Friday, 24 June 2011

Film so far

Finished late night Thursday....Everyone stayed from group all exhausted waiting in anticipation. This is what we could finish by the deadline for degree show.

There is quite a bit of tweeking and re-rendering that needs to be done plus sound and the title and credits need to be sorted.

For know this is where we are at. Got to go work know and I shall put a list of things we need to look at per shot for next week. So for skillset it can be sorted.

Also to give to sound as the timing will be locked.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Conclusions and reflections so far........

Leap of faith has many layers, which was used to show off all the skills and abilities of the team: Please see below………
Layer 1 – Self and individual priorities on the animation. Individual skills.
Depa – Director/Producer/Art Direction/Character (Librarian) modeller.
Pre production some of the jobs listed
• Original Concept
• Script
• Story/Narrative
• Character Boards Librarian and Owl
• Environment mood boards
• Leading a team
• Scheduling
• Animatics
• Modelling
• Main Character and blend shapes
• Tree
• Watch
• Candle
• Book
• Dynamics/Technical
• Candle flame using emitters and lighting scene
• Lighting scene candle light
• Animating book turn page
• UV Mapping and texturing
• Animation
• Shatter effects
• Rendering
• Compositing
Nathan Main environments/Props modeller and texture artist
• Model environments and props inside and out, house, lectern, frames, pumpkins, objects in scene
• Lighting inside and outside.
• UV Mapping and texturing
• Compositing
• Animation of leaf falling
• Rendering
Yemi Character Modeller
• Model owl to concept design
• Model dove and concept design
• UV Mapping and texturing for the characters above
• Animating Dove sequence for VFX Shots
• Rendering
Alex Lead animator
• All shots from 05-24
• Passes x3
• Compositing
• Rendering
Diogo VFX for the final shots 21-25
• Ink splash (TBC)
• Inkpot shatter
• Ink turn to globules (TBC)
• Doves coming out of globules
Marios Props modeller/UVmapping and texturing
• Shield
• Sword
• Helmet
• Chest plate
• Texture main librarian character, and bible
• Bottles and books
For me I wanted to extend my character creations, modelling skills and storytelling. For others animation and VFX etc. The Story and narrative enabled those who worked on L.O.F. to explore and extend their capabilities.. I have enjoyed working with the guys and through this we have not only extended our capabilities but also our friendship to understand how to work together to make this animation happen. It was by no means from day one going to be a walk in the park. From the start it was go…go…go… all the way through. The motivation, drive and commitment from the team was awesome and times when we didn’t know how to do things we just chipped in and to help each other out. That’s the spirit. Not just self gains but really supporting; building each other up when confidence was low.
Layer 2 Faith Layer
Leap of faith is a story of a librarian that has given her life to God She studies the teaching of the bible. This life long commitment to study the word has turned dry and she has become complacent. The routine has become a religious ritual rather then a refreshing daily spiritual walk led by God. She feels God no longer speaks to her.
The proverb, ‘before a downfall the heart is haughty but humility comes before honor’. Is about the librarian becoming complacent and doing it her own way her pride takes over as she forgets to look after and maintain the things around her. Fragile and old she is becoming through age so to the furniture. As she climbs down the step gives way and no longer able to support her weight. She falls she cries out to God… ‘God save me!’ She has no one else to save her so her belief and faith is put to the test when she cries out to God for a supernatural miracle.
Layer 3 Visual/Spiritual Metaphors
The inkpot is a visual metaphor of the person. Before it falls it is the old self once it falls and smashes all is released and the black in representing sin turns into white doves being the Holy Spirit. This is the transfiguration of the Holy Spirit. There are plenty of symbols representing the armor of God…
• Sword – of the spirit
• Helmet-salvation
• Breastplate-righteousness
• Belt-of truth
• Shield of Faith
• Doves – representing holy spirit
• Owl- Librarian conscious
• Inkpot-extension of the librarian
The purpose of this was to develop my character modeling and lighting which I feel I have achieved and still learning. This is just the stepping-stone. During my creative journey through my life in fine art, fashion design, model making, everything I created I wanted something amazing to happen to it. This couldn’t be achieved without lots of money and equipment. CG helped establish my dream. This is still a journey but I know this is where I want to be. I love animation and film I have met some awesome inspiring people on the course especially those assisting in Leap of Faith it has been a journey for all of us.

Fortunately the layout of the story was well established when first pitching this concept. The biggest challenge was sorting out how we could do the VFX shots of the bottle exploding with the doves escaping to save the Librarian. I knew what I wanted, but was difficult to explain my vision to the team. However through continuous communication and tests Diogo (vfx artist) saw my vision and was exciting to see the effects achieved to bring that vision alive. The other difficulty is the role of Director. The role would be fine if that’s all you were doing but I was juggling against other tasks and roles such as dynamics, pre-production, storyboard artist, main character modeler etc. whilst directing the team setting up meetings and scheduling as well as making sure all department were ok Whilst having to do other set projects. The blog had to be left on the backbench sometimes.

The teams have been awesome. Nathan, Diogo, Alex, Yemi have all brought my concept to life. My environment modelers have been great just getting on with stuff and have proved to be quite an asset in the project. My animator very professional and committed as well as brilliant timekeeper often finding him working away at college on the animation and assisting me he’d make a great producer. My modelers and VFX artist have been brilliant and have continuously kept in contact to make sure that the style and design where in keeping to the concept. Of course we have had many heated moments and arguments but that is normal when tensions and stress levels are high with so many other things having to be done at the same time. Many times we have got stuck on different stages of this chain, learning how to do things that we didn’t know. It has been a learning curve for me as well as everyone else dealing with areas such as render layers that we have not had much experience in.

The most important achievement is that we have all managed to work together and have achieved an animation that is true too the style and mood of the original concept.
The rhythm and style is not funny but evoke meaning and feelings, which I feel, is achieved.
Communication has been achieved through scheduled meetings, face book, msn, Skype, mobile phone, meeting up at homes, emails etc.

I must say The final term seeing it all come together is such a cool feeling but pre-production took more time then needed constantly changing the animatics and timing took considerable time. There were times when it was difficult to keep a positive attitude but when animation passes where happening and you could see the shots come alive it re-ignited the drive.

Since writing this we are at the stage of rendering different layers. Just one shot, (250 frames) is taking about a day to render on a personal computer. If I were to give advice to future teams it would be to start the animation as soon as possible and allow at least 2/3 weeks for render-passes and learn render farm and render layers. These are some of the biggest hurdles that we have faced as well as stopping production to allow other projects to take precedence due to inconvenient deadlines.
Due too so many aspects of the animation that needed my attention My personal learning - to develop my animation kept being put to one side and only till the last week was able to have time to focus on it. I forgot how much I enjoyed it. I regret that I have run out of time to hand in some better quality animation however, for the sake my folders I am a little disappointed that I ran out of time to finesse the walk cycles but will do so for my show reel.

Nevertheless know that we don’t have to fuss with anything else that needs to be in we can totally focus on the animation. We haven’t been so driven and focused as we are now!

Depa Masih
Director Leap of Faith

Shots ready to render....

This is where we are at...80% of the shots are ready for renderpasses next week. Diogo has had problems with Maya and so am waiting for his shots to be completed.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Render passes

Render passes for Shot 11>frame02

Master Beauty layer...

Ambient Occlusion

Shot 11 Test - ready to render

I prefer this render test as the shadow is more natural. The style of this animation is not for realism but stylised.

This shot was achieved by enabling shadows on the drop down menu in the UI and enabling final gathering and ray tracing. However the shadow is too harsh. Quite nice to emphasize the candle light that increases shadow formation.
Rise and shine give G the glory! Cool managed to get the textures and lighting working in the morning.....So all processors go to render shot 11....see you in a couple of hours.
What a day.....preparing shot 11 for render passes. Fortunately only one layer...what a nightmare....Maya was being stubborn today! rendering most of the night but had to admit defeat when every time I tried to apply the correct texture to a surface it would mess up the application or texture something else even when it wasn't highlighted. Also it was doing all kind of things with the lighting....My concern is the continuity with the lighting in scenes because rendering these shots lighting was playing up....I then decided OK maybe the computer is feeling like me....need some rest! So gonna catch a few hours sleep and get on it early in the morning....


Trying out render passes haven't tried render passes before so checked out a couple of tutorials to help me out. The best tutorial I found was Maya 2010 - Render Passes - Part 4 - Passes on you tube. Anyhow once you know how its pretty cool. It's taking a long time to render each shot. Varies from half a day to a few hours.

Selecting objects and assigning to render layer.

Layers used
Selecting layers

Creating passes and associating with passes used by contribution Map.

Selecting file name prefix:

Selecting the render layer and assigning the content. I then created some path contribution maps to link components to render layer to mental ray passes.

Selecting:Path contribution map-create path contribution map add selected 7 times.
Each contribution map I assigned different maps. diffuse, diffuse no material, indirect lighting, specular, depth, shadow, reflection.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Animating walk cycle experiments.

This is where the right foot slips forward as key info is missing when duplicating the amounts from the channel editor.

The foot slips here to rectify this When duplicating frames in the channel editor some info where not transferred so had to find the pose that I was duplicating to the correct amount. Also I moved the key in the Graph editor to smooth it out...

This owl is no where near finishing...smoothing out movments and finessing in the graph editor.

Argh......walk cycles.......OK....due to the amazing amount of time directing and working on leap of faith I have left animation test for my folder to the last minute...believe you me this was not by choice but because everything is taking such a long time and trying to get all the other work done for leap of faith animation.

I forgot how much I actually enjoy animating and to be honest with you I haven't really had a serious go at it since the beginning of the second year. Why? I hear you asking...because my priorities were to focus on character modelling, learning good topology etc lighting and dynamics.

Unfortunately due to the scale of this project, commitment to the running of this project and other projects running alongside the animation has been the priority. I am disappointed that I have run out of time with finessing my animation but just starting it again has reignited my enthusiasm for it. In the next couple of weeks I will do some animation walk passes using the librarian character for my show reel.

I have using Erik Westlunds Tutorial digital tutorial and many web research on walk cycles. Please see below links that have been used.
Animators survival kit

So far in a nut shell I have learnt......
  • Starting the project setting tangents to linear when I first start
  • setting timeline time real-time (24)
  • setting up the key poses and breaking tangents
  • positioning building the passing pose not only translates but rotations with feet and hip
  • Creating flapping etc finessing steps
  • Creating opposite pose
  • cleaning up using the graph editors tangent conversion tools, stepped, linear, flat, spline, curves, post infinity cycle

I have only started! Just two days I have been learning how to do a walk cycle and yes I know that isn't enough time to execute a fine smooth walk cycle...but this is ongoing as I mentioned before in the next couple of week so want to learn how to move the hips chest head shoulders arms etc to walk in unison with the feet and how to do a character walk cycle in my case an old watch this space...

I'd aso like to mention a special thank you to Alex for helping with some advice on getting started.

I would like to next week take some video clips of old people walking and decipher a unique old person walk cycle.

Useful resources.

Frame 25: Key Pose, identical to frame 1

Frame 22: Inbetween, weight up

Frame 19: Left standing leg

Frame 16: Inbetween weight down

Frame 13: Key Pose right foot forward

Frame 10: Inbetween weight up

Frame 7: Breakdown, left standing leg.

Frame 4: Inbetween, weight down

Frame 1: Kepose, Left foot forward

How to create cycle on walk path. Couple of glitches when doing this as the end pose on frame 25 doesn't smoothly flow to the 1st frame so more graph editor editing....

Using pre infinity and bake to make a walk cycle

Breaking tangents...
Linear to get basic poses down