Friday, March 25, 2011

WEEK 11: 2D Animation Using Flash, Intro to Character Design

This week we're really getting into the nitty-gritty of frame-by-frame animation techniques using Flash.

For inspiration, we'll be looking at some work created using this method. We'll discuss the animation principles most applicable to creating 2D animation: exaggeration, solid drawing, and appeal. We'll start some simple animation cycles using the bouncing ball and our trusted flour sack.

Simplicity is a necessity with this labour-intensive medium. We'll have a look at one of the most popular examples of hand-drawn Flash animation -- Simon's cat.  The creator, Simon Tofield, created his first Flash cartoon to teach himself Flash. 

We'll also start thinking about the final assignment for the year -- a 2D/live action integration project.

We'll discuss character design techniques -- finding a style using at all kinds of media including what's in your fridge..

Bring your tablets! Be ready to draw...

Homework:  Design a character for the final project. Have a printout of it ready to hang on the wall.
Three words of advice:
  1. Keep. 
  2. It. 
  3. Simple!
If you're stuck check out these simple characters for inspiration:
Powerpuff Girls
"Mr Men" and "Little Miss"
Super Meat Boy
Rex the Runt
Erky Perky
Ilo Milo
Totoro, Soot (and other Ghibli/Miyazaki cartoons)
Stick Figures
Mole sisters
Sandra Boynton
Teen Girl Squad (Homestarrunner)

    Thursday, March 24, 2011

    WEEK 10: Blending Animation

    We're going to 'blend' our cycles together using the simplest tools in Maya.  Blending between different actions may involve adding extra details between cycles.  For example, a walk to a run requires a tricky middle action where the character gathers energy to move more quickly. 

    Homework, due Mon March 28:
    Blend 3 game cycles (eg, walk-run-jump, or idle-crouch-walk).

    We'll also look at automatic retargeting systems such as the ones used here by Havok:

    WEEK 10: Intro to 2D Animation Techniques

    3D is an orderly world of objects that never change volume, graph editors that keep track of the motion, and automatically-generated inbetweens. It's time to leave the cozy, predictable world of 3D and embrace the friendly chaos of 2D animation.

    2D animation, also called traditional or hand-drawn animation, is drawn frame-by-frame with pencil & paper or digital drawing tools.  You will have to put all your knowledge of timing and spacing to good use by planning and imagining how you want the final result to look while striving to keep volumes consistent.

    "Robot Elephant" - hero of "(notes on) biology". Also my hero.
    We'll start with a simple bouncing ball flip-book excercise.  Try as many different weights and styles as you can using the knowledge you gained from your 3D bouncing balls. If this is really easy for you, branch out to something more complex. Flip-books are one of the few things in this world that are FAST, CHEAP, and GOOD -- see how insanely fun these can be to create watching this awesome flipbook tribute film:
    "(notes on) biology"

     We'll move on to the world-famous half-filled Flour Sack.  We'll study some tricks for drawing 3-dimensionally and test our skills by creating drawings of the flour sack in 4 distinct moods.  Bring these next time: 
    • Sad
    • Confident 
    • Wasted
    • Shocked/bamboozled

      Reminder: Please BRING YOUR TABLETS to all classes for the rest of the term.

      CASO invites you to hear Rango's TD Doug Sutton, on Thursday, March 31st: Reserve your seat today!

       Thursday, March 31st, 12 pm - 1:30 pm 
      at the Scotiabank Theatre at John & Richmond. 
      $10 including a brown-bag lunch
      (you get the GBC deep-discount - regular price: $40!).  

      "Rango: A Lizard's Journey of Self Discovery and a 
      VFX Company's Journey into Feature Animation" 
      presented by Doug Sutton, Rango's Technical Director.

      Doug Sutton's other credits include Star Wars I, II, III and the Transformers movies.

      If you haven't yet seen Rango I urge you not to miss this extravaganza of eye-popping visual effects and superbly detailed character animation.  It's ILM's first animated feature.

      Everyone is welcome but CASO would like to know how many to expect.