Saturday, 4 July 2009

Oinkfrog Turntable

Just a quick post to include the uploaded Oinkfrog turntable vid.

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen

Finishing up the character dev course last night - seemed appropriate to charge off and see ILM weave their magic in Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. I really enjoyed it, you have to go in with the right mindset of course, if you go in expecting a deep psychological drama with heart rending perfomances, then it wouldnt be Transformers. Bay and the team however weave together the logic of giant transforming robots slugging it out across the globe and the bog screen in a truly exciting visual treat. It is like seeing the games we played with the toys brought to life on the screen - those games were all about peril, battles, explosions and heroes - Bay brings us this in spades - SUPER.

[Images from Transformers 2 via]

The complexity of the CG work on display from ILM is nothing short of staggering. Check out Michael Bay's site/blog for plenty of coverage of the film including some cool stats on the rendering of the film. Check out the TransformersLive blog as well.

Trailer (check here for more vid fun):

The soundtrack by Steve Jablonsky is in tune with the first film and together make for cool combo together in the midst of my iTunes stack.

[Image from Transformers 2 via]


Trailers for 2012, Harry Potter and G.I. Joe were amazing to see as well - drool.

Oinkfrog Lives!!

I completed the creation of the Oinkfrog character tonight, I am really happy with how he turned out in the end and the level of control I managed to build into the rig. Here is some of the text from a short descriptive doc that will accompany the maya and video submissions:

Building on a basic interpretation of the orthographic sketches, the 3D mesh took shape quickly enough. The 3D version needed to accommodate things from floating eyebrows to squiggly tails while delivering a rig able to deform him in squishy cartoony ways. This rig brought together a range of concepts, combined with a range of controls he is fun to manipulate while keeping his character strong.

The tricky bits implemented:
• Rigging his super-wide mouth.
• Creating and controlling the exaggerated eyes and the dynamic pupils.
• Handling his stretchable arms and squishy fingers.
• The very short legs and very large feet.
• Giving control to his squishy body, eg tummy.
• Having a dynamic adam’s apple.
• Building and manipulating the squishy, stretchy springy tail.
• Adding other little details like wriggly nose, elbows and wrinkles.

There are other elements that could be added to the model and rig that would improve the Oinkfrog further:
• Build auto blend for skinny arms on stretch rather than manual.
• Refined skin texture (better seams, blobbier pattern, more colour variation).
• Create a better flipper-foot rig.
• Weighting refinement.
• Eyebrow movement sliders, rather than doing rotations and scales.

Here are some of the final adjustments and additions, adding the blends and manul control for the thinning of his arms to make the stretching of them feel right and adding the controllers for the pupil shape blends as well.

Here is the final model, rig and controller set for the Oinkfrog:

Finally, here are a few simple poses of the little guy showing a few of the things he can do:


I really enjoyed the creation process for the character from beginning to end and learnt a whole heap through the course. I am looking forward to tackling another few characters now, should be much faster the second and third time through - even with different challenges to solve.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Oinkfrog almost born

A good night of Oinkfrogging saw him yet more complete. With controls for many more of his bits and pieces, he is now really fun to play with. I did have to spend a few hours nutting out an odd problem where if I rotated the big pentagon that moves the whole rig it would do funny things with his feet, while just translating it around was fine. Took ages to find the odd piece of parenting that was causing it - whew.

MDM Video Construction

I have enrolled in SOMA9101 Video Construction for session 2 as part of my MDM. Being in the 3D stream I dont get to study video and film as a medium much, so I am really looking forward to learning the theory and practice here. The course will use Final Cut Pro, which I am keen to see in action as well and hopefully the skills are transferrable to a Premiere/AfterEffects set that is more likely what would be used at FBE.

Here is the short description from the handbook:
This course explores the creative use of the video medium as a means of understanding both televisual and cinematic representation and the techniques involved in production of both documentary and narrative works. The technique and grammar of the medium is explored, with students undertaking production work in studio sessions to gain a practical appreciation of the material outlined in lectures and screenings. Screenings are scheduled within the lecture program to give students a common base of experience in the history and creative aspects of the medium.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Back to Oinkfrogging

Well, I did a good stint in front of Maya, I can feel my body suggesting it is time to stop, so I will. I managed to get a heap done and am really enjoying getting back into it again. The more I do, the more I see that can be improved, fixed, simplified, detailed or extended.

The main areas worked on were the finalising of the fingers before diving into the mouth blend shapes (open, closed and a kinda ooo shape). These shapes combined with the bone driven mouth itself gives some cool expressions. I then whipped up an interface to control the mouth and hands, very cool. I like the ease of working with multiple axes to shift his mouth shape and the lips all in one go. I then setup a heap of constraints for elements of the model and controllers. Along the way I tidied up several other bits and pieces, one thing is that hands are very time consuming, having to setup things like driven keys so many times - need to be careful.

Still to go (hopefully one more good sessions worth):
  • controllers for eyebrow blends
  • fix up all the controller parenting - make sure it works
  • make a layer for instructions and info on the model
  • create skinny arm blend for stretching (if there is time)
  • render out basic turntable
  • render out more animated turntable
  • render out a few promo stills
  • collate files for a submission

Back Scans

Here are 2 quick images of scans of my back, I think these were CTs rather than MRIs. They show what went on in my back to fix things up, and all through a hole in the front of my neck. I am really happy to be recovering as well as I am - and I am going to attack my outstanding assignments with gusto now.

Windows Laptop Ordered

I do love my Mac, but a Windows machine at home will be good for gaming, 3D dev work and many other things. The pricing available through the uni is so good, I am going with the HP 8730W mobile workstation. It is a pretty nice piece of kit, for the price it is stunning.
My plan is to run Windows7 on it actually, with Vista drivers to start with, though there are more and more Windows7 drivers as well.

[image of the HP 8730W via the HP site]

Elementals - more

When resting from the computer I try to get in a spot more thinking on the elementals. Here are another couple of sketches showing the fun I am having.


One cool source of all things elemental in nature is the artwork for Magic: The Gathering and the plethora of elemental cards that have been made over time. From the Thorn Elemental to the Bloodpyre Elemental there are interesting visions to behold. The card database lets us find all the elementals quickly as well.