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New Animation Character Rig: Stan

by | May 7, 2013

animation mentor stan rig

We sat down with Bobby Beck, our CEO, today to learn a little bit more about a new member of the character tribe: Stan. Bobby also shared a great student shot that presents Stan in all of his massive glory. Enjoy the read (including the student’s reaction). And remember: Stan is available to all Animation Mentor students — past and present — starting in our Animation Fundamentals.

— The Animation Mentor Crew

Who is Stan and why are we so excited?
Bobby: I’m really excited for all of our new characters. The thing with Stan is that you don’t typically see someone like him — someone with massive bulk in the upper body and a small frame in the lower body. He’s definitely got some Mr. Incredible characteristics about him which makes him extra exciting to get your hands on. It’s nice to have a rig with such massive limbs and body mass. This will make getting proper arcs and appealing shapes something that cannot go unnoticed. The first time you look at this guy you just WANT to animate him and we’re already seeing some GREAT work being done in just the first few weeks of his release.

What are some of the key technical aspects about Stan?
Bobby: Stan is up to industry standards. He was tested by people on our testing team at Disney, Blue Sky, DreamWorks, and Tippett. We wanted to make sure that Stan was tested so that our students would see the same controls and functionality that are being used more and more by studios. Stan’s got a variety of FK/IK in all parts of his body. His squash and stretch is really pronounced which makes for getting a great fleshy quality in the animation.

What are some differences that Stan presents over previous characters?
Bobby: Rigging priorities have changed and we have to keep our standards current. We have to keep a high standard and Stan is much more innovated. We’re trying out a variety of new techniques that are really working and we’re bringing that forward into all the new characters we’re working on.

Student shot featuring Stan: Alberto Martínez
Bobby: Alberto’s shot has great appeal, even though it’s waist only. It’s believable and it shows so much personality. The timing, the poses, the attention to detail, the polish — it’s all there. In class, we talk about how you want your character to be presented right from the first frame so that you can tell who the character is. When you do this well, you feel that there is a back story. Alberto has NAILED this here. You can really feel who this guy is and that’s a sign of a great animator in the making!

Alberto Martínez: The new rigs are awesome
Animation Mentor student Alberto Martínez told us what it was like to animate with Stan … and to also receive some Animation Mentor love:

What was your first reaction to animating with Stan?
Alberto: I felt like a child with a new toy.

The new rigs are awesome. Stan has a very appealing and contrasted design. Such a character is really inspiring in order to create a new story to tell. Also, the big mass of his body allows you to play a lot with the physical actions.

Walk us through your shot — from concept to planning to animation. What are your favorite controls?
Alberto: The aim was having an attitude change for the character along the shot. It is easy to think of Stan as a tough guy, so I tried to find his weakness.

About the planification, I had quite a static idea — so I tried to find movement in contrasting the poses. I think spine reversals and opposite actions can really help to make a more dynamic shot.

I think that many of us have an inner instinct that makes us want to bend, stretch, and squash our characters. It is really funny, we can’t deny that. That’s why I love every control that allows me to alter the shape of the character and achieve a stronger line of action or a more organic feel. If I had to choose some, my favorite controls are those for deforming the head. Also, I found the new gimbal controls to be very useful.

What is the best part about sharing your work within the Animation Mentor campus?
Alberto: I think there are two main points. First, the campus brings us the opportunity to tell a story and share it with a lot people who also love animation. You really feel like being at home.

Second, you receive a lot of feedback. We really appreciate that, because this makes you grow and keep learning every day. I think that motivation is what really moves people — and within the Animation Mentor campus, you can really find this motivation.

Thanks so much! And thanks to Bobby for the kind words! 🙂 Have an awesome day!

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