University first year is over, and while I didn't complete everything I wanted to complete, it was a fairly successful year for me.
The "Malfunction" aka "Toast!" flash animation:
I taught myself the new rigging capabilities of flash. I also met all the bugs that cs4 had to offer.
Time to complete: 1 week storyboard + 1 week for the drawings(character libraries) +1 week to animate= 3 weeks.
Then after it was completed I had to cut it down from 90 to 30 seconds. Cutting it down brought me to my first encounter with Adobe after effects. That was a valuable lesson, which helped me do the next project- Stoneage.
"Malfunction" was sent to one festival this far.
Things I can improve in it- some of the shots need refinement. The continuity of action is not perfect. I think of adding some shots in the beginning.
Stoneage - 3d animation short
Stoneage took about a month + 1 week to complete.
here is an improved render:
It was submitted to a CG contest. And It qualified me as a finalist in excellence in rigging category!! Now I am competing with final year students and people who have graduated (twice even). People with enormous amount of experience behind them. Just look at the list:
I am the guy with the robot avatar. My character set ups has to be the simplest of the lot. What I believe makes them good is exactly how simple and clear, but effective they are. The characters did everything that I needed for the 1 minute short.
The first and second prizes for this contest are both Internships at big studios in London! I can only hope now.
On the other hand, I couldn't qualify at the animation category and I don't blame them for that. The animation in stoneage is far from good.
I kind of ruined some of the shots in the last minute before rendering.
Some of my tutors told me to speed it up and make some changes. It was in the last moment, so the hasty changes to the old shots were bad. I scaled and snapped some keyframes, causing choppiness in the run cycle. Also messed up some of the key poses. The splines are hardly tuned or refined. Stoneage needs some work before I feel safe to send it to the festivals this year. Before making the refinements, I decided to spend some time looking into more professional ways of working on animation in Maya. For that purpose I chose the best tutorials that one could possibly find in the library- the book "How to cheat in Maya 2010 - tools and techniques for the Maya animator- by Eric Luhta.
By the time I was making these short animations, I got invitations from a bunch of festivals:
* Halifax,uk- "fundada artists film festival 2010" - deadline 31 may
* Moscow - "International Fest of Contemporary animation & media-art LINOLEUM" - deadline 1st of september
* Uk - Flip animation festival (email from Mark Goodliff)- deadline - july 9th
* animation festival "Anifest 2010" based in Canterbury (email from Mark again) - deadline 17th september
* Project twenty1- USA. This one is actually pay to get in event, and involves traveling to the states, so I will skip it for now.
Whats next for the summer?
One in my list is refining Stoneage before sending it to the festivals. If I win the cgcoach award, it will be one interesting summer for me.
Finding a job is high in my priority list, since I need it badly in order to stay in the UK- pay for rent and food next year. I dont want to rely on my dad and bursaries. I will stand on my own two feet.
Refining some of the skills that I need is the second priority:
Get faster at the modelling and texturing pipeline. Learn maya hair, cloth and how to add some automated secondary motion that is fairly clean , controllable and not too expensive as cpu power goes. I have already started research on those topics months ago. My tutor prohibited me from using any dynamics or overly complicated things in my rigs for the animation assignment. Now that the animation assignment is over, I can experiment with those features freely.
I am also planning my second year animation from now on. There is already a story for it, and there are some weird things that I need to make maya do in order to achieve the quirky shots. Before looking into those, I will take my time to build the set and the characters. Having that plus the animatic will earn me some interest and support for the project in the future.