Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Copdog - Animation

After the rather sad "Dying" clip I wanted to do something a bit more fun and light.

- The rigs are: Koko for the dog, the alien creature from a DVD set @ CG Toolkit, the cops, cop car, rocket and set from Digital Tutors
- music is edited together from multiple tracks off the "Home Alone" score; I animated the whole thing first and then looked for music that would fit the action
- used Maya 9
- time spent on clip: 3 days (3x 10 hours days - spread out over a week or so with an hour here, an hour there and week-end work), and add about half a day to a day for planning (no reference, although sliding down that tube would have been awesome!! :) )
- inital blocking in linear keys for alien first, then dog, then background guys
- quicktime and vimeo version


gcastro3d said...

awesome! Did you rig the cgtoolkit alien guy? Very fun looking animation.


Jean-Denis Haas said...

No, it comes rigged (and also just as a model) along with other characters on the DVD. The enveloping is really messed up in places, especially in the pinky area, so there was a lot of cheating involved. But the rig itself has awesome controls. If the enveloping was 100% it'd be absolutely fantastic.
The bird from my "looks clear" clip is also from that set.

Matt Johnson said...

Just awesome JD! Really like the movements and how they are synced with the musical piece.

Is this for a longer sequence or short or just this piece? I really feel like this is from the middle of a film and wanting to see more. If not, then you really developed the character and backstory that we don't see.

Great job!

Matt -

Jean-Denis Haas said...

Thanks Matt!

It's just this piece, nothing longer, although it would be fun to expand on it.

The music part was fun. At first I was just looking for a score that would have a "sneaking" feel to it. I knew that Home Alone had some good stuff but then found a section that worked in a funny way with the last bit where the alien looks up at the dog, so I tried to piece something together that worked with that energy.

Joey said...

WOW! This is so sweet!!
I like the dog, too but I had hard time to animate him in my shot.

damncreative said...

Woaaah Jean this is a fantastic piece. love the way you have directed the shot and absolutely loved the timing. Very funny. Great job on the music too. Overall a great piece and totally enjoyed watching it..

Joey said...

I kept watching it to see how you planed things out and what details you put in the shot..another word, JDing the shot. :) anyway, I really enjoyed details! Thanks JD for awesome animation!

gcastro3d said...

I love the assets you used. I totally recognize the digital tutors stuff. Pretty cool that you could take all these available material and really make it your own.


Unknown said...

Very nice work - seems to get better the more times i watch it.

I love the character of the dog at approx 16secs. The alien looks at what he wants but the dog just looks at the alien and when the alien flinches towards it, so too does the dog but keeping his eyes on the alien. That attention to detail of knowing the dog isn't thinking: 'why does he want that thing?' or 'if i get it first, then the guy's mine'; more that 'i have you... where do you think YOU'RE going'.

Fantastic, well observed and well told. Oh yeah, the cymbal/triagle sound in the audio track at that point (16sec) just tweaked it to feel like it re-established the willing suspension of disbelief. Like it was saying - yes this situation is tense but the whole scenario is light hearted and there's no real danger.

Sorry - i'll stop waffling now - it's just like i said... the more i think about it, the more i see in it.

Thank you JDH

Asif said...

Another long awaited piece (Unknowingly) finally is here :D And it's just fabulous as always. Looks like a clip from a feature or a Short film, would love to see either of the one :P Thanks for Sharing Jean.

-A :)

richie said...

only 30 hours of work! how did you work so fast, any tips JD?

Joey said...

JD has secret A.W.B! :D

Jean-Denis Haas said...


Make sure you have a plan. You have to know what you're doing. Plan your shot until everything is set. There will be some adjustments along the way (for instance the beginning pipe entrance was different), but the more you have planned out, the faster you'll be.

Then, have scripts or buttons or selections sets or whatever, anything that let you select all the controllers, then only the body, only the face, only the fingers, etc. Helps with organization and tweaking.

Keep your scenes light. I only needed the ground plane and objects for interaction (like the pipe) or obstacles. Delete everything else. I don't have to have a scene that includes all the geometry and all the rigs. Then, whatever you have in your scene, make sure it's light. Nothing hires.

And when you get to the nitty gritty and tedious frame by frame work, put on some good music or something that's entertaining. I finished season 8 of "24" while working on this. :)

Jean-Denis Haas said...

And thanks guys! Great to hear all the positive feedback! Definitely was a lot of fun to work on.

Oren Millo said...

Great Stuff Man !
Good rhythm and emotions .
Very inspiring ! Thanks You .

Hammy said...

One of your best work yet JD!!! Thanks for being so inspiring!!

richie said...

cool thanks for the advice JD!

Jean-Denis Haas said...

Thanks guys and no problem Richie!

oranje said...

Beautiful work! Very inspirational.

Which Digital Tutor tutorial did you get the background set from?

Sometimes the problem with doing my own stuff at home is not having models/bg/props to play with(especially when you're not good at modeling). And your animation works so well with all the ready made props :)


Jonathan Bento said...

haha that is so great, and you did so fast!!! awesome job Jean

seems like have some Bolt references in there!


Dapoon said...


Jean-Denis Haas said...


I don't remember off the top of my head from where. I have a beach set (which was used in the "looks clear" clip) and a bunch of others. It might have been from a group or I got separately. Sorry, don't remember.


I love the animation in Bolt! For this though I actually didn't use any reference. Although, that's not quite true. For the dog head tilt I just have to look at my dog Indy and do some weird sounds and he does a head tilt, so it wasn't really difficult to remember what he looks like and put that in the animation. :)

Darrin said...

Do you have a blocking Pass to show? I'm still curious how you plan in Linear. Just curious to what kind of information you have in your blocking pass for this kind of action.

Jean-Denis Haas said...

Yep, that will come, just takes a while to render everything out. Stay tuned!

Frankie Stellato said...

If you're lookin to render and you don't mind facebook getting its sticky hands on it you can now render using facebook as a renderfarm.
Check out
Its a neat idea! Btw the animation looks stellar as always :)

Jean-Denis Haas said...

Hmmm... that's interesting.

And thanks!!

Benn said...

Hey JD.
Would you be able to post up your inital blocking pass for the Cop Dog shot, would be awesome to see. Also did you animate in IK or FK for this shot. And do you prefer one or the other?

Jean-Denis Haas said...

@Benn: Yes, I will post all my passes for this and previous shots, stay tuned. It just takes a while to render everything out and I've been pretty busy.

And it was all IK, only because I'm used to it. It's not sticky IK all the time, the IK is parented to the root, so I can still block out the shot without the hands stuck in space (since they are moving with the root), but for the rest it's all IK. I'm much faster with that type of set up and it would be a nightmare for me to go back to a rig where your arm/hand anim and arcs get messed up when you move the chest or shoulder around. It would drive me nuts.