Thursday, 27 June 2013

Update on scenes...

The objects in the cabin scene have been placed to give them a more natural position in the scene. I have added a pod to hold the divers helmet with grips to suggest a full suit should be there. The anchor now has some drop holes with a protective cave. I have added a handrail to the door. The pipes have had sections remove to bring make more of a link with the windows, as feedback suggested they looked accidentally filled.

The cottage i had originally produced was ugly, lacked character and didn't aid the narrative or imply anything in particular. I had tried to accomodate the cottage i was seeking but was unable to get a good ration between roof and house that was consistant with the work. The one piece of good reference i found would not work with the tree i have designed. So i tried the opposite. I was thinking back to Madam Souzas house in Triplets Belleville Rendevous, and the personality of the house after the citys expansion (via railway lines) had bent it. The crooked body, aided with features that you could find on haunted house designs, though not overly so, help bring out the eerie nature that this could be something sinister but without over bearing. 

Finally the road is complete full rigged as is the chair. The only exception is the seatbelt that needs amending which will only take place once the character is modelled and rigged.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Revolving Floor Update

Having done a little more research i've been able to identify 3 processes for creating a fan belt/tank tread which will drive the motion of the floor. 

First is simple, using a torus which is then driven by a lattice - it is simple and fast. The only concern i have is that it warps the geometry, and this will have implications on the squared nature of the modelling. Although it could potentially follow the philosophy of overall warping that has been applied to the other scenes. 

The second, it the same again but with a curve and joint system connected with an IK chain, still being manipulated by a lattice. As you can see in a few post below, the main issue is the lattice manipulating the speed of movement via the warp regardless of the curve applied in the graph editor. 

The third process is via motion trail that has expressions added to it. This is the process i am going to adopt and this means i am going to have to make changes to the design of the set. I am going to use this system here:

This should allow for maximum control which is what is required for the movement. Having experienced difficulties with the size of the floor panels (being different sizes), the redesign will mean each panel is the same width and length so the spacing remains constant, but to achieve the aesthetic, or illusion that they are different sizes, the middle of each panel will have a cross point, so the four corners of different panels meet and this positioning can be manipulated within each individual panel. 

Monday, 17 June 2013

Boat Cabin update

Here is the updated cabin. I was concerned that the space was very empty and did not give the impression of a nautical setting. The solution was simply to create objects that would obviously be associated with water - hence the anchor, divers helmet and life belt. The other objects such as the mug, knife, light and fish bone chain were created to give a more domesticated feeling, to imply that the character may have been there for sometime. The placement of the objects appears sporadic and intended, which im not too sure i like, and may yet change. The consideration for the objects to carry obvious connections to the setting is because of the way the set will move. It will be chaotic, with the objects moving side to side as the 'boat' travels over the waves and so need to be identifiable over the motion. I am still tempted to add some more domesticated objects such as picture frames (that will be empty), but revising the requirements of the scene, i had identified at this stage it needs to be 'living' - believable. As a result i do not want to imply to much that the environment isn't real, as this idea will be established in the following scene.

For now i am going to look back over the motion of the floor for the final scene and see if there is anything in the dynamics which will be suitable.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Revolving Floor

Having started to rig the floor for the final scene i have encountered a few problems.

I have used a lattice on a NURBS curve to obtain the shape of the belt the floor panels will follow. On this curve is a joint system that is tied together using a IK spline handle. In order for the curve to maintain a consistant shape the lattice must remain active. 

The issue is that the warp of the lattice is affecting the spacing that Maya distributes each radian. So on a 360 degree turn over 360 frames the distance between each frame differs. It is producing random ease in and out points as can be seen in this video.


I have tried rebuilding the curve post warp in order to obtain an equal distribution but the is is still driven from the initial state. There are other videos where chains have been created where this problem doesn't exist, and i imagine the extreme warping only enhances the problem. The first test i did of this was much worse than the one you see here. Other videos have used motion paths, which means you have a fixed speed that cant be manipulated, and relies on objects created equal in length, and once binded rather than parented, warp with the curve as their geometry is influenced by the lattice.

I have messaged a few people to see if they can help. So for now i will go back to finishing off the cabin scene. Once, or if, i receive feedback i will decide on the next course of action. 

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Final set movement/rig...

So here is a quick sketch of what i mean. The floor panels will look like that of the bus stop. The overall shape will be lower and wider. I think the trees will also be set up to follow the floor panels and will pop up and fold down as they enter and exit the scene just to give it that extra 'real world' synthetic feel i am seeking (as opposed to the synthetic feel of the computers perfect movement). I am going to see how to make tank tracks move in maya and work out the rig set up before i model. So hopefully there will be some possible rig plans up today or tomorrow.

Cottage Modelled...

This is the modelled bus stop. Again it has been manipulated in the modelling process to give an exaggerated perspective. It will sit as it is in open space. I like the idea of a bus stop on a small piece of ground that is ripping out like the big bang. Its own existence having a start and end point, as though our memories/experiences are fragments. Its a nice way to link the linear and cyclical elements of the narrative. Particularly as scientists are now thinking the universe expands to the point where a new one starts in the center, and consumes the old one outward from within. A fitting visual metaphor for the story to start again.

Here is the cottage modelled along with the tree that will also form part of the next scene albeit upside down. Its pretty straight forward, and as this scene will show via projection im not going to be overly fussy with the extras that will provide deeper meaning and act as potential pointers for the audience. 

My next concern is the final scene. I want this to look like an actual built theatre set. I already know how the chair will move, but i want the floor to feel mechanical. I want to make it obvious that the floor is moving and not the camera. On solution i have come up with is to rig a floor system like a set of tank wheels, and show the cogs turning underneath. 

Monday, 10 June 2013

The secret of making animation

Having received much attention online already it feels silly to repost it again. There is however an important piece of information to extract with regard to the narrative. For a moment it would be good to read into the politics the piece. It is following a particular trail of thought among animators about the gripe with corporates who assume animation should be quick, easy and cheap, with no real understanding of how much skill is required.

A reminder of how Crafton describes the tooniverse 

'The Tooniverse is a meeting place where the performances of the toons (the characters "there," on-screen, but also off-screen as my imagined beings), the animators (also "there," but off-screen and in the past), and my embodying performance (physically "here," off-screen, and cinesthetically"there," on-screen, in the present)...'
I've tried to find flaw in the definition of the tooniverse and the roles of the agents within the piece but i cannot find any. The only question i could raise was about the audience embodying the voiceover character, especially as we assume the setting could be his point of view. Meaning the audience could be embodying the character twice simultaneously, as they embody the voiceover character and he distributes agency to another (so it is distributed off-screen with the audience through character and then themselves). I'm not convinced this is an issue. The piece clearly has been influenced by outrospective ideals but im not sure it has much strength in making a point outside of the animation circle as it is presented as an in-joke for animators. I do not think the language of the location would make much sense to a 90 year old with no experience of maya or animation (an extreme example, but valid). It is entertainment. The audience is a passive co-creator. The audience, the intended audience, the animation community, will feel warmed by the ideals presented (People think it is this easy) and humoured by their lack of respect (As if people think its that easy) and the mocking of it. And in this instance, is the narrative embodying the audience?

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Diner - Update

Here is the diner modelled. Still a couple of small objects to add. Its been an interesting modelling process in that manipulating so many objects vertices from all viewpoints (Top, Front, Side) has been time consuming. Applying the localised difference, such as each flap of the blinds has been the most time consuming, applying their relationship to the overall scene has been the quicker process, in that it relies on lattice blend, and because of the reduced use of warps on the walls less manipulation required.