This morning I finished some new animation for Agent Bird, shot 22 as you can see above is ready to be colored.
This was the first shot where I got to try my integration of the 3D models into the pipeline. It's going to change a bit for the future shots, but it worked very well for this first go around.
Below, you can see a short video I shared on instagram and twitter detailing the step by step of how this 3d integration was achieved.
While a little clunky, going back and forth from toon boom to maya for each new frame, the model sped up my frame completion time from somewhere between 10-12 minutes per frame to around 3 minutes per frame.
Above you can see one of the screen captures I used as a template for the firearm in the shot.
As I said earlier, this process significantly sped up animation for these guns, saving us time and effort for more shots. After talking it over with some other animators, I think I've figured out a similar process that will speed this up even more for us.
I plan to continue to rough the animation in toon boom, but after the roughs are completed, instead of lining the model up frame by frame, I will export the toon boom animation into maya. This will allow me to attach the rough hand drawn animation to the camera in maya. With that done, I will "animate" the gun model in maya using stepped keys to make an entire set of reference frames in one shot, eliminating the need to switch programs after each frame.
With the completion of this shot, we are down to 28 more to go! It's been slow with illness and other work coming up for each of us, but it's still going. I've recently completed the freelance I was tied to for the past two months, and will be able to devote more time than before to animation.
In closing, I'd like to share a little Agent Bird fan art I've seen from friends near and far.