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pixelmech

My first animation project

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Well I've had AM for 4 months and done too much goofing around. The ol' saying is writer's WRITE, so I guess animators ANIMATE! :lol:

 

I've been so busy tweaking characters to be better than the previous version and worrying about rigging and things I can't do that it paralyzed me from doing much. So I decided to just rig something (since I have TSM2 anyway) and jump in and do something, so here's the start.

 

I'm animating this as I go, but consider this version a kind of blocking, because I intend to go back and put in all the detail. Right now I want to get the short story down. It's been fun since it has been fairly quick to do to get it this far, maybe a few hours.

 

So keep in mind with your C&C, there is not really any follow through yet, not much squetch or really anything other than the basics.

 

Not much of a story, no real title yet. Essentially they are supposed to be leaving and they will kind of walk off into the distance after I finish whatever action will happen.

 

I wanted to just jump in and get experience animating and not worry about making a perfect first project. So far it's been really worthwhile, I think I'm learning quite a bit about animating in A:M and some things have gotten clearer (so if you are hesitating, jump in!)

 

Just a shaded render, 20 seconds. Note the camera movement is not good, working on it.

 

EDITS: Latest version at the bottom!.

 

http://www.pixelmech.com/movies/rr24.mov

http://www.pixelmech.com/movies/rr25.mov

http://www.pixelmech.com/movies/rr34.mov

http://www.pixelmech.com/movies/rr40.mov

http://www.pixelmech.com/movies/rr42.mov

http://www.pixelmech.com/movies/test1.mov

http://www.pixelmech.com/movies/rr54.mov

http://www.pixelmech.com/movies/rr55.mov

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Really funny looking characters. Love them!

You are on the right way and exactly dowing the thing I am hasitating to do for a long time now. Keep it up. Very encouraging.

 

;>) Jake

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Hey that looks promising!

 

The first camera angle is weak because it's the worst angle to show the robot nodding forward. You could show that better from the second camera angle and skip the camera move. In general, straight , full frontal views tend to be uninteresting.

 

Good timing and anticipation on the slap. And you almost suggested a shoulder shrug without actually doing it. I like the head spin on the robot... maybe even faster? Really fast and have his hands jerk when he tries to stop it.

 

There are lots of little problems like floaty stances and center of gravity placement, but you may already be on to those.

 

Isn't it cool that you can get animating so quickly?

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Great start, keep going. Looking forward to seeing your next version. Won't say anything now since I know you are still blocking.

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The first camera angle is weak because it's the worst angle to show the robot nodding forward.  You could show that better from the second camera angle and skip the camera move. In general, straight , full frontal views tend to be uninteresting.

 

Right, duh! You know I just started running with it from where I first placed him. I didn't give enough thought to that.

 

There are lots of little problems like floaty stances and center of gravity placement, but you may already be on to those.

 

Yes - so far everything I have animated since I got AM - these things are my biggest issues. The guy's foot on the left floats forward a bit at one point during the head spin I think. I hope to fix those once I get the sequence down.

 

Isn't it cool that you can get animating so quickly?

 

Oh totally! I mean that's the whole point you know? I can see where once I get the technical part of animating with the software down enough, I'll be able to tackle the artistry of animation without tech things getting in the way, and that will be golden.

 

Tom

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I added an updated version that is rendered in preview instead of shaded. Now I can see a whole bunch of other errors I couldn't see before! Added a few seconds at the end, tried to fix the foot drift, got most of it. But now his feet are inside the hill...

 

http://www.pixelmech.com/movies/rr7.mov

 

Will try and do more later.

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no real title yet.

How 'bout "Dildo Robot Wars"?

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Nice!

 

Other than the agressor's right foot sinking a bit into the ground, you are really nailing this. :)

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rr7...

 

change the hand point at the end to the other hand so we can see it in front of the white bot and is not hidden behind him.

 

Then you could "plus" that by doing the hand point overhand instead of underhand.

 

"GET...." (hand winds up back past "ear")

 

"...OUT!" (hand flings out to point extreme)

 

Also , consider starting the white bot with his arms hanging straight down from the shoulders rather angled. That would look sleepier.

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Thanks Jess! It hardly feels nailed tho hehe. It's funny about the foot - in the chor it looked like it was right on the hill and the other foot might have been floating a bit - but the render shows near opposite.

 

Would it be best to make those adjustments in wireframe mode? I'm animating in shaded mode...

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rr7...

 

change the hand point at the end to the other hand so we can see it in front of the white bot and is not hidden behind him.

 

Then you could "plus" that by doing the hand point overhand instead of underhand.

 

"GET...." (hand winds up back past "ear")

 

"...OUT!" (hand flings out to point extreme)

 

Also , consider starting the white bot with his arms hanging straight down from the shoulders rather angled. That would look sleepier.

Yes, Garcon - great points! Thank you! Thank you!

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I'm liking how close together the characters are. It's making the silhouette read poorly when he points. Imagine your character with no frontal lighting--can you still tell what going on? If not--you may want to try something different.

 

But, if you haven't really worked on camera angle don't worry too much about that. However, I would recommend working on it a little before you spend all that time animating.

 

J

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I liked this one a lot better, it had a better "flow", it didn't stutter and the char's were moving a lot smoother. I like it!

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Thanks guys, Josh - everytime I tried to plan something out I found an excuse not to animate, so I just went for it. I think so far it has paid off big dividends for me. Each time I open the project and work, it seems more comfortable :)

 

I hear you about the silhouette and agree - I may try and fix that if I can. It made it tricky to put white guy's hands down because their arms were too close together.

 

Here's my latest, not a whole lot added (been a busy weekend.) But white guy puts his arms down after the point, sags, and begins his walk away. I still consider what I am doing blocking for the most part, I will try and smooth things, add follow through and more anticipation and the like after I finish the action. Most likely he will walk down the hill, the other guy will do something and follow. Not sure if it will be anything more than that.

 

http://www.pixelmech.com/movies/rr9.mov

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LOVE the head spinning around!

 

Did you make these models?

 

I think the green bot needs more arm motion (secondary or residue motion?) after the slap and during the follow through pointing action. Their bodies are telling a story without words, though!

 

Melissa

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I agree with msfolly, they move a lot before the slap, both of them, but after they kinda... stop moving a lot.

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Keep in mind this is really a blocking out - I'm only animating them to a point, so there is a lot of sloppiness to address.

 

Yes, I did make the model (it's simply 2 versions of the same one, with a different frontal decal). It's a variation of the one on my animation website. I had grandiose plans for it at first - which is what kept me from animating! I scaled him back, got him workable enough and went at it.

 

At any rate, got white to walk off the hill mostly. I got him in some odd positions with the turn. I need to get him fully off screen and then go back and begin fixing things. I don't think I'll do much action other than that.. maybe one last thing with green.

 

Something VERY odd with greens fingers going on. I've had this problem with fingers and TSM2 rigs before, not sure what happened.

 

http://www.pixelmech.com/movies/rr10.mov

 

All for me tonight!

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Aaaaah! There you go! Exactly what was missing! Loads of movement, a few secs longer, smoother movement, I like it a lot!

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Great job... its lookin alot better. The walk kinda bothers me though. they walk kindoff low like they are trying to walk under somthing.

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THanks guys. Tonight I hope to start back at the beginning and smoothing up everything and adding in some follow through, anticipation, etc. There are some timing issues too.

 

Tom

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Oh! I get it now...

 

The white one is sort of in statis, and the green one finds him and gets him going again!

 

GREAT! Sorta like that old Aqua Velva commercial when someone slaps him, and the response is "Thanks, I needed that!"

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Just took a look at ver. rr10 and have 1 comment (perhaps you are already aware of it) When the Green Robot points and leans forward, he feels off balance. You could change a foot position to make him feel more balanced or actually lean him back instead which might give a clearer read on the point.

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Just took a look at ver. rr10 and have 1 comment (perhaps you are already aware of it) When the Green Robot points and leans forward, he feels off balance. You could change a foot position to make him feel more balanced or actually lean him back instead which might give a clearer read on the point.

Thanks Anthony - and your comments are definitely welcome, believe me :) I did notice that he feels off-kilter a bit - almost like he will fall forward. I like the idea of leaning him back and I think I will try that. Thanks!

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Gee, this is fun - comments with no work.

 

How about if the green bot, after pointing the way for white to go, then makes backward flicking motions with his fingers, while shaking his head?

 

You know, like a "go on, get out of here" motion, palm parallel to ground, fingers start in down position and flick upwards and outwards in direction to go. 3 quick ones.

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Hmm..its a thought. I think he definitely has to do something bossy :)

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Well I made some adjustments. Let me know what you think. I really want to *add* some time where I can hold some poses and the like, but having a hard time doing so. I tried using the dope sheet and moving all the keys after a certain point for both models, but it didn't match up right.

 

The slap, point, walk at the end, walk up hill (a bit) a few other things all adjusted and should be better, although far from done. The follow through on green's hands/arms after his walk is not right either.

 

http://www.pixelmech.com/movies/rr11.mov

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Looks good so far. Very entertaining... and it reads well, to me. I think it would be funny if the white robot flinches when green snaps his arm out to point. That could drive home the fact that white is being yelled at or commanded to "MOVE". Just a suggestion... it already reads well.

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Hm I like the flinch idea Rich... I may try that if I can fit it in the timing. Thanks!

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Ok, here's an update rendered in preview. I've gone through and tweaked a bunch of stuff, so things are smoother. I added the frightened look after the point. Adjusted some timing, fixed some wayward stuff. In the render there is still a problem with feet inside the ground.. problem is.. it doesn't show that way in shaded renders, so it's gonna be tough to fix. My 'hill' doesn't have enough patches is the problem.

 

I added another element ... and I have an idea for the end game..not giving it away just yet ;)

 

http://www.pixelmech.com/movies/rr16.mov

 

C&C please!

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Looking better and better.

 

That thing overhead, though, while cute is distracting...

UNLESS that is part of the the endgame you are not giving away yet. In which case, its great, 'cause it raises some questions in the viewer like; Is that a cloud? Is that some sort of sensing device?

 

The hands in front of the the face part is nice, and the timing is good.

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Thank you Melissa - it is indeed part of the endgame, and it should indeed be slightly distracting... and that is all I'm gonna say just yet... ;)

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Its fun to see how this scene is getting better and better.

I'm also very curious of what your short will be about, looking forward to see more :D Keep up the god work and progression. Love you characters

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Thanks Stian! I'm having a blast doing it and learning a lot. I wouldn't call it so much a short - I've been calling it a "mini movie" - it's shorter than a short, but longer than a test of some sort and has some story (even if small) to it. Say minimum 30 seconds - we should all do mini movies! :lol:B)

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... we should all do mini movies! :lol:B)

I can see your phantasie is about master and slave. Why not let the end be a turning point? They are changing roles. Perhaps not having to tell you? Everyone expects already that turning point!

:D

What I am missing is a background. I have tried to use a simple photo as a background in my Sci/Fi phantasie - Sex On Mars - adding in a simple manner some local character. Just a tips!

:D

Really longing for the end of your story...

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I like it for the most part. That cloud thinky kind of confuses me. I thought that it was coming to rain on him or something. Also, blueboy's feet are going through your ground plain.

 

Maybe too if there was a way to make it more obvious in the beginning that his eyes are closed. It took me about half way through to realize he was sleeping. I thought he was just depressed and sighing a lot. Maybe it's because he body and eye color are so close it's hard to tell when his eyes are open or not.

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I can see your phantasie is about master and slave. Why not let the end be a turning point? They are changing roles. Perhaps not having to tell you? Everyone expects already that turning point!

 

Are you saying I should do something unexpected? It might be unexpected for some people :) I'm not sold on my ending yet though...so we'll see...

 

 

What I am missing is a background. I have tried to use a simple photo as a background in my Sci/Fi phantasie - Sex On Mars - adding in a simple manner some local character. Just a tips!

 

I'm not going into scenery/backgrounds until I'm about done animating - and there won't be much of it. I want it to be simple, and it's mainly an excercise in animation.

 

Really longing for the end of your story...

 

Soon!

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I like it for the most part. That cloud thinky kind of confuses me. I thought that it was coming to rain on him or something. Also, blueboy's feet are going through your ground plain.

 

The "cloud thinky" [sic] has a purpose - I hope to show it on my next version. Then tell me what you think :)

 

I've had pounds of trouble with the feet. While I'm working on it, they seem to be sitting nicely on the ground. When I render a shaded view, they are just fine. Then when I did a final render - bang, inside the hill. Confusing. I think because I have so few patches on the hill, I don't have enough reference points. I might try and add patches to the hill to see if that helps.

 

Maybe too if there was a way to make it more obvious in the beginning that his eyes are closed. It took me about half way through to realize he was sleeping. I thought he was just depressed and sighing a lot. Maybe it's because he body and eye color are so close it's hard to tell when his eyes are open or not.

 

Mmmm... sighing a lot hehe. Darker eye color maybe...not a bad idea. I may try that. Thanks! (R2D2 rocks BTW).

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The white robot's eyes should be slowly closing as he exhales--in my opinion.

 

The change in the direction of the point is very effective.

 

One thing about the eyes. When humans turn their head--unless consciously trying not to--they blink. It's an instinct thing. If you're turning your head you don't if something is there to poke your eye out--so you cover it. Anyway, these guys aren't human--but it's something that makes it seem unnatural.

 

If these weren't robots I would be getting overtly picky on the green robots walk up the hill. When you walk up hill you tend to lean forward--trying to fall up. Also, this is a slight bounce as you prepare to give yourself enough momentum to lift your foot--give it enough time to swing, move ahead of the previous foot, and land. However, robots don't have the issues humans do--bein driven on gears and servos. So, the question is how human is too much, and how much is not enough? Find the middle answer you're set--and you're pretty much there.

 

J

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I think you can make the point read even more if you rotate the arm and hand slightly towards the white robot. It may give you a better silhouette if you can separate the hand from the body a bit more.

 

Looking forward to seeing what happens at the end.

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I am totally captivated. Great work! I am hooked. Want to see MORE.

 

Sorry you are having problems with the feet, tell us how you work it out. 'Course you could always confuse the issue, and just put some grass on the hill for them to sink into...

 

Josh - that info on the eyes blinking when you turn your head is incredible. I have been trying it, and I do! How can you live in a body for so long, and not notice stuff like that? Very interesting info.

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The white robot's eyes should be slowly closing as he exhales--in my opinion.

 

You mean toward the end I imagine? After the point?

 

One thing about the eyes. When humans turn their head--unless consciously trying not to--they blink...

 

Good point, and I've heard this before. I'll try and work that in.

 

If these weren't robots I would be getting overtly picky on the green robots walk up the hill. When you walk up hill you tend to lean forward--trying to fall up. Also, this is a slight bounce as you prepare to give yourself enough momentum to lift your foot--give it enough time to swing, move ahead of the previous foot, and land. However, robots don't have the issues humans do--bein driven on gears and servos. So, the question is how human is too much, and how much is not enough? Find the middle answer you're set--and you're pretty much there.

 

Partly why I picked a robot character was because this was my first animation ;) You can get away with more. Maybe using a hill wasn't such a good idea, it's caused me some problems but too late now. I may try and work a lean into his walk a bit. Frankly, I hate the way his walk looks anyway so I had planned on trying to fix it once more.

 

Thanks for the tips!

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I think you can make the point read even more if you rotate the arm and hand slightly towards the white robot.  It may give you a better silhouette if you can separate the hand from the body a bit more.

 

So somewhere in-between where it was before then...I think I see what you mean - the hand is kind of on the edge of the his body. It would read better if it was in between them.

 

Thanks again for the tips.

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Sorry you are having problems with the feet, tell us how you work it out.  'Course you could always confuse the issue, and just put some grass on the hill for them to sink into...

 

Hehe, you are reading my mind. :lol: But I found out last night that if I work in, what, preview mode I think? (instead of wireframe shaded) that I can see better where his foot is. I hope that will allow me to tweak it. Plus, I doubled the amount of patches in the hill, which has allowed me to see it slightly better.

 

I still want to put some patches of grass in, but I'm not sure how. I know I have seen people do it and I'm not sure how they do it so if anyone knows let me know.

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For the grass you can use the hair particle emitter. It is capable of using images so you can go that route. Just make a blad of grass with and alpha channel in PS or some similar program. Or, you just tweak the hair properties until you get a look you like. Turn object collision on--that way when they walk the grass will react. The benefit to using hair for grass is the you can comb it and muck it up a little--since real grass grows semi-randomly.

 

You mean toward the end I imagine? After the point?

 

Do me a favor--next test render--use the frame burn post effect. That way I can tell you from frame such and such to frame such and such--do this. It's what the pros do. B)

 

Anyway, the green robot points. The white robot freaks, and then looks forward. He leans back (inhaling) then sighs. The way it is now he reaches halfway through this sighing motion then starts to blink. I think that is backward. As he begins to lean forward (sighing/exhaling) his eyes should close, and be completely closed at about the midpoint of this motion. Also, when he reaches the end of the motion I would like to see a little head shake back and forth. Maybe to or three times. Think about when someone tells you something you don't want to deal with. You sigh the exaserbated (can't spell but I can use big words) sigh, and at the end of your sigh you shake your head slowly almost in disgust.

 

I'll wait until you zap 'em to go into the ending bits.

 

Great job so far.

 

J

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Thanks Josh - good points. I'll render it like that next time - probably won't get something up until this weekend.

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Couple of thoughts on the sinking feet.

 

I tried it, and you are right – “seeing” the hill is a problem. So perhaps;

 

1) Maybe you could make a walkway with very thick patch density in a strip.

2) Use the conform plug-in to make it fit your hill. This is my FAVORITE plug in, I use it constantly. http://www.kci-group.com/z/conform.htm

3) Pose the actors.

4) Remove the walkway, since you no longer need it.

 

Or, try the grass. Hair systems are kinda hard to work with. I generally turn drawing OFF when I am working, and just render. Don’t bother turning on the hair dynamics on for grass. If you have to see it to adjust it, try wire frame. Hair is a RENDERING HOG!

 

Anyway, for fun I made a hill and some moss-like stuff, and put a model of a chicken by Con Kuomis on it.

The grass grows through the feet a little, but it looks okay, fairly organic, and your robot feet are thick enough so that it might not poke through them.

 

To put hair on something, you make a hair system (emitter material) and then just drop the material on the group of patches you want “hairy”.

 

My fool around project with a mossy material is attached. Going this route may be more trouble than it is worth!

 

If you have never worked with hair, there is something to note.

You can change the thickness of the hair to make it wide at the bottom and thin at the top. (See pic)

This allows you to set the density way down, so the render time is better, and while you are working on it, it does not chew up so much processing time. Tip courtesy of Colin’s wonderful hair tutorial.

USE WIREFRAME OR DO NOT DRAW FOR REALTIME, otherwise you will be growing a beard waiting for it to process.

hill_project.zip

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