Spring Week 10 – Aidan Dougher PPJ


So, this is the last week, we turn in the project tomorrow morning. I’m equally terrified and relieved. I am not going to be completely satisfied with our final, but I will deal with what we have. I’m never going to be satisfied with anything I turn in, I guess it’s not in my personality to be satisfied with my art. I can always imagine it being better, I can see something bigger and better with every project I have apart in.

This week was entirely comping and waiting on renders, I was really scared for a while that my renders for one of my shots would be terrible. But they weren’t bad, but there were a lot, a lot, a lot of re-renders. Not as many as other teams, but for some reason, one of my sequences wouldn’t render out some frames correctly, which was dumb. then there was the case of the missing pants, and the case of clipping geometry. But in the end, it was all worth it, because I got I pretty good sequence out. We had a bit of a scare last night when Will had not worked on his comp all weekend, but that all worked out and we were able to fix up some of his plants that didn’t look so nice.

Over the past 10 or so months we have gone from a witch girl, a little boy pulling a wagon to a man on an alien planet with a dog creature. We went from a more desert theme to a pastel theme, leaning heavily on pink and purple. I’m not terribly happy with our story, but it does an okay job I guess.

Overall I had a nice enough time on this project, and although we all had our differences, we were able to make an animation together, which is pretty awesome. I’m very tired from rendering and comping all weekend, and I’m glad I had this experience.



PPJ#9 Aidan Dougher – Post Mortem

Working as a Team is hard. It’s really hard when you put like minded stubborn people into the same group. Its also hard when people don’t swallow their pride often enough to get the job done. This project has been frustrating, and projects will always be frustrating, but this project is frustrating because people would dance around what needed to be done, and not actually do it. At least four of five of us wanted to be leaders, but only one of us should have been a leader. Not all of us stepped up to where we needed to be, but in the end, we got an animation done, and we should be proud of that. This isn’t as easy as the professors might make you believe it to be. This process was completely new to most of us, and it’s difficult to get into the grove of it if you don’t know how to work in a pipeline process with several other people (especially people who think they are hotshots). Dragon Bones Productions ended up getting it done though, and that is what we should reflect on when we are out of Drexel.

Things that went right:

1.) We decided what we wanted early on, we knew that we wanted to do, all we needed was to do it.

2.) We has a good set of team members that could get the project done and make it look nice.

3.) We all were able to come together to get our project done, and we ended up needing no speaking parts!!

Things that went Wrong:

1.) Some people on our team didn’t get their stuff done on time, even though we had systems in place to get the word out about how these things should get done and who should do them.

2.) There was a lot, a lot, a lot of arguing on how we should go about getting things done in the project. This didn’t help anyone, and people became so upset with other members that communication broke down. The fact that Professors kept giving dumb advice every single presentation to didn’t help. We should be allowed to not listen to any professors without it effecting our grade.

3.) We didn’t get the animation to where it needed to be. I would label everything under Could Be SOOO much Better, we had a lot of draw backs though.

Lessons Learned:

1.) People suck, myself included. Working with inexperienced members for a production that was supposed to be what we wanted, and ended up being something that we kinda just had to deal with, also is terrible. But I learned that you have to live with the hand dealt to you. There is no way for you to tell someone that they might be wrong without being an asshole.

2.) Having a better plan going into a project would have been useful. We had the outline of a plan, which we thought was good because we knew we might get derailed at some points. But because our plan was so flexible we went off on tangents that eventually got cut anyway. We wasted a lot of time trying to please everyone, but if we had a solid plan going into everything, we might have been able to brush off the comments from the professors with more ease.

3.) Not everyone can swallow their pride, not even you. While I am very stubborn, so were most of my teammates, and having so many people like that on a team is terrible. There were times when I wanted my teammates to just listen to themselves and understand that the way they were going about something could be done other ways, and there were times where I felt my teammates were getting to much into everyone else’s business. I am also guilty of all of those things, but I’m only human, and so are my teammates. We really needed a person to calm the masses, but we didn’t have anyone. I’m not sure if there is anyway to fix this necessarily, but I can try to be better, I can try to swallow my pride more often. I felt like I was already doing that a lot this year, but I guess I just have to try harder in my future endeavors.

Spring PPJ#8 Aidan Dougher

ANIMATION HELL IS HERE. I am soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo tired. I have so much to do and I’m so tired. Life is hell, and we had our animation lock yesterday. I worked solely on animation this week, trying to get my sequence to look decent enough that I would not be embarrassed to show it at the the senior project showcase. But it looks like I’m going to be embarrassed anyway, Oh well. I gave some of my shots away to other team members so that they could be improved upon, they were some what improved. There are still problems in every single scene I have, and  while I would like to file most of my animation under the could be better category, they all need to be better. While our animation is locked, I’m secure with some of the animations in some of my scenes and some of other people’s scenes. Almost all of our animation should be better than what it is, but we can’t change that now. We will be rendering and compositing for the last 15 days before our project is due, and I am not satisfied. But, that is part of life I guess. I also finally got to make that corrective blend shape for Anna so that her sit looks less crunchy. I made a ton of animation mistakes and took appropriate pictures when needed.

The Good: This chapter is over, it was a nerve racking chapter, but its over.

The Bad: The animation is in the state of almost everything could be better. That’s not so good. I might be getting sick too. But, at least if I get sick now, we will still have something to show at the senior showcase.


PPJ# 7 Aidan Dougher

I animated all week. I sent a few things off to the farm and animated again. I have been just refining and fixing, and have been told to fix the rig for my danger flower, and I have no time to do that. I don’t know where I’m going to get the time from seeing as though I have put in almost 60 hours this week and I’m still not done animating. Animation is hell.

I don’t have a clue as to what I’m doing. Right now, I am so drained, I have to concentrate to type out these words because my fingers are too tired. I haven’t felt like this since I stayed up for 72 hours sophomore year here at Drexel. But this drain is not from my being sleepy, I believe it is from a stupid disease that my dumb boyfriend has. I just feel so tired and wish that I could stay at the labs later like I used to. But at around 8ish for the past two nights I have felt so drained that I just can’t stay any longer. Right now I am pushing through because of stress, but I really, really need sleep.

The Good: is there good? I have a very negative outlook this week, but I suppose the good is that we are almost there.


PPJ# 6 Aidan Dougher

I am on my first week without a job. Hurray, I need to start my search for after graduation. Our team lead is not being the leader that they need to be and got scared by something last week, and now they are taking it out on everyone. There is no structure to our pipeline, there is nothing being planned correctly. If I am done with my entire animation by next week, I should have something else to work on, I shouldn’t be able to twiddle my thumbs and just relax, but as it stands, there is nothing to work on. It is week 6 of the last term, and we barely have our animation together. Our team lead is worried about resources and keeps saying that we don’t have enough, we need to get this done now. But, we all have been rendering, we all have been doing our share. The fact that she thought something was finalized because it took her a week to render, but had never gotten the okay from everyone that it was finalized is just crazy. We need more communication, we sit next to each other in the labs every day but there seems to be a lack of it when it comes to final renders. Nothing should be finalized unless the team gives it an okay. You can’t go off on your own and say “whelp took me a week to render this, couldn’t possibly spare time to render it again, so, its finalized. Don’t need to inform my team.” Everyone on our team needs a structure where our animation gets passed by everyone, then it can be rendered the final time and not need any adjustments. Not everyone has to be happy with the animation, but if the animation is overall a positive and there are only a few negative things about it, it can be sent to the render farm. Our team lead also has imposed deadlines on us which is fine, but she imposed deadlines on certain people and I have a feeling that she isn’t imposing them on herself. She also made these deadlines last week and gave us a week and a half to figure out how we were going to accomplish that goal. She doesn’t seem to realize that she has become a bit of a tyrant. Another problem that I have been having with our team lead is that all last term and this term, when we would have our Monday meetings, she would schedule them and not really care is some of us, namely Will and myself couldn’t make it. It’s not a team meeting if everyone isn’t there. I had told her this several times, but it seems that she was only thinking of how to schedule it so that she could catch the bus home.

Now that I’m done with that rant, onto what I worked on this week. I worked on Animation mostly, and I attempted to make a  better blendshape for Anna using a script called extractdeltas but that doesn’t seem to be working. I need access to the plugins on the computer that I choose to do the blendshape on, and the lab computers don’t allow me access. I am trying to see if I can do it on my own or someone else’s computer who has maya 2016.5, but haven’t had much luck. I also had to go in and fix the dog and man’s outer eyes for my scene because they were overblow due to our over exposed lighting. My animation is slowly getting to the point where it needs to be, I still have a lot to fix and I need more feedback. But I also am working under the impression that my shots are going to be taken away from me, which minimizes my part in the project, another thing my team lead and I don’t see eye to eye on. I get that my scenes aren’t where they need to be, but giving me a week and a half’s notice that they are going to be taken from me if I don’t have them up to par is some bullshit. My team lead and I had a discussion last week where I said ” hey, your going to impose deadlines, you have to let me know about it way before it happens so that I can plan accordingly.” But right after that she imposed another surprise deadline. I have two more classes than our team lead, and she seems to think that because she works and is taking two classes this term, she knows what I’m going to be capable of, maybe she does because this was her situation last term, but this is being a little absurd. I’m just fed up with how things are being run, because they aren’t being run efficiently, and they aren’t being run with everyone in mind. I might have to deal with this in a workplace setting, but our team lead is not my boss, I get equal say in what happens. She is supposed to plan out the pipeline of our project and make sure that we all are getting things in on time. She hasn’t done that until last week, and even then, she hasn’t planned it all the way through.

I’ve been doing a couple of test renders of my more finished scenes to see how everything plays, and have been getting render errors, but I think that my have been my fault since apparently my renders having been getting enough memory dedicated to them. I’m still animating these scenes and they aren’t finalized but it’s good to see what goes terrible wrong and what doesn’t.

The Good: Final Stretch of our animation is here, just a few more weeks and we will be done.

The Bad: I am mad and will probably remain mad at some of the bullshit that is going on. I am an angry person right now, and don’t want to deal with the team lead’s bullshit, or anyone else’s really. I just want to get my part done efficiently and be proud of it, I don’t want it minimized because the team lead got scared. I need help in moderation, I don’t need the team lead thinking that she is the overlord of this project so she can give and take as she pleases. My contributions won’t bring the team down if I take a bit longer. Our project won’t fall into chaos if I need three extra days with my work.

PPJ#5 – Aidan Dougher

This week was very stressful and I’m exhausted, my course load is taking too much of a toll on me, so I had to cut down my hours at my job to just one day a week, which won’t be enough for me to survive on. But, I am polishing up my animation a lot and it’s getting to a much better place. In the middle of the week there was a problem with my scene file where my lights weren’t casting any shadows. But I fixed it, hurray! There was something weird going on with the environment scene Aviva made a few weeks back, and it was fixed by just taking her changes and applying it to an older version of that file. I’m still not sure what happened to her scene, but everything works now. I still have a lot to do, and apparently I have to go back and create some different blendshapes for the dog. That’s being put off to another date though, once my animation is in a better shape I can focus on that.


The Good: Uh, environment’s in a better shape?

The Bad: Animation isn’t there yet. I suck at life and I want an extra 24 hours in a day.

PPJ#4 – Aidan Dougher

So this week I reanimated my entire scene. It was the worst, and it now is pretty choppy. Hopefully I will be able to get it looking better before our presentation. But, with many things, I might not be able to get it to the same place that it was in when the professors saw it last time. I also won’t get a chance to batch render before we present. I could try but I won’t have enough time with my renders being seven minutes long per frame, and even longer when it is on the farm. I also am unsure as to how happy the farm would be with my ground having a normals map on it now. I had my entire weekend off, and all I did was animate and work on homework. I really need a mental health day, unfortunately with rising tensions I will not be able to get a mental health day until my animation is completed and looks wonderful and is put through our render pipeline into our edit and then I will be able to rest. That won’t be for another month though. I don’t have motivation to work on this project right now, and with our adviser wanting us to work on senior project and check in with him everyday, I can’t take a day off. Even if I eventually get my scene looking fantastic by some miracle. I rendered out all of my scenes for Anna to set up nuke files for, and I’m concerned about our WIP video we have to have by the presentation. No one has worked on it yet, and I want to take on the task to get out of the funk of constantly animating. I like animating, but with the fact that I restarted from scratch I am very, very tired. I also need to apply to Jobs, but I have no idea what I’m qualified for, and I don’t have an updated reel or resume, and I don’t have time for these things. So that’s my state of being. Hurray.

The Good: We are almost there, polish polish polish.

The Bad: I am worn out, and I’m sure my team members are too. We don’t have much time, and I want to apply to Jobs right now, but have no time to put a reel together.

Spring PPJ#3 Aidan Dougher

Did I work this week? Yes. What did I work on? No clue. Been logging hours on teamwork so obviously I did something. I worked a lot on the new Matte paintings for our sky for this week and am still waiting on our professor’s approval, but it seems that even though I sent them to him to look at on Thursday, he still hasn’t really seen them. Which is concerning because they have been done all weekend and I don’t think he knows that. I re-shot some reference footage on Friday so that my newly re-blocked scene can animated. I also worked a little bit on the lighting for my scene, but I mainly focused on trying to get my lights to look like day time but not look like I have a ton of over exposed plants. Which my scene, for the past couple of iterations has had a ton of over exposed plants. But Anna found a fix for it! Yay Anna! I made another blend shape for when the dog has the needle sticking out of his paw. I worked on Easter which wasn’t fun but was necessary, and I worked at my job all weekend. I’m so tired and the term has only begun.

The Good: Animation is getting done, the Matte paintings are done.

The Bad: Communication with our adviser seems to be amiss, and we only have a few more weeks to lock everything down before we are presenting. I’m tired already.

Aidan Dougher PPJ # 2

This past week has been terrible. I only got some work done on Wednesday but right now I don’t truly think I can show off what I did because we are replacing it. I got really really sick this week, I missed the meeting with our adviser because I felt so terrible I couldn’t get up from where I was laying down. I tried to go to work the next day and suffered through it, but I could barely hold it together. I wasn’t able to get any work done over the week and I feel like I’ve really let my team down. I will hopefully be over my sickness soon though.

The Good: Not everyone got sick, Yay! Some people made progress yay!

The Bad: I wasn’t able to do anything and now I’m super behind on everything. I will need all of next week to play catchup.