Since working on the graduation film is just a nightmare at the moment and close to impossible, I’ve decided to instead focus some more time to personal projects, focusing on animation and movement rather than a full production. It’s nice that we leave here with a full film credit but it means I am jumping from all different points in a production and not focusing on the movement itself. My goal is to be an animator, so that’s what I’m going to focus on. I feel as though a lot of time is wasted making a full film rather than focusing on learning fundamental skills for animating. Putting more attention, care and thought into a small piece of animation will garner much better results than one big project for learning.
I purchased a set of rigs focused on body mechanics, though I have learnt I enjoy rigging and the technical process, I don’t want my animations to be limited by my abilities to rig. So I’ll be taking the time to experiment with a number of quality rigs that are created by professional riggers. Starting with body mechanics and language, prioritising the shift of weights and balance, I’ll slowly progress up to full acting and facial animation, seeking harsh criticism from people working within the industry who have the knowledge and the eye to give the feedback I need to progress. I’ll also be looking at getting fully involved with groups such as the 11 second club for performance animating and timed challenges, as well as peer reviews.
My introduction to these rigs will start with simple posing to familiarise myself to the control setup for each of them. I’ll then work on some simple cycle animations, to get used to the capabilities of the rigs in motion before putting them to test with some complex body mechanics. Using a multitude of tested and well put together rigs should also allow me to more quickly grasp any new rigs I may encounter in the future as each are as unique as the riggers that create them.
I’ll also be looking to Workflow and production pipelines specific to animators rather than the whole production, Working my way through Game Anim textbook aswell as the animation survival guide for reference. I want to go back to the simple aspects of animation fundamentals and ensure that I know these well, as during my time here at ECA these haven’t been enforced or highlighted… or even touched upon.
As an extension to this I’ll also be doing animation reviews from films to study how it’s done for big film production and analyse the movements made. I’ll be catching up on a number of animated films I haven’t seen, in all genres – 3d, stop-motion, hand drawn and more. Breaking down what I think works really well in selected scenes, studying the movement and seeking to recreate the motion and adapting it to something more personalised (so as to really get my mind working and thinking like an animator rather than copying something that already works).
My hope is that these smaller projects will allow me to focus on the finesse of movement and create the smaller details that really sell the believability of life within animation.
For now here’s my first attempts at this process with the body mechanics rigs.