Saturday, 6 March 2010

a link to my finished animation

for this video i made some 3d backgrounds and took the original footage out. Eventhough it is meant to be a compositing exercise, i found the actors in the background kind of distracting and thought it best to leave them out. Besides i wanted people to notice the character animation, ehich i am glad i got to stretch my skills a great deal for this. :)

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Thursday before submission day.

its around 10; 30pm and i am in the midst of rendering my biggest shot from my animation.

took me all day to do and i think I will have time left over to render what's needed for the group project.

I did have a quick look at Clym's maya live animation and he's added a lot of good looking stuff to it. i can see some after effects, match moving, lighting. looks impressive :)

Anyway, sorta got me thinking hard about where i need to be pushing my work, because at the moment it is pretty much rotoscoping in 3d. Not that there is anything wrong with that, But i think i am using live action too much at a crutch for creating animation.

granted i would not just go straight into animation without sketches and reference work, But i think its a better exercise for my imagination to try and do a cartoony walk or run or conversation how i think it would go rather than match moving next to live action.

One idea i had was to do a martial arts fight scene, using footage taken from many movies and choreography a fight together. trying out different camera moves.

will be complex and will need to be story boarded, i do have at least 2 ideas for my Third term, both are fight scenes or martial arts or involving props or environmental interaction with a character.

I think they have potential as good pieces of animation work, its just doing a fight in live action is complex and probably you need to be doubly as meticulous in 3D.

Never the less, this is something i want to do, and it would probably take me a year to do what a team could do in like three to five months. Anyway, i have done storyboards for these ideas (basic ones at that) but i will hold out for other, maybe more creative ideas that are more economical. I think a great deal of research into other animations as well as just beefing up my own skills will help me a great deal in my time off.

Anyway, for the ANI09207 project i am working on this minute, as i say its in the midst of rendering the biggest shot, 30 seconds on high quality. I was very pleased with the result as i managed to animate two characters in one day. I did work for two hours and took a break every so often, but stayed regimented so as not to get distracted, and it seems to have worked:)

I would very much like to have the maya live project done by morning so i can put all my effort into the team project.

One thing is for sure, my character and prop animation skills have improved massively since last year.

About the maya live, i was planning to put dynamic curtains in the scene, but as my shot with the curtains has been rendering for about an hour, i say the horse has bolted and i may as well just move on.

Originally i was going to replace the actors with moom characters. That i did, but now i am thinking i may make a different background in after effects as i don't quite see the 3d working with the shot playing in the background. I figured go the whole hog and make it all completely 3D. shouldn't take long. All i have left to do after this is, compositing the shots with backgrounds, adding sound, editing, and thats about it.

the lighting from all the shots match. This was before i figured out i could export selected characters and lights, would have saved me trying to match it by hand, but i seem to have managed.

Anyway, this has all been an excellently useful learning experience for me.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

My Schedule for my Animation

this has been a pretty long process, but it has informed the way i think about organizing my time when i want to take on a 3d animation project.

For the next term and next year I will probably be using this format a lot more to help stay organized.

I needed to schedule my time down to half days, taking breaks into consideration, and i tend to do a lot more work before i take a break.

I think this has been pretty useful to do.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Busy weekend, and finally i get to work on this..

Now that my animating task is for the most part done on the team project, I have had the majority of this weekend to work on the lightin for my other animated scene.

These images illustrate my thinking when i am putting lights into the scene.
I put the 3D up next to the original live action to see where the lighting is coming from. From what i can tell the actor is lit by a spot lite from off camera projected over the other characters shoulder. And then you have lighting coming from within the scene lighting the sides of their faces.

It can be a little tricky getting it exactly how it looks in the 3D, I keep toying with the cone angle shape and doing quick renders of an image to see how close i am.

I can light up the character who's speaking, its just the other character, his shoulder is lit from somewhere, possibly just the ambient light in the scene.

Anyway, all i have left to do is the opening shot, which is the longest and requiring the most camera movement.

Once all the lighting is done in the other shots i will get cracking on the last one.
I don't for see any problems, other than my processor getting pretty slowed down due to the two characters interacting, so getting quick feedback all i can do is playblast. but this is not a big issue.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

an example of a lighting test i did recently.

there are some spot lights illuminating the characters and an ambient colour light on the wall to create that slight blue tint.

I need more fall off from the shading as the shadows need to look a bit more opaque. other than detail issues its a pretty good test, and looks pretty close to the original footage, I will go through the clips I have already finished and try to match all the lighting up in each shot.

I will aim for a pretty smooth looking collection of shots, ready for editing, i may need afew more weeks of animating to finish the whole scene.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Has been a week since my Last Journal, but here's what I been up to..

I have been cracking on with my lip sync animation, its been a lot of fun, I am enjoying it even though it takes a great deal of time.
I recently was given a tutorial by Steve about lighting, I play to use it for my sequence. As it has light coming from two lamps to light up one side of the characters face. I think it will have a pretty interesting affect.

Since my main focus for this project is character animation I have been trying to give them as much life as i CAN POSSIBLY SQUEEZE OUT OF THEM.

So far, I think i HAVE OUT DONE myself up to this point of my development, these are some excellently expressive sequences by my own standards. I will be looking forward to when video reference wont be as vital to a great animated character for me.

Recently, Alex Hulse has been VERY helpful with advice for Maya, we had advice for compositing in after effects, rendering using the college render farm, which i think i will definitely need when I have a big enough project, and also attaching a camera to a motion path, which is REALLY great, the kind of thing i REALLY NEEDED TO KNOW GREAT.

Most of my time in college is only useful for connecting with my group, we share a lot of good ideas, I plan get onto that soon, its just my lip sync animation is taking a lot of my time.

I have got a few problems i would like to solve: my second character in my scene is meant to be an alien, I have found an alien looking model online which is fully rigged, only problem is I cant resize him. I am thinking of just having two Moom's do all the acting, although I would prefer an alien looking model as it will be the visual gag I am going for.

Also i want to model an ammo belt the alien can wear around him and a bandana. Since in the scene Christopher Lloyd's character refers to Hulk Hogan as "Some sort of Alien Rambo', I just wanted him to look exactly like that.

Its just i don't know how to model an object and attach it to the 3D character. will b something to as Alex Hulse next time I see him.

Other than that , the only other problem is the first shot, trying to get the match move to work. I did get the Tutorial Steve gave us on Maya Live ad I have followed it well. The results were pretty good, a little bit jumpy, I guess spending some time adjusting it frame by frame would fix it, but i don't have the time.

I have an opening shot that requires maya live, its just it didn't work out well the first time I tried, I will upload my play blast of the result. If I cant fix it this weekend I will ask Steve if i can fix the one i have already done. I think the problem might be the targets didn't stay perfectly onto the objects i assigned, but anyway, if i try again it usually is an improvement.

and that is about it. The only other thing i NEED TO DO IS start researching for my Essay! I have just been so caught up in animating so far. But never fear, since my Essay involves the game industry, and I am visiting sites to do with the games industry just about every day, i will set aside some time to look at more reliable sources.

Anyway the group task is progressing very well, most people seem to be pulling their weight, just some peoples jobs only involve concept n not much else, so they end up stuck for things to do. I want to model something for the group, but as i SAY , ANIMATION seems to be holding my attention a great deal right now.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

ok, now im feelin a little silly..

OK what a relief,

i was so worried yesterday about my Rendering situation.

its turns out all what was wrong was the format I was using to render was Maya IFF, instead of a tga or TARGA SEQUENCE. Since finding this out and compositing in PREMIER PRO its kinda solved some major problems.

Although, Since I am in college and waiting for a chance to talk to alex, i also have this problem with image size. Because the width of the frame for the original footage is widescreen. It seems I animated moom in a more standard bandwidth format you see.

So since i am here i may as well ask alex if there is a quick way to correct this problem in maya. It would be a real shame to have to start this animation over.

Either way Im pretty relieved i think i have sorted the problem.

One Rendering process I could use for my other projects including the is one is this;

Render in maya as a Targa sequence - take into premier- render out as another sequence and I could take it into After Effects.

now thinking about it , this process might have problems of its own which need addressing. Such as if it is all rendered out as one sequence it will be hard to edit in maya. Best thing to do is to do the lighting and effects on separate layers in Maya, just like alex said.

Anyway, Like alex told me before set everything up on separate layers in maya and it can be composited in the package. So the only ting to ask him is this issue I have had with After Effects.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010


an example of the animation I am doing with my moom model.
I was VERY imressed i churned out this decent bit of lip syncing in 2 days, not even.

The only things that slowed the process was some early hick-ups; such as organising my clips and saving locations, that sort of thing.

Towards the end I am having problems getting After effects to play the image sequence back at the same frame rate as the original footage.

I am trying to figure this problem out because I had the same problem last year!

one of the shots in my 3D compositing project was kinda long and started to not match up with the live action, AAAAACKKK ! i THOUGHT! :O

and i only had a day to correct the problem so i matched moved it by hand in After effects, it did the job but i would rahter have corrected this problem :/

so anyway i had this problem again where Maya plays back the clip at the right frame rate but importing into after effects the 3D image sequence stops short.

Anyway, its a good thing i got at least one shot in the bag, so I can ask Alex tomorrow what he thinks could be the problem. I think it must just be after effects not set to the right frame rate. I have the trip to the welcome trust coming up tomorrow so I will be in college.

Monday, 18 January 2010

alot of planning..

first we settled on an inced and snowy ski resort with lots of animated running around.

that idea is out on its ear mostly cos of the time consuming process of doing snow.

have been developing a princess and the pea idea. is going to consist of modeling a giant bed and a circular room complete with props.

the transition in the environment will be increasingly more mattresses being pilled on, a day to night transition, a clock ticking and the effects of different lighting.

I did recently go to the environmental student presentation. Which i thought gave me some helpful insight. Their basic interest was re-energizing the down trodden southern area of madrid with a new building design to bring the desperate worlds together. I was trying to think of an animation to go with this idea. Since shade is a premium in spain , so u need shade and tall buildings, i was thinking how to make that interesting. More on that later.

At the moment we seem happy to go ahead with the princess and the pea environment, if there's time we will model a princess, if not we can find things to scrap.

There is also I forgot to mention a camera move circling the bed as the mattresses pile up, was gonna be a 180 degree move, now it will go through the entrance go 360 degrees around the bed.

However this may change depending on work brevity.

anyway more to come soon..

Thursday, 14 January 2010

What I found recently..

here is what I found recently searching on Turbosquid and Simple maya among other sites.

it is pretty difficult finding Models that have been well Rigged, the monsters Inc. model is the best one I have found so far without splashing £200 into a model, which i WOULDN'T ANYWAY, as it doesn't push me to develop.

At this stage i would like to get on with animating, But animation is only good with a decent amount of planning, and If I am going to dislike any elements of 3D modelling/ uv mapping etc. i will at least give it a go and demonstrate I understand it well enough to say i dislike this, this n this. anyway.

if I cant find a model, the easy thing to do would be to make one moom Green and make him look like an alien Rambo. so that can be a simple thing or a complicated thing. I would like to have a finished piece.

Friday, 8 January 2010

I have been deciding on a sequence for my Digital environments projects.

So far,I have several clips and storyboard breakdowns to show which will feature in my presentation.

I will explain why i have chose them and how i have narrowed it down.

As we have to choose a scene from a movie we will do in 3D with a comical twist, this scene from the Wrestler I thought would have a lot of comedic potential.

Since they are bashing each other with frying pans and stuff, I though I could animate them in 3D hitting each other with all sort of things from Anvils to cows and fridges etc.
But there are problems, firstly the camera is hand held, and I know from first hand experience what a huge time sink this can be to recreate in 3D. Also the lighting is very bright and all over the place ,as one would expect from a store, But it just seems dull and not really worth recreating.

Depending on what Maya Match maker can do, from what I know it takes physical camera data and puts it into 3D, which sounds like just what I need to recreate the hand held feel of this scene.
However if it proves to be too much hassle, I would do away with the hand held completely.
It's only purpose is to give a documentary account to mickey Rourke's character's life, taking this scene out of context it doesn't seem needed.

we'll see, i may change my mind.

This clip from Jurassic Park has some good lines and interesting lighting because of the back projections. I did a little scene break down.
I am pretty sure I wont go with this one for a number of reasons.
the clip is a little too long unless I do a re-edit. I can't think off too many ways I can make this seem funny unless I have some genetically engineered conga's prancing around in the back.
The lighting is interesting, at first it seems like it might be challenging to get it right.
What really matters to me is making expressive animation , with good lip sync and good lighting.
It's just I am not sure I can add much to this scene to spruce it up. It has Memorable Dialogue but thats about all it has going for it.

This Clip from Ed Wood I think is a real cracker! For one thing Johnny Depp's performance is delightfully over the top and the studio head guy is the straight man , and it all is so funny, even edited down. So it will be fun to animate in a more expressive and over the top way. Plus the movie recreates the kind of lighting you see in Film Noir, with different spot lights obscuring and dicing up the character. so this one can be a lot of fun and I would enjoy animating this one.
about the only environment interaction is him picking up the paper, so I would change that to be something else. like a leg of lamb or something.


This scene from Training day has alot of crazy lighting going on which I think would be good. It's just going serious with the animation would be a pretty bold thing to do, especially since I'm only just starting out. Also I am again a bit stumped as to what to do with this to make it more interesting.
Plus the scene is way too long to squeeze into the time frame. I guess I included this mostly for the lighting being what it is. is a good scene but I would really have to know my stuff to be able to do it justice.
so the likely hood of me doing this one is kinda slim. I guess it depends what sort of challenge I want to set myself. I guess what Im saying is this one is a bit out of my league if I don't intend on changing anything.


This scene from Suburban commando has a great performance from Christopher Lloyd and some interesting background lighting. the Lighting draws you into the characters state of mind. as he is stressed and frustrated and it all comes out. Even though it's a comedy and a spoof on a lot of sci fi's , Christopher Lloyd still makes you care a great deal. I think animation wise this would be fun, the scene is kinda dark and contained with a few lights pointing the direction we are supposed to be looking. what I would add to the scene prop wise to make him interact with the environment would probably be to replace the armor Hulk Hogan hands him at the beginning with some over powered exotic bazooka looking thing that he can barely lift. could be funny seeing him trying to balance it then leaning on the wall.

anyway I think its one has good lighting and seems one of the more reasonable to achieve in the timeframe.

I think I would need to pick between either ed wood or suburban commando, but now i think about it there is not a great deal of environment interaction, just props. So i will hold out incase this weekend i think of anything new.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

1st Blog for term 2 environment project

At the moment all I am doing is researching for my 3D environments Project.
I have looked at several films and a few have stuck in my mind as having good use of environment and good show of character through dialogue.

One thing I have been doing alot of over the christmas break was 3d rotoscoping, has been a fun challenge and has made me use Maya at least a little bit everyday. I want to get good to the point where I only need to use the video reference at a minimum and can create expressive and life like character animation.

I think this environmental project will be great. So far the only environments I have made in 3d are simple image planes with photos in them, I haven't tried making digital furnature or objects to go into a digital scene, or experimented much with Lighting.

The lighting seems like a great place to start to create mood so this will be fun to analyse afew favorite films and see what worked for them.

Steve Crocker will be showing me some maya match move, which apparently takes tracking data from a camera and can be used in 3d to create a hand held look effect, which sounds very useful. I have tried animating a camera by hand, results were kind of tacky and it is a huge time sink, if I can be shown a better way i would welcome it.
there is no Doubt in my mind that the things they will teach me here I will be using in my own personal projects all the time, which I am delighted i AM FINALLY TAKING SERIOUSLY.

I think its far easier for Tutors to teach me something when I am genuinely interested, and since i am doing my own personal animations as often as I can manage in my own time, it seems I will take in a lot more and ask for more advice now i want to get moving.

College has been closed because of snow. I have picked out 5 film clips which all use dialogue or environment interesting ways, I will upload on my bnext post as I am having trouble with the format.