Showcase, tips and thoughts on animation

This blog is meant to be a platform to show different kind of activities that are related to my journey in the animation industry, exploring some interesting videos, links, tips & tricks and of course some of my personal creations. I hope you find it useful and entertaining!



A real gifted former coworker and friend has updated her last works

Originally posted on Adriana Zamora Portfolio:

3d Art

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Creating character models in Blender part 1

As I begin to work on the Circo Volador’s Project, I propose making different characters on 3d that feel and look as 2d, to adjust the graphic style they already have. So first thing I did, was taking all of the currently drawn characters and select one for each workshop they have: photography, circus arts, capoeira..and many others.

This is the draft I choose for this project:

Each character with its representative workshop (clic to enlarge)

Then what I needed for each one, was a projection which I can use as a blueprint to create the models on 3d. Everyone must have at least a frontal view and a side view, which in combination with some imagination can gives an easy way to create each 3d model.

This is one example

Right after that, it was necessary to chose a 3d program, at first it was supposed to be Maya, but thinking that this project is meant for learning, I thought Blender, an awesome free 3d program, was the best fit. I had made some little things on it before so I knew its potential.

So first things first, what is needed is to adjust yourself to the way Blender moves and behaves, for that there are many many videos and tutorials, and what I found best, is to take a look at the tutorials, then try whatever you are learning and if there is a doubt on any subject or option or value, take a look on the blender wiki, which in most cases has exactly what you need.

One of the best places to look for neat videos is:

Next step is know how to model. Blender has a really neat way of model things, it has easy commands and hot keys. The ones that I use the most: extrude (e), make edge rings (ctrl r), fill faces (f) and there is one plug in that make the life easier when extruding faces but trying to keep the shape of the model: Mesh:Insert Extrude

Then there are this things called  Modifiers, they let you make changes to the models but with the great advantage that you can change its values at any time, so for example, you can see your model on different amount of polygons at any time.

There are two mesh modifiers that I used on most cases, when modeling any character, and they are Mirror and Subsurf.

Mirror lets you have an exact copy of the mesh you are making on the other side of any axis, The option on this modifier that you have to keep an eye on, is clipping , it merges the vertex that go near the mirror axis, and once they are merged they will not separate until you uncheck that option.

The other one is subsurf and lets you see the model multiplying its poly counts, make them smoother. This is great for previews and little tweeks on how the mesh will look in the end.

The last thing I will cover on this post is what I suggest when choosing between an orthogonal or a perspective view. This is crucial as I discovered that unlike other 3d programs the cameras or perspective view on the viewport, follow really accurate the function of normal camera lenses, which gives you plenty deformation  depending on how far or close you are to the objects, which can lead to inaccurate modeling. And as my very personal advice, it’s better to make all the modeling on a orthogonal view, which lets you see the model as it really is.

Compositional Framing Elements

This video (by Matt Kohr)  is great as it explains how to place objects or characters on different kind of shots, it’s all about composing to make the viewer focus on what is more important on the scene.

And this is an issue that many times is left without further process, and it is as essential as   it comes on the principles of animation: staging and strong silhouette

Check it out.



Ending for Circo Volador Videos This is a short clip that shows the feel and look of the upcoming videos @Circo Volador.

Blender Project – Rigging eyes

So, I have been gone for a while, it has been busy weeks and there haven’t been much time to write things on the blog, but I came up with the idea of document the process that I have been following to create the project I am working on to do my social service. It could help on two things, first spread the knowledge over the Internet about Blender and have a place to return in case I forget how to do certain things.

I started it on Maya, but soon I thought it would be interesting if I made it on Blender, that awesome free 3d software. I had some knowledge on it and this is the perfect opportunity to become an expert on it, so to speak.

I will not start form the first steps, I’ll take it from where I am currently working and as the project enters in a pipeline loop, when working in different models, it will automatically catch up and make a perfect description of the process.

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Amazing Animated Shots

I have found a really nice blog where they post some great great animation shorts. If you haven’t seen some of them, you must check this out.


Amazing 3d walkcycle walkthrough

This is an incredible example of how to do a great walk cycle in Maya in less than half an hour, It was made by a Kyle from 3dmasterclass.
Check it out.

Master Class: Making Faces – Chris Landreth – Part 3

Well, it’s been quite a while since the last post, I’ve had very busy days but I have found time to write another part in the series of Making Faces.

On the third day, It was about the most important facial muscles, the way they work and their place on the face. Chris pointed out that there are many many more muscles on our face that allow us to make facial expressions, but he just gave us a small list of the ones that have more influence in each shape we can create with our face. In the end of the class, he let us a brief homework, which was make a map of all of those muscles and draw them in our own face, so we have a direct reference on what muscle does what. Here it is and just below a short description of each one:

Both images are the same, except one has names and a little sketch of where they actually are on the face and the other one is clean, so you can see the face. Some are funny :) and the last one is a relaxed/expressionless face… just to compare.

1- Frontalus: Its function is to rise de eyebrows. It can be pulled in 3 different parts by some people, which let them rise onle one brow.

2- Corrugator Muscle: Located in the globella. It pulls inwards and make the face look angry.

3- Levitor Palpabre: Makes blinking possible. It can be in normal state, relaxed when the eye is closed and tensioned when it shows more eye blanks.

4- Orbicularis Oculi: It is not attached to the skull so it only floats in with the skin, and it works for squinting the eyes.

5- Alaeque Nasi Labius Superiors: It makes wincing faces.

6- Labius Superior: It pulls upside and it can be tensen just one side. When only this muscle is pulling, there’s no deformation on the nose or the bridge of the nose.

7-Zigomatic Mayor: It’s the main smiling muscle. It pulls upwards and to the sides and create a bulge on the cheeks.

8- Boccinator: When eating, it helps to keep the food in the mouth.

9- Triangularis muscles: Make the frown face.

10- Lower Lip Muscle: Makes the SSS sound

11-Mentalis Muscle: Helps to make the frown face by pulling the lower lip.

12- Incisivus Muscle: It makes the kissy face.

13- Risorius Platysma: Creates great tension in the neck and pulls the corners of the mouth down.

14- Orbicularis Oris: Can push out the lips as in “sh” sound, bend the mouth inwards as in “p”, and lip locking and tight lips.

This is a really light description of each muscle but it is best if you see it by yourself in the images or even better, on a mirror by yourself.

If  you have any questions, please make them below.

Master Class: Making Faces – Chris Landreth – Part 2

Well, the first day on the Master Class, talking about Monday, was about getting to know the human head, the structure, the proportions, the bones that give that particular shape.

The first thing Chris said about facial animation was that it has to do with anatomy, mood and psychology. So it could be very complex, but fortunately everyone of us have developed a way to recognize facial difference, and it’s so important in our lives that the part of our brain that recognize faces is almost as big as the part that recognize everything else.

The focal point in this first lesson was that Chris give us a quick drawing assignment between 5 and 20 minutes with a reference that he took with his camera from one of the attendants and after we make our best effort, he corrected us based on what we had drawn. This method was better in comparison to when they first teach you how and then you try to imitate it, because this let you really put down your inner conceptions about things and then he corrects over what you’ve got. I don’t know if it would apply to other subjects, but particularly on this one was great.

So, for the first drawing, he asked for someone to be our model, and took a picture of him which later displayed on a projector, so everybody could see it. We have like 20 minutes, Chris drew as well. I felt really rusty on life drawing, so the warm up was really slow. This is my first drawing:

From this first approach to human head anatomy we learned that the eye line is set on the middle of the head from the hair line to the chin on most of us. Also the face can be divided in three parts, the first one ends almost on the eyebrows and the second on the base of the nose. And the eye width can be fitted 5 times on the human head. Fortunately, I wasn’t that bad after this first try, but something that Chris pointed out was that most of our drawings were outlines of the face features, and that we need to start seeing things as 3d shapes, that has volume and that interconnects one to each other.

Then we move up to the next assignment.

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Upcoming Great Animation Movies

There are many animated movies that look great and looks like they will be amazing coming up in the next months and most of all in the next year. Here are a compilation of those trailers, maybe you have already see them but if not…..

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