Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Year 3 Semester 1 (madness) Wrap-up

SOooo that was crazy. Most of us were pulling all-nighters, some had several all-nighters in a row. But that's all behind us now, well until next semester. Or until immediately after Christmas, because we have to get working on our demo reels to get internships this summer...

While I'm working on that, here's what was put together this semester! First up is the Action Analysis project:

Well I didn't pull any all nighters for this, but got pretty close. Anyways the shadows were done last so they need lots of fixing, which is why I made them very faint so they wouldn't stand out too much. Also if I do get around to fixing this up there's lots of line wobbling that can be fixed. But overall, I mean it is 'done' and worse stuff has been put on television, even on the big screen!
Next up is the 3D animation project, 'A Thinking Character'

So I had a LOT of fun with this, and I feel there's still a million things I could play around with. Pretty much this and the 3D walk before it (might get that up, might not) taught me that I love 3D animating. I feel so much more in control and not having to worry about re-drawing the structure perfectly for every frame for me means I can focus on how the volume is moving and why. I'll always do rough paper tests of the poses before I jump into the 3D, but it's in 3D where I really feel I can start creating a unique motion.

And finally the last stop motion project, the puppet walk:

This turned out better than I expected. I didn't really do a final playthrough before handing it in (we only have 1 class to complete each test in the stop motion course), but I've discovered this semester that as long as I'm constantly flipping the frames while animating, checking to see that each one relates to the frames around it, I can trust the end product to move convincingly.

So the ending of the walk is a bit abrupt, I think even just one more frame would have fixed that, but I'm really happy with the smoothness of the walk. Again, no big plans for stop motion, but given the positive experience this semester I'll probably dabble with it somewhere.

For now, I'm working on that demo reel. The plan is to make, rig and animate one model, do one other model, and make one or two other animations using pre-made rigs off the interwebz. I've got a good start on one model and a rough on the other. Aside from that, I feel I can drop in this stop-mo walk, and maybe if I fix a few things in the Action Analysis I can put that in too. I'll put in the 3D animation I got here, but only if I can't make something new in time. I mean I love the animation, but just about every other animator from Sheridan has used that rig so I'd prefer to stand out.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Stopping Motion

Well my action analysis is actually still at the school so that's not going up this weekend. However I did discover I had the frames with me from my Stop Motion assignment we did this week, so you're getting that instead!

While I don't intend to go into stop motion (I like the forgiving nature of computer 3D much better) I am having lots of fun with the class, and I can feel how handling these puppets relates with handling a digital rig. The program we use in class is VERY limited as far as editing goes, pretty much if there's something wrong with a frame you can either delete it and hope everything else matches up, or delete it and EVERYTHING else afterwards. You can't insert frames made afterwards into a previous space.

Didn't really need to do anything crazy to fix this up. There were 2 frames during the anticipation right before the 1st swing which were slowing down the movement far too much, so I just removed them. I was going for an effect like he had real trouble swinging forward the first time he brought the club behind his head, but after I shot it it didn't really work, so I edited it to be a more straight-forward swing. I made a double swing because I felt I needed to put more energy in after the 1st still. Also, the ending is a little abrupt, needs about 2 more frames of ease-in, but too late to fix now.

Unrelated, you've probably heard about Minecraft by now, and if you haven't, well, uh, now you have. I started playing it back in July and I've built a fairly extensive castle by this point. I've been using it as inspiration for drawing landscapes, buildings, and creatures lately. I did a bunch of sketches of the monsters and this weekend I caved-in (spelunked) and scanned them so I could paint them. Here's the 3 I got so far:

1st one is actually one I made up for the game, I just call it 'cave beast' and while it might not be implemented by Notch (the Minecraft creator's alias) I hope someday I'll be able to mod it in. In the middle we have the Creeper, the exploding enemy, and the last one is the new zombie pigman found in 'The Nether', complete with golden sword! Obviously these guys will never appear in-game with this much detail, but like old games the concept art exceeding the in-game graphics has it's own charm. Something I like about Minecraft, the limited graphics (to compensate for infinite manipulability) make everything sort of iconic, like how I used to make the starship Enterprise out of 5 square LEGO bricks. And it entertained me for years.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Animals and News

Well the group film is on it's way, we have the rough storyboards and will have more finalized boards by next week. We've got a great and funny story and everyone is on-board for it, so that's going swell. I've been placed as 'layout manager', which means it's my job to make sure the layouts are getting proper attention, and help everyone produce them. Of course everyone helps with every part of the process, but we each have a specific focus as well.
Layout and Storyboard class are both completely focused on the film right now. For animation class, I've got some key poses and backgrounds that I'll put up very soon. Meanwhile we went to the Royal Winter Fair, again, today so I've got studies from that. As well we're doing a small anatomy study project, and I'll have that up once I take a picture of it.

Meanwhile, here's my animal work from the fair. I started off with some pen gestures, went back to pencil for some structure practice but then I moved to markers. I had a lot of fun blocking in the basic shade and color with marker, then finished each drawing with pen contours on top of the block in. Definately gonna keep trying this, it's much better than doing a line drawing and then colouring in Photoshop afterwards:
I'll note the colours aren't quite right due to the scan, but since it's not an attempt to get exact color it's not a huge deal.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Year 3, and GO

Well Summer as always did not go as expected, but it certainly wasn't dissappointing either. I picked up quite a bit of know-how for Maya through tutorials and practice, which is helping immensely as we get into Maya Animation class this semester. I have 2 short videos from that, but I'm still fiddling with export settings so I'll have them up here when that's solved.

Meanwhile, there are basically 2 projects this fine 3rd of Animation: the group film, which is only in the concept stage 1st semester and gets produced 2nd semester, and for this semester we have the Action Analysis assignment. Animation class and Layout class are both completely dedicated to this 1 assignment, I finished the rough storyreel for it today, so here it is:

The end product might have some of this art in it, we don't have to animate the whole thing, only up to 6 seconds worth. For layout we'll have to make a complete, full colour background, which also pans. We also need voice during the part we animate, the sound clip in this vid is a placeholder, though the line and timing will be roughly the same. But the sound quality will be better since we'll get access to the sound studio for recording. In the meantime now you know what I sound like! (I'll do the voice for the finished line too)

I've been doing some vehicle doodles lately that I might put up in a sketchbook dump (if you cross your fingers hard enough, I wanna hear those phalanges cracking!), unfortunately I can't put up stuff about the 3rd year film, cause it's not independent so I don't have all the rights. But when it is finished (of course it's not technically even started yet!) I'll be sure to link you guys towards it!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

End of Year 2 (a month later!)

So I took a little break from this after the end-of-year madness. Class ended over a month ago and I was hunting for a summer job (last time I'll have to do that though! Yay co-op next summer!). Decided to finally put a few things up from the last projects, as well as a few extra art-type works I got my hands into after school ended.
Starting off with the final painting assignment:
This used line-work from a pan-background layout assignment we did, which I never put up, which included a character walking across it from our walk-run animation, which I also never put up here...
Moving on! Final storyboard assignment used our 4 characters from that big character design project, which I DID put up, and put them into a TV-style storyboard sequence. We had to plan out a 3 sequence story and then choose 1 of those sequences to board. Then we had to observe carefully the ins and outs of TV storyboarding. I'll find out exactly how I did on this project when I pick it up in September, but I did well in the class so I'm guessing I did well with this.
Don't think you've seen the last of the trains! Having this sequence occur on a moving train, and viewed through various camera angles makes the sequence quite special layout-wise. And what do you know, I used part of it for my final layout assignment, which I'll post up if I ever get around to fixing 1 or 2 things with it.
Finally, away from assignments, here's some paintings I've done for my own enjoyment. The first one here I started back in August of 09, most of the work was done then but I finally got around to finishing the thing after class ended. Also, if it looks similar to the image at the top of this blog, that's because the top image is a previous version, one with a more cartoony rendering style. For this painting I wanted a lot more realism:
This next painting had similar motives, improving my realistic-rendering skills. I wanted to try my hands on something complex and metallic, so I choose Samus Aran from Nintendo's Metroid Prime series. I was also inspired by watching some people doing a playthrough of Metroid Prime, I would start replaying the game myself, but I've got loads of art stuff I'm trying to do right now, plus work, plus I probably enjoy painting more than playing anyways. Or rather, painting is a sort of playing for me, sometimes, which I'm sure is a very good thing.
The blue stuff is a crazy radioactive substance called Phazon. Samus is firing her Plasma beam, which is the strongest in the game, and since the sun is made of plasma I figured I'd make the visible innards of the gun resemble the solar surface, whereas in the actual game it looks more like lava. Also at first I didn't want the gun to be firing, but rather show the inside of the barrel glowing. But then I felt the void around the gun needed something more compositionally-speaking, so I went ahead and added a big fancy beam blast.
Well this post is more than big enough, as I said I have lots more art stuff in the works, so if all goes well there should be more pictures for you guys and gals to glance at soon!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Choo choo!

Title happens to also be my name according to my neice.
So I decided for the final layout project to go INSANE and fully model in Maya the train I plan to have speed through the drawn backgrounds. And then I couldn't resist the urge to also rig it so the wheels and pump arms would work as it moved forward. A few days later...
Not only that, I wanted a very precise train. "The General" which featured in Buster Keaton's famous film of the same name. Which is awesome and you should see it ASAP.
So here's some renders, notice all of this is being rendered in a line-art type fashion. I just discovered how to make Maya do this and it's convenient for bringing the model into my layout drawings (without standing out like a sore thumb). I'll be making more renders of this after school's done, which is just 2 weeks away so that's not far!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Zoo punk

So we had excellent weather last week, 15+ Celsius in mid-March. And then we had our Zoo trip this week, and it was about 0 Celsius. Blargggggh.
Anyways, we only need one page from this trip, which is a relief. That said, the only drawings that were of any use was the very last one I did and one I drew today from a photo I took. Everything else was rather rough gestures, and since it's only one page I felt I'd do better if I just submitted one or two studies.
So here's what I've put together, not sure whether to use one, the other or both, but I'll figure it out tomorrow:
Also, I put together something in Maya for Joel Beaudet's 4rth year film, it's a control panel that one of the characters interact with. I've already made a few minor props and I'm planning to make a bunch more, which I better get a move on if they're to be of any use to him. I don't know what deadlines he has but I bet they're coming up quick. Anwyays, here's some views of the control panel:

The main concern I have is that I didn't texture this, he didn't say I had too and I haven't had a lesson on texturing in Maya yet anyways. The colors on that Mario Kart I made is a very basic default texture applied directly to the polygons, no UV mapping was involved. You could use the same technique for most of the bits on this, but there are a few display meters that need an image stickered on to them. Might do it myself some day for fun, but for now I'll keep focusing on just making the geometry, which I am happy with on this.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Older Berry

So this one was put together fast. Fortunately the next assignment is a clean up of either this animation or the previous one (aka: guy angry at the dutch clip) and considering the way I make my roughs cleanup shouldn't be too too difficult. Mostly I figure this because I make sure to maintain the volumes of each part even at this rougher stage, some things will need to be fixed still but volume is a very important factor here.
So he's a bit too active for my intention, but I often worry my animation style is too stiff, so I figure if I overshoot to correct that eventually I should land on the 'sweet spot'. The line is from Monty Python's Holy Grail for those who don't recognize it, I used the lizard I made for character design, the design I still don't have here yet...

And there's lots more of this lizard to come. I think I may use this animation for the clean-up, and I'm already using this guy for the final Maya project too. Here's what I cooked up today for that, it's halfway done already after less than 3 hours...
People keep asking if I want to be a modeller, I'm certainly interested, I'm not sure if that's all I'll do if that is how I start up, I might move onto animating. Storyboarding also interests me... well we'll see in about two years won't we?

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Love Back to the Future so so much.
Anyways, our latest character assignment involved choosing one of three time periods and creating 4 characters for a story within chosen period. I picked a western, so that I could have a train in the story. I love trains so so much. We needed to have a hero/heroine, someone they love (romantic or platonic), a villain and a comic relief. We needed a lineup showing their relative sizes, and a sheet with 3 poses and 3 facila expressions for each of them. So here's what I got:
Our final storyboard for this year will be using these characters, I've got the story ironed out and over this week I'll have the beat boards made for that. Yes, Uncle Sam is the protagonist, of course he's not THE Uncle Sam but I took advantage of the pun.
Basically the story will revolve around all 4 of them on a train, Sam bought some boots for Violet's birthday, Bullhorn wants to steal them to give to his own wife for her birthday, then during the standoff on top of the moving train between Sam and Bullhorn Jacob remembers that he already got Violet the same set of boots. So Violet and Jacob get off the train at their stop, Sam and Bullhorn are stuck in the standoff for eternity on the train as it drives into the sunset.
And at the same time that's going I'm working on the muzzle animation, using a character from the previous character assignment (which it seems I haven't put up here, fix that in a bit), it's like the human sync except it had to be an animal with a muzzle (dog, cat, lizard, bear etc.) but it doesn't need the whole body, so I'm making it just from the waist up. And that's due Wednesday, Beat-boards are due Friday, a Digital Painting is due sometime this week as well, along with a short acting performance. And I'm also trying my best to make some extra 3D props for a 4th year's film... WHEEE!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dutch Kart?

So I got this animation done yesterday. I seem to have a strange ability to make an animation work WITHOUT TESTING IT ONCE. Obviously I could make it much better if I tested it and reworked any issues, I don't see this as an opportunity to continue not revising my work, but rather that I have a fairly good understanding about timing/spacing etc. Again, I could improve, but at least I can do it. Yay.
So that's the animation's story, for the second part of this post I bring you more from the 3D world (or virtual 3D world to be precise). This is my first notable model in Maya, 1st and 2nd project (a bowl of fruit, and a snowman) notwithstanding. It's of my Mario Kart toy which came with an awesome Yoshi action figure, hence the kart is green, for Yoshi, who cannot hear me over his awesomeness. Here's some renders:

Really happy with how this turned out, well I mean it looks just like the intended object so that's really all there is to it. Hardest part to model? Probably the three-spoked steering wheel, figuring out how to get the spokes in with only basic polygon modelling took the most brain power, but it didn't break anything. I think.

Mr. Big Hat dissapproves of people from the Netherlands (the line is from Goldmember if you couldn't tell).

Sunday, February 14, 2010


More stuff that's not a school project! I'm working on a human voice sync+acting animation (or at least I will be once I finish this post), so that's what's up next school-wise.
So about this, one night before going to an extra life drawing session I decided to draw some spacey stuff with conte on the big newsprint pads we use for life drawing. This is one of the drawings that came from that, obviously I've done all the color in photoshop. It's blatantly Homeworld, but I didn't have any references on me so it is all original in design if not style. Oh and this is supposed to be very big, as in the largest of the smaller ships, added in for contrast, is about 2 kilometers long, so this thing is about 20km long.
And it still doesn't feel as big as what I was after, but I like it for what it is.
And now back to animatin'

Thursday, February 11, 2010

But it's such a lovely boat... ship!

Time for some stuff, from THE THIRD DIMENSION!

*sci-fi music*

So we've been starting our classes in Maya this semester, and I'll be putting up some shots of the first real project from that eventually. But before that, I'm putting up an example of some of the modelling work I did with an entirely different computer program back in high school.
Lot's of text ahead, so I'll draw you in with a single-view render!

Quick history, about middle of grade 11 I decided I REALLY wanted certain units to play with in the PC game Civilization 3 (cause I love that game). In order to do that, I needed to make a 3D model, animate it, and import those animated frames for the game to use. An advantage with Civ3, because the game uses images of models and not an actual model (unlike Civ4, where the models are 'rendered' in real time with the game's engine) you can use any 3D program you like to make the animation frames. 3D Studio Max, Maya, Blender, whatever. One guy on the largest site for the Civ series ( was using this program called POV Ray (Persistence Of Vision Raytracer, from to model and animate his own custom units. Because POV Ray was free, I decided to try making my own units with it.

A few months later I was pretty good with it. What surprised me was that even though POV Ray modelling is entirely code based (ie: sphere {<0,0,0>,1 pigment {color Red}} is the code to create a red sphere with a radius of 1 unit at the center of the scene), which one would think a barely-passed-math guy like me would be hopeless with, I actually understood how this program ticked (of course a calculator helped), at least enough to make any geometry I wished. Animating got a little tricky, but then again I hadn't taken any courses at that time to know about things like key poses, follow through, etc.

So by April of 2005 (having started about November of 2004) I decided to tackle one of my favourite subjects, the RMS Titanic. I had a plastic model and a fantastic book at my side to get as much detail in as I wanted. After a month I had the modelling done, and in a week or two I had the basic animations necessary to put it in the game. You can grab it for yourself here:

I modelled in POV Ray for about 3 years after that, right up until I got into Animation, you can find all that I made over at civfanatics (mentioned this in the blog's first post I believe). The animating ranges from kinda bad to decent. I could definitely do better now, but the render times required to fix everything, or even just the stuff I really care for, would be like, a month solid. But the modelling jobs I'm quite proud of, for example the Highwind from FF7, the Ragnarok from FF8 and The Flying Dutchman from Pirates 2. There's a LOT of boats. I like boats.

Anyways, what this all led up to is that I was very confident starting up with Maya this year. I had fiddled with 3D Studio Max as well, so I wasn't entirely clueless about Polygon modelling that most programs use. So even though the POV Ray code-made models are entirely incompatible with Maya or 3DS Max, model-making concepts like booleans, co-ordinates, hierarchy/attachment, do transfer. Getting back to model work made me all nostalgic, so I decided to 'raise the Titanic' from the depths of my computer and pump out a render of the model rotating, so here it is!

Quality doesn't quite do it justice, but you get the idea, and I can't make it better without another render, which would take about 4 hours. This doesn't have every porthole, but it does have the big windows in the top decks, propellers and rudder, lifeboats, anchors, stuff. The code to make this is extensive, basic in concept but to get some of the shapes with just cylinders, cones, boxes and spheres one has to get quite fancy with booleans (subtracting, intersecting and merging shapes).

For anyone who scrolled to the bottom right away, and those who read in full (thanks!) I'll be getting my new models up here sometime soon, and might make a few detail renders of this one. Might. Anyways, till next time!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Hounds

Before getting into the next animation assignment, here's our first assignment from this semester, the lip sync. Very straight forward but also very necessary, and I definately can't say I got it perfect, but that's what I'll work on for the next one. The next one involves a full figure with acting and lip sync, should be interesting.

Lip Sync:

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Zombie plan?

This week we took a quick trip down to the University of Toronto, correction, a quick COLD trip to U of T.
Temperature aside, purpose of the trip was for life drawing, though in this case it was decidedly dead drawing. We went down to the basement of the medical science building where they had a large collection of preserved human parts for us to draw. The smell of preservatives was quite strong, could have been worse I guess. As for the experience of drawing real body parts, not as strange as one might expect. I think it helps that there wasn't much skin on them, diminished the 'human recognition' factor (look up 'uncanny valley' on wikipedia). Though some of my classmates elected to draw some of the fetus specimens available, I opted out of this since that did hit too close to the uncanny valley for me.
Anyways, I spent the 3-ish hours we had mostly drawing this arm specimen, on good ol' pencil and paper. I took the drawing and spiced it up in Photoshop, and here's the result:

Sometimes I really do feel like I'm becoming a doctor behind my back. Funny cause as a kid that was my initial career plan, until I realized that I didn't want to study anatomy THAT closely, and remembered that I had much more fun drawing stuff.
Meantime, working on a group storyboard with a plethora of cats involved, and I'll get my latest animation (lip sync assignment) up once I get the sound file from the school.