Rank posts some new animation process work

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  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited March 2011
    Yeah, I keep getting feedback about that. I think I am going to end up cutting the animation short - the ending doesn't really serve the rest of the animation at all.

    Rankenphile on
    8406wWN.png
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited March 2011
    without the end the viewer wont have any time to digest it as an action. I would consider just moving the back leg to the right and really reducing the shoulder wiggling at the end first.

    Iruka on
  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited March 2011
    yeah, that's what I want to do, too, and precisely my thoughts on why - without the end, it doesn't really get any resolution or give enough time to track. My instructor, however, insists that it is enough without it. I'm pretty much up against the wall, as this week's schedule is full already, and she's the one who grades it. Worst case scenario, I can revisit it after this semester is over and polish it for a demo reel.

    A lot of the wiggling in the shoulders is coming from a few things - one, from poorly planned animation of his reaction to the dropped carrot nose from the previous pass, and two from poor animation being inherited from animation keys on the hips and spine, since I blew away a lot of the other animation keys that were there.

    Eh, it's a few days before I get to work on this again, I'll come at it with fresh eyes and hopefully resolve it in a way that works. I'd like to not have to end it so short, it's already a very short piece as is, and I really do like the animation of the initial section, the spine and hips in particular work really well up until the landing/punch. The rest is a mess, though, and not having a solid plan in place on how to resolve it tends to leave me focusing on the parts I know I can work on well and leaving the mess until the last minute, which ends up with shoddy animation that draws all the attention away from the better stuff.

    Rankenphile on
    8406wWN.png
  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited March 2011
    PRJ350 - Week 9 Progress Journal

    It has been an interesting, hectic week. I had to miss a couple of days of school due to being in a friend's wedding, which was a very welcome break from the constant hustle, but it put me behind my projected schedule - one that was already starting to slip from where I wanted it to be. Additionally, the Redmond Digital Arts Festival took place this Saturday, and while I got a lot of drawing for my animatic done during it, it did take up a lot of time that could have been spent in Maya polishing the skinning and getting the initial environment completed. Regardless, it was easily worth the time, because I got to hear incredible lectures and presentations from artists like Bay Rait, Chris Taylor, Stephen Stahlberg and Ryan Woodward. Amazing, inspiring stuff.

    Additionally, until Tuesday I was expecting to be interviewing for a job position on Thursday. Luckily, I received a call to reschedule it for the 31st of this month, which was an enormous relief.

    Despite all these spectacles this week, I did manage to get a lot of work done, including getting a basic timed animatic completed. It still has a small number of little beats that can get worked out, which will help me tell how well the timing is working, as I'm not entirely sold on it yet, but it is well within the realm of my capability this week, as I plan on powering through the last little road blocks, getting my environment blocked in and getting the first couple of poses actually in Maya this week. I've got a couple of stumbling blocks to overcome for other classes (namely, another big milestone due for CG350, a project I still need to update this blog to reflect), but the pipeline for it is in place and I have no doubt I'll be able to get caught back up.

    Much of my time this week was spent revising and tweaking my rigging options and getting the skinning in place. It still needs some work - the belt and the shoulders, in particular, have problems, and I realized I need to set some driven keys for one of my foot controllers that somehow got missed, but it is simple enough to do.

    Anyway, with everything I had going on, I didn't get a chance to get a lot of screenshots this week, but I have the animatic available below.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajkmjy-FIrE

    Rankenphile on
    8406wWN.png
  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited March 2011
    Zbrush - Nazi Dinosaurs are a huge thumbs-up


    So this week I began the process of quad modeling the base mesh for my next ZBrush sculpt in my digital sculpture class. We were supposed to create concept art for a quadruped creature, preferably with a mix of hard and soft surfaces. Immediately, my mind went to "awesome dinosaur with huge ol' guns on it", because... well, because it is awesome. I found lots of great stuff from the old Dino-Riders cartoon for inspiration, and then came across this beauty.

    meh.ro4057.jpg

    It was created for an upcoming game, Dino D-Day, for release on Steam for PCs April 8th. Man, I fell in love. It is fantastic concept art, wonderfully tied down and realized (I do wish it had a better front view with the whole anatomy, but who am I to complain?). I know I'm not skilled enough to create the concept art to this level, so I spoke with my instructor who said that if I can contact the developer for the game, he'd give me permission to use the art for the project.

    I did some research, found the contact email for the developer and sent off an inquiry. The next morning, this email was waiting for me:
    Hi Matt,

    You have my permission to use our concept art for your project. Thanks for the high praise.

    The only request I have is that you don’t show us up! This model’s already built and will soon be unveiled when the game hits Steam at the end of the month.

    Best of luck. Send me some pictures when you get it finished!

    Abe


    So awesome.

    I began the research process, looking up as much reference as I could, gathering images and articles from across the web. I gathered images of Styracosaurus, Triceratops and similar dinosaurs, focusing on anatomical reference, scale and color patterns and images to help inform me of their shape - in particular, how the back of the neck connects with the back of the crest, and how their legs are shaped from the front view, as well as general shape were it not wearing a giant mobile gun platform. Also, I looked up similar animals, such as the rhino, and gathered information about how to go about building out the topology, especially around the shoulders, as it would need to deform well, and I've never built a 3d model of a quadruped.

    contactsheet01-1.jpg

    contactsheet01-2.jpg

    Additionally, in my research, I found that the original piece was created by an artist named Ben Mauro, a former student of DigiPen. All the more reason to really try to nail this project.

    With all the research in place, I started the modeling process, using the side view to patch model out the basic topography of the first bit of the dinosaur, then pulling the geometry into place to begin forming the contours.

    Quadruped_progress01.jpg

    Quadruped_progress02.jpg

    Quadruped_progress03.jpg

    At this point, my friend Mario Toon gave me some tips on modifying the topology around the shoulder, ensuring the edge loops run concentrically around them to help deformation, should I end up animating the model. Taking his advice, I removed a copy of the front leg and got to work fixing the problem.

    Quadruped_progress04.jpg

    I then finished out the basic shape of the front leg - it is going to need a lot of revisiting soon, to get the musculature and shape correct, but at least the topology is all there.

    Quadruped_progress05.jpg

    I'll post more as I get the model further along, but I've got other projects due soon that need my attention.

    Rankenphile on
    8406wWN.png
  • BrewBrew Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    You do have a log going on. Looking great. Quoted for pics.
    Zbrush - Nazi Dinosaurs are a huge thumbs-up


    So this week I began the process of quad modeling the base mesh for my next ZBrush sculpt in my digital sculpture class. We were supposed to create concept art for a quadruped creature, preferably with a mix of hard and soft surfaces. Immediately, my mind went to "awesome dinosaur with huge ol' guns on it", because... well, because it is awesome. I found lots of great stuff from the old Dino-Riders cartoon for inspiration, and then came across this beauty.

    meh.ro4057.jpg

    It was created for an upcoming game, Dino D-Day, for release on Steam for PCs April 8th. Man, I fell in love. It is fantastic concept art, wonderfully tied down and realized (I do wish it had a better front view with the whole anatomy, but who am I to complain?). I know I'm not skilled enough to create the concept art to this level, so I spoke with my instructor who said that if I can contact the developer for the game, he'd give me permission to use the art for the project.

    I did some research, found the contact email for the developer and sent off an inquiry. The next morning, this email was waiting for me:
    Hi Matt,

    You have my permission to use our concept art for your project. Thanks for the high praise.

    The only request I have is that you don’t show us up! This model’s already built and will soon be unveiled when the game hits Steam at the end of the month.

    Best of luck. Send me some pictures when you get it finished!

    Abe


    So awesome.

    I began the research process, looking up as much reference as I could, gathering images and articles from across the web. I gathered images of Styracosaurus, Triceratops and similar dinosaurs, focusing on anatomical reference, scale and color patterns and images to help inform me of their shape - in particular, how the back of the neck connects with the back of the crest, and how their legs are shaped from the front view, as well as general shape were it not wearing a giant mobile gun platform. Also, I looked up similar animals, such as the rhino, and gathered information about how to go about building out the topology, especially around the shoulders, as it would need to deform well, and I've never built a 3d model of a quadruped.

    contactsheet01-1.jpg

    contactsheet01-2.jpg

    Additionally, in my research, I found that the original piece was created by an artist named Ben Mauro, a former student of DigiPen. All the more reason to really try to nail this project.

    With all the research in place, I started the modeling process, using the side view to patch model out the basic topography of the first bit of the dinosaur, then pulling the geometry into place to begin forming the contours.

    Quadruped_progress01.jpg

    Quadruped_progress02.jpg

    Quadruped_progress03.jpg

    At this point, my friend Mario Toon gave me some tips on modifying the topology around the shoulder, ensuring the edge loops run concentrically around them to help deformation, should I end up animating the model. Taking his advice, I removed a copy of the front leg and got to work fixing the problem.

    Quadruped_progress04.jpg

    I then finished out the basic shape of the front leg - it is going to need a lot of revisiting soon, to get the musculature and shape correct, but at least the topology is all there.

    Quadruped_progress05.jpg

    I'll post more as I get the model further along, but I've got other projects due soon that need my attention.

    Brew on
    1st ever "Penny-Arcade Hero Academy Tournament" Toilet Bowl Champion!
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    And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."
  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited March 2011
    Zbrush - Nazi Dino Progress, part 2

    So I got to spend a couple hours updating and revising my dinosaur model today, refining the head and closing it out.

    Dino_Progress2_01.jpg


    I started by building extruding out the planes around the eye, then shaping the lid to match the contour as it would in real life. For the eyeball, instead of using a standard sphere geometry - they terminate in triangles at the top and bottom, which don't subdivide well, leaving an irregular point - I took a cube and subdivided it into a sphere, ensuring the shape was entirely made of quads.

    Dino_Progress2_02.jpg

    Here I've continued to finish the sculpting around the eye, getting the lid shaped the way I wanted it.

    Dino_Progress2_03.jpg

    I then extruded out more planes to complete the cheekbone ridge and start the upper beak. The beak itself still needs a little more work to complete, as it isn't a great job of maintaining the edge loops around to the inside, but it is a complicated area that has a lot of geometry running into a very small area, so I wanted to try to avoid having it get too dense.

    Dino_Progress2_04.jpg

    Finally, to check my work I set up a Nurbs modifier to simulate the initial step of subdivision and set up a basic pass at smoothing groups. I still need to insert edge loops around the collar to preserve the hard edges and I have a lot of work to do to complete the ridge and the horns that will be extruded out of it, but for a couple hours I got a lot of work done.

    Dino_Progress2_05.jpg

    I also spent a little bit of time revising the shoulder area, getting a little more muscle definition in. The bulge around the elbow needs to be removed, and there's still a ton of work left, but I'm excited about the project so far - I always love this phase of a project, the exploration and learning process.

    Rankenphile on
    8406wWN.png
  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited March 2011
    Zbrush - Nazi Dino Progress, part 3

    Got to spend some more time working on this guy. Going to try to push and get the base model done tonight, if possible, so I can focus on the armor and gun platform this weekend, if I can get enough of my other homework out of the way.

    Dino_progress03_01.jpg

    Started working on the back leg by setting up a series of poly patches just below the knee - I wanted to establish the geometry around the lower leg all the way around, so that I could ensure it flowed into the existing edge loops on the rest of the model.

    Dino_progress03_02.jpg

    I continued this process, getting the general silhouette of the leg established - I can pull and push the verts as I need to get the overall shape correct soon enough, but for this stage I needed to make sure I at least had the basic geometry there to work with, and the right shape in at least one dimension.

    Dino_progress03_03.jpg

    Then I worked on connecting it to the existing body topology and started working on fleshing out just the most basic part of the anatomy - I know this isn't correct yet, but it is at least starting to form the shapes I need. Using the three-view, with the top and right views on the left hand side and a perspective view I can tumble around the model on the right ensure that it will look decent.

    Dino_progress03_05.jpg

    Finally, I connect the leg to the rest of the body, filling out the thigh. I'll correct the edge flow momentarily, but at first I just want to make sure I have the polys and edges all working right, keeping the entire model in quads to ensure perfect subdivision for when I bring it into ZBrush.

    Dino_progress03_06.jpg

    Then I connect the back around and start extruding out the tail. This got a little tricky until I figured out where the 5-pole needed to be to allow the edge loops to split away from each other and allow the right shape for the tail.

    Dino_progress03_07.jpg

    Here I keep pulling out more and more loops to form the tail - right now, there's more then I really need, but I can pull some out as I go - right now I wanted to make sure I had the basic loops to form the belts. When the time comes, I'll select those poly rings, extrude them out to form the belts, and then separate them out to create their own geometry - this way I know they fit snug to the shape of the model, rather then trying to duplicate the organic shape by hand, and I can remove the loops used to create the belts on the tail itself at that point. Additionally, having the belts as their own geometry allows easier sculpting and subdivision, as I can add the loops necessary to protect their hard edges without requiring the same issue on the tail.

    Dino_progress03_08.jpg

    Finally, a quick screen grab of the model in its most recent state - I am widening out the rib cage and still need to work on defining the anatomy under the skin on the back legs, finish out the feet and leg thickness, and I've got a lot to do for the crest, but things are progressing pretty well.

    Rankenphile on
    8406wWN.png
  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited March 2011
    PRJ350 - Week 10 Progress Journal

    Huge amount of progress this week, although much of it isn't readily visible - a lot of behind-the-scenes prep for the next big push - animation blocking.

    I began by building out my basic environment, using a technique I learned last semester in CG300 to create a tree, then duplicating it and tweaking it to create a second. Essentially, I bult a cylinder, then used a number of latices and nonlinear bend and twist deformers to create the central trunk, then duplicated that shape and scaled it and twisted it to create the branch shapes. I then cut the hole for the branch in the main trunk and combined the meshes, using target weld, and pushed the combined verts around until I had the shape I wanted.

    Environment_Build01.jpg

    I then exported the tree from Maya into Max and unwrapped it, as I prefer the pelt and relax unwrap tools available there to Maya's unwrap options for organic shapes. I had a good wood bark photo in my reference library that I converted into a tiling texture, then applied it to the re-imported tree shape in Maya, repeating the bark texture as many times as needed to get the scale to look right.

    Environment_Build02.jpg

    Once that was done, I exported the ground plane into Mudbox to sculpt it, creating a roadway sunk into the ground and a slight valley where the main action was going to play out in the scene, allowing the sword and goblin to break the horizon and be silouetted against the sky. I then re-imported this into Maya and got it placed where it needed to be.

    Environment_Build03.jpg

    I then brought in a tree from a previous project to save time and add variety to my scene, one that had been sculpted in Mudbox - it is a bit higher poly then I'd like, but it will look great rendered, and I can always render the background plate separately from the foreground elements, since the lighting won't move - this will likely be a necessity once I get the high-poly grass laid in. I also brought in a copy of the goblin's mesh, to make sure the scale was going to work well. I blocked in the camera and deleted any of the polys from the foreground three that weren't going to be part of the final render, to cut down on excess geometry,

    Environment_Build04.jpg

    Finally, I got the textures set up for the ground plane and new trees, as well as the sky background. They're still not perfect, but they're looking okay so far. As I mentioned previously, I'll be painting in high-poly grasses in the foreground and background to help add a better finished look to the scene and create a more realistic environment, but for the blocking phase this is unnecessary, as it creates a huge overhead for rendering and file size, and makes it very difficult to work on the school's sub-par 32 bit systems, as they tend to choke on high-poly scenes. I'll likely end up adding the grass fairly soon and making sure it is on a separate layer, so I can turn it off when I don't want it in the scene. It will also make the rendering process easier, having them out of the way.

    I also brought in the fully rigged character model at this time, so I could begin test renders. This was a tricky process, as I often lost a lot of the shader information or rigging if it wasn't done correctly. I ended up spending an hour or two cleaning up old garbage left behind in both scenes, lots of hidden geometry and rigging artifacts that aren't used and won't ever be used, to facilitate the process. To get the merge to work best, I ended up importing the environment into the rigged character file, rather then the other way around, then going through and carefully removing and renaming things that may present problems in the future.

    Environment_Build05.jpg

    Once I had the two files properly merged, I had to spend some time fixing some rigging issues nad adding the last few controllers I needed for hte rig that had gotten missed previously - in particular, I had somehow neglected to add nurbs shapes for controllers for the loincloth and ear joints. Once I had them in place and the model was ready to animate, I wanted to get a rudimentary lighting pass done, as I knew it was another critical, tricky step that I would likely need assistance and feedback on, so better to get it started now.

    Light_test01.jpeg

    The first lighting pass was problematic - some of the lights didn't want to work properly, I was inheriting lights from the previous rigging file that weren't visible in my scene view but overpowered everything in my render, and the shader for the goblin had to be rebuilt.

    I had a lot of notes left over from last time I built the shader, so it was simple enough to re-link the files and tweak some of the settings to get it in - I need to revisit it soon, however, as the light is passing through the character far too strongly and ruins the effect, causing the little dude to glow a bit.

    Light_test03.jpeg

    Once that was corrected, I moved him to the point where he'll first stop and see the sword and anvil (the sword and anvil are currently just placeholder geometry - I need to model them both this week, and they don't really have much on them in terms of lighting).

    Stage_Setup_Final01.jpeg

    I also put the character into his first real test pose - I will need to revisit a lot of the blend shapes, I've got a handful of them built now and I imported a dozen or so meshes of the goblin to use for other blend shape targets once I get the basic blocking in, as it will be easier to build target sculpts then, since he is a one-off rig.

    Stage_Setup_Final02.jpeg

    And that's where we're at for the moment. I'm hoping to get some more of the base poses in tonight, but I wanted to get this blog post up before midnight, and I've got to go to a quick birthday dinner for a friend. All in all, I'm feeling a lot more confident about the scene and am excited about the next few weeks, although there is a huuuuuge amount of animation to get done for this project, and not a lot of weeks left to do it.

    Rankenphile on
    8406wWN.png
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited March 2011
    PRJ350 - Week 10 Progress Journal

    Huge amount of progress this week, although much of it isn't readily visible - a lot of behind-the-scenes prep for the next big push - animation blocking.

    I began by building out my basic environment, using a technique I learned last semester in CG300 to create a tree, then duplicating it and tweaking it to create a second. Essentially, I bult a cylinder, then used a number of latices and nonlinear bend and twist deformers to create the central trunk, then duplicated that shape and scaled it and twisted it to create the branch shapes. I then cut the hole for the branch in the main trunk and combined the meshes, using target weld, and pushed the combined verts around until I had the shape I wanted.

    Environment_Build01.jpg

    I then exported the tree from Maya into Max and unwrapped it, as I prefer the pelt and relax unwrap tools available there to Maya's unwrap options for organic shapes. I had a good wood bark photo in my reference library that I converted into a tiling texture, then applied it to the re-imported tree shape in Maya, repeating the bark texture as many times as needed to get the scale to look right.

    Environment_Build02.jpg

    Once that was done, I exported the ground plane into Mudbox to sculpt it, creating a roadway sunk into the ground and a slight valley where the main action was going to play out in the scene, allowing the sword and goblin to break the horizon and be silouetted against the sky. I then re-imported this into Maya and got it placed where it needed to be.

    Environment_Build03.jpg

    I then brought in a tree from a previous project to save time and add variety to my scene, one that had been sculpted in Mudbox - it is a bit higher poly then I'd like, but it will look great rendered, and I can always render the background plate separately from the foreground elements, since the lighting won't move - this will likely be a necessity once I get the high-poly grass laid in. I also brought in a copy of the goblin's mesh, to make sure the scale was going to work well. I blocked in the camera and deleted any of the polys from the foreground three that weren't going to be part of the final render, to cut down on excess geometry,

    Environment_Build04.jpg

    Finally, I got the textures set up for the ground plane and new trees, as well as the sky background. They're still not perfect, but they're looking okay so far. As I mentioned previously, I'll be painting in high-poly grasses in the foreground and background to help add a better finished look to the scene and create a more realistic environment, but for the blocking phase this is unnecessary, as it creates a huge overhead for rendering and file size, and makes it very difficult to work on the school's sub-par 32 bit systems, as they tend to choke on high-poly scenes. I'll likely end up adding the grass fairly soon and making sure it is on a separate layer, so I can turn it off when I don't want it in the scene. It will also make the rendering process easier, having them out of the way.

    I also brought in the fully rigged character model at this time, so I could begin test renders. This was a tricky process, as I often lost a lot of the shader information or rigging if it wasn't done correctly. I ended up spending an hour or two cleaning up old garbage left behind in both scenes, lots of hidden geometry and rigging artifacts that aren't used and won't ever be used, to facilitate the process. To get the merge to work best, I ended up importing the environment into the rigged character file, rather then the other way around, then going through and carefully removing and renaming things that may present problems in the future.

    Environment_Build05.jpg

    Once I had the two files properly merged, I had to spend some time fixing some rigging issues nad adding the last few controllers I needed for hte rig that had gotten missed previously - in particular, I had somehow neglected to add nurbs shapes for controllers for the loincloth and ear joints. Once I had them in place and the model was ready to animate, I wanted to get a rudimentary lighting pass done, as I knew it was another critical, tricky step that I would likely need assistance and feedback on, so better to get it started now.

    Light_test01.jpeg

    The first lighting pass was problematic - some of the lights didn't want to work properly, I was inheriting lights from the previous rigging file that weren't visible in my scene view but overpowered everything in my render, and the shader for the goblin had to be rebuilt.

    I had a lot of notes left over from last time I built the shader, so it was simple enough to re-link the files and tweak some of the settings to get it in - I need to revisit it soon, however, as the light is passing through the character far too strongly and ruins the effect, causing the little dude to glow a bit.

    Light_test03.jpeg

    Once that was corrected, I moved him to the point where he'll first stop and see the sword and anvil (the sword and anvil are currently just placeholder geometry - I need to model them both this week, and they don't really have much on them in terms of lighting).

    Stage_Setup_Final01.jpeg

    I also put the character into his first real test pose - I will need to revisit a lot of the blend shapes, I've got a handful of them built now and I imported a dozen or so meshes of the goblin to use for other blend shape targets once I get the basic blocking in, as it will be easier to build target sculpts then, since he is a one-off rig.

    Stage_Setup_Final02.jpeg

    And that's where we're at for the moment. I'm hoping to get some more of the base poses in tonight, but I wanted to get this blog post up before midnight, and I've got to go to a quick birthday dinner for a friend. All in all, I'm feeling a lot more confident about the scene and am excited about the next few weeks, although there is a huuuuuge amount of animation to get done for this project, and not a lot of weeks left to do it.

    For a more animated effect, he could walk past it much more and look/stretch back. nice to see some of the elements coming together.

    Iruka on
  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    Week 11 - Animation Blocking
    I spent some time working on getting the base poses down for my character's initial walk-on before I realized I was being too hasty - I wasn't following my vid ref or my thumbnails, and with the complexity and length of the animation I had ahead of me, I really needed to have a better roadmap. To this end, I took my original vid ref into photoshop and began tracing over each major key pose onto unique layers. Doing this gave me a better insight to the lines of action in the pose and was a much more accurate and quick way to sketch out the poses then it would be to do so by hand on paper just using the video as reference.

    SmallerSheets_p01.jpg


    SmallerSheets_p02.jpg

    SmallerSheets_p03.jpg

    Once I had these initial sketches, I composited them to the sheets above and printed them off. I also began adding them to Flash on the original frame numbers so that I could watch how they moved. This is a lengthy process, so I only got the first portion done, but it is very effective. One benefit of this process is I can quickly and easily play with timing, rather then trying to push and pull dozens of keyed object keyframes in Maya.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmvNT1GePIQ

    Once I have a little more time, I can start playing with the timing and get the rest of the frames in, but I wanted to make sure I had a chance to work on getting initial poses into Maya. I brought up my animation file and worked on getting the first pose right - it tends to be one of the most important ones. In the case of my animation, I actually started with the second pose, the first that the goblin is fully on-screen. I can work backward to have him walk on, but I needed to ensure that I had the right starting position figured out.

    I then worked on following my thumbnail roadmap, being careful to exaggerate each pose to really enhance the action and to fit better with the character's proportions and anatomy, and really try to make sure I had the right arcs in place for the IK hands - a tricky process. I got the first part of the walk in, his notice and take and his approach blocked in after long hours of moving him around, and already am noticing severe issues with the skinning I'll have to address - this was part of my plan, as I knew they'd start making themselves more noticed once I started the actual animation, and I'll be working on them soon enough.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2WrMQWzs0I

    All told, things are coming along well, and the animation is working out okay, although I'm already noticing major problems with the timing. The beginning of this week will be spent getting the final models for the props in, getting the lighting resolved and blocking in the next portion of the animation. I'm right in the thick of crunch time now, so everything has to really count, but I'm really excited to see the little guy coming to life.

    Rankenphile on
    8406wWN.png
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    Week 11 - Animation Blocking
    I spent some time working on getting the base poses down for my character's initial walk-on before I realized I was being too hasty - I wasn't following my vid ref or my thumbnails, and with the complexity and length of the animation I had ahead of me, I really needed to have a better roadmap. To this end, I took my original vid ref into photoshop and began tracing over each major key pose onto unique layers. Doing this gave me a better insight to the lines of action in the pose and was a much more accurate and quick way to sketch out the poses then it would be to do so by hand on paper just using the video as reference.

    SmallerSheets_p01.jpg


    SmallerSheets_p02.jpg

    SmallerSheets_p03.jpg

    Once I had these initial sketches, I composited them to the sheets above and printed them off. I also began adding them to Flash on the original frame numbers so that I could watch how they moved. This is a lengthy process, so I only got the first portion done, but it is very effective. One benefit of this process is I can quickly and easily play with timing, rather then trying to push and pull dozens of keyed object keyframes in Maya.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmvNT1GePIQ

    Once I have a little more time, I can start playing with the timing and get the rest of the frames in, but I wanted to make sure I had a chance to work on getting initial poses into Maya. I brought up my animation file and worked on getting the first pose right - it tends to be one of the most important ones. In the case of my animation, I actually started with the second pose, the first that the goblin is fully on-screen. I can work backward to have him walk on, but I needed to ensure that I had the right starting position figured out.

    I then worked on following my thumbnail roadmap, being careful to exaggerate each pose to really enhance the action and to fit better with the character's proportions and anatomy, and really try to make sure I had the right arcs in place for the IK hands - a tricky process. I got the first part of the walk in, his notice and take and his approach blocked in after long hours of moving him around, and already am noticing severe issues with the skinning I'll have to address - this was part of my plan, as I knew they'd start making themselves more noticed once I started the actual animation, and I'll be working on them soon enough.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2WrMQWzs0I

    All told, things are coming along well, and the animation is working out okay, although I'm already noticing major problems with the timing. The beginning of this week will be spent getting the final models for the props in, getting the lighting resolved and blocking in the next portion of the animation. I'm right in the thick of crunch time now, so everything has to really count, but I'm really excited to see the little guy coming to life.

    I could make some notes on the animation, but it sounds like you already see some issues. Would it be helpful at this point or do you think you got a handle on it?

    Iruka on
  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    Please, please do. Any feedback is lovely, that's why I post this stuff. Even if I can't/don't put it in, other eyes giving me feedback are appreciated.

    Rankenphile on
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  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    My biggest thing is that, while your poses are pretty good for a person, I think you should, well, ignore it mostly. People are very subtle unless they amp it up, and even when we to, it doesnt always translate to gesture without some pushing. With the cartoony ness of your goblin, it would be more fitting for him to really be more extreme.
    crit.jpg

    I also think he should pass the block. At the very least his I should catch it and have more of a skid to a stop. I see the leg up, but the moment isn't there. When you see something unexpected, you put the breaks on, but you keep moving like a car trying to go from 60 to zero. Imagine running down the hall and suddenly some one comes out of a door in your path, and then imagine running down a hall and out of the corner of your eye you realize that was the room you need to be in. There is going to be a ton of stretching to try and reverse the forward motion. Even with walking this can be extreme, and if they are going sooo slow that the momentum isnt a force, then they would probably change that pace even more, either break the rhythm and put that last step down sllloooooowww or freeze and barely breathe as if frozen in time.

    You need to hang on that realization and emphasize it.
    crit2.jpg

    Iruka on
  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    Iruka, that's wonderful stuff. A lot of it is what I had in mind, but the thumbs there really help sell the idea. I'm hoping to go back and revisit the animation soon, and make sure to add in a lot of missing poses I should have gotten in in the first place.

    Also, here's a new bit of animation I did, a blocking phase for my final project for my animation class. I did the whole animation in about four or five hours, going straight ahead and posing on twos and threes, for the most part. I already got feedback in class, but I'd love more.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCu3E68Odr0

    Rankenphile on
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  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    Its sorta hard to get a good range in these very short clips, because they always feel stunted. The lipsyncing itself is good, and I like the expressions. Because its so fast you want to do a whole lot, but the truth is, we cycle through expressions pretty smoothly even when talking. I think the eye brow raise on that one is too much of a flicker, he would probably be more likely to hang on it. You want to strike a balance between the extreme emotions of animation and how a person moves their face.

    Iruka on
  • OrikaeshigitaeOrikaeshigitae Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2011
    I don't have anything to add at present except that you continue to be an inspiration.

    Orikaeshigitae on
  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    So the other project I haven't really brought up here that I've been doing for class is building a game, or rather an interactive environment, using the Unity3d engine. We've got a lot left to do in the last couple weeks, but we've got a rough build right now that I'd love to get some feedback on. A lot of the work in there is placeholders, and a lot of the interactivity and function is really rough-shod, as I did most of the programming and I have no experience with it, but if you guys can test it out, I'd love feedback.

    Important note: I built this as part of a six-artist team. My role was as lead artist, so it was up to me to come up with initial design for the game prototype and incorporate all assets into the engine. I did a little of the art in the game, but we had a dedicated concept artist, two environment modelers, a character modeler and an animator, all of which were taking as heavy a courseload as I was.

    Link: Bad Manor alpha v 0.03.09

    edit: Mediafire mirror Any other free file hosting sites you can suggest would be great, also.

    Rankenphile on
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  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    PRJ350 - Week 12 Progress Journal

    What a week.

    After reviewing the animation blocking I had completed last week and looking at the schedule I had left, I decided it was time for triage - I had to get rid of the bad blocking and do it over. It really didn't work well enough for what I needed, and it would have taken more time to try to fix it then it would have to just do it right. Having gone through the process, I feel I made the right decision, but the clock is ticking and I'm not particularly happy with what I'm going to have left at the end of the process - something I'll get into once I've completed the project and can do a post-mortem.

    First thing I did this week was revise the basic lighting pass I had and get the "god lights" into the scene, as well as get the final props I was going to need in. I had to get this done, as the scene wouldn't work without them, and having the real things in rather then the proxies meant I could act to them rather then to where I assumed they would be in the final, then spend time later fixing the issues - time I wasn't sure I would have.

    Godlights_inMaya.jpg


    I would have liked to have modeled a custom sword for the scene, but I was on borrowed time, so I re-used an asset I had built for another class - the dagger from the table in my Bandit's Crossing interior scene. I stretched the blade out, tossed it into zbrush to get a better texture (the one I had wasn't working well at all, as it was grouped with a number of other items on the original texture sheet), a technique that worked well, as it allowed me to practice the process of baking out matcaps to the diffuse channel and get a better, more accurate normal map, something we'd been working on in my Zbrush class.

    I got the sword into the scene and started tweaking the light setup. Most of the images shown are rendered with a test diffuse material on the goblin, as it shows up correctly in the viewport window and allows me to animate easier then with the SSS shader active - the SSS shader shows up as pure red in the viewport, making it difficult to read eye direction.

    GOdlight_FirstTry.jpeg

    I messed with the godlight settings until I got them into the ballpark, then turned on the environment lights to make sure I'd have a strong enough effect to work in the composition, but not be too overpowering so that you couldn't read action happening behind them.

    GOdlight_EnvLights.jpeg

    I ended up using two of the volumetric lights to get the falloff I wanted - one with a wider diameter but a softer effect, and a narrower, stronger one in the center to get a more powerful beam.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-vI-U_ipUldY/TaKQflfuu4I/AAAAAAAAEsY/xMBbvXWPCCA/s320/GOdlights_Doubled_WithSword.jpeg

    Finally, I turned on the SSS shader and played with a number of the shadow settings until I got exactly the look I needed - it still isn't ideal - the shadows have far harder edges then I'd prefer, but it is producing the desired effect well.



    I then modeled out an anvil and textured it rapidly, using photoshop and Zbrush, got it into place and began blocking. I put in a lot of time between Friday and Sunday getting these poses in - I still have some timing issues to resolve and a few storytelling moments that need clarification and revision, but I am feeling more optimistic then I was earlier. I've rendered out some of the stills, as I would do often to ensure I was getting the result and composition I needed in the blocking, and it was often hard to tell in the viewport quite how things would look when rendered - these are all with the reference diffuse shader on the goblin, however, so keep that in mind.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-i7VHdH9NeAs/TaKR6DAEbII/AAAAAAAAEso/57Tn3k9ih8Q/s320/Blocking_Cower.jpeg


    Blocking_ReachIntoLight01.jpeg

    Blocking_Yank01.jpeg

    Blocking_Ponder.jpeg

    Blocking_Climb.jpeg

    Blocking_PullingSword.jpeg

    Below is a copy of the revised blocking playblast. After speaking about my concerns about finishing the project in time with a number of professors, we revised the story beats a bit. I'm happy with the changes, although I'm going to miss some of the beats that were cut.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MLd1QR3rEQ

    I'm nearly done with this phase, and hope to have it fully blocked by Wednesday so I can spend the rest of the week working on getting the spline pass completed. I'm not as happy with the result as I would be, but I spent too long in the rigging phase - the effort spent there was worth it, but it left me without the time I needed to spend elsewhere, and I learned a huge amount about something I was previously not proficient at at all. I also learned a lot about getting subsurface scattering shaders and modeling a character for animation, and am pretty happy with what I'm leaving with with the project, I just wish I could have focused further on the actual animation process during it.

    Rankenphile on
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  • OrikaeshigitaeOrikaeshigitae Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2011
    Those volumetrics are looking killer.

    If you have time (yeah right) - the failed jerk at 0:09 doesn't read well at present, the motion is at a right angle to the sword instead of at an obtuse angle. The thinking pose immediately after the pull made me think that he'd hurt his hand and was cradling it.

    Suggested emendation - upward motion from bent knees. at present it looks like his knees buckle.

    Actually, you could probably just pop his left shoulder up while doing the motion, as the lats & pecs would probably get in on that action. Part of what makes it look strange is the followthrough in the chin and right arm snapping back from the effort, but the left arm itself doesn't look like it's doing much.
    as ever, these are comments by a guy who don't know much about animation

    Good luck getting it done in time. As ever, I'm stunned by how much you've learned.

    Orikaeshigitae on
  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    PRJ350 - Week 13 Progress Journal


    A huge effort this week went into working on getting the blocking pass done - it took a lot more work then I expected, but animation always does. I'm still not particularly happy with the first half, but from the moment when he pulls the sword on I think looks great. Good weight, good action and follow-through, and enough poses to make the splining pass a snap, at least to get passable motion. Funny enough, with the character design, I almost prefer it without the splines - the stepped poses actually give it sort of a stop-motion feel.

    The below video is another playblast of the viewport with the final camera postion. I need to revise the timing of the initial walk-in and the surprise pose, add in a couple poses there, and add in a couple poses for the goblin looking around to see if he's being watched when he goes into the cower pose before the first pull. After the first pull, I need a couple eye darts and slight shifts of weight when he surveys the sword and anvil. Beyond that, there's a couple other acting choices I could make, but the clock is definitely ticking.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMjZCs3Agpw&feature=channel_video_title

    I also spent a little time working on the lighting, trying to get softer shadows on the god light that comes down on the sword. I worked with Professor Chun Lu and reviewed some notes she gave to our Maya class last semester and found the settings I needed. The final result gave me this:

    Godlights_Refined.jpeg

    This week is going to be a mad rush to get everything done and rendered - the project has swollen to 900 frames, meaning I'm looking at around 24 hours or more of rendering. Really need to get the last little bits in and start the process so I can get it composited and submit it in time.

    Rankenphile on
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  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    The acting is looking way better, dude. the weight of the anvil is really there, which is awesome. The moment of realization is pretty short now, but it gets the point across just fine. Cant wait to see it rendered.

    Iruka on
  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    you and me both, hahaha

    Rankenphile on
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  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    PRJ350 - Week 14 Progress Journal
    What a long, miserable day.

    I've spent the last six or seven hours having to render out the first 140 frames of my animation one-by-one by hand, because if I don't, the volumetric "god lights" don't work. It is absolutely maddening, tedious and incredibly boring but it is nearly done.

    So, what's changed since last week?

    I spent a lot of time cleaning up the poses in my animation and fretting over what to do with the opening of it - the walk and his "surprise" reaction just never worked right for me, and it was getting far too close to the end to fix them. It was upon reflection to this problem that I had an epiphany.

    I don't need them at all.

    If I start the shot out with the goblin already looking at the sword, we get it. We understand the setup right from the get-go - he's a goblin, this is a sword in a stone. We know how this story goes. I needed to give him some time to consider the sword, to think about it and to ponder his approach, but trying to tell the story with him walking in was trying to tell too much. I needed to introduce his personality in his walk, his mood and why he might be feeling that way, then show a drastic, big change of emotion followed by another drastic change of emotion, from sad to surprised to cautious, all at once, and that is really, really hard. And really, really unnecessary.

    I proposed the plan to Pam Matheus and Antony DeFato, both former Disney animators with excellent senses of story and timing, and they agreed it was the right decision. DeFato even brought the idea one step further - start the shot with the camera tight on the character so I could really play up his thinking process, then pull out to reveal the goblin's motivator. Genius.

    I deleted my walk and surprise keyframes and got to work adding a good animated hold, using his eyes and slight shifts in the direction of his head to really try to get the subtle animation in to show his thinking process and then proceeded from there. Additionally, I spent a huge amount of time working on getting the spline pass done this week, all while working on wrapping up other assignments (expect more blog posts in the next few days as I finish work for my other classes). I really, really wish I had a few more days for this, or weeks, or months, but I'm happy with what I'm getting so far, and very happy with everything I've learned from the project. I know it isn't the strongest piece in the entire class, but it is the culmination of months of hard work, and I stand behind the result.

    I'll have the final posted here in a few days, once I've had time to composite it, build in the title and credits screens and do the post-processing. I'll also follow this post up with a post-mortem, most likely, to review what went well, what didn't and what I'm taking away having gone through the process twice now. For now, I've got to render out the last of the frames (11 left to go, thank god), start the compositing and get some rest before the last big push of the semester.

    Rankenphile on
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  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    Final rendered animation:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sd4ivHuBJWk

    I'll be posting a post-mortem tonight or tomorrow, most likely

    Rankenphile on
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  • DaltonCarlDaltonCarl Registered User regular
    edited July 2014
    ---

    DaltonCarl on
  • The_Glad_HatterThe_Glad_Hatter Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    great improvement over the first step. The final result is really something to be proud of.

    The_Glad_Hatter on
  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    PRJ350 - Week 15 Project Post-Mortem
    Having gone through the process of creating this short, I want to look back at what went well, what didn't and what I'm taking away from the project.

    First of all, I should look at what it was I set out to do, my initial plans, versus what I was able to accomplish in the time I had. Initially, I wanted to have a much more playful portion of the scene where the goblin turns the god lights on and off by touching the sword. Now, the god light stays on, even after he removes the anvil - not what I had hoped, but by the time I had gotten to the actual animation, I had run out of time for the polish needed.

    Additionally, I wanted to use Maya's Paint Effects to put in geometric grass to soften the background, give it more volume and shape and help with the transitions between the ground and the trees. This, again, wasn't possible due to time constraints and had to be abandoned - what it would have done to my render time alone would have made the project impossible in the time allowed.

    As far as the character's controls and acting, I really wanted to get more blend shapes set up to allow more facial rigging and expressions. This, too, had to be abandoned, as I had already taken up far more time then was allotted for the rigging process.

    There's a number of other things that didn't make it in or had to be sacrificed for the project due to time constraints, but breaking down the specifics isn't particularly interesting. Instead, I should look more at the reasons behind why - most of the time spent on the project was in research and development of the rigging process and creating and tuning the textures and subsurface scattering shaders. Had I been more familiar with this process, I could have better planned the time for it, and gotten through the process much easier, but that's what I'm happiest about taking away from the project. The power of the rigging process in Maya and the capability that can be built into it is intriguing, to say the least, and I'm excited about learning more about it - the rig I have in my scene is pretty basic, all things considered, but it did the trick for what I needed it for, and I learned more about how to plan a rig for animation and how to animate a rig well just having spent the weeks researching and building it and learning from others who were more proficient with the process.

    At the outset, I did lose a week or two of work when I had to go back and redesign the character - a step I'm very glad I did, as the new character design has a lot more appeal and was just a lot more fun to work with. The more I model, the more I learn about edge loops and how to design them for deformation, and this character's belly and wrists certainly could have used a lot more careful planning. His skinning, as well, is a bit atrocious, which is something I'm definitely going to have to learn more about. Using Maya's paint weights tool was a new experience, and more difficult than I had originally planned, and I spent much of my animation time posing the character in ways that minimized or hid any problems I had with the skinning.

    Overall, I wish I had gotten through the process of building and designing the character faster so that I had more time for animation - as it was what I was hoping to focus on, having only two or three weeks to do more animation then I had done in all of my animation classes for the year combined meant that great sacrifices had to be made in quality. There simply was no way to have time to properly block in poses and spend the weeks needed to polish the spline curves and finesse the animation into appealing, smooth and high-quality motion the way I would have liked. Tight deadlines are a reality in the industry, I understand, but with all the technical hurdles I faced in creating a well-rigged character that would allow for quality animation, I don't know what the alternative would have been other then planning for very simple, short animations or creating a simpler character without the technical requirements a well-rigged and skinned character posed.

    Rankenphile on
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  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited June 2011
  • NibCromNibCrom Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Final rendered animation:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sd4ivHuBJWk

    I'll be posting a post-mortem tonight or tomorrow, most likely

    That's pretty cool! Good job!

    NibCrom on
  • earthwormadamearthwormadam ancient crust Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    thats wickedddd cool

    is it gonna have music or sounds?

    earthwormadam on
  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited June 2011
    It might. Apparently my school is getting some sound designer to work with us on some of the selected pieces to add music and/or effects. Not sure exactly how it'll work, but if it does get sound, I'll go through and polish the animation, get it a lot smoother.

    I started a new sequence this week. I had to do a large physical action using only 100 frames, so I recorded my friend doing a little bit of parkour, as it was a good chance to do big, fast action and try to do it a bit more realistically. I had to do the planning and blocking in one week, and I put a ton of time in on it and am pretty happy with the results so far.

    Vid ref:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0PZqhrczrs


    Planning thumbs, drawn and timed in Flash:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leTWXiEQFGo


    Blocking pass:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv3jukjwjAw

    Rankenphile on
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  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited June 2011
    For your really short stuff, it would be easier to crit if you just repeat the video a few times so its more than five seconds. I wish youtube had a loop feature, but alas.

    Iruka on
  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited June 2011
    that's a good call... I'll upload a looped version of the blocking

    Rankenphile on
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  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited June 2011
    Rankenphile on
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  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited July 2011
    looks like youtube embedding is disabled (edit: nevermind, looks like it's just busted for old links) for the time being, but here's the polish pass of the above parkour jump



    and the render pass



    Finally, here's the newest piece I'm doing - a game character death animation.

    Rankenphile on
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  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    The thumbnails for the character death animation



    the first pass at splines



    first polish pass



    final render

    8406wWN.png
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