Sunday, 27 February 2011

Latest piece of animation for Storytelling of Ravens

Lately, i have been working on a new piece of animation for ravens. it is a piece of bran's Dialogue right at the start where her describes his job role. This took me a few days of stopping and starting to get the result am looking for. I am pretty proud of how this one is going. it has some nice expressive poses. I like the head twitching in the middle. I would like that a bit more evenly distributed through his action as it is a bit out of place here. All in all this one looks pretty good and am keen to render it out as soon as i can

also i have been doing work for the leap of faith crew. these are storyboards I put together for the shots i am going to do for their animatic. i am pretty much doing the meat of it, so i did a little plan to make sure what was said in the shot description made scene when committing to doing it in 3D

here is the shot description i drew these from:

Hi Alex

Thanks for this I'm so glad you understand the story and script. I have made amendments where appropriate. Hope this is clear if not don't hesitate to contact me.



Subject: Leap of Faith ideas for storyboard
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2011 13:10:44 +0000

Hi Depa, here is a transcription of what we were talking about for the shots.
I have made a few extra shots that may look interesting, and may flow a bit better, it will be clearer when i have done some storyboard panels.

Shot 1: Long shot/Full shot/Establishing shot - camera low, close to the runs of the ladder to sell the height. Lectern to look like a thrown show power. Owl is perched on stand on the left hand side of the lectern.
Shot 2: Medium Close up - Zoom in of the owl. not much movement, he can be static, and after 2 seconds blinks and ruffles a bit to show is not stuffed. Camera pans across to the librarian...

Shot 3: Medium lose up - Frontal shot of Lady writing. she is still, hardly any bodily movement. Hand is writing with secondary coming from the quill,
possibly some finger drumming. glasses slip down her nose, she stops them and pushes them further up her nose. Her head moves as she studies. Clock is ticking away in the background and the scene shows a clock close up as she is studying to show time and night.

Shot 5: Mid - Shot - Front - She yawns.

Shot 6: Mid - Shot - Side view, can see from her right that her spine is curving exaggeratedly. maybe some comical bone cracking noises.
Shot 7: Mid - Shot - looks at her watch
Shot 8: Extreme Close up of watch face to show time.

Shot 4: Extreme Close up - Ariel view She slams the book closed, we see by the cover it is a holy Bible.

Shot 7: Close up - Aerial view she climbs down from the lectern. hand on the side, other hand on the top run of the ladder.

Shot 8: Close up - Foot thumbles around looking for the next run of the ladder (may need to get some live action reference) foot comes down darkening camera.

Shot 9: front of character we see her face through the runs of the ladder, as she tries to steady the wobbling ladder. (ladder may need some rigging) (nice)

Shot 10: Close up - Owl starts looking agitated - faster blinking.

Shot 11: Close up Foot goes through a run of the ladder and she looses her footing!

Shot 12: Long shot Camera looking up - of her suspended Body is suspended in the air as she hangs on the ends of her fingers. Show height.

Shot 12: as she looks down, her glasses fall off and the camera speeds down the extra long ladder to catch them smashing on the ground,
to speed back up to the top. Showing if she falls she wont survive. Not sure if the smashing will occur we can cut the scene before it reaches the fall

Shot 13: Close up - Front view from the lectern at the struggling fingertips. Rocking back and forth rapidly as they try to take the weight. Fingers shuffle along.
Camera shunts along, bringing the ink bottle into view, knocking it off balance. after a comical little pirouette on the spot, the ink bottle falls away in slow motion (like this) The ink bottle will have a magical prescence so when the camera views the inkpot a glimmer of light will just encircle around the glass to show that it is special or magical.

Shot 14: Long Shot from down below as the bottle falls slow at first and covers the camera as it seems to fall through the camera.

Shot 15: Close up - Fingers loose grip one after another.

Shot 16: close up of the librarian eyes - film noir type lighting where the light is a strip across her eyes. show fear...mouth open eyes widening... as the she falls away into darkness.

Shot 17: Woman is silhouetted in the background, as the bottle falls in the foreground.

Shot 18: bottle smash and the contents (ink) spreads out and transforms into a spinning tornado of birds. over too Diogo. Yemi Modelling Doves

i have added some shots here and there Depa the help make sense, and some shots I combined into one.

i'll upload a storyboard as soon as i get it done.


Monday, 21 February 2011

Work in progress Lip sync on Bran talking about his role

I was talking to Mike Smith about my animation. and we were saying some of the poses are a bit soft, maybe have it start out faster and put a few key frames at the end, give it this slight follow through that makes it look not static but more immediate to the eye. i will work on the some of the key poses here as some of it is a little sloppy.

have been taling with our Modeler

I met up with Sophie and James from the Raven team today. Sophie was just talking about rerecording osme of the voices, and talking to sound design students for the music. james was trying out some different render styles, so far the 3d spheres he has been using blends with the lighting in the scene very well. I want to get some animation finished so i can give the model to him for him to see how it holds up in the live action. We are talking about getting in touch with a compositor. So james will look into that when they get in touch.

I am doing a piece of lip sync animation using the old bird model. Talking with Mike today, he reminded me to plot out my animation in stepped to begin with:

Sunday, 20 February 2011

videogames in the 3 act structure

Open This! on date: 20/02/2011

this link is your winning ticket:

A Videogame, in Three Acts
by Jeff Tidball, 31 March 2009 11:44 am
Filed under: jeff tidball, aliens, game design, issue_195, movies
A Hollywood feature film is 110 minutes long.

Sure, you've seen movies that are shorter (most animation) and longer (Peter Jackson), but you've also seen pickup trucks with six tires and you'll still tell anyone who asks you that a car's got four wheels.

The script for a Hollywood feature film is 110 pages long, because it turns out that a page of script takes, by and large, a minute of time to play out on screen.

Film business outsiders are often surprised to discover that a movie's length is so proscribed, and that the correspondence between script length and film length is so definite. But they're usually even more surprised at the concrete structure of what goes inside those 110 minutes and pages.

Yes, most moviegoers know instinctively that films are formulaic. But comparatively few know that a massive body of common Hollywood wisdom dictates that on page 27 of the perfectly paced script, the first act ends with the declaration of a dramatic problem, with which the protagonist will grapple for the next 63 pages and answer conclusively on page 90 at the end of act two.

It's possible that Google will break irrevocably when indexing this page, having, as it does, the words "Hollywood" and "wisdom" next to each other. Sorry about that. But as much as the page-27 and page-90 benchmarks are give-or-take estimates, a concrete way of thinking about three-act pacing does, in fact, prevail in Hollywood filmmaking.

It sounds stifling, presented so starkly. Wouldn't more flexibility make better stories? Can we really reduce the breadth and depth of filmic possibility so neatly?

No. But yes.

Here's the "no": The numbers 27 and 90 are slavishly obsessed about only in screenwriting books and classes that promise to reveal the secrets ("Secrets!") of success ("Fame! Riches!") in Hollywood. But there's some truth behind the gurus' hype: The fact that you can distill any decent narrative movie - any movie that tells a story, even a documentary - into three acts is no more negotiable than the reduction of the English language into 26 letters, or the reduction of computer code into 0s and 1s.

To leave the gurus and their get-rich-quick prescriptions behind, the sensible way to think about acts is not in terms of magic numbers, but in terms of function. So here it is:

The first act establishes a dramatic problem.

The second act resolves the dramatic problem.

The third act answers the question, "What then?"

For those edicts to make any sense, they require a clear definition of the term "dramatic problem." A dramatic problem is a question - always a question - in whose answer the audience is emotionally invested and regarding which they have very clear, very concrete hopes and fears. As an example, let's take a look at the movie Aliens.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

What has been happening recently..

not much, i spent monday to thursday this eek getting the first draft of my dissertaion first draft done. And after handing that in, i just need some pracice in maya again. i just took friday off to relax. been havin some fun saturday, and sunday ill be working on my 3D. next week will be the week we get our schedules sorted out on wednesday.

Monday, 14 February 2011

it has been a while since my last blog entry.

But not alot has happened 3D wise last week. i am focusing on getting the first draft of my dissertation completed. But here is what I have got sofar for a new piece of dialogue for "Storytelling of ravens"

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Need to

agree on a day to meet the teams, that are set in stone for me to meet up by the next lesson with Jared.
Not too difficult once

if you cant make the meeting, let them know what I have done, and email me goals for the week.

schedule, For my Dissertation

These thursdays will be the day I work on my dissertation essay. some lessons i have only every two weeks, so thats extra time to work on projects as well as dissertation. need to have it done finally before april.

I animated the beak today. I was mostly in for some feedback on how my work is going with mike and it was pretty much all possitive. Mostly we were just talking about improving voice acting for the script, but otherwise we could lock it down as we are all happy to work with this latest thing to mention, where i point my arm to someone off screen, i am going to swap the arm around for the bird as i think it works better that way, it just didn't occur to me while I edited the footage.

I think i will get this lip sync done, and do another version using Clym's model. We will check with him to see how the new version with feathers is coming along. we need to know what Fahran is doing, whether he will be available for character texture mapping.
come Wednesday we plan to put together our schedule using Shotgun. Hopefully if we get it then, as we have needed this for a while to figure out the pipeline. I think we will get this done even if we have to do it in excel. I think the plan is to have some models we can animate by the end of term.

I think since next thursday a first draft of my dissertation will need to be handed in, I have printed out a copy of the blog i started around last summer's term break, it is very long but i need to remind myself of all the quotes and possible useful material i can draw upon which i will write. make a key for what goes in what chapter. i think I can do it, just going to set aside time this week as i will be in nearly every day. So now is as good a time as any.

Also i recieved instructions from Depa for what she would like me to do for the Leap of faith animation:
3/02/2011 - Meeting with Alex to go through animation.

As discussed please see below what is needed for the animation. The shots are heavily governed by extreme camera angles, stretch and anticipation.

Please see below what is needed as discussed last on Thursday.

Example animation using moom of a character sitting perched at a table studying with glasses. The pose is detrimental to the age and style of the character. So leaning over with head close to the book studying. I would like the character pondering head moving side to side and maybe pressing twill to her mouth. Secondary animation will occur with the twill. Writing whilst the feather moves. As she is studying her glasses slide down her nose and she moves them back up. She yawns looks at her watch and then stretches as she decides to call it a day.

Studying characteristics maybe tapping fingers on the page. Hands or finger pressed on the lips or face as she is thinking...pondering...eyes moving along page...eyebrows move up as she finds an interesting text. She looks over to the ink pot.

As the animation goes...

The camera looks up at the lectern....extreme shot of looking up......A lot of the animation is looking up at or looking down as in order of power. The camera looks up at the lectern as in the animation I showed you then fixed on the owl.
The camera pans closer to the owl (zooms). The owl is in shadow with a beam of light across his eyes. Lit by candle light...As the camera zooms the owl twitches looks side to side generally in a calm state.

Next shot librarian sitting at the lectern studying. Please see above description. Include blinking. and eyebrow moving.

Ariel. Next shot she is looking up at the camera with hand closest to the camera as she is stepping down the ladder. Background blurred She in focus. Close up. She is looking straight at the camera.

She climbs down the ladder

As she climbs down she stretches her foot and thumbles to find the next step. The camera is looking below her so the foot and step almost on top of the camera. She steps down to the next step very carefully as she is old. The ladder wobbles as she climbs down.

Owl is seen again in the shadow..blinks...slightly agitated....

Next shot looking up at the the foot as it reaches the next step it snaps....her weight drops...then she grabs hold to the side of the lectern as she manages to find the next step again. Lots of shake from the fall. As she falls her glasses fall off and falls to the ground...might have the camera pan on the glasses as it falls.

She looks down then the camera pans quickly to the ground and back again to just get the picture of how far the fall is. She looks scared as her body is stretched as shes hanging on for dear life...

Close up her fingers Ariel view as shes holding to the side. she knock the ink pot it wobbles slowly build up anticipation and then suddenly fall in slow motion...her fingers slide off one by one Then she falls....

Looking up you see the bottle falling in slow motion and the librarian falling in the back ground. The bottle comes towards camera getting larger in larger..
Please look at this animation for stuff we discussed and look at storyboard with link I sent

Animation example -

Animatics -

Cheers Alex

Remember to use the graph editor, and this will help. for instance, when the raven s walking, there is a bobbing up and down in the pelvis. It goes up slow and comes down faster, I started with a mechanical goes up and down at the same speed to make it easy to do a repetitive animation. Heres what to do, go into the graph editor, Highlight the Y axis, go into the curves menu and you want to turn on pre and post infinity, go to view and turn on infinity. BTW you only need a few frames, like 3, the beginning middle and end. once you've turned on the infinity and played with the tangents with the incredibly fiddly middle mouse wheel button. you can create an infinitely looking animation that makes the flaws easier to spot as well as make it easier to make changes.

once this infinite curve is switched on, you want to bake it into the animation, to do this, select the Y axis in the menu to the right, open up the bake menu, put in the time index from start to finish and make sure you put it on sparse. as you dont want a million frames to suddenly appear. once done what should happen is a whole bunch of duplicate frames will appear.

Pretty cool huh?

Anyway, this will be important when coming back to do some more walk cycles.

I recently completed this walk cycle with the basic raven model. From this picture I remembered how to up the quality on the depth map shadows. Since I had not rendered in a while i spent some time looking for this. i also created a tun table by key framing the bird mover to spin 360 degrees and 720, so it rotates twice. also the camera rotates 360 degrees, i did this by creating a curve, key framing that to rotate 360, and parented the camera (with aim) to it, and it works out perfectly fine. A technique i remembered from second year when I wanted smooth camera motion. Could be a useful technique come third term when i am animating the shots for real.

I did recently get soem feedback from Sophie along the lines of a great start - maybe damp down the Y on the pelvis?
and the feet should be snappie. So I will keep that in mind for future walk cycles :)

Sunday, 6 February 2011

what I have been up to this weekend..

Well, Mostly it has been imporving my walk cycle animation. And After Sophie has given me some advice on how to improve it in the graph editor, i think i am ready to do a new one. First I have been filming and editing together reference for my animation.

Actually, Someone managed to find my on youtube. Presumably someone who is impressed with the animation i have put up there. and this Oliver wants to recruit me for an animated short he is working on. I am a bit not sure, as it seems legitimate, I just am not sure how best to respond.

Cerebus Animated Film
We're working on a Cerebus Animated Feature
and working on getting a budget, too. Looked like we were going to have it already, but we will:)
Our team consists so far of 50 3D artists: everything from the famous to novices spread worldwide. We're all working on our downtime.

With comicbook adaptations being hotter than ever this title has a rich history of integrity and independence: not only did it start independent comics 30 years ago -it has along with it's creator lead the way ever since... we are making history here! Cerebus is a comic book icon with a proven track record of crossover appeal. I'd describe it as Lord Of The Rings meets a subversive Mickey Mouse.

It would be an honor if you considered doing some animation on the film. Not asking for anything to be done for free as you'll own your work, and we'll all vote and discuss for probably 6 months what's the fairest way to divide the money if we get investors. lol. If you like I'll send you the issues of the comic that the movie is based on along with the script etc.

Oliver Simonsen
What Comics Entertainment
8424a Santa Monica Blvd 106
Los Angeles, CA 90069


Cerebus: "There was no chance to call back the impetuous aardvark"
From page 5 of Cerebus issue #1

Animation by James Lane

Cerebus model by Brian Buchmann

with Romain Lapierre
and Christophe Brebion

Cerebus Rigg by Daniel...
Sent to: alexbaxthedarkside

July will be here before we know it:)I've attached a comic, the film is based on several so I can send more if you like. The issues in the early run of the series (which our film is based on) was a bit rough -so we're basing the film's "look" on the series later run. To view our daily progress and animated clips please view our Production Blog
And we have a Facebook Film Page
We also have a trailer-in progress here:
You'll own your work. Cerebus is known for "Creator's Rights": so the idea is you'll make more than a regular 3d job. This isn't work for hire. I'm not asking you to sign over your work, and once money is involved we'll discuss and vote in a transparent forum as to what is fair for each of us to receive: and then we all sign papers together.
and also this isn't going to be used as some pitch vehicle in hopes of a big studio buys it: the Cerebus creator has already turned down Lucas (a long time ago) and recently Dreamworks. yes, he's nuts:) because he won't sell the rights, (I told you he is all about Creator Rights) so we have to do this with independent financing outside the studio system. And most people aren't coming aboard because of me -but rather because of the rep of the creator, who is practically a secluded monk.
So far we have an impressive number of people joining. I think the time is right for such a venture. Anyway, I'm hopeful and apparently I'm not the only one. We have some pretty big people helping out. Don Bluth and his Producing Parnter partner give advice. Richard Bazley, who was Supervising Aniamtor on Iron Giant is a good friend. Gary Kurtz (producer of Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back) is currently looking at our project We have Mike Quinn, animator of Yoda in the Star Wras films guiding us. Mike Milo, two time Emmy winning Director of "Pinky and the Brain", is animating a scene. The list goes on. I'm not worthy, and have to pinch myself:) Of course, it's all due to Cerebus' reputation and not me:) For more there is also this:
Anyway, that's the skinny and it seems to be a no-brainer:)
Let me know any questions you have.

I have checked the links and they do indeed lead to the guys blog and to a trailer he has in the works. But i think it best to discuss with Mike and Jared, See if they can tell me what i should do. Seems full of promises, like money at the end, mor than the average 3d animator job, seems like something you can't really guarantee. ill be sending it to Lorna Hamilton Brown to see if she thinks its legitimate. i am more likely to trust a job offer from inside college.

Here is something i forgot to upload on January 26th, but it was my little group discussion with the Raven group as to what to do next, I made some notes:
Jan 26_discusion

Can Boria Sax- writer of the book, can put a plug for his book at the end of his animation. He will be helping us spread the word about our film, and we help each other,

Add on facebook, say you are animating for ‘story of Ravens”


-Can have a raven at the royal wedding.

-en on a play on the famous edgar allan po line never more.

-comedy interlude between bran and munin at baldricks funeral.

-a drill getting all the ravens together, can have bran and munin saying something.

- end on Bran telling a joke.
(add onto a forum thread the endings you have.)

over all i think it is all good. On Thursday this week, i spent time discussing the animation for Leap of Faith with Depa masih, and she showed me a piece of animation with the kind of squash and stretch she was looking for. as well as detailed breakdowns of all the shots she wanted me to do. I do encourage her to have a back as most of my work will be on the Raven group, as there is alot more to be expected of me there. But anyway, i think it is possible to knuckle down and balance the two. I am always keen now to animate in my own time and at college. It sometimes takes a bit of encouraging to make a start and stop faffing around, BUT in the end I get there.

heres some pictures of some clean up I did of my Y axis for the bird walk. I think it will make more sense when the video I am working on is completed.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Raven Walk Cycle

This will most likely make it into my showreel. although we have a newer model in development for the last term when we start working on all the shots. So for now This i put together with this basic rig will do.

All my work in last few weeks have been on my

Self development Blog, which alot of my work for The Ravens has been lately. Now retitled Storytelling of ravens. It is getting confusing which blog to write on with 3 to maintain, as well as afew others for Ipp.

So Be sure to check in the self development Blog.