Design diary for the animated short, The Chiquita Factor, coming may '06.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Crunch Time. I wish it was Captain Crunch Time.

Production is in full gear right now, because there's just about 3 weeks left to finish the "preliminary" version of the film I am submitting for thesis/graduation candidacy, before putting a month or so of final touches on it for the festival circuit.

I'm getting deeper into character animation, and this is the first time I've been fully vested in acting synced to dialogue. I'm learning alot as I go and feeling pretty good about the results so far; I'm getting laughs from the people who have seen the motion tests, and it looks like they just might've landed me a job too. (More on that later.)

Here's a few things I've been struggling with big time. Two characters on screen at once is a huge challenge; not just to get realistic interaction, but to be sure that the viewer's focus is on the right person at the right time. Timing is critical, and it's especially hard to keep acting intact without losing direction. I've finally finished the scene where Gordon is riding on Marvin's back, which was actually a real technical pain in the ass, in terms of finding ways to constrain one character to the other realistically in Maya and still be able to key all the secondary action.

Another thing I've learned: Before you rig, really think hard about what your character has to do in each shot. I included FK/IK switchable arms for everyone, but never thought about the need for FK legs. Now I'm working on a scene where Gordon is swinging from ceiling- and boy doing this is in IK is a bitch.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Robelvis is rigged and textured.





Robelvis is rigged, textured, and ready to go!

I may have to make some adjustments, I seem to have miscalculated the arm length. I wanted him to put his hands behind his head and do the Elvis hump, but they can't quite reach and still be bent with the elbows outward like the sketch. Might add a clavicle joint to remedy this.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Robelvis, the Robotic Elvis.






Catch-up time! And here we have...Robelvis. The Robotic Elvis. Sketch and preliminary model. The Side Burns and Sexy Elvis hair are glued on.

Shteve Shtevenson

















This is a shot of Shteve Shtevenson's face. Final evolution of my clay shader too. He looks like Sculpey, don't he? Weehee!

The big goal here is to have a student film that doesn't look like every other damn student film, and doesn't look stereotypically CGi either. I want it to look like clay and move like Tex Avery. Animation tests coming soon!

Fun with Facials...ahem.


This here is Marvin, one of the main characters for the short.

Pretty deep into the animation stage right now, but I'm gonna start posting stuff from further back. This is an early test of my facial-animation setup. It represents alot of rigging work but only about 30 seconds of animation, just a proof of concept. One of my goals here is to get CG animation to have the flexibility of 2D. (No more plastic people with paper lips stuck on!)

Check out the facial animation test here.

Monday, February 20, 2006

It begins. DUN DUN DUN.