Creative Strategies: Project Reflection

With the module finished I can say that i’m a mixture of happy and underwhelmed. Originally I set out to do more in all areas but ended up compromising due to issues with time and deadlines.I loved the module briefs and think they leave a lot for the user to experiment with and achieve awesome results, but it all felt a bit overwhelming at times for me personally within the time frame set. Looking back now, I can say with confidence that  I learned a lot, I love modelling and am happy with how my knowledge and approach to the area has developed (looking back at some of my early modelling and thinking “what the hell is that?). However i’m still somewhat clueless to Uv mapping, which annoys me cause I know its an area that really holds me back, however as a result I’m determined to solve this problem, I’ve been looking into Ptex a little and it seems like a really handy way to get some nice maps but I still want to learn how UV map in Maya first and when I know  I can do it that way, then i’ll try out Ptex. Animation and compositing have become a personal favorite, and would love to work on a few projects that combine the two. Overall I really liked the module and brief set but felt a bit overwhelmed at times. Thankfully i’m getting better at dealing with this, knowing when something is too ambitious and when something is realistic to achieve, which in the past has been a problem but i’m happy with my outcomes as a starting point, just going to have to keep getting better with practice. To finish off I would like to say that I had an awesome team. Edward,Kerry and Sorcha are incredibly passionate and hard working individuals who are doing to do some awesome things in the future, was really glad I got to work with them and am thank full for all the support and feed back given by both the team and my lecturers.

Animation: Body Mechanics-Jump

For the body mechanics segment of the animation assignment, I decided to do a jump. I wanted to start off with something that was simple in concept but would need a fair amount of polish to get a good result in the end.

Whilst looking into jumps I came across a digital tutors tutorial that had a jump animation in it. (click the image below to be taken to the tutorial)

2e991bcc7f1f8226f5e36d1e57d3ac76

 

The specific tutorial used covered the area of animation layers and unfortunately didn’t describe how to animate the the jump itself, but using the Maya file as reference was good enough to use as a starting point.

Reference Videos:

 

 

So as seen above, the character leans into itself in an attempt to build up momentum for the jump, almost like a little stationary bounce.

The movement to the arm moves in an arc upwards, from the characters down position to its up position, and returns back to it original down position by its sides.

arm_arc

Referring back to an article I blogged about earlier by Animation mentor, I decided to draw out a really rough breakdown of the jump before I started to animate it.

Body-Mechbreakdown

I broke the jump down into 11 stages, and made note of how the body will bend in certain areas of the jump.

As opposed to the layered, blocking method I used to create my previous animations (Walk and Run) in which I would polish a specific area of the body each time before moving on to the next, I decided I would try to animate in a different way this time animating pose to pose polishing the entire body in stages before moving onto the next pose in the animation.

 

I started off by animating the build up to the jump, really trying to capture that small bounce that precedes the character lifting itself off the ground.

I then continued onwards with the jump by animating the characters lift off the ground to when it starts to lose momentum and falls.

To finish, I animated the character falling from the jump and returning to the cycle starting position so that it loops.

 

Submitting it for feedback was relatively painless with regards to improvements to be made.

Edward, Sorcha and Kerry really liked it which was reassuring.

The only faults they found were in the hands, in which they weren’t really animated, and there being a slight ‘pop’ in the left leg as the character meets the ground.

So, after the following adjustments were made, the jump cycle was complete.

 

Really happy with the way it turned out!

 

 

 

Animating A Run Cycle

Using the 13 frame Run cycle from the animators survival kit as reference, I started blocking out the basic leg movements of a run, not focusing on the exact positions of the feet and legs but the pace at which they were moving at:

Happy with the pace of the leg movement, I started to refine it, fixing the position of the feet and motion of the legs in their Up, Passing, down and contact positions. Also adding a slight bounce to the hips.

 

I then continued the cycle adding polish to the lower body. In addition I added a rough twist to the torso and chest, rotating and alternating them side to side with each contact position. Blocked out the starting positions of the hands and arms and adding rotations to the shoulders on the Y axis to add a little bit of weight to the characters pose.

 

Run Cycle: Attempt One

13 Frame Run Cycle

However, despite following the reference provided by Richard William’s almost entirely, something seemed really off about the animation. It seemed too quick in my opinion, so I asked the team for some feedback on how I could polish or fix it.

Feedback:

  • Kerry suggested I slow it down
  • Edward said the head is a bit static and that I should try to move it more, not by a huge amount but just so that it looks like its reacting with the movement of the body.
  • Sorcha made a point referring back to the research I carried out earlier on a run cycle, the fast the cycle, the more forward his upper body leans.

I was really happy with the feed back back given, I took the advise, slowed it down,made the head less static and leaned the upper body forward more to emphasis the speed of the run.

Before I put the last nail in the coffin I wanted one last bit of feed back from the team based off the adjustments made.

I put together a short video of the run from multiple view points so they have a better view/idea of what’s happening in the cycle.

Edward pointed out that the arms seem a bit too close to the body from the front view and suggested moving them out from the body more.  Upon further study of the cycle I realised Edward was right, bring the arms out more on the x axis.

Final Result can be seen below:

 

 

 

Animating A Walk Cycle

Using the notes and references from both the Animators Survival Kit and video references, I started working on a walk cycle.

I started out by blocking out the basic movement of the legs.

 

Followed by the Up and Down Positions of the Walk.

 

Building upon this, I continued on with the rest of the body, including the arms, legs, hands and feet.

 

At this stage I thought the movement of the arms could be refined more, where the arms came out too much from the body and seemed quite rigid.

 

I loosened the arms up quite a bit however as a result, the arms started displaying a weird ‘pop’ in their passing positions which needed fixing.

Eventually with more refinements made to the animation, I managed to get a result I was fairly happy with, yet still needed a lot of work.

As a result I showed it to my the animation above for feedback: Kerry, Sorcha and Edward

 

Feedback:

  • He’s leaning more to the left throughout the walk, seen through his shoulders, meaning the is asymmetrically balanced.
  • The left foot seems to hit the ground at a greater impact than the right foot.
  • The arm and hand overlaps are a bit extreme in contrast to how the rest of his body moves.

Really happy with the feed back definitely something I can work with.

 

Multiple View Points

So I took the feed back given previously and made the adjustments accordingly. In addition I  added some other adjustments such as straightening the torso and back bring them up more.

However, Sorcha mentioned that his  upper body moves back as he moves forward in the Up position of the walk.

I fixed this by decreasing the backwards and forwards motion to the upper body. Giving me the final result shown below.