MAYA 3D TUTORIALS
MAYA: STRETCH + SQUASH
The most important animation principle is called squash and stretch. When an object moves, its movement indicates the rigidity of the object. Many real world objects have little flexibilty, such as furniture, however most organic objects have some level of flexibility in their shape. Take for example a bouncing ball. A rubber ball bounces higher and squashs more upon impact than a hard league ball. The ease with which an object squashs and stretches defines the rigidity of the material making up an object.
In 3D animation, squash and stretch is a technique that is applied to an animated or in-motion characters to give them a more exaggerated movement. Traditional cartoon animation contains a large amount of squash and stretch -- think of older cartoons where a cartoon character being hit on the head with a hammer would go through a lengthy series of movements as the effect of being hit.
To create a Stretch and Squash sequence in Maya.
ANTICIPATION IS THE PRACTICE of moving a character in a certain way to prepare the character and the audience for the action. Most often, anticipation means moving the character a small amount in the opposite direction of the main action. Since a lot of animation is very physical, many times anticipation is a necessary part of getting the correct physical performance out of the character. For instance, a character jumping must bend his knees first. A pitcher must bring his arm back before he throws the ball. This natural motion that occurs in everyday life is what makes anticipation as an animation principle so effective.
STAGING IS A FUNDAMENTAL that encompasses a mass of artistic sensibilities. Staging involves framing the camera in a way to best capture the action. Staging directs the audience’s attention toward the most important elements in a scene in a way that most effectively tells the story.
Similar to the idea of “blocking” in theater or film – staging deals primarily with where the characters are positioned within the scene. However, the placement, angle, and position of the camera – as well as the use of lighting – are important elements as well.
It involves making sure your animation has been planned to best communicate the motion, the character arc, the story. Simply put, staging is how you create the scene. Ideally staging starts with your planning phase. Thumbnailing your poses is the best way to make strong pose choices at the start of a shot. If you are not a strong drawer, then perhaps you rely more on photo or video reference to give you cues to begin your work. At this very early phase, staging means you are thinking about how your posing and the layout of the scene is going to clearly show the motion.
DEMO REELS- SEMESTER GOAL
It’s All About the Reel
For many professions, having a good resume or cover letter is the most important factor in getting a job. For animators and visual effects people it’s all about the demo reel.
Over the years I have made many demo reels for myself, and watched dozens of other people’s reels. In this article I have collected all the information I have about how to create an effective animation demo reel that actually gets you hired.
Demo Reel Guidelines.
Rules for an effective demo reel:
The length of your reel should not be over 2 minutes. Ideally it would be under a minute, unless you are a veteran animator, in which case you don’t need this guide anyway. It’s not likely that a beginner would have more than 2 minutes worth of amazing content, and that’s what we’re looking for – amazing content.
I cannot overemphasize this: The reel should ONLY include awesome work. A 30 seconds reel with amazing animation is much preferable to a 2 minuets reel with mediocre work. Don’t include less than amazing work as a time-filler. If you’re not convinced that a piece is worth putting on your reel, either polish it or don’t use it.
Regarding the content of the shots, try being original as much as you can. Don’t do the stuff that everybody does (lifting something heavy, walk cycle, bouncing ball) try putting your personality into the shots. Try standing out. For example, I wanted to add a diving board shot to my reel, but instead of the guy jumping I made him slip and fall down.
Put your best work first. It takes people a few seconds to decide if they want to keep watching your reel. Make sure you have things that grab their attention.
Music / Sound
Include the original sound for dialogue pieces. A quite un-intrusive music in the background is ok, but be careful with the choice of music – it should not distract the viewer or annoy them, but only act as a connector between the shots. If in doubt – just turn off the music completely.
Give every piece the time it deserves. Don’t edit to music or get too creative, this isn’t a motion graphics reel. In an animation reel you want to present each shot separately (sometimes with a title card before each shot) to let the viewer understand what they’re watching without confusing them.
Number the shots on the reel, and write about each shot in the the description of the video (example: 7 – bouncing ball: animated the left ball)
YouTube vs. Vimeo
After finishing the reel, you might ask yourself: “where should I upload it too?” You have two main choices – YouTube or Vimeo. Both valid options, but they have advantages and disadvantages.
YouTube has much more viewers, which means your reel will have more exposure, however it’s considered a less professional platform for presenting your work. While YouTube has definitely evolved into a much more creative oriented platform, Vimeo was made for creators to publish their creative work.
Vimeo has less viewers but it’s got one great feature – you can replace the video under the same url, which means that when you update the reel you can replace the video and the link to your reel will always have the latest version. This is pretty huge.
My verdict is Vimeo. It is considered to be the YouTube for artists, filmmakers and professionals, and the fact that you can always update the reel without changing the url is really important. It’s less exposed, but that doesn’t really matter since the people who are going to view your reel would generally be people you send it to, and not strangers who happened to find it.
Curtis (Delview Grad 2014)- High School Demo Reel
Curtis- Vancouver Film School Demo Reel
WHAT IF I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH STUFF?
IDEAS FOR EXERCISES
If you’re in that place where you are looking for ideas to add to your reel, 11 seconds club has some great suggestions for animation exercises. Here are some of my suggestions: