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Animation Showcase!
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Animation Showcase!

Michelle Lumowa
by michellelumowa and r3drigs on 31 May 2023 for Rookie Awards 2023

Hey there! Here are animations that I've done while at Gnomon, along with breakdowns!

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Kumo the Frog

This is Kumo! An anthropomorphic frog assassin from Feudal Japan. He loves the rain and observing the town from high places with a bottle of sake.

Concept Design

This character is my own concept. His main weapon is called a "kusarigama", also known as a "chain-sickle". The container on his back is to carry water for his convenience. His pattern and colors are based off of an existing frog called the Pine-Barrens Tree Frog. Theres a picture of it in the reference image further in the post.

Due to his nature of being half frog, he needs to make sure to stay hydrated. I also made iterations of a logo for the corporation/company that he works for, and ended up choosing the first one. It contains elements of a frog, lilypad, and the lotus, to symbolize where he comes from.

Character Modeling Process.

While modeling, I redesigned the kusarigama since I thought it was too simple in the original concept. I also redesigned the container on his back to be a gourd, which is known to hold liquids. I added the jacket because it would better suggest what he does for a living. And with the sensitive skin of a frog, it'd be more comfortable to wear.

(I also like how it looks like he's carrying a large sake bottle on his back but its for water.)

I aimed for a game character pipeline for this character since I wanted to bring the animation into Unreal Engine 5. I did the sculpting part of the character in zBrush for my Digital Sculpting class. The clothing were simulated in Marvelous Designer then sculpted on top of in zBrush.

Texturing

I wanted to go for the stylized, painterly look for this character. So I hand painted the lights and shadows using Substance Painter. I pulled reference from Valorant, League of Legends, and Overwatch characters.

Here's the final model!

Animation Process.

I defintely wanted to express who he is as a character, so I decided to do an action sequence, almost like an intro to the character, animation. I also wanted to highlight the weapon as a main part of the animation. Huge props to Russell Griffith-Marlin for the rig of this character! What a trial and error it was to get the chains and legs to work.

I drew inspiration from For Honor executions and hero selection animations from various multiplayer games like Apex Legends, Overwatch, and Valorant. I also referenced action animes for the style and poses.

I first animated in Autodesk Maya then imported it to Unreal Engine 5.

I then brought the animation into Unreal Engine 5 and added an environment. The models in the environment were found on sketchfab.

"Don't Drink That!" Animation

This is a dialogue animation that I did for my Character Animation 4 class at Gnomon. Rigs were provided by my professor, and the models were found on sketchfab. Lighting and setup is done by me, then composited in Nuke.

Creature Animation (Deer and Bird)

I made this animation for my Creature Animation class at Gnomon. This was a great opportunity to learn more about how animals move around with the many different shapes and sizes. I also won the Best of Term for Summer 2022 with this animation!

Rig and environment models by Truong CG Artist. Lighting and setup is done by me, also composited in Nuke.

Reference

These are the main reference videos that I used for the animation. I got my idea for this animation from the first video! I thought it was such a cute interaction. I also watched a few bird feeder videos for the small bird flight and landing reference.

I studied on how the wings of birds are angled for the different types of flights they do, and I believe it showed through in the animation.

Lighting

With the light, playful interaction of these two animals, a warm day in the forest was definitely the way to go. 

Special thanks to Russell Griffith-Marlin for the Kumo Rig!

I really appreciate all the professors that have taught and helped me through these projects. I definitely could not have made these pieces without them. 


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