Discovering 3D Animation

The biggest challenge I have to face for my grad film is the use of 3D. I decided to do it as a personal challenge, to get out of my comfort zone and experience  a different type of animation.

Upon starting this project, I decided to ease up the process and start with a 3D sculpting program, Zbrush, to create my main character. This software, a more artistic one than technical one, allowed me to give the shape I wanted for my character. The interface took a bit of getting used to, but the reflexes were the same than drawing. The research I had to make was very little, looking online for shortcuts and easy ways to do this and that.

However, when importing the mesh into Maya, that is were the real work started. I had to start with retopologizing the mesh, meaning rebuilding the model with a lower number of polygons. I learned later on, that I made mistakes during this process. I did not follow the proportions properly, not giving circular shapes to the important elements.

I noticed this upon taking the next step: rigging. I used Advanced Skeleton, a plugin that gives you basic rigs that you can then shape. The body took quite some time, and I had to make extensive research, using the plugin’s website and Youtube channel as well as Lynda.com. After emailing my mentor, I had a pretty good idea of how to fix the body rig issues. I decided to get on to the face rig. The problem is the face polygons are not regular and not all connecting to each other properly, thus making it, for now, impossible to rig. Going back to the beginning now would be erase a month of work. I do believe now that I would make it faster, nevertheless, I hope to find another solution.

For now 3D animation has been mostly about learning from my mistakes rather than classes or online help. I hope to make the character working well for the final animation.

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