Tuesday 27 September 2011

AnimSchool Interview: Garret Shikuma

Hello guys and gals,
Garret Shikuma's interview
Animschool have recently posted Andrew Tran's second Blue Sky Studio interview. This time up Garret Shikuma shares some inspirational words. Andrew asks some wonderfully diverse questions, covering a range of topics such as where to look for appeal, Garret's switch from games to feature film and fun times at the studio.

Mark Harris Review
I have also just finished checking out Mark Harris's review of Camilo Guaman animation. Camilo uses October's 11 Second Club audio to tell the story of a Dr. Frankenstein type character. His animation looks pretty sweet, but Mark deliver's some helpful tips to push the shot the extra mile.

Hope you all enjoy!

Andreas Deja's Scar

Hey guys and gals,
In June 2011, Andreas Deja started posting on his blog, Deja View. I posted a link to it soon after, but since have been in awe at the richness of the material he has posted for all to view, love and study.

One of these posts showcases Andreas's work on Scar, for feature film the Lion King. The eyes can often give away so much to one's true character, which is certainly the case with this cynical and hateful villian. Absolutely beautiful, stunning and hopefully inspirational to those who wish to bring more life to their 11 Second Club animations.

Please click the pic to view Andreas's post.

Character Design

Monday 26 September 2011

Mc 17: Bouncing a ball off a wall

Its time to go back to basics, and bounce some balls. This time around were going to roll a ball off a high ledge, bounce it off a wall, and have it come to a settle. The idea of this assignment is to help polish some of your fundamentals.

The energy picks up as the ball rolls off the ledge, it further picks up as it falls from the ledge to the floor. Its energy slowly is lost as it moves forward, the energy then bounces off the wall and continues to travel until it is all gone. And of course the energy of each bounce slowly is lost as well.

Helpful Hints.
I have attached 3 sample files that show the workflow I chose to use for this particular assignment.

Notice first I work out the timing of the ball progressing forward. I have attatched an image of how I did this in the graph.


Then I work out the bounces. I actually chose to mute the translation forward after I animated and just focus on each bounce as seemed appropriate.

Ups and downs

I then unmuted the forward progression and polished it as it seemed appropriate again. I personally find working this way is pretty fast, and allows for a really nice smooth animation.

This example took about 10 minutes to animate. Since it is such a simple assignment, why not challenge yourself! To confirm the rules, the ball must roll a high ledge, bounce off a wall, and have come to a settle. However you could do a few different balls. Heavy balls, light balls, bowling balls, ping pongs, basketballs, tennis balls etc. Take it a step further, add some subtle squash and stretch. Add some rotations. Experiment with the layout. Most importantly learn from this exercise!

For those of you that dont like working in the graph editor and using motion trails, why not implement that into this challenge?

Have fun and happy animating!
challenge written by Matthew Finch

Thursday 22 September 2011

Animating Backwards

3-D metamorphosis is a unique effect to clay animation.  It's a lot of fun to animate a blob of clay transforming into a creature.  But what if the end result is to be a detailed, multi-colored character?  How do you make the colors separate out of marbled clay and form exactly the way you want them to?  Try sculpting your final character in all its glorious detail and animate its transformation into a glob.  Reverse the order of frames and the final shot has the glob transforming into the final character.  Check out this new video tutorial for all the details on how to pull off this eye-catching effect.

Monday 19 September 2011

Behind The Scenes

Hey Guys!

I'm real excited about this new post. I went into a nerd coma after finding The Behind The Scenes Blog . It has a huge collection of the behind the scenes featurettes from all kinds of films. There is a great one about ILM that I think I may have talked about before as well as a few from Disney including "Disney Special 'Illusion of Life'. I have just gotten started on this great resource but I had to share it as soon as I saw it. As a side note: There are also great links to behind the scenes featurettes of animated films not on this site located at Living Lines Library.


Alt Animation and other podcasts

Hey guys and gals,
Recently, there have been some podcasts posted on the 11 Second Club forums. I thought it would be nice to share some of those with you here.

Some really great topics are being discussed on a new podcast site, Alt Animation. Hosted by animators Josh Ryan and Robert Orndoff, they chat with Ed Hooks and many others, as well as sharing their thoughts on the industry.

Another great place to listen to podcasts is The Animation Guild's blog, TAG. Listen in on the many great interviews including Disney's Larry Leker and Andreas Deja.

There is also the "Speaking of Animation'' website, which hosts a collection of great chats. It hosts Jason Ryan and Jason Schleifer amongst others, while I am also looking forward to checking out their February Podcast, ''Comedy in Animation''.

Hope you all enjoy!

Sunday 18 September 2011

Michael Parks Stop Motion Interview

Hello guys and gals,
For me, Michael Parks provided the perfect opportunity to interview somebody with a balanced perspective on different animation disciplines. Michael has previously entered the 11 Second Club as a stop motion artist, landing second place in January's competiton. He has also set up the Xsheet Blog to assist artists gain the skills and confidence to work in stop motion. What has often gone unnoticed, he has also worked many years as a Pixar 3D animator!

Michael now works at the Academy of Arts, teaching several subjects including Experimental Animation. Here, he has granted me his time, in which I have attempted to challenge him on many sensitive subjects. I wish to thank him for answering with both honesty and wisdom. Really hope you guys enjoy the read.

John Clark Matthew
How did your career begin?
I started out providing stop motion animation for children’s films by John Clark Matthews I was horribly inexperienced and struggled for a while to keep the job while making stupid mistakes like running over an extension cord with the camera dolly during animation. But I gradually got my act together and got the hang of studio work. Some of the projects were pretty low budget with high footage quotas, but they were also opportunities to experiment and develop a style.

You spent many years working upon some of Pixar's feature films. Please talk about this experience.
This was like getting a masters in animation, being taught by some of the great geniuses of animation. I joined in as Bug’s Life was ramping up and the studio was growing (I was employee #194). It was exciting to see the studio develop its pipeline as it balanced business with creativity. Working with each director was different experience, as each had a different approach to directing animation. I learned a lot about how to adapt to different workflows and personalities.

Monsters Inc director Pete Doctor wrote:  
"No one turns around notes quicker than Michael-he is an example to the rest of the crew in his ability to address comments quickly. Michael finishes most of his assignments early, too, and his communication regarding his progress and expected completion on shots is top notch." 
Please share some advice on speed of production. 
That was a quote from a performance review that I use in my resume. Let’s just say there are other quotes from the same review that I wouldn’t put in my resume. You will make producers very happy by getting work done on schedule. But quality has to be there as well or the job won’t last long (note that I’m not there anymore). Moral of the story: Don’t get carried away with efficiency.

That said, I think speed is achieved by staying focused on the work, budgeting time properly (i.e. limiting your own internet use and water cooler chats), and getting feedback before heading too far in what could be the wrong direction. This even applies to student work, as I have had students who present what was supposed to be blocking in a more advanced state but with problems in their basic posing. They then have trouble making simple adjustments in those poses.

I understand you have recently taken up a position at Academy of Art, teaching various subjects including Experimental Animation. Please talk about a bit about this subject. (Experimental Animation).
Experimental animation is basically stop motion applied to various mediums like found objects, toys, clay, sand, paper cutouts, and whatever else a creative mind can place in front of a camera and move one frame at a time. The class is a chance for students to be creative and explore the art of animation while learning the basic principles.

Timothy Hittle's Canhead
There have been many beautiful stop motion works, such as Corpse Bride, Coraline and Suzie Templeton's Peter and the Wolf. Which lesser known productions do you recommend to the community as musts to check out?
The film that inspired me to make clay animation film was this documentary on Will Vinton and Claymation. I also recommend Timothy Hittle’s Potato Hunter and Canhead.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Robin Williams in Bicentennial Man. 
''You see, imperfection is the key. Imperfections make us individuals, that's what makes us unique.'' 
How valid do you believe this quote applies to stop motion?
Perhaps it is the human touch evident in stop motion that makes it appealing. Some say that the novelty of CG has run its course and audiences are just after creativity, regardless of the medium. A viewer is aware at some level that the characters and settings were created out of raw materials and exist in real space. This adds to the believability and appeal of the characters and settings.

During the history of 11 Second Club, various stop motion's have come close to the golden first place. Do you believe we shall ever see a winner?
It’ll be tough because voters look for smooth animation regardless of medium, and it takes a lot of time and experience to achieve that in stop motion. But it can happen if a stop motion animator can deliver that with a good dose of creativity and “wow” factor.

In January you came second with your animation 'Pet project'. Please tell us a bit about its story and where the idea came from.
I don’t remember were the pet-pod idea came from. I brainstormed environments and situations that would fit the dialogue as well as the limitations of my resources and shooting space. Growing pets came to mind at some point, and it seemed to fit while also being unlikely to be duplicated in another submission.

Would you like to talk about its production process?
I made this video of the piece that steps through the process.

I wanted to plan things out as much as possible before going under the camera for the final animation. This involved creating an animatic, shooting reference, animating the lip sync in Maya, and shooting a pop-through, which is basically blocking for stop motion.

How much time do you spend on producing the puppets and sets? 
The Man in the Yellow Hat
The set took less than a day because almost everything was found objects. Furniture and plants were from the craft store. Many of the props were from previous projects. I wanted to spend the bulk of the time on the animation itself, and got pretty lucky finding the set pieces.
The two puppets had ball-and-socket armatures left over from previous stop motion productions. The tall guy, for example, was once The Man in the Yellow Hat from a production of Curious George. The clothes were from dolls like GI Joe and Ken. I made the heads out of clay so I could achieve a full range of emotions and mouth shapes. 

What was the most challenging aspect of producing the clip?
Probably the second shot in the clip when the guy stands up and you can see the whole room. In order to focus on just one performance at a time, I animated each character in their own pass and composited the shot in post. The challenging part was not to bump anything after the first few passes, which would trash a day’s work in an instant. I shot this in the back room of a church and found myself animating while listening to a very emotional funeral.

I love the dog's snatch of the treat at the start of the clip. Can you talk a bit about adding these kinds of exaggerations into your work?
There was a pause in the dialogue and that just seemed like a bit of business that would fit in and give the dog a bit of action. I think it’s good to look for little bits of fun that can be added to a scene without detracting from the focus of the shot. 

The Pirates
Animation company Meinbender produce 3d animation in the style of stop motion. With computer artists being able to produce these results, what future do you foresee for puppet animation.
Meinbender’s work is impressive and very appealing, but it still looks CG to me. I think there will always be a place for puppet animation because the audience can feel the difference still going to stop motion movies. Notice, for example, that while Aardman duplicated their style in CG for Flushed Away, they have returned to stop motion for The Pirates.

Lastly, what advice would you give to anyone wishing to chase a career in stop motion.
A stop motion animator has the advantage of offering their services in a less saturated market (there are an awful lot more CG animators than anything else), but with fewer work opportunities. I’m told, though, that one can make a pretty good living jumping from project to project in L.A. if they have the right contacts. Learning both stop motion and CG animation would also open a few more doors.

Education would follow the same advice given for anyone pursuing animation: Learn from a good school and/or mentor, get lots of feedback, and don’t stop animating. One should always have a project in the works. Which reminds me, I had best get back to mine.
Interview by Steven Hawthorne

Clay Animation: A Simple Assignment

I've started teaching experimental animation at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, which includes an introduction to clay animation.  The animation above is a demo of part of the assignment that uses replacement animation.  Using equal amounts of clay for each stage, students create this series:
...and replace one with the next in the series, frame by frame, until the largest one.  That one is then swung around in the other direction and the animation continues with the series in reverse until the squashed piece is reached.  Then the process is repeated or it ends with the original sphere.

But the demo above would receive nothing more than a C, as it just barely accomplishes the objective and is hardly creative.  The goal is to take this animation concept and run with it, as this one demonstrates in spades from Danny of  SJproduction.  Not sure if he uses replacement animation, but the principle of the jump is there.

So if you want to explore clay animation but don't want to get into armatures and lip sync yet, this is a good place to start.  Just start by bouncing the ball around and see where your imagination takes you.

Saturday 17 September 2011

Mc 15: animal antics

The last challenge was wildly tough, so I was delighted to see so many great entries.
Jino Jacildo showed just how snake like he could be with his beautiful lizard. Arnold Balaka broke the mysterious news of the missing Dr Norman. Odair Martins showed off his devilish side, Guilherme Mello Oliveira's puppy looks adorably fun, while Kai hunted for food as a meerkat. Simples! To complete the tribe, we have a beautiful entry by David Thornfield.

Altogether a lovely bunch of animals. Well done guys!

Monday 12 September 2011

Mc 16: the slam dunk!

Hello guys and gals,
Battle Ball

Take the ball and dunk it into basket, simple! Or not. This challenge is based upon the inspirational work of Kyle Kenworthy, for the game Battle Ball! When I first saw it posted on our 11 Second Club forum, I grew in love with its creativity. He has taken the sport and taken it to the extreme.

A variety of shots are showcased on his personal blog. Each shot took 12 hours to do which really is an incredible turnaround. You may discover his production process here.

Double Dribble
Please note Kyle is a very experienced and talented animator.  The challenge is not asking to produce something as complicated as some of Kyle's shots, but instead asking you how you would slam the ball into the basket. You could be inspired by the Goofy short, Double Dribble, or the 90's film Spacejam. Alternatively, maybe you have your own unique idea. Just slam that ball through the hoop!

Usual rules apply. Time frame is two weeks, finishing on 26th September. 16-9 format.

Approximately 100-125 frames is recommended, though shorter is allowed. We welcome quality over quantity, so if you have a complex idea, keep it short. It is recommended to only use one character. If you have any other questions, please check our How to participate section.


Pandas animation tricks #11

In this video I talk about animating weight shifts and the general thought process that goes into shifting the weight of the body. Sorry about the audio quality guys, it isn't nearly as good as it has been recently. Anyway I will try to have another one as soon as I can.. A couple of the ideas I have are fairly large in scope so those should be interesting to tackle. As always though if you have ideas for things you want me to talk about or show please comment and let me know. Until next time!

If you are interested in using Lt Dan you can get it here.

Sunday 11 September 2011

Remembering who you are

Hello guys and gals,
In this post I wish to highlight the importance of having remembering who you are as both an artist and an animator.

Producing a showreel or working as an animator takes a lot of time and dedication. Sometimes we so get lost in the pressure of making a shot work, that it is hard to find the time to celebrate who we are as individuals. In this post I wish to present two great examples of artists who have found that time to explore their own interests away from their normal methods of animation.

Character Design
Confessions of a Yeti
Now a few days ago, I took a visit to Keith Lango's blog. As people know, Keith is a wonderful teacher who has dedicated a lot of time to helping others understand concepts in 3d animation. While Keith has loved teaching animators, including myself, I was very pleased to see he has recently taken time to make his own personal project. It becomes his first short film in over ten years!  The film is titled 'My Bathroom' and is plans to be the first in a series titled 'Confessions of a Yeti', inspired by the work of Jim Henson. Its a delightful film. The puppet is so fluffy, and white and crafted together wonderfully (can't believe Keith actually made it). I believe it fits in perfectly with the fun and innocence of the story. I look forward to seeing more.

Jill the Peg
Next I wish to show you the work of Dave Cropley, a friend of mine who spent twelve years as a character animator. I met Dave at a life drawing class at Bristol Grammar School. Dave's method of drawing is somewhat different from the rest of the class. Through etching, he likes to combine several five min poses into a single drawing. The result are Dali-style ''freaks'' with beautifully warped proportions. He now hopes to turn these into animations and a step-by-step walkthrough to show his production method using Adobe Flash.

Hope you all enjoy!

Friday 9 September 2011

Edwin Schaap Interview

Rural life
Hello guys and girls,
Between the time Eric Scheur placed down his pen and then I took the reigns, there have been many beautiful entries. I decided it would be a nice idea to revisit those winning entries and ask some thoughts and advice from the animators who created the work.

Up first is Edwin Schaap. Edwin won January's competition, presenting a natural flow of conversation between two men from the wild west. I wish to thank him for his time in sharing some words. Hope you all enjoy the read!

To begin the interview I'm wondering, other than animation, what hobbies do you have? 
That’s a good one, I don’t have much other hobbies, spending time with my girlfriend, family, going to the cinema, most of my time I spend on my hobby: Animation.

Being in your young twenties, having already produced several beautiful animation shorts, what are your hopes and plans for the future?
I hope to make many more shorts, but I also hope to work as a professional animator in one of the big studios. I think the biggest dream is to make my own feature film… But that’s so far ahead, first I need to get my skills better and better.

Your film 'First Date' looks similar to the work of Tim Burton. Its dark, creepy and sad, yet tells a beautiful love story. I think what makes Burton's work different to others is his belief in taking risks and being different. How important do you believe this is in your practice?
First Dates
Yeah ''First Date'' was very inspired by Tim Burton in that time, I started at it in 2008, I woke up with that idea, wrote it down on the train, made some sketches, and modeled and rigged it all in too fast time.. I was not critical enough of myself in that time, so I drew that ugly chin of the grandpa, and was actually very proud of it. Then it had a break for 2 years or so, and finished it in 2010. But to answer your question, I think it’s very important, but I don’t do it very often. I am trying to think of original Idea’s, like living trees etc, but I always think what the audience wants to see, I want to make as much as people interested in my animation. So I never do stuff that’s too far out of the box I guess…

Where do you take your inspiration from?
The Escalator
A lot of my inspiration comes from watching Pixar/Disney. I love good stories, and the way mood shifts, and the way you can play with your audiences emotions. I think I also get my inspiration outside. When you’re waiting on the train, or sitting in a tram, you see people doing the most interesting stuff. I live close to a park, and I guess Rooted was inspired a little by that. And like an animation I made “the escalator” is really based on the escalators of the train station I travel through a lot. You see annoyed people waiting because older people try to get up those creepy moving stairs.

Between 2001 and 2007 you attended the drama club, Onderlinge Vriendschap. How influential do you believe these years were on preparing you for a career as a 3d animator?
Well, the drama club really kept me loving acting, telling stories by acting and an important thing you learn, is that you have to exaggerate for the audience in the back. Also you never may show your back to the audience when you’re talking. Those little audience related things I keep in mind when I’m animating.

Looking at your reel, I personally love your piece about a little boy who plays at being Buzz Lightyear. There are so many things to enjoy. To start with your girlfriend did a great job of voicing the character. The animation itself is playful, with beautiful melody of arcs and lines of action. What did you enjoy most about producing the clip.
To infinity and beyond!
I love how kids act in their imagination. I wanted to try to animate a little kid to improve my skills, so I recorded my girlfriend who did an awesome job. It’s funny how voices of girls are great for boy characters. What I really enjoyed was to think of the poses, and how he would put his suit on. I enjoyed to make him out of balance and let him fall in the box. Like the 11secondclub, it’s always nice to put a lot of time in a small sequence.

(To watch the clip please click here )

Shortly after your victory, there was a debate about the appeal of Morpheus and other character rigs. I have noticed you have used a variety of the few character rigs. Which factors are considered when choosing which rig you will use in your shots?
It really depends on what it is about, but for now I want to always use the Morpheus rig, I really love it, so much possibilities But when it’s more cartoony I feel like to use the moom rig, which is also a great rig! I think the rig has to be believable in the scene.

Delving into your shot, I must first ask, what did the old man discover?
Haha, it seemed not clear for the people, but for me it was always clear: The left guy is teaching the other how to drive a horse. I didn’t want to spend much time on “the discovery” so I just wanted to let them talk and have fun. If you look at the beginning, you see the guy watching his reins in his hands and says “It really works”.
The idea developed from watching my girlfriend play a game called Red Dead Redemption, a western game. So when I was trying to make up a story for the January audio, I constantly heard western music. It automatically put me in that theme. And with that in mind I heard the reigns moving and I wanted to use the peace of the countryside. I didn’t want a funny joke at the end, just a nice chat with two old guys.

Talk a bit about your animation process.
Well, I acted it out and recorded it. You can see it here

I did it several times, for twenty mins or so, then I went searching for nice poses, or little details I liked. And just started to animate. The main important thing I did in that month, was that I looked out for every unconscious thought of “hmm, an error” and try to fix it. So I polished until I really didn’t see anything annoying. Mostly I did animations (and still do) for very fast deadlines, and then got moments you think “okay, it’s fine, next!” And this time I wanted to complete it as much as possible for me. I can’t remember if I blocked it out first, I usually went very fast to splining. Now I rather do more blocking, to let ME do the work, and not the computer. Still got a lot to learn about it.

I loved your animation on the wagon itself. Can you talk a bit about how you achieved this.
Well when I was almost finished with animating the characters, I started to give the wagon some humps. I tried to make it subtle, but just enough to feel they were moving on the road. The characters were parented on the wagon, so all I had to do after that was to give the bodies some overlap.

To not distract from the characters, I chose parts of the audio where it was calm enough to bring the humps into the shot. I used both big and small humps, as I was looking for a natural look and try to avoid it looking like a looping movement.

I have heard the hands are the second place people look for personality in a character after the eyes and face. You use a variety of gestures which act beautifully natural. Please talk a bit about this in your animation.
I guess a lot of it came from my reference footage, but I also wanted to bring the audiences eye to the talking person. Therefore when one character was quiet, he’s mostly listening and not asking for much attention. Around frame 130 you see the left guy is really listening and leaning towards the other guy as if he’s a little deaf. I wanted to bring a little bit character in the mouth as well, and tried to do the best lip sync I could get. I’m satisfied with the line “Well, you must understand that is an ancient technique” how the S-tones sound with seeing his teeth. I liked to bring in little details, that are not necessary for the story but just when you watch it over again. Like the little snif of the left guy on frame 20.

Talk about one or two parts of the eCritique that enhanced expanded on the ideas you had originally set out to animate.
Jason Taylor eCritique
First of all, I want to thank Jason Taylor for his great ECritique, I appreciate it. And also the 11secondclub for giving the chance! Great!

The main things I still keep in mind, is the way they watch at each other. So the way the eyes aim, and how they hold the heads. As an example Jason gave, the left guy is leaning to much to the back, which is very hard to do for an old man. Also the many movements of the right guy were more for younger guys, so if the guy would look younger it already give it a more realistic feel to it. Like I said, I tried to get rid of all the errors I see, but it’s great to hear a lot of great great tips which I didn’t see yet. It really pushes you to a new level.

Have you yet returned to the piece to incorporate the suggestions made in the eCritique?
I really wanted to do, but because I was very busy with my study (making Rooted) I didn’t had time left to improve it, and a few months later I still haven’t which I regret. But I really am glad to had the Ecritique and hope to find the time to improve the shot.

(To watch Rooted and read a fab interview by YouAnimator, please click here)

As well as entering the monthly competition, you are pretty active on the forums. What advice would you offer to someone joining the 11 Second Club?
Post the work on the forums, there are a lot of great people who wants to help, and for me, by reading and trying to help you also learn a lot. As for the competition itself, I would like to advice people to print out the 12principles, and stick it to your screen or hang it on the wall as a reminder. I don't have only the principles, I have also this list printed out: variation, line of action, story, lipsync, mass, balance, contrast, heart, texture, age, C/S curves etcetera. When I animate I use this as a checklist. Try to find your weaknesses and put those on a list! Most important “have fun!”

Interview by Steven Hawthorne

Wednesday 7 September 2011

A couple helpful links

Hey everyone!

People often spend so much time hunting for the right audio clip when they begin a dialogue shot. The other day we gave you an archive of film clips and now over at Spungella; they have directed us to a great archive over at soundboard.com. I checked it out for a little bit and found some wonderful clips without even trying. I hope everyone can find something great, providing good practice to the 11 Second Club competition.

The next link I wanted to share with you is a figure drawing Q&A with Michael Hampton. It was recorded live and gives great advise to those learning or refreshing there live and/or figure drawing skills. Please click the pic to view.

Character Design

Speaking of figure drawing if you have not already I highly suggest reading Drawn to Life 1 and 2. They will help you in your planing stages and teach you how to get that perfect pose.


Thursday 1 September 2011

Animation Mentor Podcasts

I hope you have time to check out the recent Animation Mentor podcasts which include commencement speeches by Lee Unkrick and Tim Johnson, as well as "Behind The Scenes of Disney's Talent Development Program".

Lee talks about the challenge of approaching his position as director of Toy Story 3 as a non-animator. More importantly he tells a story that I have been lucky enough to hear twice. He speaks about the quality of the story they tell.  Grab a tissue before you hit play, I'll say no more because I don't want to spoil it.

In Tim's speech he talks about his start in animation and giving up the drive to be perfect and allowing flaws.

Finally "Behind The Scenes of Disney's Talent Development Program" is just that. A great sit down with some new members of the program talking about what it's like.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Film clips for inspiration

Hey guys and gals,
Are you researching for a particular character type, but not sure where to start? Movieclips.com is full of inspirational clips from wide list of movies. Categorized to make it easier to find what your looking for, this fab resource may just be the key to brainstorming ideas for the 11 Second Club competition.

Hope you enjoy!

Character Design


Working in the video game industry, the name of the game is usually speed. Turnarounds can be very fast and being able to animate quickly is key. Something I find very helpful for animating more quickly is setting up shortcuts. I didn't use many shortcuts when I first started animating, but now I swear by them. If I find myself starting to use a certain function repeatedly, I'll create a shortcut for it. You'd be surprised how much time you can save by not having to navigate through windows & menus.

Here's an image and quick breakdown of the main shortcuts I use. Depending on the shot, I'll sometimes add more specific ones having to do with the rig (selecting controls, hiding body parts, etc)

For those who don't know, you can customize your own shortcuts in Maya by going to
Window/Settings&Preferences/HotKey Editor
Here it lists all of Mayas default commands and you can Assign New Hotkeys to them. Using the bottom portion you can also create custom ones with your own commands.