Friday, 27 May 2011

Models & Metaphors - Finishing Up

Here it is, the finishing up post of the Models & Metaphors project and our last project of the year. I say this is the finishing up project, but as I still have more work to do on this project as well as the Transcription project, more is yet to come. Overall this project has been a very joyful experience, I have bagged new skills and am feeling more confident overall in Maya now. From the go point of this project it was clear to me that I wanted to base it on a character and follow through the character creation pipeline. So I am happy that I managed to complete the pipeline for the first character of my own, although some minor improvements will need to be done. However, I am not so happy that I did not manage to complete the sting and see my character in all its glory. I think some more time management and delegations would have as I spent a majority of my five weeks working on the character as a posed to the whole animation. Below is the Making Of document and character turn around that i presented today, as well as some other bits and pieces that needed to be blogged.

Disc Cover

Models & Metaphors Making Of

Posed Character Ambient Occlusion Pass

Posed Character Colour Pass

Posed Character Comp

Character + Statue Ambient Occlusion Pass

Character + Statue Colour Pass

Character + Statue Comp

Im prettty happy with the final outcome of the above image, however some more development will be needed in preperation for the submission, for example a more white back ground, a more developed ground plane, and some nice positioning of the statues (with the possibility of adding in rocks and the odd clump of grass).

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Models & Metaphors - Easter Island-esque Statue

Just a quick post on the statue that my character will be worshiping. The geometry was simple to model, but is not perfect, there is some minor pinching on the right side, which is not noticeable at all once the texture and bump map has been applied. Initially the statue was just going to be purple and embossed, with a bump map applied, but as time went on i applied a colour map, and made the white part look as though it has been painted on the rock, which i think looks better. The statues will be placed around the environment similar to the heads that are on Easter Island.

Models & Metaphors - Character Production 04

After completion of the modelling stage, i ran into a few problems within the skinning process. All of which are fixed now with great thanks to Shabs and Alan, and I'm happy to say that the skinning process is complete. I have also laid out the UV's so the model is ready to be textured, and then rigged ready for animation. This has been a far harder process than expected, but at the same time a very rewarding one, as i have learnt the ins and outs of creating a character.

Creating the joints and binding the character took a longer amount of time than anticipated, but the extra amount of time spent making sure the joints and geometry stretched properly was worth it. Whilst creating the joints i managed to miss one out and parent them together incorrectly so this meant i had to spend even more time correcting these problems, which if Alan wasn't there to help with, i would most probably still be doing now. I have also spent some time using nDynamics on the loin cloth to make the material move like cloth, below is a test shot of how it looks, which i am pretty happy with. Whilst binding the character i animated the joints so it was easy to see the deformation, sadly i managed to delete all the animation before play blasting the final binded character, however i do have a play blast of the process around half way through. Now its time to rig the character, and post some work on the 'Easter Island-esque' statue.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Models & Metaphors - Character Production 03

Quite a large jump in the production stage of this character. Over the last couple of days i have been working to have the modelling stage of this character finished by tonight, however this has not happened as i have ran into problems on the way to its completion, but it is indeed very close. Some of the main problems that i faced included modelling the loin cloth, the shoulder topology, and stitching the torso and the legs together. But on a more positive side of the modelling process i have modelled the character accessories; such as the scepter and the wrist band, modelled the loin cloth which i shall  animate with ncloth, and have began to model the mask.

The next stage of this character will be to finish of the modelling process by tomorrow, and then move on the add the joints and skin the character. This shouldn't be too difficult as the character is pretty simple, although i this will be the first time of skinning a character outside of the tutorials. 

Monday, 16 May 2011

Models & Metaphors - Character Production 02

Some nice development made recently. I have left the torso for now, and have been working primarily on the hands, feet, and legs. As you can see i have further developed the feet by adding in toe nails and some bumps above the toes to further shape them. I have also modelled some hands following the same principles as the feet so the fingers are squared like the toes. Adding in the nails proved to be quite time consuming, as i needed to work out the geometry flow and a way of making them feel placed on the fingers and toes, but i feel as though it was worth the time spent on them as they really help finish of the look of the hand. Its these minor details which are often forgotten that i will be adding to the character to make him feel more human and believable as a character.  As well as this i have been modelling the groin area and working on the loin cloth, which still needs to be developed much more. I plan to be skinning the character tomorrow so hopefully the character will be finished in time. 

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Models & Metaphors - Character Production 01

Production has begun! I'm quite happy with the progress of my character so far, as this is the first of my own characters which i am modelling it is proving to be a tad more difficult than i imagined. Also it does not help that im am using ortho sketches which do not line up. I boxed in the torso and then the arm, legs, and a mask to help gather a sense of scale and proportion, i then went in and done the same with the hands a feet.

From my designs it was clear that this character will be quite blocky and out of proportion. Modelling a torso is hard enough, but then modelling a torso which has squared edges and features on purpose has proven to be difficult, although i feel as though i have done quite well. Stage one of the torso modelling process was to gather shape and block in the features, then stage two was to re-work the topology of the character so the character will animate well. All that is left for modelling the torso will be to add in the belly button, and sculpt some minor changes.  

As the uni network decided to go down as i was working on my torso, i was unable to recover it that night so i could carry on with the modelling progress. This was a minor set back as it meant i had to move on from that part of the character and work on something else. So by doing so i ended up with a near complete foot, i started off by blocking in the shape of the foot, then re-worked to topology and sculpted the shape of the toes to achieve the desired effect of  square-ish character. Some additions to the foot will be needed, such as the toe nails, add some edge loops to aid in animation, but other than that the foot is near completion.

So far the modelling process of this character has been quite enjoyable, and a nice change from environment work. I look forward to finishing off the modelling stage, and then moving into laying out the UV's and the skinning process :/ 

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Models & Metaphors - Character Development 05

Here's a rough idea of what the colour scheme for the character will look like. Unfortunately i managed to save over my working PSD file for the colour scheme so i was unable to add in some shadows and high lights, however i don't think it looks too bad without. I have used three tones of purple for the character, the 'proper' purple which features on the logo will be used for the mask, cloth, and stick on the scepter, a light shade of purple for the skin, and a mid tone shade of purple for detailing such as the feathers, facial expressions, and the stone within the scepter. Then all the extra detailing such as the body markings will be in white. As you can see i have begun to experiment with the face by adding in markings made of the logo, more of this will be developed soon, as well as an expression sheet.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Models & Metaphors - Character Development 04

I near enough have the final character now, all that is needed to be done is to work out exactly how the face will look and how i will connect the head to the body. I will now move onto work out the colour palette for the animation and character in Photoshop and will also finalise the idea. As you can see i decided to only add feather accessories to the character right wrist and the scepter. These will aid in adding depth to the character, as there will need to be some secondary animation on them, as well as the character cloth around his crotch. I'm not sure whether the cloth will be soft or rigid, but some experimentation will be needed.

Models & Metaphors - Character Development 03

Now i had the base of the character in place it was time to design a face and shape for the mask, as well as apply some minor detailing to finish off the character. I have also decided on giving the character some sort of scepter to aid in the worship dance. Initially i was going to have the 'models & metaphors' logo painted on the mask like face paint, but since some discussion with Phil and Alan, i have now decided to takes features of the logo and apply them to the mask like face paint. This way the reveal of the logo is saved for the end of the animation. I quite like the idea of dressing the character in accessories such as fur and feathers, but i think i will only use feathers on the arm and scepter to try and keep the character as minimalistic as possible.


Models & Metaphors - Character Development 02

After selecting a character to develop further, i then went onto turn the character as possible. I feel that by doing this it enhances my understanding of the character, and also shows the flaws within the character. After drawing the first turn around i felt that the character was too human and too rounded compared to how i initially visualised the character. I also wasn't happy with how the character was a human wearing a mask, as opposed to the mask being the head and the character, although i feel some more development will be needed to be done around the neck area as it looks a bit odd. But needless to say im far more happy with the second turn around, as it features the mask as a head and is only more rectangular.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Models & Metaphors - Character Development 01

Here's some initial sketches of my tribal based character. The use of these sketches are to simply apply my thoughts onto paper and to help gather a sense of shape for the character. As these are early stages of the characters development I'm not yet sure what shapes i like, i.e. whether i like the skinny or round stomach and what type of mask shape i will use. After i have gathered how the body will look, i will then move onto design the face on the mask. More development soon...

Friday, 6 May 2011

Models & Metaphors - Influence Map

Ive decided I'm going to take the character of the African tribal mask forward, but have a new more simplistic idea in the making. I decided to take this character forward as i feel it has the most potential and could make quite a nice ident. Ill post the new idea soon...but for now here's an influence map.

Toilet Tentacle Painting

Some of you may remember this from the beginning of the year. Towards the end of the summer and before uni this year, i had the concept for this painting and thought it was worth having a go at doing. Over Easter i picked it up again for all of about 2 hours and made this progress. I focused on doing the hair and blocking in some rough colours, I'm still not entirely happy with the hair as i feel the brush strokes are a bit loose. Ill continue to paint this over the summer as a believe this will be a great painting when finished, as well as a possible idea for my major project.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Models & Metaphors - The Idea's

So far all of the ideas that I have managed to come up with all seem to be quite random and out of context, with none of them having any sort of reasoning. When I started this project I knew that I would like to have seen my self modelling a simple character, with some sort of random animation advertising the channel. I have one idea in particular that I see myself taking forward, although I am struggling to make it happen.

Idea 01:

The puppet master. This was one of my initial responses to the soundscapes, and is the idea which I quite like. The premise of this idea is a tribal masked aboriginal type character laughing whilst controlling some 'Models & Metaphors' characters. This idea is within response to the 'Afro' soundscapes, as the music is quite tribal and there is an overwhelming laugh in the background. There are multiple variations to this character; such as the puppets on the end of the strings are smaller chunks of one larger puppet, where at the end of the animation they are combined through the use of camera movement. An example of this being in 'The Incredibles' and the underwater cave kronos where the name is written on the wall. Another variation of this idea was to have the tribal mask character sacrificing the 'Models & Metaphors' characters, and then after a large burst of purple flames the roles have been reversed, its now the 'Models and Metaphors' characters sacrificing the tribal masked character. 

Idea 02:

A simple and random idea of a still camera and a gold fish in its bowl. The gold fish looks worried, and then out of its mouth comes a 'Models and Metaphor' logo. I like the simplicity and quirkiness of this idea.

Idea 03:

An apple tree, but instead of apples there are 'Models & Metaphors' logos. An apple drops from the tree and a squirrel scutters over take the apple. I quite like the simplicity of this idea, and its opportunity to look very clean and cartoon like.

Idea 04:

Russian dolls, a simple idea of some purple patterned Russian dolls popping out in a line moving towards the camera, and then on the end Russian doll, the 'Models & Metaphors' logo pops out. 

Idea 05:

An camera pans down and alley way of some sort, moving left to right on a 2d axis, as the camera comes to the end of the dirty and cluttered alley way there is a, clean out of place bill board with the logo on it. I think this idea has opportunity for some nice environment work, as well a nice opportunity to experiment with was style and era the bill board at the end will look like. For example it could be something of an Asian influence, or could be something of an Medieval influence. Or the bill board could not be out of place at all and just have a flickering light. 

Idea 06:

A worship to a 'Models & Metaphors' statue which will be perceived as a good like figure, and will be worshipped by a group of letters and numbers which make up the logo. Again this idea could be quite tribal and jungle themed.

Idea 07:

A valley of 'Models & Metaphors'. Everything will be themed to match the logo, and will be a very happy and positive place. The sun will be shining, there will be flying logos with rainbows and very nature based. I can imagine this idea being very camp and very kitsch, and quite similar to the work shown to us by our visiting lecturer from Picasso Pictures.

I think that's all of the more developed ideas, now its time to pick an idea and take it to the next stage. Any thoughts an opinions to which ones people could see working would be great.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Models & Metaphors - The Beginning

Okay, so its time to kick off the new project titled 'Models & Metaphors', after a much needed and enjoyable break over Easter. I plan to stay more 'on top' of this project as it is only 5 weeks long. I started off okay during Transcription, i met the deadlines which i had set myself and worked to a timetable, although during the transition from pre-production to production around week 5, i slowly started to sail adrift. So far during this project I have been creating ideas and sketching a few of them down whilst listening to the given soundscapes. A majority of the ideas seem to be wacky and random enough for the given topic, but since the tutorial yesterday, it has become clear that I still need to spend some time further developing ideas and placing them into context.

Over Easter i had a brainstorming session with an old friend Adam Mcevoy, who currently runs a a skate team and his brand 'Drawing Boards' whom of which he does all the art work for. You can follow his blog here and view his website and online portfolio here. He has always had an inspiring style and view on the world, which tends to be quite wacky, so i felt he was the man for the job. There were many possibilities and ideas that came out of the session, some of which included; a tree with the given 'topic' apples, tribal dancing to a 'topic' god, 'topic' shaped buildings, a valley of 'topic' shaped flowers, the idea of love for example the number meeting the letter, and flying 'topics'. Some of them more bland than others, and some of which may have been done before. But i felt it was a nice way to get into the swing of the project and develop an idea.   

Below are some pages from the sketchpad of some quick drawings that I have done whist developing ideas. So far im in favour of the top image as I feel as though there is something quite interesting to work with, but a lot more development will be needed to finalise an idea. I will shortly post some of my ideas with some context, and hopefully will have finalised one.