Friday, May 29, 2009

The beans are coming! Snowboarding ones.

It is nearing assessment time and I'm working through some submitted work by animators. In the modelling process part of the task was to create blendshapes for facial features (1st years didn't have to do this part). Unfortunately it appears that quite a few animators didn't take the opportunity to animate their character's facial features using blendshapes.

So... I had a bit of fun with one bean as I was checking the character rig. Did I ever mention that it is fun being an animation teacher? I hope that the animators' relationships with their first ever built character rigs haven't soured due to the metaphorical blood spilt during modelling classes? You didn't create Frankenstein's monster. Love your beans, please. Give them life... boohahahahahaHAHA!

Garn, I urge you to get your beans out for a few short animation exercises... See Mitch's handy chart!

I wanted to test if a student's character rig blendshapes worked on a spacing exercise animation. They work just fine.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Alan Dewhurst - Brisbane Lecture ~ Peter and the Wolf

I think most of the animators who attended would have sketched this image Peter and the Wolf is a short animated film that won a 2008 Academy Award. Alan Dewhurst, one of the producers, gave a lecture on May 27th 2009 at Queensland University of Technology.

The film took about 4 years to make and over 250 people are credited in its production.

The three main people involved were: Producers Alan Dewhurst and Hugh Welchman, and director Suzie Templeton.

The film was eventually made in Poland in association with Se-ma-for Studios. It was shot using cameras lifted from Berlin at the end of World War II.

The film is strongly influenced by eastern European themes and music. It's foundations are from the story by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev. The design of the film was based on the central relationship between the visual presentation and the music.

The darkness and seriousness of the film has given it distinction but at the same time hampered its growth into the main stream. The animation and design is excellent.

Maya software was used to produce a detailed animatic with ruff models and a full layout and to animate the blue balloon that helped the magpie to 'fly'.

>Find out why the animators were directed to animate a female wolf.

Find out where computer graphics were used to complement the stop motion animation.

Alan spoke a lot about funding and obstacles to production. How a lot of the film is created based on a complex web of promises that needed to be honoured over time (before paying the producer's fees). A gem he dropped into the lecture was, "Don't let ambition run in front of the budget, otherwise you get in all sorts of trouble."

Suzie Templeton made an award winning student film at the Royal College of Art in 2001.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Meet the Parent(s) in Maya

A few of the second years are producing essential animation principle scenes (EAPS) with the character interacting with an object. This video tutorial will help with those sequences:

Watch 0000 Parents in How to Videos  |  View More Free Videos Online at

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tips for setting up Max for Maya

Importing Max for Maya (character rig by James Hunt: ). He is big and not easy to scale, so scale everything up to him.

Applying an image texture in Maya

Some of the animators wanted to know how to do this, so here is one way to apply an image texture simply but effectively in Maya. It is based on this video tutorial from Swinburne University in Victoria. Thanks to Will for finding the tutorials on the Internet.

Golden Rule: Don't let modelling and texturing eat away at your animating time.

Some of the animators in the studio were interested in how to apply an image texture to a polygon shape.

The second in a series of three parts to the process.

Third and final part to this three part series of short Maya texturing video tutorials.

What the label looks like in the UV texture editor when the cylinder is selected in object mode

Maya - Setting Preferences for Animation

Is Maya playing too fast when you're trying to see your animation?

You can set your timeline and frame rate preferences by following the steps in the short video tutorial below.

Set up Maya for animation

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Animation Mentor - How a film is produced

Animators can benefit by seeing the process that other animators work through to produce a final piece of animation.

The Animation Mentor You Tube channel has student work that shows how they got from an idea for an animation to the final product.

It includes steps that the second year animators are aware of: design, layouts, storyboard, animatic, at this point the AM students to a 'pitch', video reference = ACT IT OUT and film it, blocking out the poses in 3D, animating, polishing and presentation of the final film.

What I like about this film is that it is a simple concept that allowed the student to focus on the animation. Keep It Simple.