Sunday, April 29, 2012

MoonBot Workshop

A couple weeks ago I had the honor of being selected to participate in an Story IP development workshop run by the Academy Award Winning Moonbot Studios.  I cant thank them enough for allowing me to participate in such an event! I learned so much during that time about story development and working in a team. In the workshop we were given a common IP that is currently in the public domain and had to use it as a jumping off point to create a pitch packet for something new. At the end of the workshop we then had to pitch our idea in to the guys from Moonbot.

Our IP was Dracula and in the end we decided to create a video game concept.  At one point we placed the story in Peru and here are few of the early character explorations I did.

The final character designs were flushed out later. Thanks to my awesome teammates Michelle Kwon, Veronica Valencia,  Taylor Clutter, and Ted Gola.  I found working accross majors to be really helpful with thinking of ideas out side of our normal realm of expertise.

Also here is a teaser animatic I did for the Game.

 And a feel reel done by Taylor that basically gives you the feel of what our game would be like.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


So I finished this project a while ago but I really wanted to make sure I documented my thought process for and not just post the video. ...

With that being said lets jump right into it. With this piece i originally started with a character. The character I knew I wanted to look pretty unique and I wanted the design to be something interesting to look at. I also knew from the beginning that I wanted to create a piece that felt like you were looking into that world and the viewer can imagine what other aspects of the world may look like. And lastly I really wanted to make sure that this piece to feel like a mini film. I noticed a lot of the times that animation assignments always look just like that. an animation assignment.

Lets start form the beginning.... with the Character. The character Issabel started off as a young innocent girl then she went to an older robot killing machine before finding her place somewhere in the middle. I really liked the character designs but i found that finding a story for her was a bit more difficult.

So this was my initial design of the character. The things i liked here were the really long arms and the robot companion. The problem with this was the long skirt, which could have terrible technical issues such as intersecting planes and sitting in general since that is the assignment. 

I tried a few more iterations on the head and overall silhouette shape.

I eventually found something i liked and began modeling.  I really dont lock a design in 100% ever because things tend to look cooler in 2d than 3d and I always want to do the coolest final project. 
While modeling I also began boarding the sequence to make sure that I could fit my idea which at this point i had come up with a basic premise of. I think in the end i boarded it around 12 times. Here are a couple of the iterations. I wont post those because they are pretty bad.

But as you can see the character design changed a bit. Into something more like this... Which I did toward the back end of modeling.

After modeling was done i went into texturing. I also really wanted/needed do ncloth for the tutu. I did a couple tests during the process and I was pretty happy with the end result. 
The skin texture was also a big struggle for me. I still plan on going back and working on them more over the summer.

And lastly the animation. I am the first to say I am not the best animator so this was a big struggle fore me. I am not too happy with the results but I did enjoy the process and also plan on revisiting it. For the animation I did a lot of thumbnails to get the best poses before moving in the computer. 

And here is the final result... Overall I really enjoyed the character and have already started writing story ideas for her, I was thinking of maybe boarding a small sequence with her or doing a comic.  

Any crits would be awesome!

Issabel: Robot Destroyer from Michael Yates on Vimeo.

Monday, April 2, 2012