Jan-Willem van Dronkelaar

3dioot's polybook

Alright lets fire this one of with the rolling ball exercise. Perhaps not the most exciting content for a polybook but it has to start somewhere. :)

https://cgcookie.com/exercise/rolling-ball/exercise_submissions/17423

I found this one pretty tough and I am still not completely convinced by my final results. I wanted to refrain from calculating the correct rotation value for the distance covered and do it by feel. In hindsight I really don't know if that was beneficial to the point of this exercise or actually one of the things that made it unnecessarily hard.

What helped me in the end were a few different things:

  • Starting with linear interpolation to get the initial rotation value in the right ballpark
  • Setting viewport display to "render only" so the rig does not distract you (this one was huge for me)
  • Returning the units for rotation to degrees once the keyframes were in place to make the fine tuning a lot more manageable.
  • Having an accountabilybuddy

Hope it helps someone although I feel these might come down to preference more than anything. :)

  • 3dioot Acountabilybuddy present! 😎

    Feedback has been given at your exercise page, 'cause that's what buddy's do! And also for me it's great training for developing my animation eye 😬 I'm not always right (but today I am haha), so I always make sure to also read Wayne's feedback and learn from that until I can see it myself (I even come back the next day to read his comments he adds later). 

    The more animation exercises I watch (even the ones that are wayyy beyond where I am), and the more feedback I give (even if I might be wrong I try to ignore that feeling and just do it), and the more crits of waylow I read, the better I'm starting to see. It's a slow process, but I think it's worth the effort!! Highly recommend it 😊 Also, as a bonus side effect, it feels good to help others improve by giving feedback! 😄

    Keep going, looking forward to the next one! 🏀⚽️

  • smurfmier1985 You are an awesome accountabilybuddy! I replied on the exercise page :)

    I feel you on the feedback thing but, I also have to be honest with myself. Watching the exercises of of other people will not give me the benefit of actually doing that exercise myself. I tend to deep dive into theory a little too much (so many books on this stuff) but nothing beats practice!

    So with that in mind its time to get cracking Miranda  so I can return the favor! :D

  • 3dioot I believe in combining both actually, watching and learning from others as well as practicing yourself! Also I like to rewatch all the instructional videos multiple times over the course of at least a couple of days to really ingrain the knowledge deep into my brain. Guess everyone has their own way of learning 😄

    No worries, it's not Sunday yet 😉 Patience is a virtue 😛

  • really good job with the rolling ball . look forward to the next exercises you will post .
    animation will not be easy but i believe it will be lots of fun maybe some struggling but in time it should be really fun to play around and bring stuff to life :D.  i actually cant wait to do the animation course but sadly still have to wait . as i am forbidden this year to learn any more i decided to not upgrade yet so starting next year, if 21 december doctor results are good i should be okay to start learning next year and will join you guys on this course :D
    till then i am already following smurfmier1985 advice and checked several exercises that where posted and what critique waylow has to see if i manage to see it too .
    as said before i really look forward to more animations of both of you guys :D and lots of good luck and fun ;)

  • smurfmier1985 

    Guess everyone has their own way of learning 😄

    Oh definitely. Sorry if I sounded like I was judging your way of learning. My comment was more a reflection of my own experiences with learning, for me its a bit of a weakness to end up doing research above practice. In the end, whatever makes you do the most work is the best for you and that's the only thing that's important in the long run. :)

  • yyukinoh1989 Thanks for the well wishes. I hope everything turns out in the best possible way for you, it would be great if you could join in on the fun!


  • 3dioot No worries It didn't come across that way! Just sharing my learning process 😄🏀


  • 3dioot np. Thanx too, next week I need to try go back to work for 3 half days to see how things go. So hopefully I will be able to continue next year and get back in action

  • Ok smurfmier1985  time to liven up this thread some :)

    What I learned so far and will keep in mind moving forward:

    • I tend to animate things too slowly (everything in slowmo until I tweak it)
    • I tend to keep too even spacing
    • I tend to make my curves ellipses instead of parabola's (the latter are correct)
    • Energy diminishes equally each bounce so you should have a pretty even slope
    • I like to have all handles visible at the same time for judging relations and symmetry

    Getting video ref in blender on the same timeline

    I use y2mate.com to download youtube video's to mp4. It seems reliable and works well for me. Most of the other sites that offer a similar service just want your email or want you to download something. Don't do that! This one seems to work fine but stay alert for shenanigans. :)

    I then use Handbrake (FOSS) to convert framerate to 24 if necessary, strip sound and lower resolution if desired. Its lightweight, fast and easy to use.

    To get the video on a plane is pretty straightforward: https://youtu.be/r0aVBMaXAV8?t=155

    I never got the "import images as planes" addon working but you can easily resize the plane to match the video's proportion yourself. Just remember to perform a UV unwrap before altering the size.

    Blender remained very responsive for me. You can always trim your video ref to reduce length, reduce the res or do other things to optimize it but in my experience I got realtime playback regardless.

    Hope this helps someone/anyone.

    Also smurfmier1985 is it time yet to set new goals for this week? ^_^

  • 3dioot Thanks for those tips! I'm also an ellipse offender by the way 😛

    Well, I got a bigger planning in mind actually 😬

    1. Monday and Tuesday: clean up stuff! My laptop is getting slow and my external hard disk is almost full, so I'm going through all my photos, videos, documents and blend files and cleaning it all up!

    2. Friday night I want to turn in the next exercise!

    3. Squash & Stretch Saturday

    4. Anticipation Sunday (watched the video and this anticipation one is a fairly quick exercise, so it should be doable these two exercises in one weekend)

    5. Character ball during the Christmas period! This one might take longer, we'll see. I have a quiet Christmas planned so time enough for some animation. Might be different for you of course 😊 (for all people from other countries, fun fact, Dutch people are a bit weird, we actually got two Christmas days! So 25 and 26 December, lol)

    How about it? 😉

    By the way, if you're interested, you can use 'Dougie' for character ball. Which I'll be doing 😎 I asked Wayne in the questions and he's okay with it, as long as you keep it on the shorter side (because it's something new, the longer the animation the more difficult it is). 

    He's a ball with tail character, you can download him from the source files of the 'body mechanics course'. In the beginning of that course Wayne shows one of his earlier animations when he was at that level, where he uses this character. The tail is great for overlap&drag action (which will be discussed in the exercise after character ball, with Torques antenna).

    Thought I should mention it in case you would like to try 😄

  • smurfmier1985 

    I think that's a challenging timeline..

    I love it! Let's aim for the moon, if we miss we will still end up among the stars. :3 (in case you haven't noticed, I still haven't figured out where they have hidden the emoticons, its one of CGcookies mysteries) And really, we should be able to do this right? Maybe? No. No! Its definitively, definitively maybe. Yeah! ;) I have some things planned during xmas so I may do some stuff early (or a little later) but in general I'll try to stick to it.

    I'd love to use Dougie! I've secretly been eyeing him for a while now. I probably already have him downloaded from Blendswap somewhere, before I became a member of CGcookie. :)

    Here is some funny footage from one of my favorite cg characters ever just because I want to share it: I love this so much

    This animation stuff is getting me more excited every day 😃 

    That prompted me to show you this; my current background. I used to think I needed to be X good at something before I was even allowed to say I liked it (let alone loved it). Or that stuff only counts when you become a professional... So many rules holding me back and putting me down.

    I just love this stuff for what it is. I want to learn it, I want to swim in it, I want to be a part of it. I don't care about being "good enough" or career stuff or being silly. I am not going to be lukewarm about it anymore!



  • 3dioot Go at it man! Before you know it, you'll look around and be where you want to be.

  • 3dioot I love that clip!! Had already seen it but watched it again because it's fun 😄 How to train your dragon is my favorite animation movie ever!! 

    I know that quote too, it's brilliant 😊 Enjoy what you like to the fullest! Don't let anyone or anything hold you back.

    As for emoticons, I'm often on my phone when I'm answering in the forum, so I get the same emoticons as with WhatsApp. On my chrome browser I use an extension/plugin for emoticons, there are several to choose from.

    All righty acountabilybuddy, let's give it our best shot! 😎🏀

  • 3dioot Also, I'm determined to have at least one character walking by the end of my vacation!! 

    Which means that the goal for the second half of next week and the week after is Torques antenna exercise & Stomps walk cycle. Whether there is time for Rivets walk cycle too... we'll see 😉

  • phoenix4690 Thank you for the encouragement! It means a lot.

    smurfmier1985  Too funny that that is your favourite movie! I (obviously) love it too. Have seen it way too many times. It just never gets old, the interaction between Hiccup and Toothless is amazing. :)

    I still have to watch number two but I doubt it could dethrone the first one for me. Did you watch the follow up yet?

    Sorry for not getting back to you both sooner but I have implemented a rule for myself. If I have time to spend on the forum, I have time to animate as well. So I am trying to always have something new to post when writing a message. I doubt I can stick to that 100% but I am trying. XD

    I won't be able to put any work in until Saturday (office Christmas drinks tomorrow evening/night) so I thought I may as well post my progress so far. Its by no means perfect but I think I am getting there. I also did this pretty much by my own means. With that said there are some things I don't fully understand so maybe its time to rewatch that video again.

    For example I would expect the ball to keep its lateral movement when falling, yet when I animate it like that it does not look anything like Wayne's example. It does not look neccesarily wrong either but eeh. What I have embedded below is with the ball loosing some of its lateral movement as its falling. Plenty of timing and spacing issues to fix still. :)


    I look forward to seeing your progress accountabillybuddy! <3

  • 3dioot yes I have seen the second movie, multiple times, and while of course no movie can dethrone that first one, it is a very fun movie to watch! Usually the follow up sucks, but this one doesn't! They are working on movie number 3 right now, can't wait till it's out 😄

    Great start! I'm sure if you rewatch the lessons of Wayne you'll be able to finish it up nicely. Mostly the arcs when falling of the platform are a bit too far and the bouncing at the ground is pretty high and it goes pretty fast there. Also some T&S like you mentioned but that's to be expected at this stage. Minor things you can easily fix 😊👍🏻

    At the moment I am struggling with the complex obstacle drop exercise... can't get the 3 ball version to work right for me. So instead of getting stuck for weeks again (like with the rolling ball), tonight I will throw that version to the side and try the "simpler" 2 ball version. Because for now I think its better to keep the momentum going and continue learning stuff. Pushing forward. And when I have the 2 ball one working I'll try to add a third ball to it, make my own variation on it. We'll see how it goes.

    Guess the planning was a bit too ambitious haha, gonna extend the period for this exercise until I'm satisfied. So probably somewhere this weekend.

    Have fun at your office drink tonight!! 😃


  • 3dioot this is a great start.  Remember that there isn't any lateral force acting on the ball, only downward force.  So it does keep it's lateral movement (minus air resistance), but as soon as there is no support, it will fall down much faster as it's already accelerating in that direction.  I think most of the "off" feeling is not coming from excess lateral movement, but from insufficient vertical movement.  I kind of did the same thing with this exercise, thinking "ok now it's in freefall like the vanilla bounce," but it's already been accelerating downward for several frames now, and will continue accelerating downward till it hits the next obstacle.

  • smurfmier1985 

    Glad to hear the followup is a great movie as well. Added it to my to watch list, regretfully it does not seem to be on Netflix. :|

    Thank you for your observations. I am not sure if the arcs are "too far" (if I interpret that correctly) but perhaps they are too slow in the vertical as John pointed out and maybe that is what is making them feel of. They do feel weird I agree. Also feel you on the bounce height. Its like its a different ball compared to the somewhat muted bounce from the first platform to the second. It should probably be toned down a little.

    Because for now I think its better to keep the momentum going and continue learning stuff.

    You are so right. Exercises are to get better, not to have them done perfectly. I am certain you are aware of the quantity vs quality experiment with pottery? Appearantly it's from a book called Art and Fear, here is the relevant excerpt.

    Don't feel too bad about the planning. Its important to plan and set goals since it still made you attack this exercise vigorously. As long as you don't start to feel dejected because of not making the "deadline" it is serving its purpose perfectly well. :) No harm in finding out an exercise is a little harder than expected, you are still learning!

    As far as I am concerned we are still both trying to finish animation bootcamp in 2018, one day more or less won't make much of a difference. :)

    I look forward to the office drink, will most certainly have fun, thanks! <3

  • pprocyonlotor Thank you for the detailed comment John! I think you are on to something and will keep it in mind when I refine it. :)


  • 3dioot pprocyonlotor Yeah John made some good points! 😄👍🏻

    I do planning for a living, so I'm quite used to be flexible with it. At some point I'll be able to better judge how long something takes and then planning things will be more accurate 😊

    Finishing in 2018 is very ambitious! I was thinking more at the end of my vacation (6 January) 😅

    Looking forward to your next update 🙃