Tuesday, 7 May 2013


So yesterday, I gave my presentation and... that's it! 4th year all wrapped up! Madness.

I'm hoping my presentation and the work I handed in do me justice. I really am terrible at documenting my learning, it all goes in my head and blogging/sketchbooking after a hard day of Maya isn't something I often remember to do. I wish we had interviews along with our hand ins, but alas. It's hard to see the effort that goes into learning the technical side of things. I think my presentation went pretty well, I can never tell. I rambled a lot, but I always do when I'm giving a presentation! I'm actually rambling now, haha.

I really have worked myself dead this year, here's hoping it pays off. I know I've let myself down with the lack of drawing I've managed this year, but I really did just get caught up in the 3D world. Working in Maya is draining! My technical skills have benefited though, and over the summer I will re-acquaint myself with the good old pencil and paper!

This week, I'll be tying up the loose ends, and compiling a showreel that I can hopefully include in the Degree Show. Then it's onwards and upwards! Got a couple of classmates keen to keep working with me, so hopefully something'll come of that. The last 4 years were great, but the degree was just the beginning. I've wanted to be an animator since I was about 5, and I'm not stopping here!

Dundee, I hardly knew ye!

Sunday, 5 May 2013


This year, my sub-specialism has been "Character Animation". I was able to do some animation for Stupid Kow at the start of the year (I animated the Farmer character). Towards the end of the year, however, with the way things have gone for myself and for a lot of the films I have worked on, my hands have been full with other things taking priority due to time constraints. Fortunately though, over the last few weeks I have been able to get back into animation, and work on a couple of new projects- mine and Rob's project "iR" and Dan's film "Wet Paint".

For Stupid Kow, I did the full animation of the Farmer, which consisted of a walk cycle, an arm gesture, and some lip-sync. I worked closely with director Jamie Buchanan to get what he wanted from the shots, and I am pretty happy with how it turned out. It was nice to be on the other side of my own rig as well! 

For Wet Paint, I was given the character shaking his can, spray-painting a little, then walking towards the camera and doing some expressions and arm gestures once he was there. I'm happy with my effort, except for the walk. It took me a while to get to grips with a 3d walk cycle, and being pressed for time it did end up a bit rushed. As I was trying to do a cautious walk, I was falling into the trap of making his upper body look too stiff. At this point, the walk is still pretty stiff, but I am going to continue to work on it in my own time, just for my own learning's sake really. Although I'm disappointed, I'm taking it as a learning curve- I know I can do better, and I will!

Some reason Blogger wont let me stick that video in here, so here's a link- WP

For iR, I animated the first 15 seconds. I really enjoyed animating such a simple character, and the style was one that I really love. Without giving too much away, here's a test or 2!

EDIT: I forgot to mention that I did some "animation" for Fearg na Mara. After their animator had posed the kelpie, it was sent back to me with "weight paint problems", which I was happy to fix... turned out the problems were due to the rig being used incorrectly. After a talk with the director, we sat and re-posed the kelpie ourselves, sorting out the deformations and generally improving the original poses. Here are a few examples, I worked on 10 in total.revieved reference/pose-

my improvements-




Rigging Summary

Over the last couple of days, I have created some "summary blogs" so that a basic idea of the rigs are easy to find.

This year, I have really developed a passion for rigging. My classmates have produced some beautiful models, and bringing them to life has been very enjoyable.

I have found that amongst students, rigging is often considered a very technical specialism which doesn't allow for much creativity, but my experience has been opposite to this.

Of course, there is a lot of technical learning involved- I have watched countless tutorials and read various books over the course of the year to aid my learning. The creative side of rigging comes from what you do with your learning.
Tutorials are brilliant resources, but you have to remember that often the way things are done in step-by-step tutorials isn't the ONLY way. There are many exceptions to this, and often there will be cases where the way you are taught is the correct way, and there's no point messing with it, and that's fine. But, there is no harm in trying things out.
Mixing things you have learned from all over the place, trying to think of new, better, quicker ways that things might work. This is what I have been striving to do with my rigs, and I have come up with various creative solutions to little problems that popped up. I look forward to continuing my learning after graduation, and hope that my rigs until now have been everything the animators needed them to be!

At this point, I am very comfortable with the basics of rigging, and I have begun to branch out into more advanced learning. I am confident with joint placement/set up, I am familiar with the use of IK and FK functionality, and becoming confident using splines. I am confident creating and linking controls. I am confident in animator-proofing controls. I am confident in my skills with weight painting, and look forward to moving on to explore Maya's features for creating advanced muscle deformations. I know a good handful of mel, and am continuing to learn about scripting. I have also used expressions successfully.

I have a good knowledge in biped rigs, including foot rolls, forearm twists, the functionality of shoulders, clavicle bones and various spine set-ups. I am also confident rigging hands and faces.

I have a basic knowledge of rigging quads, which I am continuing to develop. I have become very familiar with various aspects on animal anatomy, and this knowledge has been and will continue to be invaluable.

Although my interest lies with character rigging, I will be looking into other aspects of rigging, including props and environments.