Thursday, July 5, 2012

CLASS 11 : Modeling and Animation II: Luxo Jr - the short that launched Pixar

We'll do a follow-up on your bouncing ball assignments before moving on to our next task: Luxo Lamp jumps!
Click here to watch "Luxo Jr" from 1986
The Luxo lamp is for 3D what the famous flour sack has been for generations of 2D animators -- a tool for perfecting & demonstrating a mastery of the 12 Principles of Animation. We'll watch "Luxo Jr", Pixar's short from 1986. As you watch this famous film, bear in mind the primitive tools the artists were working with at the time. This is a remarkable first film for what was then a fledgling industry, which has grown into the multi-faceted world of CG movies, shorts, and games we know today.

From Wikipedia:
Luxo Jr. is the first film produced in 1986 by Pixar Animation Studios, following its establishment as an independent film studio. It is a computer-animated short film (two and a half minutes, including credits), demonstrating the kind of things the newly-established company was capable of producing. It was the first Pixar short to release within a Pixar film.  It is the source of the small hopping desk lamp included in Pixar's corporate logo. In a subsequent re-release after Pixar became popular, a pretext was added to the film reading, "In 1986 Pixar produced its first film. This is why we have a hopping lamp in our logo." Download and view other examples of Pixar's shorts and learn more about their production process here:

Before jumping from a bouncing ball to a complex humanoid, the Luxo lamp gives us an opportunity to use a simple multi-jointed character to practice using the 12 Principles to create not just weight and timing, but also personality.

It's also a great opportunity to analyze live action reference.
Eadweard Muybridge's classic photo of the long-jumper has many clues we can use to bring life to our animation.

Download the Luxo Rig for Maya here.

Assignment 4
Luxo Lamp Animation:
Assigned: 05/07/12
Due: 10/07/12
% of final mark: 15%

Animate the Luxo lamp doing a simple jump forward. Using video and photographic reference if possible. All the Principles of Animation should be in this assignment, especially nuts-and-bolts tools like Anticipation, Action, Reaction, Weight, Timing, Arcs, and even more esoteric ones like Appeal. Spend your time on the mechanics of the jump. If you have time, you can add a little personality.  Think about how heavy the base of the lamp would be. Show the effort required to move that weight. 
The final output should be 2 files: an .avi and an .ma file.

Files should be named as follows:

The file number (000) should be whatever version of the file you hand in. You can hand in any version up to 999. Careful with your file naming. No caps. No extra spaces. No extra descriptors.

Exemplary: Advanced grasp of animation principles evident. Luxo has unmistakable weight, clear, snappy timing, convincing overlapping action.
Excellent: Strong grasp of most of the animation principles with few mistakes. Luxo has consistent weight, good timing, and good use of overlapping action.
Acceptable: Reasonably executed animation utilizing most of the animation principles with some minor mistakes. Luxo has mostly consistent weight, timing and overlapping action.
Not Acceptable: Lack of evident understanding of the animation principles with several mistakes. Luxo not heavy or smoothly-timed with little to no overlapping action.

Assignments to be handed in via DropBox and Vimeo