Walk

Final Personality Walk

This is my final personality cycle – I am really pleased with how this came out. The lighting really helped to set of the night atmosphere story. I also am please with the camera angles that I used. Especially the one that changes the walk and we see the man that she reacted too – because i prolonged seeing what she reacted to, we as the audience wonder what happens and its quite funny when we see its only a person putting out there bin. I am really pleased with how the arms of my dance walk came out as i spent a long time trying to get the right fluid movement. Below is the same animation without animation so you can appreciate the lighting’s effect. If I had more time I would have added music to the scene, just so that it is a bit more obvious that she is actually dancing. I would also have added a spotlight on the character as in some of the scenes she does appear a bit to shaded.

Without Lighting

 

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Ideas and tests

Above is the evolution of the final dance walk – you can see how it changed from the second to the third, i felt that the second one (closer to the live footage) was actually quite robotic and not as lively as the final walk. I spent time trying to animate the arms to overlap and produce this fluid arm swing. The only thing I’m not happy with is the head which moves quite abit (i guess that this is good for the beat of the walk) but the rig has the neck connected so when turning the chest the head goes – i needed the rotation of the back and so the head moves quite a bit. But not terribly bad.

Above are my experiments I made before committing too an idea – I really just needed to experiment like this for a while so that I could get a better idea what the Rig could do and just using the splines to affect the way that the walk cycle moved. I made around 4 or 5 different tests – some I tried creating into a dance walk cycle (for instance the one where the girl is turning with arms out wide) and this was really important as it helped me too choose the right dance walk cycle for my final walk – especially since I have a short time period and need to pick something I could create in time. After playing around with both rigs i decided that the orange one was best as it gave me the hip control for a female rig that the blue one didn’t (i had to sacrifice the eyes for the hips this time). But this meant I didn’t rely on the facial expression to give away the story and instead use the body.

Storyboard

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Rough ideas

When deciding what camera angles to use I created some rough storyboards in my sketchbook however I also found it useful to open my scene and play about the cameras to where the character looked best with her walk cycle – in some scenes, such as when she puts her hair behind her ear she has to be side on because the hand reaches a little to far to the side – I used the camera like this in order to prevent any error from being scene. In addition my second character is barely animated over than the head so I tried to make sure he wasn’t featured in most scenes. Lastly because the lighting is quite dark I used the camera to prevent the character being sucked into the environment. Below are some of the frames I thought about using for my final animation. (Some of these made it to the finished animation whereas some I felt didn’t work.) You can also get a pretty good sense of what the lighting is like (If we go down to there are two frames very similar – the lighting has been edited from the camera).

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Modelling the set / Lighting

The Environment

When planning my idea I decided that I wanted the character to be walking home from school during autumn/ winter time. Therefore she is going to be walking past rows of houses back to her own house. I knew for my scene I was going to need a road, houses, lampposts for sure. I also knew that she is walking back when there it is starting to get dark – therefore for my lighting I need a dark setting.

Lamppost

I’ve decided to model a lamppost for my scene as it will give my street more realism, furthermore I can use these as the scene will be dark (because the animation is set when it is beginning to get dark) – these lamp posts therefore will be coupled with a spotlight and glow. To start with I began by researching into a lamppost. I photographed the lampposts outside of my house as reference.

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Above are the photographs that I took. Things to note, the height is just the size of the house surrounding. The lamppost sits just before the pavement ends and the road starts. The direction of the lamppost is out to the road. The light isn’t a hard spotlight but spreads across the pavement.

Below are the finished modelled lampposts. The spotlight was originally white however I Later decided to used a yellow glow which was more realistic and lit the scene in a warmer tone. I also later made the spotlight less intense.

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The Houses and street

Below are some images of the street I created. I began with the road (and then downloaded a house online) which I duplicated over and over. After this I entered the lamppost into the scene. I decided to keep the houses white so that the lighting could just wrap the scene in shadows and to keep the scene minimal. I don’t want the environment to distract the scene. I added the lamppost and duplicated – at first I added quite a few but then I felt that it was distracting from the scene (especially since they emit such light) and so I cut it down.

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The Bin

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Above is a bin that I modelled during the progression week workshop. As I was going to model a street I decided to use it in my scene. The process took me over two days to make and has been one of the most challenging things I’ve done in Maya it was an introduction into modelling for me which is why it was so difficult – but now i feel very proud of my green bin! I placed the green bin randomly around the houses and infront of the fences just to give that little extra detail.  I decided to keep my bin and lamppost green whereas the rest of the scene is white and grey so that we draw attention to the creations that I modeled.

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Lighting

Above shows how the final scene will look when rendered with mental ray. I added a in direct light – sun and sky to the scene and angled it in a way that creates this glow that looks as though the sun is setting and the sky is getting darker. I then used a spotlight under the lampposts to give emphasis this warm atmosphere – they look just as though they have just turned on as the spotlight is so soft. I really like how the street has this blue tone as it just shows the day is getting darker.

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Primary Research

These two videos are the two that I’ve selected to aid as my main reference when making my walk cycle. This is live footage – for me I find using video most helpful to understand where the limits of the body are and where I can exaggerate the overlap and etc. Above is the fast walk – I looked into several different ‘ embarrassed’ walks. When research primary research. What i find happens when someone gets embarrassed their are several reactions to what they can do. They laugh, become very timid, touch their faces to draw attention from themselves, or pretend as though nothing happens. So when recording my live footage I tied to capture all of these gestures. However I decided that the best one was a hurried walk – this way we can tell she is trying to get away, I like how the back is straight whereas the dance pose walk is bend over – this way we can clearly see a difference in walks. The dance-y walk was the most difficult to pick as I made around 15 min footage with around 200 walks! In the end I decided on this one. It has a nice bend and beat.

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After these pose to pose drawings below of my live footage – I then went back and selected the ones i felt a captured the essence of the story and emotion that the character is trying to convey. I traced over the 5 keyframes (contact, pass, up and downs) – these are my favourites. From these drawings, I shall begin making tests and experiments so I can decide on the final walks.

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Above are pose to pose drawings I made from the live footage I recorded. I selected these as i felt they contained a nice walk which i could use for my personality cycle. I love all of these drawings. From the several pages below – i found a hard time even selecting my favourite walk cycle from this page. They all have a very different walk – but are able to show a silly dance style. What is apparent to this kind of walk cycle is that the arms and hip sway, and back rotates alot. The arms can be fluid but also snap – When doing my experiments I’m going to need to consider this.

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On the left side of this image is several pose to pose drawings of my dance walks – and on the right are some embarrassed walk cycles. The orange dots are to show the ones I feel capture the right sense of walk for my scene. The one i especially like is the right side second to the bottom. The hands rise to touch the face (covering face with embarrassment) and then put hair behind the ear. People tend to touch their face and body to draw attention away from them. I really like the realism of the cycle. The one above it is of a person hurrying away by bending themselves forward  – however this is more a exaggeration of what a person would actually do.

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These pose to pose drawings above are of an embarrassed walk (taken from my live footage.) I’ve tried to capture aa variety of embarrassed walks. Some are of a timid shy walk, the arms are held to body. Some are of a hurried walk – the head pointed straight on and the character swings the arms to push herself forward. I’ve also looked at slow to fast walks. Some I’ve made the character seem to laugh as the situation in a carefree manner. I might even combine some of these walks together. The orange dots represent my favourite on this page spread.

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These images have been scanned from my sketchbook. I wanted to show the way I approached making my final animation.  After recording the live footage, I reviewed what dance walks and embarrassed walks seemed to work well – i then from this drew pose to pose drawing (trying to capture the contact poses, up and downs and passing positions.) Just to give me a visual understanding of how I could make them in Maya. Next to the image above is some of my research as well (Eadweard Muybridge – the motion photography).  The poses directly above are the dancey ones. The arms are going to have alot of movement – to express a dance because the feet will be in a walk cycle.

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Above are some life drawing I have done to aid my research of the walk cycle. The first and last are studies I made during a visit to the national history museum – I had to capture the people who were walking very fast – therefore I have used flow lines and written observations. When I was there, I actually witnessed someone dropping there phone and getting embarrassed – she picked it up laughed and then hurried away. The drawing in the middle is from our recent life drawing class where we had the model walk around in a circle and we had to capture four different poses at once- just watching how the body moved, the weight on the feet, the hands and the movement throughout the walk has helped my research.

Embarrassed Walk Research

The incredibles (2004)

One of the characters that I decided to research into for the embarrassed walk was Violet from The Incredibles – in particular I looked into the scene at the very beginning where she is staring at a guy that she likes, when he sees her, she ducks down and then she later hurries away into her car. Her character may be more timid and shy than ’embarrassed’ but I still felt she was a good reference as she is very introverted – she tends to walk with her arms to her chest and hides her features – when we are embarrassed we tend to want to hide ourselves. In addition shy people are worried of making a fool of themselves because they don’t want the embarrassment. Violet’s character has the ability to hide herself through invisibility.

Never been Kissed (1999)

The film Never been Kissed is about a journalist that decides to go under cover at a high school – Throughout this film, the lead character seems to be relieving her childhood embarrassment and trying to fit in at high school. I decided to look at this film because there are several scenes that project embarrassment – just watching her reaction to some of these has helped me to get a better understanding of how embarrassment can be experienced. One scene that I want to focus on my project is where she walks down a corridor with the words ‘loser’ on her forehead, and everyone stares – in addition their are multiple scenes such as her falling in public and her childhood geeky self that are really useful for reference.  

I felt that is should include this video above, it shows a female walking into a lamppost because she wasn’t paying attention to her surroundings (just like my character) she then gets embarrassed and her walk speed increases as she pretends nothing has happened. She wants to get away from the situation. I really wish that the legs were captured in this footage – however it still can be used to understand embarrassed behavior.

Dance Research

Singin’ in the rain (1952)

The film ‘Singin’ in the rain’ is one of my favourite references that I found online. And the famous song for the film (which is above) captures a lively and happy emotion in his walk and dancing. The character is in his own world, after he has been kissed by the love interest – what is nice about his walk (at the beginning) is it is so confident and bold. He is so happy that nothing could ruin his moment of joy – including the rain (he puts down his umbrella and continues expressing himself through dance). The steps he takes during his walk are wide and his arms rotate very far forward as he is literally bouncing/ striding with the music. The walk feels happy and full of energy. Other than the walk it is nice to see within the dance that there are certain moves and ‘walks’ that I can use as reference or to inspire my own walk. I really like the way that the dance builds up to the end when he begins to jump wildly in a puddle – when a policemen sees him he jumps out of his own world and realizes how he may seems and so hurries away – which is actually similar to the idea that I am doing. Its nice to watch how he tries to regain his normality and then hurries – still happy away. The music that accompanies the scene gives the walk the right bounce or edge. Although this scene is ultimately a created as a dance sequence it is perfect reference for my scene where the girl is dancing/ singing down the street walk cycle.  Lastly to add this is a man however it still is relevant to watch the way he moves and expresses his own dance.

Above is another scene from ‘Singin’ in the Rain’, – (there are numerous scenes that I have looked at but these are just a few I feel I must mention.) The particular walk above, has been created as part of the dance number – although the walk is not performed by a female (which is my intended character) I still wanted to include it. It shows how a walk can be playful – I like how the legs are especially rotating with the hips. This clip is funny and carefree just as I hope my first walk will be. The use of arms and legs together create a body full of rhythm The walk id different as the action of  the body is quite close (I mean the legs don’t open far and the hands stay close in the body) even though it still has so much life and fun.

Above is a GIF that I stumbled across on Tumblr when research ‘Singin’ in the rain.’ But just watch the female, her strut is so powerful, how her legs cross just before she turns to the man who is ‘checking her out’ and pushes her arm up.  I just am really in love with the way she walks in such a feminine way – the legs just seem to be the focus (legs of a woman) that we all look here and she quickly puts them down as she walks. For the length she is walking as well she seems to move her legs quite abit as females tend to take more steps where men have longer strides.

Dirty Dancing (1987)

Dirty Dancing, an example of how a young woman could walk with a ‘dance’. The video above shows how the main character, is practicing her dance routine, however we see a lot of her walking towards the camera with a sway in her hips and movement in her legs. She moves her knees a lot forward and her whole body is turning with her. The actress tends to bob her head and down which is a good shows of how her character is thinking about the steps and the pace of music. As she walks up the stairs we have a good view of her bum and hips swaying and driving the body from side to side.Its a really nice reference as it just shows how a female body can move – I really like one of the last examples on the bridge where she uses her whole body including her arms just to express her new found rhythm. Towards the end of the clip she becomes ore confident with the movements and so lets go even more – her lower leg kicks back higher and she bounces more – the dance is not as rigid. At the very end she even pushes her shoulders up and down (left and right) dancing with her upper body as she moves. Lastly she is dancing to herself, there is no audience (other than us) watching and so she can just let go and be free with how she moves.

Funny Face (1957)

Funny Face has this one scene, where Audrey Hepburn goes to Paris (from a book seller to a model) decides to ‘express’ herself to the co-star through the famous French Expressionist dance. They are in this dark French jazz club – the whole scene wonderfully shows a variety of shapes and moves performed by Hepburn. (Below I’ve included some photographs of her body poses. The whole scene just has very strange dance moves that are used just to express a person – to be free and make what ever comes to mind (of course this dance has been planned) it still has a lovely atmosphere – furthermore at the start of the film Audrey Hepburn’s character is a rather plain book seller who life isn’t exciting and by the end she has fully changed into a more lively and expressive person. This video is mostly a dance – I just wanted to include how the poses and change of pose is effected by the rhythm – I also just like how she makes different movements (from big to small) – she does take some bouncy walk – at 2:02 – 2:08 she is bent down but still walking to the beat of the music.

These boots are made for walkin’ – Nancy Sinatra (1966)

These boots are made for walkin’ and that’s just what they do! The music video that accompanies this famous song, shows many women (you guessed it) walking in their boots. The very beginning of the video just shows several legs walking past the camera in a slow manner to the music (- move – pause – move – pause with the beat of the music.) As we progress through the video they tempo increases and the dancers and Nancy Sinatra begin to move a lot more. At the very end of the video the group of girls walk forward past the camera in this quite funny walk. The slow walk that is used in this video is like a tease to the ‘men’ she is singing the song too, a slow and sexual walk – we can tell from the lack of clothes on her bare legs she and the dancers are trying to tease and to show power with their boot walking. At the end they seem to let go and they do this dance where they twist there hips and legs (watch to get a better understanding – 2:20) and you instantly feel the release as they give off more energy and bounce in their walk as the song finishes.

Greaser 2 (1982)

Above is a GIF from the film Grease 2, (during a song called ‘Cool rider’) – I’ve included this particular snippet as she does a little dance walk from one side of the room. I like how Michelle Pfeiffer is able to do so much with her body in the couple of seconds of this GIF. She is able to display the attitude of her character. Her whole body is feeling the music – she is alone and expresses what she wants in a partner (‘cool rider’) – the very beginning where she crosses her legs and turns her head is really nice and gives her a sway of hips – a lot slower than later parts of the footage. Her head moves around a lot as she expresses the lyrics she is singing – its like an extra shot of attitude. So I should think about how the head of my character could also do this. I also like the use of arms that stay above her head and then shake below here.

Frozen (2013)

Many will know the walk made during the ‘Frozen – Let it go’ where Elsa is transformed completely. I decided to include this walk within my dance research – although it isn’t a dance, it does project such confidence and enthusiasm. I really like how the anticipation is built by her left arm crossing over her body and then lifting both arms up to reaveal the transformation – but in the case of the walk, the hips which sway side to side creating a very sexy/ sassy walk full of power and confidence in herself (which until this scene she felt she had to hide and be controlled. Even though she has ‘let go’ she is still very elegant – she is open and showing her power to herself and everyone around. This walk is just so perfect for this moment of the film. When creating my walk cycle I want to try and think about how a pose – movement of arms projects the personality of the character or if moving the arms up will reveal more of the legs or hips of the young woman.

Mickey Mouse Gala Premiere (1933)

The GIF above is a walk cycle I found online – it is a depiction of Greta Garbo one of the leading actresses of this time. I had to include it as soon as I saw it because of the exaggeration in her hips and rotation of her chest – it turns so much we can see her back. Another thing which is unusual is that she seems to push out her stomach to make a arch of the back. Her head however stays in one position – which actually makes her appear to be quite stuck up – or elegant. She walks slowly with poise – and although her arms stay in one position we still feel movement from them as they are pushes forward with the body.

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I used Eadward Muybridge motion photography, of females walking and Richard Williams animation survival kit, to research into walk cycles and a reference for me to understand how they could be animated.

The Idea

A young girl aged between 15-16 walks home after school – during this time she is listening to her music and decides to sing along really loud/ and dance walking – her walk at this time will be more bouncy, her hips will be swaying higher side to side and the pace may be changing between steps – then she looks to her right and notices a person standing outside their house looking at her (singing and dancing in an otherwise silent street). Shocked and embarrassed we then see her speed away (not running but hurrying with a fast walk) away from the scene.

Who? – A female, young 15 – 18. Childish, happy and carefree, when spotted she become embarrassed  What? – Listening/singing to music with some dance bounce to her walk, could be using her arms and head to beat of music she is listening too Where? – Down a pavement near houses – street (outside). She is going to be walking home. When? – after school so around 4pm. Maybe getting a bit dark so street lamps on. Why? – Embarrassment – some one sees her and she didn’t realize and so she becomes embarrassed and walks in a hurry.

Where to start? 

Look at some songs which could help with pacing and get a sense of rhythm.

Okay, so I thought I would look up different songs to discover the best sense of rhythm – the young girl is going to be dancing and singing so therefore her walk will reflect the type of music. Maybe even listening and dancing to these songs and experimenting with the style of walk that I could potentially use. I will also think about what genre of music – maybe the song she is singing is embarrassing (we all have those guilty pleasures of songs – that we prefer not to share with the rest of the world) so perhaps she is singing operatic? Disney? rap? anything… she might just be playing around whilst dancing or she could be deadly serious (dancer) so when the music cuts to the other persons P.O.V (silence) she could look ridiculous.  so I will need to do a lot of research into this.

Get some online reference – videos on YouTube and movies/ pictures

Collecting online research personally is the largest and most important part for me. There is an archive of videos to watch. I am going to begin by separating the two walk cycles into the dance-y/ singing walk and the embarrassment walk (walk of shame). I will need to research these different areas – looking for existing film and animation materials. I will look at the way females walk – and especially girls of this age. Examine what are the difference of men and women or women and girls. Pictures might also be useful just to express a certain mood (example: embarrassment ) which could express the way the body will move and etc. I want to also just look at footage of people getting embarrassed – I think this will be a hard one – I’m going to try to look into people getting scared (their reaction), people dancing in their rooms and being found, and just plain embarrassed. I might need to be creative and recreate a personal embarrassment walk. That moves us on to…

LIVE footage

I’m going to then film as many different tests as possible. The more the better. I want to understand what works and what could look awful. Live footage means I can determine exactly what I want – and means I can develop my primary research into a new walk. It gives me all the power. I can act the character and use a grid system to help me. I hoping that the end result will make people laugh, the character is going to be walking in a very weird but exaggerated way. I’m going to then do a couple of tests from my live footage to again determine what the final walk will be.

Two sides of a personality – building the character

Building the character is very important. I don’t want to create two different people performing a walk – so my aim is to make it believable and that the story is clear. The two different parts of the walk will show the concept of how we often let go when we think no one is there – especially when we listen to music with headphones – people tend to sink into their own worlds and don’t take notice of the surroundings they forget where they are and can just loose themselves. I have many times sung a line or word from a song when in public and I get embarrassed as those around are not in that moment in my world. I / and the character look ridiculous from the outside. So I will need to spend some time on this.