My staycation to learn more about animating in Maya and put together an animated show piece has ended, but my work on said show piece is still very much in progress.

I took the last Friday and Monday off in September this year to use as my last Staycation days. That gave me a second long weekend to research and animate a shot in Maya. Over the course of this weekend I doubted my first idea and came up with two entirely new ideas! I spent time researching these ideas and even started to animate one of them. When I went back to work that week and stepped away from the whole experience I ended up deciding to go back to idea #1. (This is the scene of a man chasing a squirrel up a tree.) Sadly, I couldn't get the Gunter rig I was using to cooperate with me. I love it's design and really wanted to use it, but it wasn't working out. So I switched over to the Malcolm rig and ended up learning how to use a rig picker which is awesome! AnimSchool created this picker for it's custom Malcolm rig and you can even make you own buttons. So I made a whole set of buttons for the Squirrelly rig I'm using too which is excellent. I just know there must be a few ways to work more efficiently than I currently am and I just don't know what they are yet. I've picked up a few great tips and shortcuts so far and using the picker is a fantastic new tool for me to use. It lets me animate faster and easier.

The climbing piece that I've decided to animate had to take a couple steps back before I could move forward. One fellow animator I showed the animatic (leica) to felt that the first camera move crossed the axis line. While I think that's up for debate since I believed the transition was clear, I sure don't want anyone who watches this piece to get hung up on something like that. So I had to pick a new camera angle for the first scene of the shot and it gave me the exciting opportunity to get some more squirrel screen time in. Happy accident! So I had to storyboard and thumbnail poses for that. And then, because I had switched to a new rig for the human, I had to start the animation over for that guy and consider tweaks to his personality since it's a completely different character.

Here are some of the pose thumbnails I did for the squirrel. They're super scribbly and rough but they're enough for me to get started. I like being able to get broad ideas out quickly and clearly. I refine my ideas from the point of brainstorm.
Here's my animatic so far! It's only the first scene of the shot. I've already got a pile of fantastic revision notes from my best critique resource! It's pretty awesome to have someone like that, that you can show work to and get a really honest and helpful critique.
I'll share more when I have more to show!