Last Monday and Tuesday we had the privilege of having former Southern student and SVAD graduate Kevin Jackson here visiting with us. Kevin has worked at companies such as Rythm and Hues and Sony, and has worked on animation in movies such as Snow White and The Huntsman, The Incredible Hulk, Life of Pi, and recently Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Some of the animation department even went to go see Cloudy 2 with him on Monday night! He shared with us his experience of working in the industry and tips on how to improve as an animator and get recognized. We all learned something from his visit and are appreciative of the knowledge he shared with us about how he’s improved as an animator, what it takes to work on big time movies, and how to keep your faith in a mostly secular industry.
How are you? I’m good, thanks for asking. I’ve been busy making blend shapes for our little girl character Penelope. For anyone who doesn’t know blend shapes are a variety of different face shapes that are made and then hooked up to controls on the face so animators can animate dialogue or face expression. So far it’s been a lot of back and forth fine tuning the blends and making sure they are pushed far enough to give the animators plenty of play room. Thankfully this process is coming close and animation will begin. The pictures above are all the blends that I and a fellow classmate have done and a couple examples of what the shapes look like.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 3:52 PM
this is blog 2 for me in this lovely co-lab project for the fall 2013 semester.
So I have temporarily moved on from Scripting and am now working on modeling and blend shapes, but mainly blend shapes. So far I’ve only worked on modeling our duck for this project, it’s a very frustrating process trying to figure out what someone else wants for a certain look, especially since I keep wanting to gravitate towards my own personal style and/or preference of modeling. Anyway the duck has been placed on the back burner since the first week of this sprint goal, because we really want to get started on animation before this semester is over. So we’ve been doing blend shapes like crazy.
If your wondering what blend shapes are don’t worry I’m gonna explain that. Basically blend shapes are facial expressions or movements. You have all of your basics like frowns and smiles and then Narrow and Wide along with others like your sneers and puckers and such. To make blends you have to create a lattice and place it on the head then move the verts on the lattice up, down, sideways, in, or out depending on what shape/expression your trying to make. So this sprint goal I got to work on the wides, narrows, sneers, and puckers along with flipping all of the shapes and creating the corrective shapes for all of the blends. That’s what the pictures above are about.
P.S. Funny thing about Blend shapes, you can apparently find familiar faces in the characters your working on. I was working on shaping the frown blend for our granny character, and one of my teachers, Zach, came up behind me and asked if I was super busy or if he could take over for a second. So I let him have my station and he took a snap shot of the granny’s head, and proceeded to draw over top of it. I have to say the final result really does look very similar to Branden Hawkins, one of our directors!
That’s all I’ve got, Keep watching our blog for more up dates!
Hello everyone. I’m Taylor Stone and I am a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) student here at SAU. You’re probably wondering why on earth I’m positing on the SVAD Animation blog. Well that’s because I have invaded their class to help work on this year’s junior class short, A Day with Granny (tentative title, I hope).
During the summer, I worked with some of other students to create the characters and plot of the short, and now I help with the visual development and background painting. I have done various things like storyboards, character design, background painting, and sometimes even unsolicited young Granny keytar drawing (see above).
I’ve only recently changed my major to BFA and I’m working on an animation, so all of this is very new to me. The learning curve is difficult, but the results have been pretty good for the most part. I’m lucky to work with good people and I hope that I can learn to be a better team member.
Thanks for checking out the blog!
Jose Mata here,
Student animator at Southern Adventist School just checking in for his blog. This is my third year in SAU so I’m part of the collaborative short all juniors are working on. This year we have a short called “A Day With Granny”, and my contribution is scattered but what I’m heading right now is the layout of the project. Which is now at the stage where I set up the cameras for each shot and do very basic animation so we have an idea of the timing and placement of characters in the short. I give out shots to others and oversee them to make sure continuity stays in place, and if needed due to the business of others I will take back the shots and do them myself. Still, it’s not too bad a job for now, after all the ball just started rolling.
My name is Dulce Velazquez, I am an Effects Animation major here at Southern Adventist University and I’m currently a junior. This year all the juniors are working on a short called A Day with Granny. My job in this project is a variety of things but my main specialty is rigging and technical animation.
These past weeks I have been working on scripting a character rig. This has to be the most complicated job I have. I have scripted before but this is completely new since we are using Python instead of MEL. At the beginning I would literally have nightmares with scripting, but now I feel a little better. The script is almost done, it needs some minor adjustments but so far it works. The script is set up to rig any character we want as long as it has the skeleton set up. We are very happy with the end result since it saves a lot of time.
Also this week we are starting the rendering of our backgrounds and characters. Since I’m the technical person I was also assigned this job. This is a complicated process since all of our background are painted and our characters are not. We start by using Maya and rendering only the characters without the backgrounds, then we put them into Nuke and add the 2D background there. So far, we have only made one rendered shot but it looks like it’s going to work out.
Doing the technical stuff for animation was not my dream when I came to Southern but ever since I started doing it I believe I made the right choice. It’s very hard being the technical person but it’s nice to be able to help others out when they have problems. It’s been a great experience working with my classmates and our awesome teachers and hopefully we will finish our short this year!
I’m Branden Hawkins, I am currently a junior character animator working on A Day with Granny. I’ve got a couple jobs I’m working on for this project. My major role is Co-director, which is a lot of work! Luckily I get to co-direct with a good friend, and the people we’re working with are all super awesome and talented. I’m also in charge of the character models and will be working on the actual character animation when that time comes.
As far as actual work goes, most of my attention has been getting the little girl character, Penelope, looking good and ready to be rigged. So far the process has been pretty standard work. Which is basically jumping back and forth between the programs Maya and Mudbox until she looks how we want her to. Penelope has still got a bit of tweaking to do but she’s well on her way. The pictures posted show where I started and where I’ve landed so far.
Hey I’m Anastasia Oliver, and I am currently a Junior Animator at Southern Adventist University.
This year my fellow Juniors, with the help of the Seniors and a few others, are currently working a short tentatively called A Day With Granny. My Job description on this project is actually a variety of things like Look Dev, Rigging, and Lighting to name a few.
I was told to blog this month and while working on Layout this afternoon the perfect thing popped up. If anyone out there is like I was before I started animation you probably think the whole process is all magic and Walt Disney and such, and it is on some levels, but 90% of the time something goes wrong. For instance, I’m trying to figure out the layout for some of our shots and my teacher, Jesse Rademacher, comes to help and he moves and keys our granny character to illustrate a point. It looks fine until he pressed play in the time line. I guess somewhere between rigging and re-rigging for the 12th time I had forgotten to re-turn off the Jiggle effect. Basically when you play the keyed frames in a sequence the grandma’s body does some really weird jiggle and bouncing that is very unnatural.
Ha, my mistake. Just goes to show you that not everything is all ‘Disney Magic’, especially when you forget to do something a beginner should know how to do. That aside, even though a lot of the stuff (mainly scripting) that they have me doing this year is confusing and sometimes really hard, I can honestly say that taking the leap and joining the animation department here at Southern has been more than well worth it. Like I said, it’s hard, but I don’t think I could see myself doing anything else for my career.
That’s all I’ve got for now but keep watching our blog, I think this year is going to be a good one!
My name is Shawn Lee. I am a Character Animation major here at SAU and this is my third year as an animation student. My classmates and I were given different responsibilities and positions to contribute to this project. I have been graciously given the role as an art director and I have been overseeing and also, guiding the art direction for this film.
I designed the look of characters, environment and also the background that will be used in the movie. It has been a challenging process to come to the style that was appealing and most importantly, fitting to our story. Since the characters have round and simple shapes, I wanted to incorporate that idea to the environment to really bring the whole piece together. If you observe the shape of the trees, leaves, and other environment assets, you will be able to see how I brought that idea in by playing around with the straights and the curves.
It has been a humbling experience to work with my classmates as they have put so much effort into this project. I am really thankful to be a part of this project with them. I hope that this film will turn out as good as the amount of effort we put into this project.
This is Shawn signing out.
My name is Jason Dull. My major is Character Animation here at SAU and I am currently working on the Junior class project A Day with Granny. My roles in the project are Co-Director, Modeler, Animator, and whatever else is thrown my way. As of right now I’m in the process of modeling our alligator character, our duck character, and also I am temporarily modeling our granny character as well. Creating an animated short with a smaller class such as ours requires us to share the work load in a lot of different ways so many of us have a few jobs to do. My personal favorite is the animation process itself, but we haven’t quite gotten to that point in our short yet.
Here is a shot of the alligator model at its current stage, roughly modeled in Maya, and then cleaned up in MudBox. It still has a ways to go! Also, I recently retopologized grannies head using Mayas new retopoing feature, it has much less topology now and looks way cleaner!