Major Project Final

I am super happy that were able to fully finish and present our short film piece to the industry panel and the other students. We were one of the few teams to have a finished piece presented. We had a couple of issues with our final renders in two shots which should be easily fixed later.

The result was better than we all imagined and we got quite a good reception for the piece by the audience and a lot of laughs. Such a reward knowing we achieved what we were after. Also super thankful to Song Zu studio who created the music as well as the Foley, they did a very good job on it and blew my expectations out of the water. It made the piece so much better.

Here are some screenshots of the video:

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Major Project Progress 2

Once again our project has had issues and from that major changes. This time we couldn’t achieve the dragon that we were after in the time frame we had, so we compromised and got Josh to model a giant snake as the antagonist instead. Then after animating it in the scene we realized the story we had wasn’t going to work with the snake and the snake was lacking personality and was bring down our piece. This also meant the previous work I did on the fireball effects was also gonna get scraped.

Finally we made the hard call to cut out the snake entirely after trying for so long to make it work. Even though it means a lot of everyone’s work on it has been scraped we feel it is was a step in the right direction.

Due to this we decided to make a story out of the two models that were modelled by Dale, the girl and the luchador. But instead duplicate the luchador and texture him differently to create a red vs blue story line.

Wanting to acheive a finished result by the end of the due date we changed the story as well  to be a slapstick comedy where a girl is playing with her two luchador dolls and imagining them fighting in real life. We feel this story is gonna be a bigger success that our original and achievable with our current progress.

As for what I’ve been doing, I’ve been busy rigging our characters with partial facial blend-shapes for facial expressions. Adding controls and functionality requested by the animator. The rigging experience has been very enjoyable, I have learned a lot about the process and feel a sense of satisfaction that I created decent rigs without any major help even though I had no real experience of rigging a human character for animation purposes. I had to get help from Dean Finnigan (a second year game art teacher specializing in rigging) to create specific controllers for certain facial controls that required scripting to toggle between the blend-shapes.

Although I am happy how the rigs turned out but I would have loved to created corrective blend-shapes for the characters as some posed would break the mesh as skinning doesn’t always deform perfectly. I am running out of time to be able to create the corrective shapes.

Here are some images of the rig controls, blend-shapes and facial controls for the two characters:

Major Project Progress 1

Our team has faced a lot of obstacles over the last few weeks that has drastically set us back on our schedule and plan for the short film.

Since my last update our lead modeller had found a job in the industry, which severely set us back because none of us was competent at modelling as he was, nor did we have the time to fill another person’s work load. Billy and I ended up attempting our characters but they were not of a standard that we wanted. We then decided to try and outsource our character modellers from the other game art classes.

We got Josh Shahinian to model our dragon inspired antagonist character. And Dale Kerr to model the other two main characters being the luchador and a small girl.

We are starting to find direction again now that we have character modellers for our group.

Major Project Prep

Over the past few weeks roles and tasks have been assigned among the group and progress has started. Here are the roles as they stand:

Jin Yun – Producer, pre-vis artist, texture artist
Werner Gradwell – Modeller, character rigger, effects artist, R&D
Joseph Hensen – Layout artist, lighting artist, render wrangler and compositor
William Lawton – Generalist, animator
Callum Lyons – Lead modeller

So far concepts are being drawn up for the setting, enviroment, and most importantly the characters.

Here is a image of the enviroment that Callum has modelled thus far.callumsenv

Given my previous experience from our last project in Houdini I was tasked to research and develop methods to create the effects that we wanted. We were after a cartoon-ish fireball/ cannon ball effect. Here are some examples that I came up with.fireball_fx

Major Project Start

This will be my last project for the year and will be working on it till the end of the course. We are required to make a a short film of our choosing as a team. We have to create the entire piece from birth to completion coming up with a story, setting and  design of the environment and characters.

Our story so far is about an retired luchador longing for his long lost glory days, but gets more than he bargained for when a dragon attacks his village.

The team is called Red Scale and consists of:

Werner Gradwell
Jin Yun
Joseph Hensen
William Lawton
Callum Lyons

Research Topic

While we were working on the vfx project everyone had to take on a personal research topic of our interest, mine was learning the software called Houdini and how to create special effects in it. Which i used to create the rocket effects and its explosions.

The research topic I chose to do was how to use particles to drive a simulation.research_fx

Here is a PDF document explaining how to achieve this result:Using_particles_in_Houdini_to_drive_your_simulation_WG

Nuke exercises

For the last couple of weeks since the wtf project we have all been busy learning the software called nuke made by The Foundry, which is a industry standard for putting all the elements together to make a final shot.

Here are a few images of the many exercises we did in the program:

Here is a character called Fitz, where we took the render layers to change the image to something that we wanted. A before and after shot.

Here is a roto-scope exercise i did as well as the nuke script used.

And finally here is a chroma key and compositing exercise which we also had to stabilize.

Lastly we had to match move a shot and place an element of our making to prove that we match moved the footage properly. I added in the time on the watch.

wtf Project (continued)

Our group was one of the few groups that finished on time with all the shots rendered. We did have to cut back the quality of the lighting that I did in the scene aswell as the render settings to lower the render times so that we could be able to have it all rendered by the deadline.

Here are some images of the piece:

The story is about a zookeeper that is cleaning the window of an enclosure. When he gets bitten by the resident wolf but clocks out at the end of his shift with the wolf still biting him, like this happens every other day.

wtf Project

Heading into our first week of study for our second year at AIE. We started with getting to know everyone.

Then we were thrown into a project from the start with people that was randomly selected. We have two weeks to get a result out, so we have to work efficiently and quickly if we want to get it done. That means using existing free character models and rigs.

We also had to come up with a story from newspaper headlines as a group.

The group consisted of:

Nick – Wolf Animator

Billy – Human Animator

Caitlin – 3d Modeller

Liam – Greybox Designer / 3d Modeller / Texturer

Jin – Texturer / Management

Werner – Test Renderer / Lighter / 3d Modeller

Michelle – 3d Modeller

Shane – Storyboard + Animatics / Compositing / Sound