Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Saturday, October 16, 2010

How to make birds fly good by Brendan Body

An animator who did Legend of the Guardians from Animal Logic wrote a great tutorial about bird mechanics in his website. This is really deep study so that nobody wants to move on without visiting if interested in birds.

Check this out here,


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Parallel Parking by Yum Yum London

Parallel Parking from Yum Yum London on Vimeo.

First impression was.... nice render.

Overall impression was.... HAHAHA, WHAT THE...?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Show File path and name in the Maya view

Making a shot film gave me a great lesson about many things. Especially about "Organizing."

When working "Repaired?", I had more than 30 shots for the whole sequence. Every each shot has tons of different versions and I switch those shots to the various versions every time in After Effects or Final Cut Pro.  Sometimes that could be a newest work, or it may be a shot which I worked 3 days ago.

But the thing I struggled was, I can't figure out what the current version of the shot I was watching in the sequence.

Maya default HUD doesn't support what the file name is. So I sometimes put the shot version number on the camera name like "Shot_13_v12" but it was annoying because it is not automatic. And I usually make a thousand of save files using Mel script when I work, like shot_13_0001.ma to shot_13_0130.ma, it's already 131 files for the shot #13. That means "Shot_13_v12" camera name is already in 131 files unless I didn't change it.

Now if you need to change the shot to #121 of the Shot_13_v12  in the sequence, you need to figure out what the current version is in the sequence first, visiting library folders in AE or FCP, which will make you frustrated if you need to deal with numbers of files at the same time.

So I asked my friend Sean that if he can help me a core command about showing file name on the view, he gave me a clue and I modified it so that it has a nice looking and can be toggled. As I use another custom HUD in the lower side of the view, I put this one to the top left.

if (`headsUpDisplay -ex "currentFIleFullName"` != 0) {
    // change the first number below if you need to change the position of this
    headsUpDisplay -rp 1 0;

else {
    // this number should be the same with upper one
    -section                1
    -block                   0
    -blockSize            "small"

    -label                    "Current File Path:"
    -labelFontSize      "small"
    -dfs                       "small"
    -command            "file -q -sn"

    global string $gHeadsUpDisplayMenu;

    -parent $gHeadsUpDisplayMenu
    -checkBox true
    -label "CurrentFile"
    -command "headsUpDisplay -e -vis #1 currentFIleFullName"
    -annotation "Current Filename: display current file name";

} ;

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Add/Remove Frames

This is from Cameron Fielding's post http://fliponline.blogspot.com/2007/04/quick-trick-tap-your-timing.html And this is one of my favorite mel when I block a shot. Simply add or remove extra frames between keys so I don't need to grab all the next keys to slide. Many thanks to Cameron.

//to add a frame
timeSliderEditKeys addInbetween;

//to remove a frame
timeSliderEditKeys removeInbetween;

Monday, September 13, 2010

When an animator watches a movie...

During my animation study in the school, most of teachers said that we have to watch movies a lot, as many as possible, to get some great eyes on acting. Well, I 100% agree with that, but recently I questioned, how?

People watch movies. Artists also watches, so do animators, too. But it was recent that I recognized that an animator should have totally different eyes when watching movies than the other artists or general people.

Actually I am a heavy watcher whether it's a blockbuster or award-winning movie. When I was in the college, I had been watching thousand Videos burning the midnight oil.  The rental shop guy even asked me what are the best recent movies that people will like to make their proper marketing strategy. Until recent, I still watching movie as I have been doing; a story chaser, an eager for the fun point, and being entertained. 

There are thousands of different methods when watching movies. If you are a writer, you may focus on the story first. You will look around the whole frame while you are watching that if you are a layout artist. You may focus on the lighting, OST, visual effects, and actors and actresses themselves.

This makes sense that an animator should focus on the acting itself. Yes it's true. But what is the next step you watch some great acting choices in the movie? Maybe you can utilize the acting into your own animation shots. I will also do so, as long as I remember the scene. That's why teachers told us.

But, what if you watch 30 great movies in an year?

Well, I believe I have a pretty good memorize skill, to me, it is really hard to remember all the great moments that I have watched.  I can't even remember the movie title I saw 10 years ago.  What if you want to find a specific scene that made you inspired before in 'The Hangover', but you cannot remember where the scene was, so you have to watch the entire movie to find out what you are exactly want?

Gee, I don't wanna waste much time. So, I made myself smarter. A Spreadsheet can help me a lot. Especially Google Docs.

What I have been doing so far was categorizing movie clips using Google spreadsheet so that I can sort easily whenever I need. Before doing this, I usually mark the time while watching movies. Then I capture the scene that I marked before using Quicktime Pro (or anything), save the clip to my disc and name it, like 'Lars and the Real Girl Ref - 01'.

And then I categorize the file by gesture type, emotion type, and dialogue type using Google spreadsheet. For example, the file Lars and the Real Girl clip number 4 has a strong character with arm and body gestures which are unique. Also the scene is about arguing and something worried/nervous emotions there.
If I want to reference finger gestures from my files, I can simply sort 'E' column so that I can watch clips which contain finger gestures or I can find another sub category.

I have been making this docs for the last 6 months and I already have 200+ clips which are categorized and ready to be sorted. I usually watch 3~5 movies in a week and get 2~5 reference-able acting clips from each one. Maybe I can get a thousand clips next year. Enough reason for doing this?

Another great thing is, my eyes for acting choice are much sharpened than before. Whenever I watch movies, I try to find as many as good gestures or moments from the scene to apply to my own animation.

Well, this also has cons; I couldn't enjoy enough than when I didn't do this while watching movies. So sometimes I try to become a generic audience just to enjoy the movie itself. But ultimately, this is really helpful to improve my eyes and acting skill stronger and stronger.

Highly recommend this. It doesn't need to be Google Docs. any spreadsheet will be OK and you can make your own category and method. This is just what I am doing and may be improved somehow next time.