Animation / Week 6 and 7 / Unity 3D
The final two weeks of the class covered some of the basics of animating in Unity 3D. It also briefly featured Fuse CC and Mixamo, and how they facilitate creation and animation of characters using pre-defined rigs and skins.
Concept : I wanted to create a simple controller for a drunk character. Due to the finals week and shortage of time, I kept the application as simple as possible.
For the assignment I imported a character and some animations from Mixamo, using which I scripted some movements on key presses. The character has the ability to walk, turn, walk backwards, dance, and fall down. And it does all of that as an inebriated person would do. The staging of the character was done in a medieval setting. To create the environment, I imported some terrains and objects from the asset store. In order to exaggerate the drunk effect, I parented the character’s body to the camera. The result was very interesting.
Tools used : Fuse CC, Mixamo, Unity 3D, QuickTime, Unity Asset Store
Conclusively, the course was intriguing and opened me up to the possibilities of experimenting with moving visuals in both 2D and 3D formats. I would love a dedicated course on animation (at the school or through personal study), wherein some of this experimentation can be formally realized and constructed into something that is more finished and conceptually stronger.
Animation / Week 2,3,4,5 / After Effects
The second, third and fourth week were about learning and playing around with different techniques in Adobe After Effects. Personally, it turned out to be a good learning experience in terms of the abilities of video editing and possibilities of creating/editing simple and complicated animations using the tool. I worked with Roi and Wenqi on this project.
Concept : Roi already knew what he wanted to do when we started. He was keen on making a promo video for a non-existent product. One source of reference that we looked out for was the animated startup videos that are prevalent these days. We were aiming to construct something that promoted a product but also talked about a societal issue at the same time. The theme of global warming was decided, and we went along with the idea about a product that can modulate weather. The animation was staged in a dystopian society taken over by global warming, one where people are trapped in floods, but are happy with the consumerist satisfaction of being capable of modulating weather for their individual selves.
Work-distribution and Techniques Used : The work was equally split between the three of us. I picked up the character designs and part of the animation. Roi picked up the opening scene and the sound-over. Wenqi worked on the informercial and the sound effects. I used Photoshop to create the environments and the characters. I made sure to construct everything in high resolution so that we don’t encounter pixelation. It didn’t work out so well, though. The buildings in the opening scene had some pixelation issues since I underestimated the resolution of the video. Eric made some seamless informercial visuals using SketchUp and After Effects. And Roi constructed a brilliant sound-over for the animation, along with a great opening scene.
Tools Used : Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop, SketchUp
Animation / Week 1 / Stop-Motion
First week of animation dealt with the principles of animation and stop motion, examples and techniques of which were shared with us. For a long time, I had been considering attempting stop-motion animation using my illustrations. However, due to the one week timeline, I decided to make something that was simpler and quicker to achieve. I worked with Mithru and Scott on the animation piece.
Concept : We were circling our heads around many ideas. One thing that we agreed on was that we didn’t want to do a funny story, and do something with an idea/purpose instead. We settled on presenting the evolution of interaction through the decades. The idea was to star two people at a table, who begin interacting with conversations, gradually move to written letters, text messages and eventually VR.
Technique : We used pixelation for creating the piece. I worked on the camera, while Mithru and Scott starred in the video. Through the process, we were continuously exchanging ideas and how to execute the next steps. Both Mithru and Scott held their positions for long stretches of time, which was quite commendable. The output, as a result, turned out to be great.
Tools used : DragonFrame, Canon 5D.
Credits : Mithru Vigneshwara, Scott Reitherman, Utsav Chadha
This initial experiment with stop motion was very interesting, and has opened me up to exploring the technique further to make moving images using illustrations.