Saturday, 21 October 2017

YPGTTO: Adding Sign Post Text #2

Here is another selection of clips that include text elements that I'm compositing into the scenes using After Effects. I've been alternating between setting up renders, animating this text, and working on a few other bits such as animation and setting up files for others. At times things can feel a little overwhelming, but I think I'm keeping on top of things. I've now completed the translations for The Bassoon, Violin, Horn, Trombone & Tuba, Percussion (several shots), and Double-Bass Districts along with The Clarinet, Cello, Viola and Oboe Districts in my previous post. Only a few more districts to go...but The Overture has several different signs and the destination board. Hopefully things will continue to go relatively smoothly!

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Autodesk Maya: Arnold - Depth of Field, Atmosphere, & Standard Surface

Here are a few renders from the last two Maya lessons. We've continued to work in Arnold using both Maya 2017 and now 2018. In 2017 we experimented with Depth of Field and Atmosphere...I really enjoyed playing with Atmosphere and I hope to use it in future projects because I really like the effect it gives. I found Depth of Field useful and easy, although I feel like I'd prefer to render this out as a separate pass just so I can control it better. I really enjoyed using the Arnold's Standard Surface shader in Maya 2018 - it was really easy to get nice looking results very quickly. I think this again could be useful for my Minor/Major project depending on what direction I go in.

YPGTTO: Adding Sign Post Text #1

It's bizarre thinking how long ago I began testing how to composite in the text elements for YPGTTO. The method I came up with months ago no longer is relevant due to the camera rig that ended up being used in Maya. In a way, this is actually good since doing this purely in After Effects is much faster (although it can be quite fiddly to track the motion). Luckily most of the shots appear to be relatively simple and have limited movement...although I know there will also be some more complex shots.

Here is a selection of some of the shots I've made so far (these are not the final composite yet). So far The Viola District has been the most difficult and none of them are perfect...but at the moment I need to at least go through each district once and if there is time I can go back and tweak things more. For the most part I've used a combination of different settings in the AE Tracker menu to both 'Track Motion' and 'Track Camera' depending on the results. Some I've hand animated or only needed to be positioned.


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Minor Project: Influences & Related Imagery

Between working on YPGTTO, I've been trying to look at imagery so I can hopefully get a better idea of what I'd like my animation to possibly be. Some of these videos include some films and artists that I find interesting. I've come across work by Murat Pak that I found to be very interesting. I liked how simplistic, 'clean', and realistic yet slightly unsettling these animations are. 

Resonance: "Recreation" from Pak on Vimeo.

Some of the films I found most interesting was a series called 'The Node' - each version has the same footage but different audio/music artists responded to it. Some of my favourites include Reality Eight, Reality Seven, and Reality Three. I think that this is an interesting approach to this film because each film has a very different feel and that is all dependent on the sound. I enjoyed Reality Eight because of the spoken words, I enjoyed the music in Reality Seven, but I felt the most emotional impact from the sound in Reality Three.

I've also tried looking at some other videos that is just stock footage/imagery related to my phrase list. I'm hoping to use these images to eventually put together a sort of pre-vis for my animation. I've been looking at some images and videos of things such as pufferfish, spines, autumn leaves, slugs, sugar and so on. I wonder if it may be interesting to incorporate some live action footage into my animation in some way...but for the CGI elements I do think it would be a good idea to keep it simplistic and clean so it is hopefully more impactful

Monday, 16 October 2017

YPGTTO: The Kingdom of Sound - Selection of Finale Pre-vis Scenes

I've recently been working on some of the chunkier shots for the finale that involve the Conductor statue and the glowing city. This was quite a challenge at times since the massive glowing city caused the scenes to become laggy, especially as I adjusted the shaders per shot to enhance the glowing appearance.

I also worked on the final shot of YPGTTO, which called for a 'Saturn ring' of colourful music notes - with a red and yellow note highlighted in the group as our protagonists. For this shot I created a volume particle emitter and adjusted some of the settings so the particles moved and rotated around the city. I then used an instance node to add in the music notes, then I adjusted some of the other settings so the note generation was randomised. The Red and Yellow notes I placed in and animated on their own so I could have better control of their movements and shaders. After this, I went into AE and added a glow effect to those two notes so they stood out from the rest of them.


Thursday, 5 October 2017

YPGTTO: The Double-Bass District Master Pre-vis

I've now finished the environment/camera animation for the Double-Bass District. I quite enjoyed animating the lights in this district and I'm happy with how it turned out. Now onto some environment shots of the Finale.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Minor Project: Phrase List Versions #1-3

I've spent some time rearranging some of the phrases in my list to see how they sound in different orders. I find it difficult to pick between them, so I think I need to take a short while away from them so I can judge them better since I've been writing and rewriting them. There are still a few things I'm considering adjusting (ex. perhaps changing pancakes to blueberries) and/or removing from the list to shorten it but I figured I'd post this up so I could possibly get more opinions.

Autodesk Maya: Arnold - aiAmbienOcclusion, aiWireframe, & aiSkin

Today in our lesson we learned more about the Arnold renderer in Maya 2017/2018. After using previous versions of Maya, it's nice to be able to finally quickly and easily apply an Ambient Occlusion shader or a wireframe shader. I really enjoyed experimenting with the skin and I wish I could have had access to Arnold and the aiSkin shader last year.

(Head model by Eat 3D)

(Head model by Eat 3D)
(Head model by Eat 3D)

(Head model by Eat 3D)

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

YPGTTO: The Double Bass District - Texturing & Light Pulse Tests

I've been working through the Double Bass District sets to ensure they are textured and ready to go. This district is quite different from the previous district since it is made up of several smaller sets rather than one definitive one. For this set I extruded from the window details to create the illusion of light rays which I think worked quite nicely. I also have been using a few point lights to make the yellow cables look more like a power source. The scenes require these lights to pulse and move up the cables, so I've been doing some animation test moving the point lights around to give this effect. Hopefully some playblasts and a master pre-vis for this district isn't too far off!

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Canterbury Anifest 2017

Today I travelled down to Canterbury to be part of the Canterbury Anifest. My film Dysmorphia was not shortlisted, but was still screened on the Art Screen in the festival so I was given a few tickets to the event. I saw quite a few films there that I really enjoyed and thought were amazing.

It was also quite encouraging for me to see what other films were shown there, and to see if I work hard enough I can achieve a lot and be screened alongside other amazing films. Some of my favourites included Overrun and The Neverending Wall. It also made me feel grateful that I've had the opportunity to work on individual projects as it seemed most of the films were made by groups. I do enjoy collaborating, but I think it is nice to also have individual, personal projects.

Overrun from Rubika on Vimeo.

YPGTTO: The Violin District - Master Environment Pre-vis

I've now finished the environment scenes for The Violin District. This was the most difficult one I've worked on so far because of how the first shot is a direct transition from The Bassoon District into The Violin District...but I think I got it there! Here is the master pre-vis for it excluding the wipe cuts which will be in the final version...I look forward to seeing it fully rendered. Next up is texturing The Double-Bass District.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Minor Project: Edited Phrase List #1, Ideas & Brainstorming

After more discussions, I have a somewhat solidified list. I still need to narrow things down...I'm trying to remove things that I don't feel are as impactful or phrases that I feel are somewhat repetitive/do not offer much more than other phrases already have. I'm finding this quite difficult since all of them have emotional weight for me so it's hard to pick the 'less important' ones but I'm also trying to consider what may or may not work in terms of visuals and transitions as well. These are just my initial thoughts on the list and obviously they may still change and develop.

I'm also trying to look at some more animations and tutorials in hopes I can try to get a more concrete idea of what I want my film to be and/or some techniques that may be helpful. At the moment I'm looking into the possibility of using blend shapes to morph an object into a range of different shapes but I'm not quite sure if that'd be the best. I also wonder if perhaps animating bump/displacement maps may be an interesting thing to explore.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

YPGTTO: Adjusting Textures for The Flute District & The Violin District

Before I got to work on animation The Violin District, I was tasked to make some adjustments to The Flute District's textures and Gobo lights on the ground plane (modelled and initially textured by others on the YPGTTO team).



After that, I also adjusted some of The Violin District's lights, textures, and the digital set (modelled and textured initially by others on the YPGTTO team). I increased the saturation, added more blue components, added some additional detail lights, and added some more buildings to the set. I can now get into The Violin District and begin animating.

Minor Project: 'When' - Initial Ideas, Creative Writing Exercises, and Phrase Lists

Admittedly I've so far kept my Minor Project ideas behind closed doors, but I now feel ready to begin sharing my thoughts and ideas on this project (which I temporarily labelled as 'When' - this obviously may change). Dysmorphia was a very personal piece of work for me - and it helped me discover how to use Maya as an art medium rather than a mechanical piece of software.

Dysmorphia (film still)

I really enjoy working with Maya, After Effects and other programs, and the topic of Mental Illness/ internal conflict is something I still feel I need to explore and discuss. This is why for my Minor Project I want to create a piece of work that is even more raw and honest in hopes it may help people understand that everyone experiences the world differently.

To get started on this, I've been given a list of questions/prompts to answer as honestly as I can. Some were direct, some more abstract, and some intended to be more directly triggering. Some examples include "Tell me about a favourite childhood memory", "Why is Halloween important to you?", "Imagine your illness is/was architecture; describe its structure, its materiality, its exterior and interior spaces, its location, its functions etc", "What makes you laugh?", "What makes you cry?", and several others.

However, it was agreed that the prompts that led to the most interesting result were:

"You need to try and make someone else understand your relationship to food and to eating - but you have to use similes in order to do so - find the images that express the truth of your feelings.

You need to try and make someone understand your relationship to your own appearance - but you have to use similes in order to do so - find the images that express the truth of your feelings."

To answer these questions, I answered with long lists that I tried my best to write honestly and quickly without thinking (essentially I tried 'free association' writing). I felt myself that this was the most direct and honest response since I tried my best to not give myself time to second guess my answers and responses.

From here, I was given several other phrases to answer in a similar way regarding my feelings/thoughts towards other people's bodies, my relationship with my family, my idea of perfection, my relationship with hospitals, my relationship with happiness, what (in my view) it feels/means to be Anorexic, and what hope is to me. I have several long lists in response to this, and I am currently in to narrow down the lists and select the ones that are the most truthful, have interesting contradictions, and may be interesting visually.

From my understanding/what I imagine, I will aim to create realistic, morphing textures on some sort of object or abstract form to represent these phrases to achieve an emotional reaction from my audience (both positive and negative) to express the a constant internal conflict. I think my phrases will create a sort of poem that will be voiced over the animation (and I would like to collaborate with a music composer in conjunction with my own sound design if possible/appropriate).

While I'm not quite sure what this will be just yet, I have a few films and animations that I feel may relate to what I feel this may be or that I just find interesting.

Owl from Thomas Beg on Vimeo.

Friday, 15 September 2017

YPGTTO: The Cello District - Master Environment Pre-Vis & Rendered Stills

I've now completed what is required for to render the environment for The Cello District. I'm really happy with how this turned out, possibly because The Cello District is one my favourite districts in YPGTTO. Now onto the Violin District after sorting out some extra detail lights for The Flute District.