Motion Capture practice

Recently, I had been taking a look at motion capture so I could experience for myself how it works. I have been interested in motion capture as I have seen how it has been used for games such as the WWE games and God of War have used it to create really smooth animations.

Now, I haven’t used the same technology as what these companies would use. My lecturer had used a Xbox Kinect to record my body movements. This method isn’t as responsive as it would with a motion capture suit to record my movements.  My lecturer showed me how it works and I would start of the motion in a T pose then end off in the same pose. I tried making basic movements and slightly complex ones like jumping (as uncomfortable and awkward as I was in these movements) just to test it out.

I had a bit of a play around with the animation such as extending the height of a jump for use of exaggeration as well as moving the arms so they wouldn’t clip through the body of the character model. I tried to make the animation a bit more cleaner before settling on this to be for my first go at using motion capture. The character model was provided to me for the process of making the animation and I had done this just out of the curiosity of how motion capture works along with something that could be added to my portfolio.


Arm walking animation

The next thing that I have been working on is the animation for the arm walking cycle for the synoptic project game. The making of the animation was rather a simple process and I didn’t have issues when making the animation itself. I had rigged the model and binded the rig to the mesh so moving  the rig would also move the model I wanted to animate. I used the graph editor to make the animation smoother and make sure that the lantern rotation was how I wanted it to.

Then I tried to make the lantern glass transparent so the light would be more realistic and this is where the problems started happening.  Because the UV of the glass was connected to the UV map of the top and bottom section of the lantern. So to avoid any issues with the UV map, I applied a different texture file (add another lambert onto the glass faces) then retextured the model in substance painter so that the textures would work properly.

Lantern Unity Render

Next I had to set the new lantern model in the place of the old one. Parent the lantern model to the point that the old model was parented to in order to move the lantern as well. Parent constraint the new model with the old one and bake the animation to the new model then delete the old model as well as the parent constraint in the hierarchy. This allows me to set the animation key frames from the old model onto the new one without having to reanimate the entire thing myself and adding key frames.

I had to also make an new save with the animations removed so I could have the idle animation for being still which would play when the character isn’t moving and export that as an FBX. I needed to but a locator on the pivot point of the lantern model in the walking animation save, parent the locator to the same joint that the lantern is parented to, parent constrain the locator to the lantern model then bake the animation and finish off by deleting the constrain and models whilst keeping the rigs and locator. With the rigs and locator grouped together in the hierarchy, I select everything that is in the hierarchy so I have everything that needs to be selected before exporting it as an FBX (I had to have a lecturer to help me with the process because it was being very complicated even for my lecturer).

With an FBX of my arm model with no animation and an FBX of the rig with animations, I wanted to test it to be sure that everything was working properly. For some reason during testing, the lantern was going through the hand model as the fingers where going through the glass. Along with that, the lantern was rotated so the lantern wasn’t pointing down at the ground. Me and my lecturer had spent a couple of hours trying to fix the issue. The lantern rotation issue was a matter of simply rotating the locator and checking on the new animations in Unity to see if the lantern was facing down. I am rather unsure of what was wrong with the positioning.  We tried to sort it out and repeat the process of putting it in Unity and it eventually worked out.

Mechanical Bonds

I am working on a group project called Mechanical Bonds. This is part of our Imagine Worlds project. Me and my group are working on a 3D animation showing the relationship of a boy and a robot over a period of a 30 second long animation. I am currently working on modelling, baking, texturing, rigging and animating the robot. At this current point I have made the high and low poly version of the model that I will use for the animation.

Robot low poly shot 1

Robot low poly shot 2This is the low poly version of the robot model. I have applied different materials to different  parts of the body. The UV’s of the sections in one particular colour have been grouped and have the UV map layout together. So the right arm has its own UV map layout to make texturing easier along with the leg and main body having their own UV map layout. I have also parented the body parts together with the main body being the main parent and named each individual section. Around 66 polygons that I had to name individually.

Robot high poly shot 1

Robot high poly shot 2

These are my high poly models of the robot. I have added more detail by extruding some of the faces in and bevelling some of the edges. The quality of my model and research has been reviewed by another person to get their thoughts on my model, areas of improvement as well as my research into making the model.

Peer Review. This is the review that was made.



World of Imagination

Within college, we have to work on a group project where we select which out of the six options that we want to work on. I chose to work on the second option which was create a 3D animation showing the relationship between two characters. I was put in a group of 4 people including me who chose to do that option as well. We are working on the relationship between a boy and a robot that he built which develops over time. We named the animation project Mechanical Bond and organise the things that need to be worked on, which roles that we take, an other content that will help us such as contact numbers, mood boards and other images on a website called Trello.

Trello screen shot

Alex H works on the storyboard of the animation and researches on how we could show the relationship between the boy and the robot and is the leader. Alex T works on the character model and rigs it whilst working on his animations. I work on the concept art for the robot along with modelling it and animating it. Wesley works on the some of the environment objects along side me and Alex H. We have until Christmas to work on this animation, work to make sure that everything checks out.




Animatronic modelling project

I am currently working on a personal project of making a 3D model on an animatronic in Maya. The animatronic that I am currently working on Circus Baby from Sister Location of the Five Night’s at Freddy’s series. I had made other projects after I first started college working on other animatronics from the series that was passable for the first attempt; however, they ended up looking flat, not very detailed and I didn’t know how some stuff worked so holes for the eyes ended up being a black cylinder at first.


This is currently how far I am into the modelling process. The eyes being coloured in doesn’t mean anything, it was just easier to colour them in before I started to combine everything plus it adds a bit of life to the model whilst working. I had imported an image of my drawing for reference so that I knew where to put the wires. If you are going to import images into Maya, select the view by pressing space then select and import it into the front, side or top view, not perspective as scaling will be problematic if you import in perspective mode. To import, just press on view under where you choose the polygons to make the model, select image plane then import image.

The next part is just trying to make the model look as close as the reference as you can make it. The eyes is where I started since it was the more complex part of the model. I used a sphere for the eye ball an used a cube for the eyelids. The cube was broken up into segments so that there was more edges that I could move the edges to make eyelids, the eyelashes and wires are both made out of cylinders. Extruding is required to make the model more realistic.

Circus Baby render

This is my current progress on the model. I still need to make the face plates more round as well as sort out the hair so that it fits the top face plate along with including the outer parts of the hair. The edges also need to made smooth to improve the model. I should also texture the model. Getting the hair to work on the face plate has proved challenging as I need to Booleans difference so I get the gaps but the models aren’t properly lined up. I will need to rotate the model around since rotating the camera isn’t really useful in this situation.

Ident Animation

Over the weeks, I have been working on my ident animation in Maya. My animation needed to be created within six weeks (class weeks, lessons that weren’t on didn’t count). My animation is complete; however, there was some issues during development. Firstly, I ended up losing my work a couple of times, once due to the location of where it was saved deleted by the college (the X drive was removed and I forgot to make an extra copy). The second and third occasion was due to my files corrupted due to not having enough memory on my G drive. After modelling 3 times, I managed to get the animation to work even the rotations on the boomerang which was annoying to get right since it would rotate 360 degrees one way then rotate the other way and back.

My current ident models looks a lot better than when I first created it as my first attempt since I used images of the actual logos, then made my model around them so that the edges was all lined up and the models looked close to what they are meant to look like. The ‘S’ is a lot smoother around the edges, the ‘H’ is more improved and looks closer to the Batman symbol from the Arkham games with the wings going up a bit. The ‘O’ is more round in the edges and the ‘R’ and ‘T’  are slightly improved but they were already how I wanted them to look. ‘GAMES’ didn’t get much of an improvement since I gave the same design on my last two attempts (didn’t get to the part on my first attempt.

From an animation stand point, I think that it could be improved immensely since it is rather rough as it chugs a bit plus it really doesn’t feel that smooth. The ‘O’ does a 360 degree rotation mostly off screen and doesn’t finish till it just gets on screen. The ‘T’ doesn’t connect with the ‘R’ as I would like. When the Batarang hits the ‘S’ they are both meant to move up to show that the ‘S’ was hit and the ‘H’ is stuck on it. Unfortunately, they both sort of disconnect then reconnect at that point so it looks a bit odd. I also wanted the top half of the ‘S’ to lean forward when moving in to make the sense of the ‘S’ is moving itself in place.

12 Principles of animation

Timing is the amount of frames that an animation will last. It is when an object moves. The standard frame-rate used in movies is 24 frames per second. This is how fast that the animation is as well as how smooth it is. If you want a ball to move from one side of the other, then how many frames that you have from the start of the animation to the end then that is how long the animation lasts. The amount of frames in between the start key frame and the end key frame is how fast that the animation will be. The more frames in between, the slower the animation will be and the less frames, the faster the animation. Spacing the key frames will create a smoother, more realistic animation which is very important.

Image result for timing animation principle

Squash and stretch gives flexibility to an object and helps give an idea of what material that object might be  made of. If you are making a bouncing ball animation then it is required  to have squash and stretch as it shows the force from landing on a surface then pushing it back. The volume needs to be the same when using squash and stretch meaning when you shrink the height of the ball, you need to increase the width of it. Squash and stretch can also be used in exaggerating facial expressions like a shocked face.

Anticipation allows the audience to know that an action will happen before the action is performed as well as create the sense that more force is being used. For example, when someone slams a hammer into the ground, they always lift up the hammer over their heads before slamming it into the ground and in some instances jump in the air after the slam.   If the character just quickly hits the other then there is no sense of force or impact within the animation.

Ease in, Ease out makes character movement look more realistic as with out it, it will make the character movement seem very robotic. It is when an object starts moving it accelerates then when it is going to stop, it decelerates. Vehicles don’t go from 0-60 straight away and 60-0 in real life as that will cause some issues from the driver such as bashing their head on the seat or wheel which may lead to having to go to the hospital pr worse. When a person is running, the frames should be close together so it starts slow then spread out the frames in the middle to make the character build up speed then close the space of frames at the end so that the character is slowing down when they are about to stop.

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Follow through and overlapping action can be considered as two different principles; however, they are rather closely related. Follow through is when separate body  parts of a character continue to move even though the main action has stopped. For example, when someone is walking. When people walk, their arms will swing back and forth as part of the movement. When people stop walking, their arms will still swing as part of finishing then settle in the center as a basic standing pose. Overlapping is when more than one body part moves as part of an action. Let’s say when someone is waving. Their shoulder will move first before the arm and the elbow  with the hand being slightly behind.

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Arcs are used to make more realistic animation since everything (except for robots) will move in an arc. When a character throws a punch, their arm will be pulled around in an arc fashion before connecting. Or when someone rotates their head, their head will dip down a bit before turning to create an arc motion.

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Exaggeration can be used to create a more cartoony feel to the animation or create a restrain to the realistic animations. Exaggeration can be used to make the  realistic animation more readable and fun. If you have a character standing on a diving board, have the edge where the character is standing bend down slightly to show the weight of the character.

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Solid drawing is about making an accurate drawing that shows volume and weight whilst thinking about the balance and anatomy in a pose. In 3D animation, the drawings aren’t really relied on that much; however, an idea of a solid drawing can be just as important. Solid drawings can help with the posing by knowing where they need to put certain parts of the model so it matches up with the drawing. It can be also useful when creating the pose from an angle such as the side view as it helps them give an idea of how to make the back look.

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Appeal is important as it will create a character that the audience can connect or relate to.  It is important not to give the character a confusing design as it can remove the appeal. You need to make the character stick out as how they would look and how they would move. Exaggerating how they look by giving them a large chin or make there movements exaggerated can also make them memorable and more appealing.

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Straight ahead and pose to pose are two different techniques that are used in animating. Straight ahead is rather linear as you will create each pose, one after the other. So a character jumping would have a frame where they are standing still then the next would have the character start to kneel down in preparation for the jump, etc. Pose to pose is the preferred option as you start with working on the main poses of the animation (going back to the jumping animation) you would have the character stand still in the start and end frame then have the character in the air in the middle frame. This makes animating simpler as you can work on the posing on the frames to make the timing more accurate as well as save time from working on each individual frame.

Image result for straight ahead and pose to pose

Secondary action is something that a character would do that doesn’t break away from the main action. It creates more life in the character. Say if you have to characters having a conversation, the characters talking will be the main action but you can have a character tapping their foot, pacing back and forth, looking around or even folding their arms.

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Staging is how you set up the scene in the animation. It can vary from the scene location, the characters in the foreground and background, and even the camera angle. The camera angle is important as it lets the audience know what they need to focus on. If you have an animation with two characters, set up the camera set up for the audience to expect something so if something is going to happen in front of one of the characters then zoom out the camera so the audience can see in front of that character and if something is happening behind that character then zoom out so that they can see behind them. Don’t focus the camera on something then have the main action on something else as the audience might miss what happened. So if you have one person in the foreground then have someone trip over in the distance then the audience might not have seen it.