Saturday, 20 March 2010

The Storyboard Project

With this project, I have to admit I was somewhat guilty of neglecting it until the last minute, but I had prioritised the other projects too much, and with my health problems playing up from the strain of the other project work, and the death of a family pet looming over me, I was short on patience, energy, and the will to live by that point. If I had had the foresight to know how much work the projects would all take, I would have handled things significantly differently. But since none of us have that gift, my actions were perhaps not the best. I should have assigned more time to do this project, as it was, this reflected more than clearly in the work that I ended up handing in.

By the time I STARTED this assignment, my drawing arm was already crippled from my old friend RSI, brought on from the other projects all being done at once, so what I managed to do with it was nothing short of a miracle... I should have asked for an extension on it, but being as stubborn as I am regarding that sort of thing, I insisted I could do it.

On reflection, I would have only needed another 24 hours to pull the drawing up to a far better standard, and put adequate detail into the actual storyboard itself... make it properly extended and detailed, instead of the short and rapidly deteriorating in quality mess I handed in. But one can live and learn, and next time I have that many projects dropped on me, I shall plan my time A LOT more carefully, to pull up the standard of ALL of them to a reasonable point.

Friday, 19 March 2010

3D Bathroom Modelling Project

This project presented an interesting challenge for me, because i have never had a particular skill for modelling in Maya... well... put more truthfully, me and Maya have certain problems with each other. But we both had to get over those to do this.
I chose to model the bathroom i had done for my backgrounds project:

Mostly because it was a reasonably simple, clean cut room to work with... and i really thought that going for something more complicated than i knew how to do would end in disaster. I know bathrooms are a little boring, but on reflection it was a good choice for a first try, and the end result might have been a bit simplistic, but I was pleased with it.


The biggest challenge with this one was definitely the shower, for apparently Maya and curved lines, do not like each other, so doing the back and side that curve around was not as simple as i thought it would be, it took so many tries and scrapped attempts in fact, that i had to cut out plans to model the toilet unit you see in the origional background image, because i simply hadn't left myself enough time. The rest of the thing was fairly easy, except figuring out how to make the walls transparent, that was very tricky, but i'm pleased with the outcome.

The rest of the bathroom in general i am quite pleased with, especially the showerhead and the cuboard, even though they too are simplistic compared to a lot of the work i have seen, for a begginner, i don't think i did too badly with them.
The sink texture is a bit of a fail, because it's far too reflective, and wasn't intended to be as such. But i suppose it looks kind of... modern style in design because of it, it's simply that it wasn't part of the origional plan to have it like that that makes it annoying to me.

In conclusion, it was a challenging project for me, probably the most challenging i have had to face yet, but the outcome wasn't a total disaster, so i'm pleased with it ^_^

The Ident Project.

I was very keen on the idea of the Ident project right from the start, because of the open nature of the assignment, it was pretty much able to be interpreted in any way. So after sorting out a partner to work with, we quickly went into the planning stages for the project.

Now, i had many, many very scattered possible ideas, but Scott fortunately had a much more organised, simple idea, which was basic enough to easily work and short enough to be applied to the allowed time of the animation.

Explosions are awesome... they are widely seen as something that is awesome in movies, and i think that was the basis for the project taking the path that it did. Based on adverts like this:

You see, explosions, are awesome. They are snappy, fast, eyecatching and generally very loud as well. Perfect for short advertisements because they make the viewer pay attention, if for a very short time... which was all we needed.

At this point i had to do an animatic... which presented me with a uniqely amusing question... how do you draw an animatic... on explosions? D: Apparently... like this:
Yes... with simple roundy lines and smoke XD i will be honest, it was the only way i could think of to do it!

Having decided that explosions was what we needed, we had to pick a method, and after a couple of failed test runs to see how we could make one of those in MAYA or hand animated, we quickly wrote those off as definitely bad ideas, and settled on using After Effects and make it into a compositing project.
That was when we had to get help, both being somewhat inexperienced with compositing and After effects, we called on Pete Felstead, who set us up with a couple of good tutorials and a copy of the compositors toolkit.

From there it consisted of much practice and attempting to put things together correctly, until we could finally start on the final peice.
Well... it took numerous fails and a lot of frustration before we could finally render out the final piece, having first composited appropriate footage together and then put sound and voice to it as well, which for me was the fun part i might add!

[Video to go here when it finally uploads ^_^]

The final peice was... shorter and sharper than expected. The sound of breaking glass does somewhat cancel out the first words of 'The Redroom... it's explosive' but they are audible under that. If we could have added just one second more to split them up and made the voice somewhat louder, it would have worked a lot better. I was pleased with it overall, though it could have used some small tweaks to make it work properly, and i think it's a rather good short, snappy starter for the Red Room... as long as the listener doesn't have the volume too high.

The Backgrounds Project

The background project presented me with a real test because drawing backgrounds has never really been my strong point... and that is to say, i am terrible at them. It's not something i have ever really chanelled my attention to, learning to draw figures and such instead of background-landscape themed things. But hey, always a chance to try something new eh.

Due to certain problems with two of my backgrounds
on the first attempt, i re-did them, and the three resulting backgrounds were tolerable, if somewhat simplistic a
nd not too great. But it was a learning curve so i'
m not completely unhappy with them.
Thanks to a hard drive corruption i no longer have the three origional backgrounds to upload, but the two re-done later ones i do have ^_^ The ones i am actually not unhappy with.

This pencil done background was really not easy for me, i had to largely trick myself into getting it started because the challenge of drawing a house is a little intimidating to someone who lacks confidence in their skills at drawing buildings. So i had to find something i was confident drawing to draw myself into starting this. The overly elaborate door was how i did this. I have been drawing tribal designs since before i was in college, and worked as a tattoo designer for several years in my later years of my a-levels as a result of that. Tribal is something i am extremely familiar with and comfortable drawing.

For example, see these, my largest tribal works, all done on A3 size, in
pen, each one made up of hundreds of small tribal patterns. Suffice to say they took a very long time.

These are just a couple of many many many more XD but i won't shove all those here since it would take all day.
As you can see though, tribal is something i am very familiar with, and as such, letting myself start with something tribal made it possible for me to build on it and turn it into a full picture.

Here we have the other background i still have, the one i based my 3D room model on, which is why it has more furniture than the 3D model XD because it's easier to draw these things than it is to model them.
Drawn by hand and then scanned in to be re-lined and coloured in photoshop, it's certainly not the best work i have done in photoshop... in fact compared to some of my more artistic peices this is actually bad. But the cuboard door handles are quite nice... that's about the only thing i like about the way this came out XD

Overall, the project wasn' t too bad for me, and i did have to make a swift learning curve about perspective as applied to rooms and furniture... but the final outcome of it wasn't too bad at all.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

The Flash Project.

Well this second term has been... troublesome, both on course and at home, but it seems now i am merely one day from the end of it all, and time has come to begin the big update which should have been week by week and ended up being put off until now.
As such i have deemed that the best way to 'blog up' the term, is to do it in five Project sections for the six projects. Live at 5, Flash lip-sync, 3D room model, Backgrounds, Storyboarding and finally the Ident. I am begginning all this with the flash project section, so i shall get right into it and stop beating about the bush.

This was a difficult project to do for me, being extremely inexperienced with flash and lacking the ability to draw well with the art tools it provides... i decided to sidestep this problem to start with by 1) designing a character model first on paper,
2) Putting it into photoshop, and colouring/line-arting it...
3) Rigging it's layers to work right there.
4) Then transferring it to Flash.

Well... let's start at the start.
Step 1:
This is the character's original design, pencil drawn very carefully, given the working name of Fabian... yes after my rat.

Step 2 & 3:
Yup, going good... Fabian is all lined, coloured and rigged, his arms, forearms, neck, eyebrows, eyes and mouth all designed carefully on separate layers, with carefully made joints so as not to make the gaps show when they were rotated or moved. Simple shaded with easy on the eyes colours and tones.

Step 4:
Oh now here is where we hit a problem... it seems i was misled when i was told that photoshop CS4 and Flash CS4 were compatible... it seems that what my source meant to say was... they are about as compatible as a square block and a round hole.
What happened to Fabian's carefully rigged face, his soft lined form and pleasant appearance... Flash happened to it.
No matter how much i consulted help over the matter, he was damaged beyond all repair, no matter how many ways i imported him or snuck him into flash... this was always the result.
So biting the bullet i set about trying to fix him, in flash... it did not go well, his eyes were unsaveable... the eye sockets had been fused to the eyes and therefore if the eyes were moved, the eye sockets retained an out of place, jagged line where they had once been... making them unmovable.
The rest was not too far gone, save for the fact i had spent so much time trying to fix him... that i was running very short on time for the actual animation. So i dropped the work on the model and began to lip sync like never before!
I used Nine total mouth models, which actually looked good when made with him in photoshop... but required some serious work to be even usable in flash. But i made do and moved on, completing the animation on time and having time to give him some interesting eyebrow animation in the vain hope of making up for the absent eye animation, making him look wooden and unreal.

Overall... i could have done a reasonable/good flash animation if Flash and Photoshop had played nice with each other, but it was a learning experience, and i took away from it an improved flash animation ability as well as respect for the art of lip syncing... and a no-tolerance resolve towards the myth of adobe's program compatibility... just another of the hard learned lessons on the long and animated road.