Rigging has always been the hardest part of creating content for me in Maya. Using Lynda.com and multitudes of YouTube videos helped me tremendously. I spent a long time weighting the characters to make sure they had more human-like proportions and gestures. Although I am no longer terrified of rigging and weighting, but I still highly dislike them both.
If you choose to suffer, you would create hair dynamics for your characters like I did. There were many times where the hair kept flying off, but through the use of Google, I figured out how to make the hair look good and stay manageable for animation.
I created many different assets for the character’s environment. The bus was the most time-consuming due to its irregular shapes and different style.
The animation was extremely hefty. Since I like to make sure things look correct and really focus on tiny details, it would have realistically taken a couple months for me to animate the film. However, I had a semester and I got to the animation toward the end of the year. I would not recommend animating a two and a half minute animated short in a week, however, it was done and I am glad that I did it. I am extremely excited to see how it goes in the rendering process.
I don’t think that one is able to mentally prepare for the endurance that you need for rendering. Since I am using Arnold to render my project, the frames are taking a lot longer to render than it would if I just used Maya. Averaging at 3 minutes per frame with 3400 frames, I am currently looking at approximately 170 hours of rendering. Considering that I have about a week and a half of school left, it’ll be very interesting to see how well this render process goes.