UNIT 52 – Animating the Inanimate Animation Design and Construction



To begin my animation I started researching movementI began recording myself and my partner doing various walk cycles. (Click to see research) 

(500px-s-bahn-logo_rot-svg2een bellow) I video recorded different pencil walk cycles, I used a pencil as the prop.

(500px-s-bahn-logo_rot-svg2een bellow) I looked at different types of pencils ranging from expensive pencils to cheap dollar store pencils.

500px-s-bahn-logo_rot-svg2een above are the two common types of pencil’s I found. On the left is the expensive pencil and the right is the cheaper pencil. I made a mood board of all the different types of pencils that I could find that could influence this design concept. Once identifying this common trait based on the condition/quality of a pencil I figured that this could be used to determined the character of the pencil, therefore I built a character around the idea of expensive high-quality pencils and cheap low-quality pencils which were, concept #1 – The expensive pencil: Smartly designed with no spot or blemish – perfect in appearance moving elegantly, and in contrast, concept #2 – The inexpensive pencil poor quality that often has dull led tip, poor appearance and is well used, the movement will also be quite sloppy and eccentric.  500px-s-bahn-logo_rot-svg2een bellow is the mood board.



After my research I began drawing up sketches of the pencil – 500px-s-bahn-logo_rot-svg2een bellow, concept art

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To design the pencil in Maya, I started with a cylinder polygon, I began extruding from one face until I reached the desired length for my pencil. I beveled the edges at the top to create a smoother edge for the eraser as based on my research erasers at the edge of pencils are smooth rather than sharp corners.To create the point at the bottom of the pencil, I selected all the vertices at the base of the pencil and I scaled both Z,X axis and created a point.


500px-s-bahn-logo_rot-svg2een above is a screen capture of Concept #1, however I forfeited for my concept #2 which was the sloppy pen.


After creating my pencil I began texturing the pencil. 500px-s-bahn-logo_rot-svg2een bellow is the UV snapshot (Right) and photoshop exported texture (Left) which is painted in photoshop using the UV snapshot.

After creating my Texture in photoshop I exported the texture into Maya and began texturing the pencil (seen bellow is the second part of the texturing process) Seen in (A) is my hypershade window. I started by selecting a lambert for my material base. Since my research on a pencil stated that the surface of a wooden pencil is dull a lambert would be the material that would be used as a pencil has a dull appearance with no shine.Seen in (B) Is the texture after being exported from photoshop and imported into Maya (C) represents the tool I used to align the texture up with the UV blueprint in the UV editor.



Throughout my animation, I used forward kinematics – kinematics is the connections connecting the positions, accelerations and velocities of the effects of a manipulator, where in this case, the pencil was being manipulated around the X, Y, Z axis, rotated and scaled, using forward kinematics allowed me to progressively keyframe these variables along a time-slider and thus create an animation seen bellow is the Dopesheet, in some cases I had to edit these keyframes, draw in the keyframes closer to each other along the time-slider thus creating a faster animation.500px-s-bahn-logo_rot-svg2een in (A) is the time-slider and keyframes, this is what I wanted to edit, keyframes allow me to create an animation by gradually changing from one set of CSS styles to another. Cascading style sheets describes how HTML elements are to be displayed on screen, a form of coding Maya uses to allow thge user to animate a polygon. During the animation, I progressively altered from one set of CSS styles to another. Seen in (B) is the dope sheet timeline which allowed me to cut and paste the keyframes back and forth.


Whilst producing the animation I noticed some movements weren’t as smooth especially when the pencil tumbles over on impact with the ground, I wanted the movement to look smoother, so to do this – (500px-s-bahn-logo_rot-svg2een bellow) in (B) is the graph showing all the manipulated variables concerning the pencil, in my case I only had to smoothen the rotational, scale and axis X,Y and Z curves. seen in (A) shows the button; once toggled, that allows me to smoothen out the graphs curves.


After I had produced the animation I had to export the animation, therefore I batch rendered the animation from Maya out as individual .png files and imported them into Adobe After effects as a multiple file sequence this allowed me to collect all the individual images into one animation. I then used Adobe encoder to render out the file as a H.264 encoded movie. (500px-s-bahn-logo_rot-svg2een Bellow)

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(Click to view animation)


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