Sunday, July 31, 2005

Off to Siggraph!

Here are some works in progress of week 6! Click on image to see the movie.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Emotional Breakdowns

This week we have to start thinking of ideas for our "Emotion Test" project. This project sounds really cool and quite challenging since we will for the first time attempt to convey emotions and acting while using all the body mechanics principles we have learned so far. We had a stern warning from the gang at to KEEP IT SIMPLE, or in other words K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, stupid!) So with learning to figure out and test our limitations with projects, how do we know if we've gone too far into the realm of projects that are over complicated and therefore will never get finished by the deadline? I have been struggling with story ideas for this project. One of my weak points is coming up with ideas for projects, it always takes me a lot of thinking time to brainstorm, then a bunch of reference and planning time before I'm even ready to start animating on the computer. For our emotion test I have come up with a bunch of different scenarios but the one I really want to try has the potential to be a disaster since it includes 2 different walks, a heavy pull and much acting. I don't want to get in over my head but am not sure how to KISS this one.

The emotions our character has to run through are:
1. Relaxed
2. Alert
3. Engaged
4. Rejected or Disgusted

Our character has to go through all these emotions in this specific order and the story has to make sense and be entertaining. This one could get tricky.

Monday, July 25, 2005

week 5 of semester 2 revisions, revisions, revisions

Week 5 Heavy Push ReBlocking

Week 5 Revision of Walk

Week five didn't go as planned. I had so many setbacks and event hough I worked very hard every day, I still don't think I made any headway. In fact I think I made some things worse!! Well, I don't know, you be the judge. I had some problems with contraints and using IK hands I still haven't gotten the hang of it.

On a lighter note, I really enjoyed last week's lecture on weight and balance, esp the part where Rick Oconnor from ILM almost takes his clothes of...but I guess AM doesn't provide nude models, sorry Rick.

And in good news, I along with some other students were singled out By BOBBY BECK in the video news last week for having good projects. I couldn't believe I was seeing my name next to the word congratulations. It was awesome and a great source of encouragement, but I still know that my projects need a lot of work. It too bad they couldn't mention all the students who did outstanding work for that project, there were so many amazing pieces, due to all the amazing talent AM has.

Last Friday night I took a break from animating and my sore pre carpal hand thanked me. My boyfriend and I went to the Beck and Le Tigre concert at the Universal Ampitheatre here in LA. Both performers were awesome with a lot of energy. It made me miss going out to hear live music. It can be so exhilerating going to a concert, at the same time I kept thinking, we're getting too old for this stuff, LOL. It was a lot of fun.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Reel From AM Semester One


Here it is, a compilation of animations from the first semester of AM. Special thanks to my mentor MARK BEHM.

Drawing with Ron Husband

It's the third week of my Gesture drawing course and my instructor Ron Husband is amazing. He worked at disney for 30 years and his drawing skills are astonishing. I have learned so much in the few weeks we've had already. This week we had a special model, John Tucker, also formerly of Disney. He came dressed in a pirate's costume and had a ton of dynamic pirate poses. Way better than any other model we have had, all of his poses we so full of story telling gestures. I am having fun in this course and it has inspired me to get out there and draw more. After 30 more years of practice, maybe I'll be half as good as Ron ;)

A Link to Ron Husband

Monday, July 18, 2005

I like to hurt Stewie

Week 4

This week's assignment was to block out a rough pass at a heavy push up an incline. As always I find it so hard to start a new animation. I think it's that blank piece of paper syndrome that Ollie Johnston was talking about. I wonder if any one else has this problem too. I gathered my reference for pushes, watched tons of action sequences over and over and found a few pushing styles I liked. I wanted this animation to be a different style from my lst one which I think became more realistic as it progressed. But I just couldn't get the darn thing going. I did have some problems with technical setup stuff, constraining the IK hands, the ground floor and box. Plus the whole issue of IK hands really got me worried since I never used them before. I still think it is hard to get a natural movement with them but I will keep practicing. Anyway, In the meantime I threw myself into the revision of the walk assignment. I still have tons more work to do on that (animation work in progress below) I am still working on the splining. Everytime I mess up with this stuff it is a real "aha" moment where I realize the right way to go about this stuff, usually NOT the way I went about doing it. Well I am still learning so much. And it's fun too. Even when I don't leave the house for 3 days, it's still fun.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Week 4 Work in Progress

Week 4 Assignment Work in Progress
To view animation click on link

Week 4

Week 3

Week 2

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Anthea Hearts Animation Mentor

OK, so i couldn't wait any longer. i must have the T SHIRTS. i need the shirts. i made the shirts myself. oopsie... if this is some sort of logo copyright infraction, Sorry! i just heart animation mentor so much!

To be unveiled at Siggraph!!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

spline hell

i have finally passed that milestone in every animation, where you've worked so hard on the blocking stepped key stage and have made the perfect blocked out animation sent from the heavens.

well mabey not exactly perfect, but it was time to move on to spline since the new noon sunday deadlines are looming over my computer desk. going from blocked to spline is a hard transition for everyone. there are tons of informative forums ranting about this problem indeed.

it seems that seperation anxiety is bound to occur. where is my old animation? where is my old timing? is it me? i thought we were getting along so well? what happened? things get a little crazy when spline mode comes in. i have yet to figure out a workflow that works in every situation. i don't know how many years that will take.

for my previous assignments i went to linear before going to spline. many people go right to flat tangents so that is what i'm trying this time. there are just so many curves to clean up. i am trying to go through the animation 40 frames at a time and clean up just that section before moving onto the next section of cleanup since there is so much work to do i think tackling it in sections may help. this is a slow and extremely fustrating process. nothing looks or feels the same as in the blocking mode. i will keep trying.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Stewie times two

well i started out strong this week for the third week of work on the stewie or in my case olga personality walks. i had only lost one day of working due to the july the 4th holiday so i thought i was off to a better start than last week losing 3 days to the dreaded toilet clogging demon. i had rightfully decided to start over with the new version of stewie since the squash and stretch arms on v 1 were broken and i couldn't get olga to look like the sexy russian spy she is, she was instead looking like a sexy ape, not so bad but not so good.

i added high heels to the new stewie and began re posing using the old model as a template. i tried and i tried all night and day but just couldn't get the new poses to have the same ooph as the original ones. i wonder if this happens to other artists, i mean i know it happens to me with painting sometimes where i try to recreate soemthing i've done before and it never has the same fire as the original first time i did it. i didn't know it was this way with animation as well, you'd think since there are clear numerical values you would be able to recreate the poses from scratch again.

that's when i decided i needed old stewie back, well at least the keyframes. if i couldn't get the keyframes onto the new stewie w high heels then i would have to fix the squash and stretch arms on the first verion and continue w that one. since i had no idea how to do either of these things, trying and failing for hours on my own, i contacted my mentor Derek Freisenborg, and emailed the AM super support team. i got some sugestions but couldn't seem to make it work, perhaps my total lack of technical knowledge in maya was getting in my way. hmm.

then i remembered, the FORUMS! thank godness for those forums because they have so many useful ideas for just about anything. i check in a bunch of different forums not expecting to find anything then found a link that Brad Bradbury had added that led to another secret forum. in it was all about transfering animation from the old version to the new. Aja B had suggested the most simple way to do this was to just copy the keyframes in the timeline of one controller and paste them into the new controller. it worked! and it didn't take too long. not all the poses came back out perfect but i got the main areas to look right and i can tweak the rest on the brand new stewie whose armsn aren't broken. yay!

and i finally figured out how i broke the squash and stretch to begin with. i compared the 2 rigs and noticed that i must have deleted a set driven key ages ago when we weren't even working on the arms and never noticed it til it was too late.

o well, so i made some headway in the wrong direction, back tracked and now i'm moving forward again, and such is the journey of animation....

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Eraser, please!

well here i am back at it again. i have decided to scrap my 1st and 2nd blocking passes at the stewie personality walks. i had some technical problems i just couldn't seem to fix. for some reason the squash and stretch on my arms wouldn't work, and i couldn't squash them back to the normal which should have been -3.7 on this model. we got a newer version of stewie where this problem was fixed, some people upgraded last week and continued with the newer version.

i didn't see how much i really needed the new version til 5 minutes ago, so it looks like i am redoing all of the blocking plus refining and smoothing the animation for the sunday due date. it just has to be done if i want this thing to come out looking like an animation of a woman and not an ape with long hairy arms not that there's anything wrong with long hairy arms, it's just not my thing.

plus i am going to add high heel shoes to the feet, i wasn't sure about doing this and had been thinking about adding them for a while, then derek told me in my crit to go for it and since i am starting fresh there's no better time than the present to put on those party shoes, get down and boogie!

derek also gave me some good advice about editing the opeing sequence i have in the doorway. she goes through a bunch of sexy poses and mabey it was too much and too redundant of a message. alright already, we get it, she's sexy. plus i had this one motion where she lightly runs her hand along her foot and leg, it was supposed to be a sensual seductive move but wan't really reading well according to all the comments i read on my workspace. kung fu dork dieter wrote something about it being a comic relief moment, "i'm so sexy, look at me, o what the hell did i step in?, look at my sexy body" lol.