Holiday Animation work! (Aka 'No rest for the wicked take 2')
Similarly to last year, I'll be using the summer, not only to read all of my proposed texts for my dissertation, but to also practice and try and hone in my 3D character animation skills, so I can produce a new showreel ready for September. Although I loved all of the projects I got to work on, one thing my 2nd year animation portfolio is severely lacking in is 3D character animation, the thing I want 90% of my showreel to be of! Other than my 11 second club work, all of the other projects I worked on were 2D, partially due to the cancellation of the 3D project I planned to join for our crew assessment, but also due to the fact there just weren't many 3D projects this year (there were two, but they were both full and not accepting any more animators) and a little due to me taking on too much work on top of my coursework last year (The Card Project, A Costume Project, Coursera Online Course and a few other things)
Hopefully this holiday will give me time, not only to catch up with friends and relax, but also to get my show reel to a standard I'm happy with, as a lot of the animation on my December 2013 reel is getting kinda old (Particularly the Eleven rig going from happy to sad, that was one of the first 3D animations I did, for our animation practice module back in first year!) If all goes to plan, I'll be removing all of the 2D animation in that showreel, except maybe a little bit of the Urashima Taro film and the Waltz and Bashir style 2D cutout animation from the sea project as the end (because I'm still pretty proud of that project, we ended up making it work really well)
Unfortunately my home internet is very slow and has a strict bandwidth, so I may be unable to upload my animations as soon as I've finished them (depending if we're close to the limit or not) but I've gotten pretty good at compressing them now (the below one is only 2mb and in decent quality) so fingers crossed I'll be blogging a lot and won't have to save uploading them until I'm back at uni.
I've compiled a small list of 'tasks' for this holiday, with a major focus on animations for video games, as well as covering some of the basic techniques again. It's quite a bit of work for 8 weeks, but I hope to cover as many as possible and will work on the ones I don't complete over the summer, in my free time when I'm back. You can see the live list here :) I'm hoping to complete 1 task a week (minus this coming week as I'm away on holiday for it)
The first task I set myself was a run cycle, using the Tonga rig from creative crash. It's a really nice, easy to use rig, so I plan to do several 'cycles' using it, such as running, walking and jumping, the kind of animation you'd see used in video games. Below is the completed animation, it's easily the best animation I've done in a while and I especially enjoyed working with overlap on the tail and ears! It took a long time to work out the weight on the character, as it looked a lot too floaty with my first few attempts, but I think I've worked it out alright and I'm pretty pleased with the final result c:
My main reason for using the Tonga rig for this, instead of a human rig like Eleven or Morpheus was that a couple of months ago I got accepted onto a small team of video game developers called RAA. It's a teeny group of about 20 or so people really passionate about games, making an adventure/detective game based around a lizard called Russell. The people from the team are from all over the world, several being from Brazil and Argentina along with a handful of us in the UK and the rest of Europe! We've been communicating remotely through skype and facebook and using dropbox to send files between each other.
It's being created in a mixture of Blender and Cry Engine 3 and they were looking for animators to create the cycles for the characters :) I offered to help out, as it'll help me practice, be cool to work with a team of game developers and I can use some of the animations as examples for my showreel. Some examples of the characters are above and they are currently being rigged, ready for animation! The game is on hold for a little bit whilst the team works on a smaller mobile game, but I'll hopefully be in charge of animating a couple of these guys in the future!
Tonga was the most similar to these types of characters in terms of ears/tail overlapping, so I decided to go with that rig for practice before these are rigged c:
The google documents page listed above is live, so keep an eye on that if you want to see where I am in terms of animation! (If I haven't been able to upload them here)
I'm off on holiday for a week now, so I'll update you all in a couple of weeks time :)