back and pose out the character Stu in Maya. You may remember me talking about posing back in this blogpost. This was actually a tough assignment because I had no clue what my mentor was looking for in our assignments. I knew that they wanted us to use a pose that followed the 12 Principles of Animation, but other than that I was in the dark. Here are the sketches I did, as you can tell they're nothing fancy but rather simple gestures since I just wanted to capture the pose as quickly as possible.

The sketch I circled was the one that I ended up going with. The original sketch was a woman walking holding a water bottle in her hand. She looked like she had some place to get to fast. Now that I knew what pose I wanted, it was time to bring it into Maya. I began  to pose Stu so that it looked as close to my sketch as possible. After that I began to exaggerate the Line of Action, mess with the attitude of the pose (I made it more of a power walking type pose) and changed the silhouette so it would read better. After some great feedback from both Chelsea and Nick, I ended up with my final pose. Below is the progression of the pose from start to finish.

As you can see the pose really evolved from what I had originally. I was quite happy with my pose and was pleasantly surprise by my mentors critique on it! He gave me some great advice on making sure that my sketches are clear in regards to what is going on and talking about the attitude of each pose. He liked the one I did, especially the Line of Action, and gave me some great tips to improve it, The first was to move the extended leg slightly closer to the camera. That will make the leg a bit straighter while also making sure it isn't on the same visual plane as the other leg. His other major comment was in regards to the camera right arm. He said that right now it doesn't really flow with the camera left arm, so if I moved it closer to the body (ironically enough closer to how I started) it would flow better. He understood that I was going for a super clear silhouette but explained that you shouldn't force a silhouette just for the sake of a silhouette.

Now that I know what he expects, I can't wait to work on this weeks assignment. We have to do another pose and begin our first animation, a bouncing ball!

As always thanks for reading and enjoy!


P.S. OH YEAH my fellow Animation Mentor classmate Lindsey Jones has a blog too, so go ahead and check it out here!