First step was to look at a more stylised view of 3D and new 3Dbimbo that will assist with the rig and animation by limiting artifacts and playing on the simplistic rendering that will apply.
Here is some sketchwork showing this progression, te first image shows ideas, then what is a good realisation of this to all 3 characters as a set:
One place this leads is to some references, in looking at them again 3D has joints like Buzz Lightyear and 3Dbimbo is almost a bit like Woody. Woody's arms are separated in their thick geometry, they just have material for elbows for example - neat. The ponytail and bangs should be much easier to animate, either using the ik_spline_handle, deformers or even just regular bones.
The revised 3D character has a more constructed-of-primitives look and references the tests that James has built with the blocking and rigwork.
I first created a quick animatic to look at timings inside iMovie (was a good excuse to explore another piece of built-in mac software). This worked ok to a point, but was very limited in the manipulations I could make. It did let me very easily adjust the duration of shots which was helpful, but its usefulness was limited after that.
I thought I would use this as a test for uploading to Youtube as well (havent ever done that before either). Though the version I uploaded is VERY low res, armed with the other images here the idea is starting to get some life:
So it was onto Flash next which is proving to be much more powerful for working through the dynamics. I have a fair way to go yet - but I can now see some of the cuts, transitions, movement and such actually going. For some reason the animation plays faster than my in-app testing (have to fix that), but it loads up into youtube as well as a flash movie which is nifty:
I created a very very rudimentary version of our 3Dbimbo in a blocking kinda way to play with rigging. Some of the stuff I learnt sunk in and I could get a fair way through the process and achieve some success.
(matching better the new logic and timings)
3D:......“Hey 2D, what have you got there”
[2D raising picture]
2D:......“She's my new girlfriend”
3D:......“She … nice”
[sound of high heels]
3D:......“and here's mine, hi babe”
3Dbabe:..“Hi hon …”
[3Dbabe pinching 2D's cheek]
3Dbabe:..“oooh … he's funny”
Tokyo Drift CG
I came across an excellent little article by Martin McEachern on Computer Graphics World covering the CG and compositing work done by R&H on a scene from Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift1. The things that strike me (apart from the obvious complexity) are things like the number of applications in use, apart from Maya, Houdini, Massive, Inferno, Shake and a host of in-house apps there would be a large compliment of others from creative apps like image editing and audio through to management and systems.
This passage from the article highlights where this fusion of technology and cinema is headed:
"Tokyo Drift’s Shibuya Square sequence is one of the most dramatic foreshadowings yet of the impending union between the digital artist and the production designer. With their fates and futures inextricably intertwined, the digital artist will graduate from the periphery of the filmmaking process to a more integrated and collaborative role, as indispensable to any production as the director, editor, or cinematographer." McEachern, M 2006.Here is one of the image sets from the article, showing some of the compositing required.
[image from Turbo-Charged FX 2006 by Martin McEachern on CGW]
Following up from the article, there are plenty of little clips from the film showing off the camera and effects work including snippets of this scene.
Just for reference (pun :-) I am trying out Zotero for the footnote and citations now.
- Martin McEachern, “Turbo-Charged FX,” Computer Graphics World, August 2006, http://www.cgw.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=&nm=&type=Publishing&mod=Publications%3A%3AArticle&amp;amp;amp;mid=8F3A7027421841978F18BE895F87F791&tier=4&id=1F417AF4B40E4D7E8FC44BE4D3244C51 (accessed September 12, 2007).