Friday, May 04, 2007

This should at least get me a job with Dire Straits

For those of you keeping up, the beginning of May marks the end of my first 3D class, and thus ends my introduction to Maya. I believe y'all were promised an animation...

Well I thought I'd take you through the steps, from concept to final cut. This is the same pipeline major animation studios use, and since I'm now familiar, I'm expecting to start interviewing pretty much any time now.

For this particular project, each group was tasked with making a 6 second animation. Each member would contribute 2 props and 6 seconds of character animation for one character in the scene. My group, named Monkeys Out of Nowhere (Thanks Andy!) had five people, thus our animation has five characters.

The concept our group came up with was a western motif involving a gun fight between two poker players. My character was the bartender. To start with, we each made a storyboard that showed the timing, camera work, and overall action. Basically, it's a comic strip, so not surprisingly, this was the most straightforward part for yours truly.

(Click to Enlarge)

Once everybody had their storyboards finished, I created an "animatic". This is basically just a real rough animation using simple geometry and coffin-esque shapes for characters. Each group member would use this as a basic blueprint for animation, ensuring that nobody would walk their character through a wall or something. Just to give you the overall gist; two cowboys are playing poker. One gets up, shoots the other through a window. The sheriff busts in with a shotgun, and blasts the shooter over the bar. There's also a piano player, who runs away. Ready? Aaaaaand action!

Now that we had the basic blueprint, animation could begin. Everybody saved a personal copy of the animatic, brought in their rigged character (which I believe I shared with you in another post) and started animating. After each person was finished animating, everybody would share their animation for use by the rest of the group. Also, some environment detail was added (thanks JR) so that things didn't look quite so bland.

When creating the final scene, each group member was in control of their own camera work. The idea would be to "film" with an emphasis on your character, meaning that we would be producing 5 different videos. Here's my initial cut after animating and importing in the other characters.

Once that was finished, all that was left was texturing, lighting, and rendering (finalizing). We were limited to flat colors for our textures, so don't expect anything fancy. Of course if you have been expecting fancy - you've probably jumped ship to another blog by now. So now that you've suffered through the entire explanation of how I made it, here's my final animation.

Pretty nifty eh? Well, I think so anyway. In addition to that, we also had to do some individual work. For mine, I chose to do another 6 second animation. No lighting or coloring, this was just focusing on basic animation.

That's it for this month in Full Sail. Next month I'll be in a more advanced modeling course - so hopefully I'll be sharing some 3D models of ninjas, pirate monkeys, or maybe a T-Rex Who knows.

Oh in case you were wondering if this is how it's done in the real world, check out this and this. Admittedly, we skipped the voice talent part.


Rishi said...

looks solid, great work

Merrymom said...

Wow! I'm impressed! (Dad said to ask if you knew how to animate a lawnmower...)

Matthew Johnson said...

Sweet! I look forward to seeing more.