Some Alien Animation Clips


This project has not been a total success, the deadline has arrived and i don’t have a completed animation, just some clips. I also rendered this stuff at a much lower quality than i would normally – i left it right up until the last moment to render the stuff out – trying to complete as much animation as possible. So it’s not a total loss, I modelled a character and rigged it following a tutorial and basically all by myself. Unfortunately that took most of the time i had for the whole project, and in the end i didn’t leave myself anywhere near enough time to animate. But now i have my own original 3D character that i can use to develop my 3D animation skills over the Christmas break, so hopefully there will be some more stuff to show you soon! I learnt so much about modelling and rigging – having to problem solve and figure out the processes was hard work but as i make more and more 3D animation and characters it will get easier!

I actually managed to break the model a couple of times, the eyes were originally parented no problem, but somewhere during animation i broke them and the eyes stuck in one position when i rendered it – a simple fix but still annoying! I had a problem where Adobe Premier would just not import my image sequence in its entirety as well, and i lost some of the clips i had animated – it’s like the universe was punishing me even more for my bad organisation this project! I never quite got my idea pinned down and that was a major time sink – coming up with more ideas and trying to hash out different scripts. You’ll notice there’s no sound as well – something that would have come in had i managed to get the model ready for animating sooner.

I should have probably downloaded a rigged character and practiced at least as i was modelling and rigging my own character – but i wanted to focus on the one thing so i got it done – it just took a little longer than it should have. I was also unable to add any 2D to the animation and that was in the brief – if i had more time i would have done 2D credits at least.. This project had the good and the bad, but in the end I’ve learnt a bunch and have done something that I’ve never done on this scale before in 3D, so i feel like its been pretty good actually and next project i will have to make sure i manage my time better. I am really happy with how the character looks – although he was not my own design i was able to make him my own with some small changes to his features – and i think that the story i came up with and the identity for the character had potential. This project was a good start to this year, and has been a bit of a wake up call, I just can’t wait to make more 3D animations anyway!


Screenshots of an alien!

I’ve been modelling this alien in Maya 2017, and after loads of time & work, here he is! I took some screenshots of him in various poses with different expressions while I’ve been animating with and getting used to the guy. Even though he’s my first full 3D character that I’ve ever made i think he came out really well, and even though i can see where i could make improvements, that’s part of the learning process and he’s still really expressive and capable of animating with, so i’m happy and gonna chalk this up as a success! 😛


Thanks for checking out my little green alien 😛

edit: Moar!! From bits I’ve been animating.


Edit again: EVEN MOAR!! AND NOW SHINY!!!!!


Rigging a character in Maya!

This post is in reverse order, which just makes it more interesting right? I guess i screwed up the order when i uploaded them, but its a post that shows my progression with rigging a character in Maya (not a tutorial!) and it still does that job alright so i’m leaving it like it is.

When you want to create a more uniquely shaped control you can do this by going to ‘create’-‘curve tools’-‘ep curve tool’

Pressing ‘x’ in a top view allows you to snap onto the grid and draw out shapes like arrows and whatever.


You can just use circles for knee and elbow controls by going to ‘create’-‘NURBS ‘primitives’-circle.


As shown in the next screenshot.


The complicated process of parenting stuff to stuff.


The next screenshot shows most of the controllers are in place now!!


Moving the pivot point into the centre of a joint.


From ‘uniform’ to ‘chord length’ in the ‘ep curve tool’ when creating a unique controller.


Putting in the bones (remember the images are all in the wrong order..)


Mirroring the joints across (make sure the right axis) and replacing left with right which is super convenient!


The next screenshot shows almost if not all the expressive shape abilities i made for the character in the shape editor, hopefully i will have enough options when animating, i tried to take that into account when creating all the different facial movement. The ears move around (up for shock and around for general movements) and the throat moves for when hes talking.


You may have noticed i have an error on a lot (almost all) of these screenshots,this error message i think:

// Error: file: C:/Program Files/Autodesk/Maya2017/scripts/others/drInit.mel line 1961: Object ” not found. 

And i did some research, as i was a bit worried about it, but it seems to be something that just happens and doesn’t really affect anything. Here’s a fix that i found though:

“Mesh Tools > Show Modeling Toolkit” select the multi-component option.
Then go back to object mode and the red spam in the log is Gone. [1]

From an internet forum.So this makes the error go away it seems, for now..


So here’s my alien character with most of his controllers! But they still need parenting and whatever so there’s still work to be done before i can animate with him.



Starting to make the finger controls in this screenshot. These controllers will have a roll attribute added which will make it easier to pose the fingers into a fist or whatever.


Also put some shoulder controls in as well!


There’s a lot of stuff around the model by the end of it, but it will all be worth it when i come to animating the character.


Parented the knee controls to the feet so they move together.



Modelling a character in Maya continued

*For anyone who ends up here looking for a tutorial, this probably isn’t what you want. Buuuut I’ve taken a bunch of screenshots of the process, so that’s something. 

Anyway Maya crashed and i lost the head and stuff that i had modelled last time, and i didn’t have an auto-save set-up remind me to always set up the auto-save! I found my most recent version, i still had the body modelled, so it wasn’t so bad really – just more practice using Maya!



To make the head you use a cube not a sphere, and then you turn that cube into a sphere.


So i made a little alien guy, and my idea for the animation has adapted somewhat. Instead of being a relatively vague ‘did you do the thing’ its going to be one alien asking the other (known to be lazy and negligent) alien if they put the humans back after abduction and probing, or if he forgot again. To which the alien will be really sarky and reply like ‘yeah, i forgot AGAIN because i’m an idiot who can’t remember anything!’ And the other alien will be like, ‘ok but last time you forgot and this hilarious thing i cant think of right now happened that made you look foolish, remember?’ and then the other replies ‘What time? i don’t remember any time? humph!’ (still all sarcastic and whatever). And then lights flash and an alarm sounds, and a look of ‘oh dang’ comes over the aliens face as he realises he actually did forgot. He looks at the other alien (off-screen so he will look at camera or wherever he’s already been addressing when talking) with a sheepish smile, ‘Sooo, I think i might have forgot something…’ or probably something funnier and/or cooler than that.


That’t the vague idea now anyway -and I’ve got an alien modelled and ready to be rigged for animating.


I had a little bit of trouble with the UV. As i had managed to overlap a couple vertex’s on the feet and hands. After going over the model a little bit i was able to fix everything (i think) and it all turned out ok.


See, it pretty much turned out ok. And now he’s a totally awesome little green alien man!


Now comes the expressions! This part of the process was actually pretty fun – just pulling his face around to make different expressions, keeping the face looking natural with the movements and experimenting a little with how far you could pull the face around.


I started with blinks – each eye is blinked separately, each eyebrow, etc – so they can be moved independently later when animating. I used the soft-selection to pull his face around as well because it meant that curves and stuff would follow a little bit and although its hard to describe what i mean it was really useful.


I did a number of passes over each expression from various angles to make sure it looked right as i was pulling it around.


Combining a few different expressions to see how they look together – its really cool seeing the character start to come alive!


Mouth open (above) – Mouth closed (below).


Mouth open (above) and closed (below) again from another angle.


Aww he looks so sad!! I have been thinking if it would be possible to animate this guy in 3D and then render out the shots – then batch them into Photoshop taking out all the backgrounds – then adding in a 2D background that I’ve drawn (possibly in TV paint – a few looped backgrounds or something) and having the 3D alien character appear to be in a 2D world or whatever. This is supposed to be a sort of hybrid animation according to the brief so it would be good if i adhered to that with my final animation.

What is still most important to me is that i am able to model, rig and animate a full 3D character in Maya. Also now the audio lip-syncing is going to be key to making the animation look good – and would be great practice anyway. Then adding the 2D background stuff is next on the list depending on time and stuff. I’m thinking of a simple spaceship interior with a window that has some stars going by very slowly. That’s pretty much it.


I am really pleased with how this little guy is shaping up – just need to rig the model and then begin animating!! I followed the tutorial for the most part – giving him different ears and adding a belly button, also making him a little bit chunkier in the arms and the feet and neck are done slightly differently but look pretty much the same, so I’ve added my own style to this guy a little bit. I’m definitely much more confident in Maya now, and I feel like i understand what I’ve done wrong when i go wrong (mostly) and how to fix things as well – which is great – and hopefully there will be more cool 3D stuff is to come!


Modelling a character in Maya

*For anyone who ends up here looking for a tutorial, this probably isn’t what you want. Buuuut I’ve taken a bunch of screenshots of the process, so that’s something. 

The first thing i did was take the three perspective drawings which were provided with the tutorial and set up my work-space. Top, side and front view drawings of the character I was going to be modelling. I lowered the opacity of the reference images and once they were all correctly in place i turned them into a reference layer.


Now the space was ready i could begin modelling, starting with the body. It began life as a simple cylinder, which i shaped using the reference layers in the differentperspectives.


I cut the cylinder in half and deleted one side, as i would be modelling one half and then mirroring it to create the full finished and symmetrical model.


The drawings are not drawn exactly perfectly lined up, but i just made some slight changes, which was fine, and really they were only there as references anyway – but i was able to be a bit more fluid and start sculpting away from the drawings a little bit to make the character/model look a bit different.


In the end it all came together really quickly following the tutorials. I’m not finished yet though, got to finish the model and then rig it up ready for animating. I feel much more confident modelling a character, just got to master rigging in Maya and then actually animating a full character.