Character Animation

This was the final animation project of the year. It was another 6 week project and involved a huge pile of work for the animators. Once again we paired up with an artist buddy and set to work brain storming for character ideas. It took us a while, but Jess (my artist/modeller) and I finally cobbled together an interesting personality to get to work on. We called her Anna. She has an interesting split personality: one side clueless, naive and innocent, the other highly scientifically intelligent. This intelligence was represented by a hand puppet that went everywhere with her. We called him Darwin.

So with our ideas planned and our heads brimming with possibility we set to work actually researching and designing her as well as coming up with a good 10 second voice clip that would be used in the final animation. While Jess did the hard work of designing her looks, I focused on how she would behave and move. Once our two weeks of planning were up we dived head long into the practical production. I produced a rig to animate while Jess began to create the model of Anna.

During week three as soon as the rig was up and running I began animating. The first thing I needed to create was a walk cycle… or in Anna’s case, a skip cycle. By week four Jess handed me her finished model and I set to work skinning it to the rig. It was about this point that illness struck and a miserable cold forced me away from my computer for a time. As it backed off I expected to be able to leap back in and catch up over Easter only to discover that I had developed chronic headaches that would prevent me spending any time in front of a computer for several months.

It was a pain (in multiple ways 😛 ) but I was able to successfully apply for mitigating circumstances and with the help of some boring pills my headaches backed off enough for me to resit over the summer. However working over summer, out of uni and without helpful MA students and tutors to turn to for advice I quickly became bogged down in the technicalities of skinning. What would have taken me a week or two at uni in fact took me almost a month and a half. This left me with almost no time for my final animation the result of which was that of course, my final product was rushed and messy. The movements were wooden and unnatural and the timing was off all over the place. The lip sync was a bit lazy although at least mostly in time with the voice clip. However, the deadline was against me and I only needed 40% to pass the module and my first year counts for nothing in my overall degree. As such, I accepted defeat and handed in what I had managed to produce.

So I say now, I am not happy with this final result in any way and Im not certain it deserved the 2:2 that it got. However, I know that there are some of you out there that want to see it none the less. So for that reason, here it is:



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