Monday, November 16, 2009

Sneakin' by . . .

Class 3 Week 7: Splined ("polished") my second animation of Viking Stewie sneaking up and jumping on sea monster to get to other side. Also included this week, I planned out the 3rd animation I will be working on next.

Monster Jump reblocked

Class 3 Week 6: Reblocked Viking Stewie's monster jump (not shown - better video can be seen in week 7).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How to Train Your Dragon

I am soooooooooo looking forward to this!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Another monster created in Spore

[Original video has been removed - "better" can be seen in Week 7]

Class 3 - Week 5: Blocking stage of my new monster jump animation.

"Final" Wall Jump

Class 3 - Week 4: This week I was to finalize the wall jump and present thumbnails and video reference for the next animation. Thumbnails below.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Got the Sword Included now!

[Original video has been removed - "better" can be seen in Week 4]

Class 3 Week 3: Reblocked the animation. Did extensive revisions on the physical actions and was able to include the sword in stone scene I wanted to include before. Wahoo!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How th'?

[Original video has been removed - "better" can be seen in Week 4]

Class 3 Week 2. This is the starting phase of the first animation of the term.

Unfortunately, as the plan mentions below, I didn't include the sword in stone shot (I ran out of frames). If you pause the beginning, you can see the sword in the distance. This next week I'm going to be doing some serious slicing and dicing to get the sword shot and fix the run and wall climb.

As a side note, I had a blast creating the environment and gate.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Class 3 - "Advanced Body Mechanics" Begins!

Class 3 - Week 1: After a week and a half break we are getting back to it.

Looking at the term, here's the overall plan: Viking Stewie sees sword in stone up on hill and goes through obstacles getting to it.

Animation 1 = Run and wall climb
• Viking Stewie sees sword in stone up on distant hill
• Runs and climbs over wall
• Lands on other side and recovers

Animation 2 = Running jump across river on moving target
• Viking Stewie sees river and monster
• Sneaks up near the river
• Runs and jumps on the back of the monster then to shore
• Runs into forest

Animation 3 = Forest scramble with final heavy sword pull
• Viking Stewie scrambles up hill through forest
• Goes to sword in stone
• Pulls it out of stone (heavy pull)
• Lifts in victory

Monday, September 28, 2009

Progress Reel Title Card - Class 2

Class 2 - Week 12: Final assignment was to fill out a survey about the class and upload our progress reel. Above is the title card. The animations are the same as what has already been posted so I won't be posting them again.

Class 2 finished!

Class 2 - Week 11: This is the final animation for Class 2 term of Animation Mentor

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Looking for Butter Smooth

[Original videos have been removed - "better" can be seen in Week 11]

Class 2 - Week 10: I continued working on getting it smoother as well as revised the animation according to student and mentor feedback.

Class 2 - Week 9: I reblocked the animation and did the first pass of smoothing. I need it to be smooth as butter.

These animations have been taken down because the final is much better.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


[Original video has been removed - "better" can be seen in Week 11]

Class 2 - Week 8: Stewie has arms now. They're having us animate more and more complicated rigs as we progress forward in the quarter.

For motivation, I chose to have Stewie do a backflip off of a winner's podium in his excitement.

Wax on, wax off . . . I need to polish more

Class 2 - Week 7: This is the final. I need to polish it more. The run is too fast and he bobs back and forth.

Below is the planning for the third and final assignment for this quarter. This assignment I'm going to have Stewie with arms do a backflip.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Box jumping

[Original video has been removed - "better" can be seen in Week 7]

Class 2 - Week 5: This week I blocked Stewie jumping a box (in this case a bridge). For interest sake, I had fun with Stewie's entrance and his motivation to jump up and off the box (bridge).

Monday, July 27, 2009

180 Degree Jump Polish(ing - is it ever done?)

Class 2 - Week 4: This week we were to polish (smooth out) the animation we've been working on for the last couple of weeks.

We were to also post the video reference and planning sketches for the next animation we are going to create. The choices were:

1. Hop on one leg (minimum four hops)
2. Lose balance and fall down
3. Jump up and off a box
4. Skipping (minimum four skips)
5. A simple dance move
6. Climbing/descending steep stairs
7. Drunken stumble
8. Walk in a heavy windstorm
9. Steps on sticky gum
10. Parkour no arms

I chose to capture the action of #3 - jumping up and off a box.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Photoshop brushes - you gotta love them!

One of my favorite ways to get inspired is to check out favorite illustrator blogs.

Recently an artist, Sean "Cheeks" Galloway, announced he was going to be selling a vinyl maquette of a character he created called "Kuta". As a part of his package contents, he wanted to include some postcards so he posted an art card contest.

As I was checking out a blog of another favorite artist, Joe Vriens, I noticed he had created one for Cheeks. I loved what he had done, so I downloaded it to put on my computer desktop.

The other day, for a creative break, I thought it would be fun to take Joe's work (which had a white background) of Cheeks' Kuta and add a Photoshop background with some cool brushes a friend gave me. I had a blast! Enjoy!

180 degree Re-Blocked

[Original has been removed - "better" can be seen in Week 4]

Class 2 - Week 3: After getting awesome feedback from my mentor Jason Martinsen, I went through the animation and reworked the leg swing, jump arc, landing and turn to be more smooth (as smooth as blocking can get). Front, side and 3/4 views are included in this video because Jason wanted them for more in-depth critique (which is much appreciated).

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Blocking the 180 degree jump

[Original has been removed - "better" can be seen in Week 4]

Class 2 - Week 2: Block in the 180 degree jump. This means, animate all the key poses. It appears a bit chunky because there are no in-betweens yet - that comes in the polishing step.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Class 2 - "Psychology of Body Mechanics" has started!

Class 2 - Week 1: Starting at a run.
We are to choose one of the following to video ourselves then sketch out our planning. I chose number 8. Below the list are my planning sketches.

1. Take a big step to the side
2. Kick a ball
3. Hopscotch
4. Jump over a gap
5. Walk to a stop/settle
6. Walk up a few stairs
7. Walk down a few stairs
8. Jump up and turn 180 degrees in the air and land/settle
9. Turn 180 degrees
10. From a stopped position, take a big step forward and settle

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Class 1 is Finished!

For the final assignment we were to fill out a survey and post all our finished animations into a "progress reel". Since you can see all of them in my past posts, I'm only including my title card.

Wahoo! Week 12 is done and Class 1 is finished. We get a week off for a break then hit Class 2 on June 29. I'm going to Maryland to visit my oldest sister and her family - good times!

Balance and "Gotta Pee"

Week 11: This week we were to capture the sense of balance in our Stu pose.

As for the animation, it was the final assignment. We were to get Ballie to walk with personality. You should be able to learn something about Ballie based on his walk.

This two part assignment was a tough lesson. I learned the KISS rule clearly. I bit off more than I could chew (too much going on). Should have kept it to a simpler walk. Because of the complexity and super busy time at work, I was not able to polish to the degree I hoped.

The walk part of the animation appears a bit fast. I liked its urgency, but it appears too choppy. I suppose I could have tried simplifying the number of poses in the cycle to appear simpler and clearer. Still figuring this one out . . .


Week 10: This week, the pose was to capture the body expression "Exhaustion".

The animation was to block in a walk with personality. It's so rough, I'm not going to post it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Elusive smooth, wherefore art thou?

Week 9: The pose this week was "Concerned". This one was tough. When I asked family and friends to vote, the votes were all over the place.

My final pose actually turned out to be a hybrid. I liked the nail-biting of #8 but wanted to down-play the emotion. It too easily can appear scared. I ended up taking the legs from #6 (#8's knees originally were knocking together) and upgraded them to an "interrupted" walk. I took his right hand down and used the arm pose from #7.

For animation, I was to take last week's animation and smooth it out. Wow, there's a lot to learn about a smooth walk. I really would like to rework it, but my workload (home and at work) is too much. I hope sometime I'll get to fix it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Blocked Walk and "Strength"

Week 8: This week's pose is called "Strength". It was tough, once again, not to do the typical arm bicep-flexing pose. I also tried to do a pose without props. I actually put the sketches (above) up to a vote and the above pose won. Since then, I learned in a couple of weeks, I'll be doing a "Balanced" pose, so now I'm wishing I did one of the other poses.

[Video has been removed - Final can be seen in Week 9]

This week we were to take the AM character called "Ballie" and make him walk for 2 seconds. This will actually be a 2 parter. This week we block in the key positions and Week 9 we'll smooth it out.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Jesus Saves . . . I didn't

So succinctly put by my friend, Pastor Lincoln.

Week 7: Make the Tailor character provided by AM, bounce 3 times like a squirrel.

Well, nightmare of nightmares happen. As I was finishing up my assignment around midnight Saturday night, Maya froze. I wasn't too worried because I thought I had saved. Much to my horror, apparently not. It appears the last save I had done was around 6pm.

Sooooooo my assignment did not turn out as I planned. I spent from midnight until 5:30 am creating just the hop across the screen (it's amazing how inefficient I can be in the early morning hours). There's a tiny pause between hops because originally I had Tailor come across hesitantly, see something scary off screen, then hop quickly back the way he had come. He was then going to be followed by a huge ball.

After the critique from my mentor, I can see all sorts of problems with it. His tail is supposed to flow like a whip. Man, does it look stiff now. Sometime I hope to fix it - time elusive time . . .

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Week 6: The assignment was to make this pendulum (block, "chain" and ball) to move in a figure eight pattern and come to a stop with a realistic pendulum swing.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Obstacle course

Week 5: We were to animate a ball bouncing through an obstacle course. This is the second post, because the original has been revised.


The above image is 16 sketches trying to capture the emotion: devastated.

The next image is the revision of my original AM Stu character pose. The "before" image was what I initially turned in for my assignment.

After the critique, I decided to revise it. In trying to figure out how to improve it, I found neither myself nor my friend's daughter (who is much more flexible than I am) couldn't physically get in the pose I created.

Also to try to push the pose a little further to get a better emotive response, I moved the left hand up to touch his face. I know it's obvious, but they encourage us not to do the expected gesture. I did an impromptu poll using a couple of different poses and it was amazing how everyone really resonated with the face touching images. Cliché is not the preferred route, but sometimes, if it works, it works.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Heavy and Light Bounce

Week 4: Animate a "bowling ball" and "beachball" drop, bounce and stop in the same scene. I'm still trying to figure this out.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bouncing Ball

This is the second part to week 3's assignments. Here we were to animate a ball (provided by AM) bouncing like a basketball or soccer ball. I think the last part of the tiny bounces at the end was a little too much . . .

"Excited" Pose

Week 3: This week we were to capture "excited". Problem is, it has all been done before so we can't do the typical "hands flung wide as the person is jumping in the air for joy" pose (as in sketches #6, 9 & 16). So, as I was sketching, I came across this photo of a woman with a contained excitement.

I sketched it, then tried to get the Animation Mentor "Stu" character in the same pose. It kinda worked . . . but not quite.

One thing they teach us is to exaggerate the gesture to get maximum impact. To get maximum impact, we have to keep all parts clear and distinct. You find this out by looking at the silhouette your pose creates. If the silhouette has any overlapping parts, it's hard to read. No matter how I turned the camera, I never was able to get all the parts clear. Thus the pose was tweaked . . . Enjoy!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Class 1 - "Basic Foundations" Has Started!

Actually, this is week 2. The first week assignment was to get familiar with the online campus, set up our profile and photo.

Sooooooo, this week, our assignment was to go out and sketch people in motion. We were then to choose one, take the figure (provided by Animation Mentor) called "Stu" and pose him in the same gesture. As I worked on his pose, I tried to tighten him up a bit and make it a little more dynamic than in the sketch.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

One Legged Hop

This was the final assignment for the workshop class. We were to take Animation Mentor's one-legged robot and make it hop. It appears quick because I kept the hop to a second in length at my mentor's request.

Robot Arm

This includes assignments 9 & 10. Originally, this Animation Mentor provided scene had a can and a block, but keeping to my "little king" theme, I replaced the can with the king and the block with the horse.

Assignment 9 was for us to take the provided robot arm and animate it "picking up" a can and placing it on a block on the other side within 4 seconds. It appeared to go through the motion as if it had picked it up.

In assignment 10, we actually learned how to "pick up" the object. This is the final product of both assignments.

Double Circle

This was assignment #8. It involved having a sphere going in a circle, importing a second one and changing its path. I had fun with this. It was interesting to hear my mentor, Kristina, particularly like it because it reminded her of an orrery . . . I had to look it up to know what she was talking about . . . now, I understand.

Circular path

This was assignment #7. The objective was to make a sphere move in a perfect circle. After doing that, I did a second one including my "little king". I thought it was fun, but the "thumbs up" and head turn animation were really rough because I didn't know what I was doing.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Little King in Space

This was our first animation. We were to take a sphere (ball) and move it around in space . . . in my mind . . . "little king" = sphere.

Lighting and Shading

Workshop Assignments #4 & 5. For these two assignments I decided to combine them into one. The first half of the week we learned how to color (or in Maya terms "shade") our character and scene. The second half of the week we learned how to add lighting and control the shadows.

These pictures are snapshots from different camera angles I set up in this scene. If you look at assignment #3's images, you can see the camera representations indicated in green.

Making a Scene

Workshop Assignment #3. In this assignment we were to take the character we had created and place him in a scene.

Since he was a king, I placed a crown on his head, a sword in his hand and a faithful steed to carry him through the woods.

I absolutely loved creating everything in this assignment.

Little King Occupies 3D Space!

This is the second assignment I had with Animation Mentor's Maya Workshop. The purpose was to create a stick figure from scratch with working joints.

Instead of doing a stick figure, I thought it would be fun to create my little king character I posted earlier in a Daily Sketch (Card Design).

When you initially create (or in Maya terms "model") something in Maya, the default color is gray.

The first assignment is not posted because it was not interesting enough to post. It involved placing shapes on a bookshelf Animation Mentor provided.

Hippo Hummingbird

Daily Sketch - create a creature combining a hippo and a hummingbird.

PC vs. Mac

Daily Sketch - draw a scene capturing the "PC vs. Mac" commercial characters.

Fire Elemental

Daily Sketch - create a character from the element of fire.

This actually is the second version of this subject. The first one I did in 2008 was a lame matchstick character - this one I liked much better.

Little King - His Reign Begins

Daily Sketch - create a design for a deck of cards.

This is the first sketch of my little king. During my Animation Mentor Maya Workshop he proved to be my inspiration during that quarter.

A Wild Ride

Daily Sketch - draw a wild ride that could be found at an amusement park.

I envisioned the boy riding a coin operated ride first . . . then I thought it would be interesting to have him ride a slippery fish . . . then I thought Barracuda . . .