The Good – The team has also been working on both team logos and project logos. Our animation is titled “Alone?”. More art to come!
Environment is coming along nicely! Aviva made a map and is laying out the plant and crystal assets everyone made. People have been playing with subsurface scattering.
Light Bulb Plant
Everyone has been doing weekly 6-second animations to get comfortable with the rigs. We’re still fixing some bugs, like a strange 180 flip in the hips and the shoulders, as well as an issue with connecting blendshapes to the characters, but we’re working diligently to fix them.
Everyone has also taken a director role for their individual scene, assigned by our advisor based on our animation tests. This includes drawing out a new set of thumbnails to match each director’s vision and shooting reference footage for the next cycle.
Anna has been working hard on the website, giving it a lot of professional polish. We now have a Press Kit Page!
The Bad – The labs are starting to fill up with underclassmen and machines reserved for rendering. The labs are likely not to upgrade to Renderman 21 until Spring term, interrupting the pipeline and making it more difficult to reach a fully rendered product by the end of Winter term. Resources, as always, are a major concern. We have to be adaptable and work with what we’ve got.
This cycle has been going a lot better. We focused on getting the environment assets together, doing animation tests, and finding bugs for last minute tweaks to rigs. We found a bug in the shoulders and hips, where they make a 180 flip and are working on a fix for it. Everyone is much more on top of their work and taking ownership of their scenes. Being assigned scenes helped people feel more invested. Everyone should be involved in every part of the pipeline, so we’re all working on similar tasks at the same time – everyone has made 3 environment assets, is working on animation tests, re-doing thumbnails, and block-in.
The Good – We have finally agreed on a title for the animation. It is called “Alone?”. Animation tests are coming along smoothly. Environment assets are getting thrown in. It feels like a lot of progress is being made now that we’re animating and everyone has ownership over a scene.
The Bad – Resources, still. The underclassmen are trickling into the labs because the others are at max capacity. Some computers are already on hold for rendering. It’s only Week 4/10. The fun has only just started. I wish I could go back into Fall term and do a few things differently, in regards to the project timeline and making an “alpha”. Iterating the story is integral to character animation, but we focused too much on polish, which was disingenuous to the flow of our story. I’m learning a lot about managing a 9-month project.
This week was strange for me, I was sick for most of it, so I still tried to get work done, but not as much work as was needed. Which sucks, but nothing I could really do about it. This past week I modeled some environment assets to populate our animation’s environment, I also worked on texturing a few of them. I also worked on modeling and rigging our Danger Flower for the scene that I’m animating. It still has a bit of work to be done to it, but it can open and close it’s petals, so hurrah! (and it spits things right now…)
So while I have worked on the environment assets I also did two test animations for the man and the dog and found that when the man and the dog turned around that their legs broke, so that was fun, they are currently being fixed by our riggers. After that I will be working on fixing up my blends for the dog.
I also made thumbnails for the Danger Flower scene, but since I was very sick they don’t look so great, but you can still gather the main idea from them.
We had a few meetings these past couple of weeks to get the name for the animation down, since we need that by 1/31/17, and that is tomorrow. We also had to discuss poster for the display in urbn in March, if we actually do get the month of March. Also I find it very pleasing to listen to Bossa Nova/Jazz music while doing thumbnails. I would suggest other people fins uplifting Jazz music to do their thumbnails to.
The Good: WE DECIDED ON A NAME FOR THE ANIMATION! We are animating, we have environment assets.
The Bad: We have so much to do. We haven’t figured out our full render pipeline yet. We have to start texturing things. I work part-time and this week my schedule has me working nights when I would rather be in the labs. I wish I had Hermione’s time turner from Harry Potter, that way I could get enough sleep and be able to go to class and do all my work and still be able to go to work. I can feel week five creeping up on us, and that is not a pleasant feeling. That mean’s the term is half over, and I’m not ready for that yet.
This week I did a couple of things. I did another animation of the dog, this time a walk to practice animating the dog in a simple way. Prof. Mauriello assigned each of us which scenes we would be animating and I thumbnailed my shots. After our team meeting and review, I updated my thumbnails with the changes we discussed. I created topical guided of the layouts for the scenes in Photoshop which I then put in Maya as guided to help me model the environment. I have been created rocks and plants and placing them in the scenes accordingly, though right now I am more concerned with just mapping out the larger areas for now. I also made a lot of sketches for the logo and the poster. I am currently working on digitizing my logo sketches and creating more variations on the ones we liked as a team.
The good: all of the above
The bad: I feel like I haven’t done as much as I could have. It was a slow week.
DragonBones Productions temporary team logo. We will replace the font.
Continuing from my work last week, I created more animation tests and began to model environment assets. I have already created simple walk cycles for both characters and I decided to create a more in-depth animation with one of the characters this week.
I decided to animate the dog in greater detail as practice with a quadruped is needed more than a typical person. I created about eight seconds of animation of the dog walking, jumping up, and jumping down. The biggest challenge of a jump animation, and most animation in general, is ensuring that the weight looks right. If the weight is believable, then the whole animation looks that much more real. The importance of weight is exaggerated in a jump specifically. Therefore, I put most of my effort into the moments when the dog left the ground and the moments of impact after the jump.
The workflow for my animation was to block out the major moves of the dog’s root and legs/paws first. Then, I added motion to his body, neck, and head. After these looked good enough, I refined the motions and added more in-between keys for the root and legs. Finally, I animated the tail after the motion of his body was already laid out. This hierarchy of work definitely simplified the process of properly capturing weight and movement in the dog’s body. It also allowed me to confidently create secondary motion in the dog’s ears and tail.
As for modeling environment assets, I worked on plants this week. Each member of the team modeled at least three plants for our animation so that we can quickly create a solid bank of unique plants to populate our scenes with. I modeled a curly, vine-like plant, a fern, and an exotic flower this week. I also spent time to create some basic rock formations to help fill out the environment.
Next week I intend to continue with environment assets, create matte paintings for the skies, and refine the shot-by-shot thumbnails of my scene. This is in addition to the weekly animation tests.
This week we focused on environment and story so we can shoot reference video on Wednesday and immediately move into the pop-thru. The video above is my thumbnailing for the starry night scene, the scene I’ll be animating. I also worked on my last two flowers and the crystals for the environment.
Light Bulb Plant
We are testing out subsurface scattering for our plants so I’ve been doing render tests for that as well. These are all Renderman RIS textures because that’s what we are rendering in.
We have continued to do animation tests and troubleshoot the rigs. There was an issue where the hips were flipping around on both rigs so we have to reorganize the hip joints slightly. The dog elbows are a little wiggly possibly because of the shortness of his upper arms.
The Good: There is a possibility that we may have a rough pop thru for the midterm presentation but nobody wants to promise anything at this point. People are getting better at animating with the rigs. I feel like our six second animation practices are really showing their worth each week.
The Bad: Facial rigs are still buggy. We’re worried about needing to have a fully rendered garbage version of our animation for the end of this term. I think we could either render it or animate it to near completion but I don’t think we can do both so the rendered scene or scenes are going to look like crap next to the nicely animated playblasted scenes especially with our rendering resources being so limited and the other underclassmen who will inevitably be rendering their own final projects. We’ll see.
Here are the two other plants and the beginning of some crystals for our environment. We are using Renderman RIS for our animation so these are all Renderman textures including subsurface scattering on some parts of the flowers.
This week has been about finalizing rigs and playing catch-up. Everyone has been doing animation tests and reporting bugs for final touches.
The Good – The rigs are in a comfortable spot. We have been producing environment assets to populate our scene with.
The Bad – Based on the animation tests, our advisor has assigned us each key scenes from the animatic … and tasked us with re-storyboarding the shots… again. Everyone is very burned out from working on story and we all are just itching to animate. We’re worried about deadlines and don’t feel like we are making a lot of progress. With the promotional material deadlines coming up, it pressures us more … we don’t even have a name for our animation.
This week I focused a lot on trying to implement the Blend Shapes for the dog correctly. I have successfully implemented all of the facial shapes for the Dog, however, there is one shape that isn’t cooperating with me. The dog needs a corrective blend shape for when he sits, and I have been able to implement the shape in different versions of the dog with varying degrees of success, but it seems that I will have to go back and reshape out the Dog’s sitting position before I am able to place it into the rig.
This week my team and I also did test animations with our rigs, I had the Dog Walk up a small hill. I am working on a Man animation for this week and then next week we are moving on to animating out stories. Each member of our group has been assigned a shot from our animation to animate. We each will be drawing out (storyboarding) our scenes this week for our adviser. I have the Scene with the Danger Flower, which I will also be modeling and animating within the next couple of weeks. Our Team has a lot to do, but we are just getting started.
We also divided up some environment art for the background so that will be fun to model in the coming weeks.
The Good: Animations are Fun, Modeling environment art is Fun.
The Bad: Time is our enemy, we have a lot of deadlines to meet in the coming weeks and I hope we are up to the task.
The Pictures are Snapshots from my Dog animation, my Man animation and there is one Shot of the Dog’s Blendshape Face.