Wednesday, 13 January 2010

As if that wasn't enough already...

And so the term continued.

The next project after the neutral walk cycles was the After Effects, or Character Walk brief. After Effects is a fancy computer program that does all manner of crazy things, most of which I will probably never understand. This was my first encounter with the software, or indeed with any animating software and I found it a bit of a challenge to get to grips with at first. I got it done in the end though, so I can't complain. Our brief was to use this program to create another walk cycle, but this time integrating body language to show two emotions within the walk. My truly inspired classic is about a girl who really likes icecream, so much so that she is utterly ecstatic at the prospect of visiting the icecream parlor. However, when she gets there she finds the place shut, and her euphoria quickly turns into sheer uncontrollable rage. Like I said, she really likes icecream...

And finally, my masterpiece of the term, the floursack. This brief is one that Disney gives to it's animators to train them in the art of body language. The sack is an inanimate object, so to speak, with no face, no real voice; so it's only real source of communication is through the way it moves. The idea was to show a change of emotion using only the character's body language. The other important thing about this brief was the introduction of storyboards, dope sheets and charting. I know that a lot of other people in the class found these things a confusing hindrance, so I felt slightly guilty that they were of great use to me... The difference, I think, was the sound. I recorded my sound before I did anything else, then used the dopesheets to find the points in the sound file where I wanted things to happen and lining them up with the keyframes.

I knew I was doing at least something right after my classmates continued to hum the rather silly piece of music I'd written for this brief for about a week after the animatic group crits. The actual animation, on the other hand, is something I'm not entirely happy with. Certainly, bits of it work. There are areas where more squash and stretch would have greatly improved it though, and other bits where I repeated a few frames over and over again to elongate a particular action that just kinda made it look like the poor floursack was having a seizure... I was reluctant to go back and make changes however, because the damn thing was 40 seconds long, hundreds and hundreds of frames, and on about five different layers. This meant that it took me about two hours just to put it into the line tester. Not something I was keen to repeat... I was assured that the changes were not important enough to merit disrupting the line tester queues for this amount of time again so the final product is what you see here.

And that pretty much brings us up to Christmas. There was a very brief workshop in 3D modelling, but I don't actually have anything to show for that...

Oh, one more thing. I mentioned in my first post that my weekly comics were one of my New Year's resolutions. Well it's now been suggested to me that I should include a record of my other resolution here. I'm not totally convinced that it'll be interesting enough to merit documentation, but we'll see.

I've basically decided to attempt to do at least one totally selfless thing every week. The first week, I'll admit, was a struggle. By Friday it really wasn't looking promising at all in fact. However, I was at a friend's party when some people I didn't know asked me for directions to the all night bakery. I wasn't hungry myself, and it was cold and icy out there so I started giving detailed directions. It dawned on me about half way through that my directions were fairly confusing, what with having come from me and all, so I sacrificed some personal warmth and walked some complete strangers to the bakery.

This week's good deed was a lot easier to attain. I was travelling home by train just after the rush main rush hour. For some reason, probably the snow, the train before mine had been delayed more and more, and by the time I'd found a seat on my own train it had been cancelled altogether. This meant that an entire trainsworth of people were now trying to get onto my train, which was already pretty full... By the time the very tired looking woman with the two kids and a dog managed to shoulder her way into the carriage there were no seats at all and people were queueing up the aisle. I did the honourable thing and gave her mine. Who knows what next week will bring?

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Maybe they should stick to banking...

Week two and I haven't given up yet. Give it some time...

As promised, here is some of my work from last semester. If I'd been organised enough to keep a blog from the start of the year these would be nicely spaced out over about six months. Ah well...

The first thing we did, right back at the start of the year, was the bouncing ball. A simple excersise to teach us about squash and stretch, arcing and the basics of keyframing and inbetweening. I raced through it and missed some stuff that lost me a couple of marks in the final. No frames at the point of contact for example, and my first draft had shading and shadows.

But of course, I was eager to move on to bigger things. I started with this test to try and get how different types of ball would bounce. As is fairly obvious, I didn't really take it that seriously... It was fun though.

After that I still had some time left, so I did this as well. Not sure what to say about it... The cat enjoyed himself.

The next brief was to animate a walk cycle. Holy hell was it a difficult brief... I think by the end of the two weeks we were all ready to give up walking for good. This was my side on walk. I'm told it looks a lot like me, which probably isn't a good thing seeing as it was meant to be a neutral cycle. I seem to have gotten away with it though; I suppose they understood that the main example I had to base my walk on was me, and given how ridiculous my gait is it was only natural that some of that should seep through.

I should point out that in the two weeks we were given to complete this brief I only managed to finish the profile walk. My front on walk I had to work on later in the term. It took me considerably longer than the profile walk.

Anyway, that's probably enough for one post. I'll put up the rest of last semester's work next time.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

And so it begins. It begins in the middle.

Welcome to my new year's resolution.

I have decided to force myself to draw one comic a week from now on. There are a few reasons for this decision.

1. I am trying to increase the general quality of my drawing. My hope is that these comics will be the motivation I need to actually practice.

2. I am constantly playing out silly sketches and scenarios in my head. This is a good way to get some of them down so that others may suffer with me.

3. One of the main criticisms brought up by the tutors in my review at the end of last semester - aside from the fact that my flour sack animation didn't bloody work... - was that I hadn't really supplied any evidence of personal interests or side projects. This is a fair attempt to rectify that.

4. For funsies.

So without further ado, I present to you a wrestling/horror film crossover. As you do...

Of course, the reason the uni wanted us to start blogs was to track our coursework. That in mind I'll try and update again before term starts up with some of my stuff from last semester. That's it for now though.