At the risk of sounding condescending (but what the hell I am a teacher) I really feel sorry for the students not making time to come by the ARC these days, its exciting times. So many great discussions and new things to learn, I'm loving it.
Which brings me to the next exciting development. I think many of our current first year students have been struggling to come to terms with the idea that 3D will be a significant part of their future. Mitch has even conducted a survey about it on his blog. I think I've made my thoughts clear on the matter, animation is animation, the tool is irrelevant once you get used to it. But what if there is a way we can make it so that drawing is still at the core of the 3D process we use at Southbank? Sound good?
A quick segway that explains how I ended up with this new information (new to me anyhoooo). I was planning to do a post about subscribing to Jason Ryan's news letters. So I was poking around his video tutorials and googling his name to see what I could see. On the page of a site for a 2D animation program called Flipbook I found a reference to the way some animators were working in 2D in Flipbook and then importing the animation into Maya. There was a link to a Jason Ryan video tutorial that focused on how to do this, but the link was broken!!?!?
So I went back to the free tutorials I could access via his latest news letter, I couldn't find the exact tutorial I was looking for but I found other clues. There are a series of tutorials he has made called Ramp up (when you get his newsletter there is a link to them near the top of it), they are excellent tutorials covering basic animation principles. In one of these about timing and spacing he works in 2D and then mentions that he usually works like this and then puts the images into Maya and uses it like a cleanup tool. The penny dropped.
I opened Maya and started to play with the image plane attributes, soon I had imported an image sequence onto a plain so that as you scrolled along the timeline you could see the 2D animation play. Now I would just have to position my 3d character in front of the images and pose it to match the drawings! HOW COOL IS THAT!
I won't go into the full process now, I might have to do a tutorial or something, but as I said before its pretty exciting stuff. I ended up getting the tutorial on the flipbook site to work, it wouldn't play in my browser, but I right clicked on it and selected "save target as" to download it and played it with quicktime on my computer.You might have to do that too, here it is http://www.flipbookpro.com/movies/mayabowlingdemoSTRMED.mov .
You can drop by Jason Ryan's web site and see some more of the results he gets from the technique. While your there subscribe to his newsletter which gives you access to his amazing free video tutorials. You are madder than someone who had just taken up giving nipple cripples to bears as a hobby on mad bear day if you don't.