Today was our third milestone, you can find my commissions here.
I have upgraded the environment a bit, added a spotlight and finally rendered out the entire clip for the first time in a higher resolution. But there was some errors in that clip that I couldn’t change. Have been having some trouble with Maya. I couldn’t open the scene and the character which I have referenced into the scene would not load. So here is a good ol’ playblast where I have changed some of the things.
Even though I did fix that by going back a revision on svn, (svn is a program that let’s us store our files on a server and it saves every version you save even if you save over a file. So you can then if an error occur go back several files and load that on your computer. It sure can be a life saver.) Then in the scene I did a File -> Optimize Scene Size. And that made the scene run much smoother, for a while at least. It starting to go slow again and it’s almost unbearable to animate at all. I tried exporting the things in the scene to a new one but that wouldn’t work either. I’m kinda running out of ideas and it would be nice to know what’s wrong. I think it’s most likely the character or the ghostman plug-in.
Well about the animation anyway. I got about two days now to fix and tweak the ever living out of this. I will probably not get entirely satisfied with the end result but I have done the best I could at the moment and I learned quite a lot.
There, now I have basically made all the major inbetweens! What awaits is to tweak and time some movements better.
Added an anticipation before he starts to run in this here clip. Anticipations are good in animation to maker the viewer ready for a movement. Or give a character more force in a specific action such as swinging a golf club. In this case I was aiming for both.
I made him stop after he swinged over the gap as well. before it really felt too rushed, so now it feels better. I will shorten it down a bit and give him a moving hold. Which is basically to make the character move around just enough to not look like he’s freezed in a position.
Since last I have been working on this here clip where he is sneaking past the dog house. Not completely done yet, need a few more key frames at some places and some general adjustments.
Otherwise I have been inbetweening, refining and changing most of the animations in the beginning. Sometimes when I change a movement it is necessary the change the movement before and after as well. That is a big problem when making changes mid on. It takes time, but hopefully it will be worth it later on.
This is the clip so far.
The sneak is a bit too fast, I’m thinking of maybe adding twice as many frames. All the animations I’ve been working on in the clip are on two’s right now. That means that every pose is showed in two frames. So for 24 frames then that’s 12 poses per second. Some of the faster movements are in one’s which is then 24 poses per sec. I read that when you have a moving camera in your scene which will move in one’s, then your animation needs to be in one’s as well. So I might need to look into that.
Added him putting is head into his hands at the beginning and slowly stroking his head. An attempt to show more of his tiredness. The timing is a bit off just as he puts his head into his hands, but I can’t seem to get it right at the moment.
Also straightened out the legs when he runs, and I think it looks better! Will need a bit more work maybe speed it up towards the end, right before the jump.
I did speed up some things, the jump and him crashing into the wall. Not sure if I should speed it up even more.
And I changed the way he comes up after climbing over the wall. The movement before was to extreme and this feels better.
Whole day has gone to making the landing and getting up. I wanted him to get a bit off balance as he gets up so I exaggerated it a lot. Now in after hand it might be a bit to much, or something else. Because it somehow feels wrong.
I tried some straight ahead animation for once, just to start thinking another way. And it went pretty good for a while and it did in the end give me the idea of how to make this. But I later on went back to pose to pose to get a bit of order into the chaos I was creating.
Got some great feedback today as well on the animation before the wall. That I should straight out the legs when he plants his feet while running and exaggerate the land poses as well. Also to generally speed things up a bit.
I will get right on the running first thing tomorrow.
Progressing forward and it’s going pretty well. I’m almost through the first part now. Made some changes for the better I think. Him stretching his back before he starts running and having him push more towards the wall after he jumps the cliff. Gave it more force behind the jump.
The running still feels kinda off and the jump seems a bit slow maybe. I´ll need to work a bit more on that before I move to the next part.
This week I have been inbetweening the beginning to make the animation more smooth and eventually with some more inbetweens I might become satisfied enough to move on. I did make one modification. And that was to remove on step from when the character turns around and also making the steps he takes more subtle. After watching the references it felt more natural that way.
I have been working with spacing. Which is another of the 12 animation principles but it is called slow in and out. If timing is how fast something move depending on how many frames it takes for it to move. Then spacing is how much it moves in every frame. Either favoring the beginning which will make a slow out. Or favoring the end and then it becomes a slow in. Making the movement feel like it is coming to a softer stop. If any of that didn’t make any sense but you wish to learn more then you can read more about it here.
As you can see in this picture below, I favor the beginning by having the character not move so much when he is moving back in anticipation for him to get up.
Now you might notice that there are some frames where the character is completely still. Those are there right now as a sort of frame buffer so I can move the frames around without too much interference. Because if I realize that something needs more frames but everything is optimized already then getting those extra frames usually becomes a pain. There might be a better solution for this, but right now it works.
And here is the animation:
There, I finally made myself some references with the aid of my superb classmate Henrik Nordqvist. We were able to film all scenes except those at the end. But with a bit of luck I might find some references online.
Well here is a selection of some of the clips:
And for all you who wounder, yes this was filmed with a potato.
Alright. Adding just a few more keyframes was a great way to get better overall timing. And even if the timing is not great at all parts, I can still see that something feels odd and that I need to change it.
I have been pushing some old keyframes and making them a bit more extreme. It’s hard because some part of my brain is telling me to keep it down and simple. But I am convinced I will get greater result if I continue pushing the extremes. How ever. some parts will need to be changed completely. It’s far too many to point them all out now, but the most urgent I think is at 0:42 when the character is climbing the small hill.
Also got a great suggestion that I should try and work with the camera movements more. So I tried resting the camera at the little doghouse and I think it adds to the moment of just sneaking. Well here is the clip so far, now shortened down 10 sek.
Have been adding some more frames between my keyframes, which is called breaking down. In some places, just to get a better sense of the timing. Just like someone commented on my last post. The run cycle does look very goofy at the moment. And when I looked over the timing, I realized it was way to long.
According to the Animator’s survival kit, a normal run cycle takes around 14 frames.I had set my initial timing at around 50 frames. Which made it look and feel very odd.
I mentioned ghosting earlier. And I had some problems with the ghost tool in Maya. It was very unstable and made the whole program crash. After some time once my limit was up, I had had enough. And found instead this little gem, Ghostman. A script that enables ghosting and even makes the ghosts transparent. Which makes sense doesn’t it? But Maya own does not have that. And it’s just over all not very user friendly.