Final Piece and Evaluation

FSTBO copy copy


Principles I used: Exaggeration, appeal, timing and spacing, follow through, squash and stretch, arcs, anticipation. 

I was looking forward to this unit so much as character animation is something I am very much considering pursuing for third year and after. I wanted to take my time to really understand the character of my piece. I read “Acting for animators” by Ed Hook in the preliminary stages and it really informed the way I worked. I think because of this I spent a lot of time understand and exploring my character, and designing my characters performance. I wish that I had spent more time on my animation and I am disappointed that I didn’t have more time. But this is something I will take away with me from this project.

This term I learnt many new skills such as lip syncing and character development. I loved exploring the ins and out of why a character would pursue a certain action. Why do they twitch there finger? Is it a sudden regret to the previous position. Why does it show weakness at that one point.  These are all things I considered when making my final piece.

As a practice we carried out a jump test. I wasn’t able to finish this test but I intend to work on it over easter or another piece of character animation. The rig I used was Claire, and I really enjoyed working with her. I felt there were some limitations such as the arm controls and some of the cheek controls I felt could be better. But other than that Claire was a really nice rig to work with. I spent a lot of time in the jump test considering the character and this in turn I translating into my main performance of Viola. I was able to change the appearance of Claire to look similar to the character I designed for the Zbrush unit. Once I did this I was able to connect more with the character I designed. It was very useful to be able to change the appearance of Viola, and in that sense it was a really useful tool in this rig.

During the project running along side this one (zBrush) i designed a character named Viola. In the end I decided to take on this character and bring it into this project as well. I worked really hard on developing who she was and how far she had come in her life. She is at the stage of working on several little films and filled with passion still. She is naive in this respect and still a bit childlike. However she knows how to express herself and turn seductive. These were all things I tried to translate in my final piece. I looked into films and actresses at this time and studied how they moved. I also looked at the history and context to understand how women at this time walked and moved. This all informed my character performance at then end.

Style shot for lighting and cinematography.

A stage which I really enjoyed playing around with was the cinematography of the piece. I was inspired by German Expressionism. A movement which influenced a lot of the films in the 1920s which I felt was an appropriate way to involve it further. I played around with style shots and I found it really fun considering how I could use the camera to add an air of atmosphere. I think choosing to do the piece in black and white was an extension of method animating as it were. I wanted to stay in the character mode and using black and white meant I had to consider how the character would be read. I think considering the cinematography really did impact the overall finish of the piece.

I used Maya for this animation and I created several MEL buttons to make the animating stages more efficient and tidier. They really were a life saver! The dialogue I chose was around 35 words long so it tested my newly found skill of lip syncing. In hind sight I wish I had edited it down or chose a shorter clip so that I had more time on animating. I enjoyed doing facial animation and it is something I want to improve on more. The poses I chose for my final animation were quite contrasting and there was a tendency for the rig to just give up…

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When the rig dosen’t want to comply…
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Using my reference to inform the lip syncing.

But it’s okay as it was usually me who was making the mistake!

I was originally going to use auto tangents as Nic suggested from his talk however there are things which I wanted to do myself in the graph editor so I made the decision to combine tangents and work on it so it met the effects I wanted. This did however slow me down a lot and I felt like I ran out of time before I was able to add more emphasis on quirks. This is something I want to ensure never happens again! I hope to continue working on the piece so that I can finish it to the standard I wanted. I chose to not have any props or environment because I wanted my character to be her own driving force. Her internal script was to verbalise how acting makes her feel to someone. It was meant to show her different personalities she has to play and also show the real her which is in fact a little bit scared a times (“who i am” section).

I filmed many references and a lot of expressive dancing that I filmed myself doing. I was able to take in all the secondary sources to inform me how to move. These references were very informative and I used many elements of it in order to understand my character.

How my references helped me:

My references helped me so much. You can see how all my footage had impact on my final piece. As well as filming my own reference I used a lot of secondary research inspiration  such as the silent movie films. References were invaluable to this process.


Overall the main things I am disappointed with is how I ran out of time I did keep time tables but I went over them. I need to be stricter with my time and make sure I move on from things. I like my finished video. I know however I could have polished it better but the way I chose the lighting and the poses are strong and I think adds a sense of atmosphere to the piece.

Look below to see my progress.


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