Thursday, 24 February 2011

Research: Trip To London

As i am creating an environment based on London during 'The Blitz' bombing during the 1940's, a high amount of attention to detail will be needed to produce an environment full of historical fact and nostalgia. I felt it necessary to take a trip to London where i visited 'The Imperial War Museum' (Linked Here), which was then followed by a round walk of London to capture a sense of building work. I did want to go on a texture hunt also, but the weather was not on my side that day.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Tutorial: Week 04

This weeks tutorial has been helpful in understanding exactly what i can get away with and what i must produce to create a successful environment. A great load has been lifted off my mind as Alan explained to me a nice technique to create rubble, which i will need a lot of. The process is more straight forward compared to what i thought it would be, essentially i will need to create a plane  which will represent the overall shape and volume of the pile, and apply a black Lambert to make sure know light will get through. Then its simply the process of creating a 'tool kit' of objects which i will then snap to the plane. So in fact i will only need to create a base set of objects which i can re texture and use multiple times, and only work to one layer of rubble. In terms of the alien ship, some further development will be needed but i would say that i am about 60% there with the design, its just a case of finalising the bottom part/detailing of the ship. From my initial concept it was clear that the top part and bottom part of the ship felt quite disconnected to some sort of support will be needed to look as though the two parts are attached. Alan directed me to look at Giger briefly (a road in which i tried to avoid, as we all know once you go Giger you cant go back), but perhaps it will be needed in this case as some sort of spinal/rib cage bone structure might be of use. As well as this it was made clear that i should work to follow the texture/shape of the whale (which has been done many times before), but instead make it my own. I did intend to have the concept stage finished by this tutorial, which did not happen so now its a case of speeding up with the designs and moving onto pre-vis/production, but overall a very helpful tutorial.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Alien Ship Concept #01

Here's the first piece of concept art which was developed from my silhouettes, i feel as though i lost the direction that i wanted to take this piece as the silhouette which i was working for felt more refined and sharp. Also I'm not entirely sure whether it is 'alien' enough. I think it is okay for an initial concept but some further development will be needed. Will post up some development shots soon...

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Alien Ship Silhouette's

Last night and this morning i spent my time sketching up some silhouettes and further developing them in Alchemy. The use of Alchemy has really helped as it can randomly generate shapes and add a different twist to a design you are working on, which you may not have noticed whilst sketching. These silhouettes are pretty basic but are just there to show a direction i want to take the design for the alien ship. The next stage will be to pick a ship and further develop it in Photoshop, i would now like to have a large scale 'Mother-Ship' design, as well as some smaller 'Fighter-Ships'. I'm not entirely sure which designs are the strongest in showing an alien ship, and which designs to take forward into the next stage of there design, thoughts and feedback would be appreciated. 

Tutorial: Week 03

So its week three now, which in many ways described in the tutorial as the make or break week. As i still didn't have any creative work to show to Alan (which is now in process), the tutorial was more of a general conversation on how the project should run, and what i should be thinking about in order to create a successful animation. What is now clear to me is the fact that i need to have some sort of secondary animation within the background parts of the environment, for example dust and smoke effects which would be left behind within the rubble and debris. As well as this i would like to now have a fleet of alien ships rather than just the one, this will create a higher sense of power and a larger scale air attack (such as the blitz). Which means that i now have a nice opportunity to animate some of these ships attacking the environment and create some explosion of rocks and dust. This week is going to be incredibly busy, as i would like to have finished all pre-production work by next Tuesday and begin production within week 04.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Character Bio's

In order to understand the environment which i will be creating, i should understand the characters which would have lived in the environment, which in my case will be the family who live in the house/apartment where my animation will begin. I have created a short bio for each character, as basic as it is this has been a great help in understanding how my room should look and what the overall 'tone' and 'feel' should be like.

Name: Harold Edwardson

Age:    42

Work: Newspaper Editor

  • Harold is a well respected member of society, he works as a newspaper editor for the Daily Mail. He is a work-aholic but enjoys nothing more than coming home from work to play with his two children 'Emily' and 'Joshua' and then put them to bed.

Name: Victoria Edwardson

Age:    38

Work: House-Wife

  • Victoria, wife of Harold Edwardson, is a stay at home wife. Whilst Edward works to bring money home for the family, it is up to Victoria to make sure the clothes are washed, the food is cooked, the dishes are cleaned, and she looks pretty.

Name: Joshua Edwardson

Age:    6

Work: Primary School

  •  Joshua is the first born child in the family. He goes to St Andrew's Primary School along with his younger sister Emily. Joshua will grow up to work in place with his father at the Daily Mail, but until then he wants to be a train driver.

Name: Emily Edwardson

Age:    4

Work: Primary School

  • Emily is the youngest child in the family. She goes to St Andrew's Primary school with her older brother Joshua. Emily enjoys baking with her mother on the weekends, and often plays dress up in her mother's clothes with her teddy bear Joseph. 

These simple character bio's have also given me some objects which i can place in the room to apply character, emotion and reason. For example Joshua could have a toy train, Emily will have a teddy bear, Victoria could have some sort of beauty product, and Harold could have a pipe or some other sort of gentlemen like apparatus.

    Influence Map - WWII London

    This influence map shows the direction in which my environment will take, i plan to create an environment influenced by these photographs which will hopefully bring across a sense of nostalgia. These images were taken from a database supplied by the Imperial War Museum in London. Whilst browsing through it last Sunday i found some interesting photographs which were of use, but a shame i could not access the full res scans of them to pick out the finer detailing, a post on this coming soon...

    Friday, 11 February 2011

    Maya: Games Modelling Tutorials - Head Part 02

    The final head model for this weeks tutorials in games modelling.  A definite time consuming tutorial, but a faster process compared to last weeks. Now its time to finish this weeks dynamics tutorials and get cracking with the project work.

    Thursday, 10 February 2011

    Maya: Games Modelling Tutorials - Head Part 01

    Heres the first installment of our games modelling tutorials. A fairly simple tutorial as we are low poly modelling for games, but the art comes not from placing the geometry to aquire the shape needed, but instead knowing where and where not to add detail and how to keep the poly count as low as possible.

    Wednesday, 9 February 2011

    Weekly Timetable

    To stay on track with this project i have devised a weekly timetable split into four sections; Pre-Production, Production, Post-Production, and Additional Material. This project overall will be quite a mission, but as far as i can predict week's 4 - 9 will be quite intense. Creating a timetable has been an eye opener in the fact that there is allot of work to do, so hopefully this time table will aid in keeping on track. This time table is a simple week by week time table, at the start of each week i will create a more detailed day by day timetable listing exactly what will be needed by the end of the week.

    Tuesday, 8 February 2011

    Influence Map - Dieselpunk

    I have been thinking about my alien ship for a while now and have decided to design the ship in a Dieselpunk fashion. The definition of Dieselpunk is as follows; 'Dieselpunk is based on the aesthetics of the interbellum period through World War II (c. 1920-1945). The genre combines the artistic and genre influences of the period (including pulp magazines, serial films, film noir, art deco, and wartime pinups) with postmodern technology and sensibilities.' Before starting any thumbnails sketches for my alien ship concept, i felt it necessary to research into the ideas and key themes of Dieselpunk.

    Tutorial: Week 02

    Although i didn't have much creative work to show for this weeks tutorial with Alan, some great idea development was put forward. Some speeding up work wise will be needed so i think a decent project timetable will be drawn up in the near future. I have a rough idea of what a living room set during the 1940's looks like, so now i need to add a sense of home and reason to the room. As suggested by Alan, i should create a short but in depth back story for the family which live in the house, which will further develop my understanding of the environment as well as apply meaning. To populate and apply texture to the scene i should introduce a new object for every section that the camera pans backwards, not in an incredibly obvious way, but instead subtle objects which add character to the room. As well as this some good techniques on editing and camera movements were discussed. After some project management/branding work, hopefully i will move onto so more concept work soon.

    Living Room Animatic/Concept Update

    Here is the living room concept piece i have been working on, the use of photographs in a way has been time consuming, however a noticeably faster process compared to painting the scene from scratch. I have started to fill the scene more with furniture, but the room seems to feel empty character wise, i need to add in some personal objects which would mean something to a family living there to make the scene feel more 'homely'. The use of shadows within the piece allows the furniture to look more set in the scene rather than an obvious photograph cut out and placed on top. To finish off the concept i need to apply a light source and further shading to objects and then add a layer of dirt and destruction.

    Monday, 7 February 2011

    Graham Sutherland - War Paintings

    A World War II artist whom I have found whilst researching World War II art and history. Sutherland's paintings manage to capture a rather distinguished amount of depression and abandonment which portray a great sense of emotion which people who these homes belonged to would have felt during the devastation of The Blitz. The moody colour scheme and harsh ink outlines work in his favour as the help add to the distraught emotion being portrayed. From the colour scheme alone the viewer of the painting can begin to feel the sense of emotion which the artist it attempting to portray, so from this I think some careful thought will be needed when working out the colour scheme for my animation.

    Friday, 4 February 2011

    Maya: Dynamics Tutorials - Bomb Fuse FX

     Another quick Dynamics tutorial, this time with an animated emitter. Its quite interesting to learn how many different types of particle effects there are and there many different uses for them. A definite chance for experimentation for the transcription project.

    Transcription Project Pipeline: Digital Sets for Film

    To better understand exactly what i will have to produce over the next 10 weeks, here is the project pipeline in which i will follow. As i am creating an alternate post Blitz experience, i will need to produce a large scale exterior environment which will be a combination of destroyed building, rubble, etc. As well as creating an interior environment which will open the animation, and consist of destroyed furniture, rubble, personal family items, etc. The largest stage in this project will most certainly be production, so with the guide of this pipeline it will allow me to stay focused, and on track to have a more comfortable production.

    Pre-Production: Visualising a World 

    • Project Start: Vera Lynn - We'll Meet Again
    • Analysis: Establishing the scenes from the source material.
    • Visual Research: Period imagery, architectural details, & nature.
    • Art Direction: Scene/Alien ship design, colour palettes, shapes, & atmosphere.
    • Concept Art: Thumbnail drawings & digital paintings for both Environment and Alien ship.
    • Finalised Paintings: Refined concept art.
    • Pre-Viz: Basic model, shot framing, & camera animation.
    Production: Building a Virtual World

    • Modelling of Elements: Objects & Architecture. 
    • UV Layout & Texturing: Layout maps and texture maps.
    • Lighting: Main scene lighting & detail lighting - such as glow elements.
    • Object Animation: Animation of scene details / objects.
    • Effects Simulation: Effects based elements such as water, smoke, or dust.
    •  Rendering: Creating Render Passes - Beauty, Occlusion, Glow, Z Depth & FX.

    Post-Production: Combining the World

    • Compositing: Combining render passes & refining the shots.
    • Final Shot: Editing and exporting.
    • Supporting Material: Creating a ‘Making of…’ document, a technical paper, a demo reel shot, & archived .PDF version Blog.
    • Client Delivery: The delivery of the final shots and supporting material.

    Crysis 2 Trailer - Emotion Conveyed Through Environment

    The Crysis 2 reveal trailer is a great example of the overall tone, feel, and imagery which i will be attempting to create. The trailer may be set in a more modern/futuristic city, but the trailers heart felt tone and emotion is exactly what i am looking for. As you can the see the trailer begins by introducing what appears to be a missing persons board in a destroyed war torn city, a camera then pans away from the board to reveal the city and its decay, whilst an emotional track plays in the back ground. It is this sense of emotion and depth which i will be attempting to create within the opening scene (and through out the animation), but in my case for a families home which would have been destroyed during the Blitz.  Where this trailer only focuses on the missing people for 16 seconds, not enough story and emotion can be found within them, a point which i do not want to make. For the opening scene/interior shot of my animation i want to derive a narrative from the object's within the scene, manipulating a sense of nostalgia to portray a certain sense of time and space, for example a 1940's family home.

    Thursday, 3 February 2011

    Maya: Dynamics Tutorials - Airship Particle Sketching/Drain Cover Emmiter

    Here's two tutorials of our first instalment in Dynamics. Falling behind in tutorials has always been a down fall in my project management, so this time around I plan to stay up to date every week allowing me to have a successful Transcription project. Using particles is a first for me, and it's quite amazing how complicated it looks, but how simple it actually is, granted allot of fine tuning is needed to master them. Here's the images for now, i'll upload a rendered version soon.

    Tutorial: Week 01

    On Tuesday each of us had our individual tutorials with Alan. In a way it was similar to us pitching our ideas to Alan, and then developing on them for the better. The out come of Tuesday's tutorial was very useful to me for a few reasons. I pitched the idea which I have now finalised in my previous post, and the ideas and help from Alan developed upwards and onwards.

    Alan suggested that I spend more time developing and creating the alien ship compared to the environment, as the ship is the pivotal moment in the animation, which in a way is my 'money shot'. From the tutorial what became clear was the fact that I need to development the style and world in which my animation will take place. I will be aiming to model a realistic environment, true to how it would have been in 1940 London. As well as develop an alien ship which will be retro-futuristic to the 1940's but steer clear of the obvious 1950's B-Movie influenced ideas. The alien ship should represent the technology available to the public in the 1940's.

    A great example of this is 'The Fugitive Futurist' a silent movie created in 1924. It features an inventor who claims to have a machine which can see into the future. One shot in particular is useful to me as it shows an insight into how people of the 1920's thought alien ship's might look like. The shot displays an air craft similar to that of a Zeppelin fly above the Houses of Parliament. As you can see the air craft shows similarities to that of the LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin, an aircraft used in the 1930's for commercial transatlantic flights.

    Alan also referred me to look at H.G. Wells; Things to Come (1936), and War of the Worlds (1938), two subjects which I shall post soon. Overall the tutorial was insightful and useful in pushing me in the right direction for this project.

    Finalised Idea

    The idea which i am taking forward as my transciption project is finalised, for now anyway, as im sure there will be many changes here and there along the way. I will be creating an environment based project which will be portrayed as an animated short. The animation will take place in 1940 post Blitz London. The animation will start with a camera panning along a mantel piece in an authentic 1940's living room, the camera will then slowly pan backwards to reveal a more and more destroyed living room, which will then eventualy pan out beyond a window/huge hole in the wall (or wall missing) to then reveal an even more destroyed exterior environment. A camera will then move through the environment to eventually turn around and reveal the cause of the destruction, ending up with the finale of the animation and the big twist...aliens.

    The animation will be environment based, which means alot of historic attention to detail will be needed. I have been working on roughing out an animatic which will aid in the understanding and tone of my animation which will be produced. Below are some work in progress shots, a few research images which help better define the environment i will be creating, and the piece of music which i will be transcribing.


    I will be creating the initlial draft of my animatic using the combination of photographs to create a more visually correct environment, which i think adds a nice authentic sense of style to an otherwise rushed animatic. As you can see in the interior shot which i have created is working quite well, although i still need to add some shadows and lighting to the furniture which will allow allow the images to look more set in the scene. I'll post a more detailed viewing of the creation of the animatic, and a post on the outcome of week 01's tutorial with Alan soon.