So here is a very rough pencil test that I've been crafting for the past day. I intend to animate this in Maya. I found a rig of an appealing and cartoony middle aged man, a cute, big headed squirrel and a sprawling and beautiful tree that looks like it would fit into an Australian landscape. I picked the pathway up the tree that seemed to have to most potential in terms of staging and picked camera angles to show that off. Then I screen captured images of my camera angles and took those into Flash to make a quick scribbly pencil test to further carve out what I want to do with these chraracters. Here's what I've got so far:
Speaking of pencil tests, I just found this cool tumblr called!
The next two Fridays and Mondays (so, starting tomorrow), I will be taking off of work for a staycation. My highest priorities these days include learning more about animating in Maya and working on my short film; Pickled. I've had some opportunities to practise using Maya as of late via an online Animation Mentor workshop and at work. I've been animating a test scene at my day job with a nice character rig from a game to be released in the near future. I spent nearly 2 weeks creating a test of this character doing a spin kick in the air and got 3 rounds of feedback from my supervisor which was excellent. I'll post that test online when I am allowed to!
Anyway, back to the staycation. Before I left the office today (Thursday evening) I had a look at my many belongings cluttering up my workspace and noticed my inline skates. I thought to myself that I already had a bunch to carry home today and would only have room for another item... either my work laptop, or my inline skates. I decided to take the inline skates home since it meant a chance of fun exercise and I couldn't be tempted to start doing dayjob related work on my days off. I have a hard time putting the work work down. I try to fight my own bad habits by making the less healthy choices more awkward and difficult as I did in this circumstance.

So I will be enjoying coffee and eggs for breakfast and getting in some exercise as well and really knuckling down and getting some satisfying personal work done. I will keep my distracting internet surfing to a minimum, I'll blog as I please, and I'll focus as much as I can on animating in Maya and working on Pickled.
AuthorAndrea K Haid
I finally finished animating the Guardian Dragon! I've been working on this project for longer than I care to think about. It was a fun project and I worked really hard on it, but it made working on it made me want to be a better and faster animator. There is an adult and a baby state to this dragon. I did the adult first and started that off with a hand drawn pencil test on paper. I scanned the keys and then from there I did the rest of the animation in Toonboom. The first portion of the adult was animated by me and the second portion after the pause when he/she turns back to face forward was animated by Greg Eichholzer. I animated the tail for the whole shot however.

The baby was animated entirely digitally. I whipped up a pencil test in Flash just because it was super easy and fast that way and then did the rest in Toonboom.

When all the work was done Greg took the animation into After Effects to add some filters to make them look a little more rounded and to better fit them into the world of Dragons of Atlantis; the webgame by Kabam that they call home.

And then... most awesomely... my voice was recorded while I spoke about the various stages of work in progress about the animation and added to the making of video to be put online to promote the new dragon!
I've been taking a Maya workshop at Animation Mentor and this coming week will be the last week of my course. I've just completed a homework exercise in which a robot arm picks up a can and moves it. I loved this exercise because I learned so much about animating in Maya! Constraints, digging deeper into the graph editor and setting keys next to each other on the timeline and then adjusting their timing later was all new to me. And the amazing thing about being an animator is that there is always more to learn. Now that I've finished and I can watch my animation exercise on loop I can see things about it that I might like to change or polish further. I'm going to leave it though since I've got another homework assignment to do and then personal work after that. (Like animate on Pickled!) A new goal for myself is to be able to work more quickly. My brain feels like it's bursting with new knowledge that I've picked up this last week at work (my dayjob) and while doing Animation Mentor homework! I feel like I'm emerging out of a dark age. I actually had two epiphany moments the past week. And there's so much more to learn. I can't wait.

Check the video to see my Animation Mentor assignment!

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:

AuthorAndrea K Haid