The "Pressure. Release. Animate." (Nieterau, 2011) tools are a collection of Python scripts and UI enhancements designed for Autodesk Maya to create a workflow for animators that allows for more productivity, intuitivity and efficiency by improving direct control, speed and simplicity helping to gain flow.
The development of technology has changed animation in 3D software quite significantly throughout the latest years. More techniques, more complex rigs and way more possibilities have been giving great control and power to the animator. But, often development towards intuitivity, efficiency and productivity seems to be overruled by the constant urge to developing more breathtakingly complex techniques. Flow, as described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi as a state of awareness that optimizes any and all human activities, seems to be absent and totally not important for software developers nowadays. Though animators need to constantly struggle and work their way through this increased complexity and higher amount of difficult technicalities.
With a field study on how animators in different fields of animation work, keep focus and are able to get and stay in a flow of animating this thesis will present key ingredients that animators need to work productively and creatively. Overall pipeline of professionals and starting students give insight in their perception and need for flow resulting in a clear and globally interchangeable list of needs important for all. It's a key starting point to the key ingredients for development towards flow-enhancing tools for animators.
This thesis revolves around the center question: How to hold a better creative flow, so improving productivity and intuitivity, by using a customized toolset for 3D character animation? The result presents a rule set for creating tools to enhance flow and creativity in the act of animating in 3D software. Even more it provides a generous amount of concepts and designs that are interesting for near-future development towards an easier 3D work environment and will introduce a work towards a future for animators where flow will be more likely to be present.
Roy Nieterau is one of the founders of the dutch animation studio Colorbleed Studios. As technical director and supervising animator in their pipeline he deals with many difficulties and challenges that arise in the process of creating 3D animations. As part of his graduation curriculum for the Masters Degree at the Utrecht School of Arts and Technology he's created and developed the concepts and ideas behind Animate. Pressure. Release. To contact or get some more information about either Colorbleed Studios or Roy Nieterau, see the contact section.
The full thesis can be downloaded here: Pressure. Release. Animate. (Nieterau, 2011) (.pdf, 3.4MB)