3D Modelling & Animation – Week 02

Thoughts

The infernal bouncing ball, indeed. I stole that title from this excellent Idleworm page: a fantastic tutorial on how to get the bouncing ball look, through the eyes of a cell animator (warning, weird Flash errors might occur). It’s quickly becoming clear how important an understanding of basic animation techniques are before even setting foot in Maya.

Although totally out of my reach at this early stage, but something that fascinates me is the physics of modelling. It’s something I am likely to come across more and more, particularly in my work with Processing, so I had a little look behind the shades at a site that gives up some weird mathematical formulas to make you look like Tiger Woods, or something.

It doesn’t take long to see that there are a wealth of free resources out there for people interested in getting into 3D. It’s something I have noticed with most new media: it seems that there is a real culture of sharing ideas and experience with each other. Which of course, must be a good thing.

Work

I really worked hard to give my red, bouncing ball some character this week. I’m starting to get the hang of the controls within Maya (aside from the button on my Wacom pen playing up a bit – no idea if that’s Maya related, or to do with my pen), so i’m certainly started to enjoy working with the program more.

I’m starting to get a feel for both why CGI animation is so labour intensive and why there are still so many people keen to take it on as their full time job. This very, very basic ball sequence took me some time to get even remotely looking as though the ball had substance and weight, and I can only imagine how much more difficult this would be if I was dealing with a complex texture, like hair.

Having said that though, it’s like a little puzzle, that you need to unravel to get the ball bouncing properly. I’m a big fan of time consuming puzzles, so was happy to spend some time doing the homework for this week…

bouncingball

A bouncing ball

…yes, I still haven’t attempted to export a movie file from Maya, but fingers crossed I will have something a little less static next week, when we take on a biped character.

Inspiration

It was Disney that put together the 12 Principles of Animation and are therefore responsible for much of the style that we know as animation today. Obviously, their older, short animations are better examples of these styles, as they attempt to convey as much as possible in a brief amount of time. The more subtle uses of these principles, found in today’s feature length 3D animation films, are still indebted to their original concepts.

I don’t think there’s many better examples of our primary focus of squash and stretch, than this classic Donald Duck snowball fight (Disney characters and flying snowballs!)…

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