Zombie Story

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steveryan2
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Zombie Story

Post by steveryan2 » Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:31 am

This is a break-away thread from the "Animation Jobs: Anyone Interested in Teaming Up?" post here:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=26464

This thread is being created exclusively for the collaboration and progress of the Zombie Plow story. I will re-post the story summary and the storyboard below.

Story Summary:
A post-apocalyptic camp. The city in the distance is in ruins and still smoldering. A small group of survivors are living in tents and cars scraping by and are clearly in trouble food-wise. They are eating things that people would not touch in normal times. Two men are trying to plow a field. Without a tractor or anything gas powered they are doing using 18th century methods; except instead of an ox or even a horse, one of of the two men must do the plowing, which is exhausting them. They look back and have only plowed a small amount. They look ahead and see an entire field that they still must work.

Suddenly people begin screaming; a zombie has entered the camp and is on the hunt for it's next meal. The men on the plow distract the zombie to save the others and the zombie comes after one of them. As he tries to escape, the man falls to the ground and there are several near misses as the zombie goes after the man. Running around a makeshift clothes line, the zombie gets tangled up in the rope. He continues to pull so that he can get his teeth into the man who is lying on the ground in front of him, but the rope holds. With the zombie on a "leash" the man gets an idea. The next shot we see the two men working the field again, but this time with the zombie pulling the plow. They make quick work plowing back and forth across the field using the zombie as an ox.
The End.


Storyboard:
Image
Image
Image
steveryan2
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Re: Zombie Story

Post by steveryan2 » Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:38 am

I won't re-post everything yet, but thought it would helpful to show the character designs created by Jahnocli:

Image

Image
steveryan2
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Re: Zombie Story

Post by steveryan2 » Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:48 am

Here is the finished head turn. This took me MUCH longer than I would have thought. I messed up many times and had to redo a lot of work. For all that effort, I am still not really super-happy with it. I wouldn't mind talking with some of the experts out there on how I could go through the head-turning process in a less painful way.

How can I upload the AnimeStudio file for you to download?

thanks.

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neeters_guy
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Re: Zombie Story

Post by neeters_guy » Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:21 pm

steveryan2 wrote:Here is the finished head turn. This took me MUCH longer than I would have thought. I messed up many times and had to redo a lot of work. For all that effort, I am still not really super-happy with it. I wouldn't mind talking with some of the experts out there on how I could go through the head-turning process in a less painful way.

How can I upload the AnimeStudio file for you to download?

thanks.

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Upload the file on cloud storage or file hosting site and post the link here. The head turn’s not bad, but it does need some tweaking. Once you post your anime file, I’d be happy to take a look at it. :)

It occurs to me that this could be done with images as well. You’d lose the smooth head turn, but gain back the hand drawn quality of the original drawing. I having this issue with the zombie since I feel I’m losing something when I redraw with vectors. But I let you know how it works out… :wink:
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Re: Zombie Story

Post by steveryan2 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 12:57 am

What is a good (free) file hosting site?
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Re: Zombie Story

Post by Danimal » Thu Nov 20, 2014 3:36 am

steveryan2 wrote:What is a good (free) file hosting site?
Dropbox seems to work for most people. I've never used it so I can't comment, but I see an awful lot of people who do.
~Danimal
steveryan2
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Re: Zombie Story

Post by steveryan2 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 3:59 pm

Thanks Danimal! I signed up with Drop Box and it seems to work well.

Neeters, Here is a link to the Anime Studio file. I am using the Pro version; I don't know if you are or if that makes a difference.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/6xfyccfk4qt5r ... .anme?dl=0

I completely welcome any suggestions you have regarding how you think it could be improved or how I could set it up better. This was a serious challenge for me and I want to get better and learn to do it with more efficiency.

I only have one bone dial; for the head turn. But have several blend morphs for the mouth. The plan was to later control those with Bone Dials as well.

One of the biggest problems is that when I turn the head to the side and then use the "Grit Teeth" Blend Morph, the head turns to face forward. The head doesn't turn like that with the other mouth positions.

There are other problems as well, but I guess we can start there. Thanks.
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neeters_guy
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Re: Zombie Story

Post by neeters_guy » Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:54 pm

steveryan2 wrote:This is a break-away thread from the "Animation Jobs: Anyone Interested in Teaming Up?" post here:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=26464
Since it might be useful to newcomers to read those posts related to the Zombie story, I compiled a list of links to relevant sections from that original thread (which has gotten long and sprawling):

jahnocli’s first zombie sketches
jahnocli’s ordinary characters sketches
dueyftw's first vectored head
lwaxana’s color designs
jahnocli’s props and walking sketches
baphomet graveyard backgrounds
jahnocli’s survivor poses and zombie turnaround
steveryan2 production update
steveryan2 head rig - first draft
steveryan2 head rig - lessons learned
neeters_guy zombie — front view

Hope that helps anyone interested in jumping in. :)
Last edited by neeters_guy on Fri Nov 21, 2014 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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neeters_guy
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Re: Zombie Story

Post by neeters_guy » Fri Nov 21, 2014 11:04 pm

steveryan2 wrote:Neeters, Here is a link to the Anime Studio file. I am using the Pro version; I don't know if you are or if that makes a difference.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/6xfyccfk4qt5r ... .anme?dl=0

I completely welcome any suggestions you have regarding how you think it could be improved or how I could set it up better. This was a serious challenge for me and I want to get better and learn to do it with more efficiency.
Thanks. I'll see if I have time this weekend to look at the file (and I'm sure others may want to chime in as well). Admittedly, you picked the hardest character...a head full of facial hair is way more difficult to rig than a bald headed zombie. :)
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lwaxana
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Re: Zombie Story

Post by lwaxana » Sat Nov 22, 2014 4:46 pm

Great rigging progress on this! I know everyone has their own workflow, so this is just my two cents. Since the storyboard is already laid out, you could save a lot of work by basing the rigs on the requirements of each scene, rather than starting with a head turn rig with lots of functionality that might not fit into the story. What I would do is block in everything for shot 1, rig the characters for that shot, animate it, move on to shot 2, etc. In this case I might actually skip to shot 2 since it requires fewer assets that haven't been created yet (backgrounds, props, character designs).
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neeters_guy
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Re: Zombie Story

Post by neeters_guy » Sun Nov 23, 2014 8:51 pm

lwaxana wrote:Since the storyboard is already laid out, you could save a lot of work by basing the rigs on the requirements of each scene, rather than starting with a head turn rig with lots of functionality that might not fit into the story.
Thanks for the reminder. I'm particularly prone to this. Speaking of which... :roll:

***
@steveryan2 on head rig feedback.
Image
Here's a revised version of the rig; you can see some of the tweaks I made to the points motions and layer ordering. For the side-to-side movement of the nose, I found it easier to flip it rather than try to animate the line widths. Also, I thought it made more sense to move the cheekbone line to the ear layer.

I made smart bones for the morphs. This way it's easier to see how the morphs will blend with the head turn action. Because of the way these morphs are set up, it's best not to mix these too extremely with other actions...you'll get some get really messy results. Using them one at a time is best.

For the most part, I preserved your rig as you intended. There were a bunch of structural changes though that suit my way of working. These may or may not work for you, so I pass them along with a grain of salt:

1) Reset layer transforms, recenter origin, turn off paths (but keep paths on for the top level bone layer).

2) Use base styles for fill and stroke. Keep the stroke simple; add brushes and line width variations after the character is finished.

3) When tracing, try to create your segment/shapes all at once rather than try to connect different segments. I find that each segment has an endpoint that you can't curve, so I try to minimuze those.

4) Misc smart bone stuff:
* Have the bone point in the same direction of the head turn.
* Set all smart bones to the same frame, such as 30 or 60. It's easier to see and remember on the timeline.
* Use linear keys.
* Try to limit movement in one axis (eg., head turn move horizontally). This makes it easier to predict how sb action will blend. Of course, when you animate you should strive for arc motion.

Hope that helps. It's a good learning experience building these rigs. At some point though, with lwaxana's point in mind, we should keep moving forward. :)

edit: update file link.
Last edited by neeters_guy on Thu Nov 27, 2014 8:12 am, edited 2 times in total.
steveryan2
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Re: Zombie Story

Post by steveryan2 » Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:12 pm

lwaxana wrote:Great rigging progress on this! I know everyone has their own workflow, so this is just my two cents. Since the storyboard is already laid out, you could save a lot of work by basing the rigs on the requirements of each scene, rather than starting with a head turn rig with lots of functionality that might not fit into the story. What I would do is block in everything for shot 1, rig the characters for that shot, animate it, move on to shot 2, etc. In this case I might actually skip to shot 2 since it requires fewer assets that haven't been created yet (backgrounds, props, character designs).
Thanks Iwaxana, I came to that same conclusion; AFTER I had already put most of the work into it. I had not animated in AnimeStudio in several years and got caught up in the excitement of the new features; particularly the ability to do head turns. I am definitely guilty of allowing the new shiny thing cloud my judgement and priorities.

Once I started working on some of the mouth positions/expressions and started running into problems, I was afraid that if I didn't address those problems before moving forward I would ruin previous work.

But I will do exactly what you suggest; focusing on the shots that contain the main character. I won't worry about the backgrounds for now.
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Re: Zombie Story

Post by steveryan2 » Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:19 pm

Neeters,

Thank you for doing this and especially for explaining it to me. I actually only understood about half of what you wrote. Some I understand in principle, but don't yet know how to apply in practice. For example, I didn't know that you could animate a nose flip and I am not even sure how to do that. I wish I had thought of the cheek bone to the ear thing. You had a lot of other great points that I will study along with the rig itself. Thank you for being my mentor on this; this is exactly what I needed!

Is it generally advantageous to fully rig the body before doing things such as head turns, mouth and eye expressions? Are there advantages/disadvantages?
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Re: Zombie Story

Post by ddrake » Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:08 am

steveryan2 wrote:Thanks Iwaxana, I came to that same conclusion; AFTER I had already put most of the work into it. I had not animated in AnimeStudio in several years and got caught up in the excitement of the new features; particularly the ability to do head turns. I am definitely guilty of allowing the new shiny thing cloud my judgement and priorities.
You're not the only one. And of course lwaxana is exactly right, but I found myself tinkering just the same. Mostly because I kind of wanted to see how quickly I could go from someone else's concept art, to vectorizing and then a quick but somewhat versatile head rig. So, mostly for my own practice and amusement I spent a little while with this guy.

Image

And came up with this:



File here: Pro 10
https://www.dropbox.com/s/yrkj2rx9sj3uj ... .anme?dl=0
- single direction 3/4 head turn
- eye and mouth bone controls


In retrospect I realize I made him a little chubbier than the character sketch (and probably your average post-apocalypse guy probably would be. )

At any rate, maybe this could be helpful, if nothing else to see variation on head rig/smartbone setups. Really more for experimentation sake, because this is even a different approach on how I've worked with headturns in the past. (No masking with this setup, just shape and layer order. So those pupils will shoot right out the side of the head if you let them :oops: :shock: )
-ddrake
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Re: Zombie Story

Post by neeters_guy » Mon Nov 24, 2014 7:55 pm

steveryan2 wrote:Is it generally advantageous to fully rig the body before doing things such as head turns, mouth and eye expressions? Are there advantages/disadvantages?
It's your choice. If you are working in separate files and planning to import the head, it's recommended to keep the project sizes the same and scaled proportionately.

I personally like to work on the whole rig in one file if possible. Sometimes changing one part can affect another, so I like to test as I go along. You can undo mistakes quickly and not spend hours not realizing you broke something. For example if you change bone parenting after creating smart bones, you can mess up your actions.

@ddrake -- Wow, good work. Lots of controls and nice layer setup. Thanks for sharing the file! :)
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