Friday, 3 February 2012
Dreamworks Madagascar: Extreme Deformations
Casting my mind back to the time I watched the Dreamworks animation 'Madagascar', I remember seeing a segment within the special features where the animators spoke about new capabilities with the squash and stretch deformers. I believe I have already mentioned I enjoy working with diformers, so I wanted to find this video and be further inspired. Although I was not able to find the video I saw some time ago, I did come across the above embedded video in my search. The technical reel I found does not only give great examples of the use of diformers, but also shows other technical aspects like character rigging and 'systems' for the sand and waves.
elaborating on Dreamworks' great use of diformers, at 48 seconds to a minute, we see some very extreme examples. First of all, When Gloria (the Hippo character) kicks open the create she is encaged in, we see what appears to be a bend deformer and perhaps a little bit of stretch used on Alex the lion. This makes Alex mould around the fired lid in a very cartoon fashion. We then see some great examples of squash and stretch with the next two clips. With the chase sequence, where two of the characters run around the Giraffe (Melman), we can see stretching particularly as alex tries to spread his weight when executing a sharp turn. The next clip labeled 'squash and stretch' is my favourite example of extreme deformation. when slowed down, as Alex jumps into the frame he almost appears as if he is elasticated. Everything about the animation is extreme and over the top, particularly in the way Alex's hands are left behind by his body, and they pulled forwards with a massive stretching swoop.
When we look at Madagascar and consider the animation style, the exaggerated diformers really characterize the whole feature. For a beginner like myself key framing in Maya, the results can be very stiff in rigid. Dreamworks have really managed to achieve fluidity in their animations, which really inspires me to try and achieve more weighted and expressive results.