Design Discourse One Reflection and Showreel

After going back and fixing a few of my 3D Animations I have compiled them into my final showreel for Design Discourse One;

3D animation has always been something I am fascinated by and now for me to learn it is just amazing. I found that getting used to using Autodesk Maya was really tricky for me but with a little help from the lecturer I was able to pick the basics up quite quickly.

The projects that we were tasked with has been challenging but really fun for me to work on and if I must say so myself mine weren’t too bad in the end, could be improved more and been a bit more exciting but not bad for my first semester. It’s always fascinating to be able to bring something to life that was not alive before, not to mention being able to tell a story through bring them to life and just seeing that really inspires me to keep working hard and improving.

Having great lecturers that is really informative and passionate about the subject is definitely a bonus, they are very helpful when you have a problem and is always willing to lend a hand, not to mention they teach very well. I loved the Animation History classes, it was really interesting, informative and makes me want to learn more.

Overall I have loved every moment of it, I love being able to be creative with ideas and bring those ideas to life, I definitely look forward to improving that is for sure, but it has been a great semester full of learning and improving. Thank you for allowing me to study here.


3D Animation: Principles

Action and pose-to-pose are two different animation techniques that have different results. In the early days of hand-drawn animation pose-to-pose action became the standard animation technique because it breaks down structured motion into a series of clearly defined key poses. In straight-ahead action the character moves spontaneously through the action one step at a time Straight-ahead until the action is finished.

Follow-through action consists of the reactions of the character after an action, and it usually lets audiences know how he or she feels about what has just happened or is about to happen. In overlapping action multiple motions influence, blend, and overlap the position of the character.

Slow in and slow out is when there is slowing down at the beginning and at the end of the action while speeding up in the middle of it. For example a bouncing ball goes faster when it approaches or leaves the ground, but when it goes closer to its final position it goes slower.

Here is our teams Animation Principles presentation


3D Animation: Bilbo Blobbins

So this is my blob, it didn’t always look like this, I had it all set out, saved it and then when I came back to it to finish it the rotate was messed up and the tail locked so I couldn’t move it but fear not Alec Parkin fixed my problem.

I’m going to fix it up and look at blocking and anticipation. This was also used in the golden era of Disney animation, before being sent on to the in-between animators which is really interesting to read about.

For next week we have to look for 12 different animators, these 12 different animators have to apply to each of the 12 principles of animation. This will help with the presentation at the end.

3D Animation: Arm nom nom nom

We looked at overlapping and had to animate a robotic arm on maya autodesk so I started with a wee bit of a swing and then brought it to life! ‘om nom nom’

When animating this I looked at robotic arms just to see how they move and found a robotic arm that catches objects when it is thrown in the robots direction.

“The researchers developed a system where the arm can be moved in real-time by a human who teaches it how to catch a tossed object. The process, called “programming by demonstration”, mimics the same way people learn.

Once it’s figured out how to catch one, the arm uses a camera-based tracking system to refine its movements so it can catch tossed items before they hit the ground. The result: the arm can make adjustments – in as few as five-hundreds of a second – to catch objects thrown at it.”


Robotic Arm (click for source)

3D Animation: Bouncy Ball Course


In our team we decided to keep a similar layout but experiment with it and change things so that each of our ball courses would be unique and different while helping each other at the same time. Gianni is really enthusiastic about Autodesk Maya and got stuck in right away and had multiple ideas with multiple courses which were all very complicated done which made us confused about teamwork and how we were supposed to approach the task but in the end we were able to complete each of our courses.


3D Animation: Balls Balls Balls

First 3D animation, using Autodesk Maya, practice to get used to the software, I found the squash and stretch difficult as well as getting the timing right;

The start of the ball slope idea where our group, Eve, Gianni and Dervla, chose to do a ping pong ball, tennis ball and metal ball, here is the first ball I did without squash or stretch, planning out the bounces;

The ball slope idea without squash and stretch;

The final ball slope with squash and stretch I also added colour for our three balls, red being the ping pong ball, green being the tennis ball and blue being the metal ball;

A gif of the animation set slower and goes backwards to show the movement better;

The render of the balls down slopes;


Overall I am proud of the outcome of this and I’m really excited to learn more. Alec came over and gave me some feedback on my bouncy balls and said that I got the metal ball spot on, I just need to work on the timing of the tennis ball and the ping pong ball, as well as there being a weird bump that needs to be fixed in the tennis ball animation near the end.


12 Principles of Animation

Today we learned about the 12 principles of animation!
I have listed them here;
Squash and stretch



Straight ahead and pose to pose

Follow through and overlapping action

Slow in and slow out


Secondary action



Solid drawing


Alan Becker videos on the 12 principles on animation was really informative in helping me understand more about the different animation principles and it allowed me to see what I need to consider when animating.

3D Animation: Bouncy Balls!

Onto learning about composing 3 different bouncing balls and composing them in Autodesk Maya, how exciting! Alec Parkin, our tutor for Maya, was really informative with the information that he gave us on the programme and put us in groups so that we are able to create the 3 different bouncing balls.


I did a bit of research of squash and stretch, this video is by Alan Becker was perfect as he also talking about squash and stretch with ball.

When I first practiced with maya, making a ball animated and moves round the screen, it was really fun, I found that the keys were a little difficult to get used to but it will probably get easier with time. I also made an attempt at a bouncy ball, implementing squash and stretch and found that I over did stretch and would need to go back in and consider that it loses momentum when it bounces back to the top, so it would go back to the original form and then stretch again when it falls back down.

Maya Hotkeys

Maya Hotkeys

I also found a few balls around my house, including a ping pong ball, tennis ball, metal ball, marble and a very old bouncy ball that has hardened up over the years. I used these to my advantage and did some ball drop research so I was able to see in person how different sizes, weights and ball density would effect the way that it bounces.

I am going to bring these balls in to show my team and we can do some bouncy research together! I Feel it will definitely help our team with our animations.

Here is a video of my cheesy research shenanigans;

2015-11-05 14.58.30

More research with the team! We were able to use the Slow-mo feature on my iPhone to see the squash and stretch more clearly and how it bounces overall.

History of Animation: American

(Click for more details)

(Click for more details)

Today a lovely woman called Helen Haswell, who is a final year PhD candidate in Film Studies at Queens University, came in to talk to us about the history of animation in America, Disney and Pixar to be specific. She wanted to show us how Disney is different from Pixar, looking at Disney first. Helen first showed us a breakdown of where Disney is mainly getting their profit from;

  • TV Channels 45%
  • Park and resorts 31%
  • Studio Entertainment 13%
  • Consumer Products 8%
  • Interactive 3%

Walt Disney Animation Studios are considered to be the pioneer of 2D Animation. Their first animation was Alice’s Wonderland which was released in 1923. It features live characters with an animated background, it was also inspired by silent films as the characters did not speak but went along with music.

Sadly this animated film bankrupted him so he went back to his brother and worked with a producer to create the Alice Comedies Series between 1924-1927 and then came Oswald the lucky rabbit in 1927. Another important step for Walt Disney was Steamboat Willie in 1928 as this was the first animation to feature their mascot Mickey Mouse, as well as Minnie Mouse. Steamboat Willie was the first animated film to have synchronised sound to animation (although Helen Haswell mentioned that this could be argued but considered by many as the first) Steamboat Willies used a lot of exaggerated movements, making it very humorous, the animators also brought inanimate object to life by giving them character through movements which also went along with the music.

Then came Disney’s highest grossing film, Snow White, which was first being worked on in 1934 using the 2D cell animation process and then released in 1937. This was the start to their many traditional fairy tale animated films and the beginning of the Classic Era or also known as Early Period.

  • Snow White (1937)
  • Pinocchio (1940)
  • Fantasia (1940
  • Dumbo (1941)
  • Bambi (1942)
  • Saludos Amigos (1943)
  • The Three Caballeros (1944)
  • Make Mine Music (1946)
  • Fun And Fancy Free (1947)

Then came the Renaissance Era 1989-1999, which had aesthetic and industrial growth, and the introduction of the use of digital technology using CGI (computer generated imagery) Using this within the background of Beauty and the Beast in the dancing scene.

(Click for source)

(Click for source)

  • The Little Mermaid (1989)
  • The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
  • Beauty And The Beast (1991)
  • Aladdin (1992)
  • The Lion King (1994)
  • Pocahontas (1995)
  • The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1996)
  • Hercules (1997)
  • Mulan (1998)
  • Tarzan (1999)

Then came the Neo Disney Period which was in 1999 to 2004, which was very artistic and experimental for Disney but they did not do well with their animated films within this period. Although I really loved The Emperor’s New Groove and Lilo and Stitch from this period.


(Click for source)

  • Fantasia 2000 (1999)
  • The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
  • Lilo And Stitch (2002)
  • Treasure Planet (2002)
  • Brother Bear (2003)
  • Home On The Range (2004)

Next was the Digital Disney Period from 2005 to 2007 which was just bad, it did not do well, I feel they jumped into digital CGI because every other animation company started to do it and it did not create the best result for them.

  • Chicken Little (2005)
  • Meet The Robinsons (2007)

Post Pixar Disney is 2008 to now which has all been thumbs up in my books, I especially love The Princess and The Frog (2009) as they went back to their old 2D routes and created a great animated film where the girl is a business driven woman which is different from the other protagonists.

Click for source

Click for source

Pixar is considered to be pioneers of CGI, bringing together art and technology. Their first animated film was Tin Toy released in 1988, which I have to say was kind of horrifying, the baby looked scary and wrinkly! Pixar has come a long way from then! They then moved on to more Research and Development in 1998 to 2006 and came out with Presto which was very funny and charming.

Pixar is still pushing the boundaries with their animation since 2010 and have came out with some amazing animations, including their short La Luna, which I referenced in another post about light.