View Full Version : Samuel V's thread
08-01-2010, 12:19 PM
I spent the morning re-going over Don's explanations of X-sheets and field guides, making notes for myself as I've not used these before.
My animation paper and field guides haven't arrived, so I then made temporary templates for myself so I could print them and get started. I've made a separate thread for these incase anyone wants them.
I then tried to draw each of the three characters, chosing my favourite pose of each character as a starting point.
I always find my first attempts to copy something are very clinical. I get nervous and draw stiff lines, often completely getting the proportions, angles etc incorrect. The very first drawin i did was of Peepers, and was a perfect example of just how bad it is before I "loosen up". The more I practice drawing a character I seem to be easier able to break them down into shapes and move them around in 3d space in my head which seems to help.
I decided with each character to try something different. I did my first drawings, then went and had a cup of tea. I came back to look at them, imagining I was Don, or an art teacher. I then "marked" them - wrote notes and comments of what to improve. Then I tried again. And again. Until I finally felt that as a "teacher" I would have given the drawing a good mark.
Peepers took 10 attempts, Stuey 7 attempts (i found him easiest to break down to shapes) and little "Seth" mouse took me 9 attempts.
To avoid scanning & posting 26 pictures I've just included the first and last ones. The first ones are universally awful, BUT its nice to see the fairly quick progress - so I'm keeping this as inspiration to me to boost my confidence for the next time I do a bad drawing and think "I'm never gonna get this"! :laughing:
Thing I learned from this excercise? I draw better if I loosen up, and concentrate on the 3d shape of a character, not the statice flat lines :)
The next thing I'm going to do is try drawing each of the characters in some poses of my own invention. Then after that I'll find which character I'm most at home with and start planning my walk cycle for them...
08-01-2010, 03:46 PM
Good start, just keep drawing them as much as possible! :laughing:
08-01-2010, 03:52 PM
Thanks - yeah thats the plan :) It takes me a while to get "comfortable" with drawing a character, I'm very stiff to begin with. The more I draw them though the more I feel I get to know them, and can draw them more consistently. I've still not picked a favourite to animate yet - I like them all :D
08-02-2010, 12:38 PM
Isn't it funny how that works? How much easier it flows after you've drawn it a few times. Plus a nice cup of tea always gets the juices flowing better ;)
08-02-2010, 05:07 PM
I see vast improvement from first attempt and the last attempts. I think it is key to get comfortable with the character before animating. I personally am leaning toward Peepers or the Mouse. I am going to make my final decision tonight after sketching some more. Keep drawing and working with the character.
08-02-2010, 08:12 PM
nice Job! my favorite is peepers.
08-03-2010, 08:32 AM
Thanks for the encoragement guys :) I've been practiscing, think I'm making progress. I'll upload pictures later, and then try to animate one of them tomorrow :)
08-07-2010, 09:54 AM
I carried on working at it, couldn't upload more pictures or videos as was having problems with my inetrnet. I'll get them up when i get time if anyone cares! :laughing:
Decided to go with Stuey to animate, as I felt that for me, he would be the most challenging, and wanted to push myself. I've been trying his body first, as I'm trying to portray his weight with squashing and taking longer at the bottom of the walk cycle. Its getting there but I think it needs a little more work, hoping to get pointers from Don.
As Don described him as constantly nervous, I thought I'd like to attempt a similar walk to the "seth" mouse, but when I animate his face, I'm going to try and show its a false confidence by having him looking over his shoulder to check behind him regularly. :)
08-12-2010, 05:19 PM
Been working on the walk cycle, done a new version each day this week improving it slightly. My first priority was to try & add even more weight to Stuey making him squash more dramatically at the bottom, & stay there even longer. Don said the feeling of weight in my previous attempt was "really cool" ( :eek: ), but said if I personally felt even more weight was necessary then to adjust it til it pleased me. I think its a lot better now, I hope Don won't feel its overkill, being he liked it before! :p
I then adjusted everything to have his feet walking on the two lines rather than one as Don suggested we all do. I feel this has helped a lot.
I then added Stuey's head to the animation to all frames. Then redrew them to animate his head flicking up & down to match the walk, with slight drag to match the bouncing weight. There's not much to his expression yet, I plan on doing an adjusted loop changing every few cycles to show him nervously looking behind, but hopefully I've got the basic shape & proportions correct?
I then went through the drawings adding more straights, mostly in the back & parts of the arms, & giving him a more pronounced bum as don showed to avoid the beanbag shapelessness of some of my original in-betweens.
Here's where I got to before the deadline to submit. I now won't work on it any more til I here Don's comments, in case there is anything I need to change before developing further.
If Don gives the ok, I'm looking forward to adding the secondary movements of the hair & ears, & adding details like the clothes & tail.
I have to say, whilst I might have imagined it would be tedious to draw the same thing over & again each time, I am really enjoying working on the animation a little each day, going back & improving it each time. I'e redrawn all three frames at least 5 times each, some many more times, but I really feel I'm making progress each time, & I feel I'm learning a lot in the process :)
08-20-2010, 05:10 PM
Tried to update with this description in the critique thread but it was locked by the time I finished typing! Luckily I got the videos and pics up in time :cool:
I decided to make a farm for Stuey. I watched the "Sun Do Shine" section of Rockadoodle & froze on parts of scenery I liked, then tried to draw them, & put them together to make a looping background. I made sure to include Peepers' house & made a house for the mouse in the close by fence post. I also added a butterfly (referenced from Rockadoodle as well) to eventually add a variation to Stuey's walk where it surprises him.
I'm still working on Stuey's tail, I haven't managed to get it to a point where I'm happy with yet so I've left it off. I'll work on it.
The backgrounds are moving on 1s, whilst Stuey's animation is on 2s. If Don's happy I'll finish Stuey & more him to 1s, & add the variations to his cycles, & some more ideas I have for improvements if I have time.
Separate frames for Stuey as printable jpgs at the link below (its an album)
08-20-2010, 08:12 PM
Great job Sam. I love the multiplane paralax shift effect. How many layers do you have there? What software do you use to composite the scene?
08-21-2010, 06:16 AM
lol Thanks man. But not really, just checked out your video, looks like you got it scrolling well. Thats the tricky part. Once you've worked that out its actually pretty easy to add other layers, as they can move at whatever speed you want & you don't need to worry about slippage etc :)
The only worry is getting multiple layers to loop, but thats fairly simple as long as you keep them at even percentages of size & speed (ie twice as long at twice the speed, half as long at half the speed etc)
I feel like a bit of a douche for uploading one so much more complicated than other people's, this wasn't my intention. I just ws enojying what I was doing & added more layers as time went on, a new one each day. Only took around an hour to draw & scan each one. If I'd have realised so many people were having problems getting the first one to work I'd have offerred to help, but I can only watch videos on my pc every so often, as at home, my internet connection is useless :( As I say though its not anywhere near as complicated or difficult as it might seem, once you've got the first layer scrolling anyone can do it :)
BTW well counted! There are 5 main layers that scroll & loop independently. The middle layer also has 2 part layers that scroll at the same speed, for the rocks & grass that cover Stuey's feet (tbh this was a mistake in the original drawing, but on reflection it looks cool! ;) ) & 1 adding the reflection in the mud. I admit the reflection is just showing off, just occurred to me as something to try when compiling it together. Again, simple to do, just use a paint package to flip & mirror, set to 50% alpha, then create a cutout using a silouette of what area you want to see or hide.
There are a very MANY mistakes in my vid especially in some of the perspectives & scale on the drawings. I'm sure Don will pull me up on them! However, as its a rough pencil test I didn't want to "waste" time re-drawing these, as to me it was more about me getting carried away enjoying making an environment for these little guys to live in - I kept thinking what would Stuey want to see when he goes for a walk round his home, where would his friends live, how would different areas be fenced off etc. Of course, none of it is from my imagination, its all taken from Rockadoodle, but the "fun" part was putting the bits together in 3d space to work out how to fit it together to make a satisfactory loop.
When I was younger (& tbh still now) I was obsessed with the "Green Hill Zone" level of Sonic the Hedgehog. It was the first example of (admittedly very simple) paralax scrolling & layers I'd seen. I recreated the effect, along with a Sonic walk/run cycle & that cute theme tune on many computers over the years with creative programming, from a CBM PET, through C64, Amiga 500 & 486DX2. This actually reminded me a lot of that. Infact it might be fun to make a program where Stuey is controlable :P
08-21-2010, 06:40 AM
2K aww there was no need to edit your original message I didn't take offense - actually made me laugh :laughing: I always take things in the spirit intended ;)
To answer your question, as I said below its 5 main layers, with the middle one split into 3, so 7 I guess, then another layer for Stuey, 1 for the butterfly (which I shamelessly stole from the "Sun Do Shine" openning :o Really fun to draw though!), & 1 which is simply plain white where I intend to add a still sky with (perhaps) some slowly animated clouds & a sun, if I have time.
As for software, I mostly use Paint Shop Pro 5, an ancient bit of kit I bought back in 1998. Its essentially a simpler version of Photoshop. Everything I did here you could do in Photoshop using the same method. Although I have CS2 as well, more often than not I do most tasks in PSP5 as its so much faster & efficient on most hardware due to the age, & the fact I took ages learning how to use it, so I'm damn well gonna! :rolleyes:
PSP5 came with Animation Shop 1 free, which is technically used for creating animated gifs, but I find it v useful for quickly testing animations with its Wizard, as it'll automatically compile & loop images in alphabetical order (so naming frames "Stuey 01", "Stuey 03" etc is fine)
I drew the different layers on bits of paper stuck together using the method Don showed us last week, scanned them in & kept them as oversized layers in PSP, then created another layer as an interval guide (which i hid before exporting each image), then scrolled each one by hand accordingly. This was fiddly & took a long time, so I only did it when I was sure it was right!
To test the scrolling interval speeds before that I used Sony Vegas (again a very old version but I legally own it! Any software capable of scrolling an image, IE Flash, Toonboom etc would have done, but I don't own these) to simply scroll them past at different speeds, but I couldn't get this to create a satisfactorly accurate end result, it sometimes skipped & fuzzed round the edges. You can see an example of what I mean there if you look at the reflection layer, which was the only one I didn't have time to do by hand. It doesn't quite fit right. Hopefully it doesn't ruin the effect though & I can fix it before the final version.
PSP doesn't export videos, so once I had every frame renderred down I put them together using Sony Vegas. Any animation package would have done it just as well though, Digicel etc, I only used it to join the jpgs together then output the mov file.
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