Category Archives: Animation Process

Animation Production Project

It’s been a while since I’ve uploaded any animations or artwork, so here goes!  This is our Animation Production project.  We each have one or two shots to animate within a longer scene.  We have a month to get prePro through final product done.  We’re on the fourth week now.  I still have plenty of tweaks to do so critiques are welcome!



Bugsy Walk

Two weeks, tons of PrePro, and waaay more to do to make it better, but even more learned.  It was a wild ride and a fun one, and this is all I have to show for it.





Juice Box Animation Final

After a lot of work, here’s the final.  There is a lot more that could be improved, but tonight is the deadline.  Critiques welcomed.  I could write a whole adventure for this project, but I don’t feel well tonight so I shall spare you, dear reader.

Pass Four

Plan of Action –  I plan on taking all critiques into account and fixing what was mentioned in them, mostly using the Graph Editor.  Also, I’ll make the box hesitate longer after the first “jump” to add interest and anticipation.  I will add the detail of the box handles moving as well.

Critique Notes

a.  Make the box’s rotations more impactful.

b.  Fix the arc on the box on the last jump, also fix the fact that it floats in

the air a little too long.

c.  Check X or Z translate to fix the box sticking in its jumps.

d.   Really angle the ball on the stretch as it attacks the box.

 3 Goals –

a.  Get all the tweaks and corrections done.

b.  Make sure curves are clean.

c.   Make sure scene is clean and named correctly

Pass Three

Plan of Action –  First I’ll fix the direction of the box, making sure it doesn’t look like it’s hitting an invisible wall in mid-air and I’ll check the arcs of everything.  I will break the tangents on the keys and try to fix as much as I can using the Graph Editor so I can get more of a feel for it and not be quite so intimidated by what is supposed to be a 3D animator’s best friend.  I’ll put in the pause right before the box opens, and keep the ball hidden longer before it bursts out of the box.  I’ll watch for sliding and fix any that I see, as well as fix any over-rotations.

Critique Notes

a. Make the impacts of the box sharper so they have more weight.

b. Fix the squash on the purple ball so that it doesn’t squash till the box

hits it.

c. Rainbow ball should hit the box more in a straight line, then have it

bounce up and off.  This will make it more of an impact.

d. Rock the ball backwards before rolling it forward.



a. Fix the impacts of the box.

b. Fix the purple ball’s squash and the rainbow ball’s bounce and add the

roll back before going forward.

c.  Use the Graph Editor as much as possible.


Projected Date of Completion: Fri., June 24th

Pass Two

Plan of Action –  Adding in the hesitation will be top priority, then I’ll add in the key for the ball to move back before it goes forward to leave sadly.  I’ll also change the color of the ball that gets squished and see if that helps.  I’m thinking a nice purple would be fun.  Once those things are done I’ll add in squashes and stretches and make sure the timing is right.  I’ll also add in rotation if I have time, if not rotation will be in Pass Three.

Personal Thoughts

I did have time for the rotation.  The squash and stretch of the balls definitely give them more life.  I’m still not very comfortable with using the Graph Editor, and the adding of rotations makes things a bit more complicated.  But I remember when I first started using Maya and was so afraid to even make a sphere or move things around…and I know I will keep getting better and more comfortable with the Graph Editor the more I use it.  I’m not afraid of messing up the animation because I save every 15-20 minutes.

I had to delete the ball that is in the box because the rig broke and wouldn’t allow me to squash and stretch it.  I exported the ball from the original file again, then imported it into the scene, made sure everything worked,  then re-keyed all of it’s movements.  Frustrating, to be sure, but it’s faster to yell at Maya while you’re fixing the problem rather than rant for half an hour first.  I’m very good at troubleshooting without any help from the professors, which is especially useful.

Learning all this online is more difficult than learning on campus and more often than not we are forced to just forge through and figure things out on our own.  YouTube tutorials and our books are awesome when some problem or other isn’t discussed in the school podcasts and there are no teachers online to help.  When no teachers are online is usually when something decides to mess up with Maya.  I’ve learned more from my myriad of stupid and not so stupid mistakes than from my successes though, and am glad of it.

Critique Notes

 a.  The box changes direction in mid-air. I need to reduce its forward motion so it doesn’t smash the ball sooner than I want it to.  Also make sure the box moves in arcs.

b.  Break tangents on the keys to make them sharp.  Also break tangents and sharpen them on the rotations X, Y, and Z to create a feeling of impact rather than acceleration.

c.  Wait a beat to open the box, make the audience anticipate and wonder.  Then explode with the surprise!

d.  Maybe keep the ball hidden a little longer, not so much “peek-a-boo” with it.


Goals –

a.  Fix all the things needed that were brought to my attention by the critiques.

b.  Try to fix as much as possible using the Graph Editor, getting more comfortable with it.

c.  Put everything into spline mode and make sure of my timing on everything.  Watch carefully for sliding.


Projected Date of Completion: Wed. June 22, 2011

Pass One

Pass One

Plan of Action –  First I’ll block in the keys for the box and the ball.  I’m thinking I might not like the box just swaying from side to side so I plan on adding the box being pushed upwards, kind of hopping and bouncing till it falls on it’s front.  For now I’ll leave the handles and the paper alone on the box and just key in the big things.

Critique Notes

a. Needs a moving hold, a hesitation right before the box squashes the ball.

b. Vivi suggests I make the balls different colors.

c.  Paul suggests I make the ball roll back before it rolls forward to leave.


a.  Add in the moving hold.

b.  Change the color of one of the balls.

c.  Utilize Paul’s suggestion as well.

Animation Process

In my Fundamentals of Animation class we will be animating a “Merlin’s Box” and a ball using Maya 2011.  The ball is alive and is trapped inside the box, which it wants very much to get out of.  The box is inanimate, and should be animated in such a way as to make that clear. We are allowed to add a prop or two if we want.  I will be animating this in four passes and will be posting here my process from PrePro to Finish.  Enjoy!


The best scenario I came up with was this:

Box starts rocking back and forth from back to front as the ball inside slams into each side, tilting farther and farther each time until the box falls forward, flattening another ball.  The box shifts side to side, then forwards as the ball hits each side once, then bangs against the top.  The box slides jerkily forward three times, it is now half on the squashed ball, then the top of the box pops open just a little.  The ball hits the top once, which pushes it up.  The ball shoots out of the box, rolls to a stop.  It hops happily around the box, notices the squashed ball. It is shocked, stretching back a little, then pushes the box off the other ball.  It nudges the flat ball, then leaves the scene sadly.

A simple, quick storyboard of the idea.


Outline of Action:

Closed box rocks back and forth from front to back, tilting more and more.  Ball outside “looks” up at the moving box, hops back slightly, then starts to “run”.  Box falls over on its front onto other ball.  Box shifts and shudders as the ball inside hits it.  Box slides forward slightly three times, showing part of the smashed ball.  Box lid pops open a little way.  Ball hits the top of the box, pushing the top up.  Ball bounces hard out of the box and rolls to stop.  Ball goes back, sees squashed ball.  Ball bounces against box to push it off squashed ball, nudges the squashed one, then leaves sadly.