Procedural Animation – Week 2 – Animation

We met up with David, teacher at our school. To help us out with the motion capture and teach us how to navigate the program. He told us a lot of important information about how to calibrate the cameras before we used them. We were told to check all of the cameras and see if all of them were working as intended.

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In total there was 8 cameras working at 100% capacity.

We were using tools in the room itself to check if the cameras was able to spot 4 dots placed on the tool. We then used another tool to calibrate the whole room by go around for 5 minutes and waving it around in the room like a madman. The cameras picked up red dots in 120fps, the more dots you had on one camera the better calibration you would get.

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After the wand had done its job, we started the processing status of the wand.

How this worked was that it would use the data the wand had gathered and processed it to calibrate the average length of space we could walk on. We had to click on “Run Again” several times in attempt to get the “Wand Length – Avg:” as close to 500 as possible. The better calibrated, the cleaner our recordings would get. To our luck, we managed to get it fairly close to 500, and the recordings ended up very clean. Rarely any dead frames or dots on our mocap suit that would disappear.

We got our actor, Edvard, to dress up in the motion capture suit.

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It was important that the suit would be tight, because if the actor would have folds on his or her suit, the recording could bug out, or the rig could break.

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To our luck, Edvard fit perfectly inside the Large suit we had. Additionally, we had another Small, Medium and Extra Large suit laying around.

Now that he was fully dressed up, we had to attach the dots to his suit. In total there was 40 dots we were going to place around on him. So as David instructed us where to place the dots, me and Marcus placed them on each side of the suit to speed up the process.

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After our actor was all set to go, we had to attach all of the dots he was wearing to an existing rig. We instructed Edvard to stand in a T-pose while we recorded 2 seconds of it so we could use this recording to attach the data from the dots to the rig itself.

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It was quite easy because the program asked us to locate the dots using a given name to that part of the skeleton. Having prior knowledge to what the different parts of a rig is called, it was not a problem to connect the dots.

Now that all of this was done, we were ready to record all of the movement we needed.

Marcus instructed Edvard on what we needed to do, and I recorded it and cleaned up the recordings. Luckily, the calibration was so good that there was rarely any clean up needed between each recording.

 

Next up now, is cleaning up the recordings in Motionbuilder with assistance from our good teacher Josh.

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Procedural Animation – Week 1 – Character design

So we began by drawing different concept ideas for the character, and later discussed this with our online students of our group over a skype call. We shared different concepts and designs, eventually landed on one concept we agreed upon.

Our character was supposed to be made entirely out of goo, so the design we landed on was goo inside a broken teapot.

Edvard Teapot

The teapot was Art Director, Edvard’s idea, where this was the first concept of it.

We started planing out different move-sets for our character, how it would punch, jump, grapple, walk, run, block, taunt, etc.. As we were planing our Group Manager, Marcus, started writing down everything we said and made a refined list of how our character would fight and move.

Punch

The punch idea started out as a joke, but ended up becoming what we all wanted to use. Since the teapot consists of goo, it can take the shape of anything. So our idea was that when the character punches, it will form the shape of a giant human fist out of the nozzle of the teapot.

Teapot punch

Again the concept was made by Edvard.

Grapple

The online student Putle also had an idea he illustrated while we were chatting, and that was a grapple move. Where the teapot would use the goo from its nozzle and grab a Teabag that is laying inside of the pot. The goo would reach in from the top of the teapot and pull it out, then throwing it forward and pulling it back. The idea was that the teabag would be covered in sticky goo, so if it hits an enemy, the enemy would stick to the bag as our character pulls the enemy towards him.

The string of the teabag could be as long as we want it to be, so it wouldn’t have a super short range.

Putle drawing

Concept made by Putle.

Block

As for a blocking mechanic, we thought about either the teapot using the lid on the top of his head as a shield when blocking. Alternatively I mentioned he could shoot out goo in the shape of a shield absorbing anything coming his way.

Shield block

Concept made by Martin.

 

Potential issues we might face with this character is:

  • Too much work.
  • Way too many attack moves (Time schedule).
  • Difficult game mechanics.
  • Problematic to model and rig.
  • Problematic to animate.

 

However, I believe we can solve many of these issues by being realistic and cutting what we want to do and focus on what we have to do. Group manager Marcus decided it was better to have too many ideas instead of lacking ideas. Because that way we can cut away what we don’t have time to make.

Our Lead modeler Aleksander, is going to take on the job of modeling our teapot character, and will face the challenge of modeling and rigging it. However it is a fairly simple model, all we need to rig is the legs and head. The goo from the nozzle is something I will rig later in Maya.

Next up is Motion capture. Now we have a list ready for what we need to mocap.

Procedural Animation – Week 1 – Beginning

The goal for this course is to create Game characters and Game environment to then be coded together as a final product. The challenge of this course will be heavily balanced on the fact that we all have to work together with a time limit, similar to the actual game industry. Each team has to work on a schedule to deliver the product on the deadline, so that the UI Team can patch everything together and finish the work.

So for this course we got divided into teams.

Our groups consists of:

  • Backend / UI Team
  • Art Team 1
  • Art Team 2
  • Art Team 3

My role is “Lead Animator” for Art team 2 and our group consists of  6 other roles as well where 1 of them is not occupied. The other roles are: Group Leader, Lead VFX, Lead Modeling, Art Director, Generalist 1 and Generalist 2.

The role I got consists of being in charge of all the animation. We are going to do motion capture, clean it through mudbox, refine it in maya and send it along with our characters to the UI team.

Potential challenges I might face on this task is the following:

  • Problems understanding Motion Capture.
  • Bugs with mocap software.
  • The recorded animation will not be as clean as prefered.
  • Too much time on cleaning up the deadframes and filling up gaps.

Hopefully, everything will go according to plan. I have prior knowledge to animation, so I don’t think these issues will be anything I couldn’t solve during our time working.

Animation 3 – The take on facial animation

I know I am very VERY late on this assignment and I apologize for this. I will have it completed either way. I have planned out a very specific reference I will be using.

Seeing how I always admire how people use their hands to describe something they are talking about, I wanted to do a parody on Jerry Seinfeld due to exactly this. Considering he uses his hands in a million different ways while he is talking, I had a go myself and the result was shockingly similar. I also found out Jerry had a skit about old people, and I decided to do a little twist on his skit to make it fit my recent animation about the old man smashing a button with his cane.

My parody on this skit

For this animation I will need to 3D model a simple TV and a Microphone. Considering I am very much out of time, I will rush through it on saturday and have most assets done by monday morning!

 

Animation 3 – OLD MAN IS DONE

So I have finally reached the stage where the animation is done. After the blocking stage was finished, I polished the animation a bit due to some shoulder and elbow movement which was not very natural. Cleaning up the small bits, I also finished the facial expressions. The end result ended up looking smooth and clean.

Perspectives

Rotation

Front

Side

 

What a journey. From shooting references up, blocking out the important poses, polishing the blocking stage and finishing up with some facial expressions. Considering I had to shoot 3 different references I combined them all to be the entire sequence of movement.

This was the final reference I ended up following through out this project.

Animation 3 – OLD MAN Blocking 1

Before I started animating, I needed a cane to work with the animation and the rig. So I quickly 3D modeled a cane. I was afraid it would not animate properly so I made a rig Christina showed me back in the beginning of this course

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The Cane

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The Rig

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I also put up a marker on the screen to track where the cane was placed during animating so it would stay in one place. I used 3 screens to do this: Screen #1 had the reference videos, Screen #2 had Maya window with the animation itself, and Screen #3 had a teared off camera from Maya looking over the cane.

 

The Animation itself

As for the animation itself, I started following the frame counter on the reference videos. I blocked out the most important poses to fit in the animation itself. Although I overdid myself, and I made the blocking stage much more complicated than I was supposed to start with. Because a blocking stage should increase in detail over every WIP. But I just went head on and made the first wip really detailed.

This is the first WIP of my animation.

Animation 3 – OLD MAN

Today we did the reference recordings of us mimicking how we would see the animation play out. My vision for how I wanted my animation to play out was based on how old people walk and interact with things. I was scared of over-complicating things when I explained how I wanted it to play out, because I would need to do the following things: 3D model a walking cane, rig it so I could animate it with parent control, Old man walk cycles.

I took it as a challenge and recorded the references:

All though I was not entirely happy with how I hit the table, I did some additional recordings:

I also wanted the last hit to give the old man a crick in the spine so I did one more recording:

Now that I have all the references done, I will start making the first blocking stage of the animation.

 

*LAST UPDATED 27.03.2017 FOR VIDEOS*

Animation 2 – The end product

The final animation ended up looking really good. I am quite proud of this animation. I have prior experience with animating walk cycles, but I have never finished them entirely like this. The learning curve has extended and I am looking to do more animations like this in the future.

Combining all the 3 animations together was a piece of work, but the end result looks really good so I won’t complain. I saved one of the 3 animations as a new file and imported the other saves into the new file I made. I then copied the animations from the rigs of the other saves into the new file and polished and tweaked it one last time.

I expected to run into a lot of problems doing this because I have said prior experience with doing this in other animation software such as Source Filmmaker. Although Source Filmmaker is really buggy and there is a lot of know bugs. So animating in a professional program felt like a pleasure.

The final animation:Turntable2.gif