Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WEEK 3: Animation Direction 2 -- Guest speaker: Stop motion animator Luke Mistruzzi & a tour of Cuppa Coffee

We're starting sharp at 12 in the Octagon - I have some tasks for you to work on for the afternoon.
Next we're getting a visit from Luke Mistruzzi, Creative Director / Animator at Powerline Films and former Cuppa Coffee stop-motion animator.

As I detailed in my email, Luke has arranged for us to tour Cuppa Coffee!  

We'll have to go over in small groups. Meanwhile, you guys can get started on your projects:

Milestone 1: Planning
Assigned: 19/01/12
Due: 02/02/12 In class (next week)
% of final grade: 20%

Create a detailed plan for your project. Please keep your ideas simple and contained. You should include:
  1. a production schedule, 
  2. a storyboard and/or animatic, 
  3. a drawing of your set plan including top-down view, and 
  4. a drawing of your puppet including a plan for the armature.
  5.  technically challenging R&D should be included here such as green screen, plans for moving characters that fly or jump
You would be wise to include a 'plan b' in case you run behind schedule. 

Exemplary: Thoroughly planned, detailed and clear presentation with all aspects of the project well organized. Timelines seem reasonable, solutions to technical challenges anticipated.
Excellent: Well-planned, clear overall package with most aspects of the project well organized. Timelines outlined and solutions to most technical challenges anticipated.
Acceptable: Overall plan of the project completed with minimal missing elements. Timelines suggested and some technical challenges outlined.
Not Acceptable: Project not thoroughly planned. Timelines vague, missing elements, not much anticipation of technical challenges.

Good luck!

WEEK 3: Character Acting 2 -- Walks, wrap-up, transitioning to runs

The famous 'human/dog' comparison scene from 101 Dalmations
We'll wrap up the final stages of the walk, adding subtle details that can make your walk look unique and polished.  There are lots of great examples of hand-drawn cartoon walks from on "Walk Cycle Depot" and "Pencil Test Depot" for us to have a look at.  Good luck with your deadline this weekend!

Next we'll get ready to transition into the run cycle.

Next class I'll show you a bunch of video examples of both sprinters and long-distance runners in slow motion and talk about the mechanics of a run.

Homework: Read up on runs in the Animator's Survival Kit pgs 176-200

Assignment 2:  Run Cycle
Assigned: 25/01/12
Due: 12/02/12
% of final grade: 20%

Use the pre-built humanoid skeleton or your own rig.

Animate a treadmill run that clearly shows the personality and attitude of the character. The run should cycle on its own but also transition smoothly from the walk. By transition I mean there should be a believable weight shift to pick up speed - this could include an anticipation, a change of mood, and a shift forward in the center of gravity.

The timing (both frames per step and timing of secondary actions such as arm swings and head drag) should support the attitude and personality. The character should have a believable weight. Steps should be symmetrical (apparently if not mathematically) and the motion should be fluid and smooth without obvious pops or bumps. Body parts should be offset from one another a bit so every part of the action doesn't occur on the same frame.

Exemplary:  Clear personality and attitude, strong apparent weight, fluid motion with a strong grasp of all animation principles.
Excellent:  Apparent personality, weight and almost entirely fluid motion with a good grasp of nearly all animation principles.
Acceptable: Some personality and weight. Motion is mostly fluid with minor errors or missing animation principles.
Not Acceptable: Generic walk not convincingly heavy or not fluid with quite a few glitches or missing animation principles.

Equal weight will be given to:

Overlapping Actions / Secondary Motion

Please submit files by FTP. Instructions will be sent via email.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

WEEK 3: Modeling and Animation II -- Bouncing Balls, last week

Today we're wrapping up the bouncing balls which are due this weekend.
All animators should be familiar with these equations ;o)
I'll go over how to hand in your assignments via FTP.

We'll also go over the results of the Pixar Story quiz.

Next up: Gravity!

Click here to learn more about Newton's Laws of Motion 

We'll watch a short movie about a physics specialist working in the animation department at Dreamworks.

Submitting work via FTP

All assignments for my classes should be submitted digitally via FTP. You'll need to install a free FTP program like Filezilla or FireFTP.

I'll email you the login info and we'll go over it in class.

Our directory is publicFTP/Tara and the subfolder for your course. Example:

Inside the course folder:

(1) I'll create a folder for each of your assignments.
(ex: assignment 1, assignment 2)

(2) Inside the assignment folder please create one folder with your first initial, last name.
(ex: tdonovan)

(3) Inside each subfolder, put your named files.
(ex:, tdonovan_hydrant_uvs.png)

Feel free to leave me a note as a .TXT file. Word Files are too slow to launch.  Always send me an email regarding any verbal agreement for extensions or modifications to the assignment.

Please be careful with the files in this shared directory. If you accidentally delete someone else's file please let them and me know asap so it can be restored. Always have backups saved in more than one secure location (ex, a portable hard drive as well as saved on a backed-up computer as well as sent to yourself via email or DropBox.)

If you're unfamiliar with using FTP programs and/or you have trouble, please ask for help from the peer tutors. It only takes 5 failed password attempts in 5 minutes to lock yourself out of the server. At school, that means the whole school's IP.  Stop after 2 failed attempts and check all the info again. 99% of the FTP problems students have had in the past resulted from typos.

Files can take several minutes or longer to upload especially if the server is busy. Please allow time for uploading and don't wait 'til the last minute to send your files.

If you encounter a big problem, such as our server crashing, please send me a screen grab confirming the error and I'll issue extensions to the whole class.  

Assignments cannot be handed in via any other means but FTP  without special permission.
Please do not email me your videos or other large files as attachments.
I'll explain other options as needed.