Friday, 19 May 2017

Animation Toolkit: Submission Post 19/05/2017

Maya Tutorial: High Dynamic Range (HDR) Lighting 19/05/2017

Final Result
So HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and what it is, in a nutshell, is an image or number of images that have been taken so that they may be used to replicate real-world lighting inside of 3D software. So for people who are creating anything with realism factored in, HDR is most likely used in their work.

HDR images are used in '32 Bit' and have the most information, anything lower than 32 Bit is classed as LDR (Low Dynamic Range). Multiple images are taken on a chrome ball, at different exposures, and are combound in order to create a single image, this is what will be used to create the lighting.

When creating a HDR image in Photoshop, there a function already avalible called 'Merge to HDR Pro', which will basically create a HDR image for us, as well as allowing us to tweak certain aspects of our final image.

Once this is made, the final file can be saved out as either an OpenEXR (*.EXR), Radiance (*.HDR;*.RGBE;*.XYZE) or a TIFF (*.TIF;*.TIFF), I have used Radiance.

Unfortunatly the original site for HDR shop no longer allows this application, however, I did mangage to get a hold of HDR Shop so thanks a million for the link to this I greatly appreciate the assitance.

HDR Shop is an old application for unwrapping HDR Images but it was also one of the first, and whilst there is a lot of other applications that can be downloaded that do the same job, and fix a bunch of issues in this program (Distortion and Blurring) its good to know how the technology work and find ways to work around some issue that may be presented.

So the HDR Image needed to be fixed, in order to do this a couple techniques needed to be used, such as cloning and blending. This stage is awfully similar to the first part of the tutorial where we had to alter the chrome ball, taking out any problems and sharpening up areas of our base image.

No Final Gather

Final Gather Turned On

HDR Sphere Visability Turned Off
Okay, so hooking up the image we created up to our scene isn't too bad, it's just like creating a Physical Sun and Sky, but you have to link an image to it. One the HDR image is linked up, the process of the editing your settings, in order to get the lighting to work, begins. The main things that need to be used are Final Gather, Use Background, Image Planes and Materials.

Initial Lighting Test

For this tutorial a backplane image was provided, just to see if the lighting actually worked, which can be seen in the first chrome render. An NURBS surface is used to get an idea of positioning and perspective, but will also be used as a way of creating shading in Maya.

Lighting Refinement

Use Background (Shader) Shadow Effect
Now another minor thing is that when a Use Background (Shader) is applied, it might be an idea to turn off the  Occlusion Mask in the mental Ray settings. This is only a minor thing, but sometimes a black line can stick out in your scene and can kinda kill the immersion in a scene.

Ray Trace Shadows

Chrome Material
This was the final render, the reason the ball is placed so high in the air is to simulate where the chrome ball originally was. Now I could have just left this, but I decided to do a little experimentation, so I brought in Mia Material X, to see what results I could get.

First Glass Test
Raw Image
Colour Managed
It took a little bit of refinement but the glass effect I altered fits pretty nicely with the scene, now that I've got quite a good understanding of how HDR works, hopefully, I will now be able to create even better-looking renders.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Clay Works: Day Two 11/05/2017

Clay Head Version 1

Clay Head Version 2

Spartan Helmet Sketches

I want to talk a little about some of the other ideas I had before I settled on the Anakin head, just because of the build up to some of these ideas I personally though was insightful.
The spartan helmet was one of my first ideas to do i clay, however it wasn't within the criteria of what we were able to create as stated on the group blog.

Aku, First Sketches
Now Aku is interesting, when I first sketched him I tried to do a multi-layered drawing, pencil first, slight shading, hard pen outlining, harsh shading, coloring and then a final layer of pen ink.
Aku Head Studies
This process was much more refined the second time round when doing Aku's head, it a surprisingly simple shape but very hard to pull off effectively, you could spend hours working on this.

I had to scrap this idea as well because I knew it would not work as well in clay as I thought it would.

Anakin's Head Studies
As said in a previous post I've chosen to do Anakin Skywalker as my clay model, these are some of the sketches I did for reference and I'd like to think they came out alright. However, the only gripe I have is that the sketch on the left looks more like an old luke skywalker rather than Anakin? Well, Luke is Anakin's son so I guess that problem isn't too bad seeing that they are both related?

Adaptation Part B: Project Overview 11/05/2017

Adaptation Part: B, has been somewhat of a mixed bag. On one hand, I think I had quite a good idea that was well thought out and had serious potential but executing the whole idea needed to have gone better. I'm going to split this into the good, bad and ugly to get an understanding of what could be done better for the future and then reflect on the feedback I was given.

The Good

In my opinion, I've come a long way artistically, being able to look at a piece of work I made in either Photoshop or After Effects and say "Hey, that looks pretty nice!" is a big leap for me. I've always felt I have been limited in my creative potential due to my lacking of artistic talent, but I can definitely say I have improved significantly over these past fifteen weeks, as well as take what I have learned and applied it to this project.

The Bad

There is a lot to be said on the negative side of this project, the main sin being not asking for help when I needed it. There was issues/problems and setback that definitely could have been avoided, however, I just assumed I would be able to push through and create something special, which brings me to this last segment.

The Ugly

The ugly truth of this project is that it collapsed under its own weight, I heavily struggled with time management, execution, and self-confidence. This project I think is an example of me overcomplicating things, or worrying about things that didn't need to be worried about. The whole idea of a deadline approaching terrified the life out of me, knowing what I had set out to do would not only, not reach fruition, but would ultimately become what I knew it would be from the beginning, an ambitious project to which I knew I would struggle to commit to.

I underestimated a load of factors in the project, certainly Maya this time around (Which is slightly odd, considering how much I already know about the program, I should have seen this coming a mile away.), so the real workload hit me straight in the face, very hard.

If I had to say one good thing to take away from this project it's this, I seriously underestimate my work ethic, a lot, but when I was given this task, I had no idea how important it would be to manage myself, because that was the ultimate reason I didn't do as well as I would have liked to have done. Time Management, Work Spacing, Self-Knowledge and Determination and Commitment are all things that need to be given a serious re-vamp because if I don't I'm going to be stuck in this odd circle where I do what isn't necessary first and worry about the important stuff later.

Thoughts on the Feedback Given

I think it wasn't too difficult to understand where this project went wrong, and that was through not managing myself more efficiently, and thinking I am a walking tank and can work constantly. I can work hard but I'm not invincible and that's probably my biggest lesson from all of this. I'm on the verge of creating something special, so now I just need to tap into that little spark and really do something amazing.


To summarize there is a definite change needed in order to maximize to working capabilities, I cannot let myself get as bogged down as I usually get and I can't allow myself to get distracted from the real problem at hand. I really want to do well, but in order to do that, I need to make some serious changes. This project should be a reminder of that thing don't always go to plan, and whilst I could blame this fault on A, B or C, it is still down to me to get the results I want.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Adaptation Part B: Frontline Development 06/05/2017

So once again, cracking on a getting as much as I can. It took me a while to get the sunset highlands feel I was going for.

So I've also figured out how to use the scanners for drawings and such, without losing image quality or having to use loads of layers. So a lot of my drawing buildup work won't go to waste after all.

 I've finally also managed to create the storyboard layouts for the whole production. So I've got a lot of frames to do in a short amount of time, but what I want to achieve is doable.

Acting Session: Week 6 05/05/2017

Over the past six weeks, there have been many laughs, many tears.

We have encountered oddities from a Pianist with an ego as large as his piano,

To a couple where the cat is always been on fire.

Games were played and lessons were learnt, and it has been a blast.

The rivalry between Sharknado 5 and Wildcats has been interesting, and with much pain, I have to declare Sharknado 5 the victors of Cheeseburger Keepy Uppy, so congrats to you guys!

So away from the tomfoolery and onto what could actually be taken away from these lessons apart from a damaged nose. The main things we have learned in these sessions is the conveying of emotions, creating tension, improvisation, high status and low status.

The whole idea of these sessions was to show us how we can put these techniques into our animatons, in order to get more bang for our buck. So for example, if a character has been created with the high status in advance, you can then apply certain traits to the animation, and when you play back these traits in your head you might find there are more attributes to an emotion that can be conveyed than you might realize.

So acting our your potential characters can give you inspiration for character attributes and animation dynamics, but overall just add a bit more believability to your character. (Not in a realistic sense, but in a relatability sense.)

The last point to elaborate on is improvisation, now traditionally with animation, it is usually planned out. However, the term "Being put in the Shit" could be quite useful for creating storyboards, ideas, and situation for our animations. It might be a small thing but I think that this is potentially the most useful aspect of Dan's lessons.

To summarize, this whole experience has been really eye opening, Dan seems like a seriously cool guy, and I could definitely see how these lessons were meant to show how we convey emotions through animation and add depth to our work.

It has has been a pleasure doing this and even though I won't have you in any of my lessons next year, I will definitely make the effort to join in the second year's sessions.
Seeya next year and thanks for everything!

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Adaptation Part B: Frontline Development 05/05/2017

 So at the moment, I've been working out how to make the water look good with my current art style, and I think I've finally cracked it. The moon looks pretty good in my opinion and the depth test works pretty well as well.

As for audio, I've almost finished one of the mixdowns for my project, I just need to add a couple more sounds and edit a really odd scream that seems to pop in? So hopefully this will be up soon as well.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Adaptation Part B: Frontline Development 02/05/2017

Original Art Influences 
So right when this project started I had a rough art style I wanted to follow, and how I was going to make this thing. I would have been using a hybrid of some of my old techniques used in Fugitive (creating loads of assets to be put in scenes, to give the illusion of depth.), so I would just be a case of creating the assets and getting them ready for AE.

This was just a rough animation test, but I figure I show off one of the new effects I have been working on and how it will feed into he animation.

Tank Development
Zepplin Development

I'm still currently working on assets for the boat fight and the knight conflict, so expect those soon, as the next week is the final push for this animation. I did have a slight issue with getting work out for the past little while and now that this problem is resolved I'm going on the full attack in terms of production.

Storyboards have been created so now all I need to do is translate them into Photoshop and some aspects into Maya, so a lot of the work has been done, now its just a case of creating the rest of the assets and finishing this thing.