This short animation started as a Semester Project in the fourth Semester in a group of 8 people and is still a work in progress. It will be finished at the end of the fifth semester.
As of now the story is set, animatic is done and a rough blocking for animation and rigs are also done. My next tasks will be animation, animation and animation.
Here I will present what I have done so far, which is mainly rigging, test animations and the conceptual blocking pass. A facebook page will be online soon so anyone can follow the progress and see a bit behind the scenes footage.
With the rig I followed the "Animator Friendly Rigging" tutorial again, but I made changes to it as needed. For example the IK stretching of the limbs can now be deactivated. I am really satisfied with how the rig turned out, especially the face. It is bone based which makes it easy to set up and really flexible in use. There is still room for improvement, but first tests showed that is clearly sufficient for the tasks the animation presents us.
For the animation workflow I used a technique I saw on 3Dtotal. We created very simple
abstractions of our 2 characters and blocked in the scene with those. This technique had a lot of advantages for us.
First of all the rig wasn't done but we could already create movement in our scenes. This was especially important for framing the camera in complicated shots.
Secondly we were still changing shots, deleting old ones and creating new ones. With the blocking rig, animating is fast, so little is lost when a shot gets discarded, and new ones are animated fast for the others to see.