Friday, 29 July 2011

Illustration from Lanhydrock

I found this illustration hanging on the wall in Lanhydrock last week when I was on holiday down in Devon and Cornwall.  It was behind glass hence the slightly fuzzy reproduction - I've cleaned up the glare and reflections as best I can in Photoshop.  Twinning never looked so good.  It's nice to know that those 12 principles of animation are there to be broken, sometimes superbly.  I'd love to know who it's by and how old it is if anyone has any ideas.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Thank you to 'Anim Dailies'

Just wanted to say a big thank you to Anim Dailies, who kindly featured my work on their site and gave me some really helpful feedback on a shot I've been struggling with.  The comments will be of great use when I return from holiday to work on the shot again in a few days time.

In the meantime you should all go and submit your shots to Anim Dailies for a focused critique and a chance to be featured on their site.  There are some great animators over there offering free advice - its definitely a service worth making use of!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Slow Dog Walk - Animation Reference

I was struggling with a dog walk in my short so I thought it best to try to find some live action reference and rotoscope it.  When a dog walks slower its feet spend much more time on the ground than in the air, so the contact pose is not the same as the lift off pose as it might be in say a fast 9-frame stride cycle where both front feet might only be on the ground together for just one frame.

On a 15-frames/stride cycle it seems that both front feet are on the ground together for 3-5 frames, and both back feet are on the ground together for 5-7 frames.  In this way the feet spend roughly the same amount of time in the air if the dog is walking fast or slow (around 5-7 frames in the air).  When a walk slows up, the dog takes smaller steps and spends more time with its feet on the ground.  Hence...

F per stride F on the ground  F in the air  F both feet on the ground 
9 ~4-5 ~4-5 ~1
12 ~6-8 ~5 ~2 (front) ~3 (back)
15 ~8-10 ~5-7 3-5 (front) 5-7 (back)

If you leave the feet hanging round in the air too long the walk starts to look stiff, like the dog is stuffed and artificially held in pose.  Remember the dog 'weighs' something and it needs to drop that leg to support itself on.

Here's some rotoscoping I did on a 15 frames/stride cycle.  I then adapted the the walk to a 17 frames/stride cycle which divides up much easier for 2D animators who don't have the computer to in-between on 5ths and 3rds.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Animation Dailies - an open group

I've created an open animation dailies group / mailing list for any character animators out there (especially students working alone) who want to share work in progress on personal projects.  We'll see how this turns out!  2D, 3D and stop motion are all welcome!

Subscribe to animation-dailies

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Dailies and Old Work

To keep myself motivated I'm hosting dailies over on blenderartists.  Join in if you like, criticism is always welcome!

Secondly, its always really nice when someone posts some of your work, even if its an old piece that you're not particularly proud of any more, its good to hear that people are still enjoying watching it.  Cycling blog Two on Four Wheels featured one of my pieces from last year, Au Soleil.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Copying Poses with Constraints in Blender

Often I find that I need to use the copy and paste pose buttons to get a smooth transition when animating a ChildOf constraint.  Blender's built in copy and paste pose buttons ignore constraints so I coded my own.  Basically select the bones you want, run the 'copy pose to buffer' script, then change frame to after your constraint influence has been changed and run the 'paste pose from buffer' script.  This way you can get nice smooth transitions across those constraint changes...

Monday, 4 July 2011

Last Bit of Modelling

Well that's it all done.  Every set modelled, and finally Jonny's 'leaving home' rucksack finished and weight painted.  Click to enlarge to see the topology.  Just animation, rendering and compositing left to go.  After nearly 3 hours of careful weighting, I'm going for a run.  Then I'm going to tidy up the rig, make a quick low poly version, then get back to animating the last twenty or so shots... two weeks to go!

Friday, 1 July 2011


Just to let you know, the slight service intermission was caused by me being busy recalibrating at Glastonbury Festival.  I went there with Simon, working for Oxfam, which is definitely something you should look into if you like festivals, are skint, or want good karma.

I'm back at the grindstone now.  I spent yesterday trying to make fixes to the first 22 shots which I completed for my college final submission.  I got great feedback from fellow tube intern Henri Hebeisen (of glowing robot lights and mushroomer fame).  Today I've been prepping backgrounds and modelling the last 13 sets.  Here's a screenshot of working up the alpha channel for a camera-mapped shot, which I thought looked quite nice.