Archive for February, 2011

So the weekend has passed, which did not lend itself to much animation work towards this shot, which is looking to become a bit of a short as my initial video reference puts this between 20 and 30 seconds long(oofta!) So because this is getting a bit unruly, I need to wrangle this idea a bit, and REALLY try to refine the idea. On the plus side, this gives me time to work out some rigging kinks(pun absolutely intended) with the hose.

So I did mention I shot a little video reference, but it is not of much use besides letting my mind run about what to do. The lighting was bad, I had to use a comforter as a hose, so it just won’t do. Hopefully on Sunday I can film some reference at my parents house where there IS a fire hose(mwahaha). So now in the meantime I need to nail down this story.

So the hook was “A firefighter with an unruly hose”. There’s a few different ways this can go, but the overall idea in my head is a guy comes in, struggles with the hose somehow, Tries to turn it on, doesn’t work, gets frustrated, discovers the problem and he gets shot off into the sky maybe flapping around.

So this can be broken up into several parts which I have called: Entrance, Preparation for Hydration, Frustration, and Adios. Each one of these is a section of the story. The buildup to the next etc. And each of them can really be handled in different ways, and how I handle each one really sort of affects the next. I have been wrassling with the first part since that is going to set the tone.

So I began writing things down. I wrote 3 ideas and I drew very tiny thumbnails(so tiny there’s no sense in trying to take a photo like before. I really could use a new scanner):

-Runs in and then the hose gets snagged causing him to nearly fall.
-Shows he is frantic. Leads to perhaps klutz-like behavior. Shows urgency, I mean he is a firefighter after all…

-Casually Walks in
-This naturally makes me think this guy is a dick. He is a firefighter, but he’s sort of cocky and arrogant. It leads to a buildup of humiliation so you get a nice pride then humiliation comparison.

-Shuffles in as if the hose is very heavy.
-The hose is heavy and he doesn’t actually walk in it’s more of a pull then shuffle, pull, shuffle. Good mechanics shot, but then he lacks some character.

So those are the sort of things running through my head. I need to do some video reference and maybe some more thumbnailing.  The hard part is trying to do this in my free time only.  We will see how this evolves, but I will take these ideas in with me when I do my video reference.

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It’s time to get back into the Animation swing of things. Which means I need to animate something. My life has been pretty well occupied with rigging, and scripting, both great things to learn, I highly recommend anyone try to learn them. CINEMA 4D is a great package to do both in because it’s quite easy to learn.

So, if I am going to animate, I need something to animate. Not just a rig, but an idea. So that is part one of this journey. I need an idea to animate. This leads to a very important question: What am I going to animate?

Animation always needs an idea to start. It could be something as simple as a walk, or as complex as a love triangle or something. My initial thoughts were on simple ideas like picking something up. But I get bored with those. So I deferred to Charles for some ideas, and he whipped up a lot of interesting ideas in a very short amount of time.

His second Idea was “A firefighter with an unruly hose” was the hook and I liked the thought of it, and I think that’s what I plan on animating. I chose it because it has a few interesting challenges to it. Namely, the firehose rigging and animation will be an interesting challenge. So we are back in the first part of animation: Planning.

Immediately it popped in my head “Wasn’t there a Mickey Mouse cartoon where he was a firefighter?” Sure enough, and with the power of Google, I managed to find it. 1935′s Mickey’s Fire Brigade. If you have 8 minutes to kill I suggest checking it out. The creativity in this short kind of blows my mind since I have been in a bit of a creative funk lately. The treating fire like a character and giving it arms and such is classic.

So I figured there was some playful interactions with the hose. They come in around 2:15, and so I looked at that for ideas, and I also started looking on youtube for some reference of how a loose fire hose would behave. I found many thanks to that being what seems like a fairly common firefighter academy test.

So with some ideas in my head I took to doing some thumbnails. Drawing is not my strong suit anymore. I have not dedicated as much time to it as I’d like and it is now pretty poor, but to do some thumbnails you really just need a circle for a head, a rectangle that can bend, and 4 lines for limbs.

So with some scratch paper from a notepad, I whipped these up. Sorry, I don’t have a scanner :/.

photo-3

photo-4

So the idea has become, a firefighter, is running with the hose to put out a fire. They are pretty heavy so he lugs it out(some nice mechanics action here I think). Then, he assumes the “power stance”(yes my notes on the thumbnails even mention the power stance), gives his colleague the thumbs up. He then tries to release pressure to spray(usually you can do this at the nozzle). But nothing comes out He is checking it out getting frustrated with it. He turns around and notices the hose is very buldgey. He doesn’t realize it’s his fault, and the buldge scares him. Well him taking his foot off causes all the water to shoot out, and he is launched around holding onto the wild hose.

So the idea has some cool bits to it, some heavy lifting/pulling, some acting(confusion, frustration), some comedy[if you think it's funny that is], and some technical challenges with the hose. But it’s also good because I have never animated anything that wasn’t a Biped, so now’s my shot.

The idea is there…now it’s time to get it to work. Next step is to film some reference.

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So, I would like to edit my previous python snippet, because I discovered something that didn’t make it work particularly well which I will try to explain and show you how to fix it. Thanks to Rick for telling me how to make it work properly, and then telling me again after I forgot to save the code somewhere.

picture-6

This is my hierarchy. Now, our script was supposed to just go down our selected object’s hierarchy. Which at first glance it does. But, it doesn’t quite work. If you select object named 2(not 2A) and run the script, it prints from 2-16. But it shouldn’t since 10-16  are are not actually children of 2, they are siblings. I want to run through a hierarchy of a selected object. This becomes more apparent when you select 1, and see as it prints 1-16, AND ABC. Whaaaat!? So, my fault, I should have tested it better. Actually, I did. I tested it thoroughly which is how I found the problem ;) . I should have waited to write about it.

Anyway, so the solution was presented to me by Rick, so thanks for that. The fix is easy.

def GoDownHierarchy(obj):
if obj is None: return

#Actions can go here
print (obj.GetName())
#End Actions
if (obj.GetDown()):
GoDownHierarchy(obj.GetDown())
if (obj.GetNext()):
GoDownHierarchy(obj.GetNext())

That’s our Code where we left off. We just need to adjust it a little bit. First, in order for this to work, we need to specify where we want this to stop. So we need to pass a second argument that mentions where we want to stop. So our first line will be changed to:

def GoDownHierarchy(obj, stop):

So now we need to check to see if we’ve reached the stop point. So we need a little check in there after our initial “if obj is None” check:

...
if obj is None: return
if obj==stop: return
...

Now, the last thing we need to, is update our function elsewhere in the code. Remember we do two more checks(if statements) and they run the function again, so since we need two arguments, we need to put in the stop argument in both.

So the whole Code for the function is now:

def GoDownHierarchy(obj, stop):
if obj is None: return
if obj==stop: return
#Actions can go here
print (obj.GetName())
#End Actions
if (obj.GetDown()):
GoDownHierarchy(obj.GetDown(), stop)
if (obj.GetNext()):
GoDownHierarchy(obj.GetNext(), stop)

So if you want to run this on the selected object’s hierarchy you would type:


GoDownHierarchy(op, op.GetNext())

So with that code, if I select object 2 in my hierarchy and run it, it goes from 2-9. Since 10 and onward is not a child of 2, it does not get printed.

Enjoy.

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I just found this on Victor Navone’s Website(http://blog.navone.org/) but it’s one of the best things I’ve seen in a while. It’s The Google Art Project(http://www.googleartproject.com) and it’s incredible. It allows you to walk through museums and get really up close and personal to some great works of art. And getting to walk through The National Gallery in London again really brought me back, and getting to get really up close and seeing how Botticelli painted the hairs in his “The Birth of Venus”. Check it out.

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