Saturday, 9 May 2009

Awesome Trailers

At both films we were treated to trailers of course - these two stand out a long way from the pack: Transformers and Terminator! Alas no embedding for these babies - but they are worth the long trek to youtube to see them.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Terminator Salvation


The second film was X-Men Origins : Wolverine.

The next telling of the X-Men universe took us back to see how some of the mutants and experiments came to be centred around Wolverine. This film lacks some clarity of purpose, apart from seeing things unfold. I preferred the previous films as far as the combat between two sides of thinking went. That said, the production values are very high yet again and we are treated to another bevy of nice effects work.

[Wolverine promo image]

Star Trek

We went off to see 2 movies today - MOVIE DAY.

[Image from the Star Trek film via the official movie site]

Starting early with Star Trek and the rebirth of all the original characters. Here is the trailer to get you in the mood.

The film is all about the characters and their different personalities, the making of a very different StarFleet captain in James Tiberius Kirk and his relationship with a special young crew. This happens through some stunning action sequences that lift the whole film. The whole thing is chock full of classic Star Trek references and I am sure the real trekkies would spot a whole lot more. The reverence to things like this is what makes the film for me, it is more than just a sci-fi action film, it is the continuation of a grand creation. The production values are first class and all round a great experience and one we can talk about.


Effects wise, we get it all and in great detail. Ships and landscapes being ripped into a gazzillion pieces (counted them myself) and surrounded by lighting, smoke and flame effects of all kinds. There are some CG creatures and characters to round out the alienness of the universe as well.

[Images from the Star Trek film via the official movie site]

Star Trek Site
Star Trek Movie Site

Friday, 8 May 2009

Posing Present

One more pose task for this week, a silhouette posing of Generi opening a present. I went for a childlike sitting with the accompanying exuberance for the task. In Silhouette you miss the expressions and details, but it does mean the pose needs to be extra strong.

Posing Expressions

This may well have been the most fun I have all session so far. The reference material was straight from Gary Faigin's Facial Expressions book and we were to try and pose little Generi into 3 of them. First up, the illustrations in the book are wonderful, a lovely blend of character in linework illustrations that doesnt end up too cartoony.

So I tackled TERROR first and Generi's face and rig makes for a wonderful terror. Upraurious Laughter worked pretty well, though getting him to squint isnt quite the same. Given this I decided to try another squinty one, see whe effect it may have, and Physical Repulsion certainly cant be confused with laughter. The capability of Generi means many of the subtleties arent there from real human faces, so it was fun finding other ways to emphasis the emotion in question.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Animation and LipSync Style

This post had its genesis in an enthusiastic discussion at work on various Anime that we liked or mystified us in various ways - current and long past. So with the likes of Akira and Robotech/Macross childhood memories on the mind I was thinking about the very specific animation style used in anime and the 'lip sync'

So I grabbed a copy of some MacrossZero epsides - having a blast watching these! Here is a vid of some now classic Lip sync Anime from Robotech - in a different language even:

Then during our animation class some of us were talking about the muppets with respect to lipsync. Most of the Muppets can only deliver open-closed mouth shapes, not a visime to be found. This shows to me how easily we can adapt the idea of mouth motion with the sound and other body language to read the words as working.

Perhaps also because different people speak so differently, we fill in the rest. Some people speak without moving much at all and we Aussies slur speech together that we dont need so much mouth motion.

Here is a Muppet example

Then, listening to the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe podcast, they covered a science news item on computers lip reading. I thought this was a pretty good test of how accurate lip sync may need to be. The article in electronic design does state how hard reading lips is and doing the lipsync work in class has me thinking it would be even harder than is implied here.

One of this weeks class resources was a tutorial by Aardman's Stefan Marjoram. This prompted me to have a closer look at some of the Aardman styling for lip sync. Which is, as the article states, poppier, plus as we know the mouths are uber-wide. Here is a claymation and CG example from them.

Lastly there are the many robots that feature in animation like Megatron. The trailer for the sequel has no lipsync - but is is very cool.

Collab Studio Presentations

[shot from the realtime crysis map by team Omega]

Today the FBE Collaboration Studio class (3rd year Architectural Computing) presented their week 8 groupwork on the fabrication of an unbuilt architecture using the Crysis engine. They are really engaging with the collaboration tasks as the session goes on. Here are some videos from some of the groups' team journal blogs, showing off elements of their models - check the main class blog for links to much more:

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Twittering to Hellboy

I finally got around to registering onto Twitter, to see if I could work out whether it indeed made any sense. It is like getting a feed of intro snippets. I set myself up to follow, UNSW, FBE_UNSW and Engadget and I am still not sure I appreciate things, let alone understand the hype.

Anyone who may want to follow me - just search for Oinkfrog.


Anyhow, I did one update just now on my enjoyment that Hellboy2 was mentioned in my Animation class tonight. Characters like Johann Kraus, which have no face, still need to convey emotion and ideas through larger body movement and positions combined with voice acting.
The class was fun for other reasons as well though, exploring what facial elements combine to create various emotions. I am looking forward to this weeks exercises then...

Monday, 4 May 2009

Oinkfrog joint surgery

Even though the bulk of Oinkfrog was deforming quite nicely I went in to do some experimenting with his arms and scaling the joints in a few ways when I noticed that somehow along the line his joints in his top half all have their local axes set to match the world XYZ directions. This isnt good as I spent some time lining them all up some time ago and I have only just noticed.

This will make finger rotations painful, though I was thinking of adding another controller anyhow and this may mean that it just works. He has controllers for other parts and I hadnt even noticed. When I try and orient the joints now, all kinds of weird things happen.

Choices are to carry on with controllers keeping things sane, or to rebuild the rig to fix him up. The first lets me keep going and I hope I get somewhere cool, the second would allow me to go back and fix a heap of other things that I would improve now that I have a slightly better idea of what I am doing with modelling, UVing, rigging and more. Perhaps time and the endurance of my hand/finger will be the deciding factors.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

O3D at Google

After checking out the wonders that Unity3D can bring to a browser, this is some work from the Google guys using O3D. There are some pretty neat examples on the site showing all manner of technical wizardry modifying 3D in realtime through the browser.

[shot of the Interiors Online demo using O3D running in the browser]

My take is it feels like a techy solution so far, it doesnt have the sweet Google interface class that will make it what it needs to be. The Unity engine is much more advanced from a user and interface perspective. The beach example (see vid below) from O3D is a fair way short of what Unity can do and isnt easy to move around in at all. BUT - it is WIP and I cant wait to see it after an iteration or two. Perhaps I am being a little unfair, if I hadnt seen what Unity could do, this would be very exciting :-)