Monday, 19 March 2018

Alice in Maya

Thanks to help from Alan, I'm progressing with my model of Alice a lot better now, after a few duff starts. Currently I'm working on her hands and how these will work. They only need to hold very simple objects (like a fairy wand for instance) and so will be more like mittens with a simple pincer grip. 

I've had a play around with hair but at the moment can only seem to get hair on half of her head. Her hair will be very simple but I want it to be curly and bounce when she runs along. @Alan - which is the best tutorial to use for this now? Should I use nHair or would it work better to create curly strands and use a deformer? 

After I've finished the modelling, I'll texture and rig it. Her legs will be more rigid stick legs with a simple bend at the knee, whereas her arms will be bendy so I'll look to use a deformer for these.

Getting there...

Friday, 2 March 2018

Building Alice

I've started building my main character, Alice in Maya. As I didn't do the Minor Project, I'm going for a fairly basic character which I can accessorise to compliment what she is talking about. I'm hoping to make my character quite toy-like so it looks like you could pick her up. She'll be made from fabric-like textures; felt, corduroy, denim and I'm experimenting in Photoshop to create these textures. 

Here's Alice...

 And here are some of the textures so far...

I'm looking at slightly changing her outfit for each little segment, but not drastically. She'll also have props, such as the cat, fairy wings and wand that you see below.  

She'll be made from very simple shapes with bendy arms and more stick-like legs which will bend at the knee. Her facial features will be almost 'stick on' and will be animated as per the Poma tutorial. The animation I see as being quite jittery - similar to Peppa Pig or Charlie and Lola. Most of the charm I'm hoping will come from the facial features and so I'll need to work hard on the facial animation and lip-syncing.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Major project

So after months and month of reading, writing, eating, sleeping and dreaming fairy tales for my extended dissertation I am now back in the land of drawing and painting and imagining. Feeling very motivated after the briefing and now knuckling down to get this project chugging along.

For my major project I’m using audio recorded over the past year or so of my three children, now 10, 7 and 5 years of age. They are discussing farts, rainbows, unicorns, rabbits, bunnies, Star Wars and The Blob, among other things. And I am still recording now as they never stop creasing me up. Here they are…

I’m going for a bit of a Charlie & Lola type feel. Maya is not my strong point and so I need to produce the best work that I can without being over-ambitious and failing to finish. So, the idea is to create my characters in Maya, but with 2D animated facial features. I’ll be doing a lot of lip-syncing and I think the best way for me to achieve this is with almost ‘cut-out’ eyes and mouth. So, very similar to the back of the Monster Munch crisp packets I used to get as a kid…

Being a kid of the 80s, I have a bit of a thing for retro children’s TV and I am sure my project will have some kind of 70s/80s feel about it without me even trying. There is also a programme that the kids used to watch called ‘Get Squiggling’ and I’ve drawn some inspiration from this. It teaches children to draw by using simple shapes, such as lines and curves. As you can see from the example below it also helps them form their letters. Good stuff.

The aim of my project is to create a series of shorts which would be shown in between longer children’s TV programmes, a bit like Creature Comforts. It’s a little bit of light relief and I’d like them to inspire children to be more artistic and creative. I think there is so much pressure on young children to achieve academically that creative subjects often get forgotten about and unless their parents/carers take the initiative to ‘do art’ with their kids they sometimes miss out and do not realise half of what they could create given the chance. I love seeing children’s faces light up when they see a box full of card, glitter and paint.

So, the idea is to build and animate my characters, lip-sync them talking about whatever it is they are talking about and in the background have animated crayon drawings of their chosen subject. For example, I have audio of Alice, the youngest, discussing how lions and cows are friends and love each other. I will try and capture all the amazing facial expressions that she has and in the background will animate simple child-like drawings of a lion and a cow with hearts around them etc etc. I will try to make it as comical as possible.

Not only will the children be helping me with the audio of this project, but also the style of the characters and animation. I’ve taken some of their drawings and will be using them to create characters of themselves. I will then pass these back to them for their comments and tweaks and further refine until I am happy. I will do the same for the animated drawings. I’d like the animation to almost be like a craft book. Sometimes I may use a checked background, like graph paper and cut-out shapes or include fabric textures to give the feel that it could be picked up, very similar to Charlie and Lola. I’d like the characters themselves to almost be like toys with the idea that their costumes and facials features could be changeable – a bit like fuzzy felt perhaps. 

So in the words of Lola......

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Minor Project - 'Films' animatic - The Blob

Animatic for one part of the animation. This one is entited Films and Lucy is talking about 'The Blob'

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Minor Project - Characters and audio coming together

Beginning to piece together all the parts of the puzzle now. Editing the audio is taking longer than I anticipated due to the differences in volume and quality of the tracks. In the meantime I've been working on the Poma and 2D Maya tutorials as I will be using these techniques in my final animation. I've also been working on the character designs using the drawings my children have made. I'm hoping to produce 3 characters, though they will be quite simple and most of the detail will come in the facial movements. Alan suggested I look at a programme called nDo which will help me with texturing. Below are a few of the drawings I've copied from the kids' artwork and I'm going to make an amalgamation of my favourite features. For example, I like the hair of number 1 and the eyes of number 4. Lucy seems to have a thing for drawing her people in high heels so I think this is something I need to include! Any comments on these would be greatly received. I've also shown how I am working on them in Photoshop to achieve a 'drawn' effect as if the children have drawn them themselves. I'm creating the facial features in different layers as in the Poma facial rigging tutorial so I can animate in the same way. 

Finally here are a couple of the audio tracks that I've edited. I see the 'Lions & Cows' one as part of a section about animals. Lucy will introduce it and almost be interviewing her little sister Alice about her favourite animals. I'm hoping to animate a little 'Alice' in an animal costume with childlike drawings of the animals being "friends" and "not being nice to each other" as you can hear in the audio. The 'Star Wars' one I could see as Emily trying desperately to talk about one of her favourite films with her smallest sister running around in the background shooting Lucy who, being a bit girly and princessy, is most unimpressed about all of it. Feedback welcome!

Monday, 17 October 2016

Kids' drawings for character design

I've gone through and scanned some of the pictures drawn by my children so I can use them when designing my characters. I will relate them to certain sound clips throughout the animation. For instance, I have a recording of Lucy talking about Rapunzel so I'll take her drawing of Rapunzel and use it to animate the audio. As you can see Lucy seems to have a thing for fairies...!