Tag Archives: animation mentor

Texturing Tribe Rigs


This is hopefully a simple way of changing textures without digging too deeply into it. A fairly basic-intermediate understanding of Photoshop is needed.

First up.
If you open the texture file you’ll see something like this.texturing02

Save another version with a new filename. I tend to work with Tiff to retain layers, though I’m sure somebody will tell me why Targa is a better filetype.

If you open up your reference file of any of the characters, go into the Window > Rendering Editors > Hypershade and go into Textures. You should see anim_color_MAP(file) (this may be a different name for other characters). Click on that and in the attribute editor you should see Image Name under File Attributes. Click the small folder, find your new texture map and load that in.


In the texture map each area corresponds to a different area of the body. If I change it to simple colours you should be able to see what area of the texture map applies to which part of the rig. The red area is the right arm, the green is the torso, etc.


A good way to get a general guide of where things will be on the texture map is to use the 3D Paint Tool. You can basically roughly paint on the mesh and then clean it up in Photoshop. Select your mesh first then, go into your Rendering shelf click the 3D Paint Tool icon (should be the last one). Next, in the Attribute Editor click Assign/Edit Textures. Now you should be able to freely paint on the mesh.


When you’ve got a rough idea painted, hit the Save Textures button in the Attribute Editor. In your project’s Source Images folder, you should have a new 3DPaintTextures folder with the the new texture map inside. Using this you can now make a cleaner final version in Photoshop.


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Class 03 – Assignment 1

Ahh.. my 500 Frames of Summer.


Somehow my simple idea has become a 500 frame monster. Luckily I can make this my 1st and 2nd assignment for class 03.
I’m not entirely happy with the way blocking is going, especially when he jumps out in underwear. I don’t feel I’m quite capturing the right disappointed feel or have clear posing when he goes back into the box. Having the extra time really takes a load off though and can spend a bit more time trying to get this blocking feeling good.

Class 02 – Week 03

Task: Spline & polish the walk cycle. Pose Stella in a way that shows movement.

Damn you knee pops! *shakes angry fist*
In the end I do wish I had gone for a personality walk, just so I’m stepping away from rote exercises. Fairly happy with how it turned out though.
The poses I’m not so pleased with, was a busy week at work so was a little short on time.

pose01 pose02

Class 01 Weekly Tips

I make a list of notes for my Peer Buddy who is in Class 01 so decided to collate them all here. Will add more as the term progresses.

Week 11 – Walk Splining
See below, week 09.

Two more tips for splining:
– Have you been using buffer curves? If not, they can be quite useful: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ny5K-Wq3nrw
– I’ve also found the top mel script here to be super handy: www.aaronkoressel.com/?nav=tools As you probably guessed by the name, it deletes all your redundant keys. It makes that initial step into splining all the more bearable having a cleaner graph editor.

Week 10 – Personality walks
See my blog post on this topic.

Week 09 – Walk splining
– Knee pops are a pain. They’re caused by the relationship of the hip rotations and the foot roll. Play around with that before touching the leg stretch. Also save knee pops until the end.
– When you’ve addressed your mentor’s notes, do a playblast of your final blocking pass and save it. While splining every now and then go back to it and check your splining hasn’t gone too off course
– Make sure the front leg gets straight for at least 2-3 frames on the contact.
– Arc track both feet, you can just use the controller under the foot. Also check the knees, I wrote up a blog post on arc tracking joints here: http://www.timrudder.com/animationmentor/arc-tracking-joints/
– Also here’s a tip that I used on every walk cycle, how to create a mel script to quickly jump between your key poses: http://www.timrudder.com/animationmentor/jump-frames-mel-script/
– I also use a screen drawing tool and mark out my key poses in different colours on the timeline. Just helps me see where everything is.

Week 08 – Vanilla Walk blocking
– Check the poses on pages 103 and 108 of The Animator’s Survival Kit for the key poses.
– If you quickly switch from stepped to linear, just check that your translate z on the hips is a nice straight line. There shouldn’t be changes in spacing between the poses.
– On the contact position the legs and ground should make a nice looking triangle. The body shouldn’t be favouring the front/behind leg.
– Download and step through this frame by frame https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vq9A5FD8G5w, this one too (although it’s more of a personality walk): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8Veye-N0A4

Week 06 – Tailor:
– Hide the tail on tailor and animate the ball first, get it feeling right before you touch the tail.- Squash & Stretch must always follow the direction of Tailor’s arc
– A tail in motion always points to where it’s coming from (unless muscles are being used).
– One workflow method: you could animate the first link in the tail, arc track it and then use the arc to key the remaining links in the tail.
– Some inspiration: https://vimeo.com/45350702
– And some more: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uzV-iHyDYLk/UG0eq6DUQtI/AAAAAAAAAgs/0FuQJAcRbOM/s1600/waveTailBlair.jpg

Week 05 – Pendulum:
– Do the easier option first. I did it thinking I’d nail that quickly and move onto a harder movement, but 4 or 5 days later I was still working on just getting that simple pendulum swing feeling right. It’s easy to get in over one’s head on this assignment.
– Some people like to animate the top link first then copy the keyframes down the chain and offset them a frame or two each
– But some other people like to keyframe the whole chain, choose whichever method works for you, just make sure you get the passing position right (see below)
– This Keith Lango tutorial is a must watch
– Even though the swings of the pendulum get shorter, their timing stays about the same
– Make your own pendulum to study! This is what I did in class 01.

Week 04 – 2 Bouncing balls:
– Definitely get reference material and check timing of each bounce and make sure to mark that on your planning sketches. I use the ‘Download Helper’ add on in Firefox to download and analyse Youtube clips more closely. Shooting your own material is even better, just try and shoot in 24fps if possible.
– Check out the pdf tutorials here if you haven’t already: animationphysics.org/?page_id=21
– The feeling of weight really comes from how high the ball bounces, I’d recommend paying particular attention to that. You might even be able to exaggerate it a little in your animation.
– Beach balls are hard, they bounce but also have a floaty element too. Be prepared if you want to tackle one in your assignment.
– Always use the arc track tool in the AM menu so you can clearly check your arcs and spacing.
– I recommend not worrying about balls contacting or hitting walls, etc. The assignment is about weight more than anything, so focus on that first.
Week 03 – Bouncing ball

See my notes on making poses.

Animating a quadruped

For the next 4 weeks we’ll be animating a dog walk cycle. I spent today doing a bit of research and found some things I thought were worth sharing.

Eadwaerd Muybridge‘s Animals In Motion has been (legally) scanned and uploaded by Cornell University: http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/k/kmoddl/toc_muybridge1.html


Animationmeat also has some (presumably) Glen Keane notes on animating & drawing quadrupeds: http://www.animationmeat.com/pdf/featureanimation/4leg.pdf


Presentation slides by Dr Stuart Sumida.04_sumida

Animating Animals: Tips and Tricks to Animating Believable Animal Characters in a Live Action Feature by William Groebe

Richard Williams talks about animating a horse walk cycle

Animating a dog walk from Richard Williams’ Survival Kit (now also an iPad app)

Compare that with Preston Blair’s dog walk from his book Cartoon Animation

Some pencil studies for 101 Dalmations by Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnson, Milt Kahl and Marc Davis via Andreas Deja’s blog.

Dog skeleton running by Glassworks

Interactive dog skeleton in 3D view

Tutorial: How to Key a Dog’s Walk by Josh Wedlake

101 Dalmatians walk cycle
Research: Quadruped Locomotion – Musings About Running Dogs

An article on dog walks: 41% of museums don’t know how dogs actually walk

Pose tips

For this class I’ve become a peer buddy for a student in class 1. I sent her an email with my general advice when doing pose assignments and thought I would post it here.

1. Use references. I like to spend a bit of time and download about 20 pictures and sketch each one. If you have that kind of variety in research you’re basically learning how the body moves and reacts in real life, rather than just what you think it might be doing.

2. gettyimages.com is a pretty good resource, I definitely found it more useful that google images. Only downside is a lot of the poses feel unnatural.

3. Use thesaurus.com. Using different words with similar meanings when searching will garner different images.

4. Start with the line of action first and then start laying body parts over that.

5. Watch this Keith Lango tutorial on posing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHvQIMBjB78

6. Walt Stanchfield’s book is also a great read if you’re interested in getting poses nailed on paper: http://www.amazon.com/Drawn-Life-Classes-Stanchfield-Lectures/dp/0240810961

7. If you make a camera, tear off a copy and then click Lighting > Turn Off All Lights, it gives you a great instant silhouette.