Maya: 3D character

To further our practice with 3D animation, we signed into an animation tutorial website called Animation Mentor, in order to teach us the basics of animating a full character in Maya.

 

After downloading the character from Animation Mentor, I opened up a new setup in Maya and selected the animation setup. I then used the attributes editor to add a key-frame to all of the character’s limbs after selecting frame 1 in the timeline. I then moved the character’s left leg up, causing the leg to bend for the first frame. I repeated this process for both of the character’s legs to creating a walking motion.

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Maya animation: Lighting

Lighting: In a 3D space, light is used to create atmosphere, and since the light is digital in Maya, we have a lot more control over how and where it is used.

The system that Maya uses to process it’s lighting is Arnold.

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Types of lighting:

  • Ambient: the lighting used to create atmosphere and to uniformly brighten all parts of a scene, and for simulating a combination of directional and
  • Directional: Used to cover a certain angle or field using rays of light and is useful for far away scources
  • Point: Light that radiates from a certain point in all directions
  • Spotlights: Creates a cone of light in a singular direction
  • Area: Used for lighting a single space, however it takes a longer render time than other lighting types
  • Three-point lighting: Key light=main source illuminating an object, Secondary light= highlights the details in an object, and back light, which distinguishes an object from the background

Attributes of light

  • Intensity= the strength of a lighting effect
  • Cone angle= the width of a light direction
  • Penumbra= the soft edge of a cone angle
  • drop-off= how much light diminishes at the outer-edge
  • colour= sets an RGB colour for a light effect, which affects the colouring of a scene.
  • Decay= How much lighting diminishes away from the source of a light.

Control

Aim from/aim at is the distance and angle you aim at an object with the intensity remaining the same, which has an affect on how it falls on an object

Cone radius is the size of a cone of a light source

Lighting tips:

  • Look at photography for good techniques
  • Think in terms of balance
  • Avoid being overly dramatic
  • Avoid over-saturated lighting and hues
  • We normally only need a small number of lights
  • Try and avoid disco-like colours and effects

The different types of shadows in a scene are:

Hard shadows

Soft shadows

Fall-out shadows

 

3D modelling: basic shapes

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Topology

Polygonal: Digital 3D shapes made up of faces, created using vertices (Corner points)

NURBS: Non-Uniform Rational Bee Splines

Vertex: corners of a 3D shape

Extrusion: extending the shape to create a new shape

Sub-division: Dividing shape to gain more information on that shape.

Valence: Number of edges from a point

N-gon: A shape with 5 points or more, making the shape uneven and hard to work with.

Cartesian: Maya’s grid system

Controls

Q= General selection

W= Move tool

E=

R=

F= Focus on one shape

A= Focus on all objects

D= Move pivot point

3D modelling Industries

3dmodelgaming

Gaming: Modelling characters, environments and objects in game

Geology: Used for simulating earthquakes and different landforms such as Deep-sea trenches.

Entertainment: Most blockbuster films and television shows use 3D modelling for CGI (Computer Graphic Imaging) to create artificial characters and environments in their film that they cannot use practical (non-digital) effects for.

Publishing: 3D is used in publishing to let publishers show environments or flora and fauna in their book that may be difficult to depict in their writing. Especially in fantasy books that contain environments that do not exist in real-life.

Different programmes used for 3D publishing include TurboCad, 3DCad, and Architect3D.

3dpublishing

Autodesk Maya

Maya has 2 main file types

  1. .MA: Maya Askey
  2. .MB: Maya Binary

Tools

Magnet 1= Snap to grid

 

3D models: spaceship

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A basic 3D space-ship

First of all, I created a small cube as the basis of my ship, then made 2 new cubes on either side of the first.

Using the extrude component tool, I manipulated the cubes on either side of the main cube, to look like wings, then, adding a new cube in front of this, I used the same tool to transform it into a trapeze shape to form the front.

 

 

 

 

After-effects: Duik animation

During an after-effects lesson, we installed a plugin called Duik which allows people to create animations easier by having control over one joint of a limb for example, and having the other joints follow automatically. To practice this, we were asked to animate a basic arm.

Duikimage

HOW?

Before starting, you must name each piece/joint of the arm otherwise there will be spaces in the animation, for example, L_arm = left arm.

Then, we create a controller to control the different functions of the arm. e.g. one for rotation, X-axis and Y-axis. Be sure to change the size and colour of the controller. In this case, we put the controller in the place of the hand, as then the other joints will follow what the hand does. (Note: you will only need to see the controller’s layer and not the other joint’s layers, so click on the “shy-guy” on the layers tab to hide the separate layers

When making the animation, make sure you work reverse from the controller, so from the controller an arm would be 4=controller, 1=forearm, 2= elbow and 3= arm.

For each frame, simply move the parent part of the limb you are moving, and the rest of the limb will simply follow the controller. This creates more natural looking movement in the animation and is far easier than having to move each part of the arm frame-by-frame on it’s own.

 

 

Animation introduction: 2D

In our first lesson of this week, we were introduced to animation in after-effects and were given a tutorial on how to do a basic 2d animation of a spaceship.

I uploaded this one onto After effects and created a new composition using this image, along with a galaxy background.

spaceship
Spaceship (from Clipartfest.com: 09/01/2017)

Then after I uploaded this, I imported this composition into the preview screen and activated the different key-frames in the key-frame window.

Then, using the position key-frame, I moved the UFO frame-by-frame until it reached the edge of the scene, making it look as though it were gliding through space.

A sense of hope animation assignment: Evaluation

Task 1: What went right and wrong?

Here is my final animation:

Research

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Doing the research for my animation I also feel went well as choosing the Lion King and Treasure planet made for effective research as I know those films well. Also, using different sources such as behind-the-scenes videos on YouTube, gave me some good ideas for my animation such as how I drew my storyboards.

It also gave me a better idea of how professional animations are made, and inspiration for my own animation, specifically how I went about doing the art and design aspect of the assignment.

Animation history timeline

Creating the animation method timeline was fairly simple as I had to find out about a type of animation from a significant period in history, and along with an image of the new development, include some writing about it.

This gave me a good indication as to how animation techniques have evolved and changed ever since Walt Disney created the first full-length animated feature film, Snow-white.

Task 2: Ideas generation: What went right and wrong?

Brainstorming: With some friends of mine, I went over my and their ideas in video form, like a meeting session. This went well because we were able to bounce ideas off each-other and give our opinions on each-other’s ideas. However some of our initial ideas are very different from the ones we ended up using.

Storyboards: The storyboards went well as I was able to flesh out my idea well, using a storyboard template from google and a drawing pencil. This gave my animation visuals along with the written idea. However, due to time constraints, I could not do my storyboards much justice in my final animation.

Written treatment: I felt like I managed to produce an effective written treatment outline  each act of the animation, for example, Act 1: Dove flies in tree and finds the nest. This gave me a better understanding of what I was planning to do as it gave a more summarised version of my animation.

Animation assets: Using the programme Photoshop, I created varied background art for each animation scene, using a variety of Photoshop brushes and tools to create a stylised version of the interior of a tree. For example, a Hard round brush for each tree branch to create a wooden effect, and a radial blur effect mask for the dappled effect of the leaves.

For the character of the Doves, I used tools such as the blending tool to achieve the different shades of colour on their feathers. and for the shaded effect on their beaks.

The soundtrack development I feel did not as well as the artwork, as I found out that Garageband was not easily compatible with after-effects. So I had to spend a-lot of time using sound-cloud, trying to change my music into a format that After-effects could read and allow me to edit the music into my animation.

For props I drew the character’s wings separately in Photoshop once again, so I could animate them properly in after-effects. And for the scene where the female Dove is walking on the tree, sad, I created a separate head, so I could animate it to convey the Dove’s emotions.

Task 3: Production: Using in class animation tutorials, I managed to create several compositions in after-effects importing my different character and background art. I then added a key-frame to each Dove so I could animate them movement by movement.

Scene 1: For scene 1, I imported my first background, which included a tree standing in a field, and then put in my Dove in front of the image on a different layer and positioned it as if it were flying. Then I imported each wing into a separate layer and as the Dove moved across the screen, I animated the wings alongside that by using the scale and position key-frames to make it look as though the character was flying.

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Scene 2: When animating scene 2, I used the scale key-frame option on the wings for each frame in order to make them look as though they where closing as the Dove landed. When the Dove is hopping along the branch, I utilised the walk cycle principal of animation to make the movement look more convincing and life-like.

Scene 3: During the scene where the Dove is lost in the tree, I created a separate head so I could convey the Dove’s emotion more by having the head bent down, showing the character’s sadness.

I also used each key-frame to make the characters walk in time with each-other, then when they were in front of each-other, I used rotation key-frames to rotate the male Dove and the female Dove’s head, so as to make it look as though the characters were noticing each-other.

Peer reviews & feedback:

feedbackimage

After development and after my animation had been uploaded, I created a survey on Google Forms so my class-mates could share their thoughts and give feedback.

A general consensus was that the animation wasn’t long enough, and that more animation techniques could have been used. I feel like if I had more time I could have corrected these mistakes, and improved on my animation’s story.

(If you want to see the full survey, click on the link below)

https://goo.gl/forms/uMfR8mc1mCFImfdz1

Assignment PT2

The 2nd part of our animation assignment was to create a stop-motion animation using whatever medium we chose based around a randomly assigned letter of the alphabet. I was set with the letter K

Here is the final film:

Task 1: planning

The planning phase was fairly easy as I came up with a good idea with the first word beginning with K I thought of, which was the word knight. I played around with some ideas in a medieval setting, for example having a Lego knight cut the letter K out of Lego bricks with his sword.

 

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K for Knight original concept

But I decided to get more creative with it by introducing a Lego dragon and having the knight have a brief fight with it, with the dragon’s fire burning the letter K into the grass.

Task 2: animating

Using a tripod and a Sony camera in a darkened green-screen room, I animated both of my characters frame-by-frame, taking 2 images for each frame for easier editing and, using a green-screen placed flat on the table I used some images for editing in the K.

 

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editing in the letter K

Task 3: editing

 

 

 

 

Written treatment: K for Knight: Animated alphabet

Title: K for Knight

Genre: Animation

Duration: 5-10 seconds

Logline: A Knight arrives at a castle and battles a dragon. The Dragon breathes fire on the ground during the fight, creating a letter K in the grass.

Story synopsis:

  1. The Knight arrives at the castle on horse-back and begins walking across the drawbridge.
  2. A Dragon arrives and startles the knight, beginning a fight, breathing fire. The Knight wins.
  3. The Knight steps across the burned patch of grass, and observes the K created in the grass, as the camera pans up, facing down, revealing the letter K.

How I am going to film it:

I will use a tripod mounted camera facing a castle background placed on a green base with my homemade character, and eventually the dragon at the forefront. Then in a stop-motion fashion with Lego, I will take a picture each time I move my character.

I will then take my footage and import it into Adobe Premiere Pro, and edit the JPEG images together to create a coherent short film, while making possible colour-correction and saturation edits, to make the footage look as good as it can.

 

 

 

 

 

A dove’s journey: development

 

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Importing Photoshop art files

Firstly, I imported my digital art that I created in Photoshop, then saved all these assets into a single file so none of my images would get corrupted. Then, dragging and dropping the image I wanted to animate into the keyframe tab, I added a keyframe to each image so it could animate in the viewing window.

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With each frame I moved the position and scale key frames for both the dove and her wings to create a convincing flying effect for the first scene as it flies towards and then into the tree.

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For the second scene, in order to create the image of the dove’s wings closing, I added a rotation and scale key frame so I could shrink and turn the wings with each frame as the dove was landing on the branch, so it looked as though the wings were closing.

 

Making the dove’s head was a bit more complicated as I had to animate a second image of the dove’s head alongside the dove’s body, to bring across the impression of the dove’s sad mood. For this, I keyframed both the head and the body and made sure that the head lined up with the body’s animation as it rotated.

 

Animation assignment 2: animated alphabet: Letter K concepts

For the second part of my animation assignment, I have been asked to create a 25 frame long animation centred around the letter K.

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Ideas:

  1. An animated lego knight could cut the letter K out of a lego wall, removing a brick with each frame until K is created in the wall.
  2. The lego knight slays a dragon appearing on the left of the screen. The Dragon’s fire leaves a K in the background.
  3. A lego kite floats across a meadow background, flying past a letter K written in the clouds in the sky.download.jpegScreen Shot 2017-05-09 at 10.13.39