Starting out this week I started back on animation. It has been a while since producing final shots so I was expecting it to take forever for me to get back into the swing of things, knowing where stuff is, how it works and more importantly how to do it. But surprisingly enough, I felt like it was kind of like riding a bike, you know how to do it, but you do a few practise laps before you’re confident again. I was asked to do the same scene as Oddne and Holly did: the mushroom scene, animating with the same character rigs, Bee Boy and Squirrely.
Over the three days I was working on the scene I found the first day just to be a ‘getting-back-into-it’ day, and most of what I did I scrapped and started over and over again. I figured that what I was trying to do was focussing solely on getting the poses right and as such threw timing ‘out of the window’ in a way. So knowing this I started late afternoon on the first ‘true grounding’ on “advancement.” Here I took the approach that the squirrel was jumping on two legs over the mushrooms, I managed to start and get a good base for some really nice tail movement. But in general I found that the squirrels animation in general was really stiff and seemed forced, not really flowing and cartoony as I‘d had in mind. I called it a day and would come in fresh on the Tuesday to try and tackle the problems.
I managed to get some stiffness out of the animation, but I decided to start again and maybe come back to it later. The next approach I used was to animate the squirrel jumping swiftly on all fours from mushroom to mushroom. Focussing on timing and posing I managed to get a really nice base to work from and put some lovely secondary tail movement in. However it did take me a long time to figure out how to pose the tail. I knew that the tail flows, following the path that the body takes and it seems as though the tail is always trying to catch up with the body. Having this in mind though, I still found it rather tricky to achieve, but after a while of fiddling about I sat and thought about it. If I just pose the tail to how the body would be in that place, then I thought I would get good results, and I think that that works.
The next stage after that was bringing in the Bee Boy rig and animating a fall, that I knew I would find really tricky to achieve. So I bought him in and keyed out the main poses getting the timing right too. However figuring out how to make him fall was tricky in itself, I could make each mushroom wobble in all directions with his weight, but if I were to do that it that way it may seem a bit odd if they all didn’t wobble like this only slightly for the squirrel. So I decided to make him slip on the mushroom because he’s so busy looking at the squirrel, its then too late when he looks down at the mushroom.
Overall I’m really quite happy with the outcome for about 8-10 hours work animating on this version. I just need to keep in mind that the tail movement flows with the body, so in essence it will always try to catch up with the body movement. For the Bee Boy rig I think I should look at maybe creating more dynamic poses, but what I’ve done, I think his animation fits well for his purpose: chasing and catching the creature (squirrel.) I still think it would need a little more tweaking if it were to be the final thing, but since its only test animation, I feel that it’s to a pretty good standard already. I just need to keep on practising, and if every shot is of better quality I should hopefully become a good, sound animator.