Lesson #7 – Squash & Stretch

Let’s continue with the Principles of Animation … let’s see how to handle with “Squash & Stretcht”! 😉

(In the Lesson I used the “Eleven Rig”)

Lesson #6 – Slow In & Slow Out

Let’s continue with the Principles of Animation … let’s see how to smooth our animation with “Slow In & Slow Out”! 😉

(In the lesson I used the rig “Pete” by Long Winter Members)


——————————-

Slow In & Slow Out RECAP

The Slow In and Slow Out principle or Ease In and Ease Out is so important but also really easy to understand and put in practice!

The concept is:

 an object doesn’t have a constant speed during a movement. It will have an acceleration at the beginning and a deceleration at the end

slow_in_slow_out_02.png

So, will starts slower, SLOW IN, increase the speed in between, and ends slower before to stop SLOW OUTslow_in_slow_out_03.png

To add a Slow in and Slow out to a movement we need to change the spacing of the in-betweens at the start and the end

If we have an object that moves from A to B and the tangent is linear, so we don’t’ have any variation in the speed, we would have a stiff and mechanical movementslow_in_slow_out_06.png

But…if we have the same movement, but we just change the position of the in-betweens  near the first key pose and the last one, the movement result more soft, smoothed, and realisticslow_in_slow_out_07.pngslow_in_slow_out_08.png

Always remember that we are doing cartoon, so to have a more appealing animation, we can also exaggerate this principle!slow_in_slow_out_09.png

This doesn’t mean that you have to encrase the timing of your animation to have more in-betweens at the start and the end. It’s always based on the speed of your action. In a faster action you will have few frames but you still can manage them in order to have a slow in and slow out

slow_in_slow_out_10.png

Changing the curve in the Graph Editor is very easy to achieve the result we need, using a FLAT tangents we already have a smoothness on the extremesslow_in_slow_out_11.png

if we use the SPLINE tangents we can reach the same result using the handlesslow_in_slow_out_12.png

We can also add an in-between near the first pose, and an other near the final pose, and move them on a value closer to the extremes, until you don’t reach your desiderata effectslow_in_slow_out_13.png

But…keep attention!

When you adjust the handles don’t create this type of curve, where it goes on a higher (or lower) value compared to the last pose valueslow_in_slow_out_14.png otherwise you will have a backward and forward movement. So, if you just want to smooth the forward movement, the curve should be like this one belowslow_in_slow_out_15.png

slow_in_slow_out_16.pngSlow_In_Slow_Out_Pendulumlook how smoothed is the movement on the two extremes. SLOW FAST SLOW

But…

with the same key poses and timing, but with a different spacing, we would have a linear movement, that is really unrealisticSlow_In_Slow_Out_Pendulum_Linear

As you can see in the graph editor , I created a Loop animation so I have the two poses at the beginning and the end with the same position, and an other extreme in the middle with the pendulum in the opposite direction, in this case the tangent is LINEAR, that’s why we have this stiff effect, the interpolation has a uniform velocity, so all the in-betweens have the same distance between each other

…just switching the same curve in FLAT, the spacing of the in-between change and the movement is more realistic

If we create the same movement with a character, the principle doesn’t change, we will always have a movement that start slow, takes speed and slow down again

Slow_In_Slow_Out_Character_FrontSlow_In_Slow_Out_Character_SideSo … use this principle, with all its variations, for your objects and characters animations!  It’s easy and quick to achieve and your animations will change a lot! 😉

Tips #3

– TOON SHADER –

Here a different way to render your character! Are you a fan of 2D style? A Toon Shader is an alternative choice! 😉toon01

To create a Toon Shader you just have to select the geometry, go in the TOON Tabtoon02

here you will find different TOON style, I usually use SHADED BRIGHTNESS TWO TONEtoon03

after you click on one of the options, go in the ATTRIBUTE EDITOR and edit the two colors in the COLOR TABtoon04

one lighter, one darkertoon05

That’s is! 🙂 But…toon06

 

Tips #2

– RHYTHM OF YOUR SHOT –

When you start your animation, I always suggest to create a BLOCKING first!rhythm01.png

Set your tangents in STEPPED mode, in order to have a Pose to Pose, with no interpolation between keys!rhythm02

In this simple example, the Timing and the Rhythm of the shot is too boring…Timing_oldIt’s not interesting… all the keyposes, the mains action, have the same speed and a regular timing!rhythm03

Add variations in the intensity and speed of any actions helps you to have a more interesting shot! rhythm04.png

In a Blocking phase is really easy to adjust timing and spacing just moving your keyposes, change them or add some new breakdowns!rhythm05.png

In this new version, the Rhythm is much more interesting!Timing_newI added this variations: different spacing and intensity for each actions, more breakdowns, some anticipations, some exaggeration…and now also the mood of the character is more clear!rhythm06.png

rhythm07.png

Tutorial #05 – Animate a Character Turn

-Animate a Character Turn-

Learn how to animate a Character Turn in two different Timing, Fast and Slow! 🙂

This tutorial is connected to the Lesson 05 where I explain the principles of TIMING and SPACING!

In this Tutorial I used this lovely Rig “Alya” by Eyad Hussein https://eyad.tv/home/ It’s really a great rig and I suggest you to check it when will be availabe (you have to wait the first quarter of 2017 :P). But you can fill the pre-registration form on this link and you will receive an email once the rig is ready for download https://eyad.tv/home/alya_pre_registr…

Alya

After the tutorial I suggest you do do the Exercise#2 “Animate a Character Turn”Exercise_002

—————–

Charater Turn Tutorial RECAP

Let’s see how to animate two different turns of a character:01.png

The first Turn we are going to do is the:02

We start setting the two key poses. In the first one she looks on the left screen, and in the last one she looks on the right, with a surprised expression.

The idea is that she suddenly hears something coming from the right screen. So, the movement will be pretty fast: 10 Frames03.png

The software create the interpolation between this two poses04.png

and the result is a linear movement that is really far from the result we wantHead_turn_fast_LINEAR

let’s add an in-between two frames after the first pose, at frame 305.png

the position of the head is pretty close to the first one, so we slow down the spacing!

To slow down the head rotation, go in the graph editor, select the head rotation axis and drag down the key at frame 3, so that we have less change in position between frame 1 and frame 3

So, REMEMBER THAT: in the part where we have a SLOW SPACING we have less change in position, the movement is slower and the curve is almost flat, where we have a FAST SPACING we have more change, the movement is faster and the curve go down, or go up, depends on the axis movement!

so, in the In-between at frame 3 the head is still rotated on the left, we have a little downward translation of the chest, the shoulders rotate a bit upwards and the eyes open a bit! JUST A BIT!! 😀06.png

Let’s add a breakdown at frame 511.png

the chest continue to go down (just a bit)12.png

and we speed up the spacing of the head rotation. It starts to rotate on the right13

and we also add a little squash of the head. So the head volume deforms a bit, decreasing  in height and increasing in width 14.png

Head_turn_fast_BREAKDOWN.gif

between frame 3  and frame 5 we have the change of the look direction, it moves from left to right15.png

and we shouldn’t use more then 2 frames, otherwise we would have a floating look result and the characters would result totally lifeless!

So at frame 3 we still have the same look position of frame 1, but at frame 5 we already have the same look position of the last pose16.png

So, at frame 5 we move the look manually on the right17.png

This movement must to be really fast and two frames is even too much, so let’s go at frame 4 and we move it a bit more on the right18.png

So the big movement happens between frame 3 and frame 4, and at frame 5 we have a bit adjustment19.png

Let’s reduce the spacing in the end! We add an in-between at frame 8, where the head almost reached the final position20.png

To slow down the movement we do as before, in the graph editor, we move the key more close to the last one so the curve is almost flat21.png

Last, we add a MOVING HOLD, approximately 10/12 frames after the last pose. We just smooth the movement: the head, the chest, and the eyes continues to move just a bit, just enough to don’t result that the body freezes22.png

Now you can also add some details and overlap, like the hairs animation or a blink in the breakdown!Head_turn_fast_REFINED

——————

Let’s now do the:01a.pngLike the other one we start setting the two key poses. For this slow turn let’s imagine for example that she’s just looking around. On the first key she looks on the left screen, now in a much more relaxed expression, and in the last key, she’s turned on the right screen. The movement now it’s slower, 30 Frames01.png

The software create the interpolation between this two poses02.png

and we have this LINEAR movementHead_Turn_Slow_LINEAR.gif

Let’s add a breakdown approximately more close to the first key, at frame 1203.png

on this breakdown the head is still rotated on the left screen, we have a small translation downward and a bit of squash of the head, we add an half blink, so we translate downward the upper lids and the eyebrows, and just a bit the bottom lids up04.png05.png

we add an in-between  around frame 20. We  slow down the spacing, at this point the head almost reached the final position

06.png

we add an other in-between just after the first key pose, at frame 507.png

here the change is really imperceptible, the head almost doesn’t move, it just have a tiny translation downward, also the upper lids and the eyebrows moves upward just a little bit08.png

So…the main head turn happens between frame 12 and frame 20!09.png

Between frame 14  and frame 16 we change the eye look direction, in this three frames (at frame 15 the eyes almost reached the position of frame 16)! 10.png

And after that… we add the moving hold at the end11.png

and some hair animation!Head_Turn_Slow_REFINED.gif

Tutorial #04 – How to Create a Bouncing Ball

-How to Create a Bouncing Ball-

Learn how to create the aimation of a Bouncing Ball just following this quick and easy tutorial, in the first part I also show how to create a simple rig for the ball! 😉

This tutorial is connected to the Lesson 05 where I explain the principles of TIMING and SPACING!

After the tutorial I suggest you do do the Exercise#1 “How to create a Bouncing Ball”Exercise_001

Bouncing Ball Tutorial RECAP

Let’s start with the Front view. We pose the ball in the air at frame 1 (approximatly 10 units on Y)Schermata 2017-03-17 a 13.10.06at frame 13 tha ball go back on the ground so we put at zero the Y translation in the channel box. Schermata 2017-03-17 a 13.10.17.pngLet’s take this line of the grid as reference for the ground. Schermata 2017-03-17 a 13.10.25.png-As I said in the Lesson 5,any bounce lose speed and force so the timing slow down at any bounce so do the high of the bounce-

So for the second bounce we slow down the timing and the ball will bounce in 10 frames instead of 12. So we go at frame 23 and we put the ball in the air again, but this time we reduce the height of the bounce! To be more precise, look at the value on Y of the first bounce. and reduce it a bit: the first bounce is height 10 units, so let’s put the second one 3 units less compared to the first one, so… at 7 units.Schermata 2017-03-17 a 13.10.48.png

Then we put the other key, where the ball go down again, with the same amount of frame it use to go up, “10 frames”, so we go at frame 33 and we put the value of Y at zero. Schermata 2017-03-17 a 13.11.01

We do the same for other 5/6 bounces. Always decreasing in height and timing.

This is a reference for the consecutive bounces:BOUNCING_BALL_guide

This is just an example:

1st bounce  12 frames – 10 height

2nd bounce 10 frames (+ 10 to go on the ground)  / 7 height

2nd bounce3rd bounce 8 frames (+ 8 to go on the ground) /  5 height

4th bounce 6 frames (+ 6 to go on the ground)  / 3 height

5th bounce 4 frames (+ 4 to go on the ground)  / 1 height

6th bounce 3 frames (+ 3 to go on the ground)  / 0.5 height

7th bounce 2 frames (+ 2 to go on the ground)  / 0.2 height

4th bounce 1 frames (+ 1 to go on the ground)  / 0.07 height

Now we have all the bounces in LINEARBouncing_ball_Linearso we need to open the graph editor and polish the curves!

In the graph editor we select the translation of the Y axis, and if you set the curves in AUTO TANGENTS or FLAT TANGENTS you can see that all the curves are smoothed, when the ball is in the air and also when it touches the ground.07.png

But we need to change this spacing, ’cause as I said in the Lesson 05, when the ball is in the air we have a SLOW SPACING (due to the combination of the gravity force/ the air resistance/ and the speed upward of the ball), but…when the ball is pushed to the ground and when it lift from the ground, we need to have a FAST SPACING08

So, the first thing to do is to select all the keys where the ball is contact with the ground (all the lower keys)09

and we switch the curves in Linear09

You can see now that during the contact the curves are straight so the movement is faster11

At this point we still need to adjust the curve before and after the contact, so we use the handles. But… if we select one handle and we try to move it, you can see that they move together12

So… we select again all the keys on the ground,and we click on the icon “BREAK TANGENTS”14

in this way we split the two handles and we can move them separately15

Now we can move them one at the time and we don’t have any influence on the other handle. So, let’s go to adjust the curve: we move them in order to have the part close to the contact much fast and slower the part in the air. The result we should have is this type of ARC16

Can you see the difference…just changing the Spacing?Bouncing_ball_Polished

Let’s now add the SQUASH and STRETCH!

As I already said also the Squash and Stretch decrease at any bounces, so in the first bounce we have a visible squash and stretch..in the last bounces the ball doesn’t deform it’s volume anymore.

We select the deformer, and we go to animate the Factor attribute on the right in the INPUTS17.png

let’s set a key at any bounce, in the lower and highest positions17b.png

At frame 13 we squash the ball decreasing the Factor value18.png

One frame before the contact, at frame 12, we stretch the ball, increasing the Factor value19.png

and we do the same one frame after the contact, frame 1420.png

Now we open the graph editor and we select the deformer factor21.png

We slow down the spacing of the stretch when the ball is in the air, so… the ball deforms when is close to the ground but quickly go back to its original shape when is in the air. We add two keys on the curve, one after the stretch and an other before the stretch: we click on the ADD KEY icon, we select the curve and with “central” click we add the keys22.png

we move them down, close to the original size, without the stretch23.png

And we do the same for 3/4 bounces, the deformation is each time smaller.

Bouncing_ball_Squash&Stretch

Ok, now we can add the forward movement.

We set a key at frame 1 and an other key at the end of the shot, at frame 9024.png

At frame 1 we move the ball on the left screen, just out of the frame25.png

and on frame 90 move it on the right screen26.png

Let’s go in the graph editor and we select the axis with the forward movement. The curve is Linear at the beginning, and Flat at the end27.png

we add an other key around frame 8028.png

move this key on a value more close to the last one

So now the movement start fast and slow down at the end!

Now we just need to adjust the rotation of the ball during the stretch, because if you look at the ball during the squash and stretch you can see that righ now, when the ball stretch, doesn’t follow the Arc path, is straight but should bend on right and left

We can adjust the rotation using the deformer.

We select the deformer and we set a key on the rotation of the deformer on any bounce, in the contacts and in the highest positions. For all the bounces where we have the squash and stretch!31.png

and then we just rotate a bit the deformers on the key before the contact and on the key after the contact

and…THAT’S IT!

Bouncing_ball_Forward_movement

Ref_Lesson #4

Lesson #4 –Principles of Animation RECAP

here the LESSON

The secret of animation is enclosed in the Principles of Animation!

That you will have to learn, understand and well “impress” in your mind if you want to became a good animator! 😉principlesAnimation.png

but let’s quickly see “how animation works” first. The first thing you should understand is that animation is composed by:

A timeline (the series of frames that compose each seconds, sequenced over the time)keys1.png

On this frames we create some KEYS (the poses that we create and impress in the timeline, in the software are represented by the red stick)

we start setting the KEY POSES, the most important and stronger poses that describe the action (in case you are doing an Acting animation) or the EXTREME KEYS (in case we are doing an action or something connected to body mechanic like a walk cycle)  this are the pose at the start and the end, or the extreme lower and higher position, or the forward and backward. keys3.png

Between the Key poses (or the extremes)  the software will create an automatic linear interpolation, too avoid a mechanic and linear movement we add some BREAKDOWN KEYS approximately in the middle of the 2 key poses, and can be called also Passing Positions cause are the poses that we have during the movement from A to B, “how we reach position B from position A”. keys4.pngAfter the breakdown, we go to create some  IN-BETWEENS KEYS (it’s not necessary to have a key on each frames, but just the strictly necessary to have a nice movement). With the in-betweens we take control of the interpolation created by the software: adjusting positions, spacing, arcs and so on.keys5.png

Clear? 🙂 Let’s sum it again:mainterms

Ok! Let’s see all the Principles of Animation, that were showed in the amazing book “Illusion of life” by two Disney Animators in 1981:illusionLife1.png

———————

Let’s start …!

timing1.pngThe TIMING is the speed and the rhythm of your animation, it change depending on where you set the Extreme Poses.

MORE FRAMES: slower movement

LESS FRAMES: faster movementtiming1.pngtiming


spacing1.pngThe SPACING is the variation of the speed during the change of position

SLOW SPACING: less change in position

FAST SPACING: more changespacing2.pngspacing.giftiming_spacing.png


slowInslowOut1.pngSLOW-IN & SLOW-OUT are used to  soften the movement at the start and the end. To make it more fluid and nice to see, we manage the position of the in-betweens, if we move the in-betweens closed to the starting pose, the extreme one, the movement will starts slower, and if we do the same for the in-betweens closed to the final pose, the last extreme, the movement will also ends slower.slowin_slowout


squash_stretch1.pngA bouncing ball would STRETCH its volume before the contact and would SQUASH when it’s on the ground. During a walk the body chest would squash when the body go down, because of the weight, and would stretch when the body go up. In facial, when a character close his eyes (especially during a big change of expression) it would squash the head when the eyes are closed, and would stretch for few frames when it open the eyes again.squashStretch2.pngsquashStretch3.pngsquash_stretch


anticipation2.pngThe ANTICIPATION is used to make a movement more readable or to create a more cartoon funny effects, it’s a movement that happens before the main one, usually in the opposite direction.
If the object moves forward, we add a backward movement 3 or 4 frames before. anticipation1.pnganticipation1anticipation3.pnganticipation2


follow1.pngIf we are animating a character turning from right to left and the head leads the movement, the rest of the body follow the head. So the head moves first, then the chest, then the arms and so on. This parts FOLLOW the head movement. During this movement we can have different reactions of each parts: before turn on the left, the arms could bend in the opposite direction, OVERLAPPING the ACTION.follow2.pngfollow_trough.gif


secondary2.pngTo make the action more interesting, or to make the intentions and the emotions of the character more clear, we can use SECONDARY ACTIONS to intensify the general feeling of the animation. During a walk, the main action is the movement of the feet and hip, but we can make the character turning his head looking around or the arms swinging, this are secondary actions.secondary4.pngsecondary1.pngsecondary_actions.gif

 


exaggeration.pngWhen we create a pose, we can EXAGGERATE it to make it more appealing, or during a movement we can make it stronger and extreme to emphasize it. NEVER BE AFRAID TO EXAGGERATE! 😀 Always think, is interesting or readable enough? Take inspiration from reality but always add your creativity!exaggeration2.pngexaggeration


appeal2.pngAPPEAL MAKES THINGS INTERESTING!

The APPEAL of a character mostly depending on the design and the story, but…we can make it more strong with poses and animation. Emphasize a pose to make the appeal of the character instantly readable!appeal.png


arcs2.pngAny movement we create, follows a path and generate an invisible ARC.

A smoothed, circular arc makes the movement fluid, more realistic and nice to watch. A straight path makes thinghs more mechanic.arcs.png


staging.pngWhen we create a shot, first of all we need to plan what where are going to show and we will try to focus the attention in the correct way, so we need to work on the STAGING. Setting the camera, the character and any other assets in the scene in a way that the main action is clearly readable and with a good rhythm, so that anybody can follow the scene and well understand what’s going on!staging1staging2staging4


poseToPose.pngThere are two way to start an animation: STRAIGHT AHEAD & POSE TO POSE

If you chose for STRAIGHT AHEAD means that you start creating the first pose and you go “straight ahead” up to the last one.streightahead.pngIf you chose for POSE TO POSE means that you start creating the main poses, the ones necessary to tell the story and better describe the main actions, and in a second time you go to add the other poses, breakdowns and in-betweens.posetopose1.png


This was just a quick explanation of the Principles of Animation, in the next lessons I’ll go trough and deeper to explain each of this principles !

So… don’t miss the next lesson: TIMING!

REF_Lesson #3

Lesson #3 –Became an Animator RECAP

here the LESSON

mfq
This is the most common question I receive so I decide to make this very fast introduction to the Animation World and guide a bit those who want to work as 3D animator:

Be a Character Animator…is GREAT! I love this job and I wouldn’t change it even if sometimes it makes you angry or frustrating, but all the emotions that this job can give you (whether good or bad) worth it! 😉

But, any other job, it have his Positive and Negative aspects, so…let’s make a list!pos_cons.png

————-Are you still motivated and convinced to go ahead? COOL! Let’s see what’s the first steps to do…

——————————————————————–

  1. Download a TRIAL version of a 3D software: you can choose between different softwares available, Maya and 3D Max (both by Softimage) are the most common.

    I always suggest Maya! It’s probably the best if you want to do animation and is very used in production companies. (3D MAX maybe is more suited if you want to specialize in Modeling IMO)trial2.png

    ———————————————————————-

  2. Watch some tutorials for the software interface! This programs are pretty complex so at the beginning, just focus on the interface for Animationinterface———————————————————————-
  3. Study the PRINCIPLES OF ANIMATION

    TIMING / STAGING / ANTICIPATION / FOLLOW THROUGH / ARCS / EXAGGERATION and so on…principlesurvivalKit.png
    ——————————————————————–

  4. Start to do some simple and basic animation exercise on Maya.
    Don’t use any complex character. You just need a sphere…
     

    …let it BOUNCE….and bounce………and bounce again…

    bouncingBall.png

    ——————————————————————–

  5. Chose a simple character and start to create some poses! Standing. Pushing. Runnning. etcetera… Study the rules for posing a character:

    Lines of actions / Silhouette / Appeal poses——————————————————————–

  6. Now you can try with facial expression! Use some references to create some of the more common expressions: HAPPY / ANGRY / SAD / DISAPPOINTED / SCAREDexpressions——————————————————————–
  7. ASK for feedbacks! Be sure that your are doing right…

    DON’T start to do too complex animations before you learned and well understood this principles!feddback——————————————————————–

  8. Chose a nice rig on the web and create your first ACTING SHOT!
    Take a short audio track from a movie and… animate!acting1——————————————————————–
  9. Create your ANIMATION REEL! Where to mix together the best exercises ands animations you created and …look for a company that needs animators! 😉reel——————————————————————–welcome1.png

 

REF_LESSON #2

Lesson #2 – Creation of a 3D Project RECAP

here the Lesson

The process to create a 3D Project (like a movie or a tv shows or a short film…etc…) is classified in 3 different stages:

  1. PRE-PRODUCTION

  2. PRODUCTION

  3. POST-PRODUCTION

——————–

PRE-PRODUCTIONLesson0002_02ProductionStage.png

When a concept, the idea of the project, is approved… we have the permission to move forward. This is a phase called Green Light!

lesson0002_05productionstage

——————
So now we can start with the Pre-Production, this are the main distinct phases:lesson0002_06productionstage

————-

Screenplaylesson0002_17productionstage

One or more screenwriters are in charge to write the script for the project.
In the screenplay we have the narrated story, the dialogues, the actions and the descriptions of the environment:

  • (example beginning of a screenplay I made for my concept for a tv show for kids)
    lesson0002_20productionstage
  • Project Title (in this case it’s Puppet House)
  • Number of the Episode
  • Title of the Episode
  • Scene heading (a short description of the location and the time of the day of that sequence)
  • Action Description (a narrative description of what happen in the scene)
  • Dialogues (name of the character and his own speech)

——————————

Character / Environment Designlesson0002_28productionstage

It’s time to define the design, the aspect of the characters and the environment and props. The concept artists create illustrations and sketches with different design for the characters and everything that need to be defined in terms of design.Lesson0002_29ProductionStage.png

————-

Storyboardstoryboard

In this step the storyboard artist create a visual description of the entire project divided by sequences and scenes.

(storyboard example)lesson0002_33productionstage-copy

  •  Title or the logo of the project
  • Number of the episode
  • Title of the episode
  • Number of the sequence (in this case this are all scenes of the same sequence)
  • Number of the scene
  • Number of the frames (the length of the scene)
  • Visual illustrations (a detailed image that show the shot, the camera take, the character actions into the locations)
  • Dialogues
  • Camera notes (for example in this case we have a track in and it’s represented in the storyboard)
  • Sound effects note (for example, i the first shot we need the sound of the rain)

Let’s see the difference between a SEQUENCE and a SCENE:

A SCENE is a part of the story with a specific camera take, any time the camera framing change  we have a new scene! So, until you don’t see a cut in the camera, is the same scenes.  scene6A group of scenes compose a SEQUENCE, this sequence takes place in a determinate location and time of the day. When we have a change in the location or time, we have a new sequence, but the number of the scenes is still progressive. SCEN11.png

————-

Vocal Trackslesson0002_45productionstage

A cast of voice actor dubb the script so that we will have a voice track to use for the production.

——————-

3D Asset Modelinglesson0002_46productionstage

The design is approved so we can go forward to create the 3D models.Using a 3D modeling software, the modeler start to literally sculpt the mesh, following the design based on the illustration of the concept artist.lesson0002_51productionstage

——————-

3D Asset Texturinglesson0002_47productionstage

In this phase, a texture artist create the texture, the surface that wll be applied on the character. He create this 2D image, for example with a software like Photoshp), after that, this image will be assign to a material which in turn will be assigned to the mesh.lesson0002_52productionstage

——————

3D Asset Rigginglesson0002_48productionstage

Once the model are done, the rigger can start to create the skeleton, the rig for the character. He add chains of bones, joints attached to the mesh so that in the Animation phase we will be able to move the character

Thanks to the rig we can select the controls of each part of the body and we can start to pose the character.  lesson0002_53productionstage

—————-

Animation Test lesson0002_49productionstage

The Animators start to test the rig and create some animations, like cycles or acting or expressions test, in this phase is important to choose and set the style of the animation.

———————

Scheduling planninglesson0002_50productionstage

Before start the production we need a planning to set the deadlines and the plan that will guide the team during the production. In this way we can decide the time that we will need to finish the project.

——————–

PRODUCTIONlesson0002_03productionstage

The production started!!  Let’s see all the main steps of this phase:lesson0002_57productionstage

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Layoutlesson0002_63productionstage-copy-copy

Using the storyboard as reference the layout artist create a 3D version of the storyboard. So they start to create all the single shots, setting the camera, import all the characters and the locations that the scenes request and set the length of the scene. Sometimes the layout artist also create  a rough blocking with some key poses in order to give to the animators a guide for the actions and type of acting they will must do in the animation stage.

layout

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Animationlesson0002_64productionstage-copy-copy

Here we are! Starting from the layout and reading the script and whatching the storyboard to have as much information and inspiration as possible, the animators start to think how to animate the characters: what type of acting,  emotions and actions are more appropriate for the shot.

The animation is divided into 2 different steps, BLOCKING and REFINE

During the Blocking step, the animators create some main poses of the characters, so that they can start to set the timing and the expression, the poses and the actions of the characters.blk
The curves of the blocking keys are create in “stepped” mode, in order to avoid interpolation between a pose and an other. If we play the blocking animation, this appears jerky, not fluid, it’s a pose to pose!
It’s far from the final result but it’s already enough clear to have a first supervision from the Animation Supervisor, cause the intentions, the timing, and the poses are all there, so is also a good way to save time in case we have to change something.
When the Blocking is approved we move to the Refine step. Here we take all the poses curves we created for the blocking and we switch the curves from stepped to “spline”.In this way our animation looks more fluid and we can go to polish the curves and finish our animation.
During all the animation process, the Animation Supervisor receive the shots from the animators and he gives them feedback or retakes (request of changes) for the shot and he has the last decision over the animations.ani

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Lightinglesson0002_65productionstage-copy

We need to place the lights in the shots. The lighting artist will do that. He will decide the illumination of the scene, the lights properties, the shadows and so on. Always keeping consistency between a shot and the others.

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Renderinglesson0002_66productionstage-copy

The last process of the production. The render artist will convert the three dimensional data  into a hight quality 2D images. So  he go to create sequences of bidimensional images,  based on the shots we crated so far, with textures, lights, shadings and the characters set in the highest quality.

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POST-PRODUCTIONlesson0002_04productionstage

The last process, the Post-Production, it’s finalized to take togheter what we have done in the production and, basically, edit, cut, add effects, adjust everything for the final export.

This are the phases:lesson0002_72productionstage-copy

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Compositinglesson0002_73productionstage-copy

Using a compositing software, the compositors takes all the renders, he combines them together and starts to adjust colors, lights, adding vfx in order to deliver optimized final images of the project.

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Video Editinglesson0002_75productionstage-copy

Now the editor proceed to finalized the editing of the project, adjusting the length of the shots, cutting scenes depending on the request of the director, adding fade effects and so on.

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Sound Editinglesson0002_76productionstage-copy

The same for this process: the sound designer fixes, adjusts, adds, and edits the audio, music and sound fx.

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Exportlesson0002_77productionstage-copy

Now the project is done, everything is finished with the approval of the directors and producers, and we can export the final project!

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Ok let’s sum up the main job titles:lesson0002_79productionstage-copy

and…THAT’S IT! 😉

Ref_Lesson #1

Lesson #1 – Animation Techniques RECAP

here the LESSON

Quick introduction to the animation world! I will quickly explain what’s the role of an animator and the different animation techniques!

What does a Character Animator do?

Be a Character Animator means…BRING TO LIFE a fictional characteranimrigI always says that…bringlifeas animators we moves and lets speak these characters, in practice, we control their movements like “actors” and… in this way we create the…illusionan example of an Animation (on the left) and a totally Mechanic/Lifeless one (on the right). Can you see the difference? If you do, you are on the good way… 😉

let’s see the main differences:

create asymmetric expression to give more appeal!

and don’t forget to smooth any movement with soft lines!

draw05
 I drew a lot  but, I can’t say that I’m a good drawer…

So, we must dispel this fake myth.

No, you don’t need to be a good drawer…to became a good 3D animator!!!

draw04Main Animation Techniques

animtechniques

Traditional Animation

Is composed by sequences of hand drawings created on a series of pages . All the drawings are made on an Animation Desk or Light Table!

A light table has a translucent surface illuminated from behind with a light collocated into the table, on this surface you put the sequence of papers: when you draw the animations, thanks to the light inside the desk, you can see in transparence the drawings on the previous and following pages.

An animation is composed by a sequence of frames, each frame is represented by a drawing.

The Frame rate, the number of frames per second can change depending on the type of project (THIS APPLIES TO ANY TECHNIQUE)

framerate

Computer Animation

Is the animation of objects created in a three-dimensional space.

Using a 3D Software like Maya or 3D Max, we animate a 3D object.

We start with a mesh, “the Model” that is created by the “Modeler”, on this mesh the “Rigger” will create the skeleton, “the Rig”, the series of bones, joints and the selectable controls that the Animator will use to move the character!
Selecting and moving the controls,  we create the motion! 🙂

Stop Motion

With this technique we physically move a real objects, a puppet!

Frame by frame we pose the character and we take pictures of it.

The puppet usually has a structure inside, like an iron skeleton, that allow to easily pose him.

Ref_Run Cycle

Run Cycle Tutorial recap and TIPS! 😉

here the Tutorial

Before start…take your time to plan the Run and chose the style.

  • Which type of run do you want to create?
  • Where’s he/she going?
  • Why?

Follow the design of the character: this can guide you to make your run more appealing and interesting!   Be creative!!! 🙂

Decide the Speed of your run, make some test during the blocking to find the best speed!
When you calculate the length of the shot consider that you have to sum the tow step, plus one frame at the end that is just a duplicate of the first one, so:

  1 step frames + Second step frames + 1 frame

Start the Blocking with the main poses:

run_021- Straight Leg (sx foot)
3- Down
5- Push
8- Up
12- Straight Leg (dx foot)

run_03.png1- Straight Leg (sx foot) the leading leg is straight forward but doesn’t touch the ground yet. The right leg is behind in the air.

run_04.png3- Down translate down the COG, the left leg is flat on the ground and starts to slide backward. The right leg start to pass forward.

run_05.png5- Push Translate Up the body, the left leg is behind, bend the foot that is close to leave the ground. The right leg is almost in front.

run_06.png8- Up Push a bit more Up the body. The left leg is behind in the air and the right leg is pretty high in the air, bended, in front of the character.

blkrun

Speed UP the Spacing between the Straight Leg pose and the Down pose, then Slow Down between the Push and the following Straight Leg pose, the result will be a sort of “pause” in the air, and the run will result more snappy and cartoon.

spacing_armdx1spacing_totalRefine the animation

  • Feet Refine:  in the Graph Editor adjust the curves and switch in Linear the part where the feet touch the ground and in Spline when they are in the air.

z_curves_foot.pngBend the feet and the Toes

footBendings.png

Keep attention to the arcs of the feet (use motion trail if necessary)!!!

spacing_body03pallinoarm_leg_curve

Here’s the final Curves of the foot on Z:

Here’s the final Curves of the UP and Down of the COG and the Chest Refine:

Ref_Female_Walk_02

Female Walk CURVES & Graph Editor

Here’s the main Curves for Feet / COG / Hip / Chest, showed in the Graph Editor,
based on the “Walk Cycle” I posted in the previous Tutorial ( Walk Cycle Tutorial)

  • Leg / Foot CURVESleg_ctrlfoot_ctrl
  • COG CURVES cog_ctrlcog_ctrl
  • Hip CURVES hip_ctrl

hip_ctrl

  • Chest CURVES

chest_ctrl

chest_ctrl

Ref_Female_Walk_01

Ref_Poses_1

First Question poses7poses8we need all this information before think to the pose

also…

poses9quick example of differents mood

poses6the main 3 rules for a good pose are:

poses10example of Lines of Action:

poses5example of readable silhouette:

poses4

poses01

…play, exaggerate…experiment with the body!!!

poses3

REF_Maya Interface_03

SELECTION MASK ICONS PANEL

sele

REF_Maya Interface_02

DISPLAY SETTINGS

you can change the display mode of your objects in the scene pressing 1,2,3,4,5,6, or 7 on your keyboard. (You can also change it from the menu Shading)display2

REF_Maya Interface_01

How to Move in the VIEW SCENE

here the keyboard shortcuts to translate, rotate and zoom in your scene:02sceneviewcommand