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Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Moved this Blog!

Have moved this blog to;

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Back Again!

Long summer... good summer:-)... last summer vacation, maybe the last one forever:-(

Sooo back I came back to Wales, for my third and final year of my course. Hoping for a great year...

The first three weeks we have been doing specialist animation. Which is doing animations in Maya instead of Max. This was quite a big thing for me to comprehend. Been working in Max since I began with CG some 4 or so years ago. Initially I hated the Maya controls and everything about it. But thats just the incompetance talking, so when I got into it more and adjusted a few hotkeys:-), the whole Maya experience softened up a lot more.
Though to Autodesk I have to say this;"Please please, make a hotkey transfer tool!" Would be so much easier to transfer between application if the hotkeys/navigation were the same.

The objectives for the project was to produce a canon ball and rubber ball animation, then move into bipedal. And here it is:-

I gotta say the whole lot of not very good. Been a looonggg while since Ive done any proper animating, so it was nice to get into it again, but I gotta work on my workflow. It got quite confusing in the end, when I had so many keys all over the time line.

Right so next project is the pre-production for our major project, which for me is gunna be a film again. Gunna be posting spare time stuff as well as some of the progression of the film.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Major Project - Short Film "Over The Hill"

Finally I have the chance the upload and present my second year short film, which I have been working on for six months. The majority of time went onto the story, that got changed a lot since the initial concept. And also to present the story correct to be entertaining aswell as getting the storypoints across. Alright show first, then tell:-)

The preproduction lasted for the first two months of the six month period. The initial concept was the old man rolling down a hill getting a face lift/younger. So I had a long way from the concept to something interesting and entertaining to tell. The story were constantly worked on, and still after the preproduction, the story was still being reworked. In the preproduction I tried to design as much as possible, since I had a world to design around my character. The old man, Marvin, was the first element that had a finished-ish design. So in the preproduction I had to design a suitable world around Marvin. (Click the image to view more)

After a couple of weeks creating the Marvin and his rig, I went on to produce an animatic. Still the story got reworked from the storyboards.

Hope you enjoyed the film. Im hoping for a very productive and creative third and final year, with another short film.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Left Overs

So while going through my drives and cleaning up, I found these animations from the 2008 Glammies production.
The first two animations made it into the show as part of the continous storyline. The others were stings that for various reasons didn't make into the show. The whole show played on the "Doctor Who" series, which is where the robots (darleks) come from. Also as a side note is that these are the raw animations with no postproduction, so it is not exactly as it appeared in the show.

I also found this animation, which I haven't posted on the blog yet.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Major Project

Hey there...

So Im in the middle of the production of my film. And here is my character for the film; Marvin Edwards.



And here a demostration of the rig, that I created for the character. I have tried to make the rig as animation friendly as possible.

I don't have anymore to say:-) As I said in the previous blog, I cant talk too much about this film, but then most of you already know some of it:-)

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Advanced Techniques - Week 9-15

Hello there... This article isn't actually as boring as the title might suggest, got quite a bit to show.

So the project is three part; Poly Modelling, Rigging and Textures and Lighting. The project is about introducing us to advanced techniques within the three areas. First off the poly modelling. Here we had to do a class exercise of modelling a bug. A bug is usually pretty simple since most bugs have the skeleton on the outside and so have quite hard surfaces. This makes it ideal for working from simple geometric shapes. But as I decided to take this challenge a little bit further, and make a bug with character (the video below is the wireframe turnaround, which is why there is those lines all over the model):-

The reason why we have to the model in wireframe is for the tutor to see how we build the model. Its all about how clean lines look, and how many you are using. I dont wanna go into too much about the technical stuff about poly modelling, but a poly is basically the surface between the lines. Ideally you only want the lines to form squares, and not triangles or ngons (pentagons, hexagons, heptagons, etc.) The next bit was to model a hand, with the intend to animate it. When you model for animation, it is important not only to have quads (square polys) but also to think about edgeloops. Edgeloops are a string of lines, and you want those to run efficiently around the model. Good edgeloops helps deform the skin properly when you put a skeleton (rig) in. Bad egdeloops dont.... So heres my planning for the hand:-

And the turnaround of the final model in low poly, high poly, shaded and textured state:-

That's the first part of the project. The next is about rigging. The rigging process is very technical, and in my opinion there is not a lot creativity in this stage. That being said I still really enjoy the rigging part because I'M A NERD!:-)
Rigging is basically about putting in the skeleton, and telling the program how the skin (object/model) is gonna behave. This stage is crucial for the animation since a crappy rig can really slow down and limit your animation. So to show the rigging you do a deformation test, which is a video where you bend all the joint separately. Quite boring, but a necessary evil for the animation. Here the deformation tests of my bug and the hand:-

Another part of this project was the texturing. For this project we were only to generate procedural textures and not painted ones. The difference between the two is in the making. Procedural textures are generated from mathematical formulas, while painted ones is generated by.... ermmm painting. A more detailed explanation would require going into areas like UW mapping, which is extremely boring (unless you are a nerd:-) so Ill spare your brain this time around. For the project we had to do a realistic skin texture and some stylistic ones, so here they are (click the images to view a bigger one):-

The last part of the project is lighting. The job was to create a scene and light it for dawn, midday, dusk and midnight, with a focus on realism. So here's my planning(click the image below to view the planning):-

And this is what I got out of it(click the images to view a bigger one):-

The lighting of a scene or character can really make or break it. Lighting a scene is not just about illuminating, but more about creating a mood. For example if you had a room with a bed in it, you can then suggest a feeling about the bed. Light the room with harsh florescent lights, and you get the impression of a hospital bed. But if you light the room with yellow and red lights with soft shadows, then you might think its a normal bed. The point is that with the same model, you can suggest different feelings with the lighting.

That's it. I really tried not to make it a too technical article, but that's probably the same trying not to get wet while you swim:-s
Right so the future for me entails the major project, which in my case is gonna be a short film. The making of this is gonna span for the rest of the school year. So it might be a while before the next big update, but I will most likely give smaller updates of where I am in the process.

For now I will just wish everyone A MERRY CHRISTMAS and A SPLENDID NEW YEAR!!!!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Character Animation - Week 3-8

As promised the next article... Character performance or acting is what this project is all about. Its our first real encounter with proper acting, and the techniques of acting. And goddamn its difficult...

So the project's objectives is to find an audio clip with someone speaking, develop a suitable character for the dialogue, and animate the character.

The first task of finding the audio clip was a bit more challenging than I initially expected. Although we had all forms of media to choose from, ei. radio, movie, audio book, interviews etc. The problem was in the specifications that we were recommended to follow. Firstly its a single character talking for 10ish seconds, which limits a lot of dialogue. Secondly it had to be interesting, and that's not interesting as in what the person is saying, but how its being said. We basically needed to find a character talking for ca. 10 seconds, whom experiences an emotional change expressed through the voice.
I finally found a piece of dialogue I was happy with. The audio clip is from a movie called "Boondock Saints" with Willem Dafoe playing a detective trying to solve some murder cases (there is only black screen, so you can hear the audio on its own):-

With the dialogue clip in place, I could proceed onto developing a suitable character for the performance. My initial idea for was a teacher. The setup would be the teacher having a go at a pupil. This idea I developed further with design sketches. Though when I had discussed the character with friends and mentors, I found the idea to be weak. It was too generic to just have a teacher. I then went back to the idea stage, and explored other ideas like a caveman, psychologist, priest, TV presenter (at Countdown or the danish "Lykkehjulet"), Jesus, judge. The one I found to be most promising was the idea of a priest. Then after some further exploring, I combined the two ideas to a sunday school teacher at a catholic church. The designs and the rest of the preproduction can be view here:-

Further in the this stage there is the figuring out who your character really is, like; his age, his name, his upbringing, sexual orientation, temperment etc. All this is never shown on camera, but it helps me to understand who this person is and how he might react in a certain situation.

The next thing to do is the acting. This is an extreme weak spot of mine, and my god I need to get better. Just need to practise I guess. After this project I have a much greater respect for actors/actresses for their performances on screen. Anyway here the best reference I did:-

As you can see I didn't give myself very much to go on. So the caricaturering and nice poses need to be created in the thumbnails. The thumbnails can be see in the flatwork at the end. To get a better understand about whether a pose or the whole sequence works, you need to make an animatic. An animatic is a simpel animation, usually drawn since its easier to draw a pose than having to pose a character. This stage is used to determine when, and how long a pose should read. The animatic can then later be used a blueprint for when you pose the character in a 3D application. Here's how my animatic looked:-

Since this is my first animatic, I learn a lot during the process which I can use the next time. One thing in particular is the level of detail I should but into the animatic, which is a lot more than I did for this one. One of my teachers alerted me to the second function of the animatics, which is for the directors. The director or superviser should be able to watch your animatic, and get a pretty good sense of how the final thing is gunna turn out. This way they can adjust the changes before the animator gets too stuck in the animation (even then they might change a lot of stuff). So for the next time I should be more descriptive in the animatic...

We can now move on to the blockout stage. Here I follow a well tested process of creating the animation, which originated from Keith Lango. In the blockout stage you focus on creating the keyposes and breakdowns, and more technically your animation jumps from pose to pose. This makes is easier to focus on just the poses, and not worry about inferior animation like lip-sync. Here my blockout:-

There is quite a difference between this and the final thing. The whole process is a working progress, and poses are constantly changing because of feedback from the director/audience. I had a quite a few people to look a the different stages, which provided me with incredibly important comments and changes. So if you are one of those people then I thank you for the awesome input and I'll most likely ask again for some feedback:-)

Alright so the next I want to show is the final thing, BUT before I do that I want to make sure that you might understand the amount of work that is put into this (6 weeks of my life:-s). The process of going from the blockout stage to the final thing is a big step, so I'll show you a screen recording of one hours worth of work. The video is fastforwarded about 20 times realtime:-

This is a really boring video to watch cause I don't do a lot. I just seem to fiddle about with the head/neck/eyes. But this is nearing the completion, so its a lot about adjusting small details, and not actually creating any poses. So I'll hopefully remember to make a more interesting timelapse the next time around, maybe early in the blockout stage where you can see the creation of each pose.

I think I have been ranting on a while now, so I'll just show the final rendered version:-

And now you might say; "You SPEND 6 week of you life on these measly 13 seconds of animation!?!?"..... but hopefully I have given you a bit of insight of what I have been doing with those 6 weeks. Apart from the animation, I have learnt a ton about acting and character performance. So I'll be able to make some more interesting animations from now on. Further I have been working on other personal projects, which I will be able to show at some point in the future (what a tease:-)

Hope you enjoyed the random brainjuice spilled onto this article, I will leave you with the original video clip from the "Boondock Saints":-