The brief for this assessment was to create a short animation focused on character and prop interactions as well as timing and cinematography. I chose to animate in 3D as I wanted to continue to develop my skills from the last assessment and improve storytelling through framing. My initial idea was a guy drinking coffee and getting ready for work in his room, his hungover friend comes in and drinks the coffee causing the first guy to get mad and chase his friend. After some feedback from the tutors, I decided to change the environment to a kitchen as it made more sense and I also emphasised the feeling of happiness the first character feels when drinking the coffee so there would be more of a reaction and reason for him to get mad when his friend drinks it. 



I started by acting out all my scenes and filming them, so I had accurate references for the actions I wanted to portray, these helped me to better understand how the movements worked. I then looked online for some more references, mainly for a drunk walk and a baseball swing as these were more complicated animations and I wanted as many references as I could find.

Drunk Walk References:

Baseball swing References:


I used Mike’s Origami Boy Rig for the characters. The furniture and props came from Skecthfab. 




I started by blocking out my first idea, a guy getting ready in his room and his friend stealing his coffee. The actions looked good however the environment was a bit weird and after some feedback from the tutors I realised the characters don’t really interact until the end. 

The first change I made was to the environment, a kitchen made a lot more sense with the story. It also shows how the first character interacts with the coffee. It makes the next interactions feel motivated, when the other character steals it, the first character has a reason to react. I also changed some of the framing and animations to better suit the new environment, the first character now stands off to the side as the other character enters, this creates a clear story and is less distracting to the audience as it shifts the focus from one character to the next. 


First Character

To make this task less challenging, I focused on one character at a time. I would add in-betweens to smooth the movements and fix the timing. I went back a fourth adding more in-betweens and adjusting the timing, heavily using my recorded references as guidance. 

The first scene with the first character was simple, I used a child or constraint to attach the mug to his hand so when he grabbed it, it would follow. The first difficulty I had was getting the character to turn to put the coffee on the table behind him, the rig wanted to deform or twist so I had to be very careful with how much I twisted the body and feet, I also had to make sure his knees were in line with his legs so they would not twist. When the character turns, I wanted him to pass the mug from one hand to the other, I tried a child of constraint on the other hand however it would not work, I tried to set the inverse but that would change the other child of constraint and mess up the rest of the animation so I key framed the mug in his left hand. 


I used another child if constraint to attach the frying pan to his hand, I decided to make a simple loop animation of him flipping an egg, this action would be in the background while the second character walks in, so I didn’t want it to be too distracting. 


Baseball swing

I decided that the two characters running at the end would be too time consuming to complete within the deadline, so I changed it to have the first character trying to hit the second character with the frying pan. I started by looking for some references of baseball players as I knew I wanted the swing to look powerful. I keyed framed the main poses of the swing and adjusted the timing. The swing starts out slowly and gains speed as it moves around the character, it slows again and holds the end pose as it loses momentum. 

Since the movement is fast, I didn’t need in-betweens as they would slow the flow. I used the graph editor to adjust the movements and arcs of action to emphasise the speed of the swing. After this animation was done, I moved onto the other character. 



Second Character

Drunk walk

The first hurdle with the second character was the drunk walk. Originally, I filmed myself which I then used for this block out, I wanted the walk to look floppy, like he was struggling to keep his body upright while swaying from side to side. After feedback from the tutors, we agreed it looked more sad than drunk and was too steady. I looked online for some references and figured out when someone is drunk one step will be big while another is smaller as they will stumble and try to catch themselves. The body tends to lean forward then fall back to catch itself. The arms tend to sway irregularly as they are used to balance. 

So, now that I have a better understanding of how the body would move when stumbling I restarted my walk using the pose-to-pose method to block out the key poses and timing. I then added the in-betweens and started to create arcs with the arms and body as he stumbled down the corridor. I wanted him to look off balance, so I exaggerated his sway by pushing his center of gravity a little past his body. After I was happy with the motion, I used the graph editor to clean up the arcs. Finally, I added a tack to constraint to his head to tack the coffee mug on the table, I wanted him to slowly look into the kitchen then fully stop and stare directly at the mug, the constraint made it a lot quicker and more precise to animate his head. 


The next animation I did was him stumbling towards the coffee mug, I used the drunk walk as a guide as I wanted him to still look as if he is stumbling into the table, barely able to keep upright. I keyed in the poses and added in-betweens, I also continued to use the track to constraint however it was a bit intense at the end of the clip as he looks as though he broke his neck. I later added another track to constraint so he could track his friend’s head, this made it easier to have him look back and check if his friend was looking. 


I wanted his hand to rest on the door frame and then move to the table, so I changed the arm from FK to IK. This was a little difficult to do as I always struggle with making the change look seamless. I have the hand in IK on the door then switch it to FK as it moves towards the table, it then changes to IK again to make him look as though he is supporting himself with the table. I then used a child of constraint on the mug, so it follows as he drinks from it. 


Finally, I wanted the character to duck and hide when the frying pan is swung at him. I wanted an exaggerated movement when he shoots up, a fast drop and a slow return. I blocked out the key frames and added some anticipation and overshot to the jump. I them adjusted the movement in the graph editor. 

After finishing all the animations, I realised the timing needed to be adjusted as some of the character interactions didn’t line up and other shots weren’t held long enough. I also wanted to reframe some of my shots to better frame the actions. 

Old timing and shots:

New timing and shots:

After showing my friends my animation it was pointed out that the mug covers the duck at the end so I went back and fixed the placement, if I had noticed it earlier I would have moved it back further so it did not block anything however I was too far in with too little time left to reanimate the character setting down the mug. 



Overall, this task was a lot of fun, and I am very happy with the final result. I think the framing of the shot looks good and the timing matches the energy of the animation. I do think, however, I did bite off more than I could chew as the animation ended up being quite long and I think I could have managed my time better. After looking back at the final animation, I did notice that the drunk character clips through the wall slightly and when the arm switches for FK to IK the hand snaps. Aside from some small issues I am elated with the outcome of the assessment. 

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