URCHN Arkipelago Animation Notes

Animation Notes

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Animation Workflow

Mainly character animation will follow these steps:

  1. Assign a shot to an animator in Helga
  2. Animator gets the shot files via sparkleshare or SVN
  3. We create reference and post it to Helga in the shot, and save a higher quality file in keg in /helga/tube/work/reference/scenes/act_n/shot/
  4. Animator starts by blocking in Constant keyframes
  5. Animator posts progress via boomsmash (tubese for playblast/openGL preview) in helga.
  6. feedback happens via skype, google hangout, helga comments, or other method. We prefer voice/video over text due to complexity and ease of understanding. On Friday meetings we have dailies where other animators/rest of the team can chime in.
  7. shot goes from blocking to splined, to refinement until it is finalled.
  8. we can recieve files via sparkleshare, or committing to SVN.

Important: do not save files 'out of tree' they should stay in the same folder in SVN or sparkleshare, so that the relative paths (linked libraries/ file references) remain the same.

Animation Needs

About the Main character

Rig Documentation

head over here: Gilgamesh Rig


 Gilgamesh should be thought of as in her later 20's or early 30's.

She's been in the army, and fought on the more dominant side. Her attitude is narcissistic, arrogant and entitled- she takes her privilege and dominance for granted. Before the film starts, she has lost a friend (presumably in combat) and has a few small scars herself. This grief has turned into a fear of death (previously she didn't really consider that she can die) and she is desperately seeking the secret to eternal life. She believes she has found this in a piece of paper that is located in a strange subway station.

During Act I

her progression in Act-1 goes from an extreme confidence that she will attain eternal life (due to her arrogance she believes in herself 'deserving' this) but is beset by a series of setbacks.. that lead first to mounting frustration, and then to a bitter resignation - at which point she actually finds the paper:

Entry: finds paper (a1s01 and a1s03) believes she will get it

Initial loss: (a1s03, a1s11 she loses it, reacts with anger, but still is confident that she can get it back

Mounting frustration: most of the act until a1s45/46, she's losing, than searching in a sea of papers for the right one.

resignation: a1s38, leaves track area

finds the paper in 45/46

defiant, triumphant in the last part of act I

During Act II

there are two gilgameshes during act II!!!: 1- gilgamesh in the station: starts out completely mangled and injured, slow moving and in pain. when she heals she should be almost neautral, trapped in an observer position, until the very end when she surrenders the paper. after letting go of the paper she is a bit scared. 2- gilgamesh in the train, is sad/mourning in the first shot, reacts with typical emotions on seeing her mangled self: dismay/not sure of what she sees, before receeding out of the shot in a more 'observer' mode.

During Act III

Gilgamesh is a calmer, milder, happier person, who's re-integrated into society. She's contemplative and optimistic.

Character Motion

Gilga's character animation as it has evolved during the first shots, is:
-relatively subtle: not too cartoony, avoide takes, over-arc-y motion, 'extreme' facial expressions.
-strong facial symmetry: avoid dreamworksy/ winky poses.
-strong/ powerful actions: strong moves and fast motions could often happen in straight lines.
-conserve energy when posible (doesn't step too high, etc.)
We have to avoid 'realistic' human motion, to avoid the uncanny valley,

and to give style and animated acting of G's emotional state in the absence of dialog. At the same time, I'd like to avoid cartoony 'take-y' bouncy, squash and stretchy motion with excessive arcs. We also need to emphasize the character's strength. Some pointers:

  • use straight lines, fast motions, or very subtle arcs for most motions,

especially 'directed' ones, i.e. gil looks at the paper: rapid head turn- gil snatches a paper: rapid, straight pounce, almost like throwing a punch.

  • use arcs for motions where gil is expressing desire (touching the

paper) or self-love (whenever she absent-mindedly touches herself, in any secondary action of scratching, thinking, etc.)

  • use believable antic for motions that require strength (i.e. jumping,


  • use minimal antic for motions that don't require strength, i.e. instead

of a bouncy take before a look, she should just have a moving hold. To express tension, she can shake a little (and we may add controls into the rig for this.) so instead of a reversal-take pattern as we see in many e.g. animation mentor reels, go for a tension-release pattern (hold-straight fast motion, slightly faster than human normal).

  • very, very slightly insect like, spooky motion and poses.
  • Neck: don't do 'pigeon'-y excessive head/neck motion. Use the neck very

physically believably, and to effect reversals in head posture in a limited way (i.e. her typcial attitude would probably look down on things from an uptilted head, but you can sometimes reverse this and use her neck to crane towards them).

  • athletic: self assured running, moving, doesn't stumble easily.
  • secondary action: since she's vain, she might tend to touch her

face/neck/body while in repose, without even thinking of it, or while she is thinking of things.

WalkCycles =

Beginning and seasoned animators who are doing walkcycles for the crowd scenes, check out the page on walkcycles.