So, Final Major Project is over and handed in, which means my degree is also finished. There have been odds and ends requested from tutors and its left me feeling like I’m in some sort of strange limbo. The degree is finished, but with all these extra hand ins (that dont even affect my marks) its hard to move onto the stage of tidying up my CV ready to apply for jobs.
Anyway, here is my final showreel, which has a variety of my best work from 2nd and 3rd year.
This is the deformations and rig demo for the elephant rig.
This is the deformations and rig demo for the toony monkey rig.
This is the unfinished version of my elephant advert. As I have mentioned previously, this project had a bumpy journey to get to hand in and sadly it never quite made it to completion. However, I thought I would upload it anyway for those curious about the project.
So, term started a few weeks back, and after a week of throwing around possible ideas for major project things actually got going. This project is all about learning new skills; specifically Maya skills. Gotta say, bit of a shock to the system. Whilst I can see the potential Maya clearly has, there is a part of me that loathes it every time I try to do something. Why must clicking on things be so difficult?! That, really, is my number one pet peeve. Trying to select items in Maya feels a bit like bashing your head against a brick wall. You click, Maya laughs to itself, knowing you were one tiny pixel from success and promptly does the exact opposite of what you wanted.
None the less, I do seem to slowly be getting to grips with all its little quirks and slowly but surely some progress is appearing in the project. That being said, Im still behind schedule, so its not perfect yet.
For the first week we spent some time doing some reasonably simple ball animations, just to truely get to grips with animating in Maya and how the program works. This second week is when things really got going. Rigging and animating. However, since I have very little interest in bipedal and character animating, my course leader has changed my brief up a bit allowing me to spend a larger period of time on rigging and then a short bit of animating. It took a lot of tutorials, and a huge amount of frustration as I hit brick walls where my knowledge of the program ran out, but I have finally managed to complete a nice little horse rig. Now I just have to animate a walk cycle with it! Before attempting the horse I did quickly complete the “ball with legs” rig that the rest of the animators are doing to ensure I had a reasonable understanding of the rigging basics in Maya.
Another year, another Glammies awards show. Once again I can’t believe the quality of work this course manages to produce. Was awesome spending a couple of hours in a cinema seeing all the great stuff up on a big screen. I think we’ve got a lot to live up to next year…
So, here’s the Glammies 2012 Showreel:
And finally, its all over. Im just collating all my files together ready to hand in. Can’t believe how fast the time shot by. Also can’t believe its almost time to be a 3rd year. Crazy!!
Anyway, here is the final showreel of my 2nd year work. Unlike the longer coursereel, this does not have the entirety of my work on it. This simply has the best of what I’ve done during this major project. Plus it has music. Woooo.
These are just a few sketches and various storyboard sheets created for early planning towards Project: Dragon.
So it would appear a pair of 3rd year VFX students had their own project idea that involved compositing creature animation into live footage. They actually were aiming for a bit of a “His Dark Materials/Golden Compass” type theme but this still fits well with my original plan to try and composite some of my animation into the streets of Cardiff. However it appears they don’t have quite the numbers of animators/artists (so far at least) required to hit the scale of film they had been planning – which is a shame because it would have been awesome if this had turned out to be the big project of the year. Ho hum. Anyway, it looks like it may just be one 2nd year artists and myself doing the CG side of the work which rather limits the number of creatures they can have. In fact, Paul and I have agreed that we can only manage two creatures. While Paul handles the modelling and texturing, I will be rigging/skinning both models and then creating a walk and run cycle for both as well as a single non-cyclic animation (ie standing up from sitting or something similar). So, that covers 6 of my 12 weeks on the major project.
For the other 6 weeks I will be working alongside Elaine and a few others to help produce a short animation we have currently nicknamed “Project: Dragon”. It involves a rather silly chase between a hapless knight and an overly playful dragon. I’ve set myself the rather terrifying project of both modelling and rigging the dragon (eeep!). However, we have an artist who loves to draw who will be doing all the horrible design work of the characters. As such, he will hand me completed turn arounds so I dont have to do any of that nasty stuff involving pencil and paper. Or at least… not in designing the look of the dragon. I still need to work out the rig structure. The modelling of the dragon (and first attempt at rigging) will actually occur during our final advanced tech project. Three weeks to model, texture and rig (a week for each). I will then probably pass the model to Ruth who may tidy up any poor edge loops to aid with skinning the final rig. Jess will also completely re-do my textures. Once that is all complete, I will build a completely new rig, get the model all neatly skinned and set to work creating clever controllers so our animators can have a great (and easy) time of animating him. So that takes up another 3 weeks of major project time. The final 3 weeks will be devoted to doing some animation with the knight in the project – a run cycle, possibly a walk or jog and then some sort of non-cyclic animation.
Scarily, we are almost three weeks through our pre-production, and currently I feel as though all I really have is research. Will have to slave away at it all after Christmas.
Well, its Major Project time already. How has this university year managed to rush by so quickly?! Can’t believe the first term is almost over. Anyway, major project time means major decision time. We basically need to do four three week projects, two of which are collaborative and two of which are personal. However, there is a huge amount of leeway with what we do and what counts as collaborative or personal. While collaborative does of course require working alongside other people, the personal portion could be a specific section of a collaborative project that only I worked on.
Having discussed with tutors, we have also agreed that I can spend half my time creating rigs, and half my time animating. My main focus is currently leaning towards VFX and specifically creature animation. As such the main thing I currently want to do is find an artist who will create me a realistic elephant model that I can build a rig for and then animate. If possible I will try to find some VFX individuals that might help me composite the animation in to a real video.
So I’ve just spent the afternoon researching the skeletons of african elephants and watching various videos on the BBC motion gallery (which by the way is one of the most awesome resources for animal reference footage).
We have a pitching session middle of next week which hopefully will help me find a partner modeller as well as decide what the other half of my major project will be. In the mean time, more planning and research is required!
This project was based around the idea of the 11 second club. For anyone reading this who doesn’t know what that is, its awesome to look at. A nice monthly competition to animate to an 11 second voice/sound clip.
Anyway, this project was about four weeks long, one of which was pre-production and one of which was reading week. It was a hard slog, seriously hard work but a good introduction to animating and the stages that go in to creating a polished final piece.
We broke the animation down in to a series of stages to get done one at a time. Firstly we blocked out the main poses, then added some in between poses. Over the first week we just built up the in between poses in a stepped animation format. Once we had got out blocked animation fairly cemented we were able to move onto the smooth animation and start tidying up. Once things were tidy we could finally set to work on the facial animation and the lip sync. The eyes/eyebrows I found tricky but was pleased with the final result. However the lip sync, although pretty much in time to the clip, the actual lip movements were very unconvincing in places. Sadly, I just ran out of time to be able to keep playing with it.
So, I said weeks and weeks ago that I would upload a slightly slower version of the wasp turnaround. Here it is… at long last!
Soooo… the trouble with a busy, manic course is that there is no time around the work to actually keep this blog up to date. Looks like I may have to try and set myself a time once a week to sit down and make blog posts. However, since I have found an oppurtunity today, I shall take full advantage of it.
The rest of the first two advanced tech course works involved modelling a realistic hand in one week and then rigging, skinning and texturing it the next week. To practice skinning techniques we also had to rig and skin our bug in another 24 hour session. Needless to say, it was a pretty intense couple of weeks. Still, the modelling side of things turned out pretty well. I struggled at first while trying to get my head around the idea of “edge loops”. This basically means keeping the flow of the edges around polys moving nicely around the model and trying to ensure there are as few as possible, so that they actually just loop around and connect in various places.
Skinning and rigging the wasp turned out to be a real struggle due to a few mistakes made during my modelling process. As I had modelled the legs quite bent, it was impossible to make them straighten nicely with the rig. Also, thanks to a lack of edges around the leg joints the bends were very untidy.
Having completed the wasp, we moved on to rigging and skinning the hand. This went very well and I had it mostly completed on Friday before stumbling across an error. One of my tutors helped me to find a work around for the problem and a way to reload all my work on to the rig after the fix. This worked great on the Friday. However, I came in on Monday expecting only a small amount of skinning left to do only to find that the fix I had been shown on Friday had now deleted all my work and I had to start again from scratch. Unsurprisingly I was absolutely gutted and this seriously affected the quality of my skinning. There were several errors I failed to notice in my rush to get everything complete and I watch my deformvideo now with frustration that the deforms are so much poorer than my first attempt.
We also then had to texture the hands. Rather than using photoshop, we used procedural texturing, using various noise algorithms to create the random colour changes etc that you see on skin.
Finally, once the hand was rigged we also needed to pick a final pose and animate the hand moving into this pose.