Friday, 26 August 2011

The 'B' Range Pencils

So on with another day, and in-between doing, planning and thinking about doing stuff, I had a little sketchy time this afternoon. I've been gathering up plenty of inspiration pics for concept and illustration work, and a couple for my sketchy pieces.

And I must say, today has been much better. I managed to get my hands on some 'B' range pencils to get those bolder lines and a bigger shading range, and my work looks a lot better now. Minus the fact that scanning is much better than taking photos of work. It's better in person. Enjoy :)

As I was drawing my little piece today I also had a small moment or two reminiscing the good old times where only the HB pencil prevailed. I remember starting out in primary school with my HB pencil during art, and the other classes, namely maths. (I couldn't believe it when I found out you had to write out sums in pen at High School. At 10 I was pretty shocked :P ) Then as you move up year by year in High School you become exposed to these 'others' that are available to you, to do great things with. By GCSE all the HB was left for, was during the mapping out of a piece.

At A-Level, it was outlawed. HB became infamous and it was utterly unspoken of to be caught using one, and this is where the 'H' range played a better and far bigger role. It started to be used in light shading and mostly as the base for a final piece or an outline to adhere to when shading.

Ah, HB, the times we had. Never fear though, I'm pretty sure your still the most popular choice of pencil in life when it comes to everything but professional Art.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Sketching is Underway

Yay! Awesome things are happening now. Well, I say awesome, but they're just a few quick sketches with a pretty naff pencil (2H) as I couldn't find anything else, so it's all a bit light. The first one is alright apart from proportion issues with her eyes, they're a bit poppy outy. But that's because I didn't have a rubber so I just had to hope for the best and it turned out better than I thought 'cause everytime I've drawn people and faces before, I definitely need a rubber. The last sketch I did is the one I'm most pleased with. I'm happy, happy about it :) And I got two pictures for the second sketch I did (whole and close-up) to make up for the poor attempt I did with the first lady's face.

I think now I've warmed up a bit to drawing people again, I'll carry on with a couple more (hopefully with a better pencil range) and plug them into photoshop for a bit of rendering. Maybe. If I can get my skills up. Enjoy :) Oh and please excuse my poor photographing skills, the light source was terrible, that's what you get when you're away from a scanner, ah well.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Plans are Underway!

So it's been a while since I've been posting around, but not because I've been lazy! Well maybe a tiny bit, but, that's irrelevant, because I've been planning and thinking away on how best to approach everything to do with keeping your online presence 'alive' as they say and organising a whole pile of files, and thinking about what precise objective I am going to work towards.

First off I've gone back to basics. Back to the beginning where everything starts. The computer. Now for all this updating blogs and finding inspiration stuff I use my laptop, solely because I can take it everywhere with me. If I'm off going wandering to different places I need access to my inspiration that will help me on my way to do some work and stay in the loop. If I just want to pop downstairs to do some work, I can. And I absolutely love it for that. (If it dies I'll have no idea what to do.) But the laptop served another purpose for the last few months of uni, as my other and extra working space, so I'd be back and forth between the tower and the laptop for certain things. Recently, it annoyed me, having to look at all this out of place stuff so I started the long task of organising everything and putting it in the right place. (Phew, glad it didn't take long.)

After that my mind is now a lot clearer and I can start the other tasks of thinking of a goal and doing blog things. So I now have my little online notebook back up and running again and I hope my posting will be very frequent as my procrastination involves gathering up inspiration. :) Constructive procrastination I call it! I have fully refreshed the spirit it used to have and it's keeping my dashes of inspirational things all neatly organised together (which is another weight off on my shoulders, literally, and making my mind clearer all the time.) Along with this I've done a quick revamp of my blog (mainly because I'm the one looking most of the time and get bored of the colour or the font or something :P ) but more importantly to get a more professional edge to it, so there's no backgroundy pink stuff happening behind the title, and I've got some pages! Just an about me bit, that I think just waffles on about some nonsense about games and animation, and a portfolio bit where for now I've just thrown in my life drawing until I do the next step.

After planning my notebook came the objective. So a week or so ago I finally managed, after a long time planning, observing and gathering plenty of information and inspiration, to figure out what I'm working towards and what I'm going to do. The plan is to completely start afresh with a showreel and to completely start anew with my portfolio (the drawn stuff) and since I've done a few animation tests and a few illustrations and life drawing type sketches. Which reminds me of the old assignment thing again, so with that in mind I'm working super extra hard as I used to. :)

Step 4 to world domination, I mean, er ... plans, after I work super hard to do the best work I can, I'll put together a good bunch of animation shots for my showreel and a good amount of sketches, life drawing and illustrations (and maybe concepts if I get any good) for my portfolio; and then I'll revamp my website to show only the awesome stuff! I'm going to think about the design and layout, but I think I'll keep the base the same because it works really well for me and is in-keeping with the rest of my online presence. I'm going to tweak some of the images that are on there already and maybe something with the text just cause I get bored of looking at it easily, then again as I say, I don't like being extroverted about myself and for just anyone to know about me. (Unless I become a celebrity animator, and I may divulge 4 lines more on the about me bit in this case :P )

So that's all for now about me and what's going on, and hopefully I'll be doing some weekly or fortnightly posting about the progress if all is going well, and not so well just to do a moany post 'cause I haven't done one yet hehe.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Innovations Part 2

Okay so while in the process of finalizing my drawn idea I've started by creating the elements I know are a definite to this experimental project. So far I've knocked out a few different mushrooms, getting an idea for how vines will look and the cliff. I also made an extra mushroom because I forgot about taking screen grabs, so it's all good now. Below you'll find my progress on making the mushroom and the vines. I'll make little noters about the process I used behind it, as I'm not 100% on what the walk-through will be yet.

I started off with a cube and gave it a height of 2 segments. From that I scaled out the bottom edges, extruded a face on the top and scaled it inwards, creating a boxy hemisphere. (Yep, it took me ages to figure out what a 3D semicircle was called ...)

I then put some edge loops in so that I could give it a more circular shape, then flipped to the underside and started to roughly extrude and scale the faces to create the stem. I then clicked these edges around the stem to pull and scale and pop them into the final place:

Next I split the faces on the mushroom cap, so I could get a better shape to it and match it up with my drawings. I used the split poly tool for this as the edge loop tool would have circled itself around the entire mushroom, and having too many polygons on the stem is just unnecessary.

I then pulled and scaled the edges around around until I had the basic shape, and from there I tweaked with the vertices until I was satisfied I got the right shape:

Below I started to tweak the top part of the stem and get more of a curve into it, like I had in my drawings, so it starts to flow a bit more:

The lower part of the stem looks a little thin in comparison to the top part, and doesn't give much of a sense that it would work. It feels like it would snap. So I shall concentrate more on designing and exploring the base and lower stem of the mushrooms, since it must hold all that weight up and have some sense of the real to it.

The next part is the vines. Now I knew there was I way to create polygons with a curve, but not as I was thinking with the loft and other tools in maya, and surprisingly enough I found a video to give me the step I needed from none other than Digital Tutors on youtube. Well at least I learnt something off it anyway. I went and created my CV curve and then edited the points to the right shape I wanted.

Then I made a small cylinder with the right diameter for the base of the base and placed it at the top of the curve. I deleted the unnecessary edges on the bottom and selected the face, then the curve and extruded (with many segments not just the default 1). In the image below you can see in the second image, that the extrude is equal from top to bottom, and since the growth of vines usually becomes thinner at the tips so I played around with the taper control, made it thicker at the tip and in the last image thinner.

I then pulled out the curve, and altered the mesh slightly since it's still connected to the extrude control. I played around with the points and vertices to create some funky results, but for now I've stuck to the smooth curves. Until putting all the elements together I won't know for sure if I want to keep that flowyness to them, and I have feeling I'll lean more towards the tests below, to create something more natural, and more stylised in the process.

Below, I repeated the same steps to create these 3 interlinking vines:

I quite like the way they've turned out, but I feel that the vines need more in-depth study on paper as quick sketches and scribbles can only give me a limited inclination as to the shape and composition as to how they should look and I felt I spent more time tweaking the vines and thinking about how to make them work together, than taking the composition from paper and doing slight tweaks to match it up.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Tweaked Shots for Final Edit: Scene Missile

Finally got the last scene together. Animating the back and forth took longer than I wanted it to because the animatic wasn't too clear so I infused it with a bit of creature retardation, kind of. This gave me less time on tweaking past what Simon wanted, so I got what Simon wanted in first and then went back to the shots to make the animation better. And here goes the Missile Scene, with many shots:

I'm okay with this shot, but it's the facials that makes it seem at bit off. Due to the limitations of moving his brow I couldn't get the expression I wanted at the end, I think the camera angle didn't help either. But with what the rig could do I think it works alright. Next time I would see if there are any other camera angles that would make this action look better.

Just a follow on shot, looking at the controller and I put a bit of movement in there because no-one can hold anything still:

Another follow on shot, establishing what's going on and the situation of the scene. I think I could have had the apprentice do something like pulling his hand over his eyes to try and see further, just for a bit of dynamic and contrast, but again time was an issue so I stuck with what I had:

I like the way Shot 4 turned out and the only thing niggling at me is the hands on the binoculars, they shake too quick where it should be a slower movement like in the controller shot:

I'm pleased with shot 5, although I could have thought of a few more possibilities at what the creature should be doing just to see but there wasn't much time for testing. I kinda like the way he's inspecting at what his hand can do, gets distracted for a second and goes back to his hand, shows a little of that stupidity the guys wanted:

Shot 6 seems fine the way it is and I'm happy with the apprentice's movement, however I think I'd go back and tweak at it more with the hunter holding the controller a little lower:

A cut to look at the missile from the side, and the apprentice is still turning to see. I quite like this cut, but looking at it now there's a little popping I can see that's irritating me; other than that pop I'm happy with it:

Annoying to get the controller movement right in this shot because the controller must still move slightly in his hand while he's thinking about what he's looking at, and thinking about forces and adding in that punchiness when he presses the button. Maybe a bit more of a change in facial expression is needed, but other than that I like this shot:

The camera angle was moved close to last minute, and because I was animating the back-and-forth first then the important tweaks I didn't get chance to move the apprentice, and have his eyes follow the missile when it zooms away. I quite like the camera shake and maybe tweaked to have faster bounces when the missile moves forwards:

I like shot 10, this one was a major tweak because of re-animating. I found it tricky to figure out the timing for this straight away, so went into stepped mode and played around with the keys the get the timing pretty much there before working on arcs. I'm happy with the result:

Shot 11 is just a quick shot of the creature jumping down, and looking now, the land should have a bit more impact upon his body, so making the bounce up and down rather quick at first and then easing out:

Not much to see or explain in the next shots as they are the quicky flicks between the creature and missile and I think the missile ones should be a second shorter just to emphasise how fast it's all happening.

I'm relatively happy with this shot, the creature jumps forwards near enough into the missile, showing his stupidity again and lack of fear I suppose. When I come back to this I should think more about his tail and the way it moves, but time constraints didn't allow me the freedom I had on Scene Mushroom in exploring and testing ideas:

I really like this shot because it goes against everything you should do when faced with an active missile, furthering the notion of the creatures stupidity. Things to work on would be the tail and get some solid poses for where it should be:

Again relatively happy with this shot but the lack of control I had with his facial controls meant that the camera had to change (not just his face in shot) which gives the audience less of an impact that the hunter's a bit shocked:

Missile flying off, and happy with this shot, the creature should have a bit more movement in him but because he has no neck I can't make his head follow the missile, so he can see where it's going:

Shot 19, the creepy shot. Annoying to get the right flowyness with the sudden camera move here. The hunter's fingers aren't the easiest things to pose either especially for shots when grabbing shoulders. Extras to do for next time, is work on the hunter's hands/fingers, and move the camera back to it's original keys as when the apprentice's head stops and camera moves it seems a little choppy: