Thursday, 15 May 2014

MAV: Creating shot info sheets.

I whipped up a quick template which we can use to stay super organised. I've created boxes to fill out which will provide the layout, equipment, camera settings, and VFX considerations for every shot.

I'm hoping that this will help us set up the shots much quicker, and serve as a checklist to make sure we don't forget anything. Also it'll be handy to have all the shot info noted down so that when it comes to tracking and compositing, we'll have that information to hand.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

MAV: Filming the latest animatic.

Our story has been going through some serious changes in the wake of the Going Live project, which sapped up 80% of our time this semester. We spent the afternoon filming some pre-vis/animatic draft shots to create a quick edit.

It's been pretty handy, and allows us to see how the story flows and what changes we'd need to make.

Monday, 12 May 2014

MAV: UV mapping :(

I hate UV mapping. Finished off doing the character though, which means it's ready for rigging!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

MAV: Character Modelling Finished

I've almost finished modelling the main character for our film. I've been unable to progress on it during the hectic Going Live project, but now we have a bit more time to focus on our other commitments.

I need to finish off the eyes and make some tweaks. Because the eyes aren't spherical, I'll need to impliment some workarounds to allow them to rotate properly within their sockets.

Friday, 2 May 2014

MAV: DoPing for Rebecca.

Rebecca was nice enough to ask me to film her live action footage for her, which was great! It was a good opportunity for me to help out on another project, while getting in some hours using all the camera gear.

The film is a demonstration of the uses of motion capture technology to visualise sports injury. We were in the motion capture facility down at Ninewells Hospital filming her talented dancer, Amy, as she was being motion captured.

We hired out a GoPro as well, as I was keen to get some unique angles in there... as well as a DSLR to capture some timelapse photography. I think these kind of shots should help add some originality to the footage, can't wait to see how it turns out!

We captured a shitload of footage, which I'm sure she'll enjoy sorting through. I think we got some really great stuff, and it was made all that much easier to have Rebecca and Tom there to help with all the complicated movements.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Going Live: FINISHED

MAV: Filming with John H!

The mere beginnings of my no doubt prosperous acting career.... working with John H in the green screen studio to film reference footage for his short film.

I have to admit, being dragged around by J.J and Tom while wearing giant condom outfits was a bit bizarre, but it was nice to lend a hand!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Going Live: Revisiting Sound Design

We have completed an initial draft of the film (which is still under wraps for now...) but I wasn't 100% happy with the audio balance and narration. Some of the levels were a tiny bit off, and the narration felt a little cramped in the middle. I'm really happy we revisited this, as I think the new audio track is a vast improvement over the old one. Thanks to John and Tom for their stellar work on the audio, I think it sounds ace :D

Monday, 14 April 2014

Going Live: Dragon Transformation

I've been avoiding this effect for a little while as I wasn't 100% sure what would be possible given the time we have left. It worked out rather well though!

I started off by using the ID matte for the tree to mask out the eagle leaving only it's ambient occlusion pass, the tree then expands to fill the entire frame with blackness as the eagle begins to desintegrate and the dragon materialises around it. 

It's a similar effect to the one I developed for Ticked Off, but it looks pretty slick and is relatively painless.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Going Live: Shot 02 Composite

I've spent a LONG time wrestling with the passes for shot 02, the main issue is trying to get the shadows for the town to soften accurately, while retaining a stylistically sharp shadow for the dragons which are high above the landscape. If rendered accurately the dragon shadow would be extremely blurred due to the penumbra softening the edges.

I eventually managed to render out two seperate shadow passes and composite them together to achieve the desired effect.

I then precomosed this shadow pass and treated it like a single shadow pass to composite with the rest of this shot. I've still got a lot more to do on this shot, particularly at the end when the ground burns away to reveal shot 03, but at least this problem is solved!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Going Live: Final Render Passes.

I've completed the final render passes for the film which are listed below. Some may show up better than others and might be best viewed full size. Shot 3 (the one shown) probbaly has the most, but shot 2 also has some unique challenges which I'll need to address.

For simplicity some of the passes (e.g. Fire) have been composited and merged as it's made of up several individual layers/effects. 

I've also been given access to the render farm, which allows me to set off the renders at will. It's a really great asset to have, and I'm picking it up pretty quickly! 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Going Live: Locking down the compositing.

I think I've got a pretty solid idea of what layers/passes I'll now need for compositing. I've spent a lot of time trying different looks and figuring out how to obtain the correct passes. This is how it's looking at the moment, still plenty of stuff to tweak but I'm pretty happy with the progress so far. 

The rest of the production is coming along smoothly and we've got some beautiful animation completed, which I can't wait to render and comp. 

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Going Live: Final Paper Shader.

I've finished tweaking the paper shaders and textures for the dragon, really pleased with the look. I could have spent a lot longer messing around with it but I need to move on to finalising the compositing!

I thought it would be cool to add in a glowing fire from inside the dragon to really show off the translucency of the materials. I achieved this by parenting a light to one of the joints inside which I will render out as an individual pass allowing me to toggle/flicker it when he breathes fire.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Going Live: Camera Layout.

I've been finalising the camera moves and layouts for shots 1 and 2 to pass off to the animators. Shot 3 is pretty much unchanged however.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Going Live: Latest compositing test.

I've been messing around more with the compositing and it's really starting to take shape. The textures, rigging and animaiton are all coming along nicely so I've got plenty to play with. I also applied the normal maps to the textures and it's working very well. 

I've added some camera effects such as grain, bokeh, chromatic abberation and flares to try and remove it from the overly CG look and it's getting there... definitely needs more work though.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Going Live: Normal Maps

I've been investigating creating normal maps from photography to enhance the procedurally generated textures within Maya. I photographed different levels of crinkled-ness to give us a small library of options for the final outputs.

I initially tried creating the maps in photoshop but was having some bizarre issues despite following the tutorials exactly, so I investigated further and found a program called "crazybump" which does a greta job of generating normal/bump/displace/cavity maps from images.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Going Live: Early compositing look dev.

No textures, quick lights, bare minimum render passes... just playing around really.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Going Live: Final Dragon Model.

Finished the dragon model! I'm pretty happy with the result and can't wait to see it animated.The rest of production is coming along smoothly and we're making decent progress. I've also started experimenting with rendering and compositing to test the look of the film. 

Thursday, 27 February 2014

MAV: Character Modelling Progress

More progress on our Character for the film, the mixture of organic and hard edge modelling is proving a bit trickier than I anticipated... but It's getting there!

Friday, 21 February 2014

MAV: Character Modelling

I've been modelling the character for our film after recieving Tom's final design. It's difficult to find time during the going live project, but I don't imagine there will be too many problems.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Going Live: Modelling Progress

Modelling progress, still blocking out most of the body and wings, but you get the idea. 

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Going Live: Dragon Head

The rendering isn't quite as good as the first test, but it's more just to post the model. Ignore any shading/texture errors.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Proof of concept track.

I'm afraid there's been a distinct lack of updates primarily because I'm going fucking mental trying to handle the insane amount of work we have.

Here's a track test. The track aint great, the key is atrocious... but given the poor lighting and environment, it worked rather well. It's done it's job and now I can move onto creating a prettier one.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Going Live: Character Design

Here's what I was thinking for the tone/look of the dragon, it's a little rushed but you get the idea. He's an evil, greedy, badass... which I tried to reflect.

I intend to pay close attention to the overall shapes and shilouette of the dragon, as that's pretty much all we see until the money shot at the end. Most of the details will probably get lost, and the overall body shape is far more important than the head.... but I drew a bunch of heads.

The middle/left one is the only one I'm particularly fond of... it's got  slight eagle look to it, which I reckon would add a nice touch. 

Going Live: Paper Shader Video

Not as effective at showing off the shading as I'd hoped to be honest, I think a full turnaround would work a lot better. If you look at the back of the head near the base of the horns, you can get a decent idea of how the light penetrates the paper.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Going Live: Paper Shaders.

Trying to experiment with the modelling/texturing/rendering to get the correct feel for the paper... which is made up of lots of subtle but important features.

I used procedurally generated textures and bump maps on a tweaked automatic UV, which I think is pretty successful and would save a LOT of time. The only downside to this is that in order to apply any displacement maps for detailed paper wrinkles/tears etc, we'd need to fully UV the model which would be difficult and time consuming.

I'm rendering a 40 frame video at the moment to show how the light interacts with the paper. I'll post that when I can.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Going Live: Animatic

We've been working tirelessly on finalising the story for the Going Live project. Here's the initial draft of the animatic. The timing needs tightened up a bit and some of the visuals clarified, but the gist is there! 30 seconds definitely isn't as long as it used to be.

Storyboards were created by Sheng, and narrated by Tom, edited by myself. 

Saturday, 25 January 2014

MAV: Storyboarding

Been drawing out some Storyboards for a revised draft of the film, hoping to cut these together into an animatic ASAP. We've made a lot of changes, trying to refine the idea and keep it reasonable... although I'm concerned that the amount of going live work will interfere with this a lot.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Going Live: Production Roles

I've put together a list of production roles that people are keen to do, I imagine this will flow and change a lot throughout the production, but it's a useful starting point so we can start organising tasks. 

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Art School Location Scout

We've been looking at different locations around the art school to try and find some interesting shots for the film. As it stands at the moment, we've got 3 locations in the building, 4 locations which will require travel, and 1 green screen shoot. 

Hopefully with the editing and choice of angles, these interior ones will still be interesting to people who're familiar with the building. 

Monday, 20 January 2014

Going Live Begins!

We've been given our going live brief from Axis Animation in Glasgow, and it's an exciting project to create a short 30s animation to accompany The Hobbit. 

I was keen to direct the project as I'm a massive fan of the source material, have experience leading an animated production, and had the bare bones of an idea. Mercifully, my classmates were up for it! 

The idea revolves around explaining the mysterious origins of the dragons, which is rather unexplored in Tolkien's works. After some extensive research we settled on an idea that they originated as Eagles, and were captured and corrupted by Morgoth, one of the great gods of Middle Earth.

I'm a massive fan of the iconic map style Tolkien carries throughout his work, and had a rough vision for how that could translate into an animation. I think a combination of origami/papercraft alongside the illustrative ink effects would work extremely well in 3D. Also the paper effects would gel very nicely with burning and fire effects. 

I'm very hopeful for the project, and everybody seems enthusiastic to get started!

Character Designs

I've been doing some character colour tests, which were designed and drawn by Tom. Any feedback would be grand, any favourite? A combination? Patterns? I'll probably work on doing a few more colours and patterns, and trying different combinations of those... but this is just to get me started.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Tentsmuir beach location scout.

Made the most of the stunning winter weather today with a trip to the beach to scope out some potential shots. I'll just dump the photos here, some are better than others. It was really great, I'll need to head back with the rest of the team and do some more thorough planning... but I think these definitely get across the feel of the place.