Friday, 27 November 2009

Self evaluation, AKA, the final post!

It sadly came to my conclusion the other day that I would not be able to accomplish what i set out to do, which is why in this post I'm going to summarise what I did wrong, and how i can improve myself for next time. Hopefully over the Christmas break I will continue working on this project, attempting to fully texture the main model and then later rig properly and animate it!

When we worked on our project, although both of us had created enough development work before we started modeling, when we modeled we decided to model pretty much in Mudbox straight away (though I made an extremely basic mesh in Maya beforehand), instead of going from Maya to Mudbox. Part of this was because we were both slightly concerned as to how to model in Maya, and secondly because we had completely forgotten what we had learnt the previous year. If we had some classes before we modeled, I think we would've been able to achieve everything as we set out to do.

Both myself an Emma used PuppetMaster (suggested by Steve!) to rig the characters easier, since by the time we got to rigging we didn't have as much time as we had hoped. The rigging worked great, however, the painting weights with our extremely high poly models caused A LOT of issues, and at the end of the day was not achievable to get it done. As you can see some posts below, the models when rigged would've been extremely hard to sort out with painting the weights, and we just simply didn't have enough time. Over the Christmas break I hope to continue rigging my character, and then attempting to animate the model as well.

However I have learnt A LOT, and this project has been extremely useful to my knowledge in 3D modeling. I learnt a lot about the development process, colour, and making final model sheets to help create the model. If I do continue I may even somewhat restart the project, and at which point I'd post the process of it here. I will still set myself a deadline, probably about 5 weeks or so (since this term was spent on two projects, hence the time we had), and try and accomplish it COMPLETELY in that time.

Earlier on in the blog I created 2 animation tests to aid me in my process, this was what I was going to animate Wee Eck doing, so hopefully when I continue with the project I can accomplish this in my original claymation vision!

Here is a final render of the model pretty much finished, the only thing I sadly couldn't achieve was the texturing (and obviously the rigging as I mentioned!).

So all in all the project was of great use to me, and that's why I shall continue in accomplishing my claymation piece, I'm also heavily looking forward to the environment project, since this I believe will also be a great help to me for our short films in the BA year!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Finished textured head!

Here's the final finished textured version of Wee Eck's head, I must say I'm EXTREMELY happy about the final outcome of this! I look forward to working more on the project over the Christmas break, since I think it would be great to finish it at some point.

Hopefully I'll be able to finish the final textured head of the full body! I also hope to nicely render each, demonstrating what exactly I've done.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

2 storyboard ideas

Although both myself and Emma could not accomplish exactly what we wanted to do (though we'll attempt over the Christmas break!), I've decided to attach the storyboard concepts that Emma had created for the project. If we had more time our piece would've been like one of these, as originally envisioned in the claymation style.

Idea 1

Idea 2

Sketches by Emma!

The progress with Wee Eck's face at an incredibly high poly count!

As I mentioned earlier I decided in making a second model that will go alongside the standard model, this model however, focuses just on the head. The poly count here is 512,512!

As with the full body, I still need to texture this.

Higher poly model progress!

I'm still somewhat dabbling in rigging, and I do hope to get a rigged model done in time, however, my main attention is making a higher model poly version of the model in the "claymation" style I originally attempted to achieve. All I now need to do is texture the model.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Problems with rigging, or more to the point, painting.

Ok so after slaving hours upon hours on painting the weights, I have come to the sad conclusion that I will probably not be able to accomplish what I wanted to. The automated rigging system that was suggested for us really did help a lot, and I thank Steve for suggesting it. But I really wish I organized things a little differently in terms of the progress, such as making a low poly model in Maya first THEN going into Mudbox to work on it. This would cause painting the weights to be even easier, so it saddens me I didn't do this.

In light of this I believe it's probably best to just focus on making the model I created even higher in detail, and then fully texturing the model. I also believe it'd be good to just focus on a separate even more detailed version of the head along with this.

I will however still try and give off the illusion that it was created with plasticine, which, with the proper texturing and lighting should work perfectly (I hope!)

Monday, 23 November 2009

Model finished, rigging nearly finished, now it's time to paint the weights!

Ok so I'm currently rigging, and thanks to Steve (our tutor) I have managed to use an automated rigging solution for the character, all it really requires are for the weights to be painted (as can probably tell witht he images). After which the texturing will then be accomplished, and applied to the rig.

After which my animation is probably still on track to being accomplished!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Progress of Wee Eck thus far!

Ok guys, here's an update to the mesh i've been working on for Wee Eck. I'm considering in making a second model so that there is a bit of choice for the character, I will be using one of my previous character design concepts to create another model.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Moom animation tests!

In order to create believable animation for the final short piece, I thought it would be necessary to do a Moom animation test, demonstrating what exactly I'd like Wee Eck to do. Bear in mind that myself and Emma are still coming up with a way to introduce both of our characters, and that this test was only done in basic blocking to ensure I know exactly what poses I'm going to do.

Here's a test I also created not long ago, to demonstrate splined animation.

An inspiring piece of animation

I've seen this for a while, but I felt it would be worth sharing with the world!

The film was made at Gobelins (France), one of the leading colleges for animation.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Model sheet!

I have finally accomplished the model sheet, and now will be ready to start modeling the model in Maya!

After I have achieved this, I will then be taking the model into Mudbox to sort out, and clean up. I must say I'm not looking forward to the rigging, but that's what this project is all about, to learn and progress. Besides, I have the animation to look forward to!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

An update!

Wow, finally, an update! As I’m sitting here, listening to music, working on my final model, I felt, why not make a new blog post?

Since I have not yet done so, here are a few of the initial sketches I had created to design Wee Eck. The design has actually come quite a way, and I hope the final model will be represent what I wished to achieve.

I’ll post up what I’ve created in the next few days, and I aim to get the character fully rigged by the end of the week. I'm hoping to start the animation this weekend.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

The different colours of the rainbow! Well, not really.

As Emma also did, I decided to come up with a bunch of colours that reflect what I want to achieve with Wee Eck, as with the real London Zoo I wanted to be authentic in what Wee Eck wears (with the added kilt of course!), so the colours are mostly different shades of green, whilst the tartan mostly consists of different shades of red (as recommended by kuler!)

Below I've attached a colour wheel, which luckily for me are pretty much opposite to the colours Emma will be using for Minnie, which I must say, is fantastic.

More in the next few days!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

The style of claymation

Since the style of the characters of the film must be tailored to look like they were done in "claymation", Here are 2 images showing both a real claymation piece, and also a piece made to mimic the style on the computer.

Wallace and Gromit

Flushed Away

When Aardman created Flushed Away, they tried to retain the claymation look, but in my honest opinion they should've gone further with adding more textures to the characters. The end result paled in comparison to their claymation efforts, aside from featuring their trademark character style. When we create our models we'll ensure the organic claymation look remains, made possible with the textures on the characters showing fingerprints.

And now here's the moment I add pretty much one of my favourite scenes from any animated film, I would embed it for easier use but it's sadly disabled!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Wee Eck McGlone

Ah wow, first proper post eh?! Good to finally post here with something meaningful and useful instead of my rather pathetic welcome post! I've decided the best course of action is to outline who exactly Wee Eck McGlone is, and what he actually does at the London Zoo!

Information Given To Us In The Character Brief
Name: Wee Eck McGlone
“London Zoo’s long suffer head keeper sixty, bald, curmudgeonly, Scottish, fiercely patriotic and obsessive about sweeping up dung”.

My Adaptation Of The Character (Liable to change)
Name: Wee Eck McGlone
Age: 61
Occupation: Zoo Keeper
Personality: Kind, shy, caring, intricate, and will stop at nothing to get the job done!

Bio: A sixty one year old Scottish Zoo Keeper, who will stop at nothing to keep the place clean and the animals in check! Likes to clean all around the zoo, but most notably likes to ensure the place is dung free! He is fiercly patriotic and wears a Scottish tartan whilst on duty. He is mostly bald, but what hair he does have left is slowly fading away. He still retains his moustache.

With this in mind it gives me a good idea of how the character should look, and act. Sketches soon to follow.

To further help the development of the character, I've taken images from throughout the internet displaying the certain character likenesses I'd like to portray in him.

Information about Emma's Minnie character can be found here!

Monday, 12 October 2009

The Brief

Brief C: Character Design

“We would like your students to design and animate some characters for us for a potential animated advertisement for London Zoo. We are thinking about using a visual style that reflects traditional “Claymation” techniques but will be generated using CG processes. The characters should be worked up from the following list:”

Willie Billiams – “A hyperactive nine year old on his first visit to London Zoo with an obsessive interest in creepy crawlies.”
Pocahontas Billiams – “Willie’s sister, she’s seven years old but much more relaxed and more knowing than her sibling. She wants to be a gorilla.”
Wilhemina Billiams – “Willie and Pocahontas’s grandmother, she thinks everything smells bad and is worried that a chimp or one of those nasty bonobos might escape and “Poo in her hat.””
Wee Eck McGlone – “London Zoo’s long suffering head keeper sixty, bald, curmudgeonly, Scottish, fiercely patriotic and obsessive about sweeping up dung.”
Cornelius – “A middle aged silver back gorilla, the most civilised and sensible occupant of the zoo by far.”

“Your students should consider the following points when working through their character designs:”

“If they work in 3D then they should concentrate on two characters from the list per animator.”
“If they work in 3D then they should be using one of the major 3D packages, i.e. Maya, Lightwave, or Max. The characters should be fully modelled to a maximum resolution of about 100,000 polygons, decent texturing is vital, we won’t accept a model alone at this stage. The model should be rigged”
“We expect to see support work on paper, development drawings and character sheets that should include orthogonal views, i.e. front, back, top, and side, and a more expressive drawing of the character in a typical pose.”
“We would like to see some expressive animation sequences that demonstrate the functionality of the rig and also character performance.”

Just to note this is a group project, so both myself and Emma will each make a character for our character design project, and then later animating both into an animation. Hopefully with our combined effort we can make an animation piece that shows off our characters, nicely rigged, textured, and most importantly animated well!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Welcome to ze Blog!

To welcome you, here's an inspiring piece of animation.

Which actually has no connection to the project that me and Emma are working on whatsoever.