BRUCE THE GOAT – MY WALKING, RUNNING, TALKING GREEN SCREEN COMPANION

Originally posted on the MA Character animation course blog, published March 4th 2015.

I previously uploaded my research and sketches for my animal character. These ended up in the creature design category of my Unit 1 assignment along with the goat’s, from now on called by his name, Bruce, walk, run, green screen and even a lip sync.

By the way the reason I called him Bruce is from a Norwegian fairytale called De tre bukkene Bruse, the translation for this is something like The three goats Bruse, more known as Three Billy Goats Gruff. It’s about three goats that has to cross a bridge to get over to the food on the other side and under the bridge there lives a troll. Nice story and Bruce was the name closest to Bruse therefore, Bruce the goat.

Anyway, here is Bruce’s walk. A walk that I struggled with so much! Goats are incredible fat animals with tiny legs and as a cause of that has a quite distinctive walk. I still after all this research can’t explain how they manage to be so flexible and bouncy, it’s a mystery to me.

I’m still not a hundred percent satisfied with this. The legs are pretty spot on, but I had so much trouble with the follow through especially with the tail. Goat’s tails are very short and in my reference videos the tail doesn’t really move unless the goat consciously moves it, they can wag their tails like a dog.  But to keep it completely still didn’t look good so I’ve had several attempts on this and at some point I had to move on so I would manage to finish before the deadline, but still, not satisfied!

Moving on  to the run:

This was much easier, but it took some time and a few attempts to make the front legs and hind legs to move correctly according to each other. Luckily someone gave me the brilliant idea that would make everything work: draw the two pair of legs seperately and finish one pair first before starting on the other one. Sometimes I just can’t think that simple, but luckily someone else can, so thank you Phil Valllentin!

Then the green screen. I’ve been looking forward to this since before Christmas. I’ve done this once before and I had a specific idea what I wanted it to be about, and to know how and what to do always makes things easier. The idea was to have me and Bruce trying to perform a trick of him jumping onto my back, but making Bruce much more out of balance than most goats. While filming the green screen I also got the suggestion from Kimmo to end the trick by walking of screen with the goat on my back. Here is a few pictures from the filming:

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Then with my green screen as a reference I animated Bruce in Adobe Flash. A program I don’t always like the look of since I sometimes find it too smooth, but with advice from some friends from my bachelor’s degree Bruce got a better look than I was expecting.  I put it together in After Effects and this is the result:

I’m not going to lie, this it my favourite animation of my whole assignment. I’m so pleased with what I managed to do in that relatively short time with all other things I needed to do and I got an applause from my fellow classmates after the screening of this so I guess I can say I succeeded.

And last, but not least, my personal lip sync starring Bruce. To make a goat talk took some extra research , but luckily wasn’t too hard to figure out.

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And here is the final result. (The sound is from Men in Black and it is Tommy Lee Jones that is talking.)

The only thing that bothers me about this one is that Flash didn’t export sound and also either added or deleted a few frames from the start when exporting the animation. So I had to try to put the sound and animation together again in premier pro, but because of the added/missing frames I had trouble making it fit together as well as it was in the flash file so the timing is not spot on… annoying, but this was the last animation and I was short on time before deadline and rather wanted to work on my green screen.

So that is all the parts of my assignment that included Bruce, I really like him as a character and I hope I don’t forget about him after this assignment.

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