Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Final Crit

Today we had our final crit, where we displayed our work so far to the group and received feedback. Here is a reel of the animations that I took to the crit:

The first animation is a test I created for my lego man kicking the beach ball. I am fairly happy with this animation, particularly with how the arms swing with the momentum of the kick. I tried to incorperate some squash and stretch, but the ball seems to have a slight delay after the Lego man's foot makes impact. I was going for a compression and then a release, but realistically, after being kicked the ball would imediately take off. I imagine this shouldn't be too hard to correct, I just need to make sure that the  curve for the direction of the ball is straight and does not ease in.

The next two animations are leading up to my final throw animation. Reflecting on the original throwing test, the ball seemed unweighted. This is what I have been working towards since, giving the ball a nice weighted feel. My first realization was that the point where the ball hits the ground and bounces should be pointed. the Y axis curve must meet at the ground point with no easing, and instantly change direction for the bounce. However, when adding the squash and stretch deformer later I realised a slight ease is needed for the compression, and then release of the bouncy beach ball. With the next animation where the ball bounces in to the shot, I was advised that to get the weighted feel, the tangents needed to be freed and pulled out to give hang time and then a heavy drop. This was a breakthrough with my ball bouncing animation. At this point after the initial tests, the clips are ordered chronologically based on the storyboard, meaning the final throw animation comes after the clip of my lego man picking up the beach ball. With the final throwing animation, I really tried to get this weighted feel by using weighted tangents then pulling them out. This gives a cartoony exaggerated motion which I plan on going back and applying to the ball bouncing in to the shot.

Another other key animation that I have produced is the pull chain shot. the chain drops into the shot and eases to a halt. I then used a stretch deformer to manipulate my Lego man's head so that he is looking up and investigating the mysterious source of the handle. The Lego man then simply reaches up and gives the handle a gentle pull.

There is also the 'squash', where the handle being pulled results in a huge ball crushing the Lego man. Although the large object still shares the physical appearance of the soft bouncy beach ball, for comedic value I wanted the large ball to act almost like a big sphere of concrete. The ball stops dead at impact, leaving only the Lego man's feet showing. The huge ball then does a gentle roll revealing my character laying flat on his back. There is a subtle ease in and ease out with the rolling of the ball after impact. It was suggested however, that it might look more convincing to include a very subtle bounce at impact. I plan to try this and compare with this original test.

I feel confident that the animation process is very close to completion. However, I must manage my time well as the lighting and rendering process could take some time. I then need to locate sounds and place together the sequence on a timeline. I felt that the crit was helpful, as it allowed me to compare my progress with the rest of the group, and see where I am doing okay and at the same where I need to catch up. A final thing that was mention was that perhaps a displacement map could be more effective for my Lego floor. I did a quick test with this but it was unsuccessful. the texture map (bump) did not translate anything like the original UV, but hopefully I will find the time to experiment more with the settings of the displacement map. (Also note that as I have corrected my maya timeline playback speed, the later animations have more realistic timings to save time when rendering).

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