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Final Piece and Evaluation

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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.

Final Character Performance

Choosing my idea

Above and below you can see spider diagrams that showed me trying to plan a final idea for this character performance piece. I started with thinking about a character not a dialogue. After reading acting for Animators I realised developing the character is hugely important as it motivates how the characters moves and acts.


3 ideas moodboards


Above you can see my three ideas summarised in a moodboard. The three ideas as captioned above is: A  Gardener (Soft, driven, messy, nature lover). Basket case (Introvert, relaxed, scruffy, unique) Silent movie actress (Affectionate, expressive, flirtatious, feisty). I decided to apply four words that summarised the character to get a vague image of the character I am planning to use.

After some decided, I have chosen to develop my silent movie actress, Viola. I have already learnt about her physical characterisation but developing her I will be able to understand her mentality and how she moves and acts! I am really looking forward to getting to know her more.




Above is the synopsis which I created when Modelling. This really allowed me to understand my character and define the characteristics. Why is this important? It is one of the top priorities to understand the attitude and the internal thinking of the character. How does the personality drive the character’s action.


How people moved in the 1920s

My character lives in the 1920s, something which is very important. After all people move differently and the era also adds another element of contrast. There was different cultural references and idols which people will mimic without realising. To understand perhaps how my character would have been influenced by this. Below are a several videos which I watched in order to grasp movement and flow of the actors and actresses. I also looked at dance and music, what would my character like how would she dance? All questions I thought needed to be answered in order to understand my character.

Liberation in the 1920s for Females 

Something drastically change in the 1920s. After the war women were given opportunities in the working world.  The Sex Disqualification Act of 1919 meant women were able to go to university and this impacting how they were able to get education and in turn get qualified jobs. Women felt liberated with there new found freedom further fueled with fashion. Shorter hair and baggy clothes defied the corset and floor length gowns of only 15 years earlier. The drastic changes turned for more sexual liberation, smoking and a wave of new dances and music. It really was the roaring twenties.

The Metropolis dance scene is incredibly powerful and hypnotising to watch from the movements to the camera shots. I think this whole piece works so well. Considering my character in I want the body to be used in a strong way also. And I really want to use these dramatic camera changes to evoke emotion.

I watched this whole film to see how the cinematography was used and the similarities between acting styles. The use of body language in this is beautiful. The section where Salome is along side the man and he is refusing her and she comes closer to him is particularly nice to watch. We don’t need the words to see what character she is. The dance scene in this was also another inspirational section to me, which I used when storyboarding as well as to create my own references.

Brigitte Helm(Metropolis) was a very powerful actress. If we just study her facial animation in the above segment we can see how captivating she really is. What I want to question is why she is so entrancing. Your eyes just want to watch every reaction. Even though the majority of the time they are very slight, a slight widening yet you still want to gaze at her to discover more. Maybe thats why she seems so mysterious in these clips.

Clara Bow is another highly famous silent movie actress who also transended into talkies. She was highly expressive and comedic in her performances. As these are two qualities I mentioned in my synopsis Bow is a really lovely reference point. I am able to see what made her so humorous in her performances.


A compilation of gifs from Clara Bow and Chaplin. Chaplin was a master at using his body for comedic effect. He knew how to master his face and this impacted the films. Below is a clip from The Lion’s cage. I think in this video you can see just how much of an expert Charlie Chaplin is and how he uses his body as well as his face to perfect his art. .



Above is a set of Marilyn Monroe GIFS I have put together. Monroe is an icon for seduction and beauty in the 50s and still in modern day. Above you can see how she used her face and body to create this seductive image. In my synopsis another element of my character is seductive, a characteristic many silent movie actresses had to perfect. As I will be animating I need to understand what makes seduction. Monroe does this thing with her bottom lip which quivers out when she has say something, furthermore she uses her eyes to create a sense of mystery.

Characters objective: 

“The animator needs to capture the emotion in the movement which the audience can empathise with.”

Filmic References.

Oliver & Company (1988) Disney

I wanted to see some examples of characters who were expressive, comedic or seductive. Below are some which I found useful in pursuit of developing and understanding movement.

I love this scene, I have loved it since I saw it when I was really young. There is something charismatic about this character. I love it when she stops and adjusts her hips to exaggerate her seductive characteristics. This thing to note is that this character knows she is “beautiful” which you can tell in this clip. I want my character to be a bit more discreet with her seductive qualities as I want viola to be likeable.


Mulan II (2005) Disney


In this scene there is a lot of movement, but there is a section when the movement changes to soft and the children use there arms to create these beautiful over exaggerated waves. It really works with the atmosphere of the piece.

Big Hero 6-Honey Lemon (2014) Disney, Marvel

Honey Lemon from Big Hero 6 is very over expressive and clumsy. I like her character in this film specifically there is not really any other character like her. She is really endearing as well, because she dosen’t realise how expressive she is. This has been a really good reference for me.


Disney The Road to El Dorado (2000) Dreamworks studios



Miguel from Road to el Dorado is just an amazing reference! It is beautifully comedic and expressive. As an aspiring actress in 1920s cinema Viola tends to be expressive to demonstrate her capacity to people even in normal conversations. Miguel does this perfectly I love the cut between expressions in the second gif.

Hotel Transylvania (2012) Sony pictures animation

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Hotel Transylvania as I have discussed in my research tab have very expressive rigs which are absolutely beautiful and allow for a lot of comedic effect in facial expressions. I want my facial animation section to be very expressive. I don’t want to overcomplicate the piece so I will be doing simple but effective animations.

Jessica Rabbit in “Who framed Roger Rabbit” (1988) Disney

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Jessica Rabbit. A.k.a the Marilyn Monroe of the animation world. What this drawn character so seductive? If we look at the above GIFS what is very clear to see is the subtle movements, the slight shift in weight or the gentle stroke of a hand. The expression in the eyes never really changes and the lips are similar in the pucker pose. I will take this observations into my animation for Viola.


Deciding a dialogue-quick thumbnails

Below is several pages for deciding on dialogue. I had already planned out who Viola is. What she is. Her aspirations in my synopsis. So now it was time to choose the dialogue which will allow me to emphasise her character. (I did it this way so that the character is the driving force not the other way round after all it is the character who chooses to say these words.)


Chosen Dialogue

Chosen Dialogue:

Its shakes me, it quakes me, it makes me feel goose pimply all over, I don’t know where I am, or who I am am, or what i’m doing, don’t stop, don’t stop, DON’T EVER STOP.


Internal Dialogue/Scenario: This performance is a way for Viola to verbalise how acting makes her feel. Her intention is to show her passion and quirky personality. She lets slip that she isn’t always confident but can be carefree and seductive.

The above is my chosen Dialogue. I wanted Viola to say this dialogue when explaining what it feels like when she’s acting to someone. The piece will allow me to really play around with how Viola could express it.

I want there to be an element of: seductiveness, comedic and expressive!

My References 

Crazy dance references..

Above you can see some of the best bits from a reference I filmed. I put on some songs and really just tried to expressed myself. Previous to filming this reference I had watched a lot of silent movies and analysed how they moved so I tired to incorporate these moves into this reference. Alice was able to help me as well, I showed her some of my inspirations but it was really useful to see someone else’s take on expressive dancing.

*Watch it on fast speed for a 1920s air about it.

Above is a dialogue lip syncing reference. From doing the jump i really understood how important using reference. I decided to film myself with a mirror so I could see the profile of my face as well as the front for a useful reference when animating.

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Above is an image of my screen when working on storyboarding and understand how I could take apart these references.


Pose Sheets

Below are my pose sheets that I created from my references and watching silent movies and dancers from the 1920’s. This was immensely useful when storyboarding and helped me convey how I wanted to pose my character .

considering silhouette.





After researching and developing my character I moved on to, creating my storyboards. I spent time thinking about the different ways I could have went about creating the piece. After doing this I created my animatic.




Final storyboard and Animatic

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Final Storyboard

Above is my animatic for this project. I actually did several animatics in the end as I changed around some elements. I chose this animatic and storyboard as my final. The animatic shows how I want to play around with chopping cuts – However I decided to keep alot of mid and close up shots as this was something alot of the films I was looking at did. The finished animation should be around 16.5seconds. I wanted to aim for 15 seconds (but going one second over should be okay!) Mike suggested working on a shorter animation to perfect that section well instead of trying to be over ambitious.

Some of the things which could go wrong: The rig.

When I did the jump test the rig did occasionally go a bit weird..By that I mean bend and twist in abnormal ways.. Hopefully I can rectify these problems before it becomes an issue.

Revisions to the animatic and moodboard changed. I decided to change the first pose as the rig’s arms were shorter than Viola when I designed it. It shows however if I was going to rig my character I would ask the riggers to consider the length of the arms as an important factor as Viola is very expressive with her arms. 

Some references I filmed after created my animatic and storyboard. This was to understand how the character moves.


Getting the look of the Rig

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Headshot sketch of my zbrush design of Viola
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I wanted my rig to look like my character that I designed as much as possible. I edited the rig to do this changing the hair, skin colour, eye colour redefining some of the structures of the face such as elongating the eyebrows. Also I tried to mimic the black lipsticks that actresses and actors were made to wear on screen. I want my final animation to be in black and white to reinstate that cultural context. I kept checking the skin tone in order to get the right colour when it was black and white. You can see my skin tone tests as well as the eye colour test.
One of my inspirations of my character development is Myrna Loy. You can see her dramatic eyes and black lips. You can see how her eyes below are very enchanting. This is one of the reasons I made the eyes so light in the rig I wanted them to stand out so I could emphasise them further.

Lighting moodboard and Style shots

Here is a moodboard I put together to show the lighting I was considering for this animation. I wanted it to suit the time period it was in therefore I was looking closely at German expressionism maybe playing with shadows to give it another playful element. There will not be anything in the environment as I wanted to focus on the character and not to distract my viewers.

Style Shots

I tried out several style shots to see how I could input the above moodboard. The below images are my tests. I like the lighting below as it is kind of dark and mysterious however I don’t know if I need to lighten it up so there is a light heartedness. However If I change the angles around it could allow me to blend these two together! I had a lot of fun testing the lighting and playing about with how the light could affect the atmosphere.


I want my final animation to be in black and white to give it an authentic twist. Above you can see how I have manipulated the eyes so they stand out. i really love how the eyes stand out. I want to work on the eye movements – see research tab. (saccadic, dilation etc)

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Animation Tests

The above clip is a short piece of animating I did, it is meant to show viola trying to be seductive but breaking out of character. She is naive in being seductive so it fits her personality. I like the lighting in it as it creates an air of mystery to the piece.

Here is another test I did in an afternoon so it is not the best polished piece. However it shows some really quick lip sync test. This is a scene that I will be doing again. I think it works well especially the lighting.


Animation in progress

Below are the videos which shows my progress during the animation stages. Its really nice to look back and see how far I had come or if there was anything I might want to put back. I made the mistake of posing the character first and lip syncing after. Note to self don’t do this next time! block out lip sync first as it was hard to keep following the character around.

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I created buttons again for my final project this is one of the first things I did after importing the rig and audio. Setting up these buttons would save me a lot of time. I ended up changing the mouth button for mouth and jaw during lip sync. So during the animating I did change the buttons slightly to improve the animating conditions.

I also set up cameras to allow me to see profile of the character and the front. Setting the camera up meant I could see what I needed to animate to and not waste my time animating something which was not in shot. This is why I felt the storyboarding stage was very important in order to have better organisation withe time.

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Final Jump Idea and Research


Trying to Fly jump!

Some of my research in reading Ed Hooks book: Acting for Animators introduced me to some really useful advice:

Chapter 3- Personality Animation, Page 25

“Dead men don’t tell tales and they don’t have personalities. Personality is inherent in action, and action is inherent in life.”

Audiences expectations are higher than they used to be when it comes to animation, and an in-depth character analysis is essential whether you are animating a preexisting character or creating a character or your own. Glen Keane, one of the elite character animators of today, prepared a nine-page analysis of The Little Mermaid character Ariel when that Disney film was in production…The analysis includes personality description, character history, and physical description…Note how specific Glen Keane is. Ariel is the youngest of seven daughters and is sixteen years old! Not fourteen or eighteen, but sixteen. Her fiery ice, “red hair and all,” is balanced by her sweetness. She is naive and innocent. You can longer just say a character is cute and cuddly and has a great personality, especially if you expect it to carry a lead role in a feature film or television series…You’ll be surprised how character elements that may never be mentioned or used in your animation can still provide strong motivation. “ 

This advice reminds us all that humans are complex our minds are unique and are not systematically the same!

Final Character Synopsis


Male or female: Female

Age: 15

Physical health: Healthy weight, likes to run.

Appearance: Tall and gangly

Hygiene:, messy clothes. She can usually be found covered in pen from sketching birds, runs barefoot, has pieces of grass in her hair. 

Intelligence: Naive and childlike but very imaginative, very interested in the world of flight. 

Diet: Eats produce from farm. Favourite food: walnuts;

Culture: English countryside on a farm, goes to school, 

History: First born to two younger siblings, hence why she kind of makes up her own rules as she goes along.

Income: None

Occupation: Student

Education: Studying GCSES: Art, English and Science

Family: Father is a writer inspires her and mother is a farmer who loves animals. Two younger brothers one is 7 the other is 5.

Friends: No close friends prefers her own company. Collects feathers.

Inner rhythm: Observant to details

Psychology (Introvert, extrovert, etc): Introvert

Goals:To fly

Name: Violet Birdmann

Sense of humour: Laughs at her brothers having gibberish fights, Laughs at cat videos on YouTube.

Fears: Living a monotonous life,

Relationship with others: Prefers the company of her family, is shy but is passionate with flight and bird. She likes to defend that obsession. Very Gullible.

Favourite Artist: Leonardo Da Vinci

Favourite Animal: Birds.

Favourite film: Fly away home

Optimist or Pessimist: Optimist

Last time she cried: At an animal documentary while drinking lemon and water

What does she want as an occupation: Torn between creative write or scientific engineer

Smile: Natural, dosen’t care how ugly she is.

One flaw that she dosen’t like about herself: Not Being able to make friends

List 3 quirks: Curious, caring and observant

My idea for the actions and motives are as followed. Character stumbles into a new world. Someone tells her she can fly in this world (a lie) which she wants to try as soon as possible. After she falls she is dissapointed.


Or the character tries to imagine what it would be like to live in a world where we could fly. Falls and turns admiring the birds in the sky!

Film References – Inspirations

“The movements and attitude of a figure should display the state of mind of him who make them, and in such a way that they cannot mean anything else.” – Leonardo Da Vinci

Last lesson we had a mini lecture on the importance of referencing. Our minds are filled with events that have taken place in our lives. Its important that those files ,if you like, are viewed but  are not the only source. We need to open our eyes to fresh perspective!!  Below are some reference points I want to deconstruct.


Above is a scene from Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away in which Haku (boy featured here) flies past with Chiharo. Deconstructing this clip I’d like to take away the framing and cutting of the scene. You feel like you are being propelled along with Haku. Furthermore I love the sheer determination and streamlined feeling from Haku. I really love this scene!

Argentina born Marianela Nunez in Swan Lake is a beautiful reference point I want to further analyse to get inspiration with body movements. My character is obsessed with flying and watching birds. When she comes to the point where she needs to take flight I want her to be graceful like the birds she idolises. Below you can see choreographed dances that are meant to be inspired by graceful swans. It is beautiful to see there interpretations of the creatures.


Above you can see a scene from Quest to Camelot, one of my favourite films from my childhood. This is a really sad scene that shows Kayley trying to make her Father proud. This isn’t the best scene but it shows how that child within that remembers her father still exists within her adult self. i also likes the triumph landing.


“You can fly! You can fly! You can fly!!”

 This is a really good reference, Peter Pan showing Wendy and her brothers how to fly. It shows the difference of how every character flies. From childish crawling from John and Gentlemanly glides from Michael. Wendy Flaps elegantly with her dress in an almost waltz dance. Peter Pan glides confidently and playfully. I really love the Gif that shows Pan flying towards the camera creating a surreal feeling matching the scenario. Peter Pan will prove a really nice inspirational point! It makes me question how would I fly? How would my mum fly or the postman. After all we all have different qualities and worries. Am I scared I would fall or am wanting to go higher!

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Above you can see several Clips from Toy Story, which I have spoken a little bit more in my research tab. In Toy Story which I am quite sure you are aware of, Buzz discovers he is not in fact a space ranger but a Toy. In the attempt to regain his identity he tries to jump off the bannister (gif 2) and into the window. To which he falls and breaks. The preparation for the flight is something to appreciate. He mentality shrugs of his doubts and gets into a frame set of space ranger. This is why the glide becomes all  the more powerful in the scene. The top gif you can appreciate how Woody takes to flying in comparison to Buzz, much more giddy and awkward.


Above is another reference which I think is worth a note. The clip is from “The Girl who Leapt through time”, directed by Mamoru Hosoda. The main idea is revolves around a girl who realises when she jumps she can travel through time. So there is a whole film filled with epic jumps like the one above. What I take away from this reference however is the way the scene is cut. There is a frantic nature about it with the way it has been cut. I love the last scene where it cuts from the face and then suddenly zooms out.


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Don Bluth’s Thumbelina. This is a good example to see how they represented the first time flying. Obviously Thumbelina herself is not flying but she is experiencing it for the first time! This is why this is a very useful reference. There is an instance of such freedom and experiencing happiness. In my scene there is an instance where the character feels like she is flying for a split second. How will I represent it?

Above is my last film reference, I was trying to think about how the character lands. I love the pure relief in this scene. As well as seeing how a young character interprets soaring through the air.





Above you can see a moodboard I have compiled together for my character. I wanted to show how she feels about flight. And also how she would react to being able to fly. I like the image of the girl floating in the water looking up looking so relaxed like it was where she was meant to be.

I like the softness of the board, and how some of these images have been photographed. For instance the little girl whose arms are outstretched and coming towards the camera we fill the speed and see the emotion on her face.


Sketchbook – Storyboards

I did several pages of the above, analysing my references I filmed. I tried to draw just the basic drawings so I could see the shapes of the movements. This allowed me to think about the poses and. The more I did these sketches I was able to think about how I could exaggerate them. 
As well as drawing from my own reference work I watched a lot of ballet specifically swan lake to understand how they represented, imitating swans. This is something my character does. The poses in ballet are already exaggerated, with there amazing ability to use there bodies. 


Above you can see some notes on the right that I took during a lecture with Mike. Something that really resinated with me was when Mike reminded us that “Things shouldn’t be a mirror”. Our features don’t work in sync. This made me keep analysing my references and study the differences in the movements. 



Above are two reference films on the briefing day, this is what we did in class. So now that I have developed a character I understand where I want to tweak and change! But It was a very good experience to act out how the character would move. Next time however I want to act out before the jump and after the jump. Remember not to copy this, exaggerate this! 

Above is a set of my reference videos I filmed. These reference videos were extremely useful when it came to animating. It reminded myself how the face moves, and how to put life into the eyes.

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Above you can see how my references informed my animation in my facial animation at the beginning. I wanted to portray the thought in my character. By using my reference videos I could make the facial animation more natural.

Three very useful videos!

Above is the most useful video, especially because this is basically how my character lands. I used this video to work out how anatomically the body goes from a handstand to forward roll to sitting. Furthermore it really helped me understand the timing of the animation. VERY USEFUL!

Here is another forward roll video,as it is a tutorial it talks you through the steps of performing a forward roll. Hearing how the roll should be carried out is like a instruction book to how to construct it in maya. Another very useful video.

Above is the final useful video reference I used whilst animating, and understand timing. This 40 minute video shows a lot of females doing back flips and flips to land. I found this video extremely useful to understand timing and to see how I could make the fall seem graceful!!



Below you can see a compilation of my progress during this test animation.The play blasts show how I began in stepped, to adding some in-betweens to working through the animation. I spent quite some time editing the graph, staying in stepped I used some of the nice pauses that stepped is able to give, and embroidering it with linear and plateau to create sharp movements and slow eases. I don’t think i will be able to finish this animation but It has been a very useful test to see how I could approach my real performance. Furthermore it goes to show where I think I could improve.

Lip Syncing

Lip syncing is a important task in character performance. In this brief we were able to do inner or external dialogue. In class we were give this piece of dialogue to experiment with the dialogue.

Most useful Tools during the test 

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Notice in this image, the timeline. The timeline was the most useful tool I was able to look at the dialogue as well as listen to it.
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Making my own select Mel buttons. During the first stages specifically of blocking out the keyframes I used these buttons to make sure everything was selected, easily edit the graph editor and move the keys. A very useful tool indeed!


Working along side my jump test, Mike reminded us how important reference was and how to not just take but to exaggerate. This was a lip sync test so I used my own expressions as a reference point. As you can see below from some screen shots you can see how I drew inspiration from it. As well as the actual expressions the way my head naturally when forward and backwards with emphasis was something I ended up using in my final test shot.

I filmed a lot of different videos till I felt like I could see something in it I liked. Below and above are too references I worked with at the time.



The Rig

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Before beginning the animation I tried to play around with the wig and understand the capacity of the Rig. It worked really well especially the hair animation and the ability of the lips.

I am using Claire for the other jump task. The main difference between Claire and Tom, is tom has more pins in his arms. It is good as Tom stops when it has twisted a certain way too far this isn’t a feature in Claire so if done wrong you can a unappealing 360 twist.

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When I was doing this task I wasn’t sure how to progress after stepped keyframes, I decided to work with the stepped but hand going into every attribute and editing it to linear/plateau. If there was a nice pause with stepped then I would play around with it. I think it was nice to add more subtle movements like the eyebrows to more distinctive body jerks. I still feel like there is a lot I could change with it, but sadly I ran out of time.

Above is a compilation of the different steps I took to get to my end result. (Well as far as I could ) I began with Stepped> Then adding Stepped eye movements, cheeks> Changing the timing as the “FOR” was off> manipulating the graph and changing the tangents>Adding stepped body movements.




Changing the task

Mike decided to changing the practice test, instead of a character going to a window reacting, the character would now do a jump.



The example Mike showed us was:

In this video you can see the buzz test which shows him jumping and dancing to seduce Jesse. With this in mind Mike spoke about how important reference was. Further to the point, not just to copy a reference but to deconstruct it and use and throw away parts of it.In the video above you can see how the animator used references of himself to put into his work. This was the theme today and below you can see how we began to record ourselves. The importance of reference.

After planning out as many possible jumps and a brief idea as to why the character did the jump we were asked to take some reference videos for an hour.



I came up with several ideas and the four that I liked the best were below. 

Child playing hot lava game. When I was I was younger and many other children around the world used to play this game. Consisting of avoiding the floor in fear a white shark would get you or you would be burnt by Lava. Obviously this was make believe but very fun and energetic. What I want to take from the Buzz video above is the amount of personality that pours from the work. In animation you can exaggerate the moves more which is a bit harder when referencing because of gravity! I do like this idea but I think that I may go with another story.

Basic Synopsis:

Carefree, child of 3 who can’t speak properly yet. Tendency to make up own words and giggle. Only child that is bubbly and energetic. Tends to disappear when parents turn back. Frustrated when things dosen’t go her way. Before this jump child weirdly speaks gibberish and playfully jumps. Ends up laughing.



Catching the Bouquet! 

The second Idea that I really liked was catching the bouquet. I think this a really cool piece to pursue because it leaves a lot of room to put personality in. Especially because there is such a clear motive. Two years ago I went to a wedding and caught the bouquet myself so I kind of understand the excitement. If I was to re-clarify the synopsis and re film this could be an interesting story to carry out. Especially if the person didn’t catch it.

Me with the prized bouquet, looking overly happy.


If I was going to take this idea further one of the references I could possibly look at is my Best Friends Wedding which at the beginning plays on loved up women. I think I could draw on the dancing quirks to incorporate it into my jump.

Basic Synopsis:

Excitable young girl. This girl is highly competitive who studies and organises work meticulously. She does not like to loose and considers her self a feminist. Dosen’t want to come off to excited but does not want to lose. Very dramatic and comical. When the audience watch this I want them to laugh!


Trying to fly.  

We’ve all been there, daydreaming as to what the sensation of flight would feel like. We gaze enviously at the birds that soar. But sadly no matter how hard we try the earths gravitational pull deny us such a delight. So this is the idea for my third idea. I wanted it to evolve around a daydreamer so maybe a child who naively attempts to fly. I wanted the character to feel elegant and gracefully at the beginning but sadly ends no so.

Worthing Birdman 2015 (Day 1). Picture by Eddie Mitchel. A good reference point for this idea would be to look at the Worthing Birdman pier jump in which people jump of the pier in elaborate costumes.

Rough Synopsis:

Before this scene, character has been obsessed with flight. Watches films about plane, documentaries about birds. Watches birds on youtube. Has a real obsession with flight. Likes to defend this obsession to anyone who challenges them. Quite Naive but likes to prove people wrong. Before the even they were idolising a bird taking flight. After they sadly fall to the ground.


An Old man jumping

The last idea of my top 4, was based around an old man who tries to attempt to jump. I wanted the character to be stubborn and someone who claims they know best even when that may not be the case..


One of my favourite characters in AristoCats is Georges Hautecourt. His character performance is so beautiful, and you really get a sense of his carefree attitude. This is a reference I could draw inspiration on, you can see how fragile the character is but at the same time how dramatically wild he is. Like a young man in an old man’s body!



Above is a scene from Cinderella, where the king jumps angrily in order to get at the duke guy with the monocle. I think this exaggerated soar is really effective, you can clearly see how the king is feeling.

Basic Synopsis:

Old Man

Stubborn old man of 91, fragile and needs a walking stick decides to show everyone he dosen’t need help. Throws away his walking stick proudly and attempts to jump.

Old man who was in the war as an RAF Officer. Seen a lot of the world and is very independent. Tendency to brush off other people’s advice. Happily likes to recall his memories, but can sharply defend himself.


After the briefing session, Mike showed us the Rigs we could potentially use for both animations this term. The choices were Claire, Tom or Morpheus. Below you can see how the appearances of these rigs were able to change. This is good so we can edit the rigs to look how I  may envision my characters.

Some of the down sides to the rigs we were using were mostly with Claire, which is unfortunate as I was considering using the female rig. Claire has no Knee or elbow pins meaning it is harder for me to pose the character.