The minor project has proved to be challenging and rewarding for me this year. In the beginning the challenge for me was to solidify a story and concept, as I knew what I wanted the atmosphere and style to be, yet no solid story or character. I found my tutorials with Phil very helpful in guiding the direction of my animated short, and ended up very quickly with a story and a few main characters, and was able to produce a lot of concept work on my setting and characters. The story went through a few changes as I realised what would and wouldn’t work visually, and I went down from 3 main characters to 2, and made it work better with just the two characters, and this way I could concentrate and focus on making these models and animations as refined as I could. I found my secondary character (the hermit crab) challenging to write about, but found out that this character was the key to making my story better.
I liked using a lot of different medias and techniques in pre production, for example using collage and paint traditionally and combining with photoshop and maya. These proved successful and so I translated these painterly textures into my texture painting in maya, which was very easy and fun for me to do.
I have learnt many new things while in the modelling and rigging process of my characters. I found that I could model very fast and also UV without problems, but my challenge was with rigging and skinning. I went into it not very confident in the whole rigging process, but after having to re do it a few times I got the hang of rigging and skinning without having the help of a tutorial, and am now more confident in my self as a character rigger. Another element I found challenging was the jellyfish rig, it had so many elements and controls that I had to implement, but after doing it and redoing it many times I came up with a result that was exactly what I wanted from it, and felt confident with using.
Using FX elements was also something I had to work at, for example the nCloth on the jellyfish skirt. That was hard for me at first to get the hang of and understand what I was doing, but ultimately I managed to do it and understand just how it works and how I can manipulate it.
I think overall my strengths in this project were my experimental ore production art, my modelling and my impasto textures. My weaknesses were rigging and due to that, putting off the rigging on the jellyfish as long as I could, but I came out of it with rigging no longer a weakness in my skillset. I also found the lack of a timetable and sense of not being in a university challenging, as we rarely had reason to be in, so I had to remind myself that I still had a lot of work to do. If I could redo any part of this project it would be parts of the animatic, so I could change camera angles and add in extra bits that have only recently moved into the script, however this will be reflected in my pre his and final animated short. Altogether it was a good experience and I learnt a lot as an animator.