Sunday, January 27, 2013

December Entry

This post is a little late, but it's about my 11 Second Club entry for December 2012. 

Here's the clip:

I worked longer on this one and used my own video reference (like last month's comment suggested). I placed 143 out of 148 (pretty bad, I know), but got many more helpful comments:

"good mouth animation in time with the soundtrack but the animations are not enough accurate (side of mouth, cheeks following, etc...)"

That's because I only used the jaw and the horizontal mouth controls. I have a lot more to learn about lip syncing.

"I like the polish you put into it. But the characters dont offer much, they look like two awkward standing solidiers, But Good job man"

When I look again, I see that the characters do seem too straight and still. I defiantly need to work on posing.

"Is the green character sick?"

No, but I can see why you'd think that!

"The staging is pretty boring. Why not add an angle to it?
Also the animation is a little flat."

Yep, I see not that my camera is dead center, symmetrical and boring. I don't know what 'flat' means, but I see how my characters don't look as alive as they could.

"Characters start posing looks like default rig pose . . . ?"

Yep, I started from the default pose and went from there, so it's pretty uninteresting. Posing is my worst current weakness.

So, it looks like I still need to improve a ton (and maybe a little more) in order to succeed in these competitions.

Time to try again,

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

11 Second Club

Well, last month I discovered a site called the 11 Second Club ( It is an animation site that hosts a monthly competition. An 11 second sound clip from a movie is selected each month to be animated by people from around the world (mostly students).

I decided to compete, and after a week I came up with this:

The results came back today, and I placed 234th out of 284 entries. I didn't do well, but I did get one helpful comment:

"no staging, no body language. lipsync done a bit in a squishy way. Try making some reference. Do MANY references, it helps a lot to understand what could the character do when he says this particular sentence. looking forward to see your next animation !"

Let's break the comment down and figure out what I need to work on:

"no staging, no body language."
Yep, I didn't do either of these. Since this was my first dialogue animation, I really just focused on the head and lips. I guess I was too afraid to try any interesting gestures.

"lipsync done a bit in a squishy way."
Looking back at my video, I see what he means by this. The lips are timed well, but they really only move up and down, not making any interesting shapes. About two thirds of my time was spent on the lips and jaw, leaving little left for other important parts.

"Try making some reference. Do MANY references, it helps a lot to understand what could the character do when he says this particular sentence."
I guess I didn't think of doing any video reference to help myself out. I drew a few vague poses to test out the timing, but that was nowhere near enough preparation. Many professional animators talk about recording themselves before working on a scene, so I will make sure to do this for December's competition.

"looking forward to see your next animation !"
Well, thanks! There will be many more to come. With more preparation and better planning, I'm sure I'll do better next month.

So I've downloaded the December audio clip and will now try again. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What's Next

This is a clip from my next music video. It features one of four instruments.The animation will be light based like the last one. I separated the music tracks and really focused on syncing the sound this time. The main instrument is a color changing light tower, which casts a shadow in the background. I can't wait until it's finished!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Synthesizer Visualizer

I just finished another music video! This one uses shade-less 2D objects to play along with the music track I made. I really like the simple no camera movement look. I also used a new music program for this one: Reason, and I really like it. I can't wait to do more challenging things. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Balloon Pencil Test

For the second half of this summer, I'm going to work on my hand animating skills. I have had a few ideas, but I think I'm going to make a little film about a young balloon (they're easy to draw!). 

This video clip shows a simple balloon character bouncing a few times. It was my first time ever animating with real paper and pencil and it's kind of shaky because I didn't have a tripod. I drew the four frames in two minutes and didn't really worry about lining the paper up, just wanting to finish quickly. 

Time to try again,

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cylinder character animation

Today I finished my first character animation! It is very short and simple, but was fun to make. I learned a lot this past week, from rigging the mesh to mixing my own sounds. I'll talk a little about the process.

To warp the mesh, I created shape keys. These are basically individual pose extremes, made by moving the vertices in edit mode.

Each movement had its own shape key (about 20 total) and, to make the process less confusing, I rigged an armature of individual bones to affect each one. Each bone had multiple constraints so I could make sure they'd move or rotate in the right direction. You can see the bones in motion in this short clip:

The last thing I did was add sound. I should have done this earlier because It was hard to get the sound to match the animation. I used the program Audacity to mix my recorded sound effects:

I'm happy with how it all turned out, but I know I still have a ton of stuff to learn.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Drum Room

I finished and uploaded my drum animation to YouTube today. The sound sync seems to be off a bit in the beginning and there are still a few render artifacts, but I am proud with how it turned out. I plan to take the day off to clean my desktop and organize files. -AJP