Meet “The Imposter”

Animators don’t usually build the characters we animate, but at The Weber State Campus Store I had the chance to step outside my comfort zone and create this monster! Check Back here soon to see some animation we’ll be using for entertaining marketing videos. Working at Weber State has actually been a dream come true in some ways. Due to an awesome work environment with incredible leadership, what began as a temporary, part-time graphic design job quickly became so much more. There are other developments I can’t share yet, but expect some fun content!

So how is an animated character created?

Well, once I found a sketch I liked (with feedback from the talented Jessie Kate Patterson & Lauren Chaikin ), I created model sheets (T-poses as shown below, pushing the design as far as I could in the time alotted), modeled the character in Maya, textured the model with UV mapping and Photoshop, laid out the controls and bones (and weight maps), and navigated the “Hypershade Forest” putting everything together to program the functionality. MORE INFO

Through this crazy process, I’ve been saying that building a character is like being an artist, engineer, and programmer all wrapped up in one. I don’t know if I’ll build another character like this, but I believe it has made me a better animator. And now here is the first pose of my second humble attempt at a feature quality rig:

Of course, he still needs some work and I am sure there will be kinks to be worked out during the animation process, but I couldn’t wait to share him. If there are any out there desiring information beyond this basic overview, I’ve compiled a list of the great resources I used during this process. Feel free to comment with any observations or questions!

  • Jessie Kate Patterson

    Lookin’ awesome Scott! I love the added textures ^_^ How’d you turn the graphic design job into an animation gig?!

    • Thanks Jessie! At first, I thought this gig development was unique but this morning I just realized it has actually happened a few times – where personal pursuits blended seamlessly into work. For this to happen, we have to be in a decent environment – and have a great attitude about it. I did have one workplace where this approach didn’t work as I hoped, but it was still profitable in other ways. The first thing I do is find out what the owner/director is interested in. Second, I give 100% toward their professional interests. Third, I find myself fortunate to work with great leaders – they make innovation possible. When my current store director came to me and wanted me to create a project that helped me in animation, this imposter project quickly popped into my mind … And I think they loved my pitch BECAUSE I was already in tune with their interests.

      It’s funny, after I rigged my first character I said I wouldn’t be doing that again…little did I know this adventure was ahead. Thanks again, Jessie for asking. Hope this helps someone!

  • Blake Montgomery

    You’re awesome!

  • Lauren Chaikin

    He looks amazing, Scott! Great color choices, I like how his big green eyes stand out.

    • Thanks, Lauren! I hope you can see how much your draw-over helped!

  • Michael Loeck

    Lookin sweet!!

    • Thanks, Mike! Always great when you pop in!

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