My original submission for this ident was posted here and my feedback was… controversial. I feel that I did an adequate job to achieve a favourable result, given the setbacks that I’d experienced while creating the squid rig. There wasn’t as much guidance behind the deliverables for the ident project, outside of demonstrating as many of the 12 principles of animation as possible. My feedback was as such:
A very proffessional polished looking animation with some nice looking effects to embelish the animation. You’ve used layering really well to composite your animation together. The animation itself has some nice timing to it – I love the way it steches, moves and then glides along. This demonstrates, squash and stretch, timing and slow in slow out really well. The turn around where it straightens up looks very mechanical and not smooth – try to imagine the path a squid would take and try to achieve a smoother arc there. I would love for there to be more movement on the tentacles so that they are more exaggerated and life like – you may need to look at the rig for this to happen, which is why its so important to test your rigs before you go into production. I feel you’re amber/green border line from an animation point of view, however, you are easily green from a production standpoint – something to bear in mind!
I received an amber/Satisfactory grade for the animation, therefore I felt compelled to re-submit the ident to try and get that green. The unfortunate part was I had to start the rig from scratch, since the previous one wasn’t adequate enough to act on the feedback. I needed to do a lot of research into making the tentacles bend more, since the bends that were on them just weren’t fit for purpose. Instead, I looked into adding joints to the rig for a good number of hours and I watched quite a few tutorials to figure it out…
However, because of the way I added the joints afterwards, it seemed like I could add the rig as its skin in the way the video described. I had to then be very careful about the hierarchy and the way I set up the connections, so the joints wouldn’t move ahead of the rig and vice-versa.
I actually needed the squid’s parts to be separate and the joints to form the bulk of the connections. I feel like this isn’t the correct way to do it, especially after what I’d read online, but I needed to work with what I had – I didn’t have a ton of time to restart completely, as there was other work I needed to get on with for animation, and the result still looked good so I went with it. In hindsight, it would be something to focus on when making the rig and joining it up, following proper workflow from the beginning.
Also working this way meant I was keying the tentacles and body all independently. I wasn’t going to use a character rig, as I read it’s not necessary to create one in most animation situations and found that Maya was prone to breaking them. Perhaps in the future I’ll be able to focus on making character rigs and setting them up so they work, but for the time being keying the seven parts on their own (body and six legs) worked just as well.
I spent a VERY long time with the graph editor after matching the timing of my old animation. I wanted to reuse the After Effects portion of this project, so I didn’t change to much about the speeds or timings – in my feedback, they seemed to have a good feel to them and didn’t need tweaking. Instead, I redirected my attention to making the squid feel less “mechanical” as it moved around. Instead of making it twist awkwardly, I tried to created an arc-like motion for the squid to switch directions and swim away. This meant the curves in the graph editor needed a lot of work to smooth them out and get rid of the rigidity from the original ident.
Overall, I’m glad I learned more about Maya animating via revisiting this ident, however next time I would rather use a pre-made rig until I’m comfortable with setting up my own models. I’ve been finding animating with other professional rigs much easier than ever animating my own! Still, I’m pleased with this final product and I’m confident to include it in my portfolio to showcase my animation and After Effects skills.