Tadaa! G jumps off a tree

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Like a muppet, I again added more than one complication with my next attempt at animation. I’ve kept the PitchiPoy Rigify script, but spent some time bulking my figure model up to match the older child, and adjusting the rigging and edge loops for improved deformation (I think it’s improved, although it’s certainly not 100%).

Bald figfure standing on a logThe biggest new feature, though, is: HAIR! My subject was not impressed that she’s still bald, so I thought I’d just quickly build a simple, non-deforming “hat” of hair.

What I quickly did was to get frustrated with my attempts to build hair, and out of curiosity turned to tutorials on creating locks of hair with Bézier curves. Kent Trammell has a good CGCookie tutorial up on YouTube that has everything you need. I spent far too much time for the result, but certainly learned from the experience!

Another detail I couldn’t help adding was some “soft-body” physics simulation for the ponytail. At this point it’s rudimentary.

I felt as though my animation learning curve plateaued a bit on this one; I thought it would be an easy clip to bash out because so much of it is just arm rotations, but that motion had a lot of subtle individual motions in it that I couldn’t help chasing, and they really need more polish to really get across.

Now I know how to pin a jellylike ponytail on a donkey, though (even if I haven’t quite got the parameters tuned on the soft-body modifier).

I’ve made some notes on the animation workflow, over at chrisnicoll.net.

Two things from my life today

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When I was a kid I pushed the graphical capabilities of the available computers to their limits. I coveted the Commodore Amiga for its powerful graphics performance. I did black and white drawings pixel by pixel on an Apple Macintosh and printed them on a dot-matrix printer.

At some point we had a PC and a Mustek hand scanner (you rolled it across the page you were scanning and if you rolled too fast the image was squished). When we had enough RAM to scan an ink drawing and colour it, I was in there, rolling scans, stitching them together, and waiting while bucket tool did its job. The capability to do a gradient fill felt like real progress.

My three-year-old made this (aside from me writing my name in it at her request) tonight with the GIMP.

3 year old scribbles in GIMP

And now for something completely different. F made dinner tonight:

Steak on a plate

The presentation struck me as a bit Magritte-ish. I made him go get a pack of sugar snap peas from the fridge.