Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Everything is a Bouncing Ball


















    Ever heard of the saying, “Everything is a bouncing ball”? This is a well-known concept in animation, and it essentially means that just about everything relies on the same animation principles of timing, spacing, arc, etc. that are applied to something as simple as a bouncing ball. There’s a reason why just about every animation curriculum starts out with a bouncing ball exercise - through it, you can learn the foundations of all animation. Animating characters or creatures can be quite a daunting task, so it could help to take a step back and approach each part of a complex rig as just a bouncing ball. (Instructor Tony Mecca did just this in his VFX demo here)

    It can be difficult to visualize how a character with multiple limbs and joints could amount to a collection of bouncing balls, so our instructor Yuri Lementy did an analysis of a few shots to help visualize the bouncing balls hidden in some of our favorite animations. You can use the concept of bouncing balls to plan out the overall hip movement of a shot, or even to dictate the bouncy motion of a character’s hands and feet. The possibilities are endless! Check out the magic in play here:






Looking for the best 3D Animation schools? For more information about AnimSchool and our online animation programs, visit us at www.animschool.com

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Basics of Bangin' Brows
















    The eye mask is an immensely important part of any kind of acting animation, and it’s an area which requires much time and attention to detail. Principles of animation apply not just to the body, but to the eyelids and eyebrows as well. Utilizing these animation principles well will allow you to shape your way to more expressive and appealing brows. A few of these ideas include:  


Arcs - Track the motion path of the brows to make sure that they travel in arcs rather than linears
Offset - Offsetting the movement of one brow can make it look as though the other one is pulling it up/down and add variety to the brow motion
Lead/Drag - Offset the brows from the eyelids to make the brows either lead the eyelids or be pushed/dragged by the eyelids. One or the other could look better depending on the context of the action or beat.
Overshoot - Especially in the case with large, exaggerated motions, the brows can overshoot their final positions and then take a few frames to settle to give the illusion that the muscles underneath are settling into place.
Connectivity - Everything in the face is connected, so when the eyelids move, so do the brows, and vice versa. This applies to blinks, eye darts, expression changes, etc.
Framing the Face - Good posing in the brows will help direct the attention and frame the face. Brows are often used to help open up the face to one side or the other, and tend to support the direction of the eye gaze.


    To help drive these points home, instructor Greg Rizzi animated some quick examples on AnimSchool’s Marnie rig. See the principles of animation for brows in play in this super informative and helpful video:





Looking for the best 3D Animation schools? For more information about AnimSchool and our online animation programs, visit us at www.animschool.com

Monday, August 27, 2018

Parenting? Constraints? Choose Wisely.
















    If you've ever animated a shot with props in it, chances are you’ve had some difficult encounters with constraints. Just creating a parent constraint often doesn’t meet the needs of a shot, and it can be confusing to try to figure out how to animate the prop correctly. Parenting is another way of creating a relationship between two objects, and can be quite effective if done properly. So, should you use parenting? Constraints? One of the best ways to deal with props is actually to use both.  

Parenting: Parenting refers to putting an object (the “child”) directly under the hierarchy of another object (the “parent”). The child follows the parent, but can also be moved independently of the parent. This hierarchy cannot be toggled on and off.




Parent Constraint : A relationship between a parent object and child object. The parent object dictates the movement of the child object, and the child object cannot be moved independently of the parent. The relationship can be toggled on and off.




   By parenting a child object to a locator, then parent constraining that locator to the parent object, you can create a degree of separation between the parent object and the child object. This way, you have a parent constraint which you can toggle on and off as needed, and the child object can still be moved and animated independently of the parent object.




    If you're new to parenting and constraints or just need a refresher, check out this clip from our Body Mechanics class, where instructor Charles Larrieu covers parenting, parent constraints, and using locators to gain more control over the constrained object.







Looking for the best 3D Animation schools? For more information about AnimSchool and our online animation programs, visit us at www.animschool.com 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

New Character Rig: Marco 2.0!



Marco is AnimSchool's new pretty-boy character rig. He has two complete outfit changes and two hairstyles to choose from. Students can mix and match the shirt, pants, shoes, as well as hair to get a unique look.

AnimSchool's new character Marco is a new favorite among our animation students. Our students use Marco in our feature animation classes 5-7.

Marco was carefully crafted over a long period to ensure appeal and versatility.

Marco represents a new initiative at AnimSchool, using detailed texturing, while still maintaining a simple look. Marco looks great in Maya's viewport too, taking advantage of Maya's Viewport 2.0 stingray materials display.

Marco was designed by artist David Lojaya and modeled by Dave Gallagher, Jacob Van Valkenburg and Paul Bellozas, rigged by Dave Gallagher, and textured by and Paul Bellozas.

See when the class is offered here: https://www.animschool.com/ClassListing.aspx


To apply to be a student at AnimSchool go to www.animschool.com.
Come join our animation classes to learn with AnimSchool rigs!






New AnimSchool VFX Character: Grave






AnimSchool's new VFX Creature Animation class uses our new detailed creature rigs.
"Grave" is our new lizard character. If you could combine a lizard, crocodile, velociraptor, and dragon, you might get something like our new creature rig, Grave. These creatures are eager to wreak havoc and create mayhem in the cityscape provided.

Our students use Grave in our new VFX Creature Animation class, integrated with our custom HDRI background plates. To apply to be a student at AnimSchool go to www.animschool.com.

Grave was designed by artist Jong Lee and modeled by Dave Gallagher, and textured by Dave Gallagher and Paul Bellozas.

See when the class is offered here: https://www.animschool.com/ClassListing.aspx

Come join our VFX and other animation classes to learn with AnimSchool rigs!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Pushing Poses Through Iteration

















    There are so many animation principles to keep track of when creating poses - line of action, silhouette, appeal, and contrast, to name a few. The first pose you create is almost never your best, so here are some techniques that many professional animators use to take their poses to the next level. You can use these along with others as a great way to help train your eye to both see and create better poses.  


(Preston Blair on Line of Action)


  • Purpose: What's the drive and intention of the character? What emotions does your character have? What are they trying to express? Where is their focus and their energy? 
  • Line of Action: Push your main line of action to reflect the story behind the character at that frame, whether opening them up to one side or the other, or hunching away. Follow the line through the body, and see if you can extend the line of action through the limbs and other extremities.
  • Silhouette: Make sure you have a clear pose even in silhouette. Can you get rid of or make use of negative space?
  • Appeal: Is your character’s personality showing in the pose? Is the pose engaging and interesting to look at?
  • Contrast: Make use of different shapes and angles to add interest to your poses. Think of what your character is doing before and after that pose - can you exaggerate certain parts of the body to accent a motion, or play with squash and stretch to contrast a previous or upcoming movement?
  • Iteration: Keep pushing your poses until you end up with something a little more appealing. Don’t worry if you don’t see much change or improvement right away, or if you’re concerned about pushing things too far. It’s an iterative process, and as instructor Thom Roberts mentions in the demo clip below, you can’t judge your progress or determine whether you’ve gone too far until you can compare with what you had before. Make sure to occasionally flip between your old pose and new poses to compare and make decisions about what parts look better. 


    In the clip below, you’ll be able to see Thom’s process for iterating on a pose. Watch as he takes into consideration the purpose of the shot to shape the character, little by little, into a pose with more appeal.  







Looking for the best 3D Animation schools? For more information about AnimSchool and our online animation programs, visit us at www.animschool.com  

Monday, July 16, 2018

Hand Posing 101















(Hand poses drawn by Milt Kahl)


    When creating poses, some of the most overlooked yet important parts of the body are the hands. Hands can reveal a great deal about your character, but many beginning animators tend to leave the hands in flat, default poses. Even a neutral hand pose should adhere to the principles of good posing, such as readability and appeal. Hands can help accentuate a movement or action, and bring life into a gesture. Hands and fingers call follow a path of motion, reinforcing the path and strengthening the impression of a quick movement.


(Model sheet for the Disney animated film, Tarzan)


    Some ideas to keep in mind when posing hands are spacing and grouping. The fingers should be in harmony, and create appealing shapes with strong, interesting silhouettes. It’s preferable to avoid even spacing and parallel fingers. You can create interesting groupings, and play around with pushing one or more of the fingers to set them apart from the others. It also helps to utilize the arches and curls in the fingers, and to pay attention to the splay of the fingers in relation to each other. Don’t forget that fingers also have 3 axes of rotation!

(Hand references for Hogarth from the Warner Bros animated film, The Iron Giant)


    It can be difficult to effectively pose hands with all the different controls you need to keep in mind. In this clip, instructor Thom Roberts goes through his process of posing simple hand poses and gives us some helpful tips, such as rotating in the palm for a more relaxed and natural look to the hand, focusing on the first two joints of the fingers, and achieving visual interest by pulling out one or more fingers.   






Looking for the best 3D Animation schools? For more information about AnimSchool and our online animation programs, visit us at www.animschool.com