This one is a long time coming as I started this personal project two weeks ago, but often times when you do projects on your own you have to put paid work in front so that you can keep working on your own. In this first blog post about my animated short I will briefly cover the plot, and then go over how I plan and set up my scenes.
In this short we have a man sitting on a sofa. He is clearly bored while watching TV In enters a small bulldog, trotting along with a tennis ball in his mouth. "Ooooh! A chance for excitement", contemplates the man. I dare you to find one person who doesn't enjoy playing Catch with a dog. The man exerts to pry himself from the gilded cage of the sofa and interacts with the dog. However, as he reaches for the ball the dog snatches it back. He growls as he doesn't want to lose his favorite toy. The man try forcefully eject the ball from the canine's toothy embrace, but the dog will not relent. It gets so bad that the man try to swing the dog around the room in an attempt to make it let go through the power of centrifuge. The dog finally let's loose, the homo sapiens is victorious with the sporty sphere in his hand. He engages the dog in play and throws it away, but by now the dog has lost interest and goes to sleep. In defeat, the man returns to the warm glow of the television.
We now have a story. Now what about the setting?
As you can see below I have placed the setting in a livingroom, a natural space for a human and a dog to interact with each other. It gives a relaxed and relatable atmosphere as the audience is partaking in the normal life of a fellow human, although the actions of said human will be quite exaggerated, as per tradition in animation.
As you can also tell the props are very spartan. As the animation focuses mainly on the characters interacting with each other I wanted the background to be more neutral. Just enough to convince the audience that the plot takes place inside a house and in a living room.
When you work with 3D animation it is important to have top-notch rigs. A bad rig can really stifle the animation process and cause you to create a sub-par film that will fail to connect with the audience no matter how good the story is. Below you can see my choices.
These two are called Paul and Mack. They are both provided by Long Winter Studios, who creates Maya based rigs for use in both commercial and non-commercial projects for a monthly fee. The reason why I chose to use their rigs is because the characters have excellent body and facial controls.
There are a lot of great Maya rigs out there that are free to use, but they are often made by students or amateurs that want to show off. As such quality can vary a lot. In the future I will make a list of top ten Maya rigs that are free to use as a handy reference for animation students.
I hope you guys enjoyed this. Next time I will show off my work progress and give clues on how to approach character animation.
Have a nice day!
My name is Patrick Høiseth. I am an Animator who mainly work in CG productions, but also have experience with Flash/2D animation.