Tuesday, February 7, 2012

WEEK 5: Animation Direction 2 -- Milestone 1: In-class critique, continued, plus work period for sets and armatures

We'll wrap up the Milestone 1 critiques -- bravo on the work I've seen so far!  Looks very well-organized and jammed with creative ideas.  Your input is invaluable so please help each other make the most of this very important step in the production process.

This is our first work period to focus on set and armature building. We can also have a look at the equipment that's available and start testing cameras. I'll see if Kathy can pop by... :o)

If we have time I'll show you the testing software we're hoping to use and the backup plan as well.

WEEK 5: Character Acting 2: Attack!!

Wrapping up your rigs, walks, and runs -- I'll spend time going over your marks for the first assignment and answer any questions you may have about the work you've done so far.

Next up: attacks!  This is our final assignment before the break.  Making the most of the fight choreography training you had in Term 1, come up with a fight movement or short sequence that flows logically and fluidly from your cycle animation.

You can use weapons if you like. I mean your characters can.

We'll look at a couple of examples of great fight sequences and analyse what makes them so punchy and fun to watch.

WEEK 5: Modeling and Animation II: Luxo, Continued

We've covered a lot of the Principles of Animation so far, but there's still a lot to cover in terms of secondary & overlapping action. The Luxo character has only its head and base to drag and settle, so it's important to use them well to show gravity's effects. Controlling secondary action takes practice. Too much secondary makes the characters look too rubbery. Not enough, and they look like robotic.
We looked at some clips from the masters of secondary action -- Disney, Bluth, and Keane and studied how it gives their work such nice flow and weight.
"Secret of Nimh" by Don Bluth, master of secondary action  
We studied photographic reference of other people jumping. 
Now it's your turn to create some video reference for yourself. We'll set up cameras and tripods and shoot some footage to use to try rotoscoping -- a process I eyed with suspicion until I discovered what a time-saver it can be.

Creating Image Planes From Video Reference 
Click here to see one of you as a lamp. 

It's relatively easy to bring  footage into your animation files. You can easily follow the frame-by-frame reference, ie, rotoscope, but you'll quickly see that with just a little exaggeration you can make your animation even better, heavier, and snappier than the live action footage.

Check out the video to see how I turned one of my students into a lamp...

Here are the instructions on how to view an image sequence in your viewport:

-Find and trim the reference video you want and save it. 
-Create a jpg image sequence for it at 24 fps, aiming for the lowest tolerable quality setting (I got 11 kb/fr)
You can do this easily in QuickTimePro. 
You can also use Premiere, Final Cut Pro, AfterEffects, etc.
In Premiere: -->File | Export | Media. Select TIFF as the format, and set source range to Entire Clip.

In Maya:
-create a new camera from the main menu:  Create --> Camera
-in the viewport, look through your new camera: Panels --> Perspective --> Camera 1 (or whatever you named your camera)
-in the viewport, create an image plane: View --> Image Plane --> Import Image, click on the first frame of your image sequence.
-View --> Image Plane --> Image Plane Attributes --> Select "Use Image Sequence"
- in Image Plane Attributes, select the visibility Display --> In all views
Animate through the perspective window or the camera if you like

Finish your Luxo Jump this week! When the basics are working, polish secondary, overlap, drag, settle, and moving holds. If you have extra time, try adding in a little personality. Upload your work in progress to your blog along with video or photographic reference.