Pixar-esque Lamp

The assignment was to animate a Pixar style lamp doing whatever we so choose, so I took that as literally as possible and made my own Pixar style intro.

The idea here is obviously quite simple… Lampy hops by my name, and the letter O stares at Lampy as he does so… Lampy hops off screen and O quickly looks away once he’s been caught staring… In Pixar-esque fashion, Lampy attempts to stomp out O but since O is obviously a circle, he isn’t getting squashed into the ground too easily… Lampy is deflected off the O and falls to the ground, burning out his light bulb… The end.

This was done using 3ds Max 8, and took about 10 hours from concept to finalization. The lamp is constructed from two hemisphere’s that were shaped to look like the top and bottom pieces. The leg and the torso were made from oil-tank shapes. The light bulb was made from a sphere that was stretched in the back to look like a light bump shape. All of the pieces were aligned and linked together through a very simple bone structure, and a white material was applied to all of them to give it the look of a traditional reading lamp.

The original animation I did was one simple jump to get an idea of how the bones would animate. That was actually the easiest part, and once I was satisfied with the preparation, the jump, and the recoil, I was on to having the lamp investigate O. This proved a bit more tricky, since the movements were not on linear x/y/z axis’s, and neither were the rotations.

With the entry level keyframe style animation that I used for this particular animation, it is easy to animate yourself into a corner in the event that a minor mistake is made earlier on. Most of my 10 hours were spent doing minor tweaks with Lampy’s movements, and arcing the final jump and deflection in a realistic fashion.

I’m really satisified with the end result. Although my storyboards and the idea in my head were of something a bit different, all-in-all I’m really happy with my first animated short-short film. 🙂