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Exercise 05 is entitled ‘Character head turn with anticpation’, I’ve seen this zombie rig floating about so thought I’d use this exercise to try the rig out for myself:

It’s intended to be a simple rig, so there is not much in terms of facial controls, just eyeball movement and jaw, I did miss blink controls, but honestly it suited me just fine, less controls means a more simple and straight forward experience to animate, for the most part.

Watching the video again, perhaps I could have played with the timing a little and made it more snappier, it does feel slightly ‘floaty’ overall. There were controls for the ear too, so maybe if I added some subtle bounce on those too, definitely needed if I had retimed the animation to be snappier.

Zombie rig can be found via Sony Pictures Animation.

This week, moving onto exercise 04 it’s a simple character head turn, one that I had attempted before (via IWTBAA) with the Mery rig here. This time I’m trying out a similar exercise on the Ninja rig:

Not much to say other than a lot of getting used to the controls, really nice rig though. The rough premise of the scene is; Ninja on the look out for his target, who has evaded him, then he notices something not far.

Perhaps I should have pushed the face pose more right after the initial head turn, to see more of a switch in expression? The focus is the head turn, but maybe I should have brought his blades into the shot more, so that you can tell he is holding weapons.

Ninja rig created by Built By Colossus.

Continuing with 51 Great Animation Exercise to Master, this week I take on exercise 03, the premise being ‘Brick falling from a shelf onto the ground’ :

I quite enjoyed the ever so slightly cartoony vibe in my previous task, so decided to carry that over to this, namely in the form of giving more character to the brick. I’ve named him Brixby.

All Brixby wants to do is hang around with his own kind having been misplaced. After some arduous searching around, Brixby finally spots a group of comrades resting on a lower level, the excitement is too much and he is compelled to drop down immediately. Unbeknownst to Brixby, he lands on a weak area of ground and falls right through, poor little brick.

Proceeding onto exercise 02 of 51 great animation exercises to master, another bouncing ball exercise, but including movement across the screen. I had attempted a similar task previously, this time round, aside from the obvious making it different, I also opted for a more cartoony feel, so there’s more squash and stretch on the bounces:

This was also the opportunity to take my findings from this post, and apply it to the above animation, effectively what I ended up doing was on each bounce, have the ball contact the floor for 2 frames, rather than one; the initial contact with floor ball stretched out, then next frame the big squash as the balls weight pushes down onto the floor. Of course this does not apply to the bowling ball at the end of the sequence, adding any squash and stretch would take away from the fact that it’s a rock solid ball.

I do believe that this method makes for a weightier bounce, with the extra contact frame, your eyes have the time to register the weight change, from out stretched to squashed, it’s subtle but enough to feel punchier, in my opinion. This makes for less clean animation curves in the graph editor, but I’m starting to understand that having clean curves does not always equate to nice clean animation.

Ball Rig 7 created by Yolanda Afán Asencio

I think the winter break has broke me and put even more of a dent to my motivation. Thinking back to November of last year, having already quit for well over a year, I started to play my favourite addiction again; Overwatch. I thought I could handle it, at first it seemed that way, but then without realising, I was slowly sinking deeper and deeper, Overwatch was swallowing me whole. Two thirds into December, I stumbled across like minded players, perhaps some of the best synergy I’ve felt in a while, the games were amazing and fun, it added to the addiction ten fold.

I had completely forgotten about animation.

In an effort to salvage what motivation I had left, and not let Overwatch impact my work life for 2021, I decided that quitting Overwatch would be the best course of action (again), this turned into my New Years resolution, along with quitting Facebook for a year, something I had already planned on for this year. 

16 days into 2021, I’m finding it hard going cold turkey like that, especially the first week, especially when you find a group of people that are so much fun to play with. I’m grateful for the time I spent with them though, it’s nice knowing there are positive players out there, for those not in gaming circles, Overwatch can be quite the cesspit of negative players.

So, I think I am on the mend, I believe I can turn this around, sometimes the best way is to retrace your steps, even if they are baby ones. With this in mind I’ve decided to attempt the 51 animation exercises from Animator Island, starting with the good old animator favourite ‘bouncing ball exercise’.

Below is my attempt at Lesson 01, bouncing ball on the spot, nice and simple, I want to try and stay positive, so that I can move past my motivational block, this ball certainly seems beaming full of positivity, I need to be the ball…

Ball Rig 7 created by Yolanda Afán Asencio

The weeks fly by don’t they? Has it really been 4 weeks since my last post? Damn.

I’ve been invited to help out with some animation for a couple of friends, for their game. Even though there is no deadline as such, doing animations for someone else imbues a little more urgency than just animating for oneself – which I see as a good thing. I’m hoping this will guide me through my procrastinating ways. We shall see.

The character I’m animating looks pretty much like an Astronaut, it’s only a proxy model/rig, so the way he looks have the potential to change. In a similar vein, I’ve created a walk cycle, but this is subject to change and iterations, once I get a feel for the environment this character is set in, but as it stands here he is currently:

Ooof, it’s been three weeks since my last post, I blame it on procrastination, but also, I had started something, then made it more work than it should be, completely disregarding the brief I had in mind, which is simply a walk cycle exercise, got there in the end, so here it is using the creature rig:

I have a huge bout of procrastination I need to deal with, going forward I might make my personal animation exercises more simpler, to see if that makes a difference. I might try lessons again, like I did with IWTBAA, to align my focus, I believe I went from lessons 1 through to 10, unfortunately lesson 11 onwards (changing weight) there seemed to be missing write ups for it – hence I stopped. I have found this one since, there are no write ups for each exercise, just a description, and it’s up to you how you approach it, I may well start this one for the next post, I need to get rid of this procrastination.

When the website High End 3D works, you can find Creature rig there, submitted by a user called oyvind.

This week delving into some animation that would would normally make use of constraints, only I didn’t, using the War rig:

I started off roughing out the main elements of War’s motion, he lands, he looks up, gets up, plucks sword out of ground, rests sword on shoulder and look to his left.

Next the sword itself, the sword is not constrained to the right hand; moving the right hand has no effect on the sword. Effectively at this point the sword has a mind of its own, planting into the ground, shooting out of the ground, mid air spin jump, then rest War’s shoulder, once the sword was roughly fleshed out, I then matched War’s right hand to grab/hold/throw the sword at the right times in the right places, making it look like the hand is in control of the sword.

It probably is a weird approach, but having used the constraint method in the past and its potential issues with space switching, I find not using constraints sometimes more liberating to animate with.

I mainly focused on the character and sword in terms of animation, I realised late on there existed controls for hair and hood, another awesome rig by Kiel Figgins, check out his Symmetro and Deadpool rigs!

My immediate post analysis of my animation is, the left hand needs to be less wobbly! Next time.

Rig by Kiel Figgins.

Back to some more walk practise, this time with the Hekaton rig:

Apart from the legs, the toughest thing with this rig is loosening up everything so it doesn’t move as one big mass, which in hindsight I probably haven’t done enough of, mainly referring to where the arms and wings join to the main body.

It’s the nature of the design of the rig though, the main body is just one piece with no section separation, but there lies the challenge, to make it move and look good with these constraints.

Rig created by Tre Vital.

Remember this?

It appears to have spread virally as ‘Best Mates’ dance or something to that effect, the original creator called it Band of the Bold, and it’s the dance that immediately came to mind when I stumbled across this Thundercats remix:

So this is my random take on what Lu, the Anthro tiger has been doing during his Corona lock down in front of his mirror all this time:

I’m not entirely sure where I was going with this, it’s what came to mind just from listening to that track. Weirdness aside, it was good practise.

‘Band Of The Bold’ dance created by Marlon Webb.

Rig created by Tre Vital.

Thundercats theme remix by VoidWalkerAudio.