Here is my second animation entry into ‘The 11 Second Club!’ This month’s competition was very cool because there was no dialogue and only involved sounds. Also this was my first time posting my ‘work in progress’ (WIP) in the forums to get additional help and animation advice!

I started off by first analyzing the given clip. Then I and came up with several possible scenarios to choose from. In the end I decided to animate a character dropping something heavy which eventually leads to him falling through the floor. This was important because now I had a focal point from which to gather all the references and models I would need. Eventually this led to a really nice warehouse model and from then on everything started to fall into place.

As for the main character, I decided to go with the Malcolm rig again. I don’t know of many professional style rigs that are available so Malcolm was perfect (Bonnie is also a great rig, but she didn’t seem to fit the overall theme). Also, I found a really nice barrel and did a bit of rigging so I could pivot and control the movement a bit easier (A squash deformer was also added to allow for simple squashing and stretching).

Then it was onto animating! I went in and blocked in the basic movements making sure that the timing was correct. Once that was done, I began blocking in the movement of the barrel and applied parent constraints to the hands (in inverse kinematic of course) so they would follow the barrel. What’s nice about the Malcolm rig is the ability to switch between ‘forward kinematics’ (FK) and ‘inverse kinematics’ (IK). So while Malcolm is holding the barrel, his arms were set to IK and constrained to the barrel. But once the barrel is set down, the arms are un constrained and animated in FK.

After everything was blocked in, I started working on the wood planks. Basic proxy geometry was created as stand-ins for the originals (with passive collide) and rigid bodies were applied to the planks to dynamically animate them as they fell and interacted with the barrel and floor. Once everything was looking right, all the dynamics was baked out and the rigid bodies and proxy stand-ins were deleted. Then it was onto re-timing everything and fixing any penetration issues (using animation layers of course).

To further add details, I added a fractal noise to simulate and drive the vertical and horizontal shaking of the camera. For the swaying lights, two spot lights were parented to a dynamically driven IK-spline (which were then baked once everything was looking good).

Finally everything was smoothed out and I began to add facial expressions and additional details. Also at this time, I decided to post my work in the forums for additional help and animation critiques. Originally I thought I was done, but after reading critiques and helpful advice from other members, I learned that there was a lot to do. Among all the helpful tips, the best advice was to film myself as reference. I filmed myself going through the motions and found several issues with the body mechanics within my animation that I would have otherwise missed. Everyone in the club was so friendly and encouraging which really helped me to stay motivated and continue polishing my animation.

I managed to have plenty of time for rendering and post work so that was great and I submitted my entry with relative ease. There was a total of 110 entries this month along with the usual voting period for everyone to checkout all the entries. I have to say that even though there was less entries, the quality definitely went up! It was difficult to rank them fairly because there were so many great entries.

Then it was waiting til the 5th for the final results! To my surprise, I managed to rank 20 out of 110! I can’t believe it! My second entry into ‘The 11 Second Club’ and I got into the top 20!

I’m so happy with the voting and feel that I’ve improved since my last entry. Also I am very thankful for all the help I received in the forums and to all the great members within the club! I had a ton of fun this past month and hope to even do better for the next!

You can see my entry on the official site here! You can also read my WIP forum thread here! Or check out the gallery for a screen shot and watch the final video below:

I only take credit for the animation. All models and rigs were provided courtesy of AnimSchool and TF3DM.

Software Utilized: Autodesk Maya, Adobe After Effects