January 2016

Pakan is an student animation created in the 4th and 5th semester in a group of 8. My main focus was Rigging and Animation. It's the story of a young man that is sent out to rescue his tribe, though he does not know where his journey is leading him.

The Rig

The rig was created very closely after Jason Schleifers 'Animator Friendly Rigging Tutorial'. Since it was the first complex rig I created it was very much trial and error. Jasons scripts really helped out speeding up the workflow, otherwise I might still be fixing bugs. It has all the little doodads you would expect from a biped rig, like IK/FK, snapping, advanced foot roll etc. For the face I had to improvise a bit. I had already done a Blendshape based face rig once, so this time I wanted to make it joint based. To get a connected feel I arranged the joints on a ribbon system and placed those in the face where the muscles would lie. This worked, but not as easily as I expected. Also I only figured out during animation that I would like more control over face, but at this point it was too late to make any changes.

The Animation

For animation I really wanted to get movement in the scene as fast as possible. I decided to build a simple proxy rig and put it in the scene with some key poses. This helped the camera artist to quickly iron out kinks where the 3D camera would not work as planned in the 2D animatic. In retrospect I don't think the rig was needed. A simple cube would have had the same effect. For final animation I really had to keep my discipline as I had an average of 3 days to animate a shot. Since I had to animate 90% of the shots, I needed to be fast and efficient. Luckily for most of the journey the character is mostly walking straight, so I made a walkloop and animated an animation layer on top. For all the other shots I cut everything that was not on camera. This somehow cut down on the quality of the animation, but it was necessary to finish in time.

Lessons Learned

Of course since was the first more complex animation that I made a lot of things went wrong or not as smoothly as expected. I gravely underestimated the time I would need for certain tasks. The worst thing was, that we didn't have a proper pipeline worked out. We had file referencing, but with the environment variable that needed to be set, it was just very tedious to get many assets into a scene. But to be honest, all in all it went pretty smoothly. We could have screwed up in a lot more places.