Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Yesterday's Pitch went Well

I say Yesterday went well. There weren't many comments about the quality of the pitch itself. Other groups got comments on their presentation skills, and I put that down to the fact that more and more groups are coming out of their shells. I think The Raven group, we are over coming a different challenge.

I figured keep the pitch short and sweet, so we blasted through the sketches and preparation stuff to get to the animatic.
And the comments we got were mostly that the Munin character seemed a bit redundant, like she doesn't have much to say thats relevant. In the script both Munin and Brans characters are asked the same question by the journalist and we wanted them to give two separate sounding answers so as to have some comedy and contrast. But mostly people felt Bran's voice was the stronger of hte two so we should ditch the Munin character. I think Sophie did a great job wit the script, I.E. tying in all these stories and anechdotes mixed with bird puns into their dialogue which is what we all wanted. So anyway that was pretty much it we got a solid thumbs up over all from everyone that the project is coming along very well.

Even though we dont even have productoion schedule done yet or shot list etc. as Sophie is still struggling getting the script handled, that didn't seem to enter anyones mind. Pretty much most of the other groups had a production schedule in the presentation. But i think the difference maybe that they are doing shorts that are completely in 3D with a few environments and we have to integrate 3D birds into live action, getting the lighting to match the backplates etc. We do have one 3D box for Bran's character, but it seems that the shot list and schedule haven't been done because we keep changing the script. SO it is a bit hard to know where to put our emphasis. For instance there was a reference to world war 2 in there, then we dropped it, now it might be back in, so we cant really commit to anything. So for me personally I just want to get on with it. I think this will definitely showcase my skills as an animator, so that doesn't concern me, trying to squeeze as much out of the narrative to make it a real good story seems to be where we are a bit unstuck.

So anyway, after the pitch I said to Sophie just sit on it until thursday, lets not decide anything until we have spent some time away from this thing. I think we need to decide on something soon, as term 1 is coming to an end and we are going to have to be pulling out all the stops for term 2 and 3. Plus we will have dissertations to be getting on with. Thankfully I have been onto that already, reading PLENTY, PLLLENTY of material on my chosen subject. So come term 2 when I have to write it out proper I am super confident I will get it done, as I have lots and lots and lots to talk about :)

Also I forgot to mention upon relistening, Mike Smith was saying we need to populate the ravens world with more props and things that will paint their characters as fully realised. So anyway that will be soemthing for the modelling department and the concepts, as we would like to come up with some props. They need to show that they have next to royal treatment.

Here is the Feedback from our Pitch on Monday 13th December. Speaking is Mike Smith and Dave Bull from Ardmund. they Just listen to our pitch and said what they felt could be improved. Like I say mostly possitive and they have given us some useful tips for more development.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Characterization of Bran the Raven's character

We were discussing how to flesh out his character, and being a bit of a jack the lad, we thought why not have him reading a playboy mag, and we did our own take on it and changed it to "playbird"

Even in his dialogue has bird puns dropped in. so we are going to be doing more of this, decorating the interior of his lodgings.

Notes for Leap of faith animation

Depa is pretty happy with the hand dragging animation I did. We discussed possibly doing 4 shots which lead up to the slip. Depa was saying she wanted both hands on the ledge shuffling along, and we see the ink pot come into view, knocking it over. I then do a shot of the ink bottle falling off, then a zoom in of the fingers loosing their grip and recycle the falling animation I have done so far. Also I need to add a shaft of light coming in through the window as it is important for later on in the story.

We were saying the animation could be shorter, and have the hands clambering for more grip only once rather than repeatedly, and have the old lady dig her nails in to keep grip.

So I will be getting on with a new test some time this week.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

NEw hand dragging aniamtion for Depa's "Leap of Faith"

This is a new animation for Depa's pitch. After some feedback last monday. I have been working on this one for a while this weekend and the results are pretty encouraging.

I did the same thing, I filmed my hand dragging, used it as reference, animated the camera to zoom in 3d for dramatic effect. I keep noticing everywhere in like After Effects, Premier Pro, they keep entering the wrong frame rate , something like 29.03, and I have to keep going into the properties to turn it back to 25fps before a render.
Needless to say this gets a bit aggravating, but it seems to be the root of why so many renders seem to go badly. Usually the best way around this is to render 10-40 frames and see how you do. This helped me do a nicer looking shadow when the first looked a bit nasty and pixelated.

But I rendered it out finally and added some dramatic music on top. And that is kind of it. Nothing particularly new here, I just am pretty efficient and pragmatic as to what to do. i generally miss out some steps here and there which can lead to certain shots needing to be re-rendered. But we live and learn, I am picking up these things and reporting them as best I can.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Work in progress for updated falling animation

Here is a playblast for my work on the new piece of falling animation I am doing for Depa's group. I will be sending it to Depa tomorrow night to add to her animatic. I am hoping it wont be too big to email otherwise it will have to be send on yousend or dropbox.

Basically the first hand sliding aniamtion was pretty good, but Depa wanted the hand to be slowely sliding and stopping, like how when you apply weight to it. Also she wanted a bottle of ink to be knocked over, spilling the black ink. So this i represented with a cylinder. I have been working on it on and off for saturday. I think i will have it done for tomorrow night.

I will be sending it asap so they can add this.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

some work for "Leap of Faith" new falling aniamtion

This video is up on youtube, I made this little test animatied for Depa's pitch come next monday 13th.
The music is just part of a pack of stock music I have. I animated this using some live action reference I shot of myself using a tripod. as this was a quick animatic the finished version would hopefully have a lot more polish.

images I used for reference

the are what I used for reference when animating Bran's Dialogue

Sunday, 5 December 2010

first lip sync test for Ravens

I have been working on this all weekend,

Here is the playblast.

The model is rather limited but i managed to get some decent performance out of it. this is still pretty unpolished animation.
it could be better but at the moment i think its fine.

Here is the final render.

this is rendered at 25 frames per second. It seems all my software is not automatically remembering this and I have to go into the properties to change it manually every time. IT can get a bit annoying, But i am glad I finally nailed the problem which has plagued many a render of mine.

This was pretty fun to do, it took me pretty much the entire weekend and a bit of the week to do. And even though its a test and I didn't want to lavish too much detail on it, the results I am pretty satisfied with. Sure there are some glarring clipping issues here and there, which could be fixed with more care and attention,but for now I am very happy with it. I need to do A LOT more of these as about 75% of the film is lip synced Animated character Dialogue. So there will be plenty PLENTY of shots for me to get busy with.

I don't think I am all that intimidated by the task, it still is after all a showcase for my talent and this is just where I am at at this stage. I think Dan will be helping me out a fair bit fleshing out and critiquing the animation. Try and bring out the best results as we can.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Work Leading up to Lip Sync animation

I am doing a test lip sync animation for the Bird Bran. He is an elder Bird and wanted to practice a piece of aniamtion for him using the bird rig i have used so far.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

new piece of animation for "Leap of faith" animatic"

this i animated using maya live and using some live action reference, i cranked this out in a few days.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

some drawings for a animatic for the raven project

I did a photoshop of a beefeater i could use in after effects. the arms legs pelvis and torso are separate layers. the windows are different designs i looked at which could look more interesting than the windows that are actually at the tower. so this is for some creative variations. I will be putting together a test using these images.

An amazing video using after effects

Between Bears from Eran Hilleli on Vimeo.

this asn't much to do with the project I am doing right now. It ties in more with am music video i am doing outside of college using after effects. I was told to have a look at this video and look at he hair being shaved off, because its done with trapcode particular in after effects. and also the art style really resonated with me here.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

a little bit of work in progress for Depa's project "leap of Faith"

using the Alfred model, and abit of footage of my own hand, i am trying to animate the hand to look like its loosing its grip and falling away. is a work in progress, will have it all done soon.

On the Technical side..

this is me doing a bit of practice tracking in Live,
I had forgotten how to put down the tracker points. after a short while, not only did it all come back to me, i remembered how to get it to track in reverse, so as to get a more accurate track.

This is pretty simple compared to the other handheld versions as this camera was mounted on a tripod for this footage. So luckily even if its not a particularly good track, I can still key frame some of the movement to make it easier.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

hmm, odd..

very odd, importing the tracking data fromboujou into maya, it looks very strage, also importing it i changed the framerate to 25 frames so it is flickering.

but it isn't exactly where it should be, this needs to be solved.

I made a little realization today while working in maya

Importing tracking data from boujou, i have figured out i can use an image sequence by opening up the camera properties and adding it in.

Essentially i figured out a different way to get to the match moving feature without needing to go to Live.
This may seem like something small but its going to help with later match moving down the line. Since Boujou has alot more potential for a really good match moving of the 3D with live action.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Helping out Depa's Group for animation on "Leap of Faith"

Depa masih is putting together a 30 second version of her film idea, and has asked me to do 6 shots for her using a simple rig to help with her animatic.

these are the basic shot discriptions:

key shots:

shots:Fingers dragging, finger marks, table, tensions.

Shot: looking into the eyes, camera further out, elevated, zooming into the eye. Eyes squinting. Scared eyes, falling.
Film noir, eyes grow wider, lighting strip ,cardboard slit of light on the eyes.
3 seconds.

Shots: close up above, camera pans out.
Falls away into dark, falls away from camera.
Gets darker till she disappears,
3-4 seconds.

Shot, turns her head, maybe blink, looking at owl. 1-2 seconds.

Shot: hand going into camera to grab the ink bottle. 3-4 seconds.
Turns dark. A bit like slow motion, fishbowl lens kind of look.

here is the model i have in mind to do these:

Birds in 3D

I was having a look at the trailer for the Valient, to see how they do Bird beaks in 3D. whether they keep them rigid or go with a flexible beak.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Pixar's For the Birds Reference

I thought this funny little short from Pixar is a great example of using the same model repeatedily but animating them with different personality traits. this will be great when the bird model is finished. i will have a shot that is like a role call with around seven different birds, all the same model. So each will have to be animated with this in mind.

Raven walk cycle Lighting render

This I did on thursday 12th, a a test for lighting. There are quite a few spot lights to illuminate the walls, so you can see the dark colours of the bird.

this is what I did in Maya using live, it didn't take very long as the bird was simply walking i na straight line. more of these little tests will be on the way


This weekend_14,10,2010_my trail of thought

Work in progress so far. I showed people the bird walk cycle I did and it went down well. The past few days, I have been animating on and off an new bird clip in rediness for a part of the Raven documentary which has one of the birds on a roof trying to break off someones television aerial. At the moment I have been practicing doing a bird trying to retrieve food out of a bin.

This is work in progress..

Sophie Lodge suggested for reference, have a look at the work done on the T-rex for jurassic park or king kong or some walkng with dinosaurs to get the kind of feeling for the bird walking for the ravens.

So here is a few clips I looked at on youtube.

I haven't taken a trip to the tower of London, I plan to when there is a day free, see the birds in action, i think it would be great to get some quick first hand sketches of poses, very quick 5 second thumbnails. So we will see if that is possible for next week.

Divergently, Other than that,
Mostly today ,for some reason I keep going on this "journeymanpictures" youtube channel, which is all about these gang culture areas around the world, places like New zealand, Brazil Sao Paulo, London. I was just looking at some of these videos at the impoverished communities and why they join gangs. I dont know why I am just watching it and thinking, wouldn't it be great to be able to make a 3D movie that draws attention to this. And was trying to think of a few movies that manage to get this point across while making an exciting entertaining movie. I think top of the list is District 9, how it paints a vivid and real picture of the kind of living conditions and poverty in Johannesburg. It would be a bit of a high wire act to be able to pull off as most movie goer's don't usually go to see a movie expecting to be educated, they go for entertainment.
So "Edutainment",where you can teach people a valid important and maybe historical information, without letting them switch their brains off for the action sequences.

For my earlier pitch in this term, I wanted to do a sword and shield fight with skeletons. My thinking was I am not out to make any sort of statement, just a kick ass piece of character animation. though it would be difficult, I am pretty certain i could achieve it with enough effort. But say if I did see it through. Would people realy like the idea all that much?

Possibly, would they remember it? Hmm perhaps. I think if it is a great showpiece for animation, certainly people who like and people who are learning and practicing animation would certainly take alot away from it. But from an animation history perspective. It's not saying alot about the human condition, or trying to push a message thats Really worth talking about.
Like i say I wasn't ut to push any political message as thats quite hard and I don't have anything in particular to say that hasn't already been said more effectively.
Jared Taylor did say at some point during second year of my course "try and tie your work into something worthwhile, or pushing a message that impacts on our world"

Heres what I read from it, tie your film into a relevant issue in the world such as poverty, disease, corporate corruption etc. that sort of thing is very good to push your film as you can draw attention to those issues (hopefully) and also think about the message you are sending, because you may give an unintended effect you didn't anticipate. You may end up unintentionally promoting gun crime or violence in some unthought out way which could lead to disaster, to not only yourself but the people who eventually watch it. So its important to have a good long hard thinking through.

My agenda at this point is to get better at my craft of animation, and to help push a valid point, Right now i need to keep filling my head with relevant issues and just to have lived. that way i have a lot more to talk about when i want to tie my work into a cause thats bigger than myself.

Anyway, the Raven's project can potentially draw attention to English history (hopefully). so I guess all i am doing is having a solid think through of how I can do this. I rather like just being a hired gun at the moment, Someone gives me work to do and I go do it. I just need to be sure the people I work with have their goals aligned with mine.

So anyway, This is just my thought process right now, I will be continuing to do animation tests, and to have a look at some digital tutors tutorials when I have a free moment at home.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Walk Cycle Practice

This I put together in a day, I tried match moving this Raven using what looks liek a crow rig, and its rough but for now it is a rather decent test, i will be working on an updated verson and render it out.

video clips of Disney birds to help with lip sync.

these are what i can draw inspiration from. As birds cant move their beaks while speaking, I can use their wings like hands an fingers to emote what they are saying. Disney break this beak rule by giving scuttle a flexible beak, which seems to me more like lips.

I also have a clip of Zazu's morning watch, same thing, good reference.

i found a clip on youtube of some excellent match moving or motion tracking. this i beleive is done in boozuu (not sure the spelling) and maya has a feature called maya live, involving using markers to match the camera to the footage.

I will have a go with maya live and a free rig Stephen pender managed to get from either turbo squid or creative crash.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Images for Animation Ideas and the story so far...

Today what we Discussed..

Today, Sophie, Iredia, Emma, Steve, Clym, James, andy and I were discussing what we could do for the Raven project.
Mostly what we should think about when it comes to character synopsis and what exactly would happen in the script. As we are going for a mockumentary style thats only half and half, for my job role , I have to wait until we have footage we are happy to with to work on. Sophie got as far as how the opening establishing shots would tell the legend of the Ravens and how Charles II decreed a raven must guard the tower of London lest it fall. We would like an anonymous narrator delivering the story very professionally, and when wondering what the birds think of the reputation they have gained from all these storys, we ask the birds what they think. This would be where my animation skills would come into play.
After that we were just having a different toss up of ideas. Mike Smith had a great suggestion for storyboards, in that we draw thumbnails on post it notes

I like this idea, it keeps the illustrations small, they don't go outside the frame, and you can take them off and try a different angle, no fuss, its not totally committed , its there so you can rearrange until you are happy with the order, its rough and you can keep making changes till you are happy. It is the kind of thing I would like to be doing more often.

At the moment Emma's job will be conceptual designs for characters and also Environments I guess, as well as storyboard. So hopefully she absorbed that. Anyway to each their own.

Mike Smith threw out their Chris Mullin as a great conceptual artist.

He had some good examples of rules of thirds. I have the book by Hans Backer about disney concept art he did, so i am already quite familiar with Rules of thirds, but its nice to be reminded of the fundamentals.

Some films suggested were the cabin of Dr. Caligary

this film is rather bizarre and very interesting, I think night of the Demon might be cool too,
and Mike Suggested a touch of Evil. again strong visuals.

We also for the character synopsis suggested something Andy brought up. He found out the Ravens came from different places, such as scotland and south london. So we thought for the lip sync it might be nice to give one a scottish accent and a cockney accent. Iredia suggested Mary Queen of Scots as a possibly candidate for the Black widow Munin. I think the animation will evolve from how the voice actors deliver the lines.
as Munin may or may not have been responsible for the death of the alpha male Thor, its logical that there'd be probing questions directed towards Munin about how she feels about this. And Iredia had a good line from Elizabeth the Golden Age that describes her "She believes she is above the law and because of her status she can get away with murder"

We were thinking about a narrator, someone like John Humphreys who asks quite provocative questions, because we want to get an energetic response, or someone like Stephen Fry. the narrator would be anonymous. and we were thinking maybe we ask a question and montage different answers from different birds.

The birds will be all identical apart from the different colours in feathers and the bracelets around their feet. mostly this is a short cut for the modeling.
We have around 6 weeks to get the modeling done, so in that time I will need to practice with some free rigs of birds to get used to animating this character and see what i can get out of the performance.

Sophie was saying she would like a 2D introduction, one like the intro to a TV show, showing the key characters, the tower of london and narrating the poem about why the ravens are there and the title. this could be interesting, I think After effects is the way to go with this. the intro will come later. we discussed who to get for sound design, i am in contact with Josh Kendall, but i say we send out a wide message to all sound students explaining what it is we are doing, and who would be interested to come see us.

I don't think there will be any music, just lip sync and some folly.

This all seems like a pretty daunting task, no doubt we will have to narrow down the vision to make it possible. I am not worried particularly, we have a plethora of ideas, we just need to pick from the best. I think by the end of term 1, When we have an animatic and set in stone deliverables for term 2, I will feel a lot more sure of how much I can do.
And so..

I will be doing some animation for Sophie's group and if possible, also some for Depa's group, so i will see what I have for thursdays lesson.

Little JIm Henson Bird Cage Idea

Recently I was Playing an old Playstation game called Castlevania Chronicles. I got to a stage where in order to progress you had to stand on a platform suspended by a chain.
you stand o nthe platform, it lowers, and as you go down, a seasaw lifts a cage off on the otherside setting free these monkey like enemies.

I looked at this and though this might look visually interesting if the Ravens have some sort of contraption that helps them go about their day.

Research for "The Ravens"

Images of Scuttle from Little Mermaid. Being a rather bumbling and silly seagul, he starts making stuff up, i like the one of him rubbing the back of his neck when coming up with a name, like underpressure and calming himself down, "getting a grip on yourself" effectively in body language.

I rather like these poses of Zazu spreading gossip, covering his beak so you cant see his words, kind of egsadurated

I rather like Zazu's thinking pose as he remembers some details while continuing to talk, that wing on chin thinking pose, eyes going up into his left. This kind of thing would be great to work into the Bird animation

Various poses of Zazu from the Lion King delivering his morning report. It looks abit like he is complaining the way he is using his wings to emote what he is talking about, and this is pretty close to How I envision the Ravens to be behaving in the interviews. I think the interviews should be rather funny, like those celebrity interviews or political interviews which are abit bizarre and abit comical.

Various Disney birds, I rather Liked Archimedes when hes laughing, it kind of looks like hes drunk with the half shut eye lids.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Green Lit ideas..

Today 7 Projects were Green lit for development.
The Deep_Andy Kinnear
Ravens_Sophie Lodge
Unhatched_Tom Ritchie
hero 1.1_kofi
Chance Meeting_Joe Steel
Smitten_Matt Vadis
The Last Post_Alex Caldow

And This year we have the option to work on 30 second pieces for a student showcase for animation, so there will be plenty of other smaller projects floating around.

the Specific job Role for me over the third year will be Character Animator,

I will be working Primarily on the Ravens Project with Sophie's Group.

i have approached Andy for character animation work on the Deep, and approached Tom for Unhatched, mostly as

a back up animator come third term when they have to get the animation all finished I can step in and Help.

i have been approached by Depa for her 30 second short as an animator, as well as David for his Short.

Term 1 I will be focusing on practicing Rigging and developing the Ravens project , If I cant get someone to work with for a 30 second short of my own,

I'll settle for just working on the main films as I'm sure they will be more than enough to keep occupied.

I worked pretty hard to push my "Restless Guardians" Idea, but that was mostly for the practice of pitching an idea, so for now i have a storyboard ready and some solid concepts for the characters. But this project I will put away for another time as i wont have the time to develop it. I did put together a teaser, and I would have like an animatic, but i don't see anytime between now and December I will have free to do that.