This is my final personality walk, overall I am pleased with how it came out. Especially since a couple of months ago I had never even used the software. My final animation is about a girl walking home from school, she decides to start walking with a funny dance – unknown to her there is a person outside their house watching her – she becomes embarrassed and then hurries away pretending that nothing happened. I feel that my animation captured this story well. Although if I had more time I would have chosen some music at the start where she was dancing and then cut it when the person sees her – this would have emphasized the fact she was dancing. I began this project by first looking at references for my two character walks. I found a lot of dance like walks – my favourite being the ‘Singin’ in the rain’ as during this scene the main character is in his own world dancing until he stops when he sees a policeman watching and he hurries away. Other references that I found very useful were from musicals or music videos. I even looked at French expressionist dance (Funny Face) as the performers create different strange shapes with their bodies. Research reference for the embarrassed walk was the hardest – I found it really difficult to discover any footage. The closest I came was Violet from the Incredibles – who character is normally introvert and timid. During the scene where the guy she likes looks at her she hurries away. Looking at characters such as these helped me understand how they may act when they are embarrassed. I also looked into ROM COMS which often feature lots of embarrassment.
After looking online for research, I then took it into my own hands and filmed footage of myself walk ‘dancing’ and trying to capture embarrassed walks. This was important as it let me decide how I wanted the scene to look (and because I couldn’t find much on the embarrassed walk, I helped there too). From these I created some pose – to pose drawings and selected my favourite from these. Overall from my research I took away understanding that when people become embarrassed they tend to do one of these four things, 1) laugh it off, 2) retreat back into themselves, humiliation 3) they touch their face or body to draw attention away from themselves and 4) pretend as though nothing has happened. These four things are what really helped me when animating my walk cycle. From all my research most of the dance walks use the arms to express the movement the feet cannot – in addition the hips swaying, the waist twisting and the head bobbing.
The making of the two walk cycles was the most challenging thing I’ve had to do for this unit. I spent a long time with the dance walk to try and get it just right when animating it, the arms just looked really robotic. I decided to instead add more overlap and fluidity into the flicks – changing from the original footage. I came across many problems; one of these was editing the two walks together. Technically it was really confusing of how I would put these two cycles, in the end I used two separate scenes and used camera cuts and in After Effects combine the pieces together to make the final animation. Another challenge I faced was the lighting and modelling – I have done any of this before accept a short workshop during progression week. I decided on using a dark setting so that the lampposts that I created could light the scene (along with the in-direct sun and sky). I’m really pleased with the lighting – it adds the atmosphere of this night time feel. If I had more time I would have used a spotlight on the character to bring her out a bit more, in some of the scenes she does seem a bit too dark. The camera angles that have been used also given the story that suspense. I really like how I decided not to show the man at the house till after she walks past him (I tried is where the camera cuts from her reaction to him but it felt very stiff and for such a short animation it felt to quick.) Overall I am so proud at my two personality walks – we can clearly see a change from a dancey walk to a walk which is more shy, conscious as she walks past the man.
Above are my three walk cycle tutorials that I completed. They were the first introduction into how a walk cycle works. I’m really happy with how they turned out – of course I followed a tutorial however just learning about the spline tool and how it can manipulate the way that the walk cycle helped me incredibly during my final piece. The top animation is of the blue alien, I really like this rig and tutorial as the character has a lot of good handles that would give the walk cycle a realistic feel. I also liked that there was eyes, which offered another way to show emotion. The orange rig, I found easier to use and I liked that there was an option of a female rig (I actually used this for my final animation because of this, as well as the fact the hips moved, whereas the blue alien was just straight). The last rig (the ball and legs) was the hardest for me to operate. As we used instructions instead of watching footage I found it difficult to grasp everything that we had to do. The ball and legs as you can see are not perfect as I later returned to try and repair (an even worse ball and legs animation) I realized that the splines were a little messed up. I also realized that I had accidently key framed after the cycle and so the legs were changing more deformed. Without doing these tutorials I wouldn’t have been able to create my final piece. These tutorials let me understand the way walk cycles work.
Ball and Tail
The ball and tail is a very simple animation I created. It again uses the principle of overlap in the tail. I began researching into this by looking into several different animals – Lemurs, lions, foxes and squirrels. From my references I then studied how the tails move. All of these tail tend to move differently because of the structure of the tail. For instance the squirrels tail was so light it practically was carried with even the smallest force however the lions tail was stiff and bounces in a ‘straight’ line instead of folding. Surprisingly the lion tail actually helped me a great deal during my tests when I experimented with how the tail could move. The lion tail when the lion runs goes in an in and out curl (similar to an ‘s’) shape. My pose to pose studies from my research probably gave me an opportunity to really understand what direction the tail should move if the ball would move in one way.
I am really pleased with my final outcome. I feel that the story is really simple (which is good, as I could spend more time perfecting the tail) and the cameras that I used aided the look of the piece. For example when the ball and tail is sitting on top of the block, I had a over the shoulder view so that the ball and tail appears to be higher up (he has all the power – and the small ball looks even more smaller and sadder.) Some of the trouble I faced was running out of time in the last half of the animation. Compared to the start, the end seems a lot slower paced, however this does build a different atmosphere (I wanted to convey a scene of sadness and empathy – and I feel I achieved this. However I was able to return to this piece and edit it so that it is a lot smoother. Overall I really enjoyed making this animation, because it was so simple I could really spend the time just playing about and trying to create a smooth piece.
The pendulum was a very short animation I created to understand overlapping. This principle must be one of the most important as it gives weight and realism when it is done correctly. I really pleased with how my animations turned out. They are so simple but yet because of the movement in the pendulum have such a good look. The first test was done in class – I found it difficult at first to swing the pendulum to a complete stop without it looking to forced. After a couple of tries, I feel that I was able to capture it above. The other two animations on this clip I really like as they are a lot more lively and really show exaggeration in their ‘tails’ as they move about.
As my first animation using Maya software it was daunting to know for sure that I was doing the right thing (splines scared me at first) however starting with this really simple animation help me get into using Maya. It also introduced me into the animation principles that I would later use for all of my animations. The idea behind this animation was to animate two balls bouncing – I began my researching into lots and lots of online footage of animations with similar tests, films with bouncing balls and animations. I also recorded my own footage which I animated onto in Maya. The idea behind my finished idea was based on having two balls the same size bouncing together, but one was more bouncy and lighter whereas the other was heavier and wouldn’t bounce much. I based these two on the characteristics of a bath bomb and a golf ball (which is why there is not much squash and stretch – but I made many tests with that technique.) The two balls would look identical therefore the audience wouldn’t have know which one was which apart from watching them bounce (and hopefully this has been achieved.) What I really like about my animation is the arc that is made as the balls about. Overall I am happy with how my first animation came about – I researched and tested lots of experiments and I believe this helped me to achieve this result.
Overall this first term has been challenging, exciting and very rewarding. I feel that I have already progressed so much and its only been a couple of months. I’m really looking forward to the next units and learning more about Maya and animating.