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:

Monday, 16 May 2011

Tweaked Shots for Final Edit: Scene Musha

So it was decided that because we're not going to be rendered in time for hand in, everyone can take a bit more time on their animations to get them to a better standard and just complete shots. I was pretty much finished apart from the back and forth between creature and missile, so over the past 2 weeks I've gone through and tweaked what I can, where I can without redoing certain bits. I would like to redo some shots completely but there isn't enough time to do that so I've done what I can, ready before the final edit. First up is the mushroom scene and I'm quite happy with what's there, apart from the run. The run I had to knock out really quickly due to the time set out for us on the first scene which was two weeks after the dissertation hand-in, and I will return to it and redo a run cycle for the hunter.

I think the first few shots I did are the best and most pleased with (along with the last one) and it's purely because I spent more time on them as they're the ones that really needed to look right. I don't know if it's me being pedantic, but I think when the creature hits the first and maybe the second mushroom he needs a frame or two less contact time. I think this combined with extra finger movement would make it look near enough there.

The only annoying thing with this, was that I couldn't animate the hunter's hat falling off his head because it was under some weird hierarchy and did some funky things, like scaling and both parts moving away from each other. It was probably down to double transformations or the pivot/centre point being in completely different places. I'm not advanced enough to understand these things so I didn't want to mess with anything for the sake of messing something up aaaand the rig's broken then no playblasts. Note: After hand-in's study rigging! But yes, happy with this shot, although could forever tweak the mushroom.

The only real issue I have with shot 3 is the moving mushroom cap, I should have animated it for longer because it just stops.

Shot 4 annoyed me because as one of the tweaks I had to go back and put in a head-look-down and I just couldn't get it to look completely right. So if I were to go back to this shot, I'd exaggerate the shoulders less because they jump in one place and redo the whole head including facial animation. But relatively happy, and I do like the sly little smile and look away I put in at the end.

For shot 5 works but I can see now why it is a bit off, the tail needs to come down onto or close to his head when he lands to give a sense of weight and reaction of forces upon him. One thing that really annoys me about this rig (apart from the lack of neck) is that he has no individual finger movements like on the other characters where you can change just the tips, middle or bases of the fingers, as with most stuff though time was an issue. I think he did need more than just a fist and curl finger control as it would have made the creature look a bit more polished on this shot. Nevertheless I'm relatively happy with it.

I'm happy with the way shot 6 turned out, and like how the creature is just happily bouncing away unknowing of what's behind him, but I think some of the drops hold for a frame or two too long. Also I think I should have made the creature zig-zag a little more just to give a bit of dynamic and contrast to the hunter's run.

I'm happy with shot 8, this is probably my favourite of this scene just because of the animated bamboo's. If there was a little more time, I'd have animated all the bamboo's in my other scene (missile) too, as I do think it adds an extra bit of depth into a scene if some elements are swishing around in the gentle breeze. I'm not as sure with the way I animated the apprentice, it works, but I'd go back and make him move a little less and give him better poses.

Saturday, 14 May 2011


After much deliberation on my list of project ideas, I've decided to take a different turn. Continuing on my ideas for wanting to model or sculpt, I've chosen to push this slightly further. Modelling a character ready for rigging was an innovative idea for me, however in relation to the bigger picture (outside world) I still wanted to do something that has been left largely untouched or something I've seen very little of.

I've seen an array of very pretty 2D illustrations and concepts, these below are the kind of thing that always inspire me to keep working away, hopefully becoming talented enough like this one day.

There are a plentiful supply of this kind of style, quick speed-paints and concepts artists typically do for personal benefit or work, but there are very few that take this into the 3D environment. From the images above, there is a good sense of depth, and particularly with Rodney Funtebella's (the two top right images) work depth enough to decipher how that object/environment would appear if it were real. It's easy enough to create. With Goro Fujita's work (top and bottom left and mid top) there is still depth and could still be modelled, but on a lesser scale, less 'concept art for purpose' and more 'concept art as an illustration,' and this is the area I would like to work on. Building upon the concept art for illustration and delving further to create a flatter image.

Below I have created my own illustrations exploring this idea of stylistic concept art concentrating more on the style and being illustrative and less on realism and having a real depth.

Below I have a couple of images from my sketchbook, that were made for the initial concepts of The Last Trophy plants. Just flicked through to remind myself of the sketches and the kind of style I did it in seeing how flat or full of depth the sketches got. (They didn't get too full of depth) I shall take these kinds of ideas and do a few more sketches to combine these ideas together and create something new, incorporating the idea of creating 'flatness.'

Below are some of my ideas, taking elements from my initial illustrations (above) that provide depth and pushing these ideas further to create a very flat image.

I've also been looking for some 3D work to aspire to, and give me some indication of where my illustrations can take me. Unfortunately, it's not that easy to find 3D work that looks like it has that element of illustration incorporated into the models. The bottom 3 are the closest I could get:

So for the innovations project here's my abstract:
For the innovations project I will be focussing on turning my stylised 2D illustrations into various 3D models. Using Maya to construct a base mesh, I will transfer this across into a sculpting software, either zbrush or mudbox, to refine the models and bring in the style as drawn in the 2D illustration. This will be a highly experimental project that will encompass taking my original sketches (that contain a some sense of depth) and re-creating them as flat (without depth) as possible which become highly stylised 2D illustrations. Taking these images, I want to see how well you can integrate the same style in 3D space.