Thursday, March 08, 2007


I am moving to
Point your browsers please.

Ricardo Silva

Monday, March 05, 2007

My Take on The Animation Principles

I am not a super duper experienced animator and I don't feel very comfortable talking about this subject nor defying what the old masters have said in the golden days as I am, myself still trying to understand the principals of animation.
However, in my short experience I have developed some thoughts about this subject.
What follows may sound a bit like rubbish as they are just thoughts of a young guy... but what the heck?!

I remember the first time I saw a list of the Principles with a detailed explanation of each one and I though : "This is complicated!", and even now I still think they are a bit complicated.
Everyone as his or her take on the Principles.
If you open "The Illusion of Life" you'll find a list of 12 to 14 Principles.
The other day I found a guy who had list of more than 20...
They were all good points but, my problem is that if I think of all those things at the same time and try to fit them all at once in my work, I'll probably go crazy.
The funny thing is that one of the Principles is SIMPLIFY.
If animators simplify their work so that the audience can understand it, why can't they just simplify their Principles?
That is what I'll try to do here with my own simplified version of the Principles!

I'm not going to say: "Forget the animation Principles that you red before!" That would be just stupid.
However, what I am trying to say is this: "Think about The 3 Kings and use the rest to support them."
"The 3 Kings? What the heck is that?"

The 3 Kings:


For me this is the core of good animation. It's what I think about when I'm animating.
How I get there is when all of the other principles come into play.
You see, I'm not really throwing away the squash and stretch, the silhouette, the staging, ease in ease out, etc.
I fit all of that inside these 3 kings.
I'm just build a core so that every thing I learn works to straighten it.
It is a structure to keep things organized in my head so that I don't have to think about a million things at once.

Maybe this is just nonsense...words of a not very experienced animator trying to understand the craft.

later :)

Ricardo Silva

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Vulture

Not really any animation here but, I modelled this guy last year and now found him lost in a dusty Windows folder.
I'm going to dig up in some of my bedroom's drawers and see if I can find his model sheets.

Ricardo Silva

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Happy Feet won an Oscar for best motion capture film... oops! I mean best animated film.
I too use mo-cap for my animation...err...I mean my motion?! The above picture clearly proves that I have mo-cap technology.

I think if mo-cap films are going to win Oscars (competing with animated films) they should at least avoid calling it Best ANIMATED Picture but instead call it Best CG Picture. That sounds fairer to me.


Ricardo Silva

Saturday, February 24, 2007

My animation process

I've been asked a few times, by friends and folk from the web, about my animation process.
I'm not a very experienced animator and recently I have been struggling to develop a more solid approach to my shots and a better workflow.
I think that understanding and having a strong workflow that benefits the quality and speed of the animation is one of the most important steps to become a successful animator, especially in the competitive CG animation market.
Animating a character properly is a difficult and complex task. There are so many things to be aware of, that an animator can feel lost if he or she does not know what to focus on at a given time.
The thing that has helped me the most is not to do too much at the same time and even though this may sound like it doesn't too much help speed wise, it actually does!
So here's my animation process.

1 - THINK!

Ok, this may sound ridiculous as it is so obvious, but you have no ideia how many times I just jump right into the computer without knowing exactly what I'm going to do.


I start to put those thoughts into paper. Yes, paper! Not photoshop nor maya. Pencil and paper!
I sketch, thumbnail the action and add notes. Whatever it takes to help me understand the action as clearly as possible.
I work on the poses and explore multiple options.
I try to find The Pose and work my way around that.
I'll also plan some breakdowns to define how to go from one pose to the other.
It is a good thing to spend some time in the planning stage. It's fast, cheap and it is like building a road map to the crazy journey that is animating in CG. The better the map the better the chances of not getting lost. And I have been lost before and let me tell you: it sucks!

3 - GO CG

After I have my map, I'm good to go into the computer.
I start posing my character using my thumbnails as reference.
At this stage I'm just posing my character one frame after the other. like: pose A = frame 1 , pose B = frame 2, pose C = frame 3 ... this way I focus on the poses and don't think about timing.
This is what I mean by focusing on one thing at a time.


Now that I have my poses I can start testing my timing. It's cool to use a pencil tester software like MonkeyJam. Instead of moving keys around I am working with flat 2d pictures much like a traditional animator.


I add more necessary breakdowns.


After adding more information (more breakdowns) I usually feel the need to adjust my timing.


Now it is usually the time when I jump into the graph editor and start polishing my animation.
Sometimes, I turn my curves directly into spline tangents, others I prefer to turn them into linear first.
The trick I think, is not to do too much at the same time ( one controller and one attribute at a time), I do this by starting at the character's root and moving my way down the hierarchy.
And I'm done!

This is the process I am using now. It's not the best nor it is the only way of doig things, but right now, my animation is really improving by working in this way. Maybe in a few years as I gain more experience, I'll have a completely different way of doing things and I'll look back at this post and think : "what a dumb ass" :)

I'll see if I can post some examples of my work with my next animation.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment.


Ricardo Silva

Sunday, February 18, 2007

"Urso and The Fly"

I have just finished this small animation test.
This one was really fun to do. Not just the animation but the sounds too, especially the ones I had to record myself (with the help of super miaumau).
The render is not that great but, that is not the point of this test anyway.
I'm seriously thinking about doing something bigger with this character... like... a feature film! Or maybe I'll just do a short one... a 3 min feature film :D

- Why Nintendo DS Rocks?
R: Because Hamsters love it!


Ricardo Silva

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Glen Keane Linetest.

Here is the linetest from the scene that Glen Keane talks about in his lecture.