Saturday, December 11, 2010

pbank animation 50% + the "Kinect" video project

I've been limited as to how much time i can spend on the piggy bank project, but there is seemingly hope that I will manage to finish it before the deadline (dec17). The storyboard that I had went through some revisions and now the film seems to be much more fun to work on. The Story is an important thing to me, working on something matters only when it has a meaning (or you get payed to do it lol, or in the best case- both). I am not going to spoil it too much though, so no animatic will be posted at this point. I even started reading a book on screen play writing!
Its still about buying shoes. I only made it a bit more unpredictable and imaginative.

Anyway, let's have a look at my current setup in Maya (ignore the poses- its WIP) :

First of all- this time I am keeping my rigs, the background and props in separate files. The scene file contains only the keyframes, the camera rig and lights. That way I feel a little bit tidier/safer. Every time changes are made to a file while being referenced, maya stores them changes as nodes, it doesnt touch the rigs or whatever is referenced. But doing geometry/other changes to the items while they are referenced is not the best of ideas. Maya adds unneeded history to the scene file and it causes it to crash on loading in some cases, as I found out. Luckily, I could just open the file without loading its references, then go to the "reference changes list" and clean it up. Works beautifully now.

Second- the Camera setup is much better than the one i had for Stoneage. Its incredible how much more control one can get just by parenting the most normal cam to a simple locator.

For the animation- This time I have even less time to work on it, because of the greater number of side assignments and the part time job that i have. For the two weeks spent on it, I have worked very little on it, hardly full time. You can say only 2 days of the week full time and the rest- on and off for an hour or two. This time though, I feel more comfortable with the tools. I found ways to save time by using character sets+ selection sets. Its incredible how much of the frustration goes out the window with these.
I also took my time in research before putting a single keyframe! I have a big mirror in my room now, also shot some home videos of me doing stupid stuff (ended up hardly using that, but still fun)

The Background- I have uv-ed almost everything with Maya and painted the textures with Mudbox+photoshop/gimp.

With all this said, I want to assure everyone following the progress on this that I am certainly not going to abandon it at the deadline and leave it incomplete. I will continue polishing it and adding to it and then use that on a showreel. What I submit will have only body animation- no facial animation and no animation on the fingers, it will be rough. I think of not uploading it to the web yet, maybe just a playblast or two.

Ok, lets move on to the other assignment. This year I have a new module at university- Video production.

I worked in a team with 5 people to make a 2 minute film. I was assigned as the writer and director, but also ended up doing most of the editing in Final Cut pro. This proved to be a very good learning experience for me. I learned quite a lot about final cut pro, about the common mistakes that can be made when compositing, about the pitfalls of organizing a film. I have to say though, I enjoyed being a director on a live film. Not being supposed to build all the characters and sets and then "animate" everything. But it was hard to get the actor to do whats in my head. He didnt say some of his lines properly, we were missing a prop and I had to cut off some of the shots- as a result the story is a bit disjointed/inconsistent in the end. The blue screen had different tonal values, his clothes were dark and had some reflectivity - that made it a bit hard to clean up in post.
The film was shot in 5 hours. Here are some of the failed takes of some shots- just for the fun of it. :D
None of us had any prior experience with shooting life action. I wrote the story the day before- in half an hour. The sound should need some extra editing too.

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