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.


  1. Hey Mike! I think you should post your other board iterations - even though they might be bad, I feel it really rounds out your thought process and gives even more insight in how you filter things out :D

    And the design is awesome! Because she has such long arms, maybe the screw should be staged a little further away from her - I just tried imitating the movement she does to grab it in your final result and it didn't feel natural. Her arm bends at a 90 degree angle before she goes for the grab, which makes the movement feel a little mechanical, so maybe having her elbow push back into the background and extending it a little more might give the arm a more flowy, arc-like rotation.

    But as always, you have some killer drawings and it's so cool to see it all translated into this character. Hope to see more of Issabel over the summer!

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  3. thanks kyle ill def try the arm change there.

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  5. Hey, Mike! How's Ringling been going? It's been funny to see some of you guys going crazy over the sit/stand assignment, and I don't particularly envy it! First off, I love the design, though in the render stage I feel her colour work and texture could have been worked out more ( a magical world with more time). The vibe of the animation is really neat, but I agree with kyle, distancing the bolt from where she sits takes advantage of the wonderful design you've got here more. The jump could also use some work combined with the throw, it seems like it would be snappier. Finally, the landing looks nice, but there is a lack of follow through or weight to her landing, like a small bounce or head bob, and she ends up facing a totally different direction without a hint of rotation before hand. These being said, it's still rather impressive. Also the St. Vincent remix made me really happy, so awesome work!