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Thread: Smashed Pumpkin's Light Box

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    Smashed Pumpkin's Light Box

    I've noticed the motion graphics and animation section of these forums is some what dead so I'm starting this thread as an animation sketchbook that I'm going to try and keep updated relatively regularly. Hopefully a few intrepid animators might follow suit and we can strengthen the animation section of CA.

    I'll start with my latest exercise. Having just started doing lip sync, here's my first attempt:

    We were given a line of text to read and I got the last words of Louis XIV. I gave it a classical spin with the notion of imortality.


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    Pretty good! His body kind of snaps in the break between sentences. I think you could smooth that out a little or anticipate the motion a little better.

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    Here's my very first animations. Jees but the last 6 months have really flown by, still feels like I've only just started...


    I like to think it has a certain charm instead of just being rubbish?


    This one is a bit hard to see, should have adjusted the lights a bit.


    This was was an exercise in combining followthrough with straight ahead animation.


    We had to do lots of these.....lots...

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    Very good first animations! The first one was really good! (the lip sync one lol)

    I still need to do traditional animations, which hopefully i will start soon.

    Can i ask what programme is it you use to create the 3D animations.

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    Thanks Northtouch, yea I must say the lip-sync work I've started on these last couple of weeks has probably been the most enjoyable work I've done so far. Working with sound deffinitely helps bring work to life.

    I must say I'd never done any animation before I started my current course and so far it's been entirely traditional animation tuition (as well as a basic level of software learning). But yea, if you should try some, it's great fun and also nice to know you're learning some of the fundamentals.

    All my 3D work is done in Autodesk Maya. So far I've also been rendering with Mental Ray and then compositing in After Effects.

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    These few are from my first term having started on 3d.



    This was meant to be a happy walk but I think the foot falls were too heavy.


    Angry walk.


    This was probably the most successful of the three walks I ended up with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smashed_Pumpkin View Post
    Thanks Northtouch, yea I must say the lip-sync work I've started on these last couple of weeks has probably been the most enjoyable work I've done so far. Working with sound deffinitely helps bring work to life.

    I must say I'd never done any animation before I started my current course and so far it's been entirely traditional animation tuition (as well as a basic level of software learning). But yea, if you should try some, it's great fun and also nice to know you're learning some of the fundamentals.

    All my 3D work is done in Autodesk Maya. So far I've also been rendering with Mental Ray and then compositing in After Effects.
    Oh ok, i have after effect CS4 but im completely noob at it. Im gonna try and get my hands on some 3D software aswell, i have no experience in that too so yh i still have ALOT to learn lol.

    Oh and your walking animations above are looking good. The third one definatly looking best. The first one, i might add, has the arms waving abit too much. Maybe try moving the shoulders more inwards after each step. But other than that all looking good.

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    Looks like a good tutorial, Richard Williams has done some really good tutorials for almost all the traditional actions. I think a lot of his videos are on youtube there's a dvd collection which has it all in one place if you can get your hands on that. As for getting hold of 3D software, I heard that you can get a 3-year student trial of Maya but I've yet to actually get hold of it myself, luckily as much access to uni computers as I want, all of which have the software.

    As for those walk cycles, yea the "happy" one ended up looking more like a "crazy guy on happy pills" kind of walk. I think we'd just covered adding follow-through to limbs so I went to town on them.

    EDIT:

    Infact here it is: http://students.autodesk.com/

    I assume you'll need to prove that you're a student to get it done but it seems pretty good.

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    Thats actaully one of the first things i did was go and buy that book on animation by Richard Williams. I have to say its a really good book, ive read most of it. I only got it because everyone here recommended it so i bought it, and i dont regret it.

    Oh and thanks for the link, ill be sure to give that a look later. Would be good if i can get my hands on some of that software.

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    Yea the book is fantastic, something about having information printed in front of you beats pdf/video every time. The dvd is useful to actually see the examples in motion though.

    Here's a few more bits from my first term:


    This was really just an exercise in working with a sinusoidal wave.


    Erm, a bird.... didn't quite get it's sense of weight right but it served it's purpose.


    I think this was the most fun of the animals I did, it's back legs don't take the weight correctly but again this one got tweaked quite a lot before submission. (Rig was from creative crash, I forget who did it but I'll find out)

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    Yh i saw these already i checked out your youtube channel, i hav to say they are all pretty good. The horse is really good and so is the fish, and i think the birds not bad either, i guess a bit more rendering on it and actually it would look beleivable or something to that extent lol.

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    Hey smashed_pumpkin,

    I like your style!
    Dynamic movements and good tests.

    I noticed that in your walk cycles the secondary animation of the hands is a bit overdone (imo). The distinction between the angry and happy animation isn't really clear for me either (apart from the fists opposed to loose hands). I think you can get more out of it.

    All in all there is some great vividness in your characters, the animation is great aswell, but you need to incorporate more emotion!

    (the fish looks swell btw)

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    Dude, that's such a huge improvement from the 2D work to your 3D work. Nice job. I do agree, this section is kinda dead, I'm committed to also try to revive it, as soon as I do something new.

    Onto your work, that horse looks pretty damn accurate. I have yet to play with 3D (afraid more like it) but as far as that goes, it looks about right, compared to a lot of other stuff I've seen.

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    Cheers guys!

    Northtouch, I'm gradually getting this thread up to date with my youtube channel so it becomes the animation equivalent of a sketchbook thread. Yea the horse I spent the most time on because it was by far the most complex. I've been avoiding making my own rigs so that I can focus entirely on the animation, unfortunately there seem to be practically no free bird rigs on the net, hence my crappy bird.

    Thanks Lewis, the secondary animation the walk cycles are indeed way over done, I think I was wall and truly in the "wow! I can make things move" phase of learning for these. I really should try a few more with what I know now and see if I can get a more subtle, realism to them.

    PLeon, thanks for the kind words. I've always been a lot more confident when working in 3D. I've always wanted to be good at 2D but it's never come quite as naturally.

    Don't be daunted by trying 3D, once you get past the rather steep learning curve of the software it's pretty straight forward. I'm always freak out slightly when I see the work from the guys on the 2D side of my course because it seems so much more painfully difficult. Truth be told the real difficulty of animation is in the knowledge of movement and what looks good. After all, 3D animation renders to a 2D image so all the principals are the same.

    This was one of the horse runs I did but the one I submitted for my first term assessment was only a single run of a cycle which doesn't really work on youtube. In the final one I had ironed out that annoying click happening in the front "shoulder" as it takes the weight on that leg.


    This was the same cycle but with the master control translated to match the movement of the feet, I know it's not really the right way to do it but at this distance it works. What I did think was interesting about this one was that the head seems far too static yet in the above video it doesn't seem a problem. I suppose at further distances, characteristic movements need to me exaggerated.


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    A sketchbooky thread for animation? That's a fantastic idea!

    It definitely looks like you've improved a lot. Your newest horse gallops look very nice, but it looks like the mesh is popping on its right front leg in the top vid. That sometimes happens to me when a joint is moved beyond its limits, but since it doesn't look like you've done that at all, maybe a skinweighting issue...? Other than that, the movement looks very solid.

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    These are very well executed Smash Pumpkin. Fluid and no funny looking movements. You got it just right.

    Yes the sketchbook animation thread thing is a great idea. I'll be updating on my existing one soon. (Been working on traditional stuff.)

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    Cheers guys,

    Zaphkiel, make yourself a sketchbook thread and show us your work! Yea the horse's front leg was indeed "popping" as I mentioned in the post. It took me a long time to sort it out and I found it actually came down to the fact that I hadn't fully utilized all of the rigs controls, there was a shoulder control which allowed me to offset some of the vertical movement from the "elbow" so that as the leg took the weight, it was in fact two joints making smaller vertical movements instead of one joint making a large movement.

    I'll see if I can dig out the scene file and render a few cycles of the final one I settled with....

    EDIT: Seems I don't have the file on my home computer but I'll have a look for it at uni tomorrow.

    Northtouch, I must say at the moment I'm trying keep my work as traditional as possible but while working in 3D. Sadly my post-grad course is only one year so I don't have time on my side. Looking forward to seeing more of your work.

    Last edited by Smashed_Pumpkin; February 21st, 2011 at 07:53 PM.
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    So I've made up my mind and I'm gonna try out some 3D animation after seeing this. I have 3Ds Max, the standard at my school. I'm a horrible modeler, so I'll just get already rigged models. Would you recommend I use that or try out Maya instead? Or any other suggestions on which program is more comfortable to use?

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    Whoops, you're right, you did mention that. That's what I get for skimming text and going right to the pretty videos. Sorry about that!

    PLeon: Really, it's just a matter of what you're comfortable with. I'm not going to tell you to NOT learn Maya, because the more you know, the better.

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    No worries Zaphkiel, I do it all the time too, hehe.
    (was actually a bit ill today so wasn't able to get that file from uni, maybe this is fate telling me to do another horse run for practice!)

    PLeon, I think Maya is more widely used than 3DS Max but both are pretty good. I must say my experience is pretty much Maya exclusive, I've had a browse around in 3DS Max but went back to Maya pretty quickly. I don't think it really matters what software you use in terms of developing your animation skills. They both work on the same concept of setting keys which can then be manipulated in a graph editor, they just have a few different functions.

    To be honest if you're going to be using 3DS Max at school then I would say stick with that, trying to learn two very complex pieces of software at the same time might give you more headaches than it's worth. If however you've got the time it's worth brushing up on the key differences between the two so that if you were to get a job using either you can still say you've got a fairly solid understanding of both.

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    Here's an update with on latest lip sync. This one is for a larger project one my my tutors is pulling together of lots of characters saying "random" lines of conversation to the viewer. The idea is that there would be a gallery filled with screens, each showing a different character saying a line of conversation out of context and on a contiunous loop. It's meant to be more leaning towards slightly comical and absurd in a Monty Python kind of way rather than a fine-art "deep and thought provoking" way.


    I've just noticed that I've missed out a "wide" mouth shape for the EE sound in "Worry". Best get that corrected before assessment...

    Couple more older ones for the sake of the sketchbook:


    The majority of this is in still just clamped keys (hence the lack of realistic umbrella movement). This is for the "body acting" section of my second term.


    I learnt the lesson of biting off more than I could chew with this one. This was a "bonus" 2-characters acting piece which wont be assessed but was still fun to do and I learnt one hell of a lot from it.

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    Of all of the excellent 3D work, I have to say that the happy walk happens to be a personal favorite due to how cartoony it feels. Plus, starting a sketchbook-style thread here was a wise decision.

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    The first one is spot on, I saw no real issues with it. The second one I think the action is a little too snappy. And after he starts balancing the umbrella there seems to be no real balance (like rocking back and forth a little) But that's really my only issue with it.

    And the third one is pretty good too, dunno if it's finished, but it has some nice blocking. I'd say I'm glad you tried something that you werent familiar with. Even if it looks like ass (which doesnt, I think you are on the right direction) you got something off it that you can apply to other works later.

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    Gotta say the first ones bang on. Second one, i have to agree with Pleon. The beggining i think looks great, later on it almost looks like the umbrella is not even interacting with him. Almost looks incomplete. Third one, a few jerky movements but all in all pretty good. Overall very good all 3, especially first one.

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    Cheers guys. I showed my tutor the 3rd one today and all he suggests I change is a slight stiffness in the arm gesture at around 0:08. As for the other two, yea they're snappy (as I mentioned in my comments ) because I havn't actually finished them. I probably wont get round to finishing the Two-character one because I wont be submitting it for assesment but I'll be re-working the Umbrella Balance scene for sure.

    Ugh, I've actually been working on something to help out a guy from another course. It's pretty much just a camera moving around inside a clock then panning back out through the glass and merging into some live-action footage. Doing this has made me realise how much I enjoy character animation.

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    Here's a quick render of the intro to my current project. Should have a finished thing up fairly soon...



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    The finger taping looks pretty fluid. Not rushed, but not too slow. Nice.

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    thanks, yea the idea is that he's suffering a combination of annoyance, bordom and impatience. I'll get a couple of the other scenes up on here in a sec and then the final hopefully on friday or saturday...

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    Here we go, one of a few shots of him doing something to pass the time while he waits for his computer to load...



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    i like the hand tapping very much, and the last ones great as well, only thing is that i get a bit of mechanical feeling to the hand/arm when hes putting it up on his leg at the end.
    but other than that, i enjoy watching your animations alot!

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