Saturday, 18 April 2009

A Little Inspiration

The next release of Ballistic's Expose series (number 7) looks like it will be jammed with inspiration for both the 2D and 3D digital artist alike. While I have been rigging with the Oinkfrog of late, I am keen to go back in and improve the model actually. Looking at works like these below and more, I am sure I can do better over the weekend with mine.

CGS have a feature on the Expose 7 Winners which shows off things - here are a few images from the article. I love the attention to detail, the wrinkles, rivets, hairs etc all lift things to another level.

Oh and the 2D cover is gorgeous:

There are plenty of categories though - check out these amazing images:

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Generi Detonator V2

Ok, a few tweaks on the animation, some changes in the video and hey-presto another version of the Generi Detonator clip. Though the animation is the critical component here, the explosion at the end is lotsa fun.

Here is a rough sequence going through the clip - not specifically aligned to the main keys - but it gives an idea of the flow without the vid:

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Rig, Eyes and more UVs

I rewatched all the reference vids on the weekend and feel like I can improve the Oinkfrog model and do some nicer UVs than I creted thus far. I want to completely redo his eyes and need to explore some sexy rigging options as well. I have done a heap on the animation course - and now it is time to get a sore hand helping Oinkfrog come along.

By way of reference, I have been enjoying Jason Osipa's Stop Staring book (available online through the library) and for good measure have a look at the new work from Keith Lango. Awesome expressions and plasticity of the model and rig:

[Keith Lango's Otto character WIP image via his blog]

Generi Detonator V1

Ok, after a heap of time refining things and working through as many elements and principles as I could I have arrived at version 1 of little Generi and his Detonator. In showing it around the home, it seems to be well received and I have been incorporating feedback as I went along. It is very very good to get other opinions as we end up staring at things for so many hours trying to tweak the details that a fresh pair of eyes is exactly what is needed.

I have a fair number of keys/breakdowns now as there always seem to be more little refinements to arcs and followthu's that an extra key will deliver. I have tried hard not to go crazy though, trying to refine keys rather than adding wherever I could.

As you can see I created a nice end (with held pose there for fun) and a little intro to set the slower pace at the start. I like how it is all looking. I dont have Premiere on my laptop atm - so I used the new iMovie (weird piece of software that it is) to join things together before uploading to Youtube.

This has been great fun so far and I am really happy with how it all looks (though it is much smoother on my quicktime file than this youtuber version it seems)

** hmm youtube version seems to be cutting off the end - I will repost when I work that out...

My Animation Checklist

Doing the initial research for my own version of the oft referenced animation principles and checklists revealed some great work by some legends of the craft. Reading the SIGGRAPGH papers and excerpts from books really drove home the frontier nature of the early Disney work and then the early CG work from Pixar really was.

Here are some of the nice references (links) for one and all:
28 principles : Tricks of Anim : Principles : John Lasseter paper at ACM portal : Disney Principles, The Illusion of Life : Keith Lango Checklist : CGS Feature


I then compiled, from a fractured set of notes, the following enhanced checklist. It is really my take on things to check when animating and is part of this first main assignment. It isn't yet informed by massive amounts of experience - but it is already helpful to me. It includes my reminders and also the links to the more famous checklists as well - no shortage of advice and things to watch for. I have a nice PDF version of the following with a few images to brighten things up like this one of Wall-E - awesome character in the little bot.


G’s Animation Checklist v1
My take on some seriously fine principles – things that help me see more:

Personality [emphasise character traits and motivations, actions reinforce identity]
Thoughts [derive actions from the mind first – convey emotion and thought]
Keys & Patience [take time to build enough keys to communicate the beats of action]
Moving Holds [hold the action to reveal it and strengthen it]
Fluidity [keep everything flowing without the underwater ballet feel]
Weight and Drive [what is driving and how much weight is there in it and what follows]
Pace Timing [vary action speed and keep transitions from fast/slow natural]
Arcs and Following [build in the arcs and the follow through together – more flow]
Asymmetry [poses with interesting shapes, avoids twinning and builds nicer lines]
Lines of Passion [check body and parts emphasise arcs and motion – make it strong]
Principles [work through the classic and expanded lists below – good stuff in there]
Bigger Picture [find a way to look at the whole, be less analytical about the details]

Viewpoint [look at the animation with a different eye – look for other interpretations]
Reference [check out video of similar actions, character actors, cartoons, esp 3D CG]
Inspiration [watch cool animated work, observe quality, see another way]

The classic 11 (Disney & Pixar)
1. Squash & Stretch
2. Timing
3. Anticipation
4. Staging
5. Follow Through and Overlapping Action
6. Straight Ahead and Pose-To-Pose Action
7. Slow In and Out
8. Arcs
9. Exaggeration
10. Secondary Action
11. Appeal

Expanded 28 (via Disney again)
1. Pose and Mood
2. Shape and Form
3. Anatomy
4. Model or Character
5. Weight
6. Line and Silhouette
7. Action and Reaction
8. Perspective
9. Direction
10. Tension
11. Planes
12. Solidity
13. Arcs
14. Squash and Stretch
15. Beat and Rhythm
16. Depth and Volume
17. Overlap and followthru
18. Timing
19. Working from extreme to extreme
20. Straights and Curves
21. Primary and secondary action
22. Staging and composition
23. Anticipation
24. Caricature
25. Details
26. Texture
27. Simplification
28. Positive and negative shapes

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

A few more Aug Reality vids

Following from the GE fun here are a few vids showing similar fun:

GE Flash Goodness

Following a link from some Adobe spam I was exploring the new Flash driven Smart Grid site by GE. The actual content may be a little thin in places, but the interface is truly engaging and beautifully realised and polished. The graphic quality is a joy to see and it is all interactive enough to encourage the next steps to take place. These shots some of the site visuals:

[Screengrabs of the flash interface to GE's Smart Grid site]

To take things to the next level though, the site allows us to take on their Augmented Reality. Watching the little video, I was floored - and trying it myself it really works and it an awesome piece of interaction that really does show a level of software/hardware/human interfacing that could go to very interesting places in time to come. Flash can obviously do some very impressive things in 3D and talking to hardware now as well... Awesome:

This is a pic of me using the GE Augmented Reality app straight in Firefox, and below that their nice video of another human doing the same.

Collab Drafts

I quickly put together a collage of images from the Collaboration Studio Draft Environment submissions. The image shows off the progress being made through all the groups in terms of both the fabrication itself and the collaboration required to bring it all together.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Generi Detonator WIP continues

Lots of work on little Generi and his detonator over the last few days. I took some time to setup the final look with the Mental Ray renderer and once this was done, things were certainly looking nicer and with plenty of refinement to the animation, smoother and more in character as well.

I used Danny McNezmo's (awesome name btw) online tutorial on creating explosions in Maya to create a bit of fun at the very end. This last explosive sequence needed a keyframe every frame to make Generi work with motion that fast. The rest was done with some nice Maya Dynamics - super fun!

The main things I found myself working on with the refinement were dealing with the transitions between the faster and slower movements for different elements, particularly hands and feet. Getting nice arcs across these same timing boundaries took time and adding more and more breakdowns to have the right energy in his various limbs, head and body.

I did do a largish change after one of the kids suggested that one part should slow down to give a pause before another (after his step). Plus I did try and work on the moving holds as well - something I dont think Maya helped me with too much. I was concentrating on this after watching Kung Fu Panda again - the animation there is stunning and some of the most effective moments are when there is a pause in the action to allow us to see an expression or comical body pose.

I also took some time to do a title - should look good when I bring it all together. Here is a single frame to show how it is all looking: