It’s been a hectic last push while being back at work, post (ish) pandemic we are back to full timetables and classrooms, new groups and new curriculums with a not insubstantial amount of content to be generated. Happily for me I’ve managed to wedge in more animation teaching which is a real pleasure, my groups have been introduced to a whole bag full of techniques, 2D paper and photoshop, dragonframe rigs perched above paper-cut stories and a very brief intro to 3D. Needless to say most of them are sticking to what they know which will be refreshing for us all, less digital work and more drawing and painting.
Over the last few months my personal studies have been a mixture of essay writing and polishing up work that is going onto the demoreel. I’ve very much enjoyed writing an essay on real-time rendering, hooking up with a host of industry practitioners and ‘big shots’ while learning about the ongoing waves that the technology is having on the industry, particularly the pipeline which is being transformed, genuinely fascinating times to see traditional and long held rules being utterly mashed up for the better, I feel.
The main aim of this last practical assignment has been to both create a new piece for our demoreel and polish past pieces. The pieces that I am improving on are a couple of takes, reaction shots, a walk cycle, a lip-sync piece and a horse. Here’s a flavour of the improvements, the old one’s on the left, improvements on the right:
On this piece I made it less spliney, the character snaps into the poses better.
In this one the setting and context have been added, the animation tweaked with the notable addition of a small rig to enable a hair bounce.
My Conan lipsync was a very difficult task, I definitely need more practice! The improvements were better posing, eye tracking and most importantly better mouth shapes, particularly the smoother transitions between the shapes, the texture is also quietened as it was ‘ugly’ in my feedback 🙂 I watched a great masterclass where Will Cook, an animation director at BlueZoo described the 12 principles being used in lipsync too.
This piece was quite a pleasure to go back to, the ox was given more character by straining as he tries to carry on pulling the cart, his reaction to his freedom is better, and the final jump is less severe.
Monty, the simple rig here didn’t need much tweaking as I was quite happy with his reaction/take animation. However, I added a bug that was a bit fiddly to get into Unreal (something I still need to streamline), the bug is another rig that is available from the excellent Truong, a Vietnamese modeller/rigger who has been very helpful when problems arise.
Quadrapeds, in my humble opinion, can be more fun than you may think. Once you get the right reference material and stop those feet sliding around, it’s great to breathe life into them. This horse animation had quite a revamp; the head was adjusted considerably to add a solid repetition to the ‘nod’, it also reacts far more to the surroundings which have been greatly improved. His ears have been animated as this displays his thoughts. My favourite part was the staging, I was really pleased with the strong silhouette that I opened up at the start of the piece.