Smoke test

Playing with maya again and learning how to make smoke and lava. The lava was made using the nParticle tool. I played around with the liquid settings to give it a heavier, lava-like look to it, then transformed the particles into mesh. The smoke was made using the nFluid tool. It was a little more frustrating, but I feel I have a better grasp on it than I did the last time I messed around with it.



Summer Plans

I will not go outside. You cannot make me. Today a bee flew into my hair and I refuse to go through that again.

So this summer I will be playing with character rigging. I didn’t feel very accomplished this semester, so I gotta learn it all again. I’ll be using this good boy, Gengar. He’s a pretty fun pokemon to work with, as he’s mainly one big round shape. I’ll be rigging him tomorrow and then set to work playing with the animation principles.

Life Drawing: Character Design

For the final assignment of life drawing, we had to design a character. Luckily I had one sitting around that I wanted to improve a little bit, so I chose to subject my character Pepper to a little design update.

I first created Pepper last December quite by accident. I was trying to finish a painting for portfolio, and while putting on the final touches, I wound up giving him a backstory and a place in my current webcomic idea.


I loved his innocent look and the colors I chose, and I’ve been working on him ever since.

I started first by very quickly sketching out an extremely basic pose that showed off the color more than the actual design itself.


This was when Mike had us start drawing our characters in class, and I found that while I really loved Pepper’s outfit, it was insanely hard to work with. His massive sweater obscured most of his body, so it was difficult for me to draw any convincing poses. This led to some pretty atrocious attempts to work some action in,

After class, I went to Mike for some advice, and he told me that while the character looked very appealing-bearing sort of a Ferngully style-I seemed unsure of the design, and that I needed to develop a better idea of what I wanted the final appearance to be.

So unfortunately it was kind of back to the drawing board. I did actually take a bit of time to check out the Ferngully style. I only every saw the movie once in my life, so I didn’t remember a lot of how the characters appeared. To my surprise, I’ve found my style is actually sort of really similar. I have very mixed feelings about this.

When comparing Pepper to the Ferngully Fairies, I noticed there was a distinct similarity in the eyes and mouth. Both these features were enlarged to give a friendlier, kinker appearance. I think by studying Krysta’s face, I managed to get a better handle on Pepper’s features. They were also a point of frustration that I had.

Also considering that Pepper is a fairy as well looking at this cartoon style helped me design a better silhouette, a better outfit, and in general helped me figure out how to actually draw me character.

First I started by doing a 3/4 turn, and a front facing view of Pepper in his new outfit and slightly fixed features.



When compared to his  original design, this one works out a lot better if I were to animate it. There’s less unnecessary fabric to prevent viewers from seeing what he’s doing, the new outfit allows room for Anticipation in his movements and exaggeration, and the bulkiness in the boots and socks add a weight to the character that I think will allow some nice squash and stretch once I test a few shots of him. I also feel that Pepper’s face is a little better proportioned as well.


Once I’d gotten a feel for how he looked, it was time to apply some principles of animation. Mike wanted us to do four, so I chose Appeal, Pose to Pose, Staging, and Exaggeration. I chose these four because when it comes to Pepper’s character, he’s an incredibly energetic character with lots of bright colors to draw the eye.

Appeal: The Appeal of the character reflects the charisma and attitude of the character. It’s important that they stand out to the audience and keep the attention.

Exaggeration: With Pepper’s round, wide eyed face and lanky build, he’s able to be extremely expressive in his emotions and movements.

Pose to Pose: This was good practice to help express Pepper’s attitude.

Staging: This was a quick experiment to test color and posing. The first image is an example of that, as the eye is directed by the light and pose to Pepper’s bright face


Image and date visualization reflection

To be honest, this was probably my favorite class this semester. I learned so much faster and so much more than I expected myself to. Even though there were a lot of moments where I felt extremely stressed and overwhelmed by the work, I did enjoy the projects and I’m really proud of how they turned out.

I enjoyed the independence the class encouraged, and it was nice to have a break from group projects for a change. While I understand it’s important to have enough people to cover the work, it felt nice to be able to work on something by myself without having to rely on anyone else. The assignments helped me practice completing the work on time, and doing more research to help better my skills in the programs we used.

I feel much more confident in maya after taking this class. The projects challenged me to learn quickly and retrain what I was learning, and I also didn’t feel as helpless or behind as I first did in the beginning of the semester.

Alec was also a great teacher. He was incredibly nice to everyone and was always helpful whenever we didn’t understand something. He was happy to help me in projects for different classes as well, which really saved my group for out thirty second animation.

All in all, this was definitely a class that helped me grow more as an animator. I still have tons that I need to learn, but I feel as though this class definitely pushed me in the direction that I needed to go in. I’m happy I got to take the class, that I got to work as hard as I did with the assignments, and that I came away feeling much more confident with my new animating skills.

Head Project

Alec’s final assignment for us was sculpting a friend’s head in mudbox or Zbrush. I had to use the latter because my computer is a nasty little goblin incapable of running simple programs, but that aside I think this turned out pretty okay.

I sculpted my friend Lauren’s head. Here were the references she sent me

And here was the finished product

Because I have no idea how to properly use zbrush, I started out using an previously provided head model called DemonHead. It was quite the challenge smoothing the masculine features into feminine ones, but I think I have at least a better grasp of how to approach 3D sculpting than I did two weeks ago.

If there were thing I would do differently, I would definitely try and start from a sphere instead of a head. The restricted features were a hassle to work with. I would also try and pay more attention to her facial features. I think this looks a little bit like Lauren, however it’s very obvious this isn’t completely her.