Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Production Pipeline - Final

The long awaited moment has come: Project LARP is finished. It's been a long road with many trials and much learning but in the end the finished product is about where I envisioned it. Some of the sound is off (tweaked it and went to rerender but the program was acting up) and some of the video is off (one animation of the slime changes color and some of the videos get out of placement/scale at times) but over all I'm satisfied knowing how much I learned from this project. In all honesty, this was a huge learning experience with particles, blend shapes, nCloth, green screening, etc. Many things had to be rendered multiple times including a few nights ago when I realized I rendered with the wrong extension. The process has taught me to be cautious and begin things quickly. I had started filming very quickly (within the first couple of weeks) and unfortunately the golden rule has limitations. I ended up reshooting all of it week 9 without my original actress. Regardless, with some ingenuity and some patience I have accomplished what I set out to do: create all 3D, 2D and live film assets and compile them together in an entertaining manner symbolic of classic video gaming.
Things I'd do differently? I'd definitely focus more on preproduction early on. I had a lot in mind but not all of it was completed. This included an animatic for the scenes. I had the general idea mapped out on my storyboards but there's still pacing and timing that can only be achieved with animatics. Overlooking that step made After Effects a bit trickier to key frame. I'd also have gotten more feedback sooner to make more changes for the better.
Things I'm glad I did. I asked questions and researched from either other students, tutorials, or simply attending classes that were relevant to my topics. It was a huge help to have resources to make things as I'd never done them before. Knowing someone/thing had all the knowledge was comforting because learning on my own would have taken much longer. In addition, my passion and drive were refreshing. I sought out to do x number of things and I didn't back down from it. I'm proud of my accomplishments and can only hope that in the future I'm able to do more exciting projects like LARP.

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Production Pipeline: Project LARP 08

It's been a couple weeks since I've posted progress but suffice it to say it's been a little slow in the sweat shop due to theater. Not to say there hasn't been some improvements and new items created. One of the largest improvements has been to particle effects. The two fire elements I have are now improved as with their smoke...only the smoke isn't animating yet. Not sure why but I'm looking into it. Fire is doing wonderfully now that the fireball is made of fluids and not particles. Slime has blend shapes now so the only thing left is to smooth out his animations and render. Mimic has a bit more work because he has very complicated rigs for his tongue (which has been remodeled upon request). The bamboo pole was done a long time ago but I haven't shown it off here so I figured I'd upload that. The sky has been finished but I haven't really shown it off properly. The environment as a whole should be fine but I still need to create those dirt clouds for when characters/models make movements in the dirt (what would rock would be some footprints and the like done as an animated texture but the timing/placement of all of that could be a major pain so I'll leave that out for now since a RPG wouldn't have that anyway). The only other model that hasn't been shown yet is the winged potion. It's finally done except I still want to try to rig the wings to flutter and I need to animate the cork pop with the glitterfetti. I may try to research nDynamics to have 'realistic' fluids but considering how late in the game that would be coming I may just add that later down the line. The 2D components are started but I may be tweaking them a tad as they're only so-so. Music and sound effects will be starting next week and all green screen capture will be imported to After Effects for compositing. Now, for the long awaited photos of all these new goodies. Videos to come.

Until next time,

Friday, April 22, 2011

EDW Ind Study: Week 07

This is a demonstration of the functionality of the rig I'll be using for each of the models. I intend to still use Motion Capture for the march but all other animation of the upper body will be key framed as was this animation. This exact rig will be used for all four models to ensure a similar march and continuity between models.
This coming week will be filming myself at the counter and then applying the models with their animation. If Motion Capture does not happen in time I'll be animating the walk cycle myself week 9. All renders will occur week 8-9 for final compositing week 10.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

EDW Ind Study: Week 06

New project starting up utilizing Motion Capture and Motion Builder. The message is simple: get kids to eat breakfast. Utilizing four maya models (cereal, milk, bowl, and spoon) I intend to capture a march very similar to "Let's all go to the Lobby" followed by a live actor smiling down at the objects as they cross through the video of a counter top. The idea is to have them dance when the reach the actor in a very Hip-Hop style. Music choices are still somewhat up in the air but the two inspirations for this are "Let's all go to the Lobby" and an old breakfast time commercial from Nickolodeon in which a spoon, knife, and fork do a rap about different breakfast ideas. I have concluded that my models will be fairly simple pieces of separate geometry rigged with rigid bodies and proper naming conventions for Motion Builder. I'll be contacting Halbstein this week for meeting to learn the Motion Capture system. This commercial should be approximately 30-45 seconds long and be followed by a 2D text over the newly blurred scene reading "Eating breakfast can help you get up and move!"

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Production Pipeline: Storyboarding Progress 01

I haven't posted the storyboard for Project LARP yet so here it is in progress. Very dark I know and unfortunately the environment has indeed changed since then (update to come). The characters are hard to see now so suffice it to say the next step is to chroma-key the footage...or at least take the footage, make a still and pop it into the storyboard. Anyway, more progress on this to come. In addition, look out for the animatic. It's coming up soon.

Monday, April 4, 2011

EDW 05: Green Screening

Though I'm not quite ready to be using this yet I went ahead and chroma-keyed one of my many videos from green screen...and then I realized I will likely need to reshoot. So much for planning ahead. ^ ^; No worries. Nick and I plan to finish the green screen on Wednesday so a reshoot can be done this weekend. Time to gather the actors!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Production Pipeline: Week 04 into 05

It's been a while since I've been into the 'studio' due to my acting but there's been a little progress. Let's do a run down shall we?

LARP Project:
Slime: Model - Polygon and Textures (complete!)
            Wiggle - nCloth (complete!)
            Squash and Stretch - Blend Shapes [have one that shows Slime dissolve] (starting this week)
            Bubbles - Particles (revisit texture and needed to be added to model)
            Fire and Smoke - Particles and Fluids (starting this week)
            Animation - (starting soon)
            Render - (starting soon)
Mimic: Model - Polygon and Textures (nearly complete [requires grouping])
             Tongue - Model (redoing this week) and Rig (rig needs to be tweaked)
             Saliva/Spit - Particles (starting this week)
             Lid/Box animation/rig - Rig (starting this week)
             Animation - (starting soon)
             Render - (starting soon)
Bamboo Pole: Model - Polygons and Textures (revisit if need be)
                        Render - (starting soon)
Fireball: Fireball - Particles (revisit if need be)
               Smoke - Fluid Effects (revisit)
               Animation - (starting soon)
               Render - (starting soon)
Winged Potion: Model - Glass (complete!), Wings (starting this week)
                          Magic Potion - Fluids [or possibly just model and animate] (starting this week)
                          Glitter - Particles (starting this week)
                          Animation - (starting soon)
                          Render - (starting soon)
Environment: Model - Paint Effects (revisit textures for coherency), Dirt (revisit texture)
                       Sky - Fluid Effects (revisit texture)
                       Animation - (starting soon)
                       Render - (separate passes to start soon)
Menu Tab/Hit Point/other 2D effects: (starting soon)
Music/Sound Effects: (starting soon)
Green Screen/Video Editing: (starting soon)

As you can see, there's a lot of stuff to do before week 9. Very ambitious project but by taking off just a little bit at a time it'll be manageable. Week 5 will see the completion of the potion, the completion of the Mimic's tongue (put into model), all fire/smoke particles, blend shape Slime, saliva/spit, Box Rig (if any), and environmental pieces. In addition, I need to redo my storyboard and animatic. Therefore, if any thing aforementioned is not finished due to the animatic and storyboard I wont consider myself behind for the week because the planning stage is still underdeveloped and that will account for any last changes to the piece anyway. By week 6, animating key frames should start and renders will begin week 7.

Until next time! - Tex