Monday, 28 November 2011

New page!

I've made a new page so that it is easier to find all the final products of each task! Check it out at the top right corner!

Sketches from final component of AP1

Here are the sketches and notes I did during the animating of Component 2. I hadn't uploaded them before because they practically lived on my desk while I was working on the animation as I kept referring back to them or adding key frame numbers.

Final Hand In for AP1

Finished the last assignment for this module (Animation Practice 1). Pretty happy with the result though I can see where it needs improving already!

Malcolm character courtesy of

Final Assignment: Test 2

I've noticed I haven't put up a lot of tests. This is mainly because I don't tend to render off unless I'm finished a round of inbetweening or something like that. Sometimes I'm so in the zone I forget to!

Anyway, test 2!

I'm actually happy with it so far. I'm not confident that it's fantastic but I'm still liking my idea and happy to work on it which is great! Since by now I'd have usually hit the 'blindness'.

Waiting for feedback before I put splines back on and render it, will wait half hour to an hour at most since deadline is tonight.

Malcolm character courtesy of

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Walk Scene: Test 8

Latest and last render of the walk assignment after tweaking it as per previous feedback.

Malcolm character courtesy of

Friday, 25 November 2011

Arthur Christmas

Finally went to see this tonight. Been looking forward to it because I love Christmas films. The film was ok, I wasn't expecting it to be fantastic so I wasn't disappointed. I loved the idea for the story (one child missed on Christmas Eve) but I think it could have been pushed a bit further as I didn't feel that warm fuzzy 'aaawww' magic at the end. The animation was good too but I noticed some weird bits here and there. For example, I've been taught to never keep a character still and there's a part where a lady is staring fixedly at a screen and talking. The top of her head was dead still while her jaw moved and it looked a little weird to me.

However, I still enjoyed it. It was a nice idea and it looked great. Just think it could have been better.

Final Assignment: Test 1

Here's the first test for AP1 component 2. Still needs more breakdowns and the ball and tail still needs blocking properly but it's getting there. Just uploaded it for feedback. Will continue working on it in the meantime as I need to decide how to end it.

Malcolm character courtesy of

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Feedback for latest walk test

Mostly just that the coin flip needs to be slower (takes about a second to happen) and to have him carry on a few steps before the video finishes.

Short post but put up as a reminder to myself.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Walk Scene: Test 7

Much happier with this. Put it up on the Masters facebook group for feedback. Hoping if any that not much tweaking is needed from here on as I'd like to purely concentrate on the last assignment.

Malcolm character courtesy of

Remember remember

Not the 5th of November, Constraining!

Just had to figure out how to constrain objects to things (characters mainly) because, well, you forget if you don't do it for a while. Last time I constrained something was somewhere around this time last year. So I'm writing it down here in hope that I won't forget again (or at least if I do, I can come back here!). I even changed the colour of the important bits!

I was trying to attach one end of this box to Malcolm's hand because he's going to carry it. I will have to animate the constrain to unattached it when he comes to letting go of it. But we'll cover that another time.

Firstly I was trying to constrain it by Constrain > Object to Cluster but it wasn't letting me pick any cluster I created or any geometry to create a cluster to attach it to. I enquired the legendary facebook group TagerTalk for advice as I remember it was a fiddly thing to do so perhaps I was forgetting something.

To constrain something this way, first you should create a cluster on the geometry in the area you constrain to (pick point(s) Edit > Create Cluster or Ctrl + L), then create a null and Constrain > Object to Cluster. If the geometry cannot be selected (as was in my case), create a small point cloud (2 x 2 or something, depending on how big a cluster you need) parent it to a bone or joint or whatever is appropriate to get the desired movement and then select points and create a cluster.
Then select the object to be constrained and parent it to the null.

I did this and realised it was not what I needed. I needed the box to be able to rotate with the hand and using this method does not take orientation into consideration. Only tranforms!

So I actually needed to Pose constrain. And this is how I did that with the help of my tutor: As Malcolm does not have any selectable bones in his hand, I had to use his main wrist control. Select the object to be constrained. Click Constrain Compensation (CnsComp button under the constrain menu on right). Constrain > Pose. Done!

Malcolm character courtesy of

Friday, 18 November 2011

Reference and Sketches for Final Assignment

We shot reference videos for our final AP1 assignments today. Was fun but had headache so couldn't help out too much :(

My feel for the scene is that Malcolm has spent the day putting things into storage and having a good sort out. This is the last box he has to put away so he's quite tired out at this point. When he places the box down and turns around, a rat has appear in his path! He's not too pleased with this company so he tries to catch it in a box, though what he's going to do after... well, he hasn't thought that far ahead...

Anyway, here's mine:

I really liked Scott's reaction to the 'rat' so I'm thinking of having that in my animation. I'd been switching between entering from a starcase (cellar) or from a ladder (loft) but I think I'll stick with the original idea of a cellar for simplicity.

This is the original roughed out storyboard:
This shows the character entering a cellar with a heavy box. After this I was unsure about the idea and kept changing things back and forth. Will update another time with a complete storyboard.

Spent some time drawing Malcolm, so that I could draw him in poses later.

Roughing out an idea for the scene (when I was thinking about having it as a loft).

The first attempts at drawing Malcolm's emotions. These are awful...

Again, still toying around with the scene being a loft. These are of Malcolm entering the loft with a heavy box.

Playing with some facial expression ideas.

Been trying to get some shocked/scared poses down. Glad we did the reference because it was so hard trying to find the right pose and I think Scott nailed it in the reference better than I could find/imagine.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Scaredy Poses

While looking around the internet for some 'scared' poses (as in, just been frightened out of their wits), I came across a little Mr Bean animation.

I found this a bit anti-climatic after all the build up. It might be because I am looking for and expecting a big shock reaction of some sort at least before the 'oh... it's just a mouse...' The reaction he expressed seemed more like a 'what the hell...?!'

Still, I would have put a little scream or even a gasp in! Good loft reference for my final assignment though. Perhaps I should think about a build up in my animation too..

It's harder than I thought to find reference material of someone being scared/made to jump. I've found a few good pranks but I'm finding it hard to see those poses (being either too small an action or not the right movement like dropping to the ground) being a part of the animation. I did find some good (and funny) videos of people getting scared. I'll just have to take note of what people commonly do when frightened, such as arms go upwards though how upward they go varies on situation, type of scare and type of person.

And some people flail like crazy!

Feedback for latest walk

Had a feedback session about my walk cycle today, here is what was said.

# Character movement is still fairly wooden, add more breakdowns for more flow.
# Speed up coin catch (perhaps the walk off too)
# Hand goes through trousers! Fix it!
# Slow down his arms when he stops to look less like a jerk movement.
# Add more flow to arms
# Go through Splines and see where it can be broken down (for more flow).

I'll be continuing work on the walk where I can.

Life Drawing 14-11-11

Some pages from my last life drawing session.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

What's Inside...? Updated Poses

Updated and re done some of the poses from a previous assignment. These are for 'What's Inside...?'

Pose 1.

Pose 2.

Pose 3.

Hopefully they look better than the previous attempts. Just waiting for feedback :)

**EDIT** 16-11-11: Feedback went well! Making these images Final for marking.

Couple more animations I like

Death By Lemonade

Death Buy Lemonade from Cartoon Brew on Vimeo.

I love both 2D and 3D animation and sometimes find it hard to say which I like best because they both work excellently for different things! I love Death By Lemonade because it has a nice simple design and the animation is great! My favourite part is the sudden collapse the guy does when he dies. I love Death's personality too.

Thought of You

Thought of You from Ryan J Woodward on Vimeo.

This is a beautiful animation. All the slow downs and speed ups, the effects, all of it, all of the movement is so fluid. I find it breath taking that someone can create something as gorgeous as this. This is something I look up to and aspire to. As soon as I saw it I thought 'that's where I want to be one day and this is the effect I want it to have on people'. The behind the scenes video is really interesting too!

Thought of You - Making Of from Ryan J Woodward on Vimeo.


When I watched this, I did not expect it to scare the hell out of me. It's not a scary film but certainly plays with some surreal ideas and designs. It's really good and it was a shame it didn't seem very popular. This isn't a very good quality video but it was the best of two that I could find to embed. IMDb has a better trailer but unfortunately I can't embed it so here's a linky link.

What's Inside...? Reference and Research

While I'm storyboarding and planning my animationfor the final assignment, I've been working on my pose sequence for 'What's Inside...?' I was told to get some reference and do the poses again, as the first one wasn't very strong and the third could have been stronger.

I got my fiance to take some pictures of me doing the poses.

Unfortunately he didn't get all of me in the shot so note to self, get a better camera with a timer function! The first one was more important to capture as my pose didn't look right so at least most of me is in that one.

Will post updated poses soon.

Monday, 14 November 2011


Been looking up videos of rats on youtube for reference, since I no longer know anyone who has pet rats. Here are a few pet rats from various youtubers:

Makes me want a pet! Anyway, more importantly, I need to see how they move. I will only be animating a ball and tail but I'd like to get as much rat like behaviour and movement into it as possible.

And of course, when thinking about rats and animation, we think of Disney Pixar's Ratatouille!
Back in 2008, the first Animex Festival I went to featured a lecture by Stuart Sumida about the 'Science and Art of Ratatouille'. The amount of research, studies and testing that went into getting the rat movements right was amazing, but obviously necessary. And it paid off! I love watching Remy's behaviour and movement change from rat-like to more human-like. I'd like to have some of that influence in my ball and tail rat animation.

A couple of animations I love.

I haven't really post much about the animations I've seen and what inspires me. So I'll post about two childhood favourites. I'll try and post more often about animations I see.

First off is this Tom and Jerry episode "Puss gets the Boot"

I remember this from very early childhood. I spent a lot of time watching videos with various recorded cartoons on including this episode of Tom and Jerry. I remember there being an episode or two of Popeye, Betty Poop and Felix the Cat too.

Looking at it now, I still think it's a great cartoon and knowing what I do now about the production of animation I am even more impressed. I've always liked how the animation always matches the rhythms and instruments in the music and I think that has stuck with me because I always remember it for that. I used to get so annoyed with Jerry winning all the time!! I particularly like Tom's (Jasper then) walk cycles, they're very odd and some are probably incorrect but they portray very well his personality and intentions. For example, right at the beginning, it is very clear that Tom has no intention of harming Jerry at that point and is just cruelly playing with him, as real cats do!

I LOVED this film (still do!) and I remember thinking about how they made it. I don't remember when it was when I found out or if I even looked into it. I'd be lying if I said I'd wanted to animate since I was a kid, I wish I did sometimes but it took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do. All I knew was that I wanted to do something with my drawing ability that wasn't just an artist (traditional painter or something).

However, who could not appreciate the idea of toys coming to life when you're not looking?? This film is complete nostalgia candy for anyone who loved toys (and who didn't?!), I don't know a person my age who is not captivated by it. I watched the last film recently and cried. Both for sadness and happiness really. It was touching to see Andy give his toys away but I was sad that it was coming to an end. On the other hand, I was really happy with the way it had ended. It was a proper happy ending! The last thing I would have wanted was the story to be stretched beyond its life. Watch it!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Final Assignment for Module 1: Idea

The final assignment will be to combine what we've learned so far:

6. Bringing it all together
Principles employed: arcs, timing, follow through and overlapping action, anticipation, ease 
in ease out, secondary action.
In this exercise your character must walk at some point during the sequence and interact
with two of the following:
A pendulum (swinging thing)
A ball
A ball with tail.
A big box
You are expected to add additional animation in keeping with the personality of your 
character and his/her reason for interacting with the objects.
Duration max: 20 second

I plan to have a ball and tail and a box. My idea (set in a loft) is to have the character walk on screen (poss with heavy box) and notice a 'rat' (ball and tail). He'll leap back away from it but it creeps a bit closer, he keeps a good distance between them. He'll see an empty box beside him and use that to capture it (after a few failed attempts) and sit on it.

I'm currently working on sketches and a storyboard which I'll post up soon.

Walk Assignment: Camera Angles. Tests 5 & 6

Trying to decide which angle looks better as my fiance insists the first one looks like he's limping.

Test 5:

Test 6:

Malcolm character courtesy of

Friday, 11 November 2011

Walk Scene: Test 4 - Alt. Cam Angle

Tried another camera angle to see if it looked better.

At first glance it looks like the character is limping. His sways are equal but the camera angle isn't the best. In fact I think the first one was better..
Going to try another one after this.

Malcolm character courtesy of

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Walk Scene: Test 3

After all the feedback I've gotten so far, I've made changes to the animation.

The changes I've made are not clearly visible so I'm trying another camera angle to see if that improves it.

Malcolm character courtesy of

Walk Assignment - What I'm missing

Through the feedback I've gotten on the walk videos so far I've realised that I've missed a lot of important movements in the walk cycles. Mainly swaying and weight shifting. I'm currently working on this to improve the overall animation.

It was difficult to see sway and weight shift from the side in my reference and luckily another classmate came across this gem of a website:
It's packed with all kinds of walk cycles from all kinds of people and other cool things like animal walk cycles and fight reference. I used one of the young men references for 'sad walk' to help with the weight shift.

I also looked through The Animator's Survival Kit again for more information on weight shift which really helped jog my memory about all the twists in walk cycles. I've pretty much missed out all the spine and shoulder twists that should have been in the walk cycles. I'm currently working to put all those in my animation.

Here is a nice example of a 3D walk cycle:

This shows the weight shift very nicely and the character's movement is less stiff. Certainly a lot less stiff than mine... I could learn from this.

My tutor has kindly given me a link to a blog post about 3D walk cycles which was also another massive help! Reading through it has further shown me what I've missed!

Another piece of feedback particularly about the part where Malcolm finds the penny is to 'milk it!' Basically have him stay at the point a little longer, perhaps looking around to see if anyone's watching or express delight. I think to go with the relief he expresses after picking up to penny I should have him look around to make sure no one is looking or going to take it from him.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Walk Task: Alternative Ending

I've found a couple of videos of people playing pranks by sticking pennies on the ground and watching people trying to pick them up. I found them while looking for more reference of people bending down to pick something up.

They made me consider changing the ending to my current task to a more unhappy one; the penny has been glued to the ground so he cannot pick it up, he becomes more miserable! I think it's too late to change it now but if I ever get the chance I would like to experiment with this other ending idea.

Walk Scene: Test 2

Feedback from my classmates and friends say that the character walked too stiffly and his coin catch was a bit slow. So I made the coin catch more snappy and attempted to make the movement more natural, mainly in the walk cycles.

I've sent it for more feedback and I'm hoping it looks better at least.

Malcolm character courtesy of

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Walk Scene: Test 1

I've hit the blindness and can't see what needs working on next. Hate it when that happens!

I'm sure something needs improving. I think the coin flipping could do with something but I've just posted this up on my Masters group on facebook so I'll wait for feedback before doing anything else in fear of ruining what I have already.

Malcolm character courtesy of

Monday, 7 November 2011

Coin reference

I've taken a quick video reference of myself flipping a coin, plus a couple of pictures to help get the hand movement/position right.

Walking scene is coming on well. I've finished blocking the animation and am now starting to key between key frames and create more complete actions and animation.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Waiting to Start Poses - Final

After feedback from yesterday I've updated the sequence and added an extra pose at the beginning as requested by my tutor :)

I'm really happy with these poses!

Malcolm character courtesy of

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Pendulum - Test 3 - Final

Since I've got a bit of spare time I wanted to improve some of my previous work. I had a go with the pendulum since it is the one I am least happy with.

I'm hoping it at least flows better than the last video. I tried to make it look looser because my tutor said it felt like it was moving with purpose, which it shouldn't be.

As I'm unsure of how much time I'll get to spare from now on (Deadline is November 28th), this will be the final version for now.

Walk Assignment Plan - Find a Penny, Pick it up...

The next assignment is to either have a character walk on shot, stop for some reason and start walking again or have a character start walking and stopping again.

I've chosen the former; to have a character walk on, stop and start walking again. I plan to have the character walk on looking pretty miserable because he's having a bad day or something, nothing completely depressing but certainly not great. He stops when he sees a penny on the floor, picks it up and smiles a little. He may or may not flip the coin and catch it, haven't decided yet (would be a nice touch I think). And then he'll start walking off screen looking a little more positive.

Here are my sketch plans:

This first one comes from a variety of video reference we filmed last week. I acted it out first and then other people had a go if they had a different idea.

These last two are a rough plan of what I want to happen. Pretty much acting out what I've already described with a few notes here and there.

Watch this space for video reference!

**EDIT** Didn't take as long as I thought to upload the reference vid!

This is just myself acting out what I had in mind. I have videos of my class peeps doing it too but I'm not uploading those. I'm only comfortable with embarrassing myself!. I think my walk off was way too exaggerated so I won't be using that at all. I like my walk on with hands in pockets but it may be challenging to do in my animation as I'm not sure the Malcolm rig has pockets! We'll see.

I watched the other videos and I liked the way one person put their hand on the back of their neck and looking down when walking on. This really expresses that something is weighing on their mind and the cause is usually negative (worry, guilt, sadness etc). I wanted to include that particular gesture in my walk on cycle.

**EDIT 2**
I watched Derren Brown's Experiments: Guilt Trip and was happy to see the particular gesture I wrote about (hand on back of neck) used by the 'test subject' in the programme. The more he believed he might have been the murderer, the more nervous and guilty he felt and his body language reflected that. I've posted a link to the video below (embedding disabled my uploader) and the part I'm referring to starts at 40.00


Derren Brown both interests and frightens me because of how he uses body language to predict, suggest and successfully influence people. Body language counts for roughly 93% of human communication and I find it very interesting watching what people do when they're thinking, interacting with something or someone and how it reflects their emotions and thoughts. Obviously being such an important part of communication it is equally important to have body language in animation.

Waiting To Start Poses

My terrible modelling skills shown at their worst!
Anyway, three poses for Waiting To Start.

Today was 'Show and Tell' day where we all get feedback on our work.
Feedback for my work:
What's Inside...?
# Pictures need to be more consistant - i.e. camera angles, background/scene.
# First pose is the weakest. Get ref and do it again. Change cam angle.
# Last pose, his face should be much closer to the box.
#All facial expressions could be pushed more.

Waiting To Start:
# Only to add another pose at the start where he's excited to see a movie, looking like he's ready etc.

Malcolm character courtesy of

More sketches for Poses

More sketches for the poses assignment. After the second pose didn't work for What's Inside I tried a few other poses. There are also poses for Waiting To Start. Basically for Waiting To Start I wanted the character to get lower and lower in the chair the more he has to wait for the movie to start.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

What's Inside...? WIP

Been experimenting with a few more poses for 'What's Inside...?' Feedback on the previous images were pretty much in favour of the first and third pose and that the second pose was a bit weak. Particularly too symmetrical. 'Twinning' isn't good for animation and poses so this needs to be sorted.

I put together a quick alternative pose that is similiar other than the arms, to help break the symmetry:

Ignore the untextured table. I think this looks more like he's been caught in the act which wasn't the intention. He's just still being sneaky.

I'm playing with the idea of scrapping this pose all together, having the first pose (Previous post) become the second and replacing the first with one of these (if that all makes sense...).

New Pose 1.

New Pose 2.

And Front:

So the proposed new sequence would be one of the above images, followed by these two:

Sequence Pose 2.

Sequence Pose 3.

Malcolm character courtesy of