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!
Here I go! This is the hard part... Considering your characters personality, backstory and personal mannerisms and then getting an honest and believable performance. Eep!

I've gathered all my notes and I've got film footage of me acting out the shot. Now to draw.
UPDATE: When I really get to animating a scene it helps me to keep going by posting work in progress frequently! Here are some of the rough drawings:

Posted
AuthorAndrea K Haid
I just wanted to showcase a few paintings and character designs and such as I haven't done so before.
Here's Birdie; a 1950's lady who was raised to think that being a great cook is the best way to score a hubby!
Designed by the fabulous Deanna Marsigliese who now designs for Pixar.
This is a hand animated shot of Birdie
Here is the lucious Babette and her whiskey loving hubby
The outdoor dinner party scene
Some costume designs for Birdie
Here's a screen cap of the finished Cash rig done in Toonboom and my reference files
The cathedral
A wonderful jello mold, with olives! Mmm.
The kitchen
The dinner table
Knives in the kitchen at night
An early pass on character designs, very UPA inspired!
I've been pretty busy recently working on the new adult dragon animation for the game I work on. I put together a pencil test and I've cleaned up the key drawings and finalised the timing based on that. Unfortunaly I cannot share this work in progress until the art is live in the game. But I've been taking notes as I go and I plan to put up a big blog post about my process! So for now, I'll keep working away and when my work is done I'll have a boatload of stuff to share.

Here's how the corner of my desk currently looks:
I'm using a combination of physical and digital media. You can see that there is paper, pencils and a pegbar, but also a scanner and my cintiq.
Posted
AuthorAndrea K Haid