For The Dance

SH_016 1st Pass

Been going into linear and curves on this shot. Feedback is good:-)

SH_016 Block

So after a way too long pause from my film, I have started animating again. Here are the three steps of shot 016:

The animation is just blocked out and planned, thats why it jumps between the different keys. This is just to test the posing and timing. As always feedback is very welcome:-)

I found today that I’m finding it hard to do any shots without thumbing first. Not bad, when thats what I should be doing, but it might too time consuming later when I get really pressed for time:-S


Its been quite here lately… But finally gotten to some animation. Since I felt quite rusty, I started off small with the OldWoman’s walk cycle with the ladder. The workflow that I want to get comfortable with is to:

  1. Video Reference
  2. Thumb
  3. Animate

This might seem like a given, but when working on a short film like this its tempting to skip a few steps because of the amount of shots to be done. For this film I really want to craft the animation, and not just take first idea poses. So for the walk cycle this is the three steps:

The animation is still in linear, just to test the motion. I still feel the could be more character in the walk. But please do comment, as always I love feedback:-)


I’m in the process of preparing myself for animation. Organizing the shots, and trying to setup a mini pipeline so if I need to change the rig I can. Then putting the rig into all the shots I will hopefully be able to do via a script, without loosing any animation. BUT on the way to develop the pipeline, weird things can happen and has. So I end this post with a picture of the resulting mayham of a failed attempt:


So the Old Womans and the Ballerinas rig is done (minor tweaks here and there). The two are setup the same way, via. the Script Rig, so there isn’t really anything new about the rig itself. The Old Woman is new though, and therefore I did this demo:

The face rig I thought was worthy of its own video:

The face rig is the same as on the Ballerina. The deformations seems pretty good, and the reaction time from max is good as well. Though wont know anything until the animators start breaking my rig:-S The Old Woman is going to have a skirt on (and so is the Ballerina), but atm I’m still figuring out the look of it. Going to use the build in cloth modifier in 3ds Max, so it shouldn’t be too difficult.


I wanted to show how the rigging is progressing, so here a video with the Ballerina rig:

The rig is from a script that I’m developing to automate the setup of bipedal characters. So to show that work I’ve got another video to show, note that the playback speed has NOT been manipulated:

The rig is at a decent level, but there is still tweaks to stabalise the rig and lots of testing to do. That being said I believe the rig can work in a production. For future plans I want to implement a control UI for easy selection of control objects, a mirror system for mirroring poses, auto clavicle, easier setup (ATM initial setup is name dependent) and support for multiple limbs/toes/fingers, among other things.

The cool thing about building a script to handle a character setup is that you can easily apply it to lots of characters, or if you find that placement of bones are off you can go back, adjust and execute the script again. Along with 3D Studio Max’s build in load/save animation tools, you could make changes to the rig while animation is being preformed and not loose any animation work.

“But thats only the body, Toke. How about the face?” I hear you say… Well, for the last couple of months I have been contemplating about which rig type to use for the Ballerina and the OldWoman. The two choices were morph target based or bone based. The problem with morph based facial rig is that you are confined to the morph targets that you make, but you will never loose the characters original design if you have good morph targets. While the bone based facial rig has unlimited expressions, but the animator can quickly distort the face in ways that the design were not meant to. And the greedy person that I am, I wanted the benefits of both methods without the cons.

This is what I have so far:

The controllers run on the nurbs surfaces, which are modelled around the Ballerina’s face. I can quickly pose the face without distorting the face. But on the other side if the need comes, I can distort the face.
Of course the face rig is not finished, only around half the work is done since skinning is a big issue, but I think the rig has potential.


A double post again since I slacked off yesterday:-) Firstly I wanna show the progress of the Ballerina. After a couple of weeks of development time, Sam Wright came to this result for the Ballerina:

The Ballerina is of cause “naked”, so the hair, clothes and skirt still needs to be put on and textures on everything.

It is quite a difficult task to get a design from 2D into 3D, cause what might have worked on paper, might not look very good in 3 dimensions. I’m very happy with the result, and since the fundamentals are in order then the end result should be even better.

“For the Dance” – Previz_03

The third previz version of my short film. A lot has changed since the last two, but I think Ive gone in the right direction. Hopefully you wont feel that you are missing something from the previous versions:

Still a bit unsure whether it right, so I would love to get some feedback on this one.

“For the Dance” – Previz_02

Been working on the storyline, and trying to filter out the boring stuff from the previz, and tighten up the flow the sequences. Also I needed to show more of the Old Womans perfectionist and grumpy nature. So here is the second version of the previz:

Any comments and feedback are feedback.

“For the Dance” – Previz_01

First previz pass on my film. Basically taken the animatic and put it into 3D. The facial poses that I had in the animatic has been lost, cause the previz rig only has the basic shapes of the characters. The main thing was to setup the scene in 3Ds Max and focus on the camera work:

ATM I’m personally not liking the ending, so I will be experimenting with some different endings. As always if you have any comments, I would love you opinion on the things.


Finished the preproduction for my major project, and you can see all of it here:

And here are the supporting videoes:

As you can see the brief was split between the short film and rigging. As part of beefing up my showreel with something less cartoony I have agreed to be a part of the T-rex Project ,which I have mentioned in a previous post. Therefore there is a plan for skinning the T-rex at the end of the preproduction.

The preproduction of this short film hasn’t just lasted from school start, but all the way from before summer. During summer I have been developing the story, along with a script for rigging my character quicker. This script are proving quite useful, and throughout the production of the short film I will be improving on the script to have more features and be more user-friendly.
I am collaborating mostly with a friend of mine, Sam Wright, on the short film. Sam Wright has been responsible for the character and prop design, and will be responsible for the modelling and texturing of the same items. He did a lovely concept of the characters that I will be using. So here are the characters of my short film, Ballerina and Old Woman:

If you have any comments on the short film, or any thing on in this post, then please leave a comment. I love to get any form of feedback!

From here and onwards I will be posting about the progress of my short film, and that can be viewed here aswell as in “Short Film Progress” at the top.

Lastly I would like to invite people to subscribe to this blog, which can be done at the top-right side of the blog under “Email Subscription”. You will receive an email every time I post something new.


2 Responses to “For The Dance”

  1. Great Stuff,I really like the concept animation and so on .Your hard work has shown in the
    preproduction.I was keen to see them after i saw the fim.Thanks for putting that.Well done and keep it up.Are you using bones for the rigging

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