Tuesday, March 20, 2018

MoCap (3024) - week 08


Warm-up: Timed posing "Smitten"
Next Assignment: Keyframe with MoCap (KM)
Hand -in on MoCap Planning (MP) at end of the class. (3p)

New Assignment:


This assignment will account for 20% of your final grade. 
This is be due at the end of class in week 12

KeyFrame with MoCap (KM) Module 8-12.
Using the planning from the previous assignment (MP), students will schedule time to shoot their scene on the MoCap stage. The capture will be cleanup up following the tutorial provided and integrated with your key-frame facial performance.

If you want to change your plan from the previous assignment, you will have to re-do your planning before you get on the stage space. 20 min is not a lot of time, so you shouldn't show up and try to "wing it"

The entire scene should be 30-45 seconds long. Slightly longer is allowed but not advised. (think about how much facial and hand animation will be needed. Dialogue must be 6-11 seconds per character. More dialogue is allowed but also not advised: consider the volume of work more than 11 sec of dialogue will entail.

Try to take advantage of the medium: make use of the space and move around. If you have sitting characters, think about shifting their weight in the chair. Keep those stationary characters breathing, reacting and alive.

Students are responsible for booking MoCap stage space as well, so don't leave this to the last minute (see info about YouCanBookMe on FOL).

What I'll be grading on this assignment:
  1. Have you captured the performance on the MoCap stage and cleaned the data to remove pops and hitches? (no hiccups or spasms)
  2. Are the feet locking to the surface (watch those ground intersections)
  3. Does the lip sync match the dialogue with broad viseme shapes? (no mushy mouths)
  4. Does the pantomime performance support the acting in the scene with broad range of movement and changes in tempo? (no frozen characters)
  5. Do your camera cuts follow rules of good staging and film making? (watch the axis line)
  6. Is the facial animation complete with expressions that match the pantomime and dialogue? (avoid dead-eyed characters with Botox)
  7. Are the hands well animated with expressive poses that support the acting choices? (no "paddle hands" please!)
Hand in will be as follows: 

For Video:
<Member1 LastName>_<Member2 LastName>_MP.avi
with usual parameters:
  • Mpeg4 compression
  • 960 x 540 resolution (or thereabouts)
    eg. Wilkins_Latour_MP.avi

Monday, January 22, 2018

Winter 2018

Welcome back! 

How excited am I to start the new term?

Is it weird that this cat is named mouse? Perhaps he is excited by irony?

Yup, Pretty excited. 

There are a few items of review that apply to every class I teach, so we'll cover those things first.

Does anyone remember this: Syncsketch

test 1 (success!)


I'd like to try an use it again for the  feedback process in all of my classes, assuming we can work it out. Let's test it today! We'll try handing off a link and handing off a video file and see which pipeline is the smoothest.

A quick refresher on 'Animation Preview' in 3dsMax

Autodesk documentation
Useful YouTube tutorial

Typical Output options for 'Preview Animation'

I'm a creature of habit, so I'll usually want your work handed in the following way:

This is what I look like when your submission is correct.

  • XVID Mpeg4 compressed AVI
  • 960 x 540 resolution (HD540)
  • naming: Last_First_(code).avi


This will be the standard for most submissions in my classes. WARNING: Please pay close attention to where you hand in your homework. Some of your classmates can attest that this can cause huge issues at the end of the term. Make sure you put homework in the correct folder.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Fall 2017 archive.

To say it's been a challenging semester would be a bit of an understatement. Getting my sea legs in 3dsMax, a 5 week strike and relocating from California was a lot to do all at once. It's been exciting and all but leaves me feeling a bit...

from Gravity Falls: really wish I knew the animator who did this bit.

While it should be a bit smoother, Winter 2018 still looks like a steep hill to climb. With no downtime between semesters, it's been hectic trying to close up one semester while contructing the next one. I have three new course preps and I'm also officially starting as the Coordinator for ANC on Jan 22nd.

Here we go again.

- Dave

Here is an archive of all of the links for my classes from Fall 2017.

~~~ INTRO (all classes) ~~~

VGD - Portfolio Development
1040 - week 02
1040 - week 03
1040 - week 04
1040 - week 05
1040 - week 06
1040 - week 13

ANC - Animation for Characters Intro
6012 - week 02
Bouncing Balls
6012 - week 03
Ball with Legs Jump

VGD - Acting for Animators 2
3020 - week 03
3020 - week 04
3020 - week 06
3020 - week 07
3020 - week 10
3020 - FINAL

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy New Year!

One of the many reasons I identify with my cats.
Welcome back for the end of the 2017 term (!?)

We only have 2 weeks left to finish everything. Be sure to come to your classes on time and be ready to show work, ask questions and get feedback.

Remember: class this week will be the only feedback you get before the term is over! That makes this a critical time to hit the ground running.

Good luck


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

First Day of Classes

The strike is over and we're back to classes after a 5 week absence.

Insert your caption here.

There are no words..but likely many questions.


I don't want to spend too much of our limited time answering questions about the strike and the back to work situation, but I'm not going to ignore this issue either so the compromise is to take this online and answer questions as best as I can outside of class. Here's what we'll do:
Email me if you have questions about the strike and I will add them here along with my best attempt to answer you. If you have comments that don't require a response, you can email them to me as well.

A few of the likely questions:

Q: What now?

A: We pick up where we left off and work to finish in 13 weeks what we were going to do in 15 weeks. Today is week 7.

Q: Is assignment X still due on date Y?

A: Nope. All due dates will change to make it possible for you to complete them. Future assignments will be revised to account for the truncated term schedule.

Q: This change in term schedule has messed up my particular situation (job, internship, travel plans). what do I do?

A: The school is standing by and ready to offer any and all reasonable accommodations to help you get that sorted out. Talk to the admins, or the program coordinator to get help. Be sure to follow up on the hardship fund as well to help deal with any associated costs.

more to follow


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Well: this is no fun at all.

So here I've moved 2500 miles to start a new job and the colleges won't settle on a new contract.  This means the union is now on strike.


My heart goes out to the students caught up in this whole mess. Especially because..

A: Although students have already paid their money to get an education and even though the teachers are not getting paid it looks like the college isn't about to give the money they're saving back to the students. (bogus!)


B: The students have a limited voice in the whole affair, and yet they're the whole reason the colleges exist in the first place. It's certainly why I show up in the morning.

I wish I knew what the answer was here. Maybe if there was enough student outcry, the college negotiators would come back to the bargaining table with the union? If there was a lot of noise, maybe students would get some of their money back? I know if I paid for a service and didn't get what was promised I'd expect a refund.

All I can do is wait, walk the picket line, try to inform the public about what's going on and put up with the hecklers. I don't blame the handful of folks shouting insults at me: I'm frustrated by this too. I really hope a resolution is around the corner and that I can get back to my students.

What folks out there can do is go to http://www.collegefaculty.org/ and check the links that let you connect with the parties entangled in this negotiation. Let them know what you think. Please be sure to read up on the issues in this dispute: there are a couple of items of particular interest to students.

As for me, I'm heading back to the line.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Welcome to my Blog

Welcome to my personal animation blog. In addition to animating for film and games, I also teach animation to students ranging from high school to the university masters degree level.

I use blogger in concert with all of the classes I teach to create a place where students can access information, connect with fellow students and ask questions outside of the classroom. I've added a few tutorials and educational lesson plans that I've created in the past to show some examples of my work in this space. If you click on the tabs above, you can peruse this material.

The 'AE' tabs are from my high school 'Art Experience' summer camp, the '3dFOA' tab is an exercise from my Fundamentals of Animation class and the 'RCA' (under construction) is a tutorial in layered animation workflow from my Advanced Realistic Creature Animation class. The 'DEMO' page is material for use in a teaching demo for my Fanshawe job interview.  (8/11/2017)

Feel free to share and link to these pages but no derivative works please. Contact me anytime if you have questions about the content. I will answer as my quickly as my time and schedule allows.

Along the right hand side of this page, you'll see links to my website, a link to my video page on Vimeo and my CV. Check out the 'Animation' tab on my website to see examples of my professional work. On my Vimeo page, you'll find some of my tutorial videos on more technical aspects of animation.

Thanks for coming to visit and have a great day!

  - Dave