Last week on this semester. Exhibition week as well. With limited time to finishing polishing both of the pantomimes animation exercise as it was planned to do in this week, it was also time to work on our showreel with the best of the best that we had done during this period.
I have made some time going through all my files and folders with all that I had done. Highlighting all the final versions of all the assets and more that I have to do meet all the requirements of the briefs in each project. Remember each part of the process of the Aftermath project, and then the specialisation project; or any other project that I have to work as a cross-discipline aspect.
I got to the conclusion that besides of the effort that I had during this period, I didn’t reach more than I could have done or I expected to be done. In conclusion, I had done some 3D assets and then my animation exercises as part of my specialisation in 3D animation. I also got the conclusion that I had been working mostly with just one program (3d Max) rather than even try as it was supposed to happen with other programs as well. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have a clue about those, it just the fact or rather the feeling that I didn’t need those for what I was asking to do and feeling that I’m very comfortable with the one I have been working through.
I’m sure, I did all that I could but I also know that I could try to do better, try to get even better results if I didn’t doubt about my own abilities. As a result of it, I decided to just add the assets that were actually part of the Aftermath project, the ones I did for the game project and of course both of my pantomime animations; to what I did as showreel.
I also had add the only drawing I did during the semester as a small contribution to practice my 2D skills (drawing skills) that I well know those are not my best but I also enjoy to practice it at least once in a while. I had drew a horse, I did that in traditional first and then in digital (it can be explain/show on the showreel).
Knowing that the showreel was to show the best we can do, I couldn’t afford to add any of the concepts that I had done for any of the projects, so I just added the drawing in the end of it.
Also with the knowledge that it was a small of posibility that there (in the exhibition) were any kind of industry person looking for someone to work with them, it was too risky and too inappropriate to add more of that.
In the end, I want to believe that it went all good, the semester did end well, I did realise everything that I was told and manege to get it all in time and how it was required as the brief said. Also, learning and getting the knowledge necessary to no made the same mistakes in the future. Because, honestly has to been say, and I did some mistakes, mistakes that I had to work with those, fix them and learn with as any aspect in life.
Having both pantomimes with a whole sequence in rush was time to start polishing as much as possible as well also choose with one I feel more comfortable to give an extra polish. I have been working the whole week in the campus solving my “small” problem with my computer and the fact that it was more easy to work there, although the fact that the program crash every time and with that I have to save more than 50 copies of those files.
I have learn to save more frequently than before and that also why I do have that many copies of those animations. For the fist one, I had added the balloon and the string, and the correspondent animation for it to made it exploit, I had learn a new modifier that helps me to do it right.
For the second one, with the table already there, I had to adjust the time for it and also fix a bit one part of it that it wasn’t showing clear the action mean to be, at this rate, I will be able to polish both of those animation well enough to add those in the showreel for the exhibition, that it’s going to be next week.
This week is a process week, a week where clearly I had be focus on both animations. For the first one I have been focusing on the running bit, to then add the unexpected stop, before actually jumps and catch the balloon to finally made it explode. So using the references, that I had collected, I have complete the sequence, at least in a rush version.
As for the second one, I did managed to also have the whole sequence, but also add the table I was needed to made it clear, the first time I added it, I noticed the mistakes I had done, and need to be fix, and to do it it was necessary to adjust the correct positions to those keys and made it match with the table.
On other side, analyzing ever further the Aftermath project. It’s time to recall some events that were leave forgotten. As for example, part of the progress that didn’t went as well as I said/thought.
Going back to the beginning of the project, that bring me back when it wasn’t clear and just a bunch of random ideas of what it could be, to finally came to the idea of an aftermath Olympus party. where Greek gods have been celebrating and just leave the place behind in a totally mess.
As it was planned or request it, we did have to establish a schedule, and an art bible that have to be part of our pitches as well as weekly updates or just updates. I do remember, that including before the first time we pitched our proposal, we did some sketches, general ideas of what we did had in mind (that was discussed here).
After that, was the pitch day and I do remember how badly we did feel afterwards; (topic discussed here); I also remember that for a moment, we didn’t see or find the correct solution to that, and it was like also giving up to a project that didn’t ever started. Although, we already had the visual for the project, it was clear in our minds, the story, the how to solved it, how to do it all, it was to be the perfect simple to do project. Obviously that didn’t mean as easy as sound it.
Everything could be see as it was working perfectly, but as it was mentioned here, one main problem could be the communication, I know I said it wasn’t perfect, but good enough to made the project success. The problem is and was something that we didn’t noticed or didn’t mentioned when it was the time. And it’s related with communication skills, as it was also known we as team had divided the asset list in a fair manner as we did know everyone abilities. Although I said that I wasn’t that confident modelling characters, it didn’t mean that I can’t model objects, especially where those are small.
So as a conclusion for me, I was assigned to do small assets that the team leader thought it would be the easy one for me to do it without messing around, the problem was when I was assigned to do similar/same assets as another member of our team, meaning in the end that those assets weren’t part of the final project. If I have to say the positive of that, would be the simple fact that those were a good practice for a future.
Continuing analyzing the process of that project, I would said that another event that had occurred, was probably that losing a unreal file, where it was create a general scene for the whole project as a rush idea/image of the general project. That happen for a small carelessness and confusing that could happen to anybody, but that it wasn’t all bad news, because an image of that was saved before and we did get some feedback based on that.
I can’t really think on an event or issue that had been a massive issue in the general process, I can only think about how for a small misunderstand I end making assets that weren’t going to be used and only because the similar assets done by other member, were actually more precise and useful for our project.
If I have to be ask of solutions or ways to avoid these kind of problems, I will say that to avoid extra work or doing assets that aren’t going to be use in the project, first in all we should be able to relate and see which assets can be done for the same person and not give it to different person to do the same, and in the case of for example going back to the bad feeling in the end of the pitching day, I will say that it is always necessary to be sure was behind of that environment and find out what could be the perfect story behind all.
In conclusion, I would like to say that working on a team would not be easy, but it would be a good way to improve ourselves skills in different aspects, and if there is something that is bothering you in any way, never keep it quiet, a good way to improve communications skills is well communication with your team members and explaining in the most cordial way that you can find, being rude would never help you to solve any problem, no here, no never.
As well, being part of a group, it doesn’t mean to just adjust everything that you are doing as for benefits of them, but also for your own benefits. With this I mean, that it’s important to consider every aspect that you know you can manage and do it right, never try to do something new without a guide of some orientation that should help you and your team.
Focusing more in one rather than the other one, I was looking for more references of running, or yet any kind of examples of pantomime that I could find for inspiration as well, I mean I already know was I going to do but the small changes I did to made more easy to express what I need to express without an face was challenging and I had to find even more inspiration for that.
On the other hand, once I start to also focusing on the second animation project, I was looking for those pantomime examples that could have any indication of looking for something. So, I did start working on both animation and it was going so well, until all fails, but that didn’t stop me, I know there should be a way to solved those problems. Including had the urge to be saving ever five minutes if that’s necessary.
I had found out that to have success in this project I have to focus in be clear with the positions of the character and made sure that’s what I want to express in considering that it IS a BODY acting animation. So, there were so main positions that I can get away from those if I really want to have success and manage to express what I mean to express.
Also, I have to consider and thank to the fact that the rig that I was using to complete all of this have a good system naming on the controls and those are easy to understand as well, knowing how to use them without even asking for it or investigating further to find out the correct knowledge for it. All of this is 100% is useful and that’s how I can be able to have some progress and a well development on the project.
Pantomime 1 WIP (A child chasing a runaway balloon): http://lariasrhor.tumblr.com/post/148778875096/pantomime-1-wip-a-child-chasing-a-runaway
Pantomime 2 WIP (A character looking for a lost object and finding it): http://lariasrhor.tumblr.com/post/148778876511/pantomime-2-wip-a-character-looking-for-a-lost
Time to do some research and more. Having a rush idea of how both pantomimes are going to look like or at least having an idea of how the sequences are going to be, what’s about. It was time to find a good rig, a plane easy to use rig that can help me making these animations projects, but those have to be compatible with 3D Max so the Norman rig for Maya was out of the options.
After a while of researching rigs, I found the Lowmax, and 3ds Max Face Rig; I thought a face rig could help to made better expressions animation if I want to focus on faces movements and made clear the reactions of the character in action. But everything can made me change my mind as soon as I tried the rigs.
The lowmax it was a bit useful until I tried to move the legs to made it walk, for a odd reason it seems to not work properly and crash the program, so in the end I knew that I was needing another rig and for the face one, I have to discard the idea as soon as I open it when I found out that was giving error and the controls weren’t working as I was expecting.
Without a proper rig, I decided to use an old “friend”, the max rig (could be find ithere), I had used this rig before and didn’t gave me any problem until now. I couldn’t find a reason but the controls stop working as soon I reached certain among of keys. Without losing any more time I had ask to my facilitator and I had give a special new rig.
The rig doesn’t have name yet or face, so no expressions in these exercises are going to be used. it’s time to adjust my previous plan and add even more movements that could show easy what’s about without any kind of dialogue; because a pantomime was that, a body acting and not dialogues. This mean that all the animation were focus on the movements of the character rather than the expressions on those.
This doesn’t mean that a pantomime can not be with a expressions, on the contrary, expressions could help to express the reactions of the characters and made it even easily to understand the main point on the respective animation, saying that I can conclude that it’s going to be a challenge that I had accepted long ago as soon as I started working with the new rig, because that mean that the whole reaction progress had to be shown with the movement of the body and not the expression.
So, changing a bit my proposals ideas to add more movements in general to those exercises wasn’t as difficult as I thought it could be, just a bit challenging. Although, I had already some references to work with if I was going to work with expressions as well.
And the other half of the semester had started, time for the specialization projects. Between 3 options; animation, modeling and effects; I had choose animation, where inside that,it had 2 options; the Body Acting and Gameplay; and I had decided that I was willing to do the body acting projects.
To do this projects we could choose between 2D and 3D animation, I decided that I should go with 3D option, considering the fact that I know, I’m not a 2D artists. While, others could think that is a weakness, I considering that it actually no exactly, because I know from the beginning what I can do and what I can not. Knowledge is always an advantage and I know how to use it and take it.
So, I have to do 2 pantomimes, as it require on the brief, between the alternatives, where the options that got my attention and I decided to do: A child chasing a runaway balloon and A character looking for a lost object and finding it. For that with a very simple drawings, I kinda of did my thumbnails for both animations projects.
Although, these are not perfect but it was a way to start or at least have an idea of what I’m going to do for the rest of the semester. It was time to start getting some references and find a 3D free rig for 3D Max, the program that I feel more comfortable animating.