Progress Check

March 10, 2011

This week I pretty much finished animation, finalized my collar model, story boarded a simple live action intro credit sequence, came up with a game plan on how I’m going to light, and figured out a work flow for texturing. I’m hoping the upcoming spring break will be even more productive. I hope to have all shots lit and textured, completely animated, and ready to render out by the end of break. Also, I plan on reshooting two shots that have been giving me trouble. One shot has to be redone due to a lack of tracking information.¬† I also plan on shooting a simple intro, hopefully over break. The idea for the intro is three to four shots, all live action. No fancy pantsy animation will be needed, so I’m hoping it won’t take a lot of my time. The most difficult part about this week was animating the last few shots of my film. The most important thing about this week was talking to Eric Hanson about lighting and Maks about texturing solutions.

Here is an example of some more animation:


Animating continues…

March 3, 2011

This past week I tried to reach my animation deadline. Though I got a lot of shots animated, I’m still in the process of animating. I am getting a lot faster but I also left the hardest shots last, so the upcoming week is going to be… “fun”. The most difficult part about last week was trying to figure out an approach to the train track walk shots. The most important part was finishing a ton more shots and getting closer to finishing this project!

Here’s a little clip of some more animation:

February 24, 2011

This past week I’ve been going full force, trying to crank out as much animation as possible. So far, I’m feeling pretty good about the animation in the first half of the film. For the most part, all those shots are… 90% there, although I keep on finding little errors in each shot. Finding little flaws probably will never end, which is a problem because I won’t know when to call it quits. Regardless, I’m getting a lot of work done. I’d hope to finish all animation by the end of this month, but its looking like I won’t meet my own deadline. Either way, I’m going to try to reach my deadline so I can finally start lighting all the shots. The most difficult part this week was probably having to trash some walk cycles because they didnt work with the continuity of the previous shots. I’m still¬† not 100% happy with some of the continuity, but hey… time is of the essence and I can’t be thinking about little things like that. The most important/interesting part about my week was either going to the market to buy snacks so I can physically glue myself to my office chair without having to get up every now and then or landing a fakie frontside 360 kickflip… I’m pretty stoked on that…

I blasted the first half of Dirt Squirrel. Peep the playblasts yall:

More Animation

February 17, 2011

This week, I’ve continued to work on animating. Every shot, at the least, has roughed out animation. Though no shots are 100% complete yet (because I’ve been jumping around from shot to shot), if everything turns out right, I should be done with all the shots near the same time. I’m aiming to be done with animation by the end of this month, which, if I keep working at this pace, is a possibility. The most exciting part about this week… That’s difficult to say since animating walk cycles over and over again aren’t too fun after the first 10. But I’d guess the most exciting aspect this week was realizing that all my shots have animation in them. The most difficult part about this week was the stupid walking down pole shot. Maybe I was too impatient with it, but it hasn’t been too nice to me.

Here’s some roughed out animation of the overhead shot. I’ve been concentrating on animating the legs in each shot first and will get to the spine, tail, and neck later:

Tracking, Blocking, and Animation!

February 10, 2011

This week I FINISHED tracking and blocking out all my shots! A few shots were difficult to track/block, due to little tracking information in the shot. I managed to salvage the shots, hand tracking camera movements to save the scene. Additionally, I continued animating. I have several shots that have very rough animation and others with more refined animation. I easily get board animating and feel like jumping around from shot to shot is a good work flow for me. The most difficult part this week was either hand tracking camera movements or animating a specific walk cycle using confusing reference footage. The most fun and interesting aspect of this week was getting far enough on one shot to start considering secondary animation and added eases to my key frames. Here is an example of a shot I worked on this week:



Finally finished with my Rig! Now on to animation…

February 3, 2011

So this week, I finally finished my rig and I’m ready to start animating. Since my film is shot in live action though, I have to track/recreate all the scenes in maya. This process has been going pretty smoothly, despite a few difficult tracking shots. Additionally, I have blocked out several scenes and have begun animating basic shots. Here’s an example of one of the scenes I’ve been working on:


January 27, 2011

While waiting for Maks’ approval for my most recent rigging modifications and the go ahead to start animating, I began to texture my squirrel model. I did some tests ( over break to get familiar with the hair plugin, so I didn’t find the texturing process to be completely difficult and foreign. Originally, I made separate maps for several of the plugin’s fur attributes (ie frizz, length, density, etc) but I later realized I was over-complicating the process. I eventually figured out the best way to go by things, and ended up with, what i believe to be, great results. I still have to refine much of the texturing, specially fitting and cutting down the hair to the squirrel. Here is an example of what the current texture looks like.

Rig Improvements

January 20, 2011

Over the break, I taught myself how to incorporate ik and control handles into my model. Though I finished with a fully functional model, I recently met with Maks, who has suggested that I tweak a few things before animating. I did a few animation tests to see how my rig will work. Here’s a quick example:

Done with Live Action Production

November 30, 2010

This past week I filmed all live action plates! It was very difficult, but it’s finally over. I’ll post an edit soon. Everything looks really good and I’m satisfied with all my hard work. The most difficult part was trying to film quickly before the rain ruined some of my shoot on Saturday. The most important part of last week was that I got all shoots filmed!

Weighting, Collar Model, Production

November 23, 2010

This past week I finally finished weighting my character!! I have the calisthenics to prove it!! I also modeled the collar my squirrel is going to be wearing and have been preparing for this weekend’s live action production. I have all permits and forms taken care of, most rented equipment on lock, cast and crew committed… so lets hope things work out flawlessly!! The most important part this week was FINALLY finishing weighting my character. The weighting process has been and hopefully will continue to be the least fun thing I had to do for the project. Along with being extremely boring, weighting with complex geometry and a large amount of bones becomes very detail oriented and sensitive; not very fun when you just want to power through the whole thing. Wish me luck for the shoot!!!


Collar model: