My Journey into Animation


Inspire Day at Walt Disney Animation Studios.

by on Oct.05, 2013, under Animation, Modeling

I realize how rarely I actually update this blog. Part of that is probably because I doubt anyone really reads it but I still plan to post on a more regular basis.

Anyways. Walt Disney Animation Studios just had this event called Inspire Day in which students were invited to visit the studio. I was fortunate enough to be one of those students even though I graduated earlier this year. I had never heard of the event before noticing the application go up and I never got a response to my inquiry about attending despite the fact that I graduated so I applied anyways. About a week after the deadline, I got an email inviting me to attend.

To keep things simple and save myself from breaking the NDA along with getting scissor kicked, I will be brief with each point in a far from serious way.

– The day started with breakfast in the ABC commissary next to the iconic Hat building. I had a croissant and orange juice although thinking back, I would probably have preferred the raspberry Danish.

– After breakfast, we went and lined up inside the Animation building to hand over any phones, cameras, or tablets, basically any electronic device except watches, before heading into the theater.

– In the theater, we saw some cool stuff about some pipes and lines

– Once we were done learning about pipes, we went up to where we would have lunch.

– Before getting lunch, I noticed an office with a bunch of toys and some cool maquettes. Perpendicular to the office was a conference room in which I saw the hint of someone who looked like John Lasseter. The Hawaiian shirt was the key piece of evidence. Turns out it was his office that I was looking at with all the cool stuff.

– We had lunch with a few artists from the various departments within the studio.

– After lunch, we walked a bit and then had coffee.

– Eventually we went back to the theater to see some formerly lost short film about a horse. Then the ones who found it, including a couple of guys that go by Squash and Stretch, came up to talk about finding said short.

– Once they finished talking about the horse a bit, Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck came out to talk to us a bit. At the same time, the theater got to be really cold for a while.

– Eventually, once we experienced a bit of a cold spell, we were taken back upstairs for a mixer where we were able to just hang out talking amongst ourselves and the various artists.

– As we were walking out, we were given a small goodie bag that included a poster for Frozen, a signed lithograph for the short Get a Horse, an Inspire Day shirt, and a sketchbook.

In all seriousness now, the day was meant to inspire those of us in attendance and it did a great job at that. I came away thinking about a few things I should be doing a bit different along with a few new ideas. Another bit of inspiration comes via Aspen Aten’s post about the day in regards to why we were selected.

“And just as I was about to leave, I ran into one of the recruitment people, and a group of other people and I started talking to her. One of the guys in the group asked her, “What made you choose us?”

Her response made me feel so much better about myself.

She said that when they were looking at our portfolios and our applications, they saw a love and passion for the industry. Everyone chosen was there that day because the recruitment people saw a spark in us. They saw that we had potential.”

If anyone from Disney sees this, thank you for inviting us to the studio and showing us a good time.

Alright. I need to get back to work on this project. The deadline for the CTNX Raising the Bar Recruiting is quickly approaching and I am in the middle of a revision for v2 of my latest project.

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Time for an update…

by on Dec.08, 2012, under Animation, Modeling

I will admit to the fact that I have kind of abandoned this blog. I just got carried away with school and work but now is a time to update it a bit in case someone stumbles upon it. I have still been able to devote some time to personal projects outside of school. Two of which can be found below in the video I  rendered out to show at CTNX to anyone that would watch. The dragon was really just a project  I created to use for rigging purposes so the model isn’t 100%.

The ship on the other hand is one that I have put a lot of thought into. I designed it as a futuristic type bridge but I  also wanted some older elements such as the steering wheel. That is the element that I thought the most about because I wanted it to look like it worked. Within the frame for the wheel portion is a control pad with a touch screen and throttle control. There is also a handle that the pilot could hold onto as he is spinning the wheel if he needs to push forward or pull back. The touch screen would display options such as how the steering works. Does it turn the ship like a boat, roll the ship, or move it sideways. I also thought about a counter to the impracticality of having a bridge with a huge dome on it so I have a blast shield that comes up to cover the area. In case this were done and the visibility is reduced, the stand alone consoles have additional monitors that come up.

An additional project that  I am trying to find time to work on is a project for CGtalk’s modeling challenge with the subject Hollywood Dream Cars. I picked one that is well above my level, the Nautilus car from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I have the main pieces of the body done and I  am going to start adding in all the small pieces that will need a lot of work, mostly through sculpting.

ShipDragonCTNX v1 from Darrol Moore on Vimeo.

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Getting Started: The Walk Cycle

by on Jan.09, 2012, under Animation

So I have started off this animation project by relearning something I thought I already knew. As the starting point, I began work on the walk cycle using splines and adding keyframes as I refined the curves. Now this model that I am using has everything for the character tied to a master node. The last time that I did an animation test in Maya, I left the master node behind but this time I wanted to try using the master node to control the movement as he walked forward. The walk cycle looked great after I got done with it and the character was walking in place.

When I went to move the character forward, it became clear that the speed was not lining up correctly. The feet would slide a bit between the keyframes which meant that I would have to go in frame by frame and fix it. After a quick Google search about whether to use the master node or not, I found one mention online at CGTalk by user SirRon pointing out that for video games, the character should walk in place while in animation, he should physically move. It is an explanation that makes sense to me at least since video games are controllable instead of taking place on a set course.

Once I figured that out, I started on an alternate version with the master node stationary. After taking the time to try to salvage my original keyframes, I had to just start over. It was a matter of positions continually not lining up. One adjustment that I thought would fix it all ended up throwing something else out of whack and so on. It was all minor but a bit annoying. Probably best for me to start over anyways as I needed to get away from a couple of methods I picked up in my traditional animation class that were not fully accurate.

Time for me to get back to work on my overflowing amount of projects. Until next time,

– D. M.

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First steps into CG Animation… Well maybe my second steps…

by on Jan.05, 2012, under Animation

Despite all my animatic work, I am still pretty rubbish at animation itself. In After Effects I can easily move layers in 2D and 3D space to get the desired effect. CG animation is a whole different ballgame as far as I can tell. As one of the many steps I am taking before I start on my planned animated short, I am working on my animation skills. To do this, I am pulling together information from various sources. The main stuff is coming from my traditional animation course that I took last year. There is some that I am taking from books such as The Animator’s Survival Kit and The Illusion of Life. Online I have been getting a lot of tips from reading the Animation Tips & Tricks blog set up by Animation Mentor.

Now when I last did an animation test in Maya, the character didn’t have much life to him. At least part of the reason for that is because I let the computer do a lot of the work. This time I am changing things up a bit. Instead of using splines as I put in keyframes, I am doing steps and adding in the inbetweens later on. What you will see below is the blocking for the animation. It is a rather simple concept. The guy is trying to climb onto this large vehicle that has no clear way up. This version is the straight forward version where he just climbs straight up. LaterĀ  I will go back and do another where he has more trouble.

Please take a look at it and give me some feedback if you can. Right now I am a little more focused on timing as I will be adjusting some of the key poses some more.

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My Past Work

by on Jan.04, 2012, under Animation, Modeling, School

I thought it might be best to go over what I have done up to this point. Apologies in advances since this is going to be a bit lengthy. Back when I was in high school, I was apart of the video production program and ended as the main editor for the weekly news show. Because most of the work for me came in later in the week, I had a lot of free time and I used that time to teach myself After Effects. I was just doing basic visual effects and motion graphic type work as I figured it was just something to fill the void since I wanted to go into film editorial at the time. (continue reading…)

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