More gnomon presentations

I watched another Presentation hosted by Gnomon, and it was good, again. They get some great animators in there to inspire and educate a bit more. I would love to see the industry get to a place in Australia where we have people on hand who have the experience and talent just floating around like they seem to in other countries. But from what I can tell that talent is either teaching us already, working in one of the few animation studios we have left or leaving the country to work elsewhere.

anyway, my thoughts on this presentation, shall now follow. Some of it are just points that struck me and stuck to me, or just something I found interesting in some way.

This guy is fairly humble, I like that! Though it seems the more I see of top people that they are willing to say they are not the best at what they do, but they still do it because they love it.
this guy does not do all the work on his show reel, but supervised it, which is fairly cool. I like how he says he was the supervisor on it, that works well. Means I can use some work I have supervised and say what I did, not that it was all mine but that I had something to do with it and how.
“Be the janitor”, I like that. Not all the shots can be amazing, so be willing to do the boring shots and do your best at them.
Knock their socks off in the first 10 seconds or go home for your show reel, I like that. Always start with your best thing! Once you are in the industry, start with things people recognize. It gets attention straight up. Not necessarily starting with your best work, but making sure its attention catching in that time.
This goes against what a lot of people say to making your show reel, as they say start with your best work as people may not reach the end. But I do like the idea of starting with something that is attention grabbing and then going from there.
Go the extra mile, be the one that volunteers. F.I.L.O. First in last out, part of the extra mile. Be the last one over the finish line, push others in front of you. Seems to be a main theme here with the high end animators, be a team player, make sure you put in the effort to do well, put in more effort than you need to and show that you love what you’re doing.
The more I learn about the animation industry the more I want to work in it, which is a good thing!
I enjoy seeing the basic animation process they used in some of the things. As the un animated creatures slide around to get the basic movement worked out. Then they are animated but still lack textures, which is great to see.
passion is good, but I think that you should not be too precious about things either. As Tomas Jech said in his ‘how to poop’ presentation, your ideas are bad, but with work and input from others it can be yes be passionate, be sad to have to change things, but be capable of doing so without getting but hurt.
sometimes the directors will make you cut your work down by heaps, but always learn from it, and take something away. It may just be how to do something in a certain way.
It’s nice to know that even as high up in the industry as this guy ism he still has trouble with communication. Seems like it will be a big problem forever, but it’s good to know it’s not unusual. I sometimes worry I just suck with it and that others have mastered the whole ‘telling others what they want clearly’ thing, it’s good to know I am wrong.


Creativebloqcom. (2015). Creativebloqcom. Retrieved 30 November, 2015, from

Premiumbeatcom. (2013). The Beat: A Blog by PremiumBeat. Retrieved 30 November, 2015, from

Livestreamcom. (2015). The New Livestream. Retrieved 30 November, 2015, from

Interesting Presentation

So one of my tutors got me onto a presentation by a man named Tomas Jech. in short, it was a inspirational speech about how to do better in the animation industry. I was going to start using shadow play and talking, but I wrote a reply to it as I watched so it seems a bit silly to shadowplay a reply when I already have one written out.

Hah, I have had some fears spoken about straight up already, and its 15 mins in xD I hope someone is worse then me.
I really like his early point of do not be self-centred, be genuinely happy for others, be a team player.
he is on point with so many things though. Someone will always be better then you, or ‘there is always a bigger fish’. Don’t get depressed, just do your best and be happy to keep going.
don’t pass the buck to others when things go wrong. Tomas has a lot of good points, which is not just good for animation.
Always be willing to be stupid. Something I have always done before but tried not to do as an animator, so far I have tried to fit in and belong. From what Tomas is saying, I need to not do that, I need to be me. Which is again, just good advice in general. Do not be embarrassed, just get what needs to be done done. As he said earlier on a slide, learning is not always fun, but it can be if we decide to have fun. Fun is not always something that happens but aa choice we make.
Not all good ideas start amazing, in fact not many do. It goes with the same ideas of making a story, do not be precise with it, let it be changed and become better.
Learn to recover from error, because that skill is hugely useful. Just because something seems bad, does not mean it cannot be recovered in some way.
Think about the situation your character is in, seems like good advice to me. Why they are doing what they are doing, it goes along the lines of the acting rule that no one does something for no reason, so why are they doing what they are doing?
Much like Steve said to me, Tomas sais start simple, make easy things and do them well. Same as with music, if you want to show someone you can play an instrument really well, then play something simple you can nail, not something hard that you will stumble over and make look less then amazing.
Make choices that are possible to do. Something that makes a heap of sense, trying to do something I cannot achieve with my current skill set or the tools available to me, while it sounds like a fun challenge, is such a bad idea.

. (2015). The New Livestream. Retrieved 30 November, 2015, from

Facial rigging

As I am sure we all know, facial movement is really important to get good emotion in an animated character. But how do we do this? I will be looking into a few different facial rigs and seeing which is better for what purpose according to people who use them. Then trying to make a decision on which to use for my current character myself.

Firstly, there is the Image metric facial rig. What this does is captures the face of an actor down to the pore, and uses it to make realistic changes to the face and its expressions. They capture the images using a set of cameras in a well lit space, which are then turned into 3D data using a program that I am trying to find the name for but am not able to yet. It has to be out there as this was being done in 2008 and has been around for a little while now. This seems like it would be great for more realistic animations and doing VFX.

Another way to do facial modification is using morph targets, which is what I have done mostly myself, this requires the setting up of controllers for the different targets, such as can be seen in the Norman rig or many other rigs with controllers. It allows the creator to have control over the extreme poses of each facial movement. including lips, eyes such as blinking, and so on.

NURB Curves have been used in many productions, but the one I found the best posts about it where from the animated movie Delgo. I was not a big fan of the movie itself, but the animation in it was pretty enough. the Animation director that worked on it said “…NURBS curves as influence objects on a poly mesh that is bound to control joints using smooth skining. We retained the ability to create blendshapes if necessary, but we gained, among other things, the ability for animators to create very subtle or extreme changes in expressiveness without having to send the character to a modeler for new target shapes. In most cases, this process is simple and fast enough that you can rig a head in a single day.”

There are also many programs out there that will do this work for people and make it much easier, though I am not a fan of lack of control, I do like the speed they bring and sometimes that is what is needed. One such program is called Face Robot. Which uses points input by the user to define things like eye or mouth deform points and creates the animations from there.


Modelling pipelines

It has been a while since I had time to post about all the things I wanted to so now I am trying to catch up.
I had to work on modelling and animation pipelines for a game over the last few weeks, and while it has not had the results I wanted, I am okay with the pipeline itself as it did work well.
The pipeline was used for making models and animations for a small game, which had a top down or isometric view. This meant that the back of things had to look good, and the top, but the front and sides where never so close to a camera where not needing to be super in depth.
However, just because the modelling is not too difficult does not mean the animation side is easy by any means. (Digitaltutorscom, 2014) says that “Unlike animation in a movie where the animator doesn’t need to worry about how it will look from a side view or from behind, creating animations for games need to look good from any angle. For instance, when implementing the principle of arcs into an animation, the animator needs to ensure the character is following nice smooth arcing motions from any camera angle.”
(Dunlop, 2014) says this about game animations “…The movement of the player character and the NPC’s are rarely simple strings of keyframes, instead the game blends a variety of smaller animations together at run-time.”
They also have an image to show the basic idea of the pipeline they suggest to do with creating animations for games. Game_Pipeline.PNG
To this end I had to make sure each of my animations could blend together well, though it was difficult due to the lack of communication and feedback from the game designers and programmers working on the project.
The basic pipeline I used was this.
First step was to plan everything and work out the times everything needed to be done by. I then created an asset list and an animation list for the assets.
After that the concept art started to be created, and once finalized we moved to modelling, then Unwrapping, skinning and rigging, animating and the final thing was textures. While each thing did take longer then it seems here, it was also really fast as time constraints where pushed back by some things being late.
I have added some pictures of each stage aside from the animated stage as that would take a video and its more shoddy then I want anyone to see.151103_Model_Sheet_04 Render_Large_NotxLarge_cap_Skel_01Large_Cap_01  Redner_Small_NoTX Small_Cap_Skel_01 Small_Cap_01


. (2014). Digital-Tutors Blog. Retrieved 30 November, 2015, from

Dunlop, R. (2014). Production Pipeline Fundamentals for Film and Games. Burlington: Focal Press.

cross disc project

So over the last few weeks I have been trying to work with game designers to make a small game. it has been interesting and informative to say the least. I have been trying to gain information from the game designers as to what they need and how they need things done. much to my dismay I have received almost no replies to this, and it has made working to things much harder.
I set my own constraints and documented specs to work to that I THINK are okay, but I am not sure as I have been given no feedback and its now too late to do anything about it with tweaking.

Firstly though, for our project management we used Google docs, which seems to be a fairly big thing.
Communication happened over Skype conference calls weekly, and on a Facebook group for easy talking.

Documentation for the required assets was created and uploaded to google docs, and the animations needed to be created for each assets. The specs where worked out to the best possible and I posted a test model with basic animations done to it asking for feedback once it was placed in game to see how it went. However that feedback was not forth coming so I assumed that it was all okay and continued to do work based on those specs. once I had created basic models and animations I uploaded a set for one character a day early and asked for feedback, knowledge on what to change and what the designers needed done, but again, I heard nothing. sadly it is due tomorrow so any tweaks that could have been done are now not possible due to the time. I have uploaded all the final animations and all I can do is hope they work okay.

Another thing that was a bit disappointing was that I was left with almost no time to get decent animations done on this project, which is my main goal for anything. The topology is shoddy, the rigs are bad and the animations look so broken.

I managed to get around to uploading some of the animations for the game. Do not judge my work based on this, I see so many problems in the skinning alone, never mind the animation. but sometimes we have to work to a bad situation and hope it pans out okay.

real time environments

So today I have done most of the things I need to for another project that got blown out time wise and so took more then I wanted to put into it.
So for now, I have time to actually post again and look into real time environments, real time engines and workflows/pipelines that people use to make them.
Firstly a real time environment is something that is being processed and rendered as it happens. Such as an attack animation, or parts of the environment that appear as you move along. There are a fair few engines out there that will help people to do this, some seem more use friendly then the others, the most used that I have found is the unreal engine 4, though I was not aware until now that it was capable of real time rendering.