September 2018 retrospective

For me, September is a transitional season – warming weather and slowly emerging from the fog of late winter. Let’s recap!


I’ve stalled with the animation courses a bit. Partly the slow progress is from being ill at the beginning of the month, and partly because the day job ramped up again after I recovered. Most of the last fortnight has been pretty mind-numbing and exhausting, but at least this time it’s just made me brain-tired without robbing me of sleep.

Also animation is hard so I’ve been procrastinating like crazy. 🙂

When last we left our head on legs…

For this exercise, I’ve ramped up the difficulty a bit on my own initiative. I’m consciously pushing myself to break away from naturalism to attempt something more stylised. Ultimately, that’s what I want my animation to move like because it’s much more fun to watch than naturalistic animation. Here’s one small step in that direction!

Back to the kick. At this point, I have.. something, I guess? What you see below is recognisably a robot kicking a soccer ball but I don’t want to submit this. There’s a lot that isn’t working and I can definitely do better!

Where’d your momentum go, dude?

Another blocker has been my inexperience with using video reference. This inexperience was the reason I put down the lipsync course and started the body mechanics course. I shot reference but I couldn’t make sense of it. How do I find usable stuff like keys in this impenetrable tangle of overlapping action and acting beats? Gah! (Maybe something simpler, like body mechanics… ?)

It turns out that using video reference also takes lots of practice. I made the rookie mistake of starting relatively cold and hoping the reference would tell me everything I needed to know, and as a result the reference was nigh impossible to make sense of.

It helped me a lot to have specific questions for the footage to answer, questions like “how does this motion work, mechanically speaking?”, “where are the shifts in weight and momentum?”, “what striking poses/shapes are there?” and “what secondary actions are there?”. Even with more specific questions like these, the answers still take diligent work to find out. Animation is hard!

For instance, the body’s forward momentum in this kick was a mystery until I finally caught the kicking leg planting the body’s momentum hard into the ground about 1/4 sec after the kick. Because this epiphany came so late in the month, I’ve yet to turn it into anything except some thumbnails and these words.

A moment in the sun

I don’t want to say anything concrete and definite about AMITS for now, but I’m back to giving it some thought again. Many moons ago, Beorn Leonard of “Glass Half” suggested trying little sketches featuring Gronky and Pointy before attempting an entire short movie on my first trip out. That makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

Blender 2.8 is also close enough to beta that it would be crazy not to take advantage of Eevee. Initially I wanted to use Cycles for AMITS to get a more physical look, but that feels like something better left for a longer short.

That’s about everything for now. See you at the end of October!