(Click images for animation.)

CREATURE ANIMATION

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Creature animation of TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON
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A render test of Journey to the Center of the Earth's gigantosaurus. This
shot was part of a chase sequence that was split up amongst multiple animators. In order to maintain consistency from one shot to the next
a basic run-cycle was created and supplied to us as a starting point. From
there we hacked and massaged in a performance that would deliver our shot
to completion.

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The previous shot in playblast form. This is what our animations look like
within maya before they are handed off to the lighting, vfx, and compositing
crews.

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This shows the original run-cycle before I touched it, alongside my final
delivered animation.

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Another shot out of the chase sequence. The run-cycle we used fell apart
most prominently in close-ups of the dinosaurs feet, which this just happened
to be a shot of. A lot of time was spent massaging dinosaur toes. Than after animation was created the director decided he wanted the dinosaur to run faster through the whole sequence so the entire of performance of this shot had to be rebuilt and retimed to a quicker pace. It's a lot more work than you would expect to simply speed up an animation.

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Gigantosaurus smashing through a cave wall. An odd shot, the cave wall
itself was built as a miniature and actually broken apart by a prosthetic arm
simulating the dinosaur. This shot went through 6 variations to get to the
stage you see here, but than after I left the studio a decision was made to change the camera without adjusting the animation... As an animator our work
is usually animated to camera, meaning that if you spin around to a different
view in 3D space the animation often times won't hold up.

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One of my favorite shots on the show... but another instance where the
camera was changed after the animation was created. Unfortunately the animatic we were given to work by didn't solve a lot of the problems that should have been addressed on a previs level. In this case 2 shots of the dino squeezing himself through the cave sequence had virtually the same camera angle, and shot length, which meant the final shots looked to similar. A last minute call was made to change the camera's pov... unfortunately without allowing me to adjust the animation to match the new angle.

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This was the second shot in the dino cave sequence which prompted the previous shots camera angle to be changed. The similarities between the two shots are quite obvious.

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This was supposed to be the reveal shot of the dino, but the director changed his mind about how he wanted to present the dino at the last second and this was cut from the film.

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Just the dino's mouth yo. The VFX crew added a blob of drool falling out for the final shot.

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Another camera change shot. This one the layout department incorrectly matched the 3D camera to the live action camera, which accounts for the weird slippage of the actor's across the frame in this playblast. In the final shot, you unfortunately see the dinosaur for less than a second of screen time before the camera pans off to follow the kid, so it was more about a short moment of the run cycle rather than the performance I tried to build into it.


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The last shot I animated on Journey before I left Montreal. It fell on my plate with just a few days to spare, but was a fun little final joy ride with the gigantosaurus.

 


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This was the space lizard from the SG-1 episode Morpheus. At the time our animation team was crunching on the BC poker project so this was a much needed departure (at least in my opinion) from the cartoony character animation we had been doing. This shot was 23 seconds long and had to be cranked out in 6 days. A bit of a push in the animation world, but it was a whole lot of fun.

 


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This was a shot from Stargate Atlantis' episode Vengeance. It was a fun, short shot that had to be cranked out in about 3 days.

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Another shot from Vengeance. This was technically the most complicated task I was given at Image Engine with a turnaround time of just over 3 weeks. To bring this shot to the level wanted I had to model/rig and match-move a 3D avatar to Rachel's body, followed by sculpting and wrap deforming a lattice to line up with the 3D avatar. I was than able to run my animation of the bug through the setup and prevent the feet from sliding on contact. The setup alone took the first 2 weeks. Animation ran about a week, leaving me just barely enough time to blow the bug up, and develop a system for foot prints on Rachel's body. Despite the tight time limit, the shot was a whole lot of fun. 3 weeks for 1 shot in television is a rare occurrence regardless of how tough it is.


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This is an animation breakdown of the previous shot. It gives a quick description of the process I developed to animate the bug crawling up the actress's body.

 


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The following 4 shots were from SG Atlantis; episode Conversion. At the time, Image Engine had no crowd simulation software so this sequence required me to keyframe over 80 individual bug animations which were than hand placed throughout the cavern.

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All together the cave had over 300 bugs in it. Each of the 4 shots had a library of animations ranging from background bugs with generic reusable/repeatable animation, to foreground hero bugs that needed to be fully polished for a one time only performance. Once the animation library was stocked, the cave was strategically populated with bugs so that the duplicate animations, after being offset in the dope sheet, would not create any repeating patterns across the screen.

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Once mid-background bugs were in place, the hero bugs were brought in and oriented so that the majority of your attention would fall upon them. The sequence was than playblasted and sent off to the client for approval, before custom cleanup across the whole spectrum began. Cleanup saw the tedious process of fixing any pops in animation, making sure feet contacted with the ground correctly, body parts didn't drift through neighboring bugs and rocks, and generally, no bug stood out of the pack that wasn't suppose to.


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This was the final shot in the sequence. It was the shortest, at just over a second of screen time, but by far the toughest in the entire show to create. The shot had nearly 30 hero bugs and demanded customization of almost every bug in the entire scene. All together the animation on Conversion had a turn around of about 3-4 weeks with this shot alone gobbling up almost half of that time.

 


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This was episode Uninvited's mutant-zombie-bear-monster, lovingly named Fluffy by the Image Engine VFX crew. This was a last second shot that fell on my lap as we approached the final stretch. It had an animation turn around of 5 days before it needed to be delivered to our FX dept. Unfortunately they were all booked with other tasks and I got the job of trying to learn how to create blood sprays and bullet impacts. It's hard to see but Fluffy is also kicking around ground debris.


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Fluffy playing dead.



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An early shot for SG-1 episode; The Scourge. I had attempted a few animation tests using motion curves and primitive crowd simulation in an effort to automate the bug animation, but found that the best results were achieved by just buckling down and hand keying the things. This shot had roughly 75 hand animated bugs, all interacting with each other. Probably one of the most monotonous tasks I have ever taken on.

 


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This was an animation proof of concept for the previous shot. I had to develop a behavior for ravenous, scarab like bugs with virtually no visible moving parts. Not particularly my favorite creature to animate, but never the less, it had its moments.

 


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This was one of the opening shots for the SG-1 episode Uninvited. An alien leach crawls out of the guts of a dead mutant-zombie-bear-monster before terrorizing a team of bad actors.