Saturday, 30 June 2012


Last Thursday I borrowed Scott and Kristian to act for our reference. We tried to do some ourselves but I think the biggest problem we had was we had the animatic stuck in our brains and couldn't think of alternatives! Another problem is something we cannot help, we're just not boys so can't really act 'laddish' very convincingly (pointed out by one of our classmates).

So here is the raw reference we shot. I plan to edit it properly (when I've finished with the scene I'm working on) and clip the bits I like together to use as reference for the appropriate scenes. I will talk about the bits I thought we should consider now.

 Even though our animatic is silent and we originally intended for no dialogue, I let Scott and Kristian speak and say whatever seemed natural. It was mentioned by someone that there should be at the very least mouthing of words when the brothers interact. It's something that humans do when they either don't want to shout or feel there's no point in shouting but want to communicate. We also put on a massive fan for them the shout over! The sound of rushing air is something we definitely need to consider when having the brothers communicate and for the soundtrack as well.

 It is really difficult to find a youtube video of skydiving without music over it! Finding an example of the wind and someone screaming/shouting/anything took me a bit and couldn't find anything better than this:


 This makes me think; should we do funny faces on the characters? Ha. The lads shoved each other about a bit which I thought we should definitely incorporate into the scene. Always needs more brothers shoving each other. Also, Aaron (played by Kristian) pointing down to get Malcolm's (played by Scott) attention away from his back so that Aaron can shove him was a really good idea. 

 I really liked Scott's expression when he catches sight of the watch (altimeter) on Kristian's wrist. Definitely want to get that expression in! I also liked the idea of Malcolm falling out of the tree when trying to get to Aaron at the end. We talked about it and the idea of Malcolm chucking a rock from the bottom (off screen) would be a nice touch to keep them even.

As I've already said, I'm going to edit the reference to get the bits I thought were good together to use for our blocking of the other scenes. 

Rachel's Blog

Jump Linear WIP

I added some more breakdowns in the first 200 frames and adjusted the timing. I also animated the background (which will probably be tweaked later on, depending if it needs to be faster or slower - it works for now) to complete the look.

 I think this is looking good enough for me to leave for the time being so I'm going to leave it here, unless feedback tells me of a change I should do, and begin blocking more breakdowns in the later frames. After that I would like to start blocking another scene if possible so that we can keep to the schedule (which I will upload when I figure out how as it's a .PDF file.)

Rachel's Blog

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Linear Arm Timing

Changed the timing of the arm movement. It works better now I think though it could probably stand to be a bit faster.

  Rachel's Blog

Linear Arms

Moved the first 100 frames of the scene I was working on into Linear to see how it looks. The timing is the biggest thing that needs sorting out.

The timing of the arms was the most obvious so I've added some breakdowns and I'm going to tweak the timing next.


  Rachel's Blog

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Jump: Blocking Test 6

After figuring out how to animate visibility I added some more blocking, specifically the last bit with the sign. Hoping I achieved the ideal look that I mentioned in a previous post.

 Will be sending for feedback. Next I'll work on what Penny suggested by going straight ahead with the beginning. After that, unless there are any major changes/tweaks that need to be made, I'll be looking at sending this scene to Rachel so that she can work on Aaron. Plan! Rachel's Blog

Animating visibility.

Was having some trouble following Scott's instructions so I had a look on the internet and managed to find a good short video of how to animate an object's visibility. Turns out I was looking at the wrong visibility option (I hate Maya for this sometimes...)


 Pretty simple when you know which bit you need to be looking at!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Jump: Blocking Test 5

This is a quick playblast of where I'm up to now. I'm about to start blocking in the part with the sign which I anticipate might be a bit difficult as I will have to animate the visibility of the sign too.

I asked my classmates if you can animate visibility in Maya (I imagined you could but didn't know how) as it was something I used in Softimage a lot. I used to animate parenting too which I've also asked about. Scott answered "Yes, right click on the visiablty in the attribute editor, then select - key selected" What I'm most concerned about is the manner in which the sign appears. We wanted a Looney Tunes style hammer space from which the sign would appear. However I don't want the sign to look like it just appears in the character's hand. The best example I can think of this is from The Sims games, where objects would just appear in the game characters' hands. We don't want to sign to be visible on the side of the character it is not coming from nor before it is whipped out. As the sign idea was very much influenced by Wily E Coyote, what better example of this to use than from one of the masters of hammerspace! Here is what we want the bringing out of the signs to look like, only in 3D animation of course. Rachel's Blog

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Jump: Blocking Test 4

Updated playblast of where I'm up to.

Feedback on Tuesday went well. People seemed happy with what I had at that point and Scott mentioned he liked how the character looked like he was thinking. I'm glad because I've been working on creating more subtle character acting, particularly thinking. Our project supervisor, Penny, suggested to go straight ahead with it. She thinks it's one of those things that don't suit blocking. She and Siobhan also said to block everything else in the scene (sky and clouds) to get a full working idea of how it will look. I'm going to finish blocking Malcolm and then block the scenery. After that I'll try to go straight ahead with the beginning if I can.

We've already come across the problem of lack of reference, particularly for the first scene. The reference we did isn't enough and it's very obvious (says one of our classmates) that we're not boys! Mark, who runs the green screen room, is currently on holiday (until Friday 22nd I believe) and Rachel leaves for the States today for 2 weeks so getting a group session in the green screen for more reference is difficult. I'm hoping that one will be booked next week so I can get Kristian and Scott to act for us!

  Rachel's Blog

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Jump: Blocking Test 2

Added further blocking, mostly the 'panicky' movement while Malcolm finds his balance. This is the first section done, the animation will cut after this to Aaron for his backflip.
I'm not sure about the arm movement I've blocked for his panic. I may change it later after some feedback on Tuesday. Or before then if I decide what's wrong with it. In the meantime, I'm going to have a look at some skydiving videos to see if I can find what I'm missing.

Rachel's Blog

Jump: Blocking Test 1

Started blocking yesterday, here's where I am so far.

I can already see that Malcolm's movement needs to be more erratic. It's just the way I work. Sometimes I find it difficult to start blocking because of everything I need to consider so I block key frames every 25 frames (for the first 5 or so seconds) and then move them about with timing in mind. Usually they are very simple key poses so I block further detail into them and then block some more key frames for the key breakdowns. It just helps give me a place to start and get into the blocking stage. Depending on the animation and its length, sometimes I like to block in sections instead of the whole thing at once. I find this helps take away the daunting feeling of starting something huge.

This is the first quick playblast I did when I had blocked key frames every 25 frames. You can see the different already.

Anyway, before I move to the next section, I want to block in more panic to Malcolm's struggle for balance in this section.

Rachel's Blog

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Jump: Start Blocking!

Spend most of yesterday setting up, re-doing and setting up again the scene I will be starting to block in.

Me and Rachel have agreed that one of us should work on one file at any one time to avoid losing any work. We've split the animation up into 4 scenes so that we can work on different bits at different times which are:
#Scene 1: Plane (where the characters are interacting in the plane and then make their jump)
#Scene 2: Tricks (the characters start to compete with each other)
#Scene 3: Fight (the characters fight, we decided to separate this from Tricks as it could be a challenge)
#Scene 4: Tree (after the crash, characters fight again in the tree)

This is also an insurance decision, if the animation was to be done in one file and something happens to that file (corrupts for example) we could potentially lose a lot of work. Splitting the animation up means if one of the files goes wrong, we've still got the rest and it's not a whole animation file we'll need to re-do.

As Aaron takes most of the lead in the first scene, Rachel will be working on that one first. While she's doing that, I'll be working on Malcolm in Tricks. I had to make a new scene yesterday as the original was suffering from major lag. I couldn't find why so I started a new fresh scene with only the necessary things imported/referenced. Other things will be added when necessary. I will be starting to block today.

Excuse the blue, the lighting is a little bit too intense at the moment! That will be sorted later!

There will be 'show and tell' classes every Tuesday for feedback from the tutors and the class so I'm sure I will be posting up the feedback we get every week.

Rachel's Blog

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Jump: Scene set up

Rachel and I have been working on the scene set ups today. After some initial hiccups, Rachel has put together a master file for us to work from which is extremely useful. The idea being that we create all scenes using the master file as a foundation and saving as a separate scene file.

From it I've sorted out the last scene with the tree I made yesterday. Here's what it looks like at the moment:

There are no clouds in the background as of yet because we need to sort out some consistent images to use (sky and clouds). The grass I want to change, I don't like the square grid we've got. Perhaps we could draw from our main influence, the Bricklayer's Disaster and have a plain white floor and have the clouds fade to white towards the ground.

Rachel's Blog

Monday, 11 June 2012

Jump: Back!

After a much needed few days off, I'm back on track!

We aim to get all scenes set up and ready before we start blocking. That way we can both work on different ones at the same time.
I've started modelling a tree for the last scene in Softimage (figured it would be faster as I know it better than Maya, modelling in Maya will be a hurdle to jump another day):

A lot of things are not working here. The background at the moment is just there until we get a proper one. I was experimenting with the texture on the tree and I'm not convinced. It might look better with a textured background (with clouds and all) but if not, I think it'll be a plain lambert (non-shiny!) colour like the 'leaves'.
More importantly, I tried to get the shape very similar to what was drawn on the animatic as it will be important for when the characters are placed.

The picture above is the sort of shot we'll be looking to do which is very similar to our animatic!

Monday, 4 June 2012

2 Days to go...

Been busy with some last details over the past few days. Me and Rachel have met up to discuss what last things need doing and sorted out a to do list for ourselves.
Mine was to:
@ finish sky dive test animation (done)
@ write an 'about me' for documentation (done)
@ Sort out a folder containing everything we want on a CD for the hand in. (done but still needs video diaries)
@ Make the images for our pitch presentation slides (done)
@ Make video diary

Here are the 3 images I've done for the presentation. We're not putting together slides with writing because it's only a 2 minute pitch, half of which will be our animatic. This just puts up something to look at while we're talking and hopefully having something visual will help the audience understand the idea.

Going to put them into a powerpoint unless Rachel thinks there's a problem.
Here is the final sky dive test animation:

Rachel's Blog