Saturday, 10 May 2014

Going Live - Animation

The animation I worked on is in Shot 1. The Tree unravels as a hand, follows and shoots up through the flying eagle, as if to grab it. The eagle is knocked out and starts falling, before it transforms into a dragon and flies past the camera, sweeping to the next shot.

Before starting the animation I sketched different poses using my own hand as reference, to explore how I might pose the 3D model:

For capturing the Eagle, the Tree-Hand was required to follow the Eagle and then expand. To achieve this I used a lattice deformer: 

Looking through the final camera, the Tree-Hand was expanded just enough to surround the Eagle:

Final Tree-Hand animation - Starting curled up and twisted in disguise, the hand unravels finger by finger. I added a slight swerve to the hand as it follows the Eagle up, almost like a snake chasing after it's prey, which makes it seem sinister. It finishes with a quick snatch and curl to capture the eagle:

Tree-Hand animation in final frames:

Turntable of the animated Tree-Hand (rendered and composited by Kieran):

These are some thumbnails Kieran drew out for me to explain what is happening in Shot 1:

I had some gathered reference material on my laptop and also over on a Pinterest board:

I then did a few sketches to work out how the Eagle might be posed during the sequence:

Final Eagle fall and transform animation - the wings I made sure to force up ad close in to emphasize the point where the hand shoots through the Eagle, to add some force to the hand. Also added more fluttering to the individual feathers as it falls to make it look as if it is falling at quite a speed:

Eagle animation in final frames:

I collected together some clips from films of animated dragons for reference - Pinterest link here:

This clip in particular was very useful to reference, from Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire (2005). The Dragon swoops down and out of the frame and then sweeps past closer to the screen, with follow through on the tail - which is what we wanted our Going Live Dragon to do, fly out of shot and sweep past screen into a transition shot:

Final Dragon transform and sweep animation - the dragon starts sideways to the camera to assist the compositors in the transformation sequence. The dragon starts slightly disorientated before flying off with new found purpose - emphasized with the wings following the body round before flapping with force to exit the shot:

Dragon animation in final frames:

Here is a video with all the characters together. The eagle and dragon animation overlap to allow the compositors to blend between them for the transformation. I've put it on X-ray view so the eagle and dragon can still be seen. I also animated the camera for this shot:

I've also uploaded these playblasts to vimeo, the quality is slightly better to view over there instead of on blogger:
All together, X-ray view: