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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Audio Clip

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Friday, March 16, 2007

The Virgin Voyage

Head over to the splinedoctors blog if you want to see their student's short film "The Virgin Voyage".

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Think outside the box

[This is a continuation from YK's jump critique.]


Why is he jumping?
What is he jumping over?
Who is he and where is he that motivates that jump.

Basically, you need to sell the jump, you need to make it more exciting.

(lunch time, hold on, will be back!)

... ok, I'm back.

So, more exciting, right.

Think about movies or situations where you saw someone jump, think how you could incorporate your jump into a situation like that. When you start your assignment, don't think of it as an "assignment", an "exercise". You need to have fun. And since it's YOUR animation, and not a scene with notes from a director, you are not confined to that director's vision. You are the director. So you can do whatever you want to. You are allowed to have fun with it :-)

A jump. The character has to jump OVER something, or AWAY from something, maybe he jumps to get out of the way of falling rocks, or off a cliff into water, or jumping into bushes in order to hide, onto the sidewalk away from a car, that car could be a cop car, so the guy jumping could be a criminal, or the other way around, the criminals are chasing the cop and the cop has to escape, or a guy escapes from prison and jumps over the wall, or an explorer is in a cave and the cave is breaking and rocks are falling all over and he needs to get out, or it's an athlete, so think of any sports activities during which someone jumps, or soldiers, or kids on a playground, or you have movers lifting up a piano on a rig into the 5th floor, then the cord snaps and the piano falls, so the movers have to jump out of the way,

or, or, or...

Have fun, think outside the box, don't treat your animation as an "assignment", make it entertaining, don't have it look like an exercise but like a shot out of a movie (or a TV show, etc.).

I understand that some of you guys are just starting out in animation, but the principles of animation, body mechanics, all that good stuff is present everywhere. If you do a 2 year old toddler walk or a standard human walk, the walk mechanics are in both, you'll learn the same things, you'll run into pretty much the same problems. But one is generic, the other one will be more creative, more entertaining and more rewarding.


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Critique - Jump (YK)

Direct Link: YK's Jump, front and side

Looking good, good start!

The major thing you need to fix is the twinning (see Shawn's post earlier). Basically, when I say twinning, it's the mirroring of gestures, when certain things happen at the same time.

Your jump looks like you animated on side (left leg, left arm), then copied the keys over to the other set. You need to offset the limps more, to give it a less robotic feel to it.

It's good that you have full extension both at the jump and land, nice. You could extend the body more by stretching his chest and head. Not in a stretchy way, but as he anticipates the jump, curve him down and then really reverse the arc as he jumps up.

But before you do all that. Think about your jump. Right now, it's just a grey guy, jumping over nothing.

[Edit: I cut the rest of the critique and posted it as a separate post "Think outside the box".]

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Critique - Walkcycle (Chien)

Direct Link: Chien's Walk, side and front

Good, there is attitude in the walk.

The major things to fix are his legs and arms. The both feel poppy. The arms need to be on a nice curve, also his hands (mainly his left one) seems to rotate forward as it swings forward.

The chest could use some (tiny) more Y rotation, showing that the chest is influenced by the arm swings.

With an angry walk like that, when his feet stomp down, the hips would get affected a bit more, the would move up a bit faster, taking in the weight. In the front view, his screen right foot seems to slide towards the left. From the side view, the feet seem to accelerate backwards before he lifts them, make sure that your curve is all linear, there can't be any speed change.

Yeah, main thing are his arms and legs.


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New Ratatouille Trailer

New Ratatouille trailer

Check it out, looks AWESOME!

Very inspiring indeed!

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Critique - Walkcycle (YK)

Direct Link: YK's Walk, front and side


good stuff!

Animation wise it's already very far along, nice work. Side view: you got some knee pops here and there, like from 13 to 14 on the backleg. The same leg has a short movement forward from 19 to 20 (the spacing before and after seems bigger, make sure that's smooth out).
When the foot gets off the ground, it stops very abruptly from 4 to 5 (same from 15 to 16). Look at how his heel goes up and then suddenly stops going up, that spacing needs more love.
In the front view the tip of his stick could be on a nice arc. From 7 to 14 is very linear, a nicer curve would be a nice touch. You can tweak that arc using his wrist rotation as well (right now it looks like that hand doesn't rotate at all).

Next up you need to be a bit more specific about your character. The walk has a nice attitude, he looks mean and has a stick in his hand. But why? Is this going to be a sword? Is it a soldier? Is it a teacher with a stick for his students (SLACKERS!)? Or a parent getting ready to spank his kids? Or a kid beating up his parents? :-)

Have fun with the character!

Looking good, keep going!

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Critique - Weight (Chien)

Direct Link: Chien's Weight


looking better! Mechanics are all pretty much there, now the fine tuning
part is next.

Your push:

once he pushes and moves his body forward, it stops at frame 18. That
stop is too sudden, you can smooth it out, slow down that stop.

You got a weird neck pop from 45 to 46.

The step from 122 to 127 is too fast, you can add 2 more frames to that.

The getting up til 161 is good, but his left arm swings back and the
suddenly forward. That forward move is too fast, plus it ends too
quickly, you could have the arm swing more.

Wiping the sweat of his head is good, it reads, but how he moves his arm
down is too fast. Also think about how that big arm movement will affect
the rest of his body. Nothing moves independently. So if his arm goes up
to his head, then the shoulder goes up, his chest will rotate, his
overall body might move. Same when the arm goes down again.

Look at the post on our class site about Animation Mentor. Look at the
student showcase, you'll see a box push assignment. It's more cartoony
than yours, but still, you'll see that the character has a lot of
personality and the animation is very polished. That needs to be your
motivation, you'll be competing with clips like that.

Keep going!

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Critique - Weight (Erik)

Direct Link: Erik's Weight

Hey Erik,

the overall animation right now looks a bit swimmy, too spliney, you will have to work on the timing a bit more. Same with the mechanics of the throw. That's the tricky part once you get out of blocking into polish.
After frame 106 or so, when he lowers the pyramid tip, it looks like his arms stretch out, from 120 on til 125 his chest is moving too independent from the rest of the body. The overlapping of the bod and the tip gets better after that, but you have to be careful about the arc. Once he swings the tip til 157 the arc is good, but with that momentum and swing the tip would swing almost out of frame to the left. Looking at the image below, the red line is what you have now, the green one is what it should be doing considering your throw strength. You'll have to rework that throw a bit so that the arc looks more plausible.

You also have the alien jump or get pulled by the tip after the throw. It's a good idea, but the physics of it need more work. Let's say he starts getting pulled at around 158, til 163 it seems ok, but then his arc is flattening. The alien just hovers over screen left til 166 and his legs bend, even though he didn't hit the ground. Then he goes down in a straight line til 169. That whole swing needs a consistent arc, it's too linear and breaking right now.
His upper body moves up really fast from 164 to 168, then suddenly stops and starts moving/rotating screen right.
The adjustment has a big pop in his body from 237 to 238, that needs some love as well.

Getting better, but it's getting down to frame by frame tweaking and fixing or some heavy duty graph editor tweakage :-)


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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Critique - Ball & Walkcycle (Marie)

Direct Link: Marie's Walk and Ball

Hey Marie,

the ball looks great, call this one done! Nice work!

The Walk:

Alright, looking good. I would say the mechanics are there, only a few minor things. The hands rotate a bit too much back and forth. The rotation back as the arm swings back seems to early (side view btw.). If you look at frame 3, his left hand should be like at frame 25. As the arm swings forward the hand drags and has a backwards rotation.
His arms rotate a bit too much forward, like at frame 19. If he'd be mad, or walking fast, then ok, but the arms don't swing back as much and slow down midway during the swing back, which makes the forward swing stand out even more.
His legs need some love. It looks like the feet slow down as they move backwards just before the foot gets off the ground. Make sure that your curve is all linear from the moment the foot is hitting the ground and gets off of it.
Look at the thigh at frame 4 til 8. It moves forward, but then stops from 8 to 9 til 12, but the lower leg moves forward pretty quickly. Then from 12 til 20 the foot plant is really slow. That timing and spacing needs more work, you'll need to adjust the steps and the amount of swinging the legs are doing. Playing at normal speed the leg takes a fast step forward, then slows down, puts the foot down. That pause is too long.

The other thing: I'm glad you are adding color, but I'm a bit confused as to what he is supposed to be. It's not just color, but character that I'm looking for. Could be a training outfit? Is he a runner, sprinter, athlete? His character needs to be more defined.

Good start though, keep going!


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Animation Critique - Walkcycle (Jenna)

Direct Link: Jenna's Walk

Looking great! My first impression is that he is a bit swingy. Mainly his arms. Right now he really swings his arms, as opposed to the arms going along while you walk. To me the forward position is a bit too far, unless you'll give him a reason to swing his arms like that.
The hip movement is broad, but I like it, nice and smooth, yet a distinct subtle hit during the weight shift.
It looks like you are extending his fingers on the swing back? That might add to the swinginess of his arms. I'd tone that done.
The thing that needs more polish are his knees. The front view is not that bad, but the sideview reveals a lot of popping. Look at the knee "balls" and track your spacing, you'll see the pops. For instance from frame 3 to 4, his right leg (screen right at this point), doesn't move that much (looking at his knee ball/thigh), then from 4 to 5 a lot, the less and less til 10, from 10 to 11 suddenly more, then same til almost nothing up until 15, then to 16 another pop. Same thing for the other leg.

Good stuff!

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New Animation Mentor Newsletter

I hope that all of you have signed up for the Animation Mentor Newsletter. If not, do it now!

First off, they got a Winter 2007 Showreel. If you want inspiration and a piece of humble pie, go check it out.

Next up, their Student Shortfilm section. Good example of course for putting your character within a story, but also to give you ideas as to how you can tweak your characters. The rigs are not the same, but they are not their standard rigs either. They are wearing things, they look different, they have character and are placed within a context, a story. The same should apply to your assignments, for a walkcycle, a jump, etc.

Then Shawn Kelly offers the usual goodness of tips and tricks. This time it's about twinning. Whenever I bug you about offsetting things (for you walk cycle people), it's about that. Some of you are starting to do a jump (nice start YK, critique will be up tonight), twinning will be an issue as you start out.

So sign up for the newsletter if you haven't already and enjoy the clips.


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Class critique will be up to date tonight

I'm slowly recovering, but it's getting better. By tonight everybody will have their critique. There are still a few students who haven't sent anything, I wouldn't wait til next class, you must have had something ready last Monday, so don't be shy :-).


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Critique - Bouncing Ball (Sheba)

Direct Link: Sheba's Balls


looking better!

A few things:

Big Ball:
watch the arc. From 10 to 11 it looks like it goes more towards the left than down, as if it hit a tiny bump. The fall could be accelerated. Take your dry erase and draw a line at the top of the ball. As it falls down you'll see that until it hits the floor, the ball moves in even steps (half a ball distance). It then takes the ball six frames to bounce up and hit the highest point, you could cut that in half and half the fall in 2 frames and then add a tiny 1 frame bounce (TINY).

Medium ball:

same here, watch the arc as it rolls down. With this ball you need to round out the arc more. Right now it rolls over the corner nicely, but after frame 12 it goes straight down.

See the sharp change in the red curve? That's what's going on right now. If you have it roll over the block, then the curve will be smoother. With that momentum the ball will move screen right once it hits the ground and bounces. (The heavy ball could do the same, towards the left, but the movement would be minimal, since the ball is so heavy).
The bounce of the middle ball need more hang time, it looks like the ball is being pulled down right after it hit the highest point. The spacing of the fall could also be broader, so that the spacing gets bigger and bigger. Can you do a screen capture of your y curve in the graph editor and send it?

Light ball:

the spacing of the fall is still too even, it would travel more and more as it falls. Same with the bounce up. The first couple frames the ball travels one ball height at a time, instead of a big movement up and then a gradually less (which you have at the end), same with the next fall. The last few bounces feel too fast. Your light ball and middle ball stop bouncing at almost the same time. A light ball would bounce longer, right now it starts to get too heavy towards the end.

It's getting better, but it still needs work. Your next assignment (once this one is down, but you can start on it already to keep things going) will be a medium ball entering screen left and bouncing screen right. It will bounce towards the edge of the movie clip and bounce off that "wall". Once that one is done, you'll add a tail to the ball (4 joints or so). The tail will be tricky because the overlap and follow through will need frame by frame work during certain parts. Check out the examples and critiques on our site, there are a few about the tail.


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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Critique - Walkcycle (Frank)

Direct Link: Frank's Walk, front and side

This is for hips and below only.

Ok, you are at an early point, so a few things. First, no grey character. Since you are early on in the walk, you can still add a look and character to the rig. I'm not trying to punish you guys, but you are making it that much harder on yourself by doing a default walk with a grey character. Be creative!

It's a bit hard to look at the side view when the character is moving from A to B. Either have it walk in place or parent a camera to the rig so that you get a steady side view.

Right now, what feels fast, are his legs as they take a step forward. After the foot roll and one frame after the foot gets off the ground you move the feet forward a lot, the spacing is a bit jumpy in there.

Front view: His root up and down is also a bit fast, you would need at least a variation in speed. The get up and fall down will be different in speed. The feet are pointing straight forward, the need some rotation, it looks too default. The feet are swinging out as they take a step, which is good, but you can add more complexity in the rotation. Due to the snappy movement of the feet, the knees pop, so you will have to smooth that out.
Don't forget the weight shifts in the hips. When one leg moves forward, the other hip carries all the weight of the body, so adjust the hips accordingly. And since the weight is only on one leg, you will have to move the root side to side in order to keep the balance.

Good start, but think about the character, don't have it be a default walk. Right now the walk seems fast. If that's your intention that build a story around that. An obvious thing would be that the character is in a hurry. But why? Explore those possibilities.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Walkcycle Presentation

Please take a look at Jungmin's walkcycle. It's a good example of a nice presentation, showing the front, side and perspective view all in one (except that the grid shouldn't be visible).

He has also modified the look of Norman, which some of you are doing, but not all of you. Even though I believe that I should give you as much flexibility as allowed, so that you get the most out of this class, I will start to enforce the rule that no clip should include a generic looking rig or walk cycle. For those who have already started a walk cycle or an animation exercise, keep going. If there is room for change and it won't set you back dramatically, then re-examine your character, who he/she/it is and how he/she/it looks like. Let's look at it tonight and see what we can do.

Anybody else who is starting now with a new clip, is required to modify the rig. It doesn't have to be huge, with dynamic hair and props and whatnot (but if you want to, take it as far as you can), but at least avoid the generic looking model. Make it a guy, or a woman, or a kid, or whatever. Think about who the character is. I know I'm repeating myself, but you need to have your character come alive, you need to know who that person is and why he/she/it is doing what he/she/it is doing.

There are too many generic animation examples out there, you need to stick out, in a good way of course. :-)

It's not just about clean animation, but the personality that you give to the character.

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Critique - Walkcycle (Jungmin)

Direct Link: Jungmin's Walk

Nice, sweet looking character.

Tiny things:

Your backlegs are still a bit springy to me. His left leg on frame 3 to 4 moves back quite a bit, then from 4 to 5 not that much, same from frame 15 to 16. That makes the legs pop back.
And his wrists still rotate too much during the swing, especially on the move back.
In the front view his hips are going up 2 or 3 frames too early. You have them go up as the foot plants, but at that point there wouldn't be enough wait on the leg for the hip to go up already. So delay the whole thing by 2 frames or so. You can also make the up movement sharper, cut the amount of time the hips take to go up in half.

Other than that, I would say move on to the next assignment. Great job!

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More Hotkeys

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Critique - Walkcycle (Jenna)

Direct Link: Jenna's Walk

Ok, so this is for legs and root only.

Before I start with the detail, I encourage you to really think about
who this character is. I understand that it's difficult to get the
mechanics done for a walk, walks are hard to do. But you can still learn
the mechanics while doing a walk with more character behind it. Who is
he/she? Where? Don't have it be a plain old Hogan.

Besides that, here's what I see:

In the front view, your feet are too straight forward, you can angle
them out. The hip movement could be a bit sharper when the foot is
planting and the weight goes over the leg, right now it's very even.
The biggest things to fix are the legs and the knee pops during the foot
plant. You will have to adjust the hips and root so that this moment
gets smoothed out. Also on frame 17 and 2, when the legs are in the back
position ready to take a step, your legs are straight and then bend
drastically, that pop needs to get smoothed out as well by adjust the
hips and the footroll as well as the root. Those sections are very hard
to do, so frame by frame work is needed.


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