October 11, 2013

Animation Staycation Finale

My staycation to learn more about animating in Maya and put together an animated show piece has ended, but my work on said show piece is still very much in progress.

I took the last Friday and Monday off in September this year to use as my last Staycation days. That gave me a second long weekend to research and animate a shot in Maya. Over the course of this weekend I doubted my first idea and came up with two entirely new ideas! I spent time researching these ideas and even started to animate one of them. When I went back to work that week and stepped away from the whole experience I ended up deciding to go back to idea #1. (This is the scene of a man chasing a squirrel up a tree.) Sadly, I couldn't get the Gunter rig I was using to cooperate with me. I love it's design and really wanted to use it, but it wasn't working out. So I switched over to the Malcolm rig and ended up learning how to use a rig picker which is awesome! AnimSchool created this picker for it's custom Malcolm rig and you can even make you own buttons. So I made a whole set of buttons for the Squirrelly rig I'm using too which is excellent. I just know there must be a few ways to work more efficiently than I currently am and I just don't know what they are yet. I've picked up a few great tips and shortcuts so far and using the picker is a fantastic new tool for me to use. It lets me animate faster and easier.

The climbing piece that I've decided to animate had to take a couple steps back before I could move forward. One fellow animator I showed the animatic (leica) to felt that the first camera move crossed the axis line. While I think that's up for debate since I believed the transition was clear, I sure don't want anyone who watches this piece to get hung up on something like that. So I had to pick a new camera angle for the first scene of the shot and it gave me the exciting opportunity to get some more squirrel screen time in. Happy accident! So I had to storyboard and thumbnail poses for that. And then, because I had switched to a new rig for the human, I had to start the animation over for that guy and consider tweaks to his personality since it's a completely different character.

Here are some of the pose thumbnails I did for the squirrel. They're super scribbly and rough but they're enough for me to get started. I like being able to get broad ideas out quickly and clearly. I refine my ideas from the point of brainstorm.
Here's my animatic so far! It's only the first scene of the shot. I've already got a pile of fantastic revision notes from my best critique resource! It's pretty awesome to have someone like that, that you can show work to and get a really honest and helpful critique.
I'll share more when I have more to show!


  1. Hello andrea...in your pickel short..are you totally depending on hand drawn animation using toon boom..or you are depending on both hand drawn and toon boom rigging tool...wanna start using toon boom soon and i need to know how to combine hand drawn and toon boom tools to be fast with the animation process..thank you andrea

  2. Hi Bamidele. Have you ever used Toonboom before? How about Flash? They have some similarities. If you need to get started with Toonboom I've got a few tutorials on my blog here to get you started, and there are certainly many "how to" videos on youtube by Toonboom as well. As for the work I'm doing on my short; Pickled, I'm going to use a hybrid of hand drawn and puppet animation within Toonboom. The first scene I animated was on paper and I scanned all the images when I was done. From there I'm going to clean up that animation frame by frame in Toonboom. From now on I'm just going to do all of the animation in Toonboom as I think doing digital hand drawn animation is going to save time. I did build character rigs for my main characters, so on a scene by scene basis I'll use a combination of puppet and digital hand drawn to get the full animation I want while also being conscious of using time saving techniques. Please find my Toonboom tutorials here: http://pickledperfection.blogspot.com/search/label/toonboom%20tips. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more questions or want me to put together a tutorial to explain something.

  3. Thanks a zillion times andrea...i will check out your toon boom tutorial..and will check out youtube too...have not used flash nor TB before...i usually use anime studio pro...which im not happy with again..yes i still have lot of questions to ask..lolz...

  4. Please...you mentioned that in your first scene in pickled,you used hand drawn animation throughout...please can you explain your approach towards this..like how you prepared your paper and how you drew on it and how you maintained the accuracy of the character on the same level in each frames..thank you...(still working on my blog,i will let you know when im done with it to show you my stuffs)

  5. Hey Bamidele. Have you animated before? And it's hand drawn animation that you're interested in right now? Why do you want to learn to do hand drawn animation? I'm just curious about the path you want to take. Learning to do hand drawn animation is a fantastic way to learn your animation principals no matter what medium you want to use in the future. I have plans to open an online hand drawn animation school at some point in the future. I don't have the time these days to open up to the public but since it's new I need to have a couple students try some lessons for free so that I can see how they respond to the curriculum. Would you be interested in some online lessons taught by me? You're asking some big questions, which I can give a brief answer to here, but if you wanted to really learn more about animation maybe we can do some lessons together. Let me know what you think and please feel free to email me at andreakhaid@gmail.com.

  6. Im more than glad for this...im so much interested...im glad i can be your student..i will send an email about myself and my plan to you..thank you


Take a Deep Breath...

Here is a small taste of a big scene I've been working on! It's been so addictive to work on this. I hate doing a bunch of work and ...