Fourth Year

The Characters

The two characters of the film are a woman and a man, I have come to calling them Luna & Kiro, inspired by what they represent.

I decided not to do faces for the characters as I believe it would give them too much identity in the film and that’s not really what I want to be going for. The film isn’t really about these two, more about what they represent. I also wanted to tell the story soley through their kinetic expression rather than facial expressions.

Modelling

These 2 are Zbrush sculptures below. Although I never intended on using them, I always like dipping into zbrush to test thing out, concept and to quickly model organic forms like the hair. Zbrush is like keeping a wild animal as a pet, if you don’t give it attention now and then, it will eventually turn on you. You have to keep dipping in now and then just to make sure you don’t forget how to use it. Although core skills like anatomy, perception and fundamentals are always applicable, sometimes its easier just to forget how to make a mesh live to sculpt.

I redid the whole topology a number of times throughout the project. I think 3 or 4 times in total I scrapped the models and started fresh, I wanted them to be able to move without deforming poorly. It would also make my life down the line a whole lot easier to make sure this was all working well now. In a studio environment clean topology like this would be essential, and getting it right means the person you are handing it off to for rigging will like you more, and in turn the animator will like you more. Since I am playing the part of all three, taking the time to get it right makes a lot of sense.

Kiro – Final Model

Luna – Final Model

There are a few places where this could improve, I think particularly around the armpits and where the first edge loop into the upper arm begins. But for a single person modelling, rigging and animating on a year project I think this will suit my needs perfectly. I think the fact alone that there is not one single triangle in the model is already a win.

Rigging

I’ve gotten a lot better at rigging now and I actually quite enjoy the process. There’s something incredibly satisfying about designing how a model moves and giving it the ability to do so. Though It can be incredibly difficult at times and sometimes the gods of rigging decide that the 4 days of 12 hour shifts you put in were just not good enough and they would like you to start over again, making you want to retreat inside of yourself and scream your lungs out. All that aside, it’s kind of fun.

This is the first project I decided to make what I call a ‘proper rig’. By this I mean that if I were to hand this character to another animator, they should be able to animate perfectly well with it, without any explanation necessary. A good rig is intuitive, designed well and sleek. Controllers not in use should hide and reappear when needed. Too much clutter can be traumatising for an animator to deal with.