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Tangled / notes on eye lids and eye lashes

Posted on January 6, 2020 
Filed Under Animation, Education | 1 Comment

I don’t know where I got this from but here are some notes I had buried in my hard drive. I am guessing this is an answer to a Q&A with Disney animators who worked on Tangled.

Having attended Animsquad, I am aware about the importance of eyelashes and I had been told a while back that eyelashes could be animated on a show like Tangled.

Without further ado, here are the notes :

As far as eyes are concerned, for Tangled, We Payed HUGE attention to eye lids. every frame was tuned to Glen’s drawings for the max appeal. Another HUGE things we really spent time on were the eye lashes, Mainly Rapunzel and Mother Gothel. Glen stressed the importance of the lid shape, the tension in the lower lids, the shape of the lower lids, and where the eye lashes were pointing. In Alot of cases we would point the lashes where the character was looking, to help guide the viewer’s eye and boost the appeal of the character. I think the eye lashes and lid shapes are something really overlooked alot of the time, But these are HUGE tools that can be used to gain appeal and to show what the character is feeling.

Also some people think its the rigging. The rigs for these characters were very simple when it came to mouth and eye shapes. For the eye lids we only had three controls for the edge of the top and bottom lids, two corner controls, and open and close rotation controls. sometimes Less is more with controls, It makes it harder to get lost in the rig.

Hope that helps!!! On behalf of the crew, Thanks for the great comments!

Related posts:

Animation Podcast unofficial Tangled animator’s commentary

Posted on October 31, 2012 
Filed Under Animation | 3 Comments

The Animation Podcast show 32

I was so upset when I realized there were no commentaries on the Tangled Bluray you wouldn’t believe. I understand Disney is trying to save money but how do you want people to truely appreciate your movies if you don’t give them an in-depth behind the scenes or at least some commentaries! I won’t be buying Blurays blindly anymore, that’s for sure.

On Pixar’s Incredible’s DVD there were 3 commentary tracks!

Anyway Clay Kaytis and a bunch of Disney animators came back with a bang. They gathered to record an unofficial Tangled Animator’s commentary to listen while watching the movie!


The Animation Podcast show 32 – The “Unofficial” Tangled Animators’ Audio Commentary

Related posts:
Tangled crew (Raiponce)
Joe Bowers Thought process
Jamaal Bradley shot progress

“Tangled” Joe Bowers thought process

Posted on October 3, 2012 
Filed Under Animation, Education | 2 Comments

Joe Bowers gave a great walkthrough of some of his shots from Disney’s “Tangled” and “Bolt”.

I love when an artist explains what his thought process was when creating a piece of work. The thought process is as much important as the finished piece itself I feel and Tangled is a perfect example for that as Glen Keane really helped the animators to push their work to a new level in CG animation. Those days people are so focused on performance that they forget about stylisation. If performance is all that counts you might as well using motion capture.

On a side note, the more I look at Bolt and Tangled, the more I am amazed at the look Disney created for those movies with the use of their revolutionary Painterly rendering

if you missed them I am also posting two older but still great walkthroughs by David Anthony Gibson for his work on Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs and some, related to my work at EA.

Related posts:
Animation design
Cloudy with a chance of eyeballs
Spare parts cutscene 2b
Disney related articles

Jamaal Bradley “Tangled” (Raiponce)

Posted on June 18, 2012 
Filed Under Animation | Leave a Comment

Let’s take a break from Storyboarding today.

Jamaal just posted a awesome shot walkthrough. Really lovely work.

I am not a Disney Princesses fanboy but if you still haven’t watched Tangled, rush to the DVD rental place near your house immediately, Disney made a magical timeless movie that instantly outdated a lot of its 2d production. The acting of Rapunzel is one of the most genuine ever seen in Animated Features.

Related posts:
Tangled new official trailer
Tangled crew
Jamaal Bradley, acting shot walkthrough

Tangled Crew (Raiponce)

Posted on March 27, 2012 
Filed Under Animation, Education | 3 Comments

With the recent departure of Glen Keane from Disney to, I am guessing, an other studio in the North of LA, I feel that we should show Disney a bit more appreciation for the amazing work they did on Tangled. Here is a repost of something I wrote last year.

In a recent article published on the CNN website about the poor reception received by Robert Zemeckis latest motion capture movie “Mars needs mom”. A blogger was quoted explaining the difference between motion capture and keyframe animation in those terms.

the style of animation featured in “Mars Needs Moms.” It’s known as motion capture or “mo cap,” a process that involves attaching sensors to actors to capture their movements. Computers transform the data into realistic-looking animation. (“Kung Fu Panda 2” and “Cars 2”, by contrast, are completely computer-generated).

What the hell is this mumbo-jumbo supposed to mean? How are the readers supposed to understand what the writer call “completely computer-generated”?

Reading this article, it became obvious to me that the general public has no idea was kind of work is going into making an animated feature and why motion capture is so different from keyframe animation.

To be fair, before I got into animation, I also had no idea about the actual process and just assumed they got done by maybe some sort of machine but certainly not an army of artists working for month or years, frame by frame.

So, what I think we need, is to give the audience more information about the animation process and put the artists forward. This is what this post is about.

A really cool and inspiring montage of Disney’s Tangled animation crew surfaced on the net a while back and disappeared quickly after to finally reappear few days ago. Here it is

and here is an other fun video

“Tangled” new official trailer

Posted on September 15, 2010 
Filed Under Animation | 1 Comment

Just to make things even more complicated, Disney just posted a new “Tangled” official trailer.

I am not a big fan of Princesses stories but the action packed sequences and gorgeous animation are making me very excited! The arcs are a bit overstylised in places but no one will notice.

Great character design, lighting, rendering, animation, that movie surely will be a hit and I can’t wait to see it!

Use to download the trailer in .mp4 HD format

Well here is an other cut….. soooo confusing…

Related post:
Applying painterly concepts in a CG film – Bolt

Rapuntzel “Tangled” first teaser

Posted on March 1, 2010 
Filed Under Animation | Leave a Comment

A first teaser for Disney’s “Tangled” finally surfaced on the net.

I am really liking the painterly rendering. It reminds me a lot of “Monstre à Paris”.

dAnimPicker (part 2)

Posted on January 19, 2020 
Filed Under Animation, Education | 3 Comments

Hiro picker (Big Hero 6)

This is a follow up to my previous post and once again, I don’t have access to the Disney Feature animation tools so those findings and screen captures are only from various popular behind the scenes videos, some of them are posted below. This said…. I never ever managed to see any pickers from BlueSky studios!

Olaf body and facial picker

Disney animation fans and especially animators, are very familiar with dAnimPicker, the Disney animation picker, a good looking and very functional picker with some really cool features (zoom and pan), similar to the AnimSchool picker and the good old abxPicker.

Kristof Picker (Frozen)

The dAnimPicker has some great additional features like the pickwalk, to easily navigate from control to control, and anchors, to quickly jump to predefined position like the face picker, or body picker.

Kristof and Anna facial and body pickers

You can see the interaction between the animator and the picker, 9:03 into the following video:

And here is a quadruped picker screencaptured from the following video Link

Capture from the animating "Lost in the woods"video.

Having never seen that sort of picker in past researches, I was really surprised when I came across two similar looking pickers: Locus and Character Toolkit Designer.

After bumping on Locus through Pinterest with a totally unrelated research, I was finally able to track a video demo of the apparently commercially available picker from Korean based Locus Animation studios. (there are more demos on the Vimeo channel).

The similarity with dAnimPicker is pretty striking but wait until you see Character Toolkit designer!

The resemblance is stricking right?

I am not sure if ILM TD Davoud Ashrafi, the creator of the tool, is the actual creator of the Disney picker or if he just got inspired by it as he keeps mentioning, but the demo on his Vimeo channel is fascinating. The creation part of the tool very exciting compared to other tools and I especially love the mirroring feature, this would have saved me a lot of time.

Let’s finish up this post with more related Disney behind the scenes videos and don’t skip the Wreck it Ralph videos where you can also see the body controls visible in the Maya viewport. Pickers are good when the screen is too cluttered but on-screen controls are preferable.

In 3:02 of the following video, you will see the eyelashes controls. Crazy right! I already mentioned that the animators shape the eye lids at Disney in a previous article.

In the following videos, we can see how the animators (here Disney guests) interact with the body parts directly in the viewport.

Related posts:

Previous articles related to Tangled:

CGTarian Animation Half circle

Posted on February 26, 2014 
Filed Under Animation, Education | Leave a Comment

someone just pointed at a great series of videos posted by online school CGTarian. The videos feature a bunch of top Dreamworks animators (is Joe Bower at Disney or Dreamworks now?) discussing animation.

It has been a long time since I last heard a group of animators talk shop and it is really refreshing. Too bad they are not invited to comment on DVDs and Blurays anymore.

The series starts with the crucial “thumbs or no thumbs” and having Ted Ty comment makes it even more interesting.

CGTarian online school Youtube channel.

Related posts:
Tangled Joe Bowers thought process

Back from CTN part I

Posted on November 26, 2012 
Filed Under Animation, Education | 10 Comments

[disclosure: This blog post might be biased as Mike Makarewicz gave me a free Tshirt to thank me for supporting Animation Collaborative ;-) ]

So I am back from CTN-X. CTN 2012 was a great success this year again with some really good guests like Andreas Deja one more time and CTN first timer Glen Keane.

Some of the conferences were a bit too generic especially the ones hosted by people who didn’t know the guests very well but there were plenty of great ones that went into the nitty gritty part of the animation process.

Animation Collaborative had a one of a kind demo this year with their “4 different approaches to Acting : context and creativity with Michal Makarewicz, Victor Navone, Rob Thompson and Aaron Hartline“. For that presentation they used a pretty bland audio clip that sounded like a Brian Tracy unless it was a Napoleon Hill audio book, and they went on explaining their tought process for animating a character to that audio clip. Michal had to shorten his presentation unfortunately but the presentation was really interesting. Ah, Victor was the only representative of the Step Key workflow, all the others used the Spline method.

I also attended an other demo with Michal Makarewicz which was way more insightful than the title implied: “Animate a take like a pro”. I know Michal pretty well as I attended Animation Collaborative last year, had a pretty long chat with him at Siggraph few years ago and he was also featured on several Animation Mentor lectures. Mike is also known to be one of the fastest animators at Pixar so it is always very interesting to see him animating and this time, despite the issues he had with Maya and one TV dying on us (compatibility issue with the Cintiq we got told), his demo was great.

As the title implied, using a Norman mod that looked like Sulley from Monsters Inc, he showed us how he would animate a take, using as reference, the shot from the famous Chuck Jones tribute sequence were Sulley fears Boo is being crushed in the trash compactor.

I knew Mike was a “layer animator” but I didn’t know how much he relied on properly setup hotkeys and additional scripts. As he said, all the interactions with the keyboard should be very intuitive and rely on muscle memory instead of having to look down where you fingers are going everytime you want to do something.

As such and with great difficulties, he set up all his Maya hotkeys to be on the left side of the keyboard. “You don’t want to cross the keyboard” he commented. If you have been following this blog for a long time you know I share the same views and I posted several workflow tips on how to make Maya more animator friendly. [Having only recently used Maya 2011 and 2012 I have had to face some incredible issues with the new hotkeys interface and eventually found a fix which I will share it with you very soon, I hope this was fixed in Maya 2013]

His other tip and probably the core of his fast workflow is to work in spline and copy the graph editor curves from one channel to an other as often as possible and scale, mirror or offset the curve when needed.

In the demo for example, he took the Hips TY (translation of the hips in Y) and copied it to the shoulders after inverting and offsetting it. There was also some nifty graph editor value operation using the *=.25 expression which was an “ahah moment” for a big part of the crowd and a never seen, at least for me and a good chunk of the audience, lattice graph editor scaling script which he used to create some residual energy for the head Y rotation on the settle.

He also explained that we shouldn’t “mess with the math” in the graph editor and never create kinks or overshoots with the tangents (Mike uses weighted free tangents only) instead you want to flatten the tangents and play with their weight. Here is an example of what he would do for a bouncing ball.

Alright that will be it for today, ah just to finish, I went to see Wreck-it Ralph at Disney’s El Capitan theatre on Hollywood boulevard and it was very good. I was expecting something a bit commercial with all the pop culture references and product placements but there was a great surprise with a specific scene I don’t want to spoil for you. Let’s just say, there was some of the magic from Tangled in the form of some very hearful moments were we couldn’t help feeling for the characters.

Talkback :
My post already brought some questions so here are the answers.

What is this *=.25 thing?

In the Graph editor, it is possible to adjust the value of a selection of keys by entering some expressions in the Key stats box. Here is how it works (click to enlarge the pictures):

And by checking the Maya online documentation, I realised the Lattice key deformation tool he used is not a script but actually part of Maya. Here is where you will find it and by double clicking on it you will access more options

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