Scientific Visualization

2D Rigging/Bones

posted Jan 5, 2015, 7:29 AM by Garrison Reid   [ updated Jan 7, 2015, 8:34 AM ]

Over the last few weeks, our work with Flash
 has been interesting introduction into animation concepts and basic workflow.  

Quick review:
  • Objects are drawn and converted to symbols for future edits and repeated use. 
  • Animation is done through series of keyframes or tweens between keyframes.
  • Flash has two drawing modes that can both assist OR hurt your drawing efforts. Are you wanting merged or object drawing?
The Skeleton Dance

Let's watch Disney's 1929 'The Silly Symphony'. It was drawn by Ub Iwerks, one of the creators and early illustrators of Mickey Mouse. Over the course of the next handful of days, we will create our own Skeleton Dance project.

Step 1: Bone Symbols
  1. Import Skeleton Dance still linked below image. 
  2. Place the image onto a layer named Trace. 
  3. Lock the layer so you don't accidentally move the image during the project. 
  4. Using the Merge Drawing option (vs. Object Drawing), draw each of the bones. 
  5. Select each after you've drawn one and create a symbol (F8) of each. 
  6. Build a unique symbol for each of the 12 bones. Notice how we only create one of each. Later, we can copy, flip, rotate, etc. that one multiple times.
    • Upper Arm
    • Lower Arm
    • Hand
    • Thigh
    • Shin
    • Foot
    • Head
    • Jaw (can be a portion selected from the Head)
    • Neck (Not a visible bone -- will have to be assumed in shape)
    • Spine
    • Ribs/Shoulders
  7. Using the Paint Bucket tool, you will need to fill in each part so the bones aren't see-through. 
  8. Save your file as SkeletonDance.fla.
Step 2: Building Scene Symbols
  1. In your Library, create a folder called Body. With all the parts we've built, it'll help to organize the Library a little. Drag and drop all body parts into this folder. Place all your bone symbols onto your Bones layer to see which (if any) symbols you still need to create. Create those symbols before moving on. 
  2. Delete your Trace layer. Adjust your Stage color so the background looks like a spooky night sky color. 
  3. Create a layer called Background. Make sure it is below your Bones layer. 
  4. Create additional symbols for: 
    • Ground 
    • Headstones 
    • Lightning Bolt (use the Deco Tool's Lightning Brush option) 
    • Trees (use the Deco Tool's Tree option) -- Winter Deciduous looks spooky. 
  5. Arrange your scene using these symbols on the Background layer. 
  6. If you need to move things behind others, right-click and choose Arrange > Send to Back. 
  7. Begin thinking about what your skeleton figure (or figures) will do. You will need additional symbols (props) for your animation. Begin drawing and creating symbols for those.
Step 3: Animating Skeleton & Scene 

This is where you can be as creative as you can. Get your skeleton to play baseball or play an instrument in an all skeleton band. Using your created props and the bones, you will animate your skeleton or skeletons for at least 15 seconds (15 * 24 = 360 frames).

Remember: Just like the illustrators of Disney's 'Silly Symphony,' you should feel free reuse character's actions or tweens.
Reverse keyframes to get an animation to "rewind" or copy frames to later in the Timeline -- select the frame range in the Timeline that you want reversed and right-click > Reverse Frames. A skeleton's action could easily be a series of keyframes repeated for a while.

Looking over Adobe's tutorial on the Bone tool, we see they use a Guide layer for some animating movements. We can also things that are long (a tail) will need LOTS of "bone" pieces so that it smoothly curls.

Let's get things in motion!

posted Dec 1, 2014, 7:13 AM by Garrison Reid   [ updated Dec 5, 2014, 8:20 AM ]

Over the first quarter and half of the year, we've been working with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to create, edit and arrange still images. Still images make up a significant amount of the visual content around us, but the world around us is always in motion and often the creative content we see is as well. 

Beginning today for the next couple months, much of our work will be in motion. If that's the object in motion or a camera dollying into/panning around the object, something will most always be in motion. 

As we begin to work our way into animation, Adobe Flash is a great place to start. The application is familiar to the other Adobe products we've used thus far and the animation process is 2D and quick. Tweens are a couple clicks results take little rendering time/resources.

Disney's The Illusion of Life

Beginning animators rely on little to say a lot and that's valuable skill as your animation abilities grow and/or the software gets more complex. Pixar's top animators rely on strong character "voice" through non-verbal ways (i.e. eyes, eyebrows, clothing and character movement).

Step 1: Symbol Building 
  1. Make sure you're in Object Drawing mode. This will speed up moving objects and making symbols. 
  2. Draw a black V shape with your brush. Select it and make it a symbol called "Bird." 
  3. Draw an off-white circle. Make it a symbol called "Moon." 
  4. Draw a gray rectangle the width of your canvas. I used the color #666666. Make it a symbol called "Road." 
  5. Draw a line. Make it yellow (#FFCC00) with the width of 7 and dashed (15 dash/35 spacing). Make it a symbol called "Dashes." 
  6. With Object drawing selected, create a rectangle. Change the properties so it's 1200px wide and 440px tall. We will fill it with a linear gradient (#0000FF to #000000). Make it a symbol called "Background." 
  7. Get each symbol on its own layer. 
  8. Rename layer to match Symbol. 5 symbols = 5 layers. 
  9. Save. 
Step 2: Keyframing and Tweens 
  1. Go back to top Scene. 
  2. Add 120 frames to all layers. 
  3. Apply a motion tween to the Background symbol/layer. At frame 1, make sure the black edge is aligned to the left side of the canvas. At frame 120, make sure the blue edge is aligned to the right side of the canvas. This should make it appear as though -- over the 120 frames -- the scene is going from night to day. 
  4. Go back to the top Scene. 
  5. View the Dashes symbol. Hold that keyframe for 5 frames. Insert a 2nd keyframe at frame 5. With the Selection tool, move the dashes a little over. When viewing in the Onion Skin mode, the dash from the 2nd keyframe should fill the gap of the original. Hold this for 5 frames as well. Place them for the time being above the Road layer. 
  6. On the Bird layer, we want to apply a Motion tween. At frame 0, we want the bird to the left of the moon, and at frame 120, we want it to the right. Using our Selection tool, we can bend the path as we want. In the example, I move it into a curve so the bird flies up a little into the Moon. 
  7. View the Bird symbol. Using the black brush and Onion Skins, add a total of 3 wing states: Wing at the starts, Wing down, Wing Midway. Hold each position for 3 frames. The bird should look like it's flapping. Place it for the time being above the Moon layer. 
  8. Save. 
Step 3: Masks & Placing/Animating the Car 
  1. Create a new layer called Moon Mask. It will be a Copy of the Moon layer/symbol. Move it above your Bird layer. We are going to limit the visibility of the bird to only the time it's in front of the moon. This is called a mask. If you have an object that you want seen but only in a certain area of the Scene, masks are great ways to do this. 
  2. Select the Moon. Copy it (Ctrl + C), select the Moon Mask layer and Paste In Place (Shift, Ctrl + V). This will have the Moon in the exact same place on both layers (Moon and Moon Mask). Make the Moon Mask layer a functioning mask. Right click on the layer Moon Mask and convert it to a Mask layer. When you watch your animation, you will now see the Bird only in the area of your moon. We're done with the Bird and the Moon. 
  3. Now on to the last part of this animation: the car. Create a new layer called Car. This will be where we create symbols, but also where we animate our completed Car. We need to File > Import the image we have for the car and tire linked below. Once the image is into Flash, we'll edit it and make it a functioning car. 
  4. Drag both the car and the tire onto the Stage. 
  5. Select the Car and F8 Create a symbol. Name it Car. 
  6. Select the Tire and create a symbol for it as well. Name it Tire. 
  7. Double-click the Tire symbol or access it through the Library window. We need rotating wheels. In the Tire symbol, create a new keyframe at frame 120. Apply a Classic tween in the timeline between those keyframes. On the Properties panel, adjust the tween to have a CCW 7 rotation. This will make the wheel look as though it's going forward when it's going backwards. 
  8. Double-click to access the Car symbol. Modify > Break Apart. Go back into the car symbol. Drag in two copies of our Tire symbol. This will confirm that anything happening to one tire is also happening to the other. 
  9. Save. 
Step 4: Customize and Polish Overall Animation 
  1. Create a new layer called Text. Make sure you are on Frame 1. This will be where we place our text. 
  2. On the main toolbar, go to the Text tool (looks like “T”) 
  3. Drag a box in the upper center of your stage. This is where your text will go. 
  4. In the Properties Tab, choose a Family (font type), Size – make sure it is large enough to be read, and a Color that easily shows against your background. 
  5. There will be four lines of Text: 1) A title for your animation, 2) Your Name and 3) Today’s Date. 
  6. Insert a Key Frame at Frame 24 and another one at Frame 48. 
  7. On Frame 48 get your Selection Tool and then move your text OFF screen. 
  8. Right Click ANY frame Between Frames 24 and 48 and choose Classic Tween. 
  9. Test your animation. Your text should be stationary for one second and then move off screen by the end of the 2nd second. 
  10. Save your finished file.

Logo Design

posted Sep 25, 2014, 6:44 AM by Garrison Reid   [ updated Sep 25, 2014, 6:45 AM ]

Logo design is a pretty significant element of using Adobe Illustrator. Understanding the process of logo design has huge application to all graphic design projects -- understanding client's needs, keeping message foremost and less is more in almost all cases. This week we recreated 9 existing logos and examined the process of creating a simple mark through shapes we've used since week 1.

And with just 4 weeks into the school year, we've already got our first client! We will be going through the design process for a CHCCS department in need of logo/branding. More details to come in future weeks.

Gradients make me hungry?

posted Sep 3, 2014, 12:55 PM by Garrison Reid   [ updated Sep 15, 2014, 9:16 AM ]

Well not really, but using them in the creation of our cheeseburger illustration seemed to cause some slight mouth-watering. Starting with shapes like ellipses and rectangles and then using Illustrator effects and Appearance adjustments, it didn't take long before shapes looked like delicious items on a cheeseburger. 

Our exercise with the Pathfinder window helped us understand some basic boolean processes using vector shapes to unite, subtract, intersect or exclude with other shapes.

Doodle Ideas

posted Aug 21, 2014, 6:42 AM by Garrison Reid   [ updated Aug 21, 2014, 1:06 PM ]

Throughout the course, we'll be doing some drawing in Adobe Illustrator. I'd like to get some suggestions for possible objects for the class to draw. Suggestions will reviewed and, often, selected at random.

Use the form below submit suggestions. Obviously, only school-appropriate suggestions will be considered.


posted Aug 6, 2014, 7:46 AM by Garrison Reid   [ updated Aug 20, 2014, 8:15 AM ]

This course is an exciting exploration of graphic design and animation software. We will go through each of the applications to the left throughout the course. These applications are all industry standard used by professional graphic designers, animators, CG designers and photographers.

In this course, It is my goal that you are qualified to take and pass the certification exams for Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Autodesk 3DS Max. This does mean the course will go quick and encourage each student to focus on exam prep alongside course materials. Questions similar to those in the certification exam will be incorporated into class exams and discussions.

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