Ellie Skip

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Using the Ellie rig, I have attempted to create a skip! Created with my showreel in mind…

I began by posing out the key frames using the image below by Preston Blair…

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Key Poses:

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Other images I used were taken from the Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams, showing an extreme and a subtle skip, with my animation I aimed for somewhere in between the two:

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Some skipping animations I found useful:

With the link below I found the lower movement of the body was useful when I t became to creating my inbetweens…

Where as in the next link I found the arms were a lot better, they seemed to have more purpose…

The first playblast of my skip:

In this first attempt, I felt that the character wasn’t lifting high enough on the bounce, the legs always seemed to be in a bent position, never really stretching fully, giving the lower half of the body an unnatural squash. To fix this I simply raised the hip control on the higher positions of the body, I’ve also smoothed out the movement by adjusting the curves…

I then uploaded this render to Facebook where I received some constructive criticism from tutors.. subtle movements I wouldn’t have necessary noticed myself such as, twisting the hips and the shoulders more and also giving the arms more purpose as they tend to drive the movement forward…

The arms no longer hang and swing as a result of the movement of the body but instead they now lift high and push down through the air pulling the body off the ground, the twist of the arm at it’s highest point helps to convey this…

 

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Re-topologising

In class we were given a high poly mesh and has been asked to re-topologize it, using maya’s quad draw tool. The mesh below had been created using mud box which allows for a high level of detail, the downside being millions of polygons. Re-topologising allows the artist to worry about getting the sculpt first and foremost and then think about edge flows that will allow for good deformations when it comes to animating the model.

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We were also given some reference images to follow along with while re-topologizing the model, so our edge flows are going in the right direction…

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We started off by making the existing mesh live and then used the quad draw tool found in the modelling tool kit options, drawing on top of the high poly mesh…

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Once done, we duplicated the finished half and combined the verts, resulting in a lower poly mesh – the hardest part I found was around the corners of the features, triangles could appear rather quickly but that just meant having the rework the edges to avoid them forming…

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The high poly and low poly meshes…

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Then to unfold the UV’s I simply selected the model and planar mapped it in Z, then in the texture editor I decided where i wanted my seam to be (down the back of the head) and cut the edges, I then highlighted all of the UV’s and used maya 2015’s unfold tool…

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Sergi Caballer has a great time lapse of his modelling a character and blocking in the typology, his image is one of the reference images I used while re-topologising the head above…

In the link below artist Mashru Mishu talks through how he tackles modelling, controlling your polycount and edge flows and also UV texturing, using his street cop model as an example…

http://en.9jcg.com/comm_pages/blog_content-art-180.htm

walk cycle

progress is being made with the determined/ angry walk cycle using the stewart rig from the animation mentors website…

Using the silhouetted character allows me to see the movement more clearly to determine the changes needed, I think the arms need more of a backwards swing and a little bounce added to the hair:

Character Animation

2D skills for better 3D by Steve Roberts.

Objects falling into water: I thought this section of the book would be particularly useful as we will have an iceberg with a large mass falling through the ice and into the water below…

“The object will penetrate the surface forcing a splash from the outside edge of the object…

  • A column of water bounces up the middle of the splash
  • When the object sinks, it leaves a hollow column
  • Water surrounding the object will fill this hole in…”

The water will meet in the middle with equal force and wants to rebound but it can’t as the object is still in the way, therefore the water is propelled up until it reaches a certain height. Once it reaches it’s highest point it will start to run out of energy and gravity will take over, the water at the top being the highest in energy meaning the water below is losing energy and will break away, falling back on itself leaving a blob of water floating in mid air, finally gravity will intervene causing it to descend creating a smaller splash.

Diagram below:

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Character shapes: ‘Harsh hard edges create angular characters, tend to look more aggressive’ – this was applied to our penguin bullies. Our protagonist is a lot smaller in size with a much more rounded shape which according to the book suggests softness and will allow for movement and the creation of stronger poses to be achieved more easily.

“How much anticipation?’

how much anticipation depends on how much force there is acting upon the characters and how fast the movement will be. Do you want to surpass the audience or give them a hint of what is coming next? “Is the anticipation taking place during a move or is it initiating a change of direction during the move..” How much anticipation will also depend on “whether part of the character’s body is anticipating the move or the whole body..” All of these are areas we will have to address especially with our scene containing the penguin slap… how will we give the audience a hint of what is coming next without giving away too much…

Falling motion: well we do have a scene where our protagonist will fall from quite a height so this is a useful chapter to read…

“There should be a slight pause before the character falls…” This will allow the audience a moment of wondering: will they fall? will they not?

“Use a few frames as gravity starts to take hold.. (around 6-8), part of the body will start to fall first, the centre of gravity – usually the tummy”

The character’s arms, legs and head will be thrown back slightly in the opposite direction.

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For frightened eyes the pupils will contract to pinpoints, surprised and the eyes will bulge to emphasise the whites, both of these reactions can be applied when as a response to being pushed/falling…

Our bullies will have shifty/ evil eyes, the eyes will narrow, reducing the whites of the eyes and the head angle will be forward and down suggesting an argumentative/ determined character…

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“making sure the audience see’s an expression…”

Our bully penguins will be on top of the iceberg as it falls, our characters will be falling out of the frame and a suggested technique for this is to move the head slowly as the body moves rapidly, this will give an impression of the head being left behind while the neck and body are stretched, when the audience have had time to see the face, around 8-12 frames, it then zooms out after the body.

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An Orca is needed

We also have an Orca character in our animation which appears twice, the first time as a shadow below the ice and the second time the whale will surface in the hole left after the ice berg collapses…

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Some sketches looking at how the whale would move for the shadow scene.. they don’t move side to side but instead their tails have an up and down motion, so there won’t be much animation needed for the whale…

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some maya attempts:

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A few different approaches were applied to trying to gain a shadow effect of the whale under the ice but in the end Hannah T sent me her design for the whale allowing me to create a transparent texture using photoshop’s alpha channels

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From there Hannah parented a spot light to the whale in the set file allowing for a shadow to be created on the ice plane!