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#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#15 Aidan Dougher

This week is strange, because for some reason people didn’t know what they should be working on. Which might be some bad organization, but at the same time we make sure everyone knows what they should be doing before they leave our meetings every  week, or at least I think we do. But the should be something online that tells everyone what to do, and people should check it, update it, check stuff off on it. But for now, I just stressed one of our team-members out, which I seem to be doing a lot, but I’m not really sorry. I mean, I’m sorry that they gets stressed out, but I’m not sorry that they don’t like the idea of a deadline being imposed, because we need animation, and the sooner they get their stuff into me or Cali or anyone else, the better.

Render tests render test, pantless

I wear no pants. Ever. Never.

I’ve been at odds with some of my group members this week, and someone told me that I needed to relax yesterday and I blew up at them, which wasn’t very nice of me but at the same time, when you want someone to relax or calm down, you don’t tell them to do that. I’ve also felt a bit alienated and that my work doesn’t matter to the group and no one seems to care that I made hoodoo’s and textures for our plants, I don’t get crits on them, I just get from another group member that maybe they will go in a change the texture (aside from the hoodoo’s I decided I would put a placeholder texture there, because I knew the textures would be altered later). Maybe I would have liked to be informed that my hoodoo’s weren’t good enough and I should fix them up, because I made changes to my hoodoo’s last week, just so that they don’t look like penis’ anymore, and then, there was more changes made to them. which it fine they probably needed to be done, but my ego is a little bruised because I wasn’t asked to make the changes, they were just made for me. But I suppose as long as it gets done.

I worked on my animation a whole ton this week, I also worked on instancing plants into my scene and lighting my scene better and batch rendering my scene. I hate lighting so much because I thought my lighting was okay but I’m not getting enough rim light on the characters, and I spent a loooooonnnnnnnggggg time yesterday trying to fix them, but I couldn’t, which sucks. I hate lighting so so much. Here are some of my lighting render tests from Saturday. They don’t have rim lights.

The Good: We are done with the term. We have animation. The render farm works but is still a bit unreliable.

The Bad: People still don’t know what they should be working on and then get mad at me or someone else when suddenly we ask for something that they didn’t know they should be working on. That shouldn’t happen and we should have an updated



PPJ #14 – Will Reardon

This week was nothing but animating and rendering. It was a week of straight production and I honestly liked the time spent just for animation. Although, I did end up spending more time than I would like on the whole.

After reviewing our current animations with our adviser on Thursday, we worked out fixes and got to work. On Thursday I tackled the first issue with my animations which was camera placement and cuts. A couple of my shots needed to be readjusted slightly and the cuts changed to different timings in order to allow the scene to read better. After that, I worked on render tests until I got lighting and shading I was happy with for my scene. Our overall goal was to prepare a full-pipeline scene for our meeting on Tuesday. This would display our full working pipeline and prove that we are prepared to accomplish this project.

I decided to refine the central part of my scene because I figured it would be good to polish the most important scene first. I think it went pretty well this week. Here is an example of the renders I produced.


I set about refining the animation on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for a total of 36 hours spent this week. Although it was a big push I am happy with the work that came out of it.

PPJ#14-Aidan Dougher

This week was a lot of re-animating, rendering, figuring out render passes, I think we hung the poster this past week. I have no idea what happened this past week. I am too tired to recall anything. We did render tests of our scenes, and we had a goal for Saturday to give our adviser some lighting tests in our scenes and I’m having a bit of trouble getting the lighting I want in the scene. I also am having trouble making my ground texture not so blown out in my scene. I’m having trouble in general.

I took off on Thursday after my classes because I was exhausted, and I needed to relax. I regret it a little right now because I could have done so much work then. But then I would be exhausted from that too. I have also started working almost 30 hour weeks, and I’m having flashbacks to the days when I worked at Dunkin’ Donuts my sophomore year here and I wasn’t able to balance all my school work as well as I was able to when I wasn’t working. Having a part time job in this program is practically impossible. Even when I’m taking only 13 credits. I feel like I’m letting people down on my team because I can’t be in the labs as often, but I’m in the labs like every day until midnight as soon as I get out of classes or work.

I also want to go home over spring break. But seeing as there is still a lot to do for our project, I won’t be able to. Which is pretty depressing for me, because I want to visit my family for at least a weekend. But I’m afraid that our project won’t look good, and I don’t want to have to stand up in front of a ton of people during the Senior Showcase and have to show off sub-par work because of all the hiccups we have had on the way. So I will be working on senior project over break. Fixing what needs to be fixed, rendering what needs to be rendered, animating what needs to be animated.

I worked on the environment for my scene on Friday, and I worked on animating all weekend. I’m having trouble making the dog limp away from the man, but I have reference of a dog limping that I found on YouTube, so I can use that. I can’t make a dog actually limp and then take a video because dogs can’t act on command unless you train them too, and I don’t have a dog to train at the moment, but check back in 10 years and I might have a dog whom I will train to fake limp.

I am doing a test batch render right now, and hopefully it won’t be horrible, our man is having issues, and we aren’t sure what to make of it. Anna and I spent almost and hour attempting to fix it, and couldn’t figure out a solution, we also got some help from other people, but it is a strange problem and they didn’t know what to do either. Update: Cali and Ian Hartman came up with a solution that worked, hurrah.

The Good: We put our poster up, that stress is over. Hurray.

The Bad: Apparently out man rig has an issue when batch rendering which we haven’t caught before, and it’s a strange one. (this has been fixed but who knows what else could go wrong) We are down to the grindstone and we have just caught this stupid thing. I just want the faculty to have faith in us next week, but I’m not even sure I have faith in us. I think I’m going to stand by Murphy’s law, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” for the rest of this project.

PPJ #13 – Will Reardon

The last week was mainly a crunch to finish our  textures for the poster. We chose to render a still of our animation for our poster so that meant all parts of the still had to be in their final state. This includes character textures, of course. Not everything was texturing this week. I also spent some time polishing the animation and camera work of my scenes, using Shere Kahn’s entrance from the newest rendition of the Jungle Book as reference.

Due to Cali having a larger-than-normal workload I volunteered to texture the characters for her a week or two ago. Unfortunately there was some miscommunication about the textures. I had thought that they were mostly complete with simple shading and a smooth, cartoony style. However, they needed to be overhauled with more detail, more colors, and more texture.

This general miscommunication was revealed Thursday which led to some frantic             re-texturing as the poster was due this past Saturday. A bump map had to be made for both of the characters as well.  In addition to this, I also re-linked all previous textures in the scenes from a shader that used to work the pixar surface shader that works in the newest version of Renderman.

PPJ #12 – Will Reardon

Animating! (and some texturing). Now that we have passed the midpoint of the production term our whole team is focusing on the animation of the project. We have completed our animation tests and our block-ins. Now the main focus is fully animating and refining our individual scenes.

I have the first scene in our animation and I completed my full block-in last week. After critiquing our block ins as a group, I set to work refining and fully animating the scene. I started with the man. I animated his walk, crouch, and standing motions. That means I have to animate him searching some brush and using a bottle.

When I had most of the man’s motions animated, I began to animate the dog. I figured I should create some of the dog’s motion before finishing the man. I now have the dog taking an inquisitive stance and jumping down from tall rocks. This is a big improvement over the full-body sliding I had in last week.

Other than animation, I also refined textures for the man this week. Next week I will do the same for the dog, which means all of our main assets/characters will be textured in a final state.

PPJ#12 -Aidan Dougher

This week was a roller coaster. I’ve gone from Animating, to applying the final blendshapes of the dog to applying textures for our environment models. But it has been fun. First, I redid my scene from our animatic in class, and I’m going to be doing another iteration of it this week. Then I worked on applying the SDK’s to our dog’s rig while making sure some of our environment assets were UV unwrapped correctly. For some reason, our Dog’s file was so large that it took a while for Maya to process the driver and the driven to set our SDK’s, which was a bit strange, but after that I optimized the scene and we are now good to go!

I am now onto texturing the environment assets, which I’m not sure how well I’m doing on them, I think I have captured the sort of painterly look that my team wants to go for but, until my team fully reviews the textures, I won’t know if I should change anything. Which right now would be helpful considering I’m just going through all of our plants and texturing them now. We also have a goal to get them all surfaced by Thursday and I’m hoping we meet that goal.


The only bad thing about my week is that I feel like senior project has consumed my life entirely and I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten that I do take other classes. I did remember to sign up for classes next term though so hurray for that! I’m excited to take experimental animation next term, I almost forgot it was offered.

The Good: Dog rig is done (for now).

The Bad: Overall, the team is still behind, but if we put our noses to the grindstone we can make it through.