Maya and Sound

Animating to sound is very interesting… In Maya, the procedure is a little different than what I am used to in Flash. After importing a very particular file type and convincing Maya to show the waveform on the timeline, you are able to scrub through the timeline slowly and place simple open or closed mouth shapes to sync to the dialog. Simply pressing play is not always reliable as the Maya playback will sometimes desynchronize from the audio, but scrubbing manually is always accurate. After making this “muppet” pass you are able to go back and make more detailed mouth shapes that fit the letters, or more specifically the sounds. Once the mouth is in decent shape you are able to go back and move the body and create gestures and poses emphasizing various words and syllables. The process was different enough from what I was used to, yet very fun and satisfying. The audio clip I used was a brief bit of dialog from Futurama, here is what I ended up with:

Illustration Storytime

My latest adventure in illustration class was to create a series of 3 images that tell a story. I chose to use a character my sister (an illustrator focusing on comic art) created and put him in a more serious scene.

The character Damien, is a seedy underground gangster character. He is a vampire so he has been around for a long time and knows how to fight. The story is that a group of men in suits arrive at the bar he is in and escort him outside where they try to jump him in an alley. The men are revealed to be part of an old group of vampire hunters and their symbol is the tattoo on the knife wielder’s hand in the second panel. They don’t realize they are easily outmatched and Damien kills them all and enjoys a victory cigarette.

This project was a big change for me, I feel like I have never approached an illustration with as much time and planning as I did for these three images. I am pleased with the end result, even though I think my perspective and characters could use some improving. (I always have to draw hands with three fingers!) I look forward to experimenting with longer projects that lead to more finished illustrations like these in the future.

Sad Text Message is Sad

My 3D animation class was recently tasked with creating a clip that showed an emotional change in a character. I chose to use a new rig; Bonnie, which was actually created by a former SCAD student. (It’s a pretty cool rig you should check it out) My clip has the character over-reacting in a very dramatic way to a text message. Here is one of the later drafts:

One of my instructor’s biggest critiques, aside from tweaking some arcs and timing, was to cut the last segment out completely. I was initially confused why he would want me to remove so much, but after seeing the new version I agree it is a big improvement! This has become the first 3D project I’ve created that I feel somewhat proud of. I am excited for the next project and to see if I can improve my skills further. Here is how the final turned out:

Also here’s a completely random doodle of the Joker from my sketchbook that happened to turn out pretty cool

jokerdoodle

Melty Faces are the Best Faces

I rediscovered an old GIF I started awhile back. The idea was to have some of the characters from Hotline Miami 2 transition into each other, by having their faces melt and distort in a fun way. Overall I think it turned out alright, but I am particularly proud of the tiger disintegrating at the end. I ran into many difficulties animating that brief portion, and tracking the blood was hard to get right (I think it still might be a little off) but the end result is very cool to see. Here is the final GIF along with the tiger, which I almost prefer on its own.

facemelt tony

Recently I worked on an illustration project with the simple prompt of “superhero.” For some reason my mind went immediately to Deadpool and Spiderman in an awkward/sarcastic/frienemy standoff. After a couple critiques I ended up creating a sort of parody of American Gothic using the two characters instead: americangothic_oldbusted

The final did not turn out very impressive and felt rushed, so I spent the next couple days re-working it in Photoshop and came up with this: spidermandeadpoolbwamericangothic_newhotness

The re-dos turned out so much better and I was proud to see they almost looked like they were made by a different artist. I am tempted to start drawing digitally like this more often, maybe even do a few more superhero doodles.

More to come soon!

Clumsy Action

I’ve completed a second cartoony animation in Maya, this one centers around a clumsy action. The reference was a man sitting on a box that crumbles around him and makes him fall to the ground. I still have a lot of work to do, I need to focus on arcs and secondary action, I fear my movements are still too stiff and robotic, but it’s getting closer..

Trying New Things…

Classes are continuing smoothly and keeping me busy. The student projects I have joined are in full swing and it is exciting to see all the progress that has already been made. Both SEAHORSE MAN and MONSTER PARTY should be wrapped up and ready to screen by the end of Spring quarter some time in May, I will definitely post links to the final films when they are finished!

I am finally taking a 3D animation class and have already begun to notice my Maya skills growing enormously. My first project was a simple reaction to a character offscreen. I chose inspiration from Inglorious Basterds, or more specifically the scene near the end of the film where the Nazi officer lays out his plan and exclaims “That’s a Bingo!” and then awkwardly laughs at his desk. 

This quarter I am also enrolled in an illustration class. Unfortunately the two projects we have completed so far are still-life drawings… I am still eager to sharpen my drawing skills and hope to take something away from the class. I suppose practice is practice, even if the drawings aren’t exactly what I would prefer to be drawing.

For the second assignment we were prompted to create a “crime scene.” I chose to make a mess of fake blood (soy sauce) in my bathtub and photograph it for reference, the drawing was done in charcoal, which I have only used a handful of times so it was a bit of a challenge. I think the messy nature of the charcoal compliments the mess of the blood splattered bathroom and makes for an interesting drawing.

More to come soon!

Nomad Previs and Maybe More?

Near the conclusion of my Storyboarding class we were left with a more open-ended assignment and encouraged to think more about bigger, thesis-like projects. This was the first time I had given serious thought to the content of my graduate film. I plan to make a pitch for an animated television show aimed for a young adult audience with a pitch bible, but the content of the show had not been laid out very concretely. This project allowed me to explore some options.

“Nomad” would be a traditionally animated episodic show featuring a sarcastic alcoholic protagonist, and his stoic intelligent robot sidekick. The two travel a post-apocalyptic setting stumbling upon various adventures. I want the show to center around fun and witty dialog, and conflicts that the protagonists overcome for the most part by outsmarting their enemies rather than flashy action sequences. The overarching story and motivations for a longer format animation are still being ironed out, but for the purpose of this class and project; they are rescuing a princess who has been captured by raiders. Here are some thumbnails of character designs and ideas:

dustdoodles1 dustdoodles2

This project for the most part lead to questions and ideas that I feel need further development, but I am excited about the potential and what these concepts will lead to. I like the idea of a world that is a mashup of different eras (old west, futuristic, steampunk?) with a punk rock aesthetic that can be further discovered in every episode. I plan to give music a larger part in the show and possibly have records used as a form of currency or treasure/valuable.

conceptstoryboard

I look forward to expanding this concept with more story ideas and designs in the coming months!