Fail? No, Win!

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Hey, weekend, how you doing? Been looking forward to this one ending.

This is a silly thing called Going to the Store, by David Lewandowski. There’s not much reason you’d know his name, but you’ve seen his work—he created the animated titling for last year’s Tron:Disappointme—uh, I mean Legacy. He’s currently getting into comedy (if you hadn’t guessed that from the video). I would guess he’s worked with JT Nimoy and GMUNK, both of whom really turn my crank.

I kinda love machine accidents, which this clearly started out as. It looks insane, if you’ve not animated in 3D, but it’s actually pretty easy to make happen—which is part of David’s genius here. He’s taken a common, fairly overlooked workaday mistake that every 3D artist generally ignores, and made it hilarious by simply contrasting it with what we all know it’s supposed to look like.

Here’s how this works:

Animated models have two essential components: the mesh (which provides the physical form) and the skeleton (which describes where and how the form can bend or move). You design both of those somewhat in conjunction with each other, making sure your character’s form has enough resiliency at its joints to withstand the movements you need it to make.

What this designer’s done is to give this character the skeletons from other characters. So, for example, he might have added the skeleton for a much shorter duck model in the end segment where the character’s walking into a building, only bending from the ankles.

If asked to guess, I’d say that was a starting point, which the artist then tweaked for its comedy value, probably cleaning up the motion to make a little more visual sense as well.

When it comes to working with machines, this is one of my favorite ways to find new methods—break it and see what happens.