Wednesday, 30 May 2018

How Many Retakes?

Framestore's Andrew Schlussel, Oz Gani and Ross Burgess
How many re-takes does it take to make a shot perfect? Or, put another way, how many times might an animator have to re-do a shot until it gets approved?

The answer depends on what kind of project you are working on.

The bigger the budget, the higher quality the animation, and the more the studio will tend to expect perfection - or near-perfection - from the animation team.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Grey Screen Playback Problem Maya 2018



The video above addresses an odd grey screen playback problem with Maya 2018. You open up your shot, press play, and the screen goes grey - i.e. you can't seen anything. Scrub through the timeline and the same thing happens. It's like putting on a pair of blackout shades - you can't get any work done. The only solution I have found is to open up the same shot in Maya 2017, and, under the Renderer menu in the Viewport, select Legacy Default Viewport (an option which has been disabled for Maya 2018).

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

New Bonus Week: Butterflies

Learn to animate a butterfly
We've got a new free bonus week at Animation Apprentice - Butterflies.  Adding to our range of different creature animation techniques, and reflecting the growth in creature animation, (especially at the big VFX houses) our student animators can create a believable butterfly flap cycle and performance.

As ever, we break down an apparently complex exercise into a series of simple steps, giving students a feeling of success at the end of the tutorial, and helping them to learn a new technique. This bonus week is absolutely free for all of our students.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Animating Lipsync by Pixar's Aaron Hartline

Aaron Hartline
Lipsync is arguably the least important part of animating a great acting scene. As a result, most 3D animators tend to leave lipsync until the end, or near the end, of the shot, concentrating their efforts first on getting the overall acting and body poses right.

But at a recent talk at Escape Studios, veteran Pixar Aaron Hardline explained that, counter-intuitively, he actually does the lipsync first.

So, why does one of Pixar's lead animators apparently put the cart before the horse?

Friday, 18 May 2018

Free Anchor Transform Plugin Stops Feet Sliding

Anchor Transform by Robert Joosten stops feet sliding
Sliding feet can be a problem when animating a character walk or a walk cycle. Fortunately for Maya animators, Robert Joosten’s new Anchor Transform Maya plugin offers animators an easy solution.

Rather than manually tweaking your animation to stop the feet sliding, rigger Robert Joosten has come up with a script that lets you anchor a transform for any given time range in your animation.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Free Character Walks Webinar on 5th June

"Monty" character walks
I'll be hosting a webinar on character walks at Escape Studios at 6pm on Tuesday June 5th.

Character walks are one of the most important parts of the animator's toolkit. It's where you start building a character's personality - how we move says a lot about who we are.

I will be taking a basic walk cycle and showing how, with just a few simple tweaks, you can completely change the character's mood and personality.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Get Ready For Our May 7th Class

Kayla by Josh Sobel, animated by Joris Van Laar
Our May classroom starts next week on Monday 7th May.  It's not too late to book a place; all you need to do to start a conversation is head over to our main site and fill in a form.

Below is a brief list of stuff to get you under way. You don't have to do all of it, but tick off a few of the things on this list and you will be a making a great start on your animation career.

First, here is a short reading list to get you started. We've narrowed it down to just two key books that we recommend for all our students.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

How to Block out and Plan Creature Animation


This short video ten minute explains how to block out and plan an animal or creature animation shot.  What do animators mean by "blocking"? We mean the process of establishing the main key poses in a shot, using stepped curves (i.e., single poses without any smooth transitions), so that we can test whether or not the shot will work. Having a good, organised workflow is an essential part of the animator's toolkit. Long before you start making key poses in Maya, you want to plan the shot out in your head, on video, with thumbnail sketches and/or storyboards.