Thursday, 27 May 2010

There's A Lot Of Space Up In Space

Once i knew my exact sequence and i had finished all my modeling i did a quick animatic using stills and just whacked a bit of text. Hopefully give you some idea of how it's gunna turn out.

Thought I'd show ya how the landscape and layout changed throughout the process, testament I think to just how much I was making this up on the spot. This was my first shot at the moon's surface

As you can clearly see this was shite, not only is it boring but you would pretty easily be able to tell it's just a flat plain with a few bumps. Went back to it and tried to make it any kind of good.

This was definitely an improvement, the craters in the middle make all the difference when contrasted with the mountains up the side. After that i added in the elements i had so far, baring in mind this was "pre-teleporters"

So I'd already identified that i needed more to happen in the sequence but also knew the background could do with a bit more jazz, I knew I didn't want to apply a texture to the ground as it would take away from the cartoony look. I made some random space junk to scatter about the place heres the design then a shot of the scene with them in that also contains the teleporters.

So as the landscape gets a bit more littered it instantly looks more interesting, i also slightly changed the angels of the satellite and the dish so it wasn't just a straight line.
After i was happy with that I created a texture for the space backdrop and for the Earth on photoshop and applied them to a couple of spheres in the background. Heres what the finished scene looks like. (I also added a couple of extra pebbles)

Not too shabby.

Something's missing

We had to do a layout of our plan for Rosy using research and photoshop, did a bit of tasty annotation as well.

Impossibe to read on here of course but you get the jist, it was while doing this and the storyboard in my sketchbook that i realized that not enough happens (apart form the destruction of the Earth), i was really happy with how it's begins and ends but thought it needed summat extra in the middle.
Either because i couldn't think of anything else real to do or just because i thought it would be a cool I decided to add a pair of Teleportation Pads in the mix, this was my first design.

As you will see later they now have more of a golden rim and the middle is orange, i also changed the balls on the top into rings.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Yeah.... It's Hard To Test Stuff In Space

Thought I'd better check out some test videos from the Mars Rover so I wasn't animating blind quite so much.

The main thing i noticed, other than the fact it's looks almost exactly the same as mine (thank you) is how fast it can zip around. I thought these guys were supposed to trundle at a few miles an hour. I think on smooth ground he'd do just fine.
Well heres summat seemingly pointless, I tried to re-create the see-saw effect pretty crudely but i'm afraid i didn't happen to have a scaled down satellite and helmet.

Not much to get from that but it did show me just how fast it would get launched in the air. Obviously though I'd made it harder on myself by choosing a location that doesn't really care much for gravity.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Oh Thank God... They Actually Look Okay

So Here are the updated versions Of the stuff below, also A first look at the layout, backdrop and just to keep it real, my UFO.

What a couple! I noticed that for some reason the darker i made things the more unprofessional it looked. Thats why i tried to avoid using grey's and blacks and either use shades of white or bright/light colours

It was hard coming up with a colour scheme for the Rover because they are usually chrome or silver and i hadn't quite grasped things that reflective yet and like i was saying grey just looked shite.

And so's to completely contradict myself heres a big grey object. I did think about this but i realy wanted to go for the classic saucer 'mars attacks' type look and as they were mainly in black and white films this just looks right to me.

This is the very first shot at the layout also the background has since received a face lift. Pretty much a no frills version of the final thing. I know this to be exactly what the moons surface looks like, according to Wallace and Gromit.

Even Tyra Banks Would Dig This Modeling..... Ha!

So i'd decided to do the space theme whilst in Rosy's class, I of course did this without thinking of what an absolute pain in the arse it would be.
"I wonder why everyone else is doing stuff in a sealed room??"
Anyway what's done is done, i started looking for stuff related to space travel/exploration an maybe threw in a cheeky bit of sci-fi as well.
This is some of the research that i did and the first stage of the models.

The obvious feature of both and of most of the ones i looked at is the blue wings, or solar panels if you wanna get fancy. This is my attempt.

This was my first bash, added some more detail later but we'll get to that. I'd decided to use it as a see-saw so i took some artistic license with the main body, also the front doesn't look so much like a boob when it's coloured in.

Decided to go for the industrial type dish, these guys are pretty well recognisable so it would be hard for me to mess it up, let's watch.

Like i said, pretty standard stuff, once again added a bit more spice later on but you get the idea.

Now i know this fella is a prototype but im not exactly going for realism here. Wanted it to be like summat out of The Jetsons.

See what i mean, pretty sure they don't have antenna like that anymore but we've got four weeks, what dya want from me.

I knew as soon as I had the idea for this theme that i wanted a Mars rover involved, even though my animation happens to be set on the moon so i assume he took a wrong turn somewhere. From looking at research i could see that the main factors were the box like shape, the wheels and in some cases the head and neck like structure at the front. Kinda like a cross between Wall-E and a camel.

Question, what's round and a total bitch to try and make six of that turn separately to the chassis? Yeah i think you've got it. Have added an antenna and some detail at the front since but i was pretty proud of this little dude.
This was definitely the easy part and it nearly killed me.

My First Date With Maya

Knowing that we had the impossible task of doing an animation on computer software that I couldn't even begin to comprehend I thought I'd practice by having a go at flattering myself in 3D.
Ere's a few stages of this most horrible process

So freakin weird, kinda like using clay but without your sense of touch.

Slimmed out the face a little, was lookin pretty special.

Not sure why i put this stage up as it is simply terrifying.

My god it's beautiful! So this took collectively around 10 hours, it starts to become clear why i may have been brickin it over this particular project.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

I'd like to thank the academy

Instead of repeatedly acting things out every few frames we decided to film me on some of the harder actions. I assure you the fact that Im wearing pretty much the same top as the character was completely intentional, I'd definitely call myself a method actor.

Waking Up:

Ball bounce with no ball:

Wall pound:

Bar pull:


Let there be light!

So we knew we wanted pretty dark, atmospheric lighting. Unbelievably we thought about before hand which turned out to be a freakin' blessing cause i had no idea how long lights take to set up, especially if you don't know what you want. Heres a couple of the tests we did.

Blue Filter Close to lamp-
Way too dark, would lose all colour of set and character

Blue close to set-
Still too blue

Double tracing paper over light-
Nice contrast but might bleach the character a little

Green filter close to light-
Blates too green

Green close to set-
Could work, but again would probably be too dominant

Blue & tracing paper close to set-
Really awesome looking, looks like moon light

Single tracing close to set-
Not as interesting but it fills the whole room while it still being obvious that the window is the light source.

My animatic could kick your animatic's ass

So after I'd done a rough story board in my sketch book i neatened it up a little bit and filmed it on animation paper, it doesnt have any sound but you get the idea. Please look out for the scenes i've so clearly ripped off.

Get busy Livin' or get busy dyin'

Seen as though our guy was gunna go from deathly boredom to questionable mental health i had a few ideas of films that would be good research for behavior and story ideas. Firstly i looked at some prison based films to see how they get by on their lonesome,

'The Shawshank Redemption'

'The Great Escape'

And of course 'Chicken Run'

A scene that i believe is used in all 3 is the protagonist being put in solitary and bouncing a ball against the wall, obviously Chicken Run used this as an homage to The Great Escape and I was was blatantly gunna steal it. Also we see here the dreary cell with water dripping down and markings on the wall for days. Now i had to address the sightly insane part of the story.

'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest'

'Jacob's Ladder'

Cuckoo's Nest is definitely closer to the tone of our film but i had to steal the bit from 'Jacob's Ladder' with the mental guys head going crazy. I knew I wanted that as a close up shot.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

I'll make a man out of you

So after doing a fair few designs in my sketchbook the end product ended up being ridiculously simple, this kinda makes sense though as i had already decided his head was pretty much gunna be made up of eyes and a beard also the fewer features he has the easier it is for him to be a young and old character. This was the prototype basic head

I love this head because even though it's just eyes and a nose you know exactly what he's thinking, plus he's pretty damn handsome. Next had to make two more, one for the prisoner and one for the kid, also two identical armatures for them to go on top of.

Having only done an armature once before the main thing i was looking for was to make sure i didn't restrict it's movement too much. Last time i made one i laced it with Milliput because i was afraid it would fall apart but in doing so i covered to much of the arms and legs so they couldn't bend as far as i wanted. With these i made sure it was in the right places and that the limbs and body could be moved freely.
In the research i had done into armatures they had solid bits where ever there was a bone in the body and could only bend where humans can, it was a conscious decision not to do this as i wanted him to be able to move in very extreme ways that humans can't.
After i made the hands and chrissy knocked some awesome threads together he began to take shape....

A mistake i made was not to put anything solid in the hands so we had some trouble with them melting and falling off from time to time but other than that he's a good looking bloke, just had to make the feet, a hat and give him some luscious locks.

Here he is in his natural habitat, I made the hat with a coke bottle cap covered in the same material then cut out some card for his beard and head and stuck string on for the hair, this was originally meant to be kind of gingery brown but the grey works a lot better with the cells colour scheme.
The feet were a big challenge, we had bought some magnets to put in his feet but found out they weren't strong enough to hold him up, also we decided he would be moving around the room too much to drill holes and cover them up later. Eventually we just went with some big stompers so he was self supporting, this was only really a problem at the end when he had to run off shot.

The big stop-motion commotion

Right this is a big bastard, had to come up with a stop-frame short based on one of 3 scripts we were given. We chose one to do with a guy trapped in a cell and when i say based i mean seriously loosely based. We struggled coming up with a story at first mainly because we were a group of six and all had very different ideas of where to take it also some took rejection a little more personally than others. In the end we went for Greg's initial idea of it eventually turning out to be a boy who has been grounded and he's imagining being in prison, we then all added little ideas till we had the full story.
My main role at the start was to design and create the characters, having never done character design for a 3-D, fully pose-able model before I decided to look at some of the pro's before i jumped in.
We had already decided that there wasn't going to be any dialogue in it and if there was it wouldn't be from the main character. This naturally lead me to
the greatest silent actor in stop-frame animation............. this pimp on the right,

Gromit's eyebrows and ears are all nick park needs to display the most subtle of emotions and usually to ball-achingly hilarious effect. I knew our guy probably couldn't pull off a pair of dog ears but i was defiantly goin' for the big ol' eyebrows.
Although the eyes are a large part of portraying emotion it's the body language that will make it all the more convincing and i think the best use of this recently was the character Wybie from Coraline.

Although all the characters in Coraline are facially animated excellently Wybie gives of an amazing sense of awkwardness with a simple shrug or dragging his feet slightly. Our character is going to go through a range of emotions and if he can act anywhere near as well as this guy we'll be gravy.
In terms of appearance it has to be someone that can pass as a trampy prisoner and a small child, all i knew was that i wanted him in full, classic prison/robber attire and I couldn't stop thinking about the wolf from Tex Avery's 'Droopy'.