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:

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...