Tutorial feedback 29/01/2013

An exercise that all professional animators (Disney, Pixar) do and help get to the head of a character is working on a pose and an expression a day. That exercise will help with getting used to posing the character by starting with quick thumbnail drawings. 

For the expressions, a good start for Hemmy will be to look into human faces and gradually move to animal ones. The drawings will help to get a good idea of squash and stretch on the characters’ faces and what sort of controls will have to be added in order for the drawings to correspond to the digital version.
For the body, it’s important to get good arcs (spine curvatures), especially for the dance sequence. That will build a good foundation artistically for the animation period. 

Examples of expression sheets and poses

We shouldn't take the muscle system too far but stick to more simple pose deformers to switch our concentration to animating . People will forgive a bit folding on the geometry but will not forgive poor animation. LOOK AT THE OVERALL PICTURE; DON’T WASTE TIME ON UNNECESSARY TWEAKING. 

Two computers in the red room will have the Pose Deformer plug-in installed for us to use it for any skinning issues with the body and enable better squash and stretch on the face and body. Squash and stretch will be more necessary for Hemmy as a sidekick, more humorous character as opposed to Kinnaree who is a more human, elegant creature. 

The facial animation will work with sculpted blendshapes but also clusters on the top for more control of the facial features and expressions. It’s best to have the head separate from the rest of the mesh for easier blendshape control. 

Grab some generic characters to start practising animation. Or even work on just curves and arcs which is central to the character and work our way outwards by moving to the body and then the limbs and the face. Once we get the root animation right then it will be easier to work with the rest of the body. Practice posing will help in what pose we want to get into and make animation more understandable to us. Work with layers when using root animation and use low-res geometry to make life easier. 

Even to work on our Pre-Viz, we will have to practice our posing from this very early stage of refining the characters. Put together reference sheets for emotions, not just the generic sad and happiness but also the in-between, less obvious emotions. That communication level is vital for an animator but also for an actor. World known actors think how to make things via their character but they still have to communicate and find a way to do it in a reduced manner. When thinking of Kinnaree her emotions will be a combined graceful-happy, graceful-sad. With Hemmy it’s playful-happy, playfull-sad. These emotions will take time to depict. 

While refining the characters for animation we might find that we’ll have to work with limitations as the characters might not be able to do any extreme posing. Sometimes restriction is good; it makes you figure it out. 

Look up the Book : Dynamic Drawing. 

Include strands to our week to week schedule to merge the animation practice process with the character refinements of the first two weeks. This will run through the whole projects. 

Side schedule strands for the next two weeks: Set up, Posing and expression practice 

Look into the shaders to work out the complexity and reduce rendering time. 

Use Alan’s tutorial to reduce the size of the maps -> less rendering time 

Use material x for mental ray. 

Mipmap tends to work better.

Minor Project submission, includes:

Art of
Supporting concepts
Two complete character turnarounds

Hemmy's skinning was a long process which consisted of binding and rebinding the skin to try out different binding methods. At the moment he can only be posed simply because extreme poses like sitting down cause deformation of the geometry. Next step will be to tweak any stretching the joint values have caused to the texturing. 
Happy New Year, everyone. Some more progress..., mainly texture overhauling. I'm using traditional Lai Thai symbols and shapes to develop different elements. The images below have been arranged chronologically over the past two weeks.