Thursday, 27 November 2008

more walks...

Trying to improve on my strut I managed to create a walk that I was really pleased's not much of a strut, but as a normal walk I think the movement is pretty good.

I also tried out a creeping walk. I had to add in a fair few frames for this one as it moved a bit too quick for a creeping movement, however I think it works quite well now. To improve it though I could make it more exaggerated - have the character leaning/ arching a little further back and maybe forwards a bit more. The front arms on the forwards motion could also move a little more as they appear to remain in one position for quite a while when they would naturally be moving forward with the body.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

playing around with walks...

I found the readings for this weeks historical and critical studies pretty complex if i'm honest, however discussing them made the concepts clearer. It was good to have quite a debate going on about modern art nowadays and if there is still a place for it, along side the idea of the commodification of goods affecting modernist art - the importance of how the piece is made (methods, brushstrokes, medium) rather then the image created. I found this weeks seminar quite interesting and it was useful to learn more about the origins of various styles of animation and how they were affected by political/economical issues at the time.

With the practical work, having got the basics sorted last week I started to play around with ideas of different walks and how I could change them around and make them a bit more interesting - add character. I started to draw a few rough ones..but managed to do some better ones after Andy explained how best to add emotions into the walks and went through the submitted walk cycles as I could then see what I definately needed to improve. Below are a few examples of the 2D walk cycles I tried...

Above: this is another attempt at a normal walk..i think the arm swing and leg movements have improved on this one, and the bob up and down works much better. Previous to this I was working by thumbnailing out the sequence I wanted and them working through frame by frame. What I now find easier to do is to draw the keyframes, copy them switching the arm and leg (to get the opposite) then doing each in between. This means that the walk is much smoother in the cycle and I find it easier to then work out where you need the inbetweens and also how many for the movement. I therefore did the rest of the 2D cycles using this method.

Above are two similar walks. The first works ok with the arm and leg movement, however for a sad/ depressed walk it's a bit fast with a bit too much movement. I think the second is an improvement time-wise, however it needs a bit more movement in the shoulders to make it sway a little more. It also has a slight twitch in the shoulder where one frame is slightly out that could be changed.

Above: the strut...although this is quite fast i think it works ok. It perhaps needs a bit more urgency in the walk - have the character leaning forwards a little more. The arms are well exaggerated but I think I need to work on the movement and the flick of the hand at the end - could do with another frame cushioning the movement as overlap. There are a few strange movements at the end, but I think this is more to do with me copying frames in the wrong order when repeating them to save it rather then the movement itself. Hopefully I can work on this walk a little more to improve it before submitting it.

3D walks I am starting to find much easier to control and move now that I am more used to how you can move objects around in Maya. Creating walk cycles in 3D I found quite fun and much simpler then I thought it would be. Below are examples of these. Again I have tried a few normal ones trying to improve on them each time I do so, along with experimenting with a few fun ones with a bit more character in them.

Above: These are just normal walk cycles. I am quite pleased with the movement in general, and I think the arms are working quite naturally, however the legs don't look quite right. I exaggerated them quite a lot, but perhaps a bit too much making it look very mechanical.

Above: This is another normal walk however I have changed the speed and leg movement which makes it look easier and a bit more natural. Although I altered the shoulder and hip movement I could perhaps exaggerate this a little more so it is visible when watching the walk from the side angle.

Above is a creeping walk. This was just from playing around with ideas. I think it's quite a comical walk and gives it character, but maybe looks more like she is doing a dinosaur impression with a bad back then actually creeping around!

Friday, 21 November 2008

improving my walk...

I hopefully managed to improve both my 2D and 3D walks today. I eventually managed to make a 3D walk that I was really pleased with and looked natural and easy..however then managed to crash the programme when trying to playblast and save it :(..but this forced me to make it again and again which gives me more practice in the long term. My final 3D one definately looks more natural then my previous attempt and certainly less awkward. I also played around with the timing which hopefully gave the walk a more realistic rhythm, and changed the way the arms swing, having them relax as they pass the body which I hadn't really thought about before. I've definately seen improvements in each walk I create, which just goes to show that the more you do it, the more natural and easy things become. Obviously it's not perfect and I still want to change parts until I get it right as well as play around with different types of walks - creeping, stomping, tiptoeing around..

I think I've also managed to sort out some of the little kinks in my 2D walk. The leg movements are slightly smoother and the 2nd position (the lowest down position)is now better and right for the cycle. The arms aren't so jerky and work better with the leg movements. There are stil a few things that don't look right, such as the bob up and down. It's not as smooth as it could be and I need to be careful about size changes, particularly with the legs as theres quite a difference between the first drawing and last from where they have been bent and moved. However because it is a walk cycle I dont think it is too noticable in the repeat.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

walking is harder then it sounds...

Learning to animate walking has to be one of the key things to do..and it may be that every walk is different and everyone has a different style of walking due to their build, gender, mood, but to get any walk looking right you have to get the basic concepts right. In realising this I hope to develop my walk cycles to get them looking right so that I can then go on to playing around with them and putting different emotions and characters into the walk.

After trying a few walks in 2D and a few in 3D there are things I need to change and work on to get it looking correct and natural. After trying a few times in 3D and getting used to the controls and the way that the character can move I eventually got a roughly half decent looking walk..(even playing around with movement of the shoulders, head, and hair) but again there are parts that i could smooth out and make more natral. At the moment she almost looks like she is creeping forwards at the start and although the movement is exaggerated, I think parts need a more natural movement rather then the slightly mechanical one it has now. To achieve this I think I just need to create the walk over and over until I'm familiar with it and can create the type of walk I want. I found it easier to make the 2D walk look more natural, however there are still areas i need to work on in this one.

I'm happy with the way the legs move in general, however in the lowest phase (after the contact)I find I tend to make the front leg further forwards which wouldn't happen. I think I do it because I assume the character is moving forwards when actually the foot is planted on the floor with the body weight transferred onto it, so I need to make sure I correct this. Saying that, I also need to exaggerate the weight movement from each leg by moving the body mass over the correct foot. Looking at the arms I am quite happy with the movement, however there is one jolt which doesn't quite look right. So back to the drawing board tomorrow to practice and iron out the kinks... Life drawing this week helped by seeing the human figure walking and also looking at different types of walk and movement. Looking at contact positions as well helped me to get ideas for 2D animation and perhaps where I am going wrong with the poses.

Monday, 17 November 2008


Back from Bradford and ready to get back into the studio after being inspired by so many different and original animation styles/techniques and stories!
There was so much there..I'm glad for a day without watching a film of some kind..strange how tiring it is! Saying that though it was definately worth it, and some very memorable stuff!
It was great to see people like Al Jean, John Coates, Paul Wells, Joanna person and hear what they had to say about their own work, as well as doing workshops like the character design one, though I was bit disappointed that the storyboarding one was cancelled :(. However it gave us the chance to see even more of the films.
'Waltz with Bashir' was great..really made you think and one of those films when it ends you dont know whether to clap or cry!..especially with the shock of the real life images right at the end! I also loved 'Varmints'..such lovely animation with a message that really relates to the state of the world at the moment..again very emotional!so glad it won the award!
There were also some other more light-hearted animations I thought were great such as Skhizein, Post!, Operator and Cat-man-do, and loads of different types such as Bary Perves' work in stop-motion animation - the models and sets are so incredibly detailed and realistic... I just think its so beautifully created. (However i wasn't as keen on the actual story or opratic style)
Also loved seeing some of John Coates produced films on the big screen, The Snowman in particular :) one of my favourites!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

sticky notes animation

I dont know if anyone has seen this before but I think it's very clever..mainly because i have 'to do' lists on sticky notes all over my bedroom wall :S!!...

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

films and odd bits...

I loved the fact this week that I actually had a excuse to sit around and watch the Incredibles :)..analysing it really made a difference to the way I saw it though, and after reading some reviews you start to view it in a completely different way! It didnt necessarily change my opinion of it, but it does make you pick up on the more subtle areas that you never would have considered. I think this is useful for most films, particularly animation and is important when creating work.

I found looking at the different types of animation in the screening useful as well. I really like stop-motion animation, particularly with puppets and found objects such as Jan Svankmajer's work.I love the mysterious movement and objects used and the fact that everyone watching it will interpret it in completely different ways. Svankmajer's pieces are what inspired the Brothers Quay for much of their work which I studied previously at college. I tried to listen to explanations of The Brothers Quay's animations once..but I just got completely lost in what they were saying and was more confused about the animtion then just sticking to my own explanation of it! oh well!

above: svankmajer
below: brothers quay

Watching such a variety of animation just made me want to do it all! I can't decide on one I like best! I love the totally finished and perfected style of the 3D animated work, but I can't resist the more rough sketchy look of 2D hand drawn stuff, and I want to do more stop-motion work having done a little bit already. argh! there's so much I want to try!

Anyway! I think the crit we had today worked really well! It gave us a good look at what everyone was doing and how to analyse pieces of work. Also definately helped to explain ways of looking at my own work and things to check and look for when testing work for example the timing and arcs of movement in jumps and HOW to change work to improve it.
.... and i won a bag! woo! :) go no. 17!