Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Update December

I've been sending the core team weekly bits of work to do so there's always work. Every Monday I send them a list of stuff and they email me back at the end of the week. This should keep production going through the holidays.

Hopefully everyone had a great Christmas and got everything they asked for... I didn't get the life-sized cut out of myself that I wanted :(

Tuesday, 2 December 2008


Tweaked with water some more. This test still isn't exactly what we want though so still more work!

Monday, 1 December 2008

Production Schedule

Everyone's been keeping up with the production schedule. Luisa is finishing the animatic and will be passing it onto our sound designer shortly. Danny is tweaking some concept work, Dan E has been working on texturing the tree model and i'm working on tests and dynamics. Things ok so far but we need to get things completed in time for Friday which looks like we'll only just make it assuming there's no problems with the animatic from our sound guy. The first sound test he did a while back was good some hopefully this one will be more of the same or with better sound (if possible!).

Group update

Everyones starting to feel the pressure of the firday hand in date. Work for this project is still getting done though. Luisa has done an awesome animatic which includes lots of changes. Such as the trees growing and flowers growing, which is why I need to keep working on the tree growth as they are now a bigger part of the film.

2 weeks ago we allowed preproduction to slow down for a week to allow for essays and the other projects on the course, it's good that was done as it's now all out of the way and no one in the group has an excuse why they shouldn't be giving 100% of their time to making this awesome film.

The recent changes to the film give the film more flow, and by removing the scene of creating the man from nothing makes things much easier for us as this was something I was worried about- creating 3 characters and using blend shapes to show him slowly forming would be time consuming for such a small part of the film.

Other changes that Luisa has made to the animatic give the film better flow and makes the film much easier to understand. She'll post it up soon so you'll be able to compare it with the initial storyboards and see what I'm talking about- check out her blog!

Friday, 28 November 2008


Been playing with trees and growing models a bit. Here's a short tutorial i made for creating growing tree animaitons. They're not too hard to make.

Tree Dynamics

It would be ideal if we could show things being created... such as flowers popping out of the grass, trees growing from the ground etc to show that the world is being created from nothing.

I've looked at a few routes at simulating growth for models- a model 'growing' from nothing and developing at the same time (so not a simple scale tool to simulate growth). One way of doing this is to use natFXMaya which is used to create lush trees and plants. However, this program is really buggy and I couldn't get it to work unless I bought the full version with customer support. Another possibility is to use tools within Maya to show growth. The only bad thing is that we can't use models we've created ourselves from scratch- they'ld had to be created again using this method.

Maya has a tool built in which will do the job but requires that we use a tree generator rather than creating our own models. The advantage of the tree creator like tool in Maya is that Maya remembers the history of creating the model from scratch so is able to simulate the development of branches, twigs, buds and so on from a simple assigned path for a tree.

I'm new to this so my first test is a mess but is proof that what we're trying to do can be done using Maya tools. These trees can be textured and they've got preset colours so (fingers crossed) this should help make Dan Es life a tad easier :)

Useful Tutorial: http://www.cgarena.com/freestuff/tutorials/maya/flowers/

Monday, 24 November 2008

Tree Trouble Update


One scene calls for a lot of people and a massive crowd. Thats where this tutorial comes in.
A plugin called crowd maker will need to be used.


Rock I made, Dan Elvins is gonna be texturing this too.

Tree Trouble Update

Still had some trouble on the tree texture so i've handed the tree model to our texture artist Dan Elvins. Our group is awesome.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Tree Trouble

I'm having some problems with the leaf texture on the trees. Think i'll be needed to get some help from Alex for this one.

Production Schedule

Ok, i've worked out how to use this. Anyone can view this folder, but now only people in our group can edit and update it.

Production Schedule

A while back I created a basic production schedule, and everyone has been sticking to it well. Luisa has been helping me sort out what definitly needs to be done for deadlines. I've recently put the schedule online so the group members can view and also include if the schedule deadlines are being met. Hopefully, and online version that everyone in the group can see will put pressure on each other to get things done faster- not that they arn't, we're getting the work done but this needs to be communicated to each other better.

Our production schedule is currently stored online, the group visits the schedule to view everyones progress and to see what tasks need to be done. It's currently on an open folder meaning everyone can change it, so I'll just post a screenshot of it so other people on the internet don't visit and change it!

Monday, 17 November 2008

Further Developments

Everyone is happy with the progress we've been making. We've been moving pretty fast that we've even kept up with our Production Schedule. However with the presentations for 301/302 due this week for some of us i've been easy on group members this week. Next week i'll be tough on the members though!
Luisa has been great considering all the work, her animatic looks amazing and as a group we're all happy as it really does make things easier for us to visualise how the animation will look and the direction that we're heading.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Update On Group

We've been lucky with our group. Everyone seems to be getting the work done without problems and it's all helping us decide what style and production routes will be best when creating the film. All this hard work from everyone in our group is certainly paying off as it certainly feels like the film is developing in content.

We still frequently have meetings and everything is working out great, everyones certainly sticking to the schedule.


While i'm talking about using After Effects using trees here's the current 3D model of a tree I made using both Maya and Vue. The look of the tree is constantly chaging but here's the latest 2 versions. The tree could be assigned a cel shader for the 1000 cranes project and assigned textures and a transparant ones for the leaves for The North Star project.

1000 Cranes

I'm working on creating light effects and different ways of displaying images for the 1000 Cranes project so I'm researching different programs too and which way can produce the best effects required. This is the Adobe After Effects route.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Mood Boards

Luisa has been sending me videos of scenery for me to get an idea of what she wants done. To ensure i'm clear on the feel and mood of what she wants, I went ahead and made a mood board of an important scene to check she's ok with the feel of animation and style i'll be aiming for.

Changes and revisions to the storyboard

Developement in the film is good so far. I've had a bash at creating block outs for the scenes to get and idea of how the film looks and whats happening and as a result we've changed the storyboard a bit.
We've also been debating on narration, on showing my housemates the (extreamly rough) animatic they couldn't understand what was happening. This worried me so we'll be keeping close attention on how we can improve on the clarity of the storyline as we progress though preproduciton. If it's still not clear enough when the film is finished we'll prob add a narration to it, so it's nothing to worry too much about.
As a producer things have been going along well, contact between the group has been easy and we've been having frequent group meetings to ensure that everything is working well and everyone feels good with what they're working on. Everyone has lots of work on their sholders including work from other groups but seem to be managing fine with it all.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

1000 Cranes - Research

Anja needs some complex models in Maya that need to look organic and full of complex curvy shapes and so asked me to look into ways of doing this well. The best and easiest way of creating the organic textures such as the ones she wants is to use bump mapping on the transparancy filter in Maya. I've created 2 tutorials on how this is done.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Blockout flying

One of the scenes shows the creation world character flying over his land looking at it. Here's a blockout to help us think more about camera angles.


Here's a blockout of the first scene, so we can get an idea of how it looks and also gives me a chance to experiment with effects.

Vue 6 and landscapes

Vue 6 is an excellent program as it allows you to easily populate the area with trees and has a sweet renderer. I wouldn't be able to get these results if I used solely Maya. This was created using the same terrain textures in the previous post. I just added trees, water, sky and used the sweet vue 6 render.

Creating Landscape

Creating terrain is an easy job, however creating the textures that look right may be tricky. This terrain and texture creates a realistic(ish) image, and a simple noise bump map creates the illusion of definition and so makes the landscape look real by the random bumps over it. However, Maya has a limted render that makes it hard to get the look we're aiming for which is a lush Pixar look.

Character Scene

The introduction of the first character is important as it is one of the first scenes. I'm looking at different effects we can use and how they impact the intoduciton of the character. I'm using the draft model of the character I made, Adjin will be creating an awesome model soon.

Mudbox to Maya

If you create something in Mudbox it's fairly easy to convert it into an OBJ so you can drag it into Maya. Here's a short video I made showing how.

Character Development

Adjin is working on the main character. I'm learning about the new features on Autodesk Mudbox and Maya 2009 and so decided to try and create my interpretation of the character (from Luisa's description and drawnings) in full 3D. Using this character we can point out the overall shape from any angle and also experiment with textures and effects before Adjin has even begun making the final character!... and yes I know my model is crap.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Tutorials I Made

I created two videos which give an insight on now to make these paint like animations. They don't produce the same effects as it takes a while to tweak with the settings, so to keep video sizes small and the risk of boring you guys they are each under 10 minutes long and give you an idea of how it was done...

Thursday, 30 October 2008


Here's a render of the moving water. It's closer to the water colour pencils style that Luisa showed me in another film so I hope she likes this look.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

more paint using maya mental ray and particles

These animated water shots take a while to render so It'll take a while to render an animation. Looking better so far. I've textured it so that the more movement there is, the more white paint blobs appear where movement is, this helps ensure colours are always moving in most parts of the animation and that I really do capture the water style in 'The Old Man In The Sea'

Changing from 3D to 2D looking paint

Luisa/The Director liked the 3D water effects but mentioned that it needs to be closer to water colour. With hours of tweaking i've managed to change the 3D model to something that looks more hand drawn.

Water effects

I've been working using this tutorial on creating water http://www.mtmckinley.net/tut12.html. It's worked but i'm realising that it's hard to create water that looks like painted water colours this way.

Here's my test render.

Thinking about the look of the water

The water is important here, Luisa showed me an animation showing simple 2D planes which were watercoloured, scanned in and animated against each other as 3 layers in opposite directions to create the classic cartoon 2D movement of water but with a professional feel of water colours.

The water in the film looked like (but much simplier) water from 'The Old Man And The Sea'.

I like the water effects in this film, it's amazing how the ocean looks as it's all hand painted.

As we're experimenting with possible water styles at the moment centered around water colours, it would be great to try and create a realistic water colour look using Maya and some scanned images.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Animatic Version 2

Here's the animatic, 2nd version

Animatic Version 2

Here's Animatic Version 2

First Animatic

Here's the first animatic for the project. Luisa did all the drawings, I simply added music and put it as a file. The character has changed and the storyboard but i'll put this here anyway to show progress.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Clouds Animation

Here's a test render of my animated clouds. If you can't play it, try VLC Player... plays about anything: http://www.videolan.org/vlc/.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Creating Clouds

The film on creation needs to have good environments. Here's a render of some clouds. It took 6 minutes to render this single frame... and that's not even HD. I'm working on animating them now.

Monday, 20 October 2008

More Water

Here are some more related to the water effects. Each water surface I created was rendered using Maya Software, Maya Mental Ray and lastly Vue 6 Render.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Fluid Water- Side

Same but from the side.

Creating Fluid Water

One of the first effects is going to be paint dropping on the floor and creating an ocean in a small space. Using a few scripts and glu3d i've come up with this, i'm aiming to keep the ocean fluid and look like a painting rather than a realistic 3d ocean.