Attended a master class with Jason Ryan here in Dublin yesterday. It was organized by Animation Skillnet and Screen Training Ireland and was a very enjoyable and educational day. Very nice to catch up with Jason again and have a chat too.
A dialogue shot I animated a while back. I’m pretty sure I could animate this better now but I still like her personality in it.
I rigged Shadow the cat for the online animation school iAnimate and wanted to try it out on my own shot so I also rigged the free BB8 model from getwrightonit and put them together. Hopefully people on the internet like cats.. and Star wars. 🙂
These are shots I animated while studying with iAnimate this year. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot while working on them. Big thanks to my awesome teacher Ted Ty and to all at iAnimate. Hope you enjoy them!
Today I delivered the finished version of a brand new rig for the iAnimate character ‘Shadow’. I re-rigged the body a while back and now I’ve added a very flexible face rig too which features both a GUI and on-face controls. The rig runs at real-time speeds and should be very fun to animate with. It was a little daunting building a rig to be used by an entire animation school but I learned a lot while building it and I’m pretty proud of it now and excited to see what the students do with it. I have a couple of ideas for shots I’d like to try with it myself..
New iAnimate feature reel! So proud that one of my shots made the cut, so much great work on it from my fellow students!
So I finished the last feature animation workshop at iAnimate yesterday, I had an absolute blast there, such a great experience. I’m still addressing notes from our last critique class and polishing the shots I plan to render and put on online but I’m also trying to boil down what it is I want to take away most from my studies at iAnimate.
Over the course of the workshops there I’ve learned a lot of different things, ranging from small workflow tricks, to much larger realizations about what we are really trying to achieve when we animate characters.
I’ve learned things about myself too, about my own strengths and weaknesses and tendencies. These lessons are not always fun but they make a big difference in the long run.
I’ve learned to stop being so precious about my work. I’ll delete a section of animation now and re-block it without a thought whereas previously I’d resist changes, largely out of the fear that I may not get the same or better results twice! With experience and confidence that one gets much easier.
I’ve learned to ditch my self-consciousness on camera and give myself over the process of shooting acting reference for animation. The more I’ve done this the more I’ve enjoyed it and the better the resulting animation has turned out. I now own two cameras and an orange wig and all of those have turned out to be very useful tools for me.
But probably the biggest thing I’ve learned is – stop tweaking!
I used to be a big graph editor guy, I guess it suits the logical side of my brain, I see smooth curves and I hope the animation will look smooth too. But what I’ve often found is that when I’m trying to get an action working I’d have a tendency to go in and start pulling curves around trying to get something working. I’d jump from key to key pulling tangents and changing key values and scrubbing the timeline after each change to see what improvement (if any!) I’d just made as a result.
But often when doing this I’d disappear down a rabbit hole of tweaking curves and when I’d come up for air I’d realize that I’d gone well off track from what I was trying to achieve. I may have made something look clean and fluid but it would often be totally wrong for the action required in the shot.
So, my solution for this is to simply stop – and think. I’ve come to realize that it’s often just a matter of fixing one pose to make an action work, or taking out one frame (or adding one) to make the spacing of a move feel much better. The trick is figuring out which that ‘one’ is.
That’s where experience and practice comes in I guess and it’s difficult sometimes, especially when you’ve been working on a shot for a while and objectivity is running low.
But when you find that ‘one’, it’s so satisfying making that simple change that makes the parts suddenly click together and work.
Working on an update to my bhGhost tool for Maya, this new version allows you to choose two different colours, which can make it easier to see tight spacing, or colour keys and breakdowns separately. Currently testing this out on my iAnimate assignments while doing Feature Workshop 7 🙂