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Technical Paper:
Sitting Ducks

Sitting ducks ran for two seasons and was backed by Universal Pictures. Elliott Animation was choosen as the animation house that would execute the production from beginning to end handling everything from story boards, modeling and texturing right down to the final composites.

Kristlin company was then responsible for the final edits and sound that were delivered.

Elliott Animation needed a strong company to head up the technical development of the first two seasons. PEN Productions developed reusable character rigs that for the near 350 different characters that were in seasons one and two.

View the Movies:
Season 1
Season 2

Scripted control panels for the character on Sitting Ducks season 2.

Allot of changes were made in the way that the rigs and controls were set up from the above season 1 image. Controls were further enhanced and unified to make it easier to update and bug fix code that was running the characters.

Local Controls:
These controls were created to make a characters set that had local controls to a specific character. When any control was selected this control panel was visable to the animators so that they could key, reset, hide and unhide parts of the characters as needed.

Eye Controls:
The eye control panel included left and right controls for both the eyes and the eye brows allowing for unlimited mixing of shapes for get a full range of expressions.

Presets for combinations were also available for creating the most used expressions fast. Animators could add to the presets on the fly, save them out to a file and load them on the next character.

Mouth Controls:
All the most used phonems and expression as well as saradonics for left and right shapes were added to the character. Being a television series you never know what the characters will be doing next so a fair amount had to be added to allow for just about anything. Although allot more could have been done, time and resources didn't allow for it. It is also possible to over whelm an animator with to many choices and make it harder to meet quota.

Hand Controls:
The hands can be a time consuming part of the body to animate. To make this easier all the controls were moved to a panel where presets could be used to rough in the most used hand positions and then tweek the values from there.

Ranges for the controls could be changed on the fly to allow the animators the flexability to do what they needed to get the preformance that the shot required.

The feet required more controls then the usual bipedal foot rig because the feet were flippers. An extra joint proved to be enough to get the flexability to the rig.

Eight main controls for the feet were used to control foot bends and rolls as well as heel roll and knee twist.

The rig was a relitively simple hierarchy so that changes per scene could be made to customize the controls for any given situation without having to try and for see all the posibilities.

Bones were modeled to form a low res stand in model for the characters. The modeling could be turned off so that the bones showed up as normal bone shapes as well incase the scene was getting to cluttered to see anything.

The low resolution character ment scenes with several characters would run in real time and preview renders could be made for animation aproval without needing the full res mesh.