Friday, 4 December 2009

Experimental Animation

Pete and I teamed up for this one.

We decided to animate a skateboard going along the ground, doing flips and grinds like you would see in a skate video. Though we tried to make the tricks look somewhat realistic, we also wanted to take advantage of the fact that we could make it do anything. And that is why the skateboard is suddenly going along the wall and stuff like that.
I think we could have probably gone even further and done more "fantasy tricks", but once we had all the once we envisioned from listening to the soundtrack, we just left it at that. And we are happy with the variety of tricks.

The technique was clear from the beginning: to animate the board one frame at a time, with someone holding the board in position, and then in post key that person out. This sounds way easier than it is. Keying is a complex tedious process. With most of the clips, we would have been better off reshooting them, but we already worked a lot on them.
Things like fingers on the board and shadows especially, is something you know to keep aware of whilst shooting, but it is, like i sais, easier said than done.
We both agree that the end result meets our expectations, but it would be fun to get it even better.
The timing of the animation and things to be aware of while shooting, are the key elements of this project. And we feel we could have done that better. But all in all we are happy with the experience of the animating as well as the post production we did.
It makes us laugh and we had fun!

Monday, 30 November 2009

11 second club animation - FINISHED!!

I finaly finished my animation!!
I made some last minute changes to the camera before submitting this to the 11 second club site.
But now i wont change it any further. I am exhausted from this project. But i am really happy with the result.

Here it is:

Friday, 20 November 2009

11 second club animation - keepin´at it!

Im nearly finished with animating the body of my character.
Here it is. I am very tired after a couple hours straight of animating!
But this thing is starting to look good. Just some finishing touches and then its on to facial animation!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

11 second club animation - animating

I started animating the inbetweens of the keyframes i already had on my character. And i even changed the keyposes around too. Going back and forth tweaking and improving.
Now i have basicly half of the clip animated.
Just the body though...

Before i started animating properly, i animated the character doing a 360 flip on a skateboard just to get to know the controls n stuff.
I thought it looked good, but looking back at it now is funny because i realise that the more you keep at it, the better you become. And the more time you spend NOT animating, the more your skills will slip away.

And it had been a while not animating when i made this:

And here is half of my proper animation. I think it looks good now, but who knows in a while...

Sunday, 15 November 2009

11 second club animation - preparation work

Listening to/ scrubbing through the soundfile we were given, i started writing down the different parts of the sentences. I got confused about just how to write the SOUND of each letter/pronounciation. Basicly because of the difference in norwegian and english language. I think in norwegian, but talk in english.
I just wrote the whole speech down the side accurate to each frame, and then put mouthshape names next to it.

And i need more dopesheets! i underestimated the length of the pauses and sighs etc.
But i think ill redo all the dopesheets anyway because i want the "sound-language" to be right.
The way its layed out now works, but only to make rough pose-to-pose blockouts.

With the hand drawn scetch-out of my 8 key poses, i slowly went trhough the dopesheet and added them to the frame that they would start. Or at least where the pose is most important.

And then, in maya i could just follow the dopesheet. Im starting to see the importance and practibility of the dopesheet. You wont really need to load the soundfile in maya. You can just follow the notes on the dopesheet. For now anyway. I guess things will complicate along the way...

So at the right frame i posed my character to the right key pose. And since it is so few keys given i set the motion curves to stepped tangents. That way he "clicks" from one pose to another, but still with the right timing.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

11 second club animation - First stage

Our whole class is entering animations for this months 11 second club competition.

The sound file given this month is just a guy sobbing, saying "I am living in a cocoon of horror... yesterday i ate nine cans of aerosol whipped cream".

This tells us two distinct facts; that he doesnt like where he is living. And that he, in some way ate nine cans of whipped cream.
But the rest can be played with i guess.

I saw some good examples from my classmates of where he actually is and why he has eaten all that cream.
And i want to do something original too, but without losing focus of the character of course.

I wanted to use this project to explore my skills in 2d. I always go for the 3d version, which makes it more comfortable for me to do the same every time. But i wanted to break away from that pattern, just to see how well i can actually do it in 2d.
BUT, concidering that i have a lot of things to do nowadays, and knowing that 2d takes more time and concentration, im doing it again. And saving 2d exploring for next time.

I stated out by scetching out some poses. I didnt care to think about camera angle just yet. I figured out what im roughly gonna go for.
The feeling i want to display is mainly hopelessness. If that is a feeling:P He is obviously sad, but the way he talks to the camera is sort of "look at this. this is hopeless". Like someone straight out of a relationship, trying to adapt to his bachelor pad *cough*:)

I videotaped myself acting out what i wanted the character to do. I tried to focus on the main poses, but since i am a horrible actor it looks way too casual. But at least the poses are there.. sort of...

And here is the character i am using. He is a standard rig provided by our tutor. Most people are using him. I think that is good in a way because you forget about his appearnce and focus on the different ways he´s been animated.
So i made this character sheet trying to focus on depressing poses, since that is what i want him to do.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Mood change animation

I started animating the character on wednesday. And worked on it until saturday. But today when i woke up and was supposed to finish the animation, i found that the file had been deleted!

So basicly i spent the day making a simpler and shorter animation.

The original was going to be the character walking very cocky. And pointing out as if to a crowd. Then he was supposed to flick his collar "cantona-style" and kick a football with extreme anticiation. Then he was supposed to flinch as if he heard some noise, and then turn around and gestigulate with his arms like footballers do when the referee has given them the whistle and they disagree, so they shrug their shoulders a lot and point with both arms to themself and stuff around.

Anyway.. the animation turned out good. But somehow i deleted the animation or some file... i dont know.

There isnt much to say about this last one i made though. I tried to focus on the timing, but i could have the running away bit in the end a bit faster. it looks like he isnt moving quite fast enough. Had some problems with the feet. The knees seem to suddnly pop out in the wrong direction.
And i wish i had made the strut walk more exagerated. He could be leaning back even more and the movement could be tweaked a bit.
Also the transformation between ball-in-face and sad turn around doesnt feel right. something wrong that i cant put my finger on. Maybe if he moved a bit faster as he turns? i dunno..
I figured out how to control the curves in the graph editor better and im cutting down on stupid mistakes.

Again im happy with the result. Though it could have been way better if only i didnt delete it!!
But what the hell i got good practise from it, so next time will be even better!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Weight lifting character

The assignment was to animate a character lifting an object, and to make the object appear heavy.

While thinking of what key poses to use, what pace to aim for etc... i gave the 3d character a "thinking hard" pose to start off from. I thought it would be a good starting point to show character righ away.
I didnt care for originality in this one. I figured i would instead make him do a very standard procedure of lifting the thing, and focus on getting the animation itself really good.
I thought about the different steps of the action.

1: look scepticly at the thing. This would illustrate that he is thinking about how he should do it. Or if it is at all possible.

2: Show that he is ready with some handmovement like, rubbing hands, retracting sleeves or spit in hands then rub... I think this is also good for anticipation.

3: Engage the object in a swift move and then go straight into main pose (lifting).

4: The lifting. I figured he should give it a couple of tries. And have the main lift pose be a bit more exaggerated. Also spiced with some anticipation to show that THIS is it.

5: The overlapping of the lift. I basicly wanted him to do that thing where when you lift something to a certain point, the object kind of drops onto your lap... if that makes sense?

I started animating using character set in maya. I didnt like it.
And since i havent really tried that before, im sure i must have done every possible mistake to make it harder for myself.
I guess it takes practice, so ill probably try it again, but the thing i dont like about animating from key poses and then gradually filling in the inbetweens, is that you sort of keyframe the whole body... which makes it harder to go back and change the movements (graph editor) and secondary animation like arms, fingers, the head etc. in other words the good parts:P
I like to picture the animation in my head and then start animating the innermost "limb" and work my way out to the outer ones. meaning from torso to toes/ fingers:P

Anyway, i got so frustrated with the mess i made using key poses/ key frames, that i figured i might as well start the whole shebang over again and work one limb, one axis at a time...

I noticed right away how much better off i was. And doing it this way kept my graph editor nice and neat.

If one thing more than the others, i tried to get the timing good and varied. Especially with grabbing the object. That needed to be fast. To show that theres serious manpower needed for this action, but also to contrast from the struggling of the lift, which will be slow.

Here is the final animation:

Im actually pleased with both the poses and the timing. The best ive done so far.
But of course they could have been better.
I should have gone even extremer on the most importatnt poses (the anticipating grab, the lift itself and the very last bit where he balances the object).
And the "sumo steps" in the beginning could look more stomping. He seems too much relaxed.

The struggling of lifting the box could have been more characteristic. He just bobs back and forth for a bit. I should have had one try first, then a pause, then maybe two or three quick jerks. And then the anticipated main lift with, like i said, a strong and exaggerated pose.

I tried to position the camera so that it would capture as much of the poses as possible. But i didnt realise i should animate TO the camera. That is a thing im definately going to get better on the next one.
But apart from those things im happy with it.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

First walkcycle

Ok, i just did a walkcycle which i havent done in ages.

I chose to do it in 2d because i knew that would be one i would do worst:) I could probably spend 20min on a 3d rig, and make a pretty decent walk. But i think that a little bit of struggling would help me remember the mistakes along the process. If that makes sense:P

First i drew up a plane for the dude to walk on. And then a made 4 keyframes spread evenly across 12 frames. The keyframes only shows the guys head, torso and feet.

I then filled in the in-between frames to smothen the animation. Trying to keep in mind how the feet would react, which way they would go etc...

Then, i added hands. First on the keyframes, and followed the same process of adding inbetweens.
I tried to exaggerate the movements on both hands and feet.

The front hand seem to go too far out from the body, it looks tensed.
I added colors on one foot and one hand.
I think maybe i should have had a slower movement of the hands when they cross.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Back from summer vacation!!

Its good to be back in Faltown after a long, boring summer.

And now for something completely different,
here is my face :)

Friday, 12 June 2009

The final render

Well here it is. My final render of all the animations of my character required for our project.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Animating Dorothy

I figured out why my rig didnt work. It was simply a matter of freezing the transformation on some objects. So thankfully it was easily repaired.

Anyway, when the rig was finished i was ready to start animating, which i was really looking forward to. I think the animation itself if the most challenging as well as the best creative part of building a character.
In professional studios, i doubt that they have the same people modeling and rigging as animating.
Though i realy like that you kind of get the best bit last. And it gives you something to look forward to while doing boring ol´ modeling work:P

I started making simple walkcycles, wchich i would have been happy with, say 6months ago. But after looking at a LOT of animated movies and shorts to study techniques, i really wanted to make all my animations as good as possible (with the projects deadline in consideration).
Since this is my first ever proper animation production, i was very eager to make it look good.

With a coupe of different walk cycles in the box, i started adding the broom, the glass window etc.. wherever needed. And then made whatever animation needed for the scene or clip.

Here is an example of one of the animations. This is when Dorothy is sweeping the roof, and falls through the window shes standing on.

Whenever i make something that i am happy with, it always makes up for the time and efort spent on it. I feel that these animations ive made for this project (considering theyre the first proper ones ive ever made) are what i was looking for. Not too much, and still "to the point".
I like them. and i am pleased with the result:)

Now we just have to patch all the different elements of the project together to make the final cut.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Rigging Dorothy

I dont really have any experience with chracter rigging, so i saw this as a way to push myself to learn it properly. Which is the case for all the other parts of making this character.

I know its kind of cheating, but for this ive used tutorial videos on how to set up a proper character rig. I decided to follow every step of it even though i probably wont need all the joints and handles etc. But i figured at least ill know how to make a proper rig.
This rig is more than we need, and its complexity has presented me with various problems that i am having a hard time fixing.

First of all, when i try to bind the mesh to the rig, it flips out and the bodyparts doesnt stick to the rig. Well some of them do, but other parts just sort of fly off. And this is a big problem for me as i am running out of time. This weekend was supposed to be when we made a proper test of everything that has to come together in post production. And with only 3 weeks left, we really need to get some clips processed and put into the post production machine called Jackson.

Anyway, back to the rig.
The purpose was, like i said, for me to learn how to make character rigs. I definately got the basics memorized. But there are alot of different constraints between objects, joint etc. and it is just impossible to remember all of them.
But if i can't figure out my problem by the end of the night, i am going to have to spend yet another day on this character just to get the rig right. Or maybe ill just build a new, simpler one...

I actually managed to rig the head up perfectly. I can control the jaw and eyes. And ive even created blendshapes for the face. Sublte expressions that might come in handy.
We probably wont need all the rigging for the face, (like the jaw opening and being able to rotate in z and y(?!)) but it was way easier than the rest of the body and didnt take very long.
And its better to be safe than sorry anyway!

Despite the errors and the exhaustingly long time this process takes, i really am glad i know so much more now.
And after a few adjustments (or even a totally new rig) i will be ready to start the most fun part of this project... the animating!

Texturing Dorothy

I started the UV-layout process without further knowledge of it than what Georg taught us in class.
And from what i remembered "you take a picture of every single polygon, lay it out on a 2d plane, mix em around, attach, cut'em, sew'em to make them fit a checkered color pattern and then export the whole shebang as a picture which you can then make into whatever you want".
And it was actually that easy. Taking "pictures" off all the polygons was the most boring part, but even that didnt actull tae too long.
I never did a proper UV-layout before and im very pleased with the outcome.

I did the head first, since i figured it would be the bodypart that needed the best texture. I really dont know much about make-up, but several subtle details makes a better overall texture.
Rosy cheeks, a little bit of red on the lips, shaded eyelids and freckles were easy to make and i think they really made her a more believeable character.
I had hundreds of ideas for the textures, but like i said, we didnt want to focus too much on how she looked.

By looking at reference pictures from the timeperiod, it seemed that the "dresses" the women wore in the workplace were really ugly and boring, but single colored, which made it easier for me.
I felt i had to add something to the outfit to make it just a tad more interesting. Hence the buttons and collar. And i colored the details of the jacket darker.
But it still looked very boring, so i added subtle stains which are mostly faded out. And a tear in the bottom hem using transparency layers.

I think the dress looked really nice now and even though it is basically just a cylinder with two cylinder coming out the sides, all those little things i added now makes it look more exciting and characteristic.

Modeling Dorothy

I started bulding a basic shape of a girl body in a way that if anyone in the group wanted to change anything around, that would still be possible.
Then, after reading and watching several tutorials on how to model a human head, i started on that too. I had never tried it before.

She turned out pretty nice. Big eyes, small ears... a little bit too usual cartoon style if you ask me, but at this point we needed to make up our minds so that i could start the texturing, rigging etc.

At first, she looked adult and kind of sexy. But since we agreed not to have her look like that, i had to tone down some things and make her head bigger. And i also increased the size of the feet to make her look "goofier".

Now, with all the shapes roughly like we want them, i needed to start the UV-layout process. I was not looking forward to it, since i know it is a long and boring process.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Dorothy- Character development

Like i said, Nick and i are responsible for the 3d elements of our project. And we divided them equally between us.
Basically, we have two main 3d characters (The old Dorothy and young Dorothy). And we figured we´d just make one each. Everything from design to finished rig, and then we can all help with the animating.

The Character Design

We were going a bit back and forth about what to make the Dorothys look like. And we settled on the idea of having the old, storytelling one more realistic looking, and the memory version of her, a bit more like a cartoon character.
Because the story revolves around her memory, We wanted to put more focus on the young Dorothy.
We thought a good way to symbolize this would be to have the interview part straight forward without much cameramovement, with an interviewer facing Dorothy, with most of her surroundings literally out of focus and best of all, that you never actually see her eyes to take away some of her personality (we also saw this as a good way to save time modeling, rigging etc).

Young Dorothy

I had some problems trying to figure out the specifics of young Dorothys look, clothes, style, accessories etc...
The only criteria i had in mind was to not make it look like something straight out of a pixar or dreamworks feature.
Oh, and we were thinking about it but decided to stay clear of making her "smokin hot" as we didnt want to direct too much attention at HER, but rather at what she does.
So we started scetching out some ideas.

She was 16 at the time, so we didnt want to make her look TOO cartoony. She needed a little bit of normal proportion to her physique. But we figured her head could still be big and cute.
And a simple ponytail to mininmize animation and rigging never hurts either. But it also works well with the theory that the women in the actual workplace would probably have to put their hair up whilst working.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

The Hayle project

We are a couple of weeks into production, but as i finally have some time to breathe, i figured i´d put down what we have so far.

In my group is Jackson, Rory, Nick and myself. We work really well together.
We split the group in two. Nick and I are doing all the 3d work, and Jackson and Rory are making all the 2d work. Jackson is appointed producer, and Nick director, but we all have our say.
We are gonna make everything except the characters in 2d.

The characters are:

Old Dorothy (present time. Telling the story)
The interviewer (present time. Functions as the interviewer, though insignificant to the story)
Young Dorothy (retrospect. Acting out the actual happenings of the story)

We chose a story about a woman named Dorothy Cook´s accident at her workplace many years ago. We chose this particular one because it, in contradition to the other stories, doesn´t give a lot of specific descriptions of the surroundings. Which gives us the magnificent opportunity to make our own:)
And the story has mystical elements to it, that honsetly doesent make sense. And are quite unrealistic. We found that intriguing.

After watching a lot of different styles we decided to go for a STEAM-PUNK inspired look. Mostly concerning the city. We figured a dirty, complex town of steam, industry and tons of detail, would be a goood contrast to the rest of our story. And it gives the "2d department" of our group a good chance to show their skill.

In the actual story Dorothy tells, she falls on a steam pipe and goes unconcious for six days(!!!).
You cant help but ask: what might have been going on in her head all that time?
Which presents us to another, and even better opportunity of creative expression; to show what happened (maybe only in her head) during those six days.

We are basically going to make the dream state a scary-confusing-warping-wierd-thumping-colorful place. And the STEAM-PUNK machines working around her, we are going to sync up with music that sounds like machines and that gradually increases speed intensity etc.
Jackson is good with music and sound effects, so he wanted to take care of that part. Which i think is wonderful, since i have a LOT of work to do on the 3d models.

Speaking of which, i gotta get to it again and i will post what i have so far in a bit.

Thursday, 19 March 2009


Finally our 4 week long project of making idents for ChewTV is OVER!
2 weeks of modeling, 1 week of post production and a couple of days of stress, but now its finally finished.

The modeling bit went smooth. I like the process of modeling and designing my project, because this is where its all put into shape.
I was going for a "blossoming" kind of look where everything evolved from the center. But as i went along, i constantly needed to change the object´s placement. It worked out fine, though a little bit different from what i intended.

The idents were supposed to last no more than 5seconds + a 5second ChewTV logo.
Mine was originally 10 seconds long, which would bring te total to 15 seconds instead of the desired 10 seconds.
I managed to cramp it down to 8 seconds or so, which made the pase and music seem a little bit too fast.
This whole error was simply a mistake i made in maya. I forgot to set the framerate to 25 instead of 24.When i then added the video to Adobe After effects for editing, i ended up with a few seconds less and the rythm(pase) problem. It also made the music harder to fit on.

I made the music myself with a very cool software called Garageband and my electric guitar.
In the finished ident the music seem way too fast. And it is. This is also because of the problem with timing. But hey! ill never make THAT mistake again:P

Sunday, 8 March 2009


A storyboard artist is the person who interpret scripts and sketched ideas in order to create storyboards. They work closely with the Director and, possibly, with the Scriptwriter, Producer, Client or Storyboard Supervisor, to visualise and tell the story.

Storyboard Artists illustrate the narrative, plan shots, and draw panels to demonstrate action and maintain continuity between scenes.

Above all else, storyboard artists must be able to tell a good story. To achieve this, they must be film literate, with a good understanding of layout, composition, sequential drawing and editing. They need to be able to work either independently or as part of a team. They should be able to take direction, and also be prepared to make changes to their work.

For certain projects Storyboard Artists need excellent drawing skills and the ability to adapt to a wide range of styles. They must be able to follow established designs and produce consistent work, drawn on model.

Good communication and presentation skills are essential. Depending on the project, basic computer literacy and familiarity with relevant storyboard software may be required.

A storyboard artist may have film background including formal art and drawing training, or may have other experience as it relates to film-making and production. A good understanding of the terminology used in creating films as well as artistic talents are required for the job.

Common work activities include:
Listening to the directors verbal description of the scene and then sketching what it would appear like in reality.
Creating new and interesting ideas to the storyboard art to capture both the activity and the emotion of the scene.
Organizing and managing timelines to ensure all completed and submitted on schedule.
Revising, editing and modifying sketches as indicated by the director or creative team.

Implementing various computer programs to enhance the visual presentation of ideas for the scene or for effectively capturing the director's ideas for the shot.


STEVE BEAUMONT is an example of a storyboard artist. He has worked with, amongst others, Universal Studios, BMW, Playstation and Warner Brothers. I like his work because of his dynamic drawings and ability to keep it simple but also make it look good!

I have also made a schedule of my work on the Ident animation.
Here it is:

Thursday, 5 March 2009

My work for Live@5

Last monday it was my group(FRED)'s turn to do graphics for Live@5 which was going on air the same day, a few hours later.
We all sat in the studio and people from the Live@5 team came in and gave our producer (JESS), different tasks for her to hand out to us.
I got a paper explaining perfectly how to make the graphic.
I didnt get to see the work in action due to a dentist appointment, but i got a feeling we'll have to do it all again. Which i am honestly not looking to much forward to. Dont get me wrong, i love to help, but the work we do for them is really boring and simple, and stuff like that often prevents me from working on our proper projects.
But anyway, it was a good ecperience.
Here is a screenshot of the finidshed product:

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Back after christmas break

Since i came back from my christmas holyday in Norway, we have been assigned several projects to work on. The first and most challenging one was to write an essay of 3500 words on a topic of (relative)choice. I wrote mine on Ideology in animated films and how the ideologies within them try to control our opinion.

After the essay was finised, we started doing small animations for Live@5, a local news thing.
The assignments sucked. they were so specific, it basicly didnt give any opportunity for experimenting, challenge or fun. But it wasnt all bad. we were split into four groups competing against each other. One won and the others had worked on theirs for nothing. My group didnt win.

After that, we were given a 3-part Background asignment. One exterior, one interior and one in 3d. It was fun figuring out what to draw/build. And since ive never used colors before, i found it quite challenging. I think the 3d one was easiest, though i found i hard to stay within the limitations. I always wanted to add more stuff!

Recently, everyone in our whole class has been asked by to make ident animations that they can use on their webpage. it is currently ongoing and by far the most exciting project so far.
We have already pitched all the ideas to the "chew-crew", and they seem as anticipated as us to see the end results.
I decied to make my ident in 3d, in a style tht has every thing but the camera and center og image nimated. Hard to explain, but i think it will be cool. And since this is aimed at a 14-24year old group, my animation will consist of popular objects representing sports, music and media(skateboards, guitars etc..).
I like working on mine, and i hope i will meet my own anticipation as well as anyone else´s.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Christmas assignment

Right before christmas, we were given assignments to do a walkcycle of ourself in 2d, then in 3d.
I started with the 2d versionm which was very hard. So in order to take it step by step, i looked at each individual body part and animated them in a sort of "calculated" way (at least the timing).
Torso first, which looks like a bean going up and down in a curcular motion.
The head simply followed the torso.
The legs were no more dificult than in other walkcycles, but for my "sneaky-walk" they needed some characteristic timing.
I animated the hands for last, and simply attached them to the "bean" body going back and forth.

For the 3d version, i thought it would be easier to "characterise" the walk using the rigged model. But once i got the basic movements down, i started changing most body parts, which made the movement seem unnatural. lesson learned; easier is better.