Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Jump Research

After hearing positive feedback from the Whack'd team I have started looking into jumping so that the character can jump off the chair. I'm not quite sure how he will do it, he may have to stand on the chair first. These videos show how to jump from a height, although he is really just stepping from the platform. I do think the way that he lands is interesting and shows how my character should be positioned. I will try this method tomorrow.

This is a very basic video, of which my interest is the diagram near the middle. It has made me question how extreme a pose he will pull whilst in the air, with the legs that dramatically high it could add good exaggeration to the scene or make it look a bit too much and silly. Again I will try this in my scene. I do like the arms over the head pose however as I used it in my first chair attempt because he is being shot at and it can be seen as a sort of protective gesture like he is trying to shield himself. If it does give him more power in his jump then it could show even more thought behind his pose.

This website tells you how to achieve a high vertical jump just like the video above. This is mostly what I could find about jumping on the internet.


Looking at pictures of jumps on Google, a common theme is to have the arms in the air and the legs bent up. I think the arms up is a bit extravagant for jumping off an armchair so I may just have a little movement in them, but the legs up is a definite possibility as it will give him more height, be a dramatic key, and also give him enough clearance between himself and the arm.

This research did make me wonder what type of chair he has to jump from?

Obviously the more cushioned the chair, the more bounce he will have from it, which will give him more height and a better jump. If the chair is just a cheap plastic one or more rigid, it is more likely that it will fall over with him rather than a clean jump off it. If it does fall over he could use it as a shield and pick it up rather than hiding behind it.

I think these are more questions for the Whack'd team, but for now I will explore the different possibilties.

Basic Walk Cycle

After trying to complete the lip sync and the chair scene, I have started trying to create walk cycles. I know I am not that great with them so want to improve them not only for my own showreel but also to impress the BA teams. I tried a basic one above which I am not entirely happy with because I think he moves too fast on 12 frames per step and he needs more follow through with the hands. I am going to try and improve at least the hands and the head wobble tomorrow.

I also started this sneak walk cycle, using tips from yhe Richard William's book 'The Animator's Survival Kit'. I think it is ok, one of the arms is letting him down so I need to try and play with the Graph Editor for a bit longer to get smooth action in the arcs. His head also moves a little too quickly near the end so I will slow this or create less of a movement tomorrow.

I also aim to start (and hopefully complete) a run cycle tomorrow, this is my primary aim for the day, as well as trying different ways the Max rig can jump off of his chair. These will only be rough quick tests to see which the Whack'd group prefer.

Showreel Research


Uploaded by Mister3ZE. - Classic TV and last night's shows, online.

The Mill Showreel
Uploaded by web_suru. - More lifestyle, fashion and how-to videos.

Showreel Forum

As I cannot really research much for the BA films at the moment I am going to look into what is needed for a good character animation showreel, as this is what I want to be when I finish my degree.

I found this online forum at
which I think is quite interesting. I have made the font bold of the bits I want to include or that are helpful.

04-05-2007, 01:12 AM
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What should be in a 3D Character Animator's Showreel?
Dear Friends,I just want to get an information about what should be in a 3D Character Animator's show reel in order to get a job in a good studio.please advice,Thank you

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04-05-2007, 04:45 PM
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cover the basic principles of animation...

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06-05-2007, 07:18 AM
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Hello Paddy,What you need to showcase in a character animation showreel is a hardcore understanding of the basics of animation (As Mukks rightly mentioned) included in an equal share of acting plus action assignments. Remember, its the animation that counts so rendering isnt that important.Finally, You always compile the BEST of the BEST work that you have. NEVER all the work that you have done. This is due to the fact that studios receive thousands of reels to review...and they pick only the ones that have an edge over the others. All the best to ya then!Cheers!moush
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13-06-2007, 04:04 PM
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Paddy Ji.. If it is a freshers showreel you can prepare the reel in following way.Have a couple of attitude run/walk cycles, some basic animation excercises like character ball bounce, character lifting up a heavy weight etc. Then you can put the character in a particular situation and animate him eg. A man sitting in someone's office and breaks something on the table and is trying to hide his act n embarresment. Then in the end have a couple of dialogues with acting and facials. This covers up the complete thing required from an animator. Just my views...

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05-12-2007, 04:27 PM
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well.....I totally agree with wot my frnds said should follow principles of animation ......well i wanna add something more....if am wrong....Gustaki maaf !!! .....put some bindaas walk happy,sad, angry ..dat sort......and even try 2 put a same walk cycle(like happy, sad...etc) in 2 different characters...and feel the difference......make some funky morphing with emotions...I personally feel good morphing adds more weight in showreel....may also try some matrix style fights(STAGING should be good)...main thing is LENGHTY showreel at all.....stretch it to maximum 2 mins...make it interesting...and clips arrangent order should be like.....BEST---INTERMEDIATE---BEST.....and hopefully dat's all as from my limited brain is concerned....

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If your showreel just has walk cycles, run or jump cycles, then you wont make far. Don't do what others do, do something unique! Yes you will have to cover the basic principles of animation, but also you will have to do that in a way such that the walk cycle dosent seem like a walk cycle, i mean make it look natural enough. Also, along with a human or biped figure, try to show a quadrupade like a wolf or something...Don't think of stretching the reel to 2 mins... think 30secs!You will be judged within the first 30 secs only! Whenever you go for a job try to use some job specific reels, don't put a modelling or rigging clip for a animator's job. Also remember, you will only have first 5 to 6 secs to actually grab attention, dont think they will watch your entire reel, and dont put the best or climax scenes in the end. most of the time employers will just watch the starting and then reject it if its not interesting enough!

Reflections: Week One

Ok so the first week or so since we started the project has gone and I already feel deep into the animation process.
I am happy as I have managed to create quite a good lipsync using Max for the Pirates team, and also fulfilled the scene where he is shot at for the Whack'd one. I wanted to apply for both teams as they both have exciting projects and I hope this way at least one of them will pick me.

I am a little annoyed as I have been quite sick the last few days and this has stopped me showing my full potential and I am still working on walk cycles for Max. I want to create a normal kind of posing walk and also try and run and maybe have him run into something.

Even if I do not get chosen (which I pray I do), these will at least show some different skills for me and I feel I could at least add my lip sync to my showreel already. I do think the Whack'd scene needs some more work, but I do like when he is breathing when he realises he is being shot at as it has quite smooth animation and seems to flow quite well.

The Whack'd scene playblast

My PickPocket lipsync

Reflections for the last week:


  • Started character animation using Lip sync and emotion
  • Feel I have more to add to my showreel already :)
  • Managed to get the Max rig to move around quite a lot, especially walking away whilst crouched
  • Managed to get some smooth transitions when he is breathing, and it looks good with his facial expressions


  • I haven't done as much as I wanted to get done (stupid illness)
  • I'm not quite sure whether to start researching for a 30s project yet as I do not know if I am wanted
  • I haven't completed a lip sync I started using the Usual Suspects and Moom, however I am going to give myself the term to make it look really good as I want him to show a lot of emotion in the scene
  • Walk cycles are still in progress

Aims for the end of the week:

  1. Start researching what to put into a showreel and make sure I hit those markers this term
  2. Walk cycles!
  3. Hopefully find out if I am working with a BA film and start work on that, if not join a 30s group and start researching for ideas

Thursday, 25 March 2010

I'm already Whack'd

I have just received this email and rig from the Whack'd team:

'Hey guys,Just sending a file for you to do some animation with. The two files I've attached are 'maxformaya' rig, and a short storyboard jpeg of the sequence we need you to animate for.In the maxformaya file, create a small arm-chair for the character rig, nothing too amazing just somewhere for him to sit, then animate the following scene:[The character looks towards a window and realises he's being shot at. He then jumps over the arm of the chair, and hides behind it for cover. He peeks up after a few seconds to have a look. More bullets come through the window, causing him to duck back down in fear.]Don't worry about modelling, lighting etc, just focus your effort on the characters performance and animation. You can also position the camera where ever, as long as the animation can be seen clearly. Refer to the storyboard if need be. Can you send a playblast or maya file with your completed animation to this email address by Tuesday 30th March.Any questions, just email us.Thanks a bunch, good luck guys.Sam and Dan.'

Here is the rig, I love the level of facial controls and I'm really excited to start animating with him. I aim to have the work done for Tuesday, as well as a walk cycle if I can. I want to blow their socks off!!
Animating here I come... :)

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Rigs To Play With

While I wait to decide which project I am working on this term, I can work on what I am going to add to my showreel. I have therefore just been on Creative Crash and downloaded a few new character rigs to try out. I will try them out and start animating with them by the end of the week (more than likely tomorrow)
I think these two characters will probably be the best for facial animation and trying out walk cycles, as the ones from my first year look awful to me now and I really want to improve them dramatically. I think the rig we had didnt help and it had a lot of limitations, so hopefully these will be easier to work with.

I am also going to use the old faithful of Moom as he is very expression driven and I want to use him for my Verbal Clint character from the Usual Suspects. I think the eccentricity of the rig will suit the character and I know I can get dynamic facial expressions from him.

Pirates contact

I just emailed Lewis who is lead on the Pirates of the Produce Aisle film, hopefully my showreel will impress him so I can work on their film.

'Hi Lewis :)I put my name down to be an animator for your Pirates of the Produce Aislefilm yesterday and wanted to send you a link to one of my blogs. This onecontains my Showreel and some of the projects I have done at Rave so youget an idea of the kind of things I have done.

I really like your project and would be more than happy to help.

I just wanted to ask, if you do get a rig done by friday, what would youwant us to so with it? For example would you want a lip sync test or awalk cycle by next week? Oh and also when will we find out if we can workwith you?

Hope everything is going ok, Hayley'

I have also been looking at their blog at it seems they have an awful lot of work to do, which is great if they choose me as I want to push my character animation work this term and want to do enough animation to fulfil my criteria for my own project.

I am also going to try and contact Tom from the same team and also Sam from the Whak'd group for more information as to what they would like.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010


Ive have just returned from Ravensbourne after hearing the explanation for our project brief and presentations from BA students and the Rave Live team about what we can do to fulfil it.

I liked a couple of the BA film ideas and put my name down for the Whak'd and Pirates of the Product Aisle films. I would like to work on either of these because I think I would be able to use character animation and especially in Pirates I want to add lip sync. I am quite good at lip syncing yet have not have the capabilities to use it to any great strength in my projects this year, so to do so would be great for my own personal goals and it will also form part of what I want to include on my Showreel DVD.

Futhermore, I want to be an animator in my career after Ravensbourne and would really like to animate without having all the worries of modelling and texturing etc etc. I think this would make my animation better as I would have longer to fine tune the character believable performance. I also want to experiment more with facial controls and adding emotion to my characters, which I will be able to do with the more complex rigs that have been created by the BA students as opposed to Moom for example.

I do not mind which film I work on as both look fun, that I could improve my skills on them, and also they are both backed by friendly teams I can imagine working with.

On the other hand, I do have the option to create a thirty second short film to be shown at Rave Live. I will use this option if one of the BA groups does not pick me. I decided not to create one of the idents for Rave Live because I want to create and focus on my character animation and I do not feel I could do so effectively using the ident ideas for the logo. I also think I would become uninspired quite quickly and wish to enjoy the last project of the year. The deadline of the end of April also concerns me and I would prefer to take up the whole term so that I can finely tweak the animation I create.

For now, I must wait to see if one of the BA groups choose me and will hopefully find out by the end of the week. Furthermore, I will think of ideas for the short film as a backup and also begin to practice my lip sync to fill in one of the gaps of my showreel and strengthen my case for a place on a BA team.

Monday, 22 March 2010

DVD ideas and current showreel

Hayley Allen Showreel 2010 Number One from Hayley Allen on Vimeo.

This is my latest showreel, obviously it is in a different format as to what the DVD will be, but it is a start and I know the areas that I need to improve on from it. Ideally, I would like to possibly take out the end with the bug post production project as I already have this as part of the Labyrinth section and this is obviously newer and a little more complex. I guess for the DVD version I could keep both in and set them in their own section depending on how much space I have left over on the disc.

I want my DVD to show basic animation principles and the core of performance done to the best of my ability.

Project Brief Reflections

I have just read my brief for this term and have no idea what I am going to do for it. I am a little disappointed that it is a group project because of us having one last term. I realise that it is necessary in the Industry and i do work well with others, but I was hoping for a character piece just to show off my animation skills as I see fit. I guess this will form part of the DVD of our work, where I am going to especially focus in the first few weeks of term when my group project is decided.

I wish to include on the DVD:
  • more character animation
  • complex lip sync (I have decided to use a scene from the Usual Suspects and may choose a different film in addition to this)
  • character animation showing emotion (possibly part of the lip sync but also to try and convey emotion without sound)
  • walk cycles using different rigs

If I have enough spare time I would ideally like to create another 2D animated piece to show that I can use both sets of skills. I would like to improve on my walk cycle from my first year at Ravensbourne as my knowledge and skills have improved significantly since then.

Another of my key aims for the term is to make this blog more cohesive than my previous attempts, literally adding and updating as I do my work. My animations at different stages, aims for each week and my reflections of my progress will all be included this term. I am going to make sure of that.

So for the project I am going to wait until my first lesson which is tomorrow, as we had this email from our tutor Jared;

'Hello all, I've mentioned this to the 3rd years that I saw earlier today, and to
Mike and Dan. There is a possibility of second year students working on BA films and
getting credit for it for their Industry Exercises 3 unit that they have to complete
this term. I'd like those of you in 3rd year who have a clear idea of how you need
help, to come and recruit some 2nd years tomorrow (Tuesday) at 2pm in the Level 2
room. Visuals of your film project, and a clear idea of where you need help should
be enough information to get you some eager recruits...
2nd years, I expect all of you to read the brief attached to my previous mail, once
you have read that, then make up your mind if you want to help out on a BA film. If
you definitely do, or can't make up your mind, then you need to be here to hear
this. If you definitely don't want to work for a 3rd year project then fair

I like the sound of working on the BA projects as it means our work will be showcased at the end of the year, it would also get me in touch with more students that could possibly be useful contacts in the future. Obviously it all depends on the films that they are working on and the roles that they would want me to do, as I do not want to be beraded into a job I do not want to do because I am a year lower than they are. I will think over the next couple of days and see what happens tomorrow...

Project Brief

Here is the Project Brief for Industry Exercises 3 : 'Selling Yourself'

This unit builds directly on the Industry Exercises 1 and Industry Exercises 2 units, allowing students to use their portfolio of animation skills to develop finished broadcast animation pieces (in small teams) to be shown during Rave on Air, and to generate an individual show-reel to promote those skills to employers. Students also develop more advanced planning and organisational skills necessary to manage team productions.

This unit has the potential to allow inter-faculty collaboration through the use of animation to promote the work of other courses in the creation of animated advertisements for Rave on Air (product design for example). Intra-faculty collaboration is also possible through the use of other disciplines such as post production and sound design that naturally complement the animation industry. These collaborations will be negotiated on a per team basis.

Aims of the Unit

To enable students to initiate, plan, and complete complex team projects.
To enable students to work to broadcast standards of quality.
To provide experience of establishing and developing team project schedules and tracking progress towards project completion.
To enable students to demonstrate and promote the range and quality of their animation skills through the production of a show-reel.

The emphasis for this brief is upon fitness for broadcast purposes, if you read the learning outcomes and assessment criteria that follow this section then you will see that one of the main areas for your assessment is upon how well you meet technical parameters to enable your work to be broadcast.

You will be required to work in small teams, ideally, two, or three people per team.

You will be required to submit three pieces of work for assessment.

· An individual reflective journal (Blog)
· An individual interactive DVD showreel
· A group film fit for broadcast

This should focus on your plans for this project, your brief, your project schedule, and your performance as a team member. These can be supplemented by a group journal to help communication with team members, but the primary concern is your individual reflective account. These should be hosted on Blogspot, or Wordpress and the URLs submitted to your tutor.

Your showreel will take the form of a menu driven interactive DVD where users will be able to select which of your work they view. You will be expected to assemble a reel that demonstrates the breadth of your capability, and the diversity of your style as an animator. As such, you may use work from any point in your studies, or from outside your time at college. You may also consider generating new work this term to supplement perceived gaps in your portfolio. The main drivers for assessment here are NOT the quality of the individual pieces of work, but the way in which you choose to present them and to promote yourself…

This is where the majority of your effort will be directed for this project. You will have to choose a team first of all, ideally a small one of two or three individuals. Then you will have to negotiate a brief for your project. There are three main ways that you can fulfill this part of the brief, but all will depend upon you having a real client, and it is up to YOU to get information from your client to define your brief. This information should include a list of deliverable items, and a set of deadlines.

Way 1
Work as a junior on a BA film project.
Identify the film you want to work on, agree a role, agree deliverables, and then deliver them. It will not be possible to do much in the way of concept or modeling work for these films given the advanced state of their development, but it should be possible to do large amounts of UV mapping and texturing, lighting, rigging and animating.

Way 2
Work towards Rave Live.
This will involve you either working towards doing one of the six channel idents, in which case you will have to contact the graphics students responsible, or towards generating programme content in which case you will have to contact broadcast content creation students to find out their requirements. Be aware that work will need to be ready much in advance of May 19th, so it should be viable within a reduced time frame. Remember the panic that you had at the end of last term? That is a luxury that you do not have this term. It would probably be a good idea to attend all possible meetings about Rave Live, such as the one this Friday (26th) read your email, and look for posters…

The 3rd Way
Find an external client.You may source a client for your project beyond the confines of college. The same conditions apply, you will negotiate a brief, and whatever work you produce must be produced in a form that is technically suitable for broadcast purposes. Other than that, the subject matter or content are entirely down to you and your client. This is possibly the most challenging of the three ways you can fulfill this project…