Sunday, 30 October 2011

Animation Inspiration - International Animation Day

On the 28th October it was International Animation Day and it got me thinking about which animations inspired me to become an animator or just simply enjoyed the most.

Recently, I finally got to watch the movie, Kung Fu Panda 2. Being a Kung Fu fan, my review of the movie will be slightly biased but personally it's one of the best animated movies I have seen in a long time. The story was simple and moved along at a fast-pace but the entertainment factor, art direction, and quality of animation were off the scale. Oh, and the jokes were spot on too.

I watched many cartoons during my childhood, in fact you could say cartoons and video games were my addictions. There were not many CG animated cartoons on TV back then, but there was one that I will never forget. Reboot was a fully CG animated kids TV series. Admitedly, the actual animation was quite terrible but that was probably due to the limitations of the software and hardware back then. Still a highly entertaining show nonetheless!

One particular animation brings back fond memories. It was a Scotch video cassette ad from back in the 80's and created by Aardman animations. The music was so catchy and once the skeleton got into his groove, I was up on my baby feet and doing my own little jig. My mum would remind me how my face would light up and how I'd dance across the carpet every time the advert came on the TV.

Last by no means least, here are a couple of my favourite FMV's from the video games of my youth.

For more information about International Animation Day here's a link to an article I wrote for Skwigly magazine

Character Animation - Francis Walk cycle

Recently I've been going back to basics and practicing walk cycles for various rigs.

The walk cycle in this post was created using my own Maya rig, Francis (featured in my Arnold Schwarzennegger lip-syncing animation )

Francis the 'Baby' - minus the face paint and lion suit
This is a regular paced walk on 12's (half a second per step). I blocked in the four core positions (contact, down, passing and up) using stepped keys, moved to splined curves then continued to build from there. I left most of the overlapping action until the keys were splined to avoid it getting too complicated early on.

Below are a couple of playblasts of the blocked walk and completed walk. Could do with some more tweaks and the head looks like it's just nodding up and down. May add some side nod overlapping action from the head through to the spine to add some more weight as well.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Moo'ving on up : Business Cards

Yesterday night, I ordered new business cards from Moo.
I created a simple design for the front of my cards and used a selection of my work for the back. This is great because when I meet a potential client I can spread my business cards out on a table and arrange them like a mini portfolio. Here is an example of my card below (untrimmed and with watermark) :

They are estimated to arrive by next Friday. The proof is in the pudding so I'll let you know how they turn out!

Here is a link to Moo's UK website:
(we both save money if you use this link)


Cards were delivered much earlier than estimated and I am very pleased with the outcome. If you're designing your own cards on Moo, make sure you save them in the correct format so they don't come out too dark. Instructions are on the site.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

'Arthur Christmas' Press Screening and Q&A with Sarah Smith

On Monday I was given the opportunity to attend a press screening of Aardman's new animation 'Arthur Christmas' at Sony Pictures in London and share a table with the Director, Sarah Smith.

Here is a link to my review for online animation magazine, Skwigly:

Brody: Speed painting and Character Design

Here's a quick speed painting of Adrian Brody. 
Previously, I had only used Photoshop's default brush set for painting but I decided to explore something new. This Brush Set worked wonderfully for my speed painting. I mainly used the brushes in category no.4 with pen pressure turned on.

I used a couple of Overlay layers to give it a little more depth and texture.

The last design in the image above is actually based on an old character of mine that I'd like to revisit. If all goes well, there's an animation in store for this chap.