Monday, 28 May 2012


Its been one long year. One long bumpy year full of many many problems. We have had tonnes of problems with work. Maya never works when you want it too.

I've learnt a lot in this past year, I've learnt that a lot can go wrong in one year. I really need to up my time management skills and address problems. I really need to get out of the habit of working under pressure, for some reason I work better because of it, but it doesn't leave me much time to make alterations to things.

I've also learnt that even when working with friends you still need to be tough and really tell people what you want in a film you are all working on, opinions need to be voice even if it means hurting another feelings.We were all a bit too lenient with each other when it came to telling each other what we want and don't want with the film. I also have come to the conclusion I am not the best leader as I am not authourative enough, I much prefer taking orders than giving them.

I'm happy I have done this course. I have always loved animation and I hope to one day become an animator for a games company. I really need to just do as much animation as I can now, really bump up my skills, this course has given me the tools I need to improve and work on my passion and I hope that it will one day I can be in a job I love.

I've learnt a lot over the year, I've learnt to be a lot more technical than I previously was, I'm usually worried about trying new things and getting my head around technical aspects in programs such as Maya, but I managed to learn the trax editor, rendering and further my knowledge of nCloth.

I feel my animation has progressed slightly, not as much as I had hoped but I am still improving, now that we are done I can really focus on getting some personal projects done and hone my skills.

Final Reach

Here I did a little character piece. This was inspired by my cats who are always investigating things and losing their toys under the sofa. My cats always try to reach under things that they just cannot get into nor reach what they are trying to get.

So I did a little piece of Melvin reaching into a little box, I liked having the angle of the camera looking within the box and seeing the cat reaching towards it.

Final Jump

This was the outcome of my final little jump I did. This was rather difficult to do as the rig didn't have a master control so it was rather difficult to move the cat, I had to move every single handle to get the cat to move.

There was more I could have done to this, there isn't much anticipation to the cat jumping which would probably improve the animation quite a lot. he just jumps and doesn't push off the ground I had to move him a lot because his paws kept clipping through the box.

I also should have maybe moved the box as the cat jumped into it. There's a few mistakes but the cat a small problem with his neck, it was perfectly workable but it could get distorted very easily so the cat was a little lumpy in places.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Final Run

This is how my final run cycle came out. I did this mainly using the trax editor to help lengthen the animation so you could see more of it.

I slowed the animation down a bit with the trax editor also and I feel it might be a little bit slow for a run cycle but I am still happy with it nonetheless as this was the first time I had used the trax editor and I was surprised how easy it was to use.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Ambient Occlusion

Seeing as the animations I've done don't have any textures or environments I am going to render everything with an Ambient Occlusion.

I have never done this type of render before so this will all be new to me.

First I deleted all the unused nodes in the hypershade so that I didn't get anything mixed up when adding new nodes. That cleared up a lot of nodes attached to the cat.

I then added a surface shader to the work space and then an ambient occlusion from the mental ray section and the joined the two together in the work space.

I had to change the environment colour in the perspective camera to 100% white so that it came out the right colour.

I then finally added the surface shader to the cat and its environment. I also had to go into the render settings to make sure that the render was set to mental ray. I also went and checked the quaility settings in there and made sure it was set to Lanzcos.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Ncloth Tearing

I then thought about doing some tearing tests, as I thought we could have Melvin claw at the curtains.

Firstly I did a simple tearing test to learn the simulation. This first video was a a way of me learning how to use the tearing and for it not to explode. I have tried using tearing in the past....and it exploded. So I tried again and I was much more successful.

I liked how this came out. I had to make the sphere a collider for the cloth I had added and then select the vertices that I wanted to tear. I was quite happy with the result seeing a previous times Ive used it, its just exploded. So once I did that I went and make something a bit more ambitious.

This time I made the cloth tear like it was being scratched by a cat. I also made very simple crude claws to simulate it rather than using sphere. I wasn't expecting this to work at all and I was very surprised when it did, I'm not sure why loads of little parts flew off but for a first try I was rather happy that it didn't explode...nCloth likes to do that

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Trax Editor

So I felt like I should get to grips with the Trax Editor to help me animate faster.

I had a look on line as to how the Trax Editor works and I was amazed at how easy it was to create a clip and to then loop it.

So I will be using the Trax Editor for my walk and run cycle of the cat, just to get my head over how it works and to get a looping animation without having to key it in over and over again.

To begin with I needed to create a character set so that I could use the Trax Editor. This also helped me animate the cat a little more.

The easiest way I found to set up a character set was to hide everything and then show NURBS Curves, so that only the Rigs controls were visible,  I then selected them all except the spine and tail and created a character set from that. I named it Melvin so that I knew that the correct character set was chosen.

I then went into the saved layouts and chose the Perspective/Trax window so I could see both windows to work from. To get my animation clip I created one with the Trax editor and it came up in the bottom bar. I made sure that the first frame and the last frame were the same when I created this run so that it was seamless.

I then looped the animation with the editor so that it did more steps and lasted longer than the original. When I played it back and the cats animation went very strange as you can see in the above picture. To fix this I had to edit the channel offsets so that the cat stayed in place. I had to make them all absolute as the cat was moving forward very slightly every frame so by changing it to all absolute the cat stayed in place.

I really enjoyed using the Trax editor. It was relatively simple to use and once I got my head around it. It greatly improved the time I spent doing animation. I didn't have to do all the steps for a run and I could look what I had done and saved my time so that I could do other animations.