A Change in scenery

Let’s say in a film, there is a scene which simply takes your breath away. Maybe a storm brewing above, the atmosphere changing in the environment. pretty interesting right?

Right!

This blog shows the magic of a changing in the skies and the feeling in which it brings to the environment you are trying to imply as the developer of VFX artist. First let me show you this image…

CaptureSKY

Firstly, this composition may consist of a JPEG image and either a still, panning or any other footage for the effect to really take hold. To start off, the linear wipe tool needs to be used to add the feather effect on the horizon as most would see any other sunny day. Applying this will show immense realism and give the audience extra to look at rather than a blank canvas.

Next, the ‘Linear color key’ will keep the JPEG image from being show on anything but the ground and by doing this there will be more room for safety and less for risk of positioning images or effects.

Finally, adding colour balance to your composition should give the overall effect and footage a more natural feel and with the right adjustments; everything should look more natural.

This video should show many other tutorials about Linear colour key and sky changing tutorials;

 

 

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VFX – Skinning Effect

Like in Iron Man 3?

Tony stark flying about yet again whilst fighting of hordes of enemies which seem to look pretty steamed up… literally.

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Skinning example (Iron Man 3)

This effect gives an immense amount of depth in the characters face from within, the effect mimics that of a photo shot of a hand with light shining through revealing the inner skeletal and vein structure.

 

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Skinning effect shown in real life photo

Applying this effect required a MP4 sequence of a face in any view preferably being;

  • Front facing
  • Side facing
  • 3/4 View
Skin clip
After effects composition setup.

This alongside a JPEG image of veins and the fractural Noise which can give the cloudy effect between the veins. Furthermore, the use of the external software of ‘Mocha AE’, movement can be tracked using the bezier tool and the data from that process will then be copied and moved to the mask & pre-comp.

Skin Bexier
Bezier Tool

Going back to the tracking for the scene, this can be explained with a short gif that I made in another composition  to show of Mocha AE tracking capabilities within any environment;

Tracking Feature

Using the Bezier tool I can select a specific point on the video, preferably with contrasting colours and hit the track forward button to begin gathering tracking data and this tracking data can the be applied to the masks within After effects of the image layers.

Autodesk Maya – NEXT GEN IDENT

I have been progressing ever so slightly with my I dent animation developing and refining it with minor changes by using the motion graph editor to help me with ‘block animation’ which also means step-by-step animation to help me get those main poses or key-frames just right…

I’ve also been meaning to redo the lighting to either expose the scene and enhance the aesthetics of the scene. In other words basically bringing out those nice colors and making everything look spectacular. The method I thought which was best using was the three-point lighting method this will contain a main light, filler light and a back light that can bring out much more of the model or the scene.

During the pipeline of development, I was told about a new renderer called TURTLE. Turtle, like mental Ray can enhance and improve lighting by taking characteristics of lightning from real environments and apply them to your own scene which overall can inject realism but on an uncanny level which also introduces the term ‘uncanny valley’.

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I DENT scene with motion blur + DoF (Depth of Field)

Uncanny valley – A term used when an event or a scenes characteristic turns out to be not fully realistic.

After all the lighting was complete I then moved on to cameras and the animation of the cameras, for this I did not need to use block animation. Instead, I switched over to the camera view which I wanted to animate and by moving myself to where my assets looked best I could insert a key frame, this would show off my version of what I wanted myself and the audience to see.

The only problem that I faced during this task was trying to get timing right, but I learnt that by going through the timeline I can pick out key points in the scene and position the camera to where I want when I needed. By doing this I found it a lot easier and a lot more successful to improve camera animation within Maya.

Continue reading “Autodesk Maya – NEXT GEN IDENT”

VFX – Tracking ‘Eye see you’

This is something I have wanted to post for a while as I have also wanted to do this type of small project and thanks to a few lessons in VFX, I have finally done it. And to be fair it was easier than I thought.

Our recent lesson was a catch up on 3D camera movement and tracking points, sounds like mumbo Jumbo let me show you what I mean.

First off I recorded a small video of my partner looking directly into the lens and by keeping still, I can track the eyes movement frame-by frame so the tracking points can hopefully stay where they are placed rather than moving all over the frame.

trackeyeThe golden position for attaching a tracking point is to having it where there are two completely clean breaks in colours. By doing this the trackers should stay close to where you assign them.

 

This is what you should have after running the tracking system…

null5trackThese small compacted red dots are exactly what you need when tracking movement, this will make applying the effect a lot more easier on the animator and the actual ‘Null’ which the motion has been applied to.

Finally you would need to create a solid within your timeline and use the pen tool to cut out the exact shape you want, in this case I wanted to cut out the solid shape to the colour of an eye but only the inner part or more scientifically the ‘Sclera’.

Yes I did look that up to sound smart…

Anyway, after all that was finished. I had more time to experiment, looking at the entire scene. It looked too nice and original to have such an eerie looking eye so I then continued to add adjustment layers such as a black  and white filter and also apply contrast settings which gave my partners face a more natural look in connection with the eye itself.

This is the result of only 15 minutes work which is really good considering I havent had much experience with tracking.

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Final Result ‘Eye Effect’ Model: Jacky

 

 

 

 

The 12 principles of animation ‘Illusion of life’

I have just watched a clip of the 12 principles of animation from Disney. I have also taken into account the vast range of different ways which an animation or a real life object can be altered to either look more fluent or fun in a way.

Click the link to watch the full video: The illusion of life

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Extract from Illusion of life ‘Secondary action’

Squash and Stretch

This principle delivers weight and volume to an object as it moves throughout a scene.

Anticipation

Gives the illusion of preparation through movement prior to the objects main movement

Staging

The presentation of an idea so it is therefore clearer to the audience what is being shown.

Pose to Pose and Straight

The idea of animating through two different methods which give out a smoother animation.

Pose to Pose

Charted with Key drawings so you can therefore plan out what will happen through the timeline of your animation.

Straight

Working the animation from frame to frame/drawing to drawing to complete the overall animation.

Follow through and overlap

When the main character moves from one space to another and suddenly stops, the rest of the body continues to follow through. Therefore nothing stops all at once.

Slow in and slow out

When the action starts, less drawings make the animation go faster. On the other hand, more drawings make the object move slower.

Arcs

All actions tied to an object give out a round or arc movement, it gives out the perception of natural action and better flow to an animation.

Secondary Action

It’s an additional action which therefore creates additional supplementary actions to give the main action more dimension and interest within the scene.

Timing

More drawings make between poses make the animation slower yet keep the animation smoother yet less drawings present the animation with faster movement but with a more static movement.

Exaggeration

Keep the common views of reality yet come across that view in a wild and wacky view.

Solid Drawings

The practice of drawing out three-dimensional objects taking into consideration their weight and volume.

Appeal

It is the charm and the personality/charisma of the character action which is aesthetically pleasing to the audiences eye.

All of these principles should be able to alter and improve the way we animate anything from 2-dimensional drawings to 3-dimensional models and drawings. There is a book which can help any aspiring animator hoping to make a mark on their work. This book is called  ‘The Animator’s Survival Kit’ by Richard Williams. It can be bought online and contains everything which you would need to know about any form of animation within the creative industries.

 

3D Spaceship

Moving on to 3D modelling, a very familiar aspect of my work which is currently revolving around creating a spaceship. And a way better one that we initially built for our final 3D assignment in Level 2, I started with a basic Cube polygon; extruded & elongated to expand upon on either face to therefore create the basic shape of the ship. I then proceeded to extrude further and later on create the more detailed shape of the ship. To do this I use the Tri/Quadrangulate tool to therefore add a smoother edge to the wings.

Now obviously all of this sounds complicated to the untrained eye, alternatively most would this this sounded fairly easy to carry out… it wasn’t. I had problems with rendering and still as I write this blog I have a problem with texturing the hull of the ship due to the ‘Back-face culling accidentally being on during the poly face selection process. Silly mistake which can be learned over time.shiprnd2

Now I am overseeing the final developments by tracking different renders which I have analysed to get the most realistic yet vibrant image to suit my models background. Initially, I had problems with rendering because of the ‘Mental Ray’ package becoming lost therefore I couldn’t see the full potential of anti-alising and the glow effects from the ships engines. Finally, I can say that there is much more to be added such as either weaponry and maybe something which could make this project stick out from the rest.

Friday 30th September

Back to class with Matt working on Maya and those little features which I longed to find out how to work have finally appeared. Features such as mirroring, Mirror Shading which I mostly used as a re-correction to any faulty texturing on the cockpit, engines and other assets which I have created.

Furthermore, I have also discovered that the quad/Triangulation should not be used unless absolutely necessary. That is because I would give myself a bigger job of actually texturing it and more harder to fix if a polygon is out of place. Now I have tried a taught method which involves selecting separate faces then reduce the poly count by simply going (Ctrl + Delete). This is the best way of going about cleaning up models as you can see by these wireframes below.

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Now I will agree that the wings still need some massive re-adjustments but besides that. I think with the new tool that I have, My models will look a lot cleaner and better both aesthetically and performance based.

Game Project: Victim of Valor (Update)

Easter is here and after a long and stressful time working throughout the college term, I thought it would be a good time to take a small break (Playing battlefield 4 for an hour). Anyway, I have just came back from a long day with my girlfriend and now writing to update you on my current project named Victim of Valor which i have been creating for 2/3 weeks now.

Last time I spoke about this game I included that i had a team brought in to give a hand in the development process which was kinda hard considering there was a debate on names and where the story would progress from where we left off which obviously i cant tell you guys yet due to any spoilers.

On Wednesday during 2D lecture, my tutor told me about something called the Bafta YGD (Young Game Designers) which is basically a competition where you sign up your game project and could possibly win a Bafta in either the Young Game Designers category or The Tutors award or something like that… I’m still taking this into consideration because the game can only be entered if I have a team of 3 or as a singular entrant. Therefor I can either enter myself and take the “Possible award” for my team or wait intil next time and develop the game further.

Back to development of the game, It’s coming along fine. Just tweaking the last mechanics of the UI (User interface) then start creating more harder, longer and even enemy infested level’s. Also asking other peers of friends what they would like to see in the game. I get feedback such as, “Add boost during game-play” or “Have a twist so the player feels more ‘tied into the story line'”. I can find all feedback good even if there is something i come across that is totally irrelevant.

For now I can balance my time with coding my game then create some picture based scenes like in Diablo 3 but obviously not a awesome haha

I have some extracts of the scenes from the games story.