Monday, 10 December 2012

Year 4, Semester 1 summary - Krokodi - rigging and animation

Rigging and Animation research
To begin researching animation for the 'Hunter' character I looked back at animated films that had originally been an influence and inspiration for 'Krokodi'. I picked out screenshots that showed character expressions that reminded me of how the Hunter might look in a certain situation.

One of the first examples was the cook and van driver in the short animated film 'Oktapodi'. The whole style of the film was very stylized, fun and lively - something we are aiming for with Krokodi.
'Oktapodi' - Gobelins 2007
 the look of evil determination on the restaurant cook's face as he tries to deliver an octopus (and it tries to escape from him) reminded me of the same look the Hunter would have at seeing 'Dee' for the time and realizing that he has found the creature he's been on the hunt for. Also as he thinks he is about to succeed at hunting her while firing the crossbow at her:

The Annecy 2012 Partner's Trailer includes a Caveman character with the similar motivations to our 'Hunter' character - hunting! There is also a similar scene to when the 'Hunter' finds a crossbow in the swamp, where the caveman finds an extra stick in the forest ground, and they both put these new finds into use. The Caveman's facial expressions show off the reaction to discovering the new found object, from initial surprise and wonder, thinking and realizing what he can use it for, then taking the action to use it:




 Other characters I researched in the same way were, Loony Tunes 'Elmer Fudd', and Tadeo Jones and Max Mordon from the movie 'Tadeo Jones':





 Another part of my research was looking at real footage of Hunters, explorers and nature presenters. I have watched video footage to observe Nature Presenters including ‘The Crocodile Hunter’ Steve Irwin and ‘Deadly 60’ presenter Stephen Backshall. I also have some relevant programs recorded such as ‘Swimming with Crocodiles’, ‘Attenborough: 60 Years in the Wild’, clips from ‘I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!’ and ‘The Real Man’s Road Trip: Sean and Jon Go West’ episode in which they travel to Louisiana swamps infested with alligators. I plan to watch these again to sketch from while I observe the behaviour, expressions and movement of the presenters. Through this research I will be able to see if there are any common behavioural traits or mannerisms that can be seen and that I can translate onto Krokodi’s ‘Hunter’ character.
Acting and drama theory is another area I would like to research further to help bring out the best performance possible with animation for Krokodi.

As part of my research for rigging the 'Hunter' character in 'Krokodi', I looked in armature for stop motion puppets. The ball and socket joints in a stop motion armature act in very similar similar ways to how real human joints move, and the same thing can be replicated in 3D character rigs with parent and child joints. I also found through reading up about stop motion armatures that they are made specific to what the puppet is required to do and animate. This is also the same for 3D, therefore I will be applying this to building the rig for the 'Hunter', using the research for animating him, and by looking back at the animatic, figuring out what action he is required to act out; and making a rig (or more than one rig if a specific action is required) that is able to achieve these actions. Here are some pages from my sketchbook:



The plan for Semester 2 is to put into practice what I have researched and learned to create a rig and blend-shapes for the 'Hunter' that will therefore allow me to create expressive, charismatic and entertaining animation.