Finally, the last step, other than the voice syncing the vocals, was the editing of sound. I noticed as each sound was put in, the animation came more and more to life, it comes to show how important the sound in any given form of entertainment is. Overall I am quite pleased with the end result although it was a lot of investment and learning, I feel that 3D animation is thoroughly enjoyable once you know the basic ins and outs.
Finally, the 3rd and last scene, much of teh focus here was to rinse and repeat the techniques learned in previous 3D animation.
Part of the animation, he shoots a projectile out of his walking stick, in order to make the shot look powerful, I squinted the characters eyes as well as exaggerated the movement of the recoil as he flies back and slides on the ground.
The explosion itself was made using a tutorial online which talks about Maya’s fluid creation. Which automated animations of particles within a box are displayed and can be varied in settings. I wanted the explosion to look a bit more magical than the conventional type to convey that he has a magical walking stick.
Here is a snippet of the first scene playblasted, which I had problems with the codec settings as well as the playblast screen size, which would distort the screen and no sound would come out. I managed to fix most of those issues.
Syncing the sound with the mouth movements is a bit of an easier job when your mouth is a beak. Talking is more of an opening and closing affair, although widening the lips and playing with blend shapes, does help give the sound a more realistic feel when he talks.
Moving onto the next scene, making more use of the blend-shapes to give the character a more realistic emotional expression. He is scared as he hears the motorbikes coming again for the second time. The eyesbrows go up as the eyes widen, and his mouth starts to frown as he moves hi head back.
The blendshapes have to be keyed in the right attributes to get the right effect. Ideally, only moving 2-4 blend-shapes was most effective, as if too many are moved, it starts to deform the model.
In this particularly part, he jumps up in fear. I used the torso controller to move his body back as if the sound wave of the bike passing by pushes him away. His mouth opens up wide as shown in the previous sketches. He also drops his walking stick to convey more of a shell shocking impact.
He is then traumatized into curling up into a defensive stance. using the controllers to of the torso and hands to squeeze him into a defensive shape.
The hand moves off of his head as he darts his eyes around to see if everything is safe as he contemplates.
Finally, I had to animate him crawling on 4 legs as if he were a dog or horse, even though he is a bird. Looking at the way 4 legged animals crawl was quite fascinating. After looking at the video above, I got to understand that both leg and hand have to move at the same time in diagonal opposites.
The finished bird style 4 legged walk.
The walk cycle was mainly done through moving certain controllers of the body. Some of which make the movement look even more human like, if combined in the right way.
Starting off with lifting the foot con upwards and forwards. Also at the same time moving the walking stick and the right arm upwards. At this same time, you also move the left arm backwards.
To make the walk cycle more convincing. When the foot hits the ground, the torso should also move down to accompany the wight of the movement to create the look of weight being applied by the character.
When the left foot rises and goods forward, aligning with the right foot, the character’s height is at it’s highest point so you move the torso controller up.
When the character moves with an object (such as the walking stick) that is used to lean upon, the object stays still whilst the character is making his move.
Finally, when the character is about to stop, he slowly eases into his stationary position as the tempo slows down.
Starting the animation, I had to take into account various different gestures that the character might possibly display. All of the different facial expressions and the characters overall mood had to be taken into account.
Particularly the character’s shocked face when the vehicle is to zoom by him. Seeing how the bird’s mouth structure is different from that of a human being. The jaw opens much wider and much more freely. The eyes also widen at the same time.
Here are some examples of very quick character model sheets in which different emotions are expressed. Notice again the wise opening of the mouth.
Starting with the every basics of animation, such as getting the desired beginning pose right.
Blinking is an essential part of making an animation look more realistic within your characters emotive expression. On average, a person blinks 16 times per minute. So within the 30 second animation, he should at least blink 8 times, plus the added blinking because of being abruptly surprised.
At the start he is pretty content with himself and his situation of trying to cross the road, although later on, his mood and facial expressions start to change. The mouth flaps about as well as opens to try to conceive a more realistic impression of sound coming out of the character’s mouth.