Monday 3 October 2011

Class 3, Week1!!...

Hey everyone, another term at AM has started and were already a week down! time seems to be moving faster and faster!

The assignment for this week was to first decide whether to do 3 separate animation exercises throughout Class 3 or to do an Animjam which is 3 related shots that will tie together.

After weighing up the pros and cons of both options and eventually running out of time I somewhat reluctantly decided to go with the Animjam approach.

Another requirement of the assignment was to create a character/theme for our shot(s), we had the option to use some props/costumes provided by AM or we could create our own. For what I had in mind I needed to create my own.

Finally we had to shoot the reference footage for our shot and then thumbnail our ideas in a basic storyboard fashion.

Heres what I came up with, thanks everyone - Adam

Monday 26 September 2011

Class 2, Week 9, 10, 11 and 12!!...

Sorry for the lack of updates everyone, I literally had no free time in the last few weeks of Class2 and it was pretty hectic as you can imagine!

Right now break week is about to finish and Campus is to re-open in roughly half an hour. I should have done a final pass over my most recent shot of class2 during the break but I really felt I needed to step away from the computer and have some time to relax. That involving many hours of playing Call of Duty: Zombies with friends, Dead Island and Dirt3 (on the Xbox360 obviously! xXMajestic12Xx) I also took a trip down to London which was Great! We really didnt want to come back.

The other day I heard on the grapevine that campus had re-opened early and I couldnt resist to see if the tip off was infact true, I managed to get on for a few minutes before it shut back down but I came away with the information I wanted... My mentor for Class 3 is Dana Boadway! Right now I dont know a great deal about what she has worked on but I have watched quite a few of her critiques from her previous classes at AM and she seems to be awesome! not that I expected anything less from an AM mentor.

Another reason for my lack of posts is that I wasn't happy with my work and really didn't feel like showing it. I have promised myself in class 3 that I will stop doing this because feedback is such an important part of the development and moving forward of a shot. I am also going to hand in my work atleast and hour before deadline, Its really not worth rushing it right upto the last minute/seconds and risking the grade penalty. My good friend West Decker is also on board for this one so if it doesn't work out it is entirely his fault, right West?...

Ok, heres my belated work from the last weeks of Class2, I will start with the BlockingPlus, then Splined and then my Class 2 Progress Reel which will include the final take of my most recent shot. Overall I am reasonably happy with the final results but there is still such a long long long way to go...., like really long. Thanks everyone - Adam

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Class2, Week8!!...

Its going to be another one of those quick posts again,

This week we had to take the planning of our new shot into blocking using the full Stewie rig. The thought of struggling using no armed Stewie for the last shot didn't fill me full of confidence not to mention I would also have to tackle constraints this time around.

Like I said it was going to be a quick one this week! Heres what I came up with, thanks everyone - Adam

Sunday 14 August 2011

Special offer! Buy one get one free, Week 6 & 7!!!...

Well the last 2 weeks have been mental! My masterplan for getting ahead in blocking plus in order to give myself enough time to finish my shot the following week backfired. Blocking the spine was an absolute nightmare and I was so keen to get my shot into splined for some reason I just turned off the spine/head visibility and concentrated on the hips/feet.

The real problems became apparent after I had worked on cleaning the hips in spline and then turned the spine/head visibility back on. The hips appeared to flow quite nicely but with the upper body visible the whole lot looked like nothing on earth, they were just not working together correctly.

At this point I felt my workflow had collapsed and the only option was to grind through the animation from here on in. I really was not happy with my shot and it was partly the reason why I didn't post up my work at the end of the week. Heres what I handed in for week 6...

I really was not looking forward to Week 7 as I knew there was alot of work ahead, not only did we have to finish up our shot but we also had to choose and plan for our final shot of the term. Every day of the week pretty much involved going to work at 7am getting home at 6pm then animating from 6pm until 1am in the morning. This really sucked so somedays I went to bed an hour earlier.

For the most part of the week I felt like my shot was just going round in circles, not blocking the spine pretty much ruined me and I must have started from scratch atleast 4 times throughout the week. It seemed like a constant process of tweaking the hips then working on the spine and finding I hade to re-tweak the hips again which in turn screwed with the legs.

Nearing the end of the week I was quite fed up with the whole shot and still had all my planning for my next shot to work on which didn't help, I considered calling my Stickygum shot done with barely no spine animation just so I could work on my next shot and not get behind.

On Saturday morning after work I had a long Skype meeting with my fellow AMer West Decker and it turned out to be the best thing I did all week, he is very well trained in all things that involve time management and motivational stuff from his previous job so he set me a bunch of goals and checked up on me over the next few hours to make sure I was meeting them.

Even though I had hardly touched my shot it seemed to look a whole lot better after my meetings with West, I must have been so consumed in thinking it sucked that I couldn't really see it for what it was. He had totally saved me and cleared my mind in order to focus on what needed to be done.

I handed in my shot Saturday night under orders from West as he knew I would spend every waking hour up until deadline tweaking it and not necessarily for the better. It still needs a whole lot of work as I only really managed to find time to clean up the hips and some of the spine in the graph editor.

I spent today working on the planning for my next shot which is going to be pushing and pulling a heavy object with the full Stewie rig. I struggled terribly with no armed Stewie so I dread to think how this shot is going to play out. We have an extra week this time so hopefully that will help alot.

Other news over the last two weeks is that I have managed to go part time at work for next term which means I will be working around 30 hours a week and have 2 extra days to work on my assignments. I am also hoping to fit some rest time in there aswell.

Another massive thing for me is that I have managed to pay of my AM tuition in full, I took advantage of the USA's financial trouble and when the GBP > USD conversion rate was riding high I sent a whole bunch of Benjamin Franklin's AM's way, this also means I will save the extra $100 processing fee per term. Awesome.

Finally I also installed Maya 2012 on my system for one reason really.... editable motion trails. I am sick of switching through the many arc tracker plugins I have that very rarely work. This was one of the reasons why I didn't manage to clean up alot of this weeks shot.

Anyway heres my final Stickygum shot and the planning for my next adventure, thanks everyone - Adam

Monday 1 August 2011

Class2, Week5!!...

Another quick post this week, I have a whole load of work to do on my shot and not a great deal of time to do it.

I have to admit working full time and doing AM is starting to get a whole lot tougher recently, I am starting to think I could maybe do better in my assignments if I was to have more time to spend on them.
I know it would definatly relieve some of the stress involved and allow me to experiment a lot more.

I always said to myself before I started AM that when my job started to effect AM something would have to change, I guess it's nearing that time.

I originally thought that I would need to cut back my hours in June at the end of Class1 so I am pretty happy to still be coping up to now. I feel things like this can go both ways and if I end up with too much spare time I know for a fact that I will spend a whole load of it procrastinating and find myself with very little extra time than what I have now.

Its getting that balance of work, AM and rest just right.

I know I have said it before and I might come across as moaning a little about it right now but for anyone thinking about starting AM or already enrolled, I think it would be a huge mistake to not have a job to go to alongside your studies. The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

This week we had to block out our second shot of Class2 using the Stewie rig with no arms, as you saw from my planning I decided to go with "Step on sticky gum". I'm not totally happy with how it turned out but the deadline beat me to it, I knew animating a spine was going to be hard but had no idea it was this hard!!.

Anyway heres what I came up with, thanks everyone - Adam

Monday 25 July 2011

Class2, Week4!!...

Ok so this week was pretty crazy!

I can't say I didn't see it coming, my plan in week 3 to take my assignment past Blocking plus turned out to be a godsend, without doing that I very much doubt I would have been able to make the deadline with a finished piece.

As always our lecture was great, this week it was hosted by Ethan Hurd, prior to the lecture I had never heard of Ethan but after a quick background check it became clear this guy has some serious animation skills. He has worked on an awesome variety of films and currently works at Disney Feature Animation.

My plan for this week was to polish up my shot in the first half and then work on the planning for the next shot towards the back end of the week. As expected things didn't quite turn out this way. It was more like polish 90% of the week and spend 10% on planning for my next shot, which is NEVER a good thing.

One thing I have learnt at AM is that the planning of a shot is seriously important, it builds the foundations of the shot that will follow. If I went to work and put down a 25mm layer of hardcore and covered it with 100mm of concrete and then stuck a house on top I would have some serious explaining to do when the owners woke up in what was left of the kitchen.

Most of my time was taken up going back and forth from polishing my shot to receiving feedback and then going to polish my shot that little bit more, I just wanted it to be the best I could!.

On Saturday I got around to the planning of my next shot and first of all chose which picklist shot I was going to try and animate. Initially I was going to go for Parkour because it would involve some really awesome movements and had potential to look really cool but after some thought I decided to step out of my comfort zone and go for something a little more subtle that wouldn't involve such fast paced action. "Step on sticky gum" was what I opted for in the end and my first task was to obtain some reference footage.

After I shot my reference footage and arrived back home I had received some more feedback on my Triple Jump shot and I just couldn't resist tweaking it so my planning got placed on the backburner and I found myself back in polishing. At about 10:30pm I headed off into town, it was my Birthday afterall.

Planning resumed on Sunday and after a bit of a last minute rush I managed to hand in before deadline. I have definatly learnt from this experience.

Thanks for reading everyone! Heres what I came up with - Adam

Monday 18 July 2011

Class2, Week3!!...

My post titles are now officially lame :( and I apologize for that.

Have to make it quick this week, got a pretty busy week ahead and I am kind of stuck on my current shot at the moment and need to get it sorted ASAP.

This week we had to take our shot through blocking plus which is basically finely tuned blocking and one step before taking it into splined. Our mentor said we could take ours into splined if we so wished.

As Week 4 would involve both finishing our current shot and planning for our next shot I decided for me to survive at AM I would have no choice but to take my shot into splined this week. I didn't quite get as far as I would have liked but for the most part I was happy with what I had got done.

Anyway as I said I have to make it quick so heres what I came up with, thanks everyone - Adam