Saturday, 28 July 2007

Day205 12 Disney and Robots

Disney's 12 Principles of Animation
Read through a lovely piece on the Disney animation principles, which date from the outset of animation of this type, but still have significant relevance today. This was suggested as a good place to start reading for the animation course and certainly was that. It is great still to see how this media evolved from the crudest of beginnings through to what we see today.
For ongoing reference here are the 12:
  1. Squash and Stretch
  2. Anticipation
  3. Staging
  4. Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose
  5. Follow Through and Overlapping Action
  6. Slow In and Slow Out
  7. Arcs
  8. Secondary Action
  9. Timing
  10. Exaggeration
  11. Solid Drawing
  12. Appeal
Here is a CGSociety Article on the 12 as well: http://features.cgsociety.org/story_custom.php?story_id=1429

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Robots
We watched Robots (http://www.robotsmovie.com) today on DVD as well and this is pretty nifty actually. The physical humour and animation are lively and engaging - some very funny indeed. I love the transport system sequence particularly - that must have been great fun to realise.



[images from the Robots movie from the dvdactive.com site]

Friday, 27 July 2007

Day204 Big Screens and Mayaing

Big Screen Loaner
We had our loan/demo 46" Touch enabled LCD panel up and running today. I setup my M90 to run it for the week and plan to work off the MBPro for that time. The 1920x1080 HD res is very nice and if you are over an arm-length away the pixels vanish and it looks lovely. This shows one of the paradoxes of the touch capability.
We had a host of applications setup and running for people to experience:
  • Google Sketchup (ok for orbit and pan sing touch but easier for most things with mouse)
  • Image Viewer (easy both with touch and with mouse)
  • Google Earth (moving around is great with touch everything else is hard without mouse)
  • Powerpoint (general nav is great touch, some menu things easier with mouse)
  • Powerpoint Notations (really great with touch and much better than with mouse - super)
  • HL2 (more specifically the Falling Water model, cant use touch but the screen is GREAT)
  • Web (easy either way with basic navigation working well with touch)
  • plus we did other things like comunication etc which at this size was fun.
The staff that have played with the kit so far seem pretty inspired and though some needed some guidance on how to integrate digital tech into existing teaching modes they were certainly keen to have something this good. Basically it is FANTASTIC and I cant wait to see what form we can get a fully fitted out Teaching suite to take.

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Maya
Worked through some intro Tutes for Maya and seem to be picking it slowly but surely.
Here is my list of Maya shortcut keys which I am sure I will find handy:

Maya Shortcut keys
q select..........f zoom select...........ALT+LMB tumble
w move............_ view toggle...........ALT+MMB track
e rotate........123 nurb smoothing........ALT+RMB dolly
r scale........4567 view rendering....SHIFT+Click add select
t manipulate......s keyframe...........CTRL+Click remove select

x snap grid....HOME pivot point............CTRL+a attributes
c snap curves.....p parent......................g repeat
v snap poly.......P unparent

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Day203 Gaming and SC

Gaming Discussion
Following the start of the game design group sessions we had some interesting discussions over lunch and on the list.

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Screen Culture
Lecture 1 of the course today. The reader is tough going, but the lecture was good and showed us the scope by covering some glimpses of history. It was nice to see the "Arrival of a train at a station" as it marked the beginning of so much.
I am interested in the immersion topic as well - much to choose from.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Day202 Game Design and SC

Game Design Group
We had our first gathering of the little game design bunch. Due to some timetabling conflicts we only had 5 to get us started - but that was fine. We all came with some nice perspectives and intent for getting together and towards games and their design in general. We discussed types of games and gaming applications and we all got to see viewpoints on the topic from different schools and areas of the uni.

The most fun was us playing a game designed by Malcolm using play-doh. I wont spoil his thunder by detailing it here - but the design elements were great. (more on this later I hope)

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Screen Culture topics
I need to choose a couple of topics for my course that I might take on for a discussion lead/presentation. The ones that look most tempting thus far are:
  • Immediacy, hypermediation, tv and interaction
  • Media, hot, cool and types
  • Interfaces, human/computer interaction, metaphore
I am actually quite excited about taking on some theory like this - should be fun.
So on that note I set aout trying to injest some of the reading :-)

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Day201 my MDM begins

MDM kickoff
First classes in my Masters of Digital Media today. First up was an intro tute for Screen Culture followed by our first assault on Maya. We only scratched the surface of Maya in the class time and thus have plenty of homework before next week.
The most fun was actually hearing Will's story of working on the likes of Walking with Dinosaurs, Dinotopia, Harry Potter, Troy, Happy Feet and recently a new Hellboy game title. He had a showreel with some pretty amazing snippets on it and covered the leaps that gaming is making into the cinematic arena.

lots more to come!

Monday, 23 July 2007

Day200 Elephants Dream

DAY200 Yippee and my MDM kicks off with my first class tomorrow which seems appropriate.

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Elephants Dream
The fully open source movie with Blender at its heart has sparked all manner of interest for a variety of reasons. Elephants Dream (http://www.elephantsdream.org/) used a suite of applications to get the job done which are nicely listed on WikiPedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephants_Dream).
This little movie has a great style and detail to draw us into this little world and the production quality doesnt disappoint. The animation has a puppetry or marionette feel which combines with the fantasy of the environment. The production quality, modelling, animation, texturing, lighting, compositing, audio and all the other little bits are all lovingly finished with a unique toolset. Download the full thing in all its glory from their site - all quite impressive really... otherwise check out the youtube version by way of a preview:

The movie gets some nice coverage in my 3DWorld 94 and over at CGSociety (http://features.cgsociety.org/story_custom.php?story_id=3583) where they have a little more info including the 125 days of render-time on an impressive rendering array.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Day199 Id's Tech 5, TED SPORE and Civ4 expands

Id's Tech 5
Id (http://www.idsoftware.com/) (those mighty folk who brought us Quake, Doom and the like arent sitting still while other heavies bring forth ever more amazing game engines. Id's John Carmack gave us a little peek at the tech at the Mac WWDC where we saw a quite nice dirt style racing track which fluidly transitioned indoors for us where we got a glimpse of some character animation as well (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvuTtrkVtns http://www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/wwdc07/).
This OpenGL engine which they love means we will see it on the Mac, PC and a host of consoles no doubt. With the new Intel Macs no doubt making up a decent percentage of the machines being used at various stages of the actual development of game titles - the ability to support the platform seems obvious. If they can get an engine that flows across from one OS to the next - then this has got to be a nice thing.

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Spore on TED
The TED site and the inspired talks therein have finally put up Will Wrights talk around SPORE (http://www.spore.com/). Check it out on the TED site (http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/146) or via iTunes even.

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Civilization IV Beyond the Sword
The latest big expansion for Civ4 has come our way which pushes the game in quite a few directions to make what looks like quite a large suite of changes (http://www.2kgames.com/civ4/beyondthesword/). There are a host of extra goodies for later in the game including revised space and UN victory sets.

[a few screenshots from the civ4 site]