3D ANIMATION & UNREAL ENGINE by Maya Pruitt

This last animation project was a huge challenge, but also really exciting to get a taste of 3D animation.

Using Adobe Fuse, we created humanoid characters using customizable presets. We then uploaded this character to Mixamo to find animations.

In Unreal Engine we began building our 3D environments. This was the hardest part for me, just orienting myself in the 3D modeling space was a challenge. Gaming engines are powerful pieces of software, so the majority of my feelings of being stalled was not from lack of ideas, but from fighting with the program.

Most of my problems came from having to work on different production laptops at school and not knowing how to save properly. Unreal Engine allows you to save different parts within one larger file, so I think that’s what tripped me up. In addition, I tried to continue from the file we began in class since animation imports were successful. Despite having only one skeleton, I couldn’t get the new animations to sync with it, and they keep looking like jumbled messes.

WHAT A MESS. WHERE ARE HIS BONES?

WHAT A MESS. WHERE ARE HIS BONES?

Ultimately, I had to start from scratch and reestablish a better workflow right from the beginning. By that time, I had already developed my brief story about an Ogre that is tired of the brutish nature of his species and just wants to be a graceful dancer.

My greatest discovery in Unreal was the ability to change weights of the animations, this allows you to blend them more seamlessly together like an ease in/ease out sort of thing. I could even add static poses and animate them this way to fit into the sequence.

While, I felt like I was cheating a bit using pre-made assets, I found the creativity came is how the narative was formed, building the world, and using interesting camera angle to lead the story.

In the future, I would love to delve more into how to create creates, rigging them in 3D, and then creating those animations myself!

The final project is a solo effort showcasing this Ogre and his big dreams.



AFTER EFFECTS ANIMATION by Maya Pruitt

For this animation I worked with Chenyu Sun and Zhe Wang.

I was inspired by images I had seen on Instagram of these impressive art history halloween costumes. I thought it would be interesting to create our animation along these lines, bringing to life ubiquitous masterpieces. Chenyu and Zhe were instantly on board!

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We began our process by finding famous images for potential characters, Girl with the Pearl Earring, Van Gogh, Mona Lisa, and The Creation of Adam were some of the first finds. A few early interactions came to mind as well, for instance, I thought what if Frida Kahlo popped Jeff Koon’s Balloon Dog?

Upon looking at Micheangelo’s ‘Last Supper’, Zhe came up with what would be the unifying story line. What if the characters received an invitation to join the last supper hosted by someone other than Jesus?

Yes! We rolled along from there deciding Michelangelo’s David would be our host, along with which characters would be invited and even ones who wouldn’t. We asked questions like how would characters react to not being invited? How does David move about a space to send his invitations? , etc.

We created a storyboard where David decides to invite guests, ignores others, and the animation will culminate with a new version of the last supper.

Thus, the technical making began. Using photoshop we would remove famous masterpieces from their backgrounds and create moveable points (like arms and legs). With After Effects came magic. Using key frames and camera effects, even the simplest movements created character and story.

After Effects screenshot. An example of our teamwork, Chenyu had already animated David walking, and I animated him into the space.

After Effects screenshot. An example of our teamwork, Chenyu had already animated David walking, and I animated him into the space.

We collaborated extremely well as a team. Breaking up the work load, we worked on different scenes separately or created animated assets for others to use.

PLAN:

  • Scene 1: wide view of David in 1museum.jpg & David’s general walking movements (Chenyu), throws invitation to Van Gogh , walks towards seurat (Maya)

  • Scene 2: close up of animated Seurat park painting, David walks by (Chenyu)

  • Scene 3: wide view David walking towards doorway to see American gothic, see his backside (Maya)

  • Scene 4: close up of American gothic, no invitation (Chenyu)

  • Scene 5: invitation thrown to Balloon dog, all balloon versus. Frida stuff (Maya)

  • Scene 6: Birth of Venus (Zedd)

  • Scene 7: Las Meninas (Zedd)

  • Scene 8: Last Supper, start zoomed in on David in the middle, Zoom out to see all our guests at the dinner party (TOGETHER)

Cleverly, we designed our story to have cuts that would allow for this process to become more seamless. Luckily using preexisting photos and historical paintings created a unified aesthetic on its own.

For final touches we edited our components in Premiere and added sound effects. We kept the tone light hearted with some silly sound effects and a added a classical piano track to keep with our theme.

Final thoughts:

What a fun experience. Having never used After Effects before, this was a super exciting task for me. We were ambitious creating over 20 moving parts with 13 characters alone for the final scene. We certainly condensed our story to accommodate this ambition and our time frame, but we are all super proud of the final product.







WEEK ONE: STOP MOTION ANIMATION by Maya Pruitt

For our very first assignment in Animation, we were asked to make a stop motion video for a length of 30 seconds. For those who don’t know, stop motion is the very core of animation. It is the idea that still photos that change presented in rapid succession create motion. It is a painstakingly arduous method, but the results can be truly amazing!

I worked with NunTansrisakul.

Inspired by these chocolate eyeballs, we really focused on turning an inanimate object into a character and telling a story with a beginning middle and end.

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Here are some sketches of our ideation.

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We settled on centralizing our story around the theme of a the morning routine - how humans wake up, stretch, meet people, take a shower, etc. BUT what would that be like for a chocolate eyeball? We decided that the life of a chocolate eyeball is to get up and prepare for its death: to become hot chocolate for us evil human overlords.

Quick Storyboard

Quick Storyboard

We wanted to play with medium a little bit with this project. We wanted our character to have legs but didn’t necessarily want to physically build them. I thought drawing over the top of photographs would give it an added element and a true nod to traditional animation.

Here is a gif for proof of concept.

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In preparation of our shoot, I painted the eyeballs just to give them a little more pop as well as devised the best strategy for how to shoot. We decided to do a top down view to more easily control the objects in the scene. We used a board to fake a table surface and even laid it flat when we wanted to change perspectives. The top down angle also made it easy to go overlay the images with drawing. I thought it was clever that we shot it this way because it gave us more control but still provides the illusion of a side view.

After drawing HUNDREDS of pairs of legs on these things, Nun expertly started piecing the images together in Premiere and editing the video. For us, sound was really crucial. We wanted to take mundane morning sounds like alarm clocks and yawns and put it in the context of this weird living eyeball. It creates a very familiar tone and suddenly this foreign object is relatable.

Original (top) vs. Painted (bottom)

Original (top) vs. Painted (bottom)

Set up

Set up

FINAL THOUGHTS:

We really paid attention to detail. Every sound effect was carefully chose. Even the title wiggles as per Nun’s request! We are proud of how it all came together. It’s amazing how transformative a bunch of photos and black lines can be. Of course there are always ways to improve or adjustments to be made, but we are pretty darn satisfied with this.