Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Digging a deeper hole

Tidied up the first bit of animation.
Next, the shocked part.


And, because of time, here's a neater looking, cut-down version:

I'll colour it in the near future.

Also found this piece on DeviantArt

Brushfire by ~Abiogenisis on deviantART

I've been looking at Pterosaurs a lot recently, because they are similar to Fentil shankbats.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Changing emotion and a tongue in slow-motion

For the emotion change assignment, I chose to use a character based on the block boy in the horribly addictive game, Minecraft.

It's REALLY addictive.

AND NOW the animatic (Blame YouTube's ridiculous processing time)

So here's the setup:
The guy is mining away, bored out of his mind.
Suddenly, his pick-axe strikes diamonds. He instantly perks up and starts digging enthusiastically.
Beaming with joy, he scrambles up his diamonds.
Just as he turns around to leave, however, he freezes, dropping the diamonds.
The camera pans out to reveal a creeper looming right over him. He is stricken with fear.
The screen cuts to black as the creeper makes its characteristic hissing noise....

Despite being a 3D, java-based game, I chose to make this in 2D, as it would have taken too long to model and rig a little block boy.
Also, I'm ashamed to say, I did make a custom skin of myself for this game.

Moving on;
I've been back at the ol' arrowtongue rig. I've been improving my rigging skills and made a NURBS-based control system, including a slider for the creature's eponymous striking tongue:

I also added the dorsal papillae

They seem to deform pretty well, although that one at the top is being tugged at by the right dorsal spike.
All down to weight painting.
Horrible, horrible weight painting -_-'

It still needs texturing and tweaking, but it feels like the end is, at last, in sight.

Some doodles including a more 'realistic' volumey sketchy style of a Fentil creature or two:

Lastly, some interesting animations I found while trawling YouTube

King of Magazines

I really like the style of this video, mixing FBF with some clever tweening to get objects to throb to the beat.


Based on a 9 minute beat poem by Tim Minchin, and Australian comedian/musician, Storm is about a dinner guest who repeatedly blurts out cliched lines about science not knowing stuff.
Tim Minchin has been doing quite a few videos with a guy called Fraser Davidson. They also collaborated on a video I posted earlier in the year called the Pope Song. They all share Davidson's flat, colourful, almost cut-outish style.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Arting it up and tarting it up

So I've given the blog a bit of a tweak and now it has a better look to it.
Nice little centre bar I think.

Experimental piece animatic

Mostly pixilation and stop-motion.
I need to do more tests with meat.

I finally have some sketches to show, I managed to find a working scanner to use.
So here goes:

Fentil sketches:

A small hunting pod of luminopticates seeing over a tile-top plain.

Left: body stance and common leg arrangement.
Right: A dorsoplacate mating pair feed on a young cloverhead, while their offspring play and fight over morsels of flesh.
Dosroplacates are hermaphroditic, so there is no 'male' or 'female'.
Further down: A snake-basket after just making a strike at a pump-fish. Also, some individuals of the colonial 'Bids', polar-dwelling dorsoplacates which secrete a black wax from their scutes to reinforce their tunnels.
Bottom: Various dorsoplacates and a head cut-away.

Tall-bodied Glassgut, a pair of Spear Droppers feeding on a swarm springer, with one fending off a cloud of inflatogastrate scavengers. Also, a parent Snakebasket resting, keeping a watchful eye on its playful offspring.
Don't know who the woman is. Don't know why she exists. And neither does she.

Loopers and vertebrate/dorsoplacate concestry

Keelfish, sea sparrows and a little (Earth) trilobite.

Pump-Fish and a SeaSparrow

Cloverhead designs and Electroheads

Chokers: Swarming flying octopoids which kill their prey by suffocating them. The individuals are bristly and extremely diligent. They fly into the spiracles of their prey, clogging up their intricate, gill-like lungs and eating their way in.
Vertebrates that frequently undergo these attacks have multiple defenses against them, some being valved spiracles and hair spiracle flaps.
Crescent Darters: parasitic inflatogastrates which use their siphons as suction cups and drink body fluids of their host. Vertebrates on Fentil have a special way of dealing with these air-borne predators.
Called 'chaffing', vertebrates release a dust from their upper vent (on their face). This chaff is used mostly in hormonal communication between individuals, but in the event of inflatogastrate attack, they release a muscle-relaxant into the air around them, which weakens the fundamental siphon muscles of these predators. Against large inflatogastrate hunters, it allows the vertebrate to escape. Against smaller parasites, it lets them scrape the little buggers off.

Some miscellaneous stuff:

A dream from a while ago that I sketched down. The individual bits aren't really in order, but it was a good dream nonetheless.

Misc doodles.

Now for some worky stuff:

So here's the initial sketches for my lifting animation, seen in this post. I was initially going to have a more humanoid character, but with a twist of having an extra set of lower arms.
After that, I wanted to perhaps move away from humanoid characters, opting instead for a robot.
The robot idea gave me another idea; to express the character's exertions in a way other than the traditional sweat droplets. In the robot, I chose a sort of wind up key, or some turning cogs.
In the end, though, I chose the little demon and his steamy cheek.

I can't help but think that he was inspired by that Berk guy from 'Trapdoor'

I wish there was a quicker way to embed these pictures, while also making them the right size.

Also,as a final note, I'm thinking of making a separate blog for all this Fentil business. I'd still rather have a proper website, but perhaps a blog will fill in for now.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Flies and walks

Some experimental stop motion with a cheap, sticky fly toy.


And a rendered walk of a tail feeder

Walk walk

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


My walk is complete.

He's a sad guy.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Weights, waiting and experimentating

Here's my weight lifting exercise:

I think over all the animation could be smoother, I did use a lot of double-frames to make the slower movements less 'twitchy'.
Another problem, after looking back at the finished animation, is that when he stumbles to the left while lifting the ball (numbering my frames on these videos would make doing this analysis easier) he doesn't seem to put enough weight on his right foot. I don't think it's too noticeable, but it bugs me. Might fix it.

When this guy strains, he doesn't sweat like other cartoon characters, rather, he vents smoke/steam from 3 volcanic pores on his face.
The smoke went really well. You'll probably have to watch it again and just concentrate on it, but I think I nailed it pretty well. I used a mix of single and double frames, and I tracked individual 'pieces' to make sure it all flows and decelerates properly. If you look carefully at the second plume as he picks the ball up, some parts are double framed but are overlapped by faster pieces.
It was quite difficult keeping mental track of them all, and while it was a completely unnecessary detail, I'm glad I got more smokey practice.
You can never have too much smokey practice. Crazy fluid dynamics.

There were some preliminary sketches; character designs, storyboard etc. But seeing as my (extremely expensive) scanner at home is busted, I'll have to wait to use a uni scanner.

Up next, the experimental stuff.
I made a quick storyboard in PS to fill in for the one in my sketchbook.

(The gullet sequence was inspired by this piece of work we were shown. I think everyone was inspired by it.)

I fell in love with this visceral idea straight away.
Seeing as my last pixilation/stopmotion outing was a lovely cute little thing, I want to balance it out.

Here's a quick test of the black arm veins.

I think it went pretty well. I quite like the untidy nature of the capture, it adds a sort of madness to it. It's just black biro, and I drew over it with every frame, so older veins got thicker. I'll have to stop my arm from rolling next time.
I'll have to try the bacon next.

Finally, my head model is close to completion.
It's also REALLY creepy.

The texture is a planar map of the reference photos. Once I finish the model I'm going to make a proper composite texture.
I hope the Dead Space head modeler does a better job than me.

Lastly, in case you haven't heard, Aardman did a miniscule little stop-motion animation called 'Dot'

The entire short was shot on a Nokia phone.
They used a new system whipped up, called 'CellScope' to help developing nations' healthcare.
The full article is here.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Back to work

Even though we've only just begun, I'm raring to go.

Here's some pictures of my face.

Messing with symmetry:

The modeling begins:

It looks like one of those happy/sad theatre masks.

I used the reference photos taken by Toby Weller for my Dead Space photo shoot, as they are all high quality and perfect (and taken for the very purpose) for modeling my face.

I'm making myself get better at photoshop. I'm too used to making art in flash, which I can make pretty flexible to suit needs, but now that I'm trying to make some realistic textures, plus just generally more realistic pictures, such as Fentil animal paintings, I need to get my 'shop on.
Here's a work in progress of a Fentil underwater scene, featuring some marine creatures called 'keelfish'.

Keelfish at their simplest aesthetic description are lobster birds; Two winged, swimming creatures with an articulated exoskeleton. Their heavy armour means that they cannot swim indefinitely like Earth fish, and so must rest and roost in these winding ocean forests.

Another Fentil piece (paint sketch, not the final); here's a parody of sorts of National Geographic, but instead portraying a Fentil creature; a luminopticate.

I used the deep, hard-edged shadow to show the luminopticate's bio-luminescent photophores, which it uses to hunt in darkness. The red ones illuminate the pathway, whereas the blue ones are flashed in short bursts to blind and stun prey. This brilliant flare is often accompanied by a piercing shriek and is known as the 'flash-bang' hunting strategy.
The 'Olympian eclipse' is the regular event where Fentil passes behind its parent planet, Olympus. Because Fentil is a small moon of this much larger planet, going behind it can result in many days of perpetual darkness. Most plants have sophisticated mechanisms to cope with this dark period. Some creatures on the planet only come out of hibernation during these eclipses.

The eyes of these creatures are like a combination of snail and fish eyes:
Here's a diagram of a luminopticate eye.

The individual eye has two parts, the main eye and secondary eye and are both housed on the end of a hydraulic stalk, which can extend and retract. This stalk and its hydraulic system is housed in a moveable unit. This unit is connected to the bony ring. This unit can rotate to allow some freedom of movement without risking damage by exposing the eye stalks. I like the image of these eyes constantly independently twitching and looking around, like these fish:

I also love fish's mouths and how they articulate.
I found a good diagram on a very interesting blog I've been following.
On this blog, Gert van Dijk analyses various aspects of biology commonly applied to speculative evolution and mainstream creature design, which I find very useful. He is running his own speculative alien planet called 'Fuhara'.

Fish mouth:

Example of Fuharan life:

The 'marblebill'
"The marblebill is a large arboreal carnivore with some pronounced specializations. Its body shape reveals its mode of locomotion at a glance: it is a brachiator, swinging from its 'arms'. These, the first pair of limbs, are about three times as long as the others, and end in simple but powerful hooks. Suspended from these hooks the animal swings from branch to branch."
Quote from the Fuhara website

Not only do I like his designs, his painting skills are superb.

To finish,
I found old episodes of an animated show called 'The Trap Door'
I watched this when I was younger and I think I like it more now I can appreciate it for the animation. The animators put so much attention to detail in the secondary animation and background crawly things.

"Oh Globbits!"


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