Student Spotlight - Bryn Richards
"I wanted to make sure that I was keeping my body mechanics and realistic animation skills sharpened. Ensuring that my abilities and quality level are always building and improving is very important to me, and I knew that iAnimate could help me with that."
Student Spotlight features Bryn Richards, an animator from the UK currently working at Traveller's Tales (Warner Brothers Games). He originally joined iAnimate years ago, which helped him to land an internship at Ninja Theory. After his contract ended, Bryn got a job at Cubic Motion, cleaning mocap and polishing facial animation for Ryse and other titles before jumping over to Traveller's Tales, where he has been animating cutscenes for LEGO games.
After years of working in cutscenes and animating in a more cartoony style, Bryn wanted to make his skills up to the industry’s requirements. So he continued his passion and commitment by enrolling in iAnimate because he believes that it is the Animation Online School that can provide for his animation needs.
Student Animation Journey
- Feature Workshop 3 with Jim van der Kyle (Freelance Animator)
- Feature Workshop 4 with Mike Walling (Bungie)
- Games Workshop 2 with Michael Cuevas (Blizzard)
Animation planning is one of the essential processes in doing successful animations. iAnimate assignments enable students to do animations professionally by working on their workflows and creative thinking. Here are Bryn’s processes made in doing his assignments:
- Once I know what my assignment is, I can start looking for or filming references. If I'm animating something that needs to look like it's being performed by someone proficient in combat or is extremely athletic, I will search and open far too many tabs of youtube videos. I'm looking for small things that interest me in movement, whether the timing of a punch, interesting anticipation, or a dynamic pose or movement that I can use. Then, I cut my reference down into a sequence and uploaded the video to sync sketch. Here I can make notes of the golden poses, breakdowns, points of contact, and any details I want to make sure I don't miss when it comes to animating. During this stage, I'm also considering what state my character is in and how they're feeling.
- I then move on to my layout/rough blockout. At this point, I'm not worried about timing at all. I'm mapping out my key poses quickly and making sure that everything's working. Once I have this basic information, I can create a camera and rough that out too. Sometimes I’ll animate a cube or sphere as if it were my character performing the action to get a feel for what I’m after.
- From here, I'll start to add more breakdowns whilst going over my key poses to make sure they're clear, dynamic, and strong. I keep adding breakdowns until I get to a point where I know I've given Maya enough information for it not to look like spaghetti when I hit spline.
- I'll give each control a clean-up pass whilst tracking arcs and paying attention to spacing, too, staring from the hips and feet and moving out from there. Usually, I'll rough out the hands and fingers but will animate them in a more straight-ahead fashion during polish.
- Lastly is the polish pass, where you get to make sure all your hard work in blocking has paid off! I enjoy really going into small details and will often start to use layers at this stage to ensure that I'm not destructively adding anything to my animation that may not work. I especially like to use layers for anything in the body that needs to jiggle or shake.
Bryn feels like he has learned how to streamline his workflow and added plenty of extra tools and techniques to his toolbox. Watching his instructor animate during lectures was extremely insightful. It taught him to focus on the larger aspects of controlling a motion first and worrying about the smaller details later, pushing timing further and ensuring that poses and motions are as clear as possible for the viewer/gamer. And most of all, Bryn felt like he came out of the workshop with a newfound boost in confidence in tackling complicated mechanics and interactions.
Bryn's Student Reel
Student Spotlight Q&A with Animator Bryn Richards
iAnimate: What do you think of your Online Animation Instructor(s), and how did they help you?
Bryn:I was extremely fortunate to have Michael Cuevas as an instructor in my workshop. Under his expert mentorship, I was able to make big improvements in a short amount of time as well as vastly improve my workflow. Michael taught me how to really push my animation to the next level that studios are looking for.
iAnimate: How did iAnimate help you to evolve as a character animator?
“iAnimate helped to evolve my skills as an animator by truly teaching me in depth what the components of strong game animations are. I know going forward that I can tackle tasks with this information in mind to truly deliver awesome work.”
iAnimate: What kind of animator do you consider yourself after taking your workshop?
Bryn: I became vastly more confident as an animator and feel like I have come away with a real improvement in my knowledge of game animation. Not only has iAnimate helped raise the level of my work, but it also sped up my workflow, meaning that I can tackle complicated tasks even faster and with more precision.
iAnimate: What kind of animation project do you want to work on?
Bryn: I would love to be known in the animation and game dev community for my work in games. It would be awesome if I could inspire any animators and animation students out there, as I've been inspired by amazing animators over the years. I'm really passionate about creating animations for action-fighting and adventure games and would love to make the jump to in-game animation.
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