Animating Hank


When deadlines are 3 days away and there is still a small amount of shots to have animation fixes, there is no other option but to let the girl who can’t animate, get stuck in too.

Since first year, i have known i am not animator. I do not have the skill, patience or acting ability. My strengths lie within things like Concept art, character design, modelling and texturing.  In fact, other than making a camera move, i don’t think i have done any 3D animation since 2nd year. But nonetheless, duties call.

Luckily, my group also know and understand that animation is not one of my strengths. So Niamh sent me a basic walk cycle of Hank walking towards a tennis ball. My task was to give his face some emotion and expression. So that is what i have attempted to do.

In this piece of animation we wanted Hank to be moving so slowly that he actually looks down at his foot to watch as it lifts and drops back to the ground, and i feel that i managed to make him glance down and slowly move his head to the foot and back up to his natural pose quite successfully. (as successfully as a basic movement by a novice can be anyway) However, after this is where i struggled.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 15.37.40

Once he goes back to his natural pose, i wanted to show his expression change to explain that he has noticed the ball. I made his eyelids lift extremely wide, this gave the impression that his eyes actually enlarged. His mouth then slowly opens in a comical manner. I think this is…ok. But its the best i could achieve.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 15.41.30

Where i really struggled, came next. I wanted to show Hank look at the camera, and have his eyes quickly dart back and forth to the ball, to give the audience an idea of what he wants to do. However, my issue here was that because our turtle is in fact a turtle, thus PAINFULLY slow.  Do you animate the eyes moving as slow as his body moves? or animate them as normal?  Even when i animated it both ways, neither looked right to me.


After this part of the walk cycle it was back to basic walking, so i simply added it a few mouth movements and blinks. I also gave a slight rotation to the shell as his feet lift and drop. I am not happy with my animation, but i know its the best i can do under my time limit and limited practice.

Hank Walking


The difference “Denoise” makes

After doing some research into how to apply ‘denoiser’ i decided to render a few frames to see how it reacted to our scene, as you can see below it has definitely made a difference.



Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 11.03.54

As you can see, the top image has a lot more ‘graininess’ and harshness that gives the impression that the room is foggy or dusty. However, once ‘denoiser’ is applied like in the bottom image, it has a much more smooth and clean appearance.

Overall i think this is a success and will definitely give our final film a lovely finish.


To turn on Denoise go to…

render settings> renderman> denoise> choose frame or cross frame

Choosing Frame

Frame will automatically apply the settings needed. Since it is applied as a processing tool, you are required to batch render. It does not support interactive rendering.

Choosing Cross Frame

Cross Frame is better suited for animation sequences. Filtering takes into account the pixels from frames before and after the frame currently being rendered.

In the image below you can clearly see the difference denoising can make. Left being before, and right before after it has been applied.

Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 13.16.11


Movie Poster Inspiration

When we found out we had to make a movie poster, as a group we had all the same idea in mind. Looking at recent animated comedies, they tend to have one thing in common, a white background.

This is not to say that we are only wanting to follow a trend, as can be seen below in “Minions” (2015), “Lilo and Stitch” (2002) and “Chicken Little” (2005). But there is a reason trends become trends, they work!

Our movie does not have a complicated story arc or deep and emotional stand point, it is a light hearted comedy about a turtle named Hank who wants to be a dog. Simple.

It does not need to some need piece of composition that can be read into to find the deeper meaning, it does not need black and white or colours that express emotions. All it needs is  a cute and quirky high resolution render of our main character, a funny catchphrase, a title font, and we are set.

A few weeks ago Nathan rendered out an image of Hank we liked, i have placed it into a basic poster design. This is not the final poster, a nicer higher resolution Hank will be rendered, and a more appealing font will be found and decided on. The image below simply gives us an idea of what we are going for.


Presentation Feedback

  • Remove Newspaper gag, add more ball gags, or something new
  • Lighting is great and approved, tank needs to be seen more though as eyes are drawn to the sofa instead of the turtle tank
  • swap the desk and tank around, also potentially move window
  • Yes to the creative style, apartment looks great. No more models required
  • Consider quicker cuts
  • find free sound with same slow monotone beat, animate to it
  • Look at Kevin Macloud for free sounds
  • lyrics that help the story, help us
  • most animation needs done as soon as possible and sent to Alec or Conann for feedback
  • Watch Daffy Duck and look at how he has teeth only when he needs teeth
  • Look at the worms from the game “Worms” look at their facial expressions

Overall we got pretty positive feedback. I do feel like the lecturers have the faith in us that we can pull this off with their guidance, tips and advice.

What we now need to put our efforts into is…

  • Give the turtle teeth and eyelids
  • Check the rig can work as we need it too. E.g head can go into body etc
  • get matte painting done
  • reorganise apartment
  • get animating!

Matte Painting

Currently i am working on painting what will be out of the apartment window. We know already that we need to see lots of city buildings and apartment buildings, but we also need to decide what type of lighting will come from the window too. I already have a pretty strong image in my head that i will work towards, but below are some images i may use as inspiration or to help make the window view more convincing.

The-Secret-Life-of-Pets-2016-01a_1200Many_apartmentsScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 09.54.32Pets_apartment

I will be working on this in Photoshop and paint using my Cintiq, i will be spending the weekend on this and hope to have a finalised matte painting by Monday.

The Owners Items

Over the past fortnight we have been focusing on getting all assets fully designed, modelled and textured. I was asked to make an asset list that considers everything that might need to be in the scene. So i made a Word Doc that list’s everything i could possibly think of.  This involved things we might not have thought about that would be at Hank the turtles eye view, and things the owner might have lying about the apartment like keys, wallet, headphones etc.

Once all these things were established i began modelling the owners items. I modelled a cap, headphones, wallet, money, phone etc. Once happy, i also UV Unwrapped them and textured them.

Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 09.55.06.png


Once these were completed and finalised, we got a few second years to model some assets to speed up the process, once this was done they were sent to me and i UV Unwrapped and Textured these as well.

Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 10.54.14


All of these items have been intentionally textured with limited detail. After realising we had previously ‘over textured’ models, we decided that our scene looks much better with models that are simple in colour and more look/style is added in Maya with Renderman to give the correct effect such as glossiness, shine, roughness, reflection, light bounce etc. All of this is added when in Maya.

Doing this helps keep our style much closer to how the concepts have been designed and much closer to the look of films by ‘Illumination Entertainment’. This is great as we have previously stated multiple times that this was our style goal.