Rigging in Maya

Above you can see a little rigging project I have going on. Tomorrow I begin assembling the constraints and binding the rig to the model’s geometry. Right now, all you can see is the skeleton through the model. The model is a simplified cat (provided by my instructor, Liz Van Verth – Assistant Animation Director at Kansas City Art Institute). I’m thinking this cool cat needs a name…Mac! The name must be inspired by the device I’ve been staring into for the past few hours.
The complex table to the right is a portion of the breakdown of the rig. I’m actually REALLY enjoying this process. I’ll be attempting to model and rig a model of project of my own outside of class. I’ve been wanting to work with dolphins in animation for the longest time. The edge flow doesn’t look too complicated to model.


HSU-NAMI ~ 2012 Taiwan Tour

If there’s any band that’s worth supporting, then hands down it’s HSU-NAMI. There universally understood and powerful songs are truly unique, and they have plans to tour in Taiwan this year and put on an unforgettable show. They also have some great perks in place to thank you for your generosity. Times are tight, but if you can manage it they’d greatly appreciate it.


JULES ENGEL – Share His Story


Above is the link to a website that has been created by this incredible artist’s biographer. She is launching a plan to generate funds to complete the documentary of Jules Engel’s life & work.

For those who are unfamiliar with Jules Engel, his work ranges from: designing animation sequences for Disney’s Fantasia (1940), founding UPA, and establishing the experimental animation program at CalARTS.

UPA is the animation studio responsible for many animation classics like “Gerald McBoing Boing”, “The Unicorn In The Garden”, and “Mr. Magoo”.

My Favorite Thing In Maya – SUCCESS!

My biggest accomplishment in Maya, no doubt. This study is the first test of a project I’m titling “Rhythmatics”
The soundtrack is “Four Ways of Mystery” from the soundtrack of SEGA’s “Ecco: Defender Of The Future” (©SEGA 2000)
You’ll definitely want to crank the brightness on your display to get all the subtleties of this animation. You don’t want to miss a thing.

After some struggles with character animation, I have fully rendered this short study.
So much sexy animation! It’s a little rough towards the end, but not too shabby overall.

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The Official Start Of A Grand Endeavor

I would consider the first actual day of production to have been around March 2, 2012. That was when I got confirmation from HSU-NAMI to not only have creative use of their music, but also received their approval to use this project for my graduation animation. They’re truly a tremendous group to work with, and they have been so accommodating that it has only increased my respect for them. I have always responded visually to music and it’s a project I’ve always been attracted to. When I came across their signature “Progressive ErHu Rock” in the summer of 2007, I knew I had encountered a sound that would be a continuous source of inspiration. I had only dreamed of actually getting in touch with them. So, this undertaking is a huge honor for me. After pouring over their library of work, I selected a track that I felt the strongest connection with and could feasibly animate to based on duration and pacing.

Below is their FULL SONG: “Luxy NYE”, it also includes the first storyboard drawings (don’t get excited, it’s only 5 seconds worth)

Here is a short series of inspirational sketches I produced to start generating ideas for the animation.

My goal is to have finished character Model Sheets and a first pass of storyboards prepared by the start of this April. Since timing and choreography are such an integral part of this project, the storyboards will feel more like a fully prepared animatic, because I have to plan according to the music. That will make for a fun added challenge.

Self-Directed Study Progress Report #2

After a many blood, sweat, and tears…
I arrived at a successful puppet design. The simplest solution really was the best. I used a clay body and there are wires inside the arms to hold them in place. I made a few different mouth pieces to act as key poses and then I would make the in-betweens on site using claymation. My fear with claymation was that it would present too many variables and not hold a pose without skating all over the place. Placing thin wires throughout the interior helped the material hold its shape.

This was also my first attempt at green-screen color keying. I hadn’t considered the props on screen. So, had I not included them it might have worked. The puppet works fine with the color keying. The problem is that some of the finer details of the animation are lost after color keying. Once I’ve completed the entire piece I will include a version that features the color keying.

I edited down and rerecorded “Bottled Frustration”. After playing with some mastering settings and changing to a more consistent recording venue, I arrived at a much cleaner audio clip. I voice acted both parts in the final piece. The animation you see above is the first finished thirty seconds. The entire clip is over 50 seconds, which I will have completed by the end of this week. I’ll also upload a manual I’ve been writing that records my findings in working with stop-motion.

I assembled my workstation to allow me to easily access all of my materials without passing in front of the camera or having to change my seated position.

The star of my short film. His arms are a different tone of white than the paper base. I apologize for the picture quality on this one.

Here’s a detail shot of the key mouth positions. I kept them on a sheet of paper so the oil of the modeling clay would not stick to the table.

The Canon EOS Rebel XS DSLR is linked to a computer running Dragonframe3. This combination makes for one powerful stop-motion toolset.

The edge of the paper serves as a guide so I know how much table space I have that stays out of the view of the camera.

Complete Exposure Sheet – DopeSheet_Complete
Another great benefit to Dragonframe software is the ability to import audio into your capture timeline. This allows you preview your animation in realtime with the audio clip.

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