Tuesday, April 15, 2014

WEEK 15: Final Week! Good Luck!

For my returning students - have a great summer!

For my graduating students - best of luck!

Keep filling your sketchbooks - drawing skills never go out of style. :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

WEEK 14: Game Dev 2 DESN2017 Assignment 5 Due Next week! No classes next Friday!

This is our last official class as next week is a school holiday. Please feel free to attend any of my classes on Thursdays from 8-6.

I hope you're all at the final polish stage on your final project.
Here's another great chase sequence from DreamWorks Animation's, 'The Croods'.
This is just a snippet of a complex 5 minute sequence featuring Eep in various types of 4-legged runs, regular runs, and slides.

WEEK 14: Asset Dev DESN1086: Assignment 5: Low poly model due next week!

This is your last week for your final assignment! I'm here to help.

Here are a couple of great articles about optimizing your models:





WEEK 14: Game Dev 4 DESN3012 Milestone 5 Due Next Week!

Good luck with your projects! Make the most of your last week in college and get some constructive critiques from your advisers. Please let me know if you need any help.

Here's a great post by animator Kenny Music about using helpful tools in Maya to speed up his workflow:
http://www.kenmusicanimator.com/KennyMusicAnimator/MyAnimationBlog/Entries/2010/4/25_Animation_Workflow_Tips_and_Tricks.html


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

WEEK 13: Game Dev 2 DESN2017 Assignment 5 Due in Two Weeks

As you think of ways to have your character transition back into the run cycle, consider how you can make your scene interesting. The possibilities are endless. Case in point this nearly 1 minute long sequence from Disney's 1937 classic "Snow White". Her terrified run through the forest is one of the most well-known animated sequences of all time.

WEEK 13: Asset Dev DESN1086: Assignment 4 due

ASSIGNMENT 4 due today in class.

Last project of the year!


ASSIGNMENT 5 –

3D PROP 20%

DUE DATE: in class on BlackBoard WEEK 15 April 17th
*ZERO marks for late submissions

In 3D Studio Max, build a prop model that accompanies your character design from Assignment 1. For example, if the character was a retro spaceman then the 3D prop model could be his ray gun or helmet.

Polycount range: 2500 – 5000
When working be sure to keep in mind protocol and methodologies learned in Term 1 modeling class.

SUBMIT ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
A) 3D prop model (.max or .fbx)
B) Reference material (sketches, photos etc. - jpg files)
C) Screenshots (front, side, back and ¾ view - .jpg files)

REQUIREMENTS:

Filenames:

1086_A5_YOUR-NAME_prop.max or fbx
1086_A5_YOUR-NAME_prop.jpg
1086_A5_YOUR-NAME_propref01.jpg
Ex - 1086_A5_BEIBER-JUSTIN_prop.max (last name first, please!)


FORMATS:
3D Studio Max
jpgs 1280w x 800h (pixels)

It's been a while since you guys did any modeling. If you need a refresher, here are some Digital Tutors tutorials to get you back up to speed:
CG101: Modeling
Beginner's Guide to Modeling in 3ds Max
10 Ways to Improve Your Modeling in 3ds Max
Modeling Game Props in 3ds Max
Hard Surface Modeling Workflows in 3ds Max

WEEK 13: Game Dev 4 DESN3012 Milestone 5 Due in 2 Weeks

Here's another interesting feature workflow from a Shrek the 3rd animator Justin Barrett. He explains the details of his workflow with video examples from a scene he did on Puss In Boots.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WEEK 12: Game Dev 2 DESN2017 Assignment 4 due

The final stretch! This is the last assignment for your course, hopefully one that will bring your character smoothly back into his run cycle you started off with this term.  Think about how you can help this deceptively complex action look believable. It's not just a matter of letting the computer do the inbetweens for you - at this level we would like you to plan some interesting, subtle animation that will show your mastery of the tools and the animation principles. Ok, maybe "mastery" is scary. How about "facility" :D

What IS this 'recovery' of which I speak? Well, that's up to you, really - what happens after the slide, after the stagger, before the run cycle starts again?  There's only one way to do this properly - act it out! 
Don't forget to stretch!


Assignment 5: Recover
DUE DATE: WEEK 15 April 18 (in-class) – 20 Marks
*ZERO marks for late submissions
Using your bi-ped rig animate the character recovering from his stagger and transitioning back into your run cycle. The feel should be consistent with the personality and emotion of the previous animation. Secondary animations a broad range of movements and timing are encouraged to add life to the character.

SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING:
A) Thumbnails of key poses – minimum 6 key poses
B) Video file of 3D recovery animation
REQUIREMENTS:
Filename:
DESN2017_A5_YOURNAME_thumbnails.jpg
DESN2017_A5_YOURNAME_stagger.mov
EX -
DESN2017_A5_BIEBERJUSTIN_thumbnails.jpg (last name first, please!)

DUE DATE
SUBMIT TO BLACKBOARD WEEK 15 IN CLASS

Please compress all images and videos to keep them small using the following guidelines:

Videos:
Quicktimes, 560 pixels by 316 pixels, H.264 codec, max 10MB. You can use a variety of tools such as Handbrake, Adobe Media Encoder, Quicktime Pro and more to format your videos. I use the 11-second club guidelines for all submissions:
http://www.11secondclub.com/helpful_hints/encoding

Images:
JPGs between 500-1200 pixels along longest edge, 72-300 dpi/ppi, max 5MB. You can use a variety of tools such as Photoshop, Gimp, and online programs to compress files.

WEEK 12: Asset Dev DESN1086: Assignment 4 due Next Week

Assignment 4 - action -  due next week!
Today is a work period - bring your questions & I'll have a look at your work in progress.
Make sure you put lots of time into the planning stages - thumbnailing animation is a really important skill. There's a lot of documentation on how to create nice thumbs online and on this blog. Remember to make the drawings readable in sillhouette. Think CLEAR not clean.  The thumbs below are low-detail but very very clear.

WEEK 12: Game Dev 4 DESN3012 Milestone 4 Due

Final stretch! 
Just 3 weeks left.
Please sign in and let me know if there's anything I can help you with (animation, uv'ing, texturing, painting)

Please upload your assignments to Blackboard. 

Your last assignment is due on the final week of class. 

Milestone 5: ex 5-10 second piece of animation. Value: 20%
DUE DATE: WEEK 15 April 17th on BLACKBOARD
* Late submissions will receive ZERO marks.

It is recommended that you show work in progress each week. Aim to have everything animated by Week 14 so you can spend the following week on revisions and polish. Playbasts are fine. No rendering required.

FILE NAMING:
3012_ m5_lastnamefirstinitial_001.mov
ex: 3012_m5_donovant.mov

Videos:
Quicktimes, 560 pixels by 316 pixels, H.264 codec, max 10MB. You can use a variety of tools such as Handbrake, Adobe Media Encoder, Quicktime Pro and more to format your videos. I use the 11-second club guidelines for all submissions:
http://www.11secondclub.com/helpful_hints/encoding


As you approach the end of your program, here's a good question to start asking yourself?
'What is your workflow?'. The idea of WORKFLOW in animation is a very personal one.

Generally most animators will do at least most of the following:
  • read the script/watch the leica/look at the storyboard
  • draw some thumbnails for key actions
  • act out the scene on video
  • block the broad strokes of their shot using stepped keys or very pose-to-pose timing
  • approval or peer review
  • start breaking it down 
  • approval or peer review
  • add polish, layering, offsetting
  • final approval
  • revisions or retakes  
Some variations:
- key all controllers on each pose, adding all the detail needed to sell the posing
- key only the basic controllers on each pose and layer the complexity in subsequent passes
- work straight ahead keying only the main controls and adding finer detail in subsequent passes

.. and there are more where that came from.

With 3D, it's important to stay SIMPLE because of the complexity of fixing animation on several controllers moving on different frames. That said, you need to show the director what you're planning, and that means adding even expressions and finger controls from a very early stage.

What you don't want to do is randomly start working without any plan.  Think! Plan, then start animating. "Measure twice, cut once"

See this example of VFX workflow from John Carter from Animator Patrick Giusiano







Monday, March 17, 2014

WEEK 11: Game Dev 2 DESN2017 Assignment 4 due next week

I hope your stagger animation is going well! I keep finding these little examples of animated run-stagger-recovery sequences for you -- please send me links if you find more!

This is a great example from Tangled. Once again it's another 90-degree change of direction. Watch how carefully the animator slows the character's momentum and rebalances the COG so he can continue running. 
This type of animation is very tricky. Be sure to show it in context -- the point of the exercise is to show how you handle the forces required.  

The last assignment will lead you back into the run so don't worry about having that part completed for next week. 

WEEK 11: Asset Dev DESN1086: Assignment 4 due in 2 Weeks

This class is for you to work on your character action. By the end of this class you should have animated your scene in rough.  Please check with me if you don't understand your marks or my notes from the last assignment.

Be sure to double check your naming conventions and formatting.

Street Fighter
Super Meat Boy


Braid

WEEK 11: Game Dev 4 DESN3012 Milestone 4 Due Next Week!

Morning, folks! Don't forget to sign in.

Your animation is due next week so I hope you have all your blocking done today so we can make any last-minute corrections in the final polishing phase. The polish pass is usually the most fun for animators - after all the hard work of blocking and posing, you finally get to finesse your shot and show everyone the lovely, fluid animation that's been playing in your head for days or weeks. :D

Digital Tutors recently released a really nice 1-hour tutorial on polishing techniques:

Many animators have documented their polishing process. Here's a really nice one from Malcolm Pierce who worked on Tangled and Ice Age 3:
“FINAL” thoughts on Refining and Polishing a shot.



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

WEEK 10: Game Dev 2 DESN2017 Assignment 4 due in 2 weeks!

Please let me know if you have any WIP to show me. It's good to get some feedback before you get too deep into your work. You have a couple of weeks left so you should be into your blocking this week. Next week you should aim to have all your animation finished in rough so you can polish it in the last week.

I'm really not finding much in the way of run-stagger-recover reference (here's a good excuse to do some video reference shooting if you'd like to borrow equipment like cameras and tripods just ask me).

A large part of making this assignment work has to do with how you handle the shifting of weight. This is true of any full-body animated scene. Here's a great student piece by "Kolin" from Animation Mentor (Kolin, if you're reading this, please tell me your full name so I can properly identify you!)


video

WEEK 10: Asset Dev DESN1086: Assignment 3 DUE, Assignment 4 starts today!

Assignment 3 due today!

Assignment 4 hand-out today -

CHARACTER ACTION ANIMATION



DUE DATE: WEEK 13 (in-class) April 3rd
20 Marks
*ZERO marks for late submissions

Develop an action animation (side-scrolling) for the character you designed in Assignment 1. The animation should be consistent with your character’s design and personality as shown in previous assignments.

Use thumbnails and rough sketches to explore your ideas. Establish your key poses first (minimum 6 frames). Any additional in-between frames are more to support the main action found in your key poses.

Action can be some form of attack (kick, punch, sword slash etc) or other suitable action (evade/dodge, ground roll etc).

In the examples from Limbo the character runs, jumps, climbs, and hangs from objects. What do the characters do in your favorite side scrollers that your character might do?

SUBMIT ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
A) Thumbnail sketches – minimum 6 key poses
B) Line-test animation – preliminary animation
C) Final animation – polished B&W or Colour

Filename:
1086_A4_YOUR-NAME_actionthumbs.jpg
1086_A4_YOUR-NAME_actionlinetest.mov or .gif
1086_A4_YOUR-NAME_actionfinal.mov or .gif
Ex - 1086_A4_BEIBER-JUSTIN_actionthumbs.jpg (last name first, please!)
Thumbnails should be no more than 1200 px wide
Animation should be no more than 640 px along longest edge.
Mov files should be compressed using H.264 or other standard codec using Adobe Media Encoder, Handbrake or QT pro.




WEEK 10: Game Dev 4 DESN3012 Milestone 4 due in 2 Weeks

Please let me know if you have any WIP to show me. It's good to get some feedback before you get too deep into your work. You have a couple of weeks left so you should be into your blocking this week. Next week you should aim to have all your animation finished in rough so you can polish it in the last week.

Here's a great example of the blocking process from Disney's Zach Parrish. There's a full interview if you want more info. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

WEEK 9: Game Dev 4 DESN3012 Milestone 3 due today!

Milestone 4: ex 5-10 second piece of animation. Value: 20%
DUE DATE: WEEK 12 March 27th @ BEGINNING OF CLASS on BLACKBOARD
* Late submissions will receive ZERO marks.

It is recommended that you show work in progress each week. Aim to have everything animated by Week 11 so you can spend the following week on revisions and polish. Playbasts are fine. No rendering required.

FILE NAMING:
3012_ m4_lastnamefirstinitial_001.mov
ex: 3012_m4_donovant.mov

Videos:
Quicktimes, 560 pixels by 316 pixels, H.264 codec, max 10MB. You can use a variety of tools such as Handbrake, Adobe Media Encoder, Quicktime Pro and more to format your videos. I use the 11-second club guidelines for all submissions:
http://www.11secondclub.com/helpful_hints/encoding

Here's some Olaf dance animation from the Frozen game by Chase Shields at Binary Digital. Happy animating!

WEEK 9: Game Dev 2 DESN2017 Assignment 3: Slide Under Object Due Today!

Hello and welcome back from your break.
You have the rest of class to complete your slides and then head into your 2nd-last assignment.

This next piece is about what happens to your character after he jumps over, and then slides under obstacles on his way back to the run cycle. You will have another assignment in between this one and the regular run cycle for your character to regain his footing.  This is all about the 'stagger' where he's off balance and trying to get his COG over his base of support. Maybe the floor is slippery or it takes him a few steps to get balanced. You have a lot of leeway with this assignment.

Here's a very brief example from Ratatouille as Remy runs away from Chef Skinner, Skinner slides to turn the corner and change his direction 90 degrees. He takes a couple of staggering steps, even placing his hand briefly on the ground to recover his balance and continue forward. 


Assignment 4: Stagger

DUE DATE: WEEK 12 (in-class) – 20 Marks
*ZERO marks for late submissions
Using an existing rig create a stagger animation for a bi-ped. The character should stagger or stumble forward. The feel should be consistent with the personality and emotion of the previous animation. Secondary animations a broad range of movements and timing are encouraged to add life to the character.

SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING:
A) Thumbnails of key poses – minimum 6 key poses
B) Video file of 3D slide animation
REQUIREMENTS:
Filename:
DESN2017_A4_YOURNAME_thumbnails.jpg
DESN2017_A4_YOURNAME_stagger.mov
EX -
DESN2017_A4_BIEBERJUSTIN_thumbnails.jpg (last name first, please!)

DUE DATE
SUBMIT TO BLACKBOARD WEEK 12 IN CLASS

Please compress all images and videos to keep them small using the following guidelines:

Videos:
Quicktimes, 560 pixels by 316 pixels, H.264 codec, max 10MB. You can use a variety of tools such as Handbrake, Adobe Media Encoder, Quicktime Pro and more to format your videos. I use the 11-second club guidelines for all submissions:
http://www.11secondclub.com/helpful_hints/encoding

Images:
JPGs between 500-1200 pixels along longest edge, 72-300 dpi/ppi, max 5MB. You can use a variety of tools such as Photoshop, Gimp, and online programs to compress files.

WEEK 9: Asset Dev 2 DESN1086 Milestone 3: Jump Due Next Week!

Jumping... continued!

By now your thumbnail studies should be done and your rough animation should be ready to start.
The final artwork is due next week in class!

Your jump must fit into the style of your piece just as do these brilliant pixel art frames from local studio Spooky Squid Games' "They Bleed Pixels": 


The art style really fits the action of this game - here's a sample:




Think about the physics of jumping - the power comes from a weight shift in the centre of gravity and the extension of the legs. Anyone who wants to challenge the idea that legs must straighten before they contract in a landing is welcome to demonstrate that for us all :D

The 12 Principles of animation are probably familiar by now but we'll quickly review one for the jump. As Disney giant Bill Tytla said,
"There are only three things in animation
ANTICIPATION, ACTION, and REACTION
and these imply the rest.
Learn to do these things well
and you can animate well."

There's a ton of great information on jumps in Richard Williams' The Animator's Survival Kit from 212-216 and on anticipation from 273-284. Buy this book! It takes several readings to get it to sink in.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Week 8: Have a Great Break!

Hope you can rest up over the break!

Here are the keys that make up Erick Oh's fantastic little fox run from The Dam Keeper I showed in class. Click to view larger. 


WEEK 7: Game Dev 2 DESN2017 Assignment 3: Slide Due in 2 Weeks!

Hope your work is going well on the slide animation. If you have any questions, I'm here to help!
Your work is due the first class after the break.

Here's a great example of a fight-sequence slide used in the show RollBots by animator Phil Bonner.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

WEEK 7: Asset Dev 2 DESN1086 Milestone 2: Walk/Run Due Today!

You have today's class to finish up your walk/run cycles.

Here's a cute example of the same sort of run cycle you've been working on - a little fox from the short "The Dam Keeper" currently doing the festival rounds. Meet Fox!  #TheDamKeeper an animated short film by Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi  making its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival - www.TheDamKeeper.com - www.Facebook.com/TheDamKeeper
Assignment 3: Jump

DUE DATE: WEEK 10, March 13th (in-class) – 20 Marks
*ZERO marks for late submissions

Develop a jump (side-scrolling) for the character you designed in Assignment 1. The animation should be consistent with your character in terms of the overall design, game type, platform etc., similar considerations that were approached in the initial character design assignment.

Use thumbnails and rough sketches to explore your ideas. Establish your key poses first (minimum 6 frames). Any additional in-between frames are more to support the main action found in your key poses.

SUBMIT ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
A) Thumbnail sketches – minimum 6 key poses
B) Line-test animation – preliminary animation
C) Final animation – polished B&W or Colour
FILE NAMING:
1086_A3_YOUR-NAME_jumpthumbs.jpg
1086_A3_YOUR-NAME_jumplinetest.mov or .gif
1086_A3_YOUR-NAME_jumpfinal.mov or .gif
Ex - 1086_A3_BEIBER-JUSTIN_jumpthumbs.jpg (last name first, please!)

Format:
Traditional (ie pencil, ink, markers, paints etc)
Digital 2D art (Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter, Flash, Illustrator etc.)
Filetypes: movie clip ( mov) or animated GIF
Please compress all images and videos to keep them small using the following guidelines:

Videos:
Quicktimes, 560 pixels by 316 pixels, H.264 codec, max 10MB. You can use a variety of tools such as Handbrake, Adobe Media Encoder, Quicktime Pro and more to format your videos. I use the 11-second club guidelines for all submissions:
http://www.11secondclub.com/helpful_hints/encoding

Images:
JPGs between 500-1200 pixels along longest edge, 72-300 dpi/ppi, max 5MB. You can use a variety of tools such as Photoshop, Gimp, and online programs to compress files.

Enjoy your break! See you in 2 weeks.

WEEK 7: Game Dev 4 DESN3012 Milestone 3 due in 2 weeks!

How is your 3rd milestone going? I'm happy to look at thumbnails and blocking today to help you make the most of your assignment. The week it's due is the one right after the break so this is your last class to get my feedback before handing it in.

Good luck!

Here's something to think about over the break...



Enjoy your break! See you on March 6th!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

WEEK 6: Game Dev 2 DESN2017 Assignment 2: Leap due today!

Today's the day to hand in your second assignment on Blackboard. 

Onward to the next assignment! 

Assignment 3: Slide Under Object
*Note: If your run cycle didn't turn out as well as you had hoped, please redo it instead of the next action. You can still use the same hand-in parameters and call it Assignment 3. Just make it a run instead of a slide. 

DUE DATE: WEEK 9, March 7th (in-class) – 20 Marks
*ZERO marks for late submissions
Using the Stewart or Eleven Rig, create a slide animation for a bi-ped. The character should slide under an object of some sort (object can be invisible) as if avoiding impact. The feel should be consistent with the personality and emotion of the previous animation. Secondary animation, a broad range of movements and timing are encouraged to add life to the character.

SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING:

A) Thumbnails of key poses – minimum 6 key poses
B) Video file of 3D slide animation

REQUIREMENTS:

Filename:
DESN2017_A3_YOURNAME_thumbnails.jpg
DESN2017_A3_YOURNAME_slide.mov (.mov file)
EX -
DESN2017_A3_BIEBERJUSTIN_thumbnails.jpg (last name first, please!)

Please compress all images and videos to keep them small using the guidelines for Assignments 1 & 2

About the assignment:

What exactly is meant by a 'slide'? Well, that's largely up to you. If you give yourself an imaginary obstacle it could be easier, but the main idea is to continue moving the character forward but under something, causing him to duck and slide. 

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

Check out Pixar's Victor Navone's run study from The Incredibles. Can you guess which movie he used to source that action?

Oh, yes, the Breakfast Club ...


...and here's the clip from the Incredibles in which he used all that reference:




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.  Here's a great article that might help you. 

WEEK 6: Asset Dev 2 DESN1086 Milestone 2: Walk/Run Due in next week

Having fun with your animated cycles? Please ask if you need any help.

While drawing away in your various softwares it's wise to remember the one advantage of hand-drawn animation: freedom. It's easy to paint ourselves into a restrictive corner without realizing, when every now and then you see something that makes you stop and see that when it comes to creative 2D animation cycles, the sky's the limit. I had one of those moments when I first saw this:

Evolution from Mehdi Alibeygi on Vimeo.



WEEK 6: Game Dev 4 DESN3012 Milestone 2 due today!

Today is an in-class critique of Milestone 2 and a chance to talk about your ideas for Milestone 3. 

Milestone 3:  ex 5-10 second piece of animation
Value: 20%
DUE DATE: WEEK 9 March 6th @ BEGINNING OF CLASS
* Late submissions will receive ZERO marks.
In-class you would want to show:
WEEK 7: thumbnails
WEEK 9: rough posing in 3D
WEEK 10: final animation - Playbasts are fine. No rendering required.

FILE NAMING:
3012_ m3_lastnamefirstinitial_001.mov (mp4, m4v, etc)
ex: 3012_m3_donovant_001.mov

I'm really happy with the progress so far from last term to this term. You guys are keeping it simple, which is allowing you more time for polish. At this level what people expect is that you handle all the basics well, even with mastery. It's ok if it's simple. Better simple and great than complex and mediocre. Right?  Here's a great example of something simple and polished - check out the nice silhouettes and the way the animator leads your eye where he wants you to look:


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

WEEK 5: Game Dev 2 DESN2017 Assignment 2: Leap due next week!

EVH can do it, so can you
How are those jumps going? I'm happy to help. :)

Jumping characters exhibit lost of 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 other details such as tails or capes.

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

Remember you will be blending this cycle from and back to the run so you might want to export the start pose from a run position to help it transition smoothly.

WEEK 5: Asset Dev 2 DESN1086 Milestone 2: Walk/Run Due in 2 Weeks

I'm happy to look at your work in progress today. Just ask!

Here's a cool timing tool - tap to get the beats per minute or frames per second:
http://www.all8.com/tools/fpb.htm

Here are a couple of great spots to find live-action reference:
Treadmill Walk: Dude

"Endless Reference"'s You Tube channel (also see sidebar link -->)

This is a little nsfw (not really) but it's so amazing it really belongs here. Felix Sputnik has absolutely nailed the style and timing of animated runs. Lots to learn from here. :D


Animated walks and runs from Felix Sputnik on Vimeo.

There are lots more great examples of hand-drawn cartoon walks here:

WALK CYCLE DEPOT

WEEK 5: Game Dev 4 DESN3012 Second Milestone due next week!

So you should be blocking now. A lot of animators use this method of stepped keys to block out their animation with solid posing and all the major details such as facial expressions, hand gestures, eye direction but NOT lip sync. They check and recheck for strong silhouettes and keep honing their timing until it seems perfect before moving forward.

Here's a great example of blocking from Kevin Webb.
He describes this video as the result of a day's work. I think you will agree that was a productive day indeed.


Animation scene blocking from Kevin Webb on Vimeo.

Here's the final result. Notice all the beautiful overlapping action - it's not just pose-to-pose, he's layered on texture in the timing and made everything fluid and lifelike. 14 seconds, no textures, no lighting, no background, no bs. Just great acting and great animation.


Zooey Lipsync from Kevin Webb on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WEEK 4: Game Dev 2 DESN2017 Assignment 2: Leap due in 2 weeks

You have a couple of weeks left on your leap animation. If you have any trouble please let me know - I'm happy to help!

There are many great examples of traveling cycles in games. These are clips from Tomb Raider featuring some running and jumping with different types of landings including rolling break falls.



WEEK 4: Asset Dev 2 DESN1086 Milestone 1: Character Concept Due Today!

Your Character Concept drawings are due today during class on BlackBoard.
Please be sure you follow all the instructions carefully and double-check your naming conventions, file sizes and types. Also be sure you hand in all the parts of your assignment.

Your next assignment is....

CHARACTER WALK CYCLE (runs are ok too!)

DUE DATE: WEEK 7, Feb 20th (in-class) – 20 Marks
*ZERO marks for late submissions

Develop a walk cycle (side-scrolling) for the character you designed in Assignment 1.
The animation should be consistent with your character in terms of the overall design, game type, platform etc. Similar considerations that were approached in the initial character design assignment.

Use thumbnails and rough sketches to explore your ideas. Establish your key poses first (minimum 6 frames). Any additional in-between frames are more to support the main action found in your key poses.

SUBMIT ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:

A) Thumbnail sketches – minimum 6 key poses
B) Line-test animation – preliminary animation
C) Final animation – polished B&W or Colour

REQUIREMENTS:
Filename:

FILE NAMING:
1086_A2_YOUR-NAME_walkthumbs.jpg
1086_A2_YOUR-NAME_walklinetest.mov or .gif
1086_A2_YOUR-NAME_walkfinal.mov or .gif
Ex - 1086_A2_BEIBER-JUSTIN_thumbs.jpg (last name first, please!)

Format:
Traditional (ie pencil, ink, markers, paints etc)
Digital 2D art (Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter, Flash, Illustrator etc.)
Filetypes: movie clip ( mov) or animated GIF
Please compress all images and videos to keep them small using the following guidelines:

Videos:
Quicktimes, 560 pixels by 316 pixels, H.264 codec, max 10MB. You can use a variety of tools such as Handbrake, Adobe Media Encoder, Quicktime Pro and more to format your videos. I use the 11-second club guidelines for all submissions:
http://www.11secondclub.com/helpful_hints/encoding

Images:
JPGs between 500-1200 pixels along longest edge, 72-300 dpi/ppi, max 5MB. You can use a variety of tools such as Photoshop, Gimp, and online programs to compress files.

Examples - 

Please use good reference - preferably your own - but also go straight to the source for good analysis: Richard Williams has the clearest explanations:














WEEK 4: Game Dev 4 DESN3012 Second Milestone due in 2 weeks

2 weeks to go..

I hope you're all digging into the planning stages for your next project. I suggest you draw at least basic thumbnails before diving into the 3D world. Remember the little Wall-E clip I showed you - before they started posing they drew thumbnails of their ideas and worked out potential poses in rough before taking it to the next level. You should aim to get your blocking done for this week and bring in all your rough animation by next week.




If you're doing an alternate to animation - such as particles, dynamics, etc. please make a real plan before even turning on the computer. I want a strong concept and not just a tech demo. You can do a lot with a little creativity. I'm happy to work with you to make your piece look great. We'll get you working with a mentor who's been through the process before. Keep an eye on the new advancements in real-time dynamics - there have been a lot of tech papers and demos released recently you'll want to know about, such as here:
http://physxinfo.com/news/

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Be Friends with Failure - we all need this reminder now and then

Dear everybody: 

Despite a lifetime of conquering challenge after challenge and reaching many of my goals, I finally had to face something that was holding me back: Fear of Failure.  It only dawned on me a couple of years ago that there is no possibility to succeed without failure. Failure is a prerequisite for success. Gymnasts train with pits of foam under the bars because they fall over and over again.  Learning the tricks means falling down a lot.

But as artists we like the tricks but not many of us like the falling part. It's annoying and it's embarrassing to fail again and again. But that's just your ego talking. It's not actually painful unless you attribute meaning to it that just isn't there. 

How many of us have had a crappy day at work with a looming deadline and thought something like, 

I will never figure this out

Now imagine the person sitting next to you saying that to you:

"You will never figure this out."

What would you call that type of person? A jerk? At the very least --a real a**hole and not someone you would trust to work with artists at a studio. That person would need a smack upside the head and a desk far away from humans.  If that voice is your own inner monologue, you need to silence it, now

2012 was my year to follow this motto: EMBRACE FAILURE. I came to grips with the idea that there's always progress being made even when it doesn't show up on the screen....yet. That was my other discovery. Adding 'yet' to defeatist statements gives them power and intent. ("I don't understand rigging..yet". See?)

In the gym we work 'to failure' meaning you lift a weight heavy enough that after a few reps you can't lift any more. Failure makes your muscles stronger. Progress takes months but it is guaranteed if you never give up.

At your desk it's the same thing - your brain responds to each new challenge by building new neural pathways. Every new task works out your brain and makes you a bit smarter, even though it takes a while to see it. Learning unfamiliar things feels like failure sometimes but really, painful as the process is, it's growth all the same.

On the long road to success, failure is not only an option, it is a requirement. Make peace with it. 

Here - this cartoon says it best:

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

WEEK 3: Game Dev 2 DESN2017 Assignment 1: Run Cycle Due !

After you hand in your assignments it's time to get started on the next one: Jumps.

This is the ideal assignment to use live action reference. Remember that once an object has left the ground it will move at a pretty constant forward speed, however its upward trajectory will slow-in and slow out of the high point. As you run out of the kinetic energy that allowed you to leave the ground, you will slow to the top of a nice smooth arc and gravity will start pulling you back down again - 
Bam -- parabola!

Always think about the 'Why' - why is your character jumping? It helps make the action believable. 

Eadweard Muybridge's classic photo of the long-jumper has many clues we can use to bring life to our animation.


There's a ton of great information on jumps in Richard Williams' The Animator's Survival Kit from 212-216 and on anticipation from 273-284. Buy this book! It takes several readings to get it to sink in.

Assignment 2: Leap over an Object

Value: 20%

DUE DATE: WEEK 6 Feb 14th @ BEGINNING OF CLASS on BLACKBOARD
* Late submissions will receive ZERO marks.

BRIEF:

Animated the character leaping over an object (it can be invisible). It should be consistent with the personality and emotion of the previous animation (run cycle). Secondary animations a broad range of movements and timing are encouraged to add life to the character. Ideally the jump should link smoothly to and from the run.

SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING:

A) Thumbnails of key poses – minimum 6 key poses
B) Video file of 3D leap animation

REQUIREMENTS:

Filename:
DESN2017_A2_YOURNAME_thumbnails (.jpg file) 
DESN2017_A2_YOURNAME_leap.mov (.mov file)

EX -

DESN2017_A2_BIEBERJUSTIN_thumbnails.jpg (last name first, please!)

DUE DATE:

SUBMIT TO BLACKBOARD WEEK 6 (February 14th)  IN CLASS
Please compress all images and videos to keep them small using the following guidelines:

Videos:

Quicktimes, 560 pixels by 316 pixels, H.264 codec, max 10MB. You can use a variety of tools such as Handbrake, Adobe Media Encoder, Quicktime Pro and more to format your videos. I use the 11-second club guidelines for all submissions:

http://www.11secondclub.com/helpful_hints/encoding

Images:

JPGs between 500-1200 pixels along longest edge, 72-300 dpi/ppi, max 5MB. You can use a variety of tools such as Photoshop, Gimp, and online programs to compress files.

WEEK 3: Asset Dev 2 DESN1086 Milestone 1: Character Concept Due Next Week

How are your character designs going?
I know this is a stretch for some of you but it's a good skill to develop.

If you're looking for reference this place has a huge collection:












Don't let this happen, though.
(sorry I can't find the artist's name! I love this cartoon so much.)

WEEK 3: Game Project Dev 4 DESN3012 First Milestone Due Today

Your first assignment is due today at the start of class. We'll have a one-on-one critique to discuss the outcome and make a plan for your next milestone.

Remember that your project must be approved by me before proceeding. Please dig right into the planning process as soon as you can.

Here's the level of what's coming out of animation programs of just 8 months:
http://www.animationmentor.com/animation-program/animation-body-mechanics-advanced/

Spend some time looking at demo reels from around the world on Vimeo. You need to reach that target and that requires focus. Let animation be your focus & forget about all else for this class and dig into the details. Plan, test, and build your scene in layers and along the way seek feedback - it's what your tuition pays for :)

Milestone 2:  ex 5-10 second piece of animation
Value: 20%
DUE DATE: WEEK 6  Feb 13th @ BEGINNING OF CLASS
* Late submissions will receive ZERO marks.
Playbasts are fine. No rendering required.
FILE NAMING:
3012_ m2_lastnamefirstinitial_001.mov (mp4, m4v, etc)
ex: 3012_m2_donovant.mov

Please read the post about file formats here.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

WEEK 2: Game Dev 2 DESN2017 Assignment 1: Run Cycle Due Next Week!

Great news! Animation Mentor has granted George Brown students permission to use the Stewart Rig provided you:
1) Properly accredit the Stewart rig in their work, as defined in the terms of use.
2) Do not re-post or share the Stewart rig -- in other words, each student must download the rig directly from the Animation Mentor site.


Here's the link!
http://www.animationmentor.com/free-maya-rig/

Continuing with run cycles - here's a good place to read up on runs:
Richard Williams' "Animator's Survival Kit" pgs 176 - 200

Please do NOT use bad reference from the Internet such as AngryAnimator or Anime. Even the helpful Preston Blair is confusing to students - don't copy his drawings, they are too stylized for a normal run. Only source information from battle-tested, quality animators with high-end experience. 90% of the information online on animation is not usable at this level.

Digital Tutors has a great tutorial on runs but I will caution you it veers into territory you do not want to focus on for this cycle such as character sets, scripting for mirroring poses, and editing rotation order. You can learn these if you want but I want you to focus on just animating great poses with great timing using great reference.

http://www.digitaltutors.com/lesson/25052-Introduction-and-project-overview

This is one of the nicest game reels around - and for good reason, it belongs to Jonathan Cooper, Ubisoft Montreal's Animation Director on Assassin’s Creed III. Some killer realistic runs here:

WEEK 2: Asset Dev 2 DESN1086 Milestone 1: Character Concept Due Week 4

You still have a couple of weeks to complete your first milestone: Character Concept.
If I were you I would aim to have completed my bio and thumbnails by this week to give me another 2 weeks to complete the revised thumbs, and rough in the sketch for the final.

Bear in mind that you will be animating this character so be ready to simplify the detail.

Here are some great resources we looked at in class and a link to a general beginning course in Digital Tutors.

Happy sketching!

http://www.digitaltutors.com/tutorial/1052-Beginners-Guide-to-Concept-Sketching



WEEK 2: Game Project Dev 4 DESN3012 First Milestone Due Next Week!

Milestone 1 is due in class next week. Late projects will not be marked.
Please verify all naming conventions and formats so you don't lose marks for simple errors.

Progression from Horton Hears A Who -
from reference to blocking to animation to final

By today you should have finished all your rough animation so you can spend the last week adding details like facial animation, fingers and overlapping action.

Please check in with me so I can tell you where to focus your energy to get the best results for this assignment.

Please remember your project must be approved in order to receive a grade.

This is an excellent example of a scene progression from Blue Sky's Jeff Gabor:


Here's an idea for an upcoming project - a contest for aspiring animators - short animation ID's wanted for "Catsuka" is a bi-monthly French animation show. "...best new idents will be selected - 5 and 10 seconds maximum, 1920x1080 HD resolution, on white background" - check out details and examples. Some really great short actions: http://www.catsuka.com/nolife/habillage/
Here's one example but there are a ton more on their site:

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

WEEK 1: Game Dev 2 DESN2017 Assignment 1: Run Cycle Due Week 3

Welcome to Game Dev 2!
Please remember to sign in at each class.
This is a portfolio-building class in which you create a series of increasingly complex models. Use your time productively so you don't fall behind or distract students around you. You will not be permitted to use this lab for gaming or web surfing except at designated breaks.

Your grade will be the cumulative total of 5 assignments DUE IN CLASS.
These assignments are due:
WEEK 3, 6, 9, 12, 15
Assignment 1:  Run Cycle
Value: 20%
DUE DATE: WEEK 3 Jan 24th  @ BEGINNING OF CLASS on BLACKBOARD
* Late submissions will receive ZERO marks. 

BRIEF:
Create a looping run cycle. 

Using the Eleven rig, create a run cycle animation for a bi-ped. The character should run with urgency as if being pursued or conversely being chased. Secondary animations a broad range of movements and timing are encouraged to add life to the character.

SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING:

A) Thumbnails of key poses – minimum 6 key poses
B) Video file of 3D run cycle
C) Character Bio – A written summary of your character. Consider his/her backstory, motivation,
abilities, appearance etc.

REQUIREMENTS:
Filename: 
DESN2017_A1_YOURNAME_thumbnails (.jpg file) 
DESN2017_A1_YOURNAME_runcycle (.mov file)
DESN2017_A1_YOURNAME_bio (.doc or .pdf file)

EX -
DESN2017_A1_BIEBERJUSTIN_thumbnails.jpg  (last name first, please!)

DUE DATE
SUBMIT TO BLACKBOARD WEEK 3 IN CLASS

Please compress all images and videos to keep them small using the following guidelines:

Videos:
Quicktimes, 560 pixels by 316 pixels, H.264 codec, max 10MB. You can use a variety of tools such as Handbrake, Adobe Media Encoder, Quicktime Pro and more to format your videos. I use the 11-second club guidelines for all submissions:
http://www.11secondclub.com/helpful_hints/encoding

Images:
JPGs between 500-1200 pixels along longest edge, 72-300 dpi/ppi, max 5MB. You can use a variety of tools such as Photoshop, Gimp, and online programs to compress files.

Text:
.Doc or .Pdf

Sample Rubric for all assignments:


Monday, January 6, 2014

WEEK 1: Asset Dev 2 DESN1086 Milestone 1: Character Concept Due Week 4

Welcome to Asset Dev 2!
Please remember to sign in at each class.
This is a portfolio-building class in which you create your own character design and animate it in 2D! Also you will be building a simple 3D prop model for your character. Use your time productively so you don't fall behind or distract students around you. You will not be permitted to use this lab for gaming or web surfing except at designated breaks.

Your grade will be the cumulative total of 5 assignments DUE IN CLASS, each worth 20%.
These assignments are due:
WEEK 4, 7, 10, 13, and 15

All the assignments are your own choice but must be approved by me to receive a grade.

Assignment 1:  Character Concept. Value: 20%
DUE DATE: WEEK 4 Jan 30th @ BEGINNING OF CLASS on BLACKBOARD

This is a 5-part assignment:
SUBMIT ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
A) Thumbnails – minimum 6 thumbnail sketches
B) Revised Thumbnails – minimum 3 revised thumbnail sketches
C) Revised Sketch – minimum 1 refined sketch
D) Final Concept – final render
E) Character Bio – A written summary of your character. Consider his/her backstory, motivation,
abilities, appearance etc.

FILE NAMING:
1086_A1_YOUR-NAME_thumbs.jpg
1086_A1_YOUR-NAME_revthumbs.jpg
1086_A1_YOUR-NAME_revsketch.jpg
1086_A1_YOUR-NAME_final.jpg
1086_A1_YOUR-NAME_bio.doc or .PDF

Ex - 1086_A1_BEIBER-JUSTIN_thumbs.jpg

Format:
Traditional (ie pen & ink, markers, paints etc)
Digital 2D art (Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter etc)
150 dpi, 800 pixels x 1200 pixels, .jpg
Landscape orientation
Character bio submitted as MS Word document or PDF.
When working digitally, work in a minimum resolution of 300dpi. Use of references such as
photographs and 3D models are encouraged but final art must be your own and must deviate
substantially from the references used to be considered original content.
Use the character template provided to present your artwork and include the following information:
Project Title
Artist: your name
Character’s name
Date: month, day, year of submission