PIVOT!

3D ANIMATION

March 2021
Leo Rig by Long Winter Studios
Sofa model by mzpstudios.blogspot.com
Responsible for: Animation in Autodesk Maya
An animation exercise for my ANIM 323 [3D Character Animation: Expressive Character Acting] class at SCAD. The title is a homage to one of my favorite moments in Friends sitcom (The One with the Cop). Kudos to you who get it :)

This was the weight assignment, and I wanted to do more than just a character carrying a heavy box. I did some initial brainstorming sketches to figure out different scenarios, and eventually, I decided that I want my character to navigate around a staircase while carrying the heavy object. I thought the sofa idea would be a fun one to tackle!
I knew it was going to be a challenge to bring everything together (rigging the sofa, switching the hand constraints, not to mention my character is on a staircase), but I am happy with how it all turned out! Here's a quick progression reel:
As always, I'm excited to problem-solve the technical challenges I face in my animation. In Pivot!, I knew I had to create a simple rig for the sofa such that my character can interact with it from both ends (push, carry, or pull), while the sofa pivots from the opposite end of where the character is. I added some NURBS curves as the controls and parent the sofa to one of them. With the right parenting hierarchy, I can achieve something like this:
Shooting the video reference is another big challenge and I had to be creative to overcome some difficulties. I didn't bring my full-size sofa up the staircase (for obvious reasons) but decided to use the small one instead. It works really well to visualize either end of the sofa that I need to be interacting with! I totally did not confuse my mom with carrying our sofa chair up the staircase :') I took multiple takes to get the whole range of expressions and poses I wanted. After compiling them and analyzing my references in SyncSketch, I started blocking out my animation. 
Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to fully polish this one out and add the ending that I've planned (with the punchline of the sofa sliding back down the staircase). As much as I value the importance of the 'finish what I've started' mentality, I decided that I'd done my best for this shot and it was time to move on to my next works. I learned a lot throughout this assignment and will use all the feedback I've received to improve my future animation!