Sunday, April 20, 2008

For 3D eyes only

Today around 4:30 I dropped my film off! Saturday(April 26th) is the Open Show and Fight or Flight will have its' debut within the first 2 hours of the show! My only thoughts are: "I hope the resolution was right." "I hope the sound is right." "I hope the frame rate is right." etc. The butterflies are slowly gathering and will be wrecking havoc on my nerves come Saturday.
Yesterday I finally saw, "Frank and Ollie" and I encourage every animator out there to watch it. Very inspiring film and helped give me a much needed kick for my Maya work. One quote in particular really hit me and sums up my feelings perfectly whenever I watch my first year film,
"Once you see the film of your drawings, then you're hooked on animation, nothing can give you the same feelings--sculpture, painting, drawing, etching, anything. None of it can give that same feeling of life that you get out of seeing this dog-gone little character working around on the projector--projected up on the screen and you feel like a parent who has just sent his kid away to school you know? You don't really own this guy up on the screen anymore, you did for a while and you were very close to him for awhile, but now, all of a sudden here he is apparently making decisions on his own, doing quite well without you."---Frank Thomas

A common question nowadays is, "How do you feel about finishing your film?" The above quote by Frank Thomas really does sum up my thoughts in regard to that particular question. Both of my film characters were once very personal and on some days I couldn't get either of them out of my head whenever I wanted to draw something other than a zanny old man and a wicked cat. Since finishing my film, I really have moved away from everything involving my first year film. I've watched "Fight or Flight" hundreds of times---easily 500 odd times. Now, I can get a bit overly critical about the film, but I still remember how I felt the first time I watched Pilot or Ollie running around---it's weird watching the film and thinking, "I really drew all of that? I made these guys move!" 95 seconds of moving lines solely drawn by my right hand, while hunched over my animation disc flipping paper for weeks on end. And it is a completely different feeling than animating in Flash or even Maya. Now Pilot and Ollie are fending for themselves whenever I play the film, they do just move around on their own and don't feel like thousands of pencil lines wiggling around on the screen. And on Saturday I get the pleasure(though the second my film appears I'm going to want to sink into the floor.) of seeing it projected onto a HUGE screen, no longer on a tiny computer monitor, and not just my film, but the films of the entire character animation department. Going to be an exciting weekend!

Other than that, I've been working away in Maya and thought I'd do another in progress kind of post--there's Maya lingo ahead, so ye be warned:
I'm working with a new rig that I found online(this is all just for my own personal practice. This isn't an assigned piece). He has some interesting quirks and I don't plan on working with him on any future projects---too many restraints. His feet won't key properly and all of the controls are not very precise, especially in his hands and feet---where I WANT my precision too! Won't let me bend his toes and his finger controls are exceedingly messy to animate. Anyhow, still having fun with him and will finish this animation out. While working on this I realized something: When I animate with paper/pencil I tend to lean towards pose-to-pose. Draw my main poses, figure out the timing by holding a drawing for 20 frames, etc. and then in-between the drawings while considering my ease-ins and outs, anticipations, etc. The fastest most efficient way for me to work when it comes to 2D animation. With Maya, for the longest time I kept trying to animate this way: block the poses out using stepped keys. Then spline and break tangents to try and get the moves I want. This way was not yielding the best results(lots of redos once I would playblast and really see it move) and at least for me, takes a really long time. So on this animation I tried straight ahead animation(with a plan in mind. I knew what I wanted him to do, but didn't pose him out like I usually do) while alternating between spline/linear tangents with the occasional use of stepped keys.
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On this first pass I was only focused on his legs/upper body so his hands die after awhile. I just started making him walk, moving his legs then followed by his body and tweaking the keys as I saw fit.

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Starting in on his front arm. "OMG! My arm! It stretches! But I can't see because my eyes are in the back of my head!"


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And look at how his arms should look! Also worked out other issues with his other sections. Tweaked head movements, etc. I know I was fiddling around in the graph editor by this pass. Definitely getting my "moving holds" in there.

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Onto the next action of his while still refining the first bit. One huge tip I really learned in my 3D animation class last year and still use it every minute in Maya--do one thing at a time. I really apply this to the various actions a character does in a scene. First nail down Action A, then move onto Action B, and so on until he's done. So for example here I: Get him walking, then get him to stop and spin around, and now it's bend over and pick up the object of interest up.


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Now with facial stuff and a very first pass on the object of interest. So this is where I am right now. What could possibly take place with that red sphere? Well I won't spoil what happens next---maybe since he doesn't have a nose:

Actually not, and gotta love the 2 minutes it took me to make the pose/light him! Scarier then Pennywise himself!

Alright, well time to make some dinner and get back to clowning around in Maya! Less than a month of school to go!

1 comment:

Janine Chang said...

Great Work Jen!!! Congratz on finishing your film!!! I am so curious to see your film :)
Is everyone invited to go see the open show, or do you need some kind of permit to go there??? I would love to go see all the films!