Thursday, 29 April 2010

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Thursday, 22 April 2010

Walk Rendered

Click here to view in HD

Here's the walk rendered! Might use this clip for my showreel when I have enough content to update it :).

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Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Optimus walk cycle 2!

Looking back at the previous 2 animations I've done with the Optimus rig made me realise how bad the animations were, haha. I really needed to do it more justice, so here's a new and improved walkcycle. Spent about 3 days on this (with the well needed polish time that the other animations didn't get).

Click here to view in HD

The main focus of this was to work out the body mechanics of a walk, especially on the hips as I feel it can make or break a walk with all the weight shifting going on. The secondary objective was to give it character, to make it unique and stand out as not just another robot. Thus the attempt to give him a slight limp/asymmetry in his movement.

One of the largest limitation of this rig that I have found is that his knees are so high up his leg that it makes it incredibly difficult to just lift his foot. I did what I could...


Thursday, 15 April 2010

How to train your dragon

I just watched How to train your dragon in IMAX 3D with the animators from work and have to say I am very impressed. This movie is by far Dreamwork's best, not only are the character animation beautifully stunning but the story that holds it all together works for the most part fluidly. As with any story, there are a lot of areas where it can get too cliche and predictable, but I'm happy to say that this isn't the case here. I suspect the story guys at DW must have worked and re-worked this to get it this good.

Character animation was one of the best, if not the best I've seen. The best characters were Hiccup and his father; they felt so believable consistently throughout the movie. The acting and performance was incredible to say the least. Really excellent work.

Special effects were really great too as is the music. Overall, everything holds together very well in this solid piece of animation that is both moving and a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Rating: 9.8/10


Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Review: Transform animation

It usually takes a few days or sometimes even weeks until you can view your own animations with a pair of "fresh eyes". What I'd like to do from now on is to review my animations and write notes on it.

Ok! So let's review my most recent transform animation.

-Transform sequence needs to be faster.
-More than one body part can be animated at any one time to create a better sense of gizmo movement.
-An overall body thrust/movement can help drive the motion of the entire animation (such as a jump). It comes down to the same principle that everything starts from the hips.
-Moving holds could be better with some polish time.
-Jump motion feels a little floaty, need to watch the spacing more carefully.
-Relaxed arm could use a little more polish.

If there is anything else I've missed out, please feel free to comment!

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Friday, 2 April 2010

Optimus Transform animation!

This one took me more or less 2 days and was great fun to do! It's one of those "impulse" animations where I just go with the flow and animate straight ahead. Part of the reason would be because I don't even know how to set a KEY-ALL button on the character set in Maya to even attempt the pose-to-pose method.

Click here to view in HD

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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Optimus walk cycle!

I realise I havn't been updating for a long time. So here's a little animation. Just installed Maya a few hours ago, and found this really awesome Optimus mini rig and could not resist just animating it asap. I've never even used Maya before so it took a bit of trial and error to learn how to keyframe, but here's a little walkcycle for an hour and a halfs work.

There are a ton of other polishes I could do, like fingers, more subtle rotations in body parts, etc and not to mention this is only just a vanilla walk and none that really shows character. But heck, it was fun, and was a great exercise to get me into Maya!

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Sunday, 14 February 2010

Animex Week

Last week I attended the Animex International Festival of Animation and Computer Games (8-12 feb). What an awesome week that was! It had one of the greatest lineup of speakers this year: James Baxter (Dreamworks), Andrew Schmidt (Pixar), Michael Defeo (Blue Sky) and Ed Hooks, to only name a few!

The speakers talked about their latest projects and provided great insight into the industry. Perhaps the best of it all was the networking event. All the pros stacked into one room, where they are open for discussions, answering questions and providing feedback. What more can you ask for? I made the most out of it, spoke to most of the speakers, and got feedback on my animations. The kind of immediate feedback from the pros is a rare opportunity indeed and I have learned so much from them and now have a good insight of how I can progress forwards and push my animations to the next level.

Listed below are my key points of improvement in my future projects:

1. Staging
-Camera placement is important to how well a sillhoute reads
-Keep head/facial within the frame of your shots

2. Less is more
-Find more natural poses
-Avoid over exaggerated poses that aren't motivated.
-Subtlety is key

3. Style
- Explore a more definite style of animation
- Is it cartoony or realistic?

4. Shoulders / Body structure
- Shoulders can be very expressive.
- Explore how the human body is constructed to find how it can move.

Other areas I am keen on exploring:

5. Study body anatomy and rigging
- Should improve my understanding of how each body part can move in relation to each other.

6. Study physics
- A scientific approach to understanding force and how things move in real life

7. More basic animation training
- For a more solid foundation in the mechanics of movement
- After all, the most complex animations is a combination of solid understanding of the basics.

So there you go, a lot to learn with so little time!

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Sunday, 17 January 2010

Production process of "Good day" animation

For anyone who is interested, here is the production process/workflow of my recent animation, Good day. It is a compilation of my day-to-day progress in the making of this animation, from day 1 - 31. As you can see, it has gone through a lot of changes - from ideas to poses to timing. A lot of timing...

Click here to watch / download [27.8 mb]

Thursday, 31 December 2009

11 Second Club Entry

Let me begin by saying:

Animation is friggin' hard!

Ok, now that's out the way... I've been working my ass off for the whole December month on this animation for the 11 second club competition. This month has been quite a roller coaster ride. Some days I would be super motivated and love my animation and the progression. Other days, I would feel incredibly bummed out as I watch this animation for the millionth time and nothing seems to work.

Here's the animation:

Watch in 720p HD!

Read on below for more interesting stuff:

Towards the end of the month, my computer even started to fail on me. It would crash at Windows and it would take me 10 tries for it to successfully reboot again. I was really panicking then, and everyone had gone home for xmas and no one was around to help. After several text messages and investigation, I found the problem. Apparently, it had been my power supply and I got that fixed asap, but in the course of action, I accidentally disconnected my new harddisk drive. Luckily, my XSI scene files are on my main hdd and I could continue animating. I have however lost all my movies, music and games, and my main animation folder where I store all my video references and clips. Basically I lost all my entertainment gear - which in a way made me slightly more productive. As for video references, I just whooped out my camera and filmed more, so no problems there.

Oh yes, and another problem I had was with RSI. Using the mouse for such a long period of time, with the added scrubbing back and forth has really hurt my fingers. I had to use my left hand for a day or two until it healed. Then I realized I had a spare Wacom lying around and used that instead, and it did wonders! It took me a while to get used to, but it's pretty neat for scrubbing.

I'm not sure if any other animator out there has done this before, but I've thought of this brilliant plan where I would save a playblast of my animation every single day till I finish and then compile it together into a "Making Of". Firstly, it's very cool to watch progression, I know I do! Secondly, it helps me visualise and structure my animation performance better; I can now go back and analyse which areas I could improve on or how quickly I could complete certain tasks. This will allow me to plan out my future workflow better! Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, most of my playblast videos are stored on my other hdd, and it will be a while before I can get that working again. I'll post my compilation video up when it's ready so stay tuned!

So yeah, I'm so glad this is finally done. Wish me luck for the competition and I hope you like it!

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