Monday, May 24, 2010

Animation Mentor Week 8

Week 8. So this week our assignment was to animate a new character 'Ballie' in a basic 'Vanilla' walk. A vanilla walk is basically a no frills walk with no character at all. More or less, just the straight mechanics of what make a basic walk work. This is a 2 week assignment with this week being the blocking phase and next week being the polishing stage. A blocking pass is basically when you go through and set the important keys and breakdowns necessary to establish the action of your shot and the basic timing. So in these drawings there are no inbetweens yet. I'm using stepped keys. These are the drawing that must read to describe the shot. In the polishing phase, you add the inbetweens, the bells and whistles and smooth out the timing and action.

The lecture this week focused first on studying some footage and then having a real-time walk through of Bobby Beck's process for creating a Vanilla Walk in Maya using Ballie. We were also asked to go out and observe people walking and take notes on what we saw and share them with our class. I've already seen a ton of really good notes and reference material from my classmates. Particularly from Josh Dai and Matthew Long. Those dudes are pretty awesome and i follow their work and notes with a pretty close eye. I shot a bunch of footage of people just walking around downtown SF. I'll get some more detailed notes on my observations up later in a separate post.

As usual, we started with sketching out some thumbnails detailing my basic thought process.

This week, i didn't bother with a Flipbook Pencil test for a couple of reasons. The first being that I typically use Flipbook to figure out basic timing on more complex scenes. With a vanilla walk I've already established my basic timing in my thumbnail drawings. Also, since i usually use Flipbook as my blocking pass. This weeks assignment was only to turn in the blocking pass, so it would have been doing twice the work to use Flipbook as well.

Here's my Blocking pass of Ballie doing a vanilla walk:

I'm by no means an expert, but I've done a few tests with walks in the past so this went pretty quick for me. I'm sure there's a ton to fix up, but I was pretty happy with it pretty quick. I had this wrapped up in Maya in about an hour, so i moved on to doing some more tests with the pendulum and Tailor. My mentor felt i did a pretty good job with those assignments, but i really wanted to explore some different techniques and approaches and more importantly try to really ingrain the concept of Overlapping Action (one hell of a complex concept mind you) into my head.

The other part of our assignment this week was to sketch a bunch of poses that portrayed physical strength. This was a bit more difficult than i thought it'd be. It's tough to show physical strength or weight in only one drawing. Here are my Sketches:

Since i found myself with some free time this week, i decided to pose out as many of these as i could and then decide which one i liked best. At first this was because after the first set of poses i did i felt they all looked like shit (an opinion i changed the next day when i saw them with fresh eyes) but i also figure getting pose practice in is never a bad thing. I can already see myself picking up speed in posing. Here's all the poses i tried on STU:

And this is the one i ultimately went with:

I felt he had the best line of action. We'll see what my mentor thinks.. haha! Next week we start polishing up our vanilla walk.

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