Friday, December 16, 2011

So long!

Great working with all of you. I look forward to seeing many of you again after the holidays!

Monday, December 5, 2011

WEEK 14: Texturing & Shading 1: Final Assignment

Bring me your WIP -- I'll let you know where I hope you to take it for next week's hand-in.

We'll revisit is the idea of tiling textures - a number of people asked about how to apply them.  

If you have any questions please ask them now while you still have time.

WEEK 14: Character Acting 1 -- Acting for Cinematics 3: Dialogues, group scenes, continued

Last week before the final assignments are due!
We'll continue working with Ed and polish our dialogue scenes in preparation for next week's deadline.

don't argue or I'll furrow my brow even more!

WEEK 14: Animation Direction 1 - Game Cycles -- Idles, blending cycles, continued

Last week before your due date for the cycles.

As it took a little longer to get started with these cycles I'm altering the assignment as we discussed in class.
The assignment description now states, "The sequence must contain at least 3 of the following cycles, blended together into one scene."  Click here to read the full description.

We just touched on Idle Cycles last class, so I'll dig into the details a bit more. The humble idle is the Rubic's cube of cycles. How your character behaves when he's just waiting around conveys a lot of attitude. You'll need a lot of subtle control to keep a character alive. Too little movement and they'll just look dead, too much and they'll appear to be having a seizure. :o)

I must warn you that as simple as it may seem to make a character 'do nothing', it is most diabolical! With great subtlety you must add some movement to every part of the character. Nothing should bump or pop, everything should have a nice smooth arc and you should not really be able to pick out where the cycle starts and stops -- it should be a loop about 1-2 seconds long.
Greeks gave the world souvlaki
 and contrapposto
The key to idles is mastering Overlapping Action. Show how movement flows from the main muscle groups of the body out to the extremities using the 'wave principle'.

Start with a nice pose. Work in a little contrapposto if you can.

woah, that's a little too
 much contrapposto
Get the attitude working before you move on to animation. Create a slightly different pose in the middle and then some breakdowns in between. This looks not too bad, but the movement will all be happening on the same keyframes. Get into the details by offsetting the joints. All changes of direction must use lot of slow ins & outs. Use your infinity/cycle views and check for smoothly flowing curves in that Graph Editor.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WEEK 13: Animation Direction 1 - Game Cycles -- Jumps!

EVH can do it, so can you

Next cycle -- Jumps!
We'll take a look at some different styles of jumping, leaping, hopping, bounding characters and study live action for inspiration. Jumping characters exhibit principles of animation we haven't spent that much time on in our walks and runs: secondary and overlapping action, and anticipation.

Showing the effort characters take to move their own weight is paramount to creating believable animation of any style.

It's one thing to make the up and down motion read as 'heavy' and affected by gravity. It's quite another to master the mechanics of looping overlapping/secondary action with the character's arms, legs, and in some cases .. tails!

If ever the devil were in any details.. it's animating secondary on a looping action!

Your jump cycles should be usable for avoiding ground pitfalls or traveling forward.
The mechanics of the body in the jump should work well before tackling the secondary action
The secondary needs to loop smoothly as well as connect to the run.
This cycle should work from every angle, especially side view.

Monday, November 28, 2011

WEEK 13: Texturing & Shading 1: Skies

All about skies today -- typical approaches include sky boxes and domes. We'll mostly focus on domes and create one by converting a tiling panorama to a usable map.

Skies are so interesting and contribute so much to atmosphere. I'd like to get beyond simply applying a photo you found on the internet like a sticker -- we'll get into painting skies, clouds, including graphic treatments.

WEEK 13: Character Acting 1 -- Acting for Cinematics 3: Dialogues, group scenes

We'll continue working on our long shots and get ready to dive into dialogue and multi-character scenes. We'll spend a little longer on these so you have ample time to prepare them with a partner for our final class.

Here's the link to the tracks for this week:
Here's the link to the scripts again:
Click here to download all the script excerpts to study or print.

Assignment 7:  Dialogues
Assigned: November 30th
Due: December 14th
% of Final Grade: 20%
Please keep file sizes under 2MB

With a partner or 2, choose one of the dialogues and deliver a compelling performance to the voice track. Record it on video using a camera or webcam.  Make sure the audio and video sync well, it's in focus, well-lit and well composed.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

WEEK 12: Texturing & Shading 1: Reflection Maps, Nonliteral Textures

Epic Citadel
Reflection maps are used for all sorts of details - shiny metals, mirrors, water, windows.. But real reflections are very slow to render. Solution: reflection maps -- entirely fake reflections created with textures. We'll apply some basic reflection maps and talk about some potential uses for your game.

Prince of Persia
Our other topic today is "nonliteral textures" - meaning non-photographic realism.
Texturing in the style of a specific game often requires us to conform to a specific art style. We'll look at some popular games that use alternative art styles and talk about how they achieved the look.

Monday, November 21, 2011

WEEK 12: Character Acting 1 -- Acting for Cinematics 2: Monologues, long-shots

Do you feel lucky... to get acting classes? Hellz ya!
We'll continue with our close-up monologues and start working on the long shots. The new scenes  require you to do a little more acting -- you may have to walk around, gesture, perhaps storm off in a huff or plead your case.  As with last week, spend some time listening to the tracks.  Choose one to use for class this week. Download and bring in the track on an mp3 player and don't forget your headphones. You're welcome to bring props, cameras, etc.

Here's the link to the tracks for this week:

Click here to download all the script excerpts to study or print.

Assignment 6:  Monologues Long Shot
Assigned: November 23th
Due: December 4th
% of Final Grade: 10%
Please keep file sizes under 2MB

Choose one of the long-shot monologues and deliver a compelling performance to the voice track. Record it on video using a camera or webcam.  Make sure the audio and video sync well, it's in focus, well-lit and well composed.

WEEK 12: Animation Direction 1 - Transitions to Run Cycles

Usain Bolt = fast
Transitioning from walk cycles to run cycles this week -- we'll start dealing with blending cycles together. I don't want to see just any ol' computer-tweened morphing from you guys! I want a real transition! Think about how you'd go from walking to running. Slap on those runners, hit some pavement or a treadmill and feel the difference between the two gaits. Make sure it's obvious in your animation that you understand a new action requires an anticipation.
Does your COG drop a bit lower before it springs higher? Do you need to lean forward? Do you take one big walking step before your first running step? Exaggerating things like this to make the audience appreciate your analysis.

We'll look at some video analysis of running. There are so many kinds of running -- sprinting and long-distance running, jogging, barefoot running, and all sorts of speeds (spm) and styles, including cartoony.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

WEEK 11: Texturing & Shading 1: Terrain and texture libraries

Planning textures for the city.
Mood boards

Creating tile-able textures in Photoshop to add to wall and ground planes

Tile-able Normal maps
Displacement maps

Texture Libraries:
Downloading textures, collecting your own
Preparing photos as texture files – batch processing, resampling

Assignment 5: Texture Library
Assigned: November 16th
Due: November 27th by ftp
% of Final Grade: 10%
File sizes should be under 2 mbs, around 2048 px max.

Build a sample texture library
Aim for a variety of surfaces, colours, and textures.
Minimum number of images: 12
Include at least 4 examples each of walls, ground, and details.
Try to find images you can use in your project -- ie you need old, grungy textures.
You may reuse images you shot for your 'entropy' project.
Shoot in flat light, dry weather, perpendicular to your subject.
Correct the white balance if you can.
Make sure they're in focus.
Shoot a large enough surface area if it's potentially tileable, and get close enough to the subject if it's a detail.
Avoid perspective and warping by zooming in from a few steps back.
Edit in PS -- crop out extraneous details, use levels, contrast, and hue & saturation to bump up details and get rid of fake-looking colour casts.
Remind yourself of keys to good textures on this site:

WEEK 11: Character Acting 1 -- Acting for Cinematics 1: Monologues, close-up

We're very fortunate to have Ed Sahely with us for a few more weeks to teach us some real acting skills. Moving from close-ups to long shots and finally to multi-character shots, we'll learn some of the secrets of creating believable, compelling performances.

As I've mentioned before, animators should always be acting out their scenes, creating video reference to study for their own shots. On high-end productions it is common to have to act out ideas in front of directors and fellow crew members. How many animators are truly comfortable doing that? Well .. one person who is obviously gifted in this area is Blue Sky animator Jeff Gabor. He's put up a great video demonstrating his creative use of a voice track, and the resulting detailed animation performances.

You're going to create 3 of these videos over the next 5 weeks.
First up -- Close-up monologues.

Here's the link to the tracks for this week:

If you'd like to print the dialogue click here for links to scripts or excepts.

Spend some time listening to the tracks.  Choose one to use for class this week.
Download and bring in the track on an mp3 player and don't forget your headphones.
If you like, bring in small, simple props (ex -- a glass, a bottle, a fake gun, a magazine).
You might also want to use a mirror for practice.
Remember that animators need to be comfortable acting out both male and female roles, of any age.

Assignment 5:  Monologues Close-up
Assigned: November 16th
Due: December 4th <-- NEW!!
% of Final Grade: 10%
Please keep file sizes under 2MB

Choose one of the close-up monologues and deliver a compelling performance to the voice track. Record it on video using a camera or webcam.  Make sure the audio and video sync well, it's in focus, well-lit and well composed.

WEEK 11: Animation Direction 1 - Game Cycles -- Treadmill Walks, runs

We'll continue our treadmill walks until you're well on your way.
Also covered -
-ways of cycling in Maya including view -> infinity and timeline copy/paste.
-offsetting joints to create nice, fluid secondary action or wave action.
-adding variations to our cycles.

Next up: Runs! In some ways, these are easier than walks because there's less ground contact.

We'll also touch on some key points for transitioning between walks and runs.

Monday, November 7, 2011

WEEK 10: Texturing & Shading 1: Intro to Viewport Canvas and Photoshop 3D paint

Did you know you could have been painting right in your 3DS Max viewport this whole time? Well.. with Viewport Canvas you can. Photoshop has similar capabilities we can experiment with as well. We'll take a crack at it and very quickly learn why --for now-- painting in the 3D viewport is still pretty laborious, but occasionally very useful.
Here are the intro videos we'll be using for this class:
"Using the Viewport Canvas" - video #44 in the Intro to 3DS Max series.
Click here to download the material files for this class.

If you want more practice at this you should check out the Digital Tutors lessons:
"Texturing Using the Viewport Canvas in 3DS Max" - a course in 10 lessons.
Autodesk's "Viewport Canvas toolset" is a good brief overview as well.

It's time for our last texturing assignment -- your own choice from your city models.

This assignment is worth 40% of your grade so it should be something pretty chunky - I'd recommend you set this up for your portfolio by making it a set piece -- you could group some props with ground and wall planes, maybe a fence with some grass growing up from some cracks, for example.  

City models – planning and organizing
"Mood Boards"
Start UV'ing city models to texture next week

Assignment 6: Final Assignment
Assigned: November 8th
Due: December 13th in class
% of Final Grade: 40%
File sizes should be either 512x512 for smaller props or 1024x1024 for larger ones.
tdonovan_ final_000.max

WEEK 10: Animation Direction 1 - Game Cycles -- #1 Treadmill Walks!

You're going to get lots of practice setting up game cycles: walks, runs, jumps, and idles, and finally, blending them seamlessly together.

First cycle on the agenda: Walks. It's time for a whole new level of picky: treadmills.  You are about to become very involved with your Graph Editor. If that scares you, it's time to learn to love this indispensable tool.

Walk Reference:
Treadmill Walk: Dude
"Endless Reference"'s You Tube channel (also see sidebar link -->)
Monster's Inc
Iron Giant

You need to pick a rig to use for all your cycles.
Here's a post about a whole bunch of license-free rigs.

Getting good at cycles requires patience and practice. You should try a few different ones so you get faster at setting them up. It's always better work from reference. Shooting your own reference can be invaluable so you understand the mechanics.

Your final cycles are all due near the end of term but we'll have lots of in-class time to work on them.

Assignment 4: Animation Cycles
Assigned: November 7th
Due: December 15th in class
% of Final Grade: 50%
Please keep file sizes under 2MB

Please include your rig in the same file as the animation so I can reference it in.

Animation work-in-progress will be critiqued in class. The final blended animation sequence will be graded as one project. The sequence must contain at least 3 of the following cycles, blended together into one scene.
For example, your sequence could be Walk-Run-Jump, or Idle-Walk-Run. You can have more cycles if you wish. Every cycle must include all of the Principles of Animation. The character should have believable weight, a clear personality, and move with fluidity and clarity. The cycles should blend together cleanly with all necessary weight shifts, anticipations and reactions added to the final file. 
Good luck!

WEEK 10: Character Acting 1 -- Quadruped Study - Royal Winter Fair

Field Trip!!
Okay, that doesn't sound as fun as a Road Trip, but it's still pretty cool.

We'll be sketching 4-legged animals as part of our quadruped study. Sketching at the Royal is a long-standing tradition of animators and artists around the city (see attached!). It is very hard work but awesomely fun.
If you Google "sketching" and "Royal Winter Fair" you'll see a huge selection of intimidatingly beautiful work. Here are links to a couple of really good collections, one by a current Sheridan student and one by the rather well-known illustrator Bobby Chiu.

If you can't afford to come with us, or you want more practice drawing live animals, I heartily recommend a sketching trip to Riverdale Farm -- a free model farm in the heart of Cabbage Town, open every day from 9-5.
Visit it now before The Fords chop it forever!

soon to be you!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

WEEK 9: Character Acting 1 -- Quadrupedal Anatomy and locomotion

We are lucky to have a guest lecturer who is very experienced in animating 4-legged animals :

CATHERINE FERADAY MILLER began her career at Dreamworks as a classical animator, working on the features The Prince of Egypt and The Road to El Dorado. Switching to 3D animation in 1999, Cathy has worked for various feature and game companies in San Francisco and Toronto, and has taught 3D animation at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and at Max The Mutt Animation School in Toronto. A Toronto resident since 2009, Cathy is now working with her husband Tim as Art Director and co-founder for their own independent game studio, Rocket 5 Studios.

Click  here for Cathy's 2D demo reel

We'll talk about quadrupedal anatomy and locomotion, analyze video reference and draw significant key positions of quadruped walk.

All of this study leads into our field trip next week at the Royal Winter Fair.
If we're really nice, Cathy might join us :o)

Click here for an excellent site comparing human and animal anatomy.
Click here for a collection of reference images of animals skeletons.
Click here for animal walking reference from Muybridge.

Your next two assignments are connected .

Assignment 3: Quadruped Walk Study
Assigned: November 2nd
Due: November 13th
% of Final Grade: 10%
Please keep file sizes under 2MB

Draw significant key positions of quadruped walk using video analysis.  Use any animal you like but bear in mind that we'll be drawing livestock and farm animals next week so it will be very beneficial to have studied them in advance.

Assignment 4: Quadruped Live Sketches
Assigned: November 9th
Due: November 13th
% of Final Grade: 10%
Please keep file sizes under 2MB
tdonovan__ quad_live_000.jpg

Sketch at least 3 different quadrupeds from life. Sketches can include full body or just details, as well as motion studies. Please do not draw from photos or video. These sketches should be done live at our field trip or you can draw on your own at another location such as Riverdale Farm or the High Park Zoo (both are free!).

WEEK 9: Animation Direction 1 - Intro to Maya & Animation Review - Bouncing Balls

Animating a Bouncing Ball is nearly always the first animation assignment given to both 2D and 3D animation students.  This deceptively simple exercise can teach you a lot about the nuts and bolts of animation tools, but more importantly how to give believable weight and appealing timing to your animation.
Strobe photos are fantastic for showing the beautifully symmetrical parabolic arcs followed by everything that leaves the Earth... except a rocket.

Basket Ball
Golf Ball
Tennis Ball

Great reference vids:
Experiment with weight and through timing & spacing -- create 3 bouncing balls with contrasting sizes and weights. Keep practicing until you're very comfortable in Maya and with the timing tools we used in class.

Check out the Digital Tutors 'Intro to Maya' and also their Visual Guide to the Graph Editor

Friday, October 28, 2011

WEEK 9: Texturing & Shading 1: WIP, Hydrant, continued

Next we'll introduce two more types of maps:

Normal and Specular.

Normal Maps create the illusion of extra detail while Specular Maps define the shininess of different materials. There are a few ways to generate normal maps. Some common tools for creating them from our diffuse textures are CrazyBump and nDo.  We'll go through how to install and use both of these tools in class. You will need them to complete your homework. If you can't install them at home you will need to complete your assignment at school.

nDo's download site is currently down. Click here to download the zip file.

Click the CrazyBump & nDo logos to visit their sites.

Please always bring a stylus - they are required for painting your texture maps.

TEXT2010 Assignment 4
4th Assignment, Part 2: 10% <-- NEW!!

Assigned: Tuesday, Nov 1st
Due: Sunday, Nov 6th <-- NEW!!
Hydrant, UV'd and textured: 3DSMax file, diffuse map, normal map, specular map
SAVE your work uncompressed (2048 x 2048 PSDs recommended)
SEND me only Targas (.tga), one for each of your maps.
Maximum resolution: 512 x 512 bit, no alpha
File naming convention example:

Save your Max file with the maps applied and the paths stripped, and all textures in the file so they apply when I open it.

Please be very careful with your naming conventions.  All assignments are to be handed in via FTP.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WEEK 8: Intercession!! Now G'wan home..

Step away from the computer.. go rake some leaves and jump in 'em. Draw in those sketchbooks.. 
It's vacation time.. *

*except my classes who all have homework. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

WEEK 7: Texturing & Shading 1: WIP, Hydrant, continued

You should be finishing up unwrapping your hydrants and getting ready to work on painting the diffuse.

Finish up painting your hydrants over the break and get them ready for adding more maps.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

WEEK 7: Character Acting 1: Weight

Back to Acting for Animators, we welcome once again our guest instructor, Second City veteran, Ed Sahely.
 116-lb  Marilou Dozois-Prevost makes 228 lbs look like a q-tip.
Please be in the Octagon at 12, ready for action.

The secondary topic for today is weight.

We'll study some key forces at work in creating the illusion of weight in our animation.

Pushing, pulling, moving weight, and even just balancing our own body weight takes effort.  Emphasizing that effort is key to making our animation believable.

Making our characters appear to be bound by Earth's gravity makes them look like they share the same real-world environment as we do.

Click here for photos + video of last week's sword-fighting class.

WEEK 7: Animation Direction 1 - Anatomy of Movement 2: Muscles

Human Anatomy 2 + Photoshop Basics, continued.  Once again we're in lab 520 continuing with part 2 of our Human Anatomy study: the muscular system.

Bring drawing materials, and a stylus.

Part 2: Muscles
Continuing working on the same file with the action photo as your base layer, and your skeleton in the middle, draw the major muscle groups that move the skeleton as a final overlay. Feature the most visible and important muscle groups for artists and animators. Show perspective in the shading as the muscles wrap around the body, the direction they lie and the deformations caused by the effort of the pose. Use colour variation to differentiate between the bellies of the muscles and the ligaments and tendons that attach them to the bones.

Aim to make your drawing a portfolio piece that shows both your knowledge and your artistic skill. The drawing can be very detailed or you may generalize forms as shown in the study above.

This layer should be saved separately from the skeleton file:

Please hand in both the skeleton and muscle study together by FTP by the deadline, 
 October 25th <--NEW!

Looking for a good muscular system study reference? -- ok, maybe more 'memorable' than good? Click here!
No, seriously, these are better - Front, Back

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

WEEK 6: Animation Direction 1 - Anatomy of Movement 1: the Skeleton

Human Anatomy 1 + Photoshop Basics
We'll park ourselves in lab 520 and begin part 1 of our Human Anatomy study: the skeleton.
Bring drawing materials, and a stylus if you have one.

ADIR1136 Assignment 3
Anatomy of Movement

Part 1: Skeleton
Part 2: Muscles
Assigned: October 14th
Due: October 25th <--NEW!
% of Final Grade: 20%  <--NEW!
Please keep file sizes under 2MB
Work large (2048px) but save final version at screen res.
(Ex: 1024 @ 72 DPI)


Please hand in by FTP

Part 1: Skeleton

Using a photo of  an action pose as a base layer, draw the underlying skeleton. Aim to make your drawing a portfolio piece that shows both your knowledge and your artistic skill. The drawing can be very detailed or you may generalize forms as shown in the study above.
This is most easily done digitally, but you can draw on tracing paper and scan it. Find your own photo or use one of these from ESPN's body issue.

Use lots of reference for the skeleton - Visible Body is very helpful but it  costs >$30.

Another great idea -- create a pose-able mini skeleton using a cheap model and sculptor's wax. Available on I called around and didn't find any in town.

Another option is to download a 3D model. The good ones are expensive (>$150). I searched Turbosquid for models under $25 and this is what popped up. One or two aren't terrible.

More here (these actually look better)

Looking for good skeletal system study reference? Click here!

WEEK 6: Character Acting 1 - Fight Direction 3

Our last week of fight direction --  level up to a new attack mode: swords!

Be equipped for both swashbuckling and sketching.

We'll have a look at some behind-the-scenes fight choreography from a little film called something like 'Star Battle' or 'Star Fighting' and do some frame-by frame studies.

Click here for photos + video of last week's knife-fighting class.

There can be only one! Highlander movie, that is! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

WEEK 6: Texturing & Shading 1: WIP, Hydrant, continued

This week we'll continue unwrapping our fire hydrant, start painting our diffuse textures and  get ready to learn more about some new types of texture maps.

Check out what we've been up to so far:
Sample work from Assignment 2: Texture Reference Library showing examples of entropy (decay) around the city.

Sample work from Assignment 3: Sign Post -- learn UV unwrapping and create textures for a sign. Age it using photographic textures & hand-painted details to create diffuse, bump and alpha maps.

Lots of great stuff there, everybody -- looking forward to seeing what else you can do.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

WEEK 5: Animation Direction 1 - Animation Thumbnails -- Drawing Tips & Tricks

Thumbnails, thumbnailing, thumbnail posing... in animation these terms get tossed around a fair bit.
They all refer to drawing quick, small gestures in planning animation. 

Drawing is the premier means of visual communication and it's absolutely essential in collaborating with other artists.  Drawing is a learned skill that comes more easily to some than others -- but make no mistake, a few hours of dedicated study can make all the difference. Animators have to draw so darned many drawings that they've spent a century developing a list of tricks to streamline the process.

Pixar's Victor Navone's run study from The Incredibles
This week I'll give you some of the most important tricks I've learned to help you get your gestures down quickly to convey maximum information in a minimum of lines.

Click here for more information: 
Animation Mentor article "Animation Tips & Tricks: THUMBNAILS"

Check out Victor Navone's beautiful collection of thumbnails here.

Monday, October 3, 2011

WEEK 5: Texturing & Shading 1

We'll dig deeper into our observation of the effects of time, use, and the elements on everyday objects and have a look at your reference photos.

Moving on to a higher res model -- a beat-up old fire hydrant. Together we'll work through the UV'ing of an example model.
Click here to download the example model.

Your goal is to UV and texture your own model fire hydrant. It will be somewhat different than the example we'll be using for practice. This will give you an excellent chance to abstract the material.

The mission for this week:
Start unwrapping the fire hydrant you modeled. Get as much done as you can and bring in your work. Next week and we'll continue our UV maps in class and answer any questions that may have come up.

To help you continue your work at home, we've made you some very helpful tutorials:
1 Overview Base and Top
2 Front and Top
3 Body
4 Details (note - sped up, no audio)
5 Chain and Bolts
6 UV Layout

If you need further help or you'd like to learn more, check out the Digital Tutors Courses:
Getting Started with UVs in 3ds Max 2011, and
Texturing Game Props in 3ds Max and Photoshop

TEXT2010 Assignment 4

4th Assignment, Part 1: 20% <-- NEW!!
Rubric coming soon.
Assigned: Tuesday, Oct 3rd

Due: Sunday, Oct 30th <-- NEW!!
Hydrant, UV'd and textured: 3DSMax file, diffuse map
SAVE your work uncompressed (4096 x 4096 PSDs recommended)
SEND me only Targas (.tga), one for each of your maps.
Maximum resolution: 512 x 512 bit, no alpha
File naming convention example:

Please be very careful with your naming conventions.  All assignments are to be handed in via FTP.

WEEK 5: Character Acting 1 - Fight Direction 2

 Chuck Norris also battled Ninjas in the Octagon
Greetings, survivor's of last week's hand-to-hand combat class:

Hope you're ready for another round of Fight Direction training with Riot Act's Simon Fon.
This week we're getting into short-range weapons. 
Bring sketchbooks/cameras if you can.

See you at 12 sharp in the Octagon. 

Dress for action. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

WEEK 4: Animation Direction 1

We'll have a look at your WIP storyboards and talk about planning branching game cycles before the due date later in the week.

The next step of the process is planning the animation. We'll discuss many of the tools used to streamline this part of the pipeline: exposure sheets, bar sheets, timing charts, and animation posing. It's important to plan the animation direction so the style is consistent throughout the production. Drawing the character in key poses inspires the animation process. Gathering reference material including shooting video reference can be invaluable. Before animation begins, it should be planned as rough thumbnails as in the Ratatouille sketches in the photo.

Your next assignment is to thumbnail all of the animation for your virtual video game.

ADIR1136 Assignment 2: Animation Thumbnails
% of final grade: 20%
Assigned: Thursday, Sept 29th
Due: Sunday, October 9th <--NEW!!!
Please submit all work via FTP
SAVE your work uncompressed (PSDs recommended)
SEND me only JPGs
Please keep file sizes under 2MB


Plan the animation for a sequence in your virtual game. It can be built around the travelling sequences such as the walk, run, and jump cycles to be animated in the second half of the course. It could also focus on another significant part of the game. Drawings need not be clean but they should be clear, dynamic, and detailed.

Exemplary - In-depth planning of all the movement and surrounding actions for animation sequence showing the character's specific personality and style of movement.
Excellent - Detailed movement study of animation sequence showing all major actions with some personality.
Acceptable - Simple study of most of the planned actions for the animated sequence.
Not Acceptable - Sparsely detailed study of a few of the key poses of the animated sequence.

WEEK 4: Texturing & Shading 1

We'll continue building detail into our simple sign by learning about 2 more kinds of maps:
  1. Bump maps add the illusion of detail and are very simple to edit.  We'll work with creating some gritty surface texture and cracks on the sign's base, scratches in the rusty paint, and add height to relief details such as the bolts holding the sign in place. 
  2. Alpha maps are useful for masking out areas we want to remain transparent.  One common use for alphas is in the application of foliage to our scenes.  We'll add some simple grass elements in our scene and experiment with layering these elements to make the grass look more complex and realistic. 

The final version of the sign is to be handed in by the end of the week 

TEXT2010 Assignment 3

3rd Assignment: 5% Click here for the Rubric for this assignment
Assigned: Tuesday, Sept 28th

Due: Sunday, Oct 2nd
Sign, UV'd and textured: 3DSMax file, diffuse, bump, plus grass diffuse file(s)
SAVE your work uncompressed (PSDs recommended)
SEND me only PNG's or TIFF's.
Maximum resolution: 2048x2048
File naming convention example:
tdonovan_sign_grass_diff_001.png (or tiff)

Monday, September 26, 2011

WEEK 4: Character Acting 1 - Fight Direction 1

Welcome to our 3-class study of Combat Direction with guest instructor, Simon Fon. 

Simon Fon has taught thousands of people in stage combat, from coast to coast, over the past 18 years. He is a member of Fight Directors Canada, and holds the title of Fight Master. As a stunt co-ordinator he most recently worked on Disneys Power Rangers In Training. Some recent stunt performing credits include series stunt double (Season 3) for the character of "Jesse" on the TV series Mutant X. Hemingway V.S. Callaghan for CBC, Earth: Final Conflict, Prince Charming-HBO and Tracker for TV/Film. Simon also worked on the Genie Award winning short Hangman’s Bride as Fight Director and Actor.

In theatre Simon has worked at Canadian Stage, Factory Theatre, Tarragon Theatre, Theatre Passe Mursaille, YPT/Lorraine Kimsa, The Grand Theatre (London), Theatre By The Bay (Barrie). Simon has also worked on the Dora Nominated Romeo & Juliet Remixed with eXpect theatre/Spark productions, and with Robin Phillips on Mill on the Floss for Soul Pepper Theatre at the World Stage. He teaches at George Brown College, University of Toronto, York University, University of British Columbia, Centre for Indigenous Theatre, Equity Showcase - Players Academy, Rapier Wit Studio, and Fight Directors Canada National workshops (96, 97, 01, 02, 03, 04).

See you in The Octagon (515) at 12 sharp.  Please continue to bring drawing materials and cameras & tripods (if you have them) every week as we'll be working in groups and continuing our study of human locomotion.
Don't be late

Monday, September 19, 2011

WEEK 3: Animation Direction 1

Storyboarding, continued..
We'll look deeper into story boarding techniques this week, expanding on the basic camera shots and their uses to include camera moves and scene transitions.  Through close examination of storyboards from many different project styles we'll talk about ways story artists have communicated not just the main points of the action but also mood and character.

Designing storyboards for nonlinear media like video games must also include the element of branching - what happens when the action could go more than one direction?

Level design is another topic we'll look into today.  How do you plan the environment to fit your action?

Next week we'll have an informal group critique of your WIP so we can tidy up any loose ends before your Oct 2nd deadline.

Character Acting -- 2nd Assignment:

Assignment 2:  Action Analysis
Assigned: Sept 21st
Due: October 30th <--NEW!
% of Final Grade: 30%
Please keep file sizes under 2MB

In preparation for next term's 3D animation, we're doing in-depth analysis of several types of human motion. Through our acting study we'll aim to add character to our actions. Your research will involve acting, video analysis and drawing.

For this assignment you should present at least 6 seperate studies including walking, running, 3 combat actions, and weight. Draw a series of keyframes for each action that demonstrate your thorough understanding of the movement, weight, and timing. Draw motion from more than one angle, if possible, and/or include studies or note significant details of the action. Drawings need not be clean, but they should be dynamic and clear.
Dynamic, clear animation poses from Disney masters 

Exemplary - thorough study including many drawings of variations in character and/or perspective, specific details and convincing weight.

Excellent - clear drawings demonstrating a thorough understanding of each action including key positions and solid weight.

Acceptable - drawings of most key positions indicating a basic understanding of motion

Not Acceptable - some drawings of actions, but not enough to demonstrate a thorough study

All assignments to be handed in via FTP.

Any questions, just ask!

WEEK 3: Texturing & Shading 1

X-Men render and diffuse map
Wrapping up Assignment 1: part 1, "Stop sign"
Diffuse maps! That's what this class will cover from stem to stern.  As we discussed in Week 1, the diffuse is what give objects their basic colour information. We'll start with photographic textures as a base and refine them in Photoshop.   We'll get into other types of maps next week. 
All that's due this week is the UV's, the diffuse map and the Max file with the texture file applied.  

Wrapping up Assignment 2: "Entropy in the city."
We'll have a look at some WIP examples so you'll know if you're on the right track. If you have any questions, please ask them well before the deadline.  PLEASE read the rubric -- this isn't just a random series of 12 snapshots.  Overshoot and choose your best images to edit and refine so they are visually compelling. This project should inspire you to always bring a camera with you and always be building your collection of reference images.
Textures should show the effects of time and the elements.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

WEEK 3: Acting for Animators with guest instructor Ed Sahely

This week we have a wonderful opportunity to study improv and acting with award-winning instructor, Ed Sahely.

Ed spent seven years with The Second City and his cast received a Dora Mavor Moore Award for their work on the Toronto Mainstage. Television credits include ROBOCOP: THE SERIES, GETTING ALONG FAMOUSLY, SUE THOMAS: FBI, ROAD TO AVONLEA, TRADERS, DUE SOUTH, RED GREEN, DOC, MONK, DAN FOR MAYOR, SKINS. Ed co-created improvised with the group Not To Be Repeated where they improvised a new Canadian play every night. It was later developed into the half hour television series THIS SITCOM IS NOT TO BE REPEATED for CTV and The Comedy Channel.As well as directing plays and acting in film, television, radio and theatre, Ed continues to teach 'Improv for Actors' to the first-year theatre students at George Brown College and Sheridan/UTM and continues to teach Improv at the Second City Training Centre.

See you in 515 (fingers crossed!)  Please continue to bring drawing materials and cameras & tripods (if you have them) every week as we'll be working in groups and continuing our study of human locomotion.