Sunday, April 1, 2012

Meeting Recap, 3/30/12

Hey there, everybody.

Well, we have returned after what was hopefully a restful spring break, and we wanted to have an informative meeting about the very handy  rigging and deformation tools in the Toon Boom Harmony animation software! This software is what is used to animate Jake and the Neverland Pirates, to give an example of it's more complex capabilites:

We began the meeting with our usual brand of administrative information, this time pertaining to:
  • What we have planned for our last 4 meetings of the year (WOO!)
  • Various methods of advertising, including posters, t-shirts, and a mural painting (as well as a secret project that's starting as soon as we return from summer break!)
  •  Our Chair of Animation, Charlotte, has asked us about what software we would or would not like to see included in the computer labs next year. If any come to mind, be sure to pass those along to any of the leaders, or to Charlotte
  • Also Blue Sky Studios is visiting the BALE Theater on Tuesday, April 3rd from 1:00-2:30 PM. the theater is at 1224 Kinnear road, and we encourage people to check it out.
After all that we killed some time by checking out peoples work and resumes, and finally Andy Friz arrived! Time to start the rigging demo, right?


Impeccable timing, Ohio, as always...

When we were allowed to exit the basement, we got down to business, with an unfortunately short demo, but we did get to have the basics explained:

The rigging process is similar to how a character's bone structure is created for 3D models. This is simply a 2D analogue

Rigging is useful on a whole host of levels, most notably because of the speed-up it allows in production time. It can be daunting to set up a character, but once it's been set-up, the actual animation process can fly by!
-        it is very useful for Television production stuff, akin to flash-based animation or even older Hanna Barbera style of limited animation

FLO'S BEST DAY: an example of Andy Friz's experience using character rigs

-        production time – 2 months-ish (excluding pre-prodcution), just two people working on it (mostly one)

Most basic form of rigging is like a paper cut out – set joint at rotation point. You set up a hierarchy of all the parts of the body that will connect to each other, allowing them to be moved individually as well as allowing the computer to essentially create the inbetweens for you.

Deformation rig
– Using deformation successfully is much more complex than we had time to go over, but it essentially allows the computer to take care of the stretching and pulling, overlap, and a little foreshortening of limbs, again allowing for faster turn-around times in production.
Along with having a hierarchy of body parts, you can then use the Library to contain all your drawing elements – like different hand drawings for different shapes / poses that can be swapped out mid-movement.

Think of where you can cheat things
-        don't do a full rig if you don't need one, etc (think like Scooby-Doo, Flintstones, or even Family Guy level of limited character movement)
-        if your character is just moving an arm in a scene, just rig the arm

Basic arm rig's parts
-        one layer = upper arm
-        one layer = lower arm
-        one layer = hand
 When you've got all your separate pieces ready, you then need to start your peg hierarchy.
  1. Create pegs for each individual part (a peg for the hand, a peg for the lower arm, a peg for the upper arm). Name them accordingly so you don't confuse yourself in the network
  2. Create a 4th peg (name it your "arm_master" peg), and attach the upper and lower arm pegs to it. This means that when you set keyframes on this peg, both the upper and lower arm will move, because they are now linked.
  3. You don't want to attach the hand peg to the master peg, however, because you want the lower arm and hand to be able to bend independently of the upper arm. Instead, attach the hand peg to the lower arm peg. This allows you bend the hand at the wrist pivot, but that the hand will also move accordingly when you move the upper arm at the elbow pivot.

When Animating: ONLY KEYFRAME ON PEGS, NEVER ON THE DRAWING ELEMENT. You can really screw up your puppet if you forget this

shift+R resets keyframe information

set motion keyframe – computer creates inbetweens for you!

and on an industry related side-note, BENTO BOX is interested in people who can hand draw / animate as well as know the technical aspects in Harmony, such as rigging. Food for thought!

As you can probably tell from the above description, this stuff is much easier to grasp in a hands on setting rather than via someone's notes, so if you are curious about trying this stuff, we encourage you to ask the professors as well as any other members that are more experienced in using it. As Andy said, this stuff is being covered in greater detail during Animation II and Animation III here at CCAD.

Thanks for putting up with the long winded post, and we'll see you all next week for team trivia night, hosted by yours truly. Have a great week everybody!


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