Project Update

Posted by Sam Hayes On Thursday, March 31, 2011 1 comments
It's been about a week since my last updates, which is quite a while, as we're moving towards the end of the project, time definitely isn't spare and I've overlooked the blog. I've got a folder of completed tutorial videos and images which I'll post up in a big post for Alan next week, but despite appearances, I am working.

The last week or so has mainly been put towards animating, the first Act and a half is animated, and I've spent some time refining the character's movements. I have edited the first minute or so together, and I'm working on the next shots in the sequence. Below are some shots from Premiere after compositing in After Effects.

I'm now working on the 'roof run' animations. The backdrop painting for this will take some work as I want it to show the town, not just the desert.

As I move on to the next part of the animating stage, there are a couple of hurdles to overcome, the main one being the new things my character has to do. I'll be creating a new rig (Hopefully tommorow) for this stage which will include a Tie hanging out (As a make-shift tongue) as well as the ability to snap open and closed. This will be done using the same methods as the other rig. The other shot which will take some time is that of the lasso, which the suitcase will use to hook-up onto the rail-shed roof. I'm confident that I
I'll have time to achieve it, but I'm hoping I'll have enough time to refine it before the deadline.

So Critique week begins, I've stocked up on substances to keep me working so it should be a productive few days!

Previz : Act One

Posted by Sam Hayes On Monday, March 21, 2011 1 comments
Pre-visualising the first act has taken me longer than I hoped. The main reason is the amount of scenes and environments which occur in the introduction, shots of the train mixed with the platform. The Previz is below, it is a blockout of animation and timing, and I'm sure it is not final, but it is getting there. This is the first 40(ish) seconds of my animation; the introduction. I'm going to need to work hard over the next couple of weeks to complete the next two acts to the quality I want to.

The low-quality video is here, below are a few rendered shots from throughout it, most of which have things in them that need fixing (Textures, camera angles etc.) The next two weeks are going to be challenging, in both animation and rendering, but with some persistence I should reach the point where I am pleased with my character's movements.

The suitcases haven't been properly textured yet, which is why the female is missing from the trolley, and the main character suitcase has a bit of a rushed look.

@Alan - The Suitcase

Posted by Sam Hayes On Wednesday, March 16, 2011 2 comments
Yesterday I modelled the suitcase and today I plan on getting the rig and movements sorted so I can finally start to animate. I've read up on ways to make it move, and have created a set-up which I think so far is working.

The way I've 'rigged' it so far, is actually not to rig it using joints or skinning, but to create a selection of deformers and have them controllable by a separate control. I'm now adding some blend shapes alongside this for some more complicated shapes. Below is how I've put it together, I can't see any problems at the moment, but is this the best way of controlling it? Or will I run into problems when animating. It seems to be able to do most of the movements it needs to in the animation.

It has two bends, a twist and a squash deformer.

The movements I have at the moment are these:


Posted by Sam Hayes On Tuesday, March 15, 2011 4 comments
I haven't posted in a while, I've mainly been tidying up the environments and trying out some compositing for the final train shots. Below are some stills from the shots that are close to completed, there are still a few objects missing, that I need to add in, but the environments / sets and props are almost complete, and I'm now working on the character ready for animation.

Tommorow, hopefully I can talk to Alan and as a result I will be able to rig the suitcases to perform how I want them to, and then move on to blocking out the character animation. I then have about 3 weeks of character animation, which I am confident I can refine and hopefully the result will be a successful story!

Station Set

Posted by Sam Hayes On Tuesday, March 01, 2011 4 comments
The modelling / texturing stage of my project is going quite well, I still have a couple of environments to do, but so far the system of dividing them up into shots is paying off in time and work. Below is the station set, where the first minute or so of character animation takes place. There are three benches (One that he lands under after falling off the trolley and two which he jumps over / slides under) I'm trying to work tightly to my first animatic. There is still improvements to be made. The render time is quite high (roughly a minute a frame I think) mainly becuse of the lighting and texture sizes, but it should be bearable.

I'm still progressing with the environments. I'm modelling the last of the props then I need to refine everything, batter it up as suggested by Alan. Below are some more recent shots of the second environment. The Handcar needs a bump map and more rust and the ground texture needs increasing I think. I'm looking forward to seeing it with painted backdrops, to get an idea of the final look.

Edit: I've started work on the rail-shed environment. I'm going to try and 'batter' up my environments a bit, some loose planks, chunks missing etc, try to make it look like the arse-end of nowhere, which should be aided with my backdrops.

There is a lot more to do on this one, the textures need work, especially the terrain.

As for the second animatic, I've been working on it with ideas here and there over the last week. I started to a animate the suitcase using animation paper and a makeshift lightbox (Sheet of glass and a lamp) this gave me a two-day headache after staring into a lamp, so I put that idea aside! My plan is to have all the environments finished by Sunday, which should give me 5 weeks of animatic and animation (Including the train). Till then I'll continue to rough out the animation and should have a more detailed, moving animatic next week when I can focus on it.

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I'm a student studying CG Arts and Animation at the University for the Creative Arts, I'm living in Kent.

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