Thursday, 12 February 2009

Character animation

The most important part of this assignment is to consider the principles of animation: Timing, Exaggeration, Silhouette Technique, Stretch and Squash and Anticipation. The Character needed to reflect personality and show a process of thought and react accordingly through use of Body Language. I decided to produce an animation in Maya. I hadn't before animated a human character in Maya before and had only really experimented with the Sac rig. The first week I spent practicing moving the Andy Rig around so I could get used to animating in 3-D. I hadn't used lip synching or face movement tools before and it was really interesting experimenting with different facial expressions. Before I got anywhere near animating the character a needed to listen to the dialogue we were given and understand how a person would move when saying "aaaaaah, maybe I should quit and go back to making noodles". The best way to do this was to film myself acting out the scene and watch it back. I filmed myself 3 times and carefully watched how I moved. I saved certain key frames and practiced drawing them out in stick men poses so I could gain a better understanding of the positioning of the body. I took the saved still frames and compiled them together to create a rough outline of how I wanted the character to move. After listening to the sound I had to break it down phonetically to write it on the Dope sheet. This would help me with timing in when I was doing the lip sync. I also drew thumbnail sketches of my body positions alongside the dope sheet so I knew what frame the pose started and ended at. The dialogue was short and I hadn't spent any time on character design so I wanted my Andy rigs surroundings to set the scene and begin a story. I built a small mini golf green for the character to play on he misses a putt and then say the dialogue. It was important to me that the golf swing was correct as well as including all the vital anticipation and exaggeration needed in the body movements to get across the characters emotions as the golf ball approaches the hole and misses it. By editing the timeline play back "stepped" animation I was able to concentrate on creating accurate poses and change and tweak the timing. When I was happy with the timing I watched the animation back in real time and made changes so that it flowed better with no mistakes. Unfortunately whilst animating I think I may of concentrated more on the poses being correct as opposed to the timing of the whole piece because after some constructive criticism I realised that the animation was a bit too rhythmic which took the attention away from the body language of the character therefore losing the emotion and thought process of the character. Each pose almost falls on every second I need to hold some poses for longer and edited the movements so the animation can really come to life.

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