A new animation research project begins, Character Essences! It will combine theatre techniques of character creation with traditional and procedural animation. Drawing on character archetypes from Commedia dell’arte and the physical theatre methods of Jacque le Coque and Rudolf Laban, the main focus is to find movement parameters (constants and variables) that define well established characters.
Cazani is an aspiring cactus juggler, although it hurts! He also IS one, a cactus that is! His baggy eyes tell of his nightly practice rounds. He’s worried that his parents won’t approve of his career choice of running away with the circus.
His only hope is that one day he can prove to them he is good enough, because the world loves his act. Cazani loves the magenta flowers that pop on his forehead from time to time, but worries that they make him look less manly. Will he ever learn to let go of other people’s judgements and just be himself?
Narly is a pre-raphaelite narwhal who likes sounds. He enjoys acapella music and is fascinated by the resonance of words from the human world. His movements vary depending on the melody he’s hearing. In the deep blue sea Narly listens carefully. Nothing is without meaning to him, as all the noise out there becomes beautiful music to our little friend.
Narly was modelled in Maya, using a couple of narwhal references found online. The UV map was then created and used as reference for our texturing. The textures were handmade, as acrylic paints were used on a dented paper sheet. The resulting painting was then photographed and edited in Gimp to fit the UVs.
We used a combination of pre-raphaelite and sea creature references to inspire our style of painting. The results can be seen below. The next step is to create a rig for Narly and to drive its animation via filtered sound waves in Houdini. He is a sound narwhal after all!
Tippy is a tap dancer and is moving to the big city of Shuffelsville for his studies. You can follow his story in the storyboards section of my animation site here. Now we’re working on modelling, rigging and animating a few of his moves in Maya. Here he is taking his first steps, with his controllers on top.
Our latest animation plugin for Maya is The Robin Animator V1.0! It can be used to generate basic procedural animations of little bird characters. These animations can then be exported for your games, rendered in your films or can serve as reference for more complex animations.