Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Georgina and the Dragon

So... one of my modules going on at the moment requires me to create a one minute animation on myths and legends. I chose to base mine on the legend of George and the Dragon, however I chose to role reverse it and do Georgina and the Dragon.
I've done lots of designs and redesigns of the character of Georgina and here is my final design:

Next design will be of the Dragon... :)

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Getting Back to Work

Right! Lets get started shall we?!

It's been a long time since i've blogged and it's high time I started again!

It's been a busy busy few months. I'm now back in England in good old Stoke, now as a third year student (scary stuff!). It's been quite an adjustment getting back into sync with everything again, but i'm getting by.

In the first few weeks of uni, as a warm up task, we were asked to carry out a 3 part series of projects over the course of three weeks - inventively named "The Three Weeks in October".

Project 1 was "The Power of Nine" - this was a short film showing the following prepositions:

1) Inside
2) Under
3) Between
4) Through
5) On top of
6) Above
7) Behind
8) Next to
9) In Front of
I encountered a few problems with this work and if I had had more time I would have gone back and re-rendered it, after having turned the glossiness down on the objects in the scene.
To take a look at this piece of work just follow this link:
Project 2 was "Onomatopoeia" - this was a 30 second animation which needed to include a sound, text and imagery. I used Animate Pro to animate this piece of work and decided to take a slightly rougher style to it than i usually use. Click on the image below to see the animation:

Project 3 was "25FPS@STAFFS" - this was an animation which we were asked to produce in pairs. The idea was to create a short sting for Staffs uni. We were given the music clips, logo and colour palette and had to create something from that. Me and Dan Roberts used Maya to create this piece of work and we encountered some problems along the way... like Maya expression editor doesn't understand brackets when typing in calculations (which wasted a bit of our time), but we enjoyed it and our pleased with the results. Click on the image below to view our work:

Currently I am working on some more animations and my Design Project Report. I have posted up my animatics for both animations on my vimeo page, so please feel free to have a gander.

That's all for now folks, but I aim to try and blog some more about my work over the next few weeks.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Long time no see....

So after what is now... what...months? I've finally been able to face talking about my project again...

As you can probably guess the project is now finished YIPPYYYYYYY!!! Not that I didn't enjoy it.... I may have wanted to chuck my laptop out the window a few times and burst into tears now and then when my rig decided to flip out... but in a weird way I did enjoy it. I definitely learnt a lot and I actually produced an end product I'm sort of proud of for once.

So in my last blog, I was redoing my UV maps so that I could get a more precise finish and I was waiting to here back on my rig. Well my rig was fine, but I decided to drastically change it in places to make it easier to use when animating. After sorting out the rig, I then paint weighted Cleo... that was lotsssss of 'fun'..... encountered many problems and sort of solved them. Eventually, I had to except that I wasn't going to create a PERFECT character and got on with animating. Animating went pretty quickly and easily in comparison to modeling. I did however encounter one problem with the arm at one point during animation... I must have done something to the rig which meant I couldn't rotate any of the joints... but instead of reanimating the whole scene I just positioned the camera in a way that meant it wasn't noticeable.

Rendering took lots of time as usual and then it was just a matter of cutting up the renders and adding sound and effects in After Effects.

Giving me this end product:

So now on with the next project... which is to model a hill climbing racing car from between the years 1920 and 1980 and create a 10second animation.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Colouring in Cleo

So... i actually did everything backwards in the end...

I didn't directly start to UV map, instead i decided to have a stab at rigging my character. 
I made a skeleton for cleo and started putting controls on her/ IK handles and at the moment i'm waiting on feed back regarding my rig.

So in the mean time Cleo has been UV mapped... except now for purposes of ease when painting and for more accuracy when painting, the UV map is being altered again. 
I tried putting my current UV map on my model but its a bit messy in places e.g. on the belt and on the neck piece.

Here are some renders of how Cleo is at the moment... but it's just a rough colouring at the moment:

Print Screen of Cleo Model

Print screen of Cleo model with rough UV mapping.

Taken from the episode Asterix and Cleopatra

So after the UV-mapping is finished i will need to sort my rig out. It's pretty much done (she says....) but i need to look at rigging the jaw and using blend shapes for facial expressions, because i want to get some lip-syncing into my animation.

Print Screen of almost Rigged Maya Model

Friday, 18 November 2011

Photo's to go with the last blog...

Clearly the video was terrible so i will post some photos up as well:

Cleopatra coming at chaaaa

So... i have utterly failed at keeping up to date with my blog... i thought i might have this problem. As a child i could never keep a diary and as an adult, even keeping a calendar is proving difficult, let alone a blog! It doesn't mean i'm unorganised though... in fact i'm quite the opposite... odd that i'm organised but can't keep diaries...

Anyway... we'll just fast forward and take a random leap into what i have recently been doing. I was going to start from the very beginning work wise, but the very beginning is such a long time ago that i may as well tell you what i am doing now.

So, as i said i am studying in Germany now. For my animation class, our task has been to model, rig, texture, light and animate a character from Asterix and Obelix. I decided i didn't want to do any of the main characters e.g. Asterix because i felt it was something everyone would do, therefore i chose to do Cleopatra. She seemed like an interesting character to model and from watching a few of the cartoons, i quite liked her attitude and the way she moved, so i thought it could be quite fun to animate her later.

First up, i had to draw out my character. It was hard, having not picked a main character, to find as many resources to draw an accurate front, side and back of Cleo, but i guess that's what an artist licence is for! 

So first i collected images of Cleo:

Rough Moodboard of Cleo

And then from these images i drew a pen front and side image of her,  to use as a template in Maya to model from:

Then i started to model in Maya. Now, having never really modelled anything in Maya before (We usually just get given a model thats been pre-rigged to animate with at home) this has proved a very challenging task.... i've had to learn how to do everything from scratch and the fact that this Uni is using 3d Max means i don't get any software help either, so doubly 'on my own' there. So really i have been teaching myself everything as i've been going along and looking at the odd tutorials for help.

I got so far with my character that i thought i was almost done:

But after some discussion it was decided that the dress needed.. i quote "more sex appeal" and the head mesh needed to be improved, especially the polygon flow around the mouth and nose areas.

So i plodded on and spent many a nights dreaming just of Maya... oh wait that wasn't a dream!!
And today i just finished the initial model and i'd say it was a big improvement... see what you think:

The head is much better in my opinion, it definitely looks more like cleo and the dress is definitely better fitting.

So next task is UV mapping and texturing..... Oh dear... i fear this will be very complicated! Never mind.. i'll just keep plodding on and i'll let you know how that all goes!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Arrived at Munich Plane Station.....

...I mean airport! 

Since learning german i can never seem to think of the word for where planes land... i have to translate the german word “Flughafen” into “Flug” = Flight and “Hafen” = port and some how my brain assembles that into “Plane Station”... then after a few lonnnnnggg seconds tick by, my brain goes “oh OH i know this word!! Wait a minuteeeee (Minute goes by...)... “AIRPORT!!!”.
Slightly worrying if you ask me. 
So anyway... you are probably all wondering what i’m ranting on about. For those of you that don’t know (which will be the people going “huh???” right now) i’ve just moved over to germany for 11months. So i will be studying at Deggendorf Uni ( for my second year.
I’ve been here just over a week now and completed the first week of Orientation that the uni provides us international students with (still one more week to go before lectures start). 
So, so far so good. 
I have somewhere to live and I haven’t got lost yet (touch wood!!..... I still have plenty of time to do that)!

Orientation Week 1

I’ve had lots of forms to fill out and probably still have many more to come... I have so many important bits of paper at the moment, that i could probably glue them back together to form the tree they once were (It would then be a very important tree... please do not smoke or light birthday candles next to my important tree - thank you for your co-operation)!
But to every cloud there is a silver lining! From Week 1’s timetable you will see that nearly every evening i had some sort of event or party on, so it has, i have to say, been more of a fun week rather than just dreary form filling. 
I think i enjoyed the ‘Bavarian Evening’ the most, but i may be slightly swayed by the fact i received a massive Lebkuchen Heart for winning the Bavarian game of "Masskrugstremmen"(for those that don't know what "maßkrugstemmen" is, basically you all get given a massive german beer glass full with 1Litre of beer/water and you have to hold the glass out in front of you, with your arm completely straight. The person who holds it for the longest wins).
Apart from playing games we also ate some Bavarian specialities. I decided to go for the “Bayrischer Schweinebraten mit Biersoße, Kraut und Knödeln” which in english is basically “Roast pork in a bier gravy with Dumplings and served with cabbage”.

Let the festivities begin! (Bavarian Evening)
And then of course there was the Oktoberfest. Now i am not a great lover of beer or alcohol at that, so what were you doing at a huge beer festival you might ask? Good question!! 
So we woke up at 5.15am (yes I am crazy!) to take the train from Deggendorf to Munich at 6.41am and got in around 8.30am. We followed the swarms of people in a sleep like trance from Munich main station to Thereisenwiese (where the Oktoberfest is held) into one of the large beer tents. I literally walked in... took a photo and squeezed my way out again - no way was I paying 10 Euros for a Liter of beer I wasn’t going to drink! Ha! I even considered asking to borrow someones beer to make the photo look more authentic... but i realised no one would believe that i had drunk a liter of alcohol... so i gave up on that idea. 

The VERY quick photo in the Bier Zelt!

So instead of drinking, i amused myself for 2 hours by browsing the various stalls and soaking in the atmosphere. I blended right in with my new Dirndl... so much so that one guy just spoke full blown bavarian at me! The expression on my face at that moment would have made one hell of a photo - I literally froze until he started speaking english at me (I mean german I can cope with, but I haven’t quite got the hang of bavarian yet so please take it easy on me).

After this me and a friend decided to venture into Munich itself. 

Karlsplatz Fountain in Munich

So yeh.... either go see Munich or go see the Oktoberfest.... don’t try both at the same time!!

The town hall (Das Rathaus) in Munich

Munich was OVER FLOWING with people (i’d say even more than the Oktoberfest itself)!
But we were still able to find a cafe and have a sit down with something to eat and drink...

The relief of finding somewhere to sit finally!!

...and we explored the parts of the city we could reach (which wasn’t much.... I think another visit will be required at some point in the future).

So all in all, also a very nice day....

a very nice week....

...and more to come!!