Saturday, 4 April 2009

Collaboration Studio Drafts

The project running through the middle of the Collaboration Studio here in FBE is upto the point where the groups have presented their draft fabrications of unbuilt Architecture in the Crysis engine. I am very impressed with the quality the students are producing with the engine in a short space of time with no previous skills with Crysis. The teams have been working with an impressive array of software from Sketchup, Archicad, 3dsMax, Generative Components and Microstation to Revit. This is a significant improvement over the previous group who used the UT3 engine.

Here are some visions of the groups' draft environments, check their Team Journals via the Course Blog for more details, images and videos.

[Images and video of Team Omega's Crysis draft environment via their team blog]

[Video of Team Atlar's Crysis draft environment via their team blog]

More Unity goodness

Now that he shiny new version of Unity 3D (2.5) is out in the flesh, there is more info appearing for it all the time. I am too busy at the moment to grab it and give it a run for its money, but there is a nice little interview on the Area with David Helgason who covers features and directions of this major release.

The interview covers some very interesting ground with respect to the link between the editor and 3D apps like 3ds Max and Maya and even photoshop for texture work. This could make life very nice indeed for building 3D environments and gaming work.

Here are two of he many shots of the interface in action in the interview:

[2 shots of the Unity3D 2.5 engine in action from the Area's interview]

Oinkfrog heads to UV space

With the model for Oinkfrog in a pretty complete form, it was time to take him off to UV space. I had only UV'd simple things before, so this was going to be a challenge. I had a few false starts as I experimented with unwrapping him in larger pieces, I think this could work, but I don't know the tools well enough yet to pull it off. So I set about UVing him in lots of smaller pieces, with each projection was better related to the specific part.

In the UV editor I pulled and prodded UVs about, expanding, joining and neatening. This took me waaaay longer than it should have no doubt, but in the end he is pretty neat. Along the way I noticed little modelling oddities that needed tidying up, some due to the mirroring and then joining up, others just strange internal faces. Here are some shots of the progress being made:

Next step was to dive quickly into photoshop to generate some of the texture. At this stage I was happy to create some tonal change around his folds of skin and add some fun dots and spots af various shapes and sizes. It was nice to see him looking fleshy finally, though the test renders dont quite show off his spots enough yet - that will come.


Oh, I couldnt help but put a reference to this awesome 'ball of skin' by Eric Keller while I am here.

[Ball of skin pic by Eric Keller via his blog]

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Generi Emotional Throw WIP

I liked this weekly task, or at least what I have done thus far. Waht could have been a technical process of animating a throw, which is complex already with lots of weight shifts, twisting, arcs and dynamics. Adding the emotional dimensions in there as well makes it actually a really interesting task with even more dimensions.

My Generi is mighty frustrated (emotionally), he is holding that ball tight and his muscles are tense. Getting the poses right is part of this delivery of frustration, but there will be some nice quivering in very short keys to get the feeling in there once I nut out the macro timing.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Slap Animation

We started the slap animation in class, that seems like ages ago now - each week is full of so much. This was to be a small task so with just 6 keyframes and the spline curves things are looking up. There is a heap of room to refine things from here - esp in line with Keith Lango's questions for polishing animation to help out. That said, I liked how I could add details for how things worked through few keys but including the curves and follow-through and more.

I am finding it interesting seeing how many parts of little Generi need adjusting for each keypose and then breakdown to get it feeling natural. Working out whether the head, shoulders, hips, arms etc are leading the animation. Building in translations, rotations, arcs and timing for each piece of his spine, limbs, and fingers takes plenty of patience.

I can see that refining our final animation will take several hours, just to build in more breakdowns. From there adding in details and refining the arcs, timing and readability will be fun.

Trip Silhouette

One of our fast tasks for the animation class was to get Generi in a nice silhouette of him tripping. Note: I didnt hurt myself or anyone in acting this one out...

The Detonator Generi - idea

I had built up about 10 ideas for something entertaining that little Generi could do for the first assignment in the animation class, ranging from ballet to bananas. The idea I have settled on has some nice potential with the classic cartoon prop and his fun proportions. I will set about doing some storyboards over the next few days as well - but here is the idea in brief.

The Detonator Generi (10 secs)
In a neat full shot he stands before the classic plunger/detonator complete with nice coils of detonator wire. He peers sneakily from side to side, rubbing his hands in preparation before turning his attention to the handle (I like the idea of him wriggling his fingers here). He grabs hold and takes one deep breath before exerting all his force into plunging the handle down. He cringes and lifts a leg as if to protect himself from the blast. The massive invisible force blasts Generi, detonator and all from the frame in lovely ragdoll fashion.

Variant1: would be to have the explosion not go off, have him looking perplexed and shrugging at the end...
Variant2: Generi peers into shot, then sneaks quickly over to the detonator at the start...


10 seconds is a very short amount of time, if I get a chance I will explore what other people have done through sites like the 11 Second Club.

I also read through some of Ideas for the Animated Short (Sullivan, Schumer and Alexander) online through the library. I feel a little chained to my computer doing this and my session keeps expiring and I cant get the book :-( , but it is still a great resource and step forward from physical books in the actual library tower. The Introduction alone is chock full of great inspiration and I feel as though I should try and apply everything to this little scene. I will certainly try and get as much in there as I can.


I should be able to get a good dosier for Generi for the piece, he should have a good depth of character, yet be obvious enough to read will in the brief 10 secs of screentime.

More Oinkfrog Maya WIP

Here are some more shots showing the Oinkfrog model coming together. I added some detail around the eye and where the main head meets his big big mouth. The sketches show some nice wrinkles where these parts meet and I wanted to build that into the model and it helps make him feel fleshier, less plastic. It was a little tricky to add nice quads and edgeflows for these - but the end result looks sane.

One element of the sketches are his nice bulgy elbows and knees. It will be interesting to see how they work on the rig. After splitting some faces, I did a set of extrusions before doing some vert tidying. They may still be a little small actually - I will see how they feel after he is more complete.

Onto the eye - first creating a polysphere and rotating it before adding a deformer lattice. This allowed me to manipulate the shape so it fits snugly in the big sockets. I am not sure how the sockets and eyeballs will deform together on the rig yet - but that should be fun.

Here things are coming along. He has his belly-button, a row of nice teeth and more general tidying up.

One thing I hadnt done at all until now was add creases to the smoothed mesh. So I set out around the model making the folds in his skin sit nicely, making the various pieces stand out where required. Here you can see some of the creases around his head.

My UV vids arent playing, so I will have to come back to to that. I could survive with a material, but I think some colour variation across the skin plus the spots would be much nicer.