I don’t play games much those days but it is the second time I am posting about Overwatch as they are doing all the right things to me at the moment!
Great animation, great behind the scenes, sharing knowledge and upping the game! Thanks Blizzard!
Today is an exceptional free 1 hour behind the scenes about Overwatch’s animated shorts. Look at those rigs, definitely on par with the ones from animated features or even the Kayla rig since I am studying that one at the moment.
And few stills from the talk followed by one of the animated shorts “the Last Bastion” (gorgeous):
CG Meetup posted a great video showing the different departments involved in the making of animated features at Dreamworks.
Using yourself as a reference when animating is great but can be very limiting as we can only refer to ourselves and our experiences. Also, people react very differently when in a crowd like in the following examples so there is nothing better than going online to look for ideas.
A while back, Buzzfeed posted some amazing references of people being scared at when visiting “scariest world famous haunted house attraction in Niagara falls”.
Here are just three examples. See how some people use their friends to shield themselves by grabbing them, have a gander, it is pretty hilarious.
I just found this link, posting this here to watch it later. Hopefully it is a good collection of animations by my favourite Disney animator Milt Kahl:
After few month working on Okido, I felt there was a lack of consistency between all the animators and decided to make a compilation of examples from my favourite animated movies.
Cartoony eyes are usually so massive that unlike realistic eyes, the appeal is very quickly lost if you don’t know how to handle them. Clarity and appeal are the keywords when working on eyes so the first rule of cartoony eyes posing is :
Never, ever, have both eyes (pupils) centered on their respective orbital cavity. Instead and to avoid the zombie look, get the pupils closer to each others and have more space/white (sclera) on the outside of the eyes. This will create a more appealing pose.
As the character focuses on an object really close, you might want to increase the space on the outside of the eyes but when the character is looking far away, again, do not center the eyes! (see rule 1)
Pay attention to the way the top lid is shaped on half lidded character in Zootopia, especially Nick. This will be included in a forthcoming article about stylised animation.
I hope this will help some of you, the following images are for education purpose only and copyrighted to their respective owners Disney and Pixar:
Messy goes to Okido animation reel
To make a character or an animation more appealing you need to look for ways to make it more alive, more “organic” by adding more details, very often a simple reaction to a main action would be sufficient
When robots and mechs are usually characterized by their stiffness, the animator here added a nice little touch by making Overwatch D.Va’s mech react to her fun idle (emote) and moving as Hana goes side to side stuffing her face with crips and fizzy drink alternatively while focused playing a holographic shmup.
The animation and Mech are definitely more alive and we still buy it is a mechanical object that could spring up to action anytime.
Great work Blizzard!
Youtube user Spiel Kind is sharing a walkthrough of his impressive fan made Frozen’s Elsa rig.
It is so impressive that even Disney temp worker Josh Sobel thought it could have been “borrowed” from Disney animation but luckily Spiel Kind documented the entire process from modeling to rigging on a CG talk thread .
He breaks down the rig by explaining how many blend shapes went into the making of that rig:
“27 blendshapes, which I divided up and/or mirrored into 90 total shapes. On top of that I also have a joint-rig though, which is responsible for the jaw/lips- and eyelid-setup.”
The explanation on CGTalk is a bit more detailed:
“It’s made up of four rigs in total. The first is a joint-rig, which drives the eyelids, eyelashes and the jaw/lip setup. Marco Giordano’s eyelid setup has been a big help for this one. The zipper setup is built after Stefan Ehrenhaus’ instructions a few pages earlier in this thread.
The second one is a blendshape setup, which drives pretty much all expressive shapes. Been using some techniques from Jason Osipa’s book Stop Staring for this one.
Both of these feed into the third setup, which is another joint-rig with just a few joints with very broad weighting … basically a poor man’s lattice.
The fourth is the eyeball setup, which works independently from the rest and only drives two joints to which the eyeballs are skinned.”
and page 5 of the CGTalk’ thread he explains what his original idea was:
“The mouth is going to be driven by a joint-rig and a blendshape-rig. The joint-rig will open the jaw and provide freeform controls for lips, nose and cheeks. The blendshape-rig will contain wide, narrow, smile, frown, lip-roll out/in/tighten, mouth up/down/left/right, upper/lower lip-puff, cheek-puff and whatever cheek-puff’s opposite is called. Each shape will be broken down into at least lefts and rights. The lip-shapes will be broken down even more and divided among the joint-rig controls with some global ones above.”
Well I guess this will tie nicely with my previous article about mouth shapes!
Don’t you find it frustrating every time you join a new project to find out you have only been provided with a pose library or worse, blend shapes that only contain random mouth shapes? Haven’t people ever seen the Preston Blair book?
Let’s make poorly thought out mouth shapes history!
Today I was doing a bit of cartoony animation research and came across that very enjoyable “Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs 2” behind the scene video featuring Chester V.
The camera panned very quickly through Chester V’s mouth shape library but it gave me enough frames to reverse engineer it and make a nice pose library you should share with your modeler and rigger next time you get involved in pre-production. Sorry we couldn’t see the last mouth shapes but you get the idea.
On a side note, ideally those shouldn’t be blend shapes but shapes the mouth rig and controls allow you to create and smoothly transition from and out of to the next shapes. Simple per phonem blend shapes don’t allow for smooth transition and should be reserved for low cost animated tv series.
As you can see, the mouth shapes are divided in 3 emotions or groups: Happy, Neutral and Sad where the corners move vertically in conjunction with the teeth corners and for each emotion the animators are provided with 16 shapes derived from the Preston Blair simplified phonems: M(BP), S(DTNXK), E, I, L, A, O, TH, U(Q), and F(V).
Enjoy and feel free to share and print, the file is huge enough to please everyone! ;-)
So you want to be a rigger huh?
That’s it, with the “Dizzy” episode having aired last week, my final showreel is here!!!!
A lot of lessons were learnt working on the production, some positive, some negative but I am really proud of the result. I think it looks very impressive considering it was Doodle Productions first TV series. I will be looking back at the lessons learnt in a following post but for now, I hope you will enjoy this great show I was privileged to work on few years ago.
Ah! and if you live in the UK and want to see more episodes, here is a link with the latest episodes
“Messy goes to Okido” Lolly’s ice cream van
Some time ago I was asked to animate kids and I know how different kids move compare to adults or teenager but I didn’t dare looking for references on Youtube and risking to be flagged by the Internet police ;-)
Fear no more! I just found “Hajimete no otsukai” a great TV show featuring kids asked to run some errands for their parents while secret cameras are recording them ;-) Perfect reference!
Here is one video and you can find several episodes at the following link: