Reflection On The Personal Project

I felt the personal project went swimmingly well, i was glad that me and Phoebe could give each other useful feedback and show each other a thing or two with tools on Maya to help the animation process!

I have definitely improved by doing this solo project on animating and its made me want to perhaps focus on getting stronger in that field now!

Now i will be working toward helping the final years in our course to get their robot character animated for their deadline this week, Phoebe will also be joining me in that!

Comparison On Animations –

Semester one animation –

Semester two animation –

Trial and error and eventually you’ll get better in time! đŸ˜€

All The Renders Including Finished Alien Animation

Running Mechanic –

Tiger Walk Cycle –

I-Rex Walk Cycle –

Alien Stalking The Corridors –

I was very happy with the end result for this animation, after fixing the bounce that the Alien had i was okay to render the piece although now that i look at it i may come to recreate this piece in the near future as i feel it could maybe go slower and the samples increased for a smoother finish on the textures but a deadline must be met!

Personal Project

For the final part of the creative solutions module now that i have extra time to work on the personal side of the project, i will be heavily focusing on animating for the next coming weeks – this will not be limited to one model, i plan to explore creatures particularly but will be open for anything as this is to get my animating sharpened up for future projects!

Tiger Animation –

When i thought about what i would like to look into animating first it had to be a Tiger, my class mate Phoebe had inspired me with her recent Tiger animation and was kind enough to give me the link to download the rig!

The tiger comes from CG Spectrum and are created by these handsome gentlemen below:

ewww

Screenshot from CG Spectrum website

The rig is given out as a means for people to get the chance to work with a industry standard model and practise what it is like to work on a creature that is quadruped. before even attempting the walk cycle i watched the provided tutorial from Vimeo along with other visual references to help aid my progress.

When analysing the Tigers walk you can see it is confidence embodied, this animal knows its tough and walks with confidence in its stride. Here are some notes i jotted down on the walk to look out for:

  • Shoulder blades are pointed up when weight is applied
  • Paws spread as they push the body forward
  • Slight head bobs, not too much or it will look drunk
  • Muscles cause the torso to rotate ever so slightly
  • The pelvis bobs inward as the it comes to contact
  • Slight bob on the tail, curled not wagging

With that i got straight into animating the tiger!

Feedback on the Tiger animation:

  • Feels like its floating, needs more weight on contact
  • Tilts too far to left and right
  • Key frame out the joint pops
  • Reduce tail bobbing
  • Reduce head rotations and bobbing
  • Fix frames that cause one of the feet to increase speed during the push from contact
  • Quicken up the animation, it feels too slow
  • Fix the step on the tail animation

I love getting second opinions on my animations as it opens a whole new perspective on the piece that can repair and build on to improve myself – thanks to the feedback from class and an online Discord server i am apart of i got the needed critiques to push myself to improve!

This video tutorial on quadruped animation walk cycles by a user called DarkmaneTheWerewolf had helped me understand the mechanics that go into a four legged creatures movements, i wont lie that i found myself watching this on repeat until i could imagine myself as the tiger walking and how that may look on Maya.

This is the updated version that i had done and laid out for when i will render this out for the portfolio for the end of the semester, when i look back at this animation now i cringe with all the mistakes in this – i bet i could make a better version of this now when i go back to redo the whole thing, ill probably find myself doing the animation much quicker too! Phoebe from class seemed happy enough with the animation and we both had agreed that the rigs forearms of the Tiger seemed to always pop no matter what changes were made.

Revisit Of The Running Mechanic –

I wanted to redo a running mechanic that we all had to do from first semester, we used a rig provided by our tutor and well – my attempts are pretty horrendous now when i look back at it!

This was a very stiff animation, i must not had given myself the correct amount of time to animate or that i did not use the reference that i had gathered when at the gym.

Gianni from class had told me about a modeller and rigging Artist called Truong who provides very cheap rigs for the public to use, better yet the majority of his work is uploaded for free to use and they can be used in projects and show-reels so long as he is mentioned within the description of the video. I ended up downloading a cyborg rig that he had~

v1

Images are from the rigs download pack

v2

In the video above Truong demonstrates how the rig works, the capabilities it has and how it would look once rendered in high quality! When playing around with the rig for the first hour it felt very familiar to the rig we were given to do the body mechanics in semester one but had its own unique added controls to add more detail to your animations.

I was beyond happy with how this animation came out, only took a few hours and loops pretty well when the cycle is set to affinity! I had uploaded this to an online server that animators come together to share their work and everyone loved the style of its exaggerations in some parts when it came to the weights and bobs although one thing that kept coming up was that the hands come across stiff when extended out the furthers swing on each stride and i can see what they mean – i should definitely come back to fix the swing once i am done with the module to polish up for the Show-reel!

Dinosaur Walk Cycle –

I love that Truong also had a free dinosaur rig on offer for people to use and i had to challenge myself with this one, unlike the other rigs i have played with so far this once has no official walk cycle to say how the mechanics of the creature would move since all animations of how dinosaurs moved when they walked the earth are all based on how they look and imagined how they walked.

I am in love with Wild Card Studios video game, Ark survival evolved a game that shows dinosaurs in their scientific appearances rather than the pop cultured Jurassic Park counterparts. I like how the animators of the studio made the creatures move in the game as the sense of power in the bigger dinosaurs such as the T-rex were known when mounting one to go attack enemy bases! (I dont do that i swear, im peaceful)

After watching the clips above of the indominus-Rex and other big dinosaurs such as the T-Rex i got stuck into this animation – this probably took me a day to get to this point for feedback but i was not satisfied with the quality but at this time i started to notice my workflow was certainly getting quicker and that animating was getting better compared to earlier attempts at animating on Maya.
Here are some feedback notes i had received on the animation:

  • Reduce the head bob, too much weight
  • Add some more weight to the contact as feet feel like they’re floating
  • The feet seem off, too human compared to a usual dinosaur walk
  • Body tilts too far, looks drunk

I appreciated the feedback from the server online and i got a good chuckle with some of the comments – a drunk dinosaur would prove very entertaining!

Here is the refined process of the dinosaur, i find the changes very good so far and look a lot better than the first clip of the walk – i reduced the bob in the head then reduced the tilt in the body and altered the feet a little but i made the mistake of not looking through my reference clips again to get a since on how the foot should connect to the ground. Next time i work on this walk for this rig i will definitely be restarting it and making sure the foot steps are more bird like as dinosaurs are basically giant chickens, got to remember the foot does not come down like a human! Man this animation looks so silly~

 

Alien Moving Down The Corridor –

Truong released a Xenomorph rig recently and i fell in love with it, so much i will be doing a final animation based on SEGA’s version of the Xenomorphs movements in Alien Isolation – in that game the aliens movements are very arched back with the arms spread out to make the creature look as big as possible.

In this walk cycle you can see the beginning of the Xenomorphs movements, i noticed it tilted too much to the side and the arm movements were a tad too energetic for this stealthy creature so i went back to fix these before adding this animation into a scene.

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A friend of mine, Jack was super kind enough to let me use his scene to composite the alien into it for a added appeal of the monsters scale and intimidation. I also will be changing the lighting a little to make it darker and maybe play around with some smoke simulation fluids for the alien to interact with to give the clip some more action rather having the model move in a linear scene.

When it came to the Alien movies, a typical thing that was used to hid or reveal the creature was the use of steam or smoke in the ship it had infested, i wanted to bring that element into my scene so following the tutorials that a class mate, Lorna had sent me i was able to create the fluid i wanted for Jacks corridor setting.

Now i love the camera work, the smoke effect, the scene but the alien needs some tweaks now that i am nearing the end – she needs some changes to fit the appeal more. She is too bouncy for a stealthy creature, i will now no about fixing her up before rendering her out for submission along with my other animations.

Reflection On Creative Solutions

Creative Solutions has been an amazing opportunity to work with like minded people from class, we mixed perfectly and spread out the work load evenly! I felt my animating has improved since playing with these rigs and it is a contribution to why i chose to work on animating for my personal project for the other half of the module.

Projects dont always go swimmingly, at some point down the road we seemed to lose contact with our client causing the project to stop and float for a bit – we could had really used his feedback and guidance for the game to truly take shape but like i said in another post, i dont blame the client – shit sadly happens and perhaps he had stuff on his plate that needed his attention during the module – just hope all is well on his part~

 

No Contact From The Client

We have not heard anything from our client in a good while now, advised to reach out for him one of our team mates had sent an email regarding the next meeting we will have but to have no reply sadly – unsure what to do we asked our lecture and we were advised to keep trying.

I was concerned with the project at this point however i do acknowledge our client is running a business at the end of the day, his company is far more important than a university project i guess – though i hope we hear from him soon~

Animating the Characters!

When it came to animating our now rigged characters we were assigned to animate the characters in the shopping cart for Billy Goat Entertain although we were not told specific animations which made the job a little harder to guess what would be appropriate for the game considering we had only known that it is a basic A to B objective video game – with that i conducted a list on what we could potentially animate to go into Unity.

  • Idle Animations (For when the player is not making the character move)
  • Out of cart idle animations (For the character select menu)
  • Jumping animation (Maybe if the developers introduce a ramp gimmick in future)
  • Victory animation (For when the player completes the level)

These are the only things i could think that would go with what the game offers at this point an time and without guidance from our client there ran the risk of creating wasted work while it would prove beneficial for the showreel, it would not have use for the company (Yet?). After talking through this with the team we decided on the tasks on hand:

Myself will animate and report any bugs along the way.

Jakub will be continuing to refine the rig as i report any problems to him

John and Claire will be working on building the levels with appropriate prob assets though anyone of us will be more than happy to spread the work load along the way!

When playing with the rig i had found that the hands rig was not bonded compared to the rest of the body and reported this to Jakub immediately – i found it helpful that he was always easily contacted to lend a hand when i had a problem, truly a great asset to the team considering the work he put into the rig itself. He had resolved this problem ASAP and got me on the road to animating again (Thanks Jakub x).

The facial rig setup was so fun to play with, Jakub did tremendous with Claire’s base model! Only problem i had with the face setup was the upper lip how the middle seemed stuck when the mouth opened although in hindsight im sure a simple paint over with the skin weight tool would have fixed that.

Here are some points about the facial rig i had jotted down in a book:

  • Fun to play with
  • Easy and manageable for animation
  • Works with the style of the character
  • Could use a little more refinement in the weights
  • Perhaps unlock some of the controls to open up possible emotions

Potential Tutorials For Myself In Future (Free Time Stuff)

 


 

This was my first attempt at animating the rig properly after playing around with it for about thirty minutes or so, for this test i decided to follow SEGA’S mascot Sonic The Hedgehog and that iconic foot tapping he does when the player has not used the controller in a while (Usually around 10-30 seconds), Operating the rig into the key poses was easy enough and proved simple other than the FK joints in the arm causing some extra key frames being needed to avoid the character contorting or clipping through itself – the extra frames proved beneficial in the end as it added the weight i wanted when the crossed arms rested on the characters body.

For the Gothic girl rig when Jakub had transferred the skeleton over and had painted the weights for her i decided to do two animations with her which would blend into one another in game if it were to be used. I wanted to give her the intimidation appeal that goths typically are given in pop media such as Sam from Danny Phantom.

I had fun trying out animation her although i feel the animation was a tad slow so i simply sped it up by selecting all the frames on the graph editor then scaling them closer to each other giving it the necessary speed it needed for improvement, i was quite proud with the sense of weight she had when going back into her idle pose key frame though!

Looking at the teen character i wanted his idle animation to have a cool casual approach so again, i looked at Sonic The Hedgehog cause hey, he’s cool – to me. Making idle animations are easy as they come so i wont go into this too deep but simple rotations of the joints made this subtle loop animation.

Look at that cool guy! ^

I was asked to get my intended trolley animations done before doing animations such as idle so i chose one of our finished rigged models which ended up being the mum character and i wanted to do a idle animation on the Trolley as well as a jump animation as if she had went over a ramp in a level.

When i got feedback everyone was happy enough with her animation although she was too slow and her air time dragged out a little, so the speed was too slow essentially – an easy enough fix for the character and when i look back on it now i see how the animation dragging out too long could be a problem for the in game mechanics and physics for the environment!

After fixing up the animation i feel this version is better than the last, she could defiantly be shorter with her air time although this can easily be altered with the time editor on Maya.

Every cart themed game has a victory animation at the end of the level, look at Mario cart, Crash racing or Sonic all stars – all characters have a victory animation when completing the level, i only thought it would be natural for the characters in Super Market Shriek would react when completing the chaotic levels! This would only be a pitch for the client though, i am unsure on his views on this sort of thing for the game – i am completely unsure what he would like animation wise although here is hoping we get that much needed meeting during the week~

Here are all the animations i wish to pitch ideas to our client, the best thing about these animations with these particular models is that they can be recycled with one another for efficiency in the base game! I hope they prove useful for the team and that the animations are decent for the game.

 

 

Environment Ideas For The Game

When it came to the base game it will be based inside a supermarket setting, so with that we also pitched the possibility of having other themes such as space, fantasy, history ect… where as myself and another team mate felt we should had stuck with the base game as it was already under developed as it was, we did not need to add to our schedule whenever we could spend the extra time making the base game more appealing and polished. We ended up doing another theme.

With that i started looking into the base game first.

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We could have a level that leads like the shoppers journey, starting off at the beginning of the store, the player will have to navigate through the isles and avoid potential dangers that will knock them of the edge of the map or cart them off the trolley causing a GAME OVER window. We could even have a different game mode that the player will have to collect particular items in the store from a list and get them to the end of the level in one piece, this would add some diversity rather just the A to B objective game play.

There could be another level that reflects the ending of the shoppers journey when they leave the store and have to find their car in the big busy parking area that has moving traffic that can knock over the trolley and causing the game to lose, though these are just spit balls at the moment – i will forward these to Clair and John who’re working on level design. I am just helping with concepts until i get the models from Jakub so i can animate

designjjjlevlweeeee

One of the popular alternative themes for the game was a medieval market, i went ahead to do some basic 3D modelling and paint over them on Photoshop, we were shown this sort of technique from Alec in one of our lectures during this semester so i thought id give it a try and see what i thought and maybe this technique would work better whenever working on something like a short that requires key pose drawings in the scene to help with animating, i seen something like that in Blizzards breakdown on their Overwatch shorts once!