Cross-Discipline Project – Post Mortem

A cross-discipline project, as it said it should work between disciplines, in this case, I use the world builders project for that to be archive.  While us did all the animation part of it we team up with an audio student, Ash Ball, as its is mentioned on the credits and every else that need to be mentioned. That student, was contacted by discord and/or person during or after/before classes.

Like the WB project, it was also need a drive folder that it was share with him for the sake of the project, and to allow us easily know what was the progress on the music designed by him for the project. Once we did had some, we discussed as a group and decided what would work better with what did we had up to that moment before giving him some feedback to improve the audio.

One of the problems that we had, was the fact that most of the communication was by discord, and actually delivery by just one of our side of the team members, with all the notes taken by the whole team. This feedbacks notes were expressing in probably what it wasn’t the most clever way for the audio student to work with because of the different terms used in the different disciplines. Although, that was true, we did managed to get through it by finding general works for what we need to communicated and it was a success.

For future references, I would use the same general words use to communicate with an audio student. Also, in the future I would like to not just work with audio students to develop an excellent project but many with other disciplines as well as the games one; but that’s a topic for another day.

The project was a success, and we saw it, and that’s mostly because we did learn to communicate well with the audio student and were trustful enough to know that our main way to get in contact with was our team member. A good communication is always the key in any kind of project. And always remember to keep in contact with those who help you in the past, as well keep crediting  them for their hard work, because as much as we did a lot, they also did.

Specialization Project – Post Mortem

The specialization project, it’s a personal project, where the individual had to work in their own, choosing one of the many options that they could specialization, I had chose long ago that I wanted to do an animation project. Considering that the other options were VFX and modeling, I opted for the animation one.

The animation option, did had two options, games animation function or dialogue animation, I decided that I wanted to do dialogue sequence animation. To even start this project, I was required to find a dialogue, no longer than 10 seconds between 2 or more characters. Back then it was february and I decided to go to with the dialogue from the now closed competition, from the 11secondclub website.

Although, the final result, didn’t go to the competition, I didn’t intent in participating in first place, it was a great experience. I had to made some research, in basis staff in Maya, more as refreshment because I’m not that used to work on it, and never that it more. Then I had to actually do some more serious research in the steps of the animation process.

And so, the project, also was required to find and work with a free to use rig that we can easily download and use, and that’s why I was refreshing myself with basis of Maya, most of the best rigs, in my opinion, works on Maya and only Maya, the other research done, did help me in the process of the animation itself.

Of course, as anything in life there were some issues, part of my fishing for the rig, I was forcing some incredible and ridiculous problems with those rigs that I had to be discarding. Like for example, showing some things that are not part of it and there is no way of hiding or eliminate it, as well as the simple fact that the rig was too small in comparison to anything else in the scene; and that rig not able to be resized correctly.

In the end I used the classic Norman rig that I tried to avoid and a new rig, the Mery rig, those rigs, came handley and help to succeed in the project. Most of the problems were mostly caused because those are actually old rigs, and with the new versions of the program, it caused conflicts, so, the best option was actually discarding those for the project, and not waste more time trying to fix something that probably it won’t be online as an online solution forum or similar.

For a future projects, I would probably stick with the Mery rig and if I can avoid the old good Norman, I will probably try harder to find a good as well as Norman to work with it, because I definitely like to animated in Maya, rather than in 3D Max. Although, in this project I did created the simple scene on Max and imported to Maya, as I said, Maya is better for animation.

This brings me to the conclusion, that actually knowing your rigs could save you some time, as well have the correct knowledge to do it right, that’s why I investigate, analysed and applied what was learned from it. Using everything that I found doing my research processed helped me even more than just assuming things, as well, having in mind that any kind of project should be save every once in time to avoid any lost work, that any program including Maya could caused for unknown sources.

World Builders Project – Post Mortem

The world builders project, basically was requiring a creating a World Concept Teaser that is based on a description from a Novel, where there should be at least one shot for team member and the teams can be between 4-5 members. It can be made in 3 different options, a environment in a Real Time Engine, a “VFX” shot – Matte Painting/Virtual Environment, which might use camera mapping techniques, or, a 2D Animation, in 2.5D.

Considering that the whole class consist of 5 members including me, it was a class decision that we were going to work all together, and for default and majority, it was decided that we were going to do in Unreal Engine 4 (UE4); once it was decided the style, we all discussed about the book or well novel that we wanted to work with it, in the end was decided to use  “20 000 leagues under the sea” by Jules Verne and the description to use was from the chapter: “The lost continent” making referring to the mystical lost city of Atlantis.

The project as any other project start it with the pre production phase, follow by the production and of course the post production phases. This was managed as a team in different ways depending on what phase we were up to, but in general speaking the result of this project was well done thanks to the constant effort for each of us individually and grupal as part of a team member that we all were.

There were moments on the project that we couldn’t help but disagree with something, but that never stop us as a team, we always manage to find a solution to whatever was happening as for example when it was a communication issue going on with one of us or many of us, that technically was meaning pushing us or the project backwards or behind schedule, that it was done since almost day one of this project.

It had been some cases where in the end someone else had to have the initiative and take over a task from someone that obviously for ende problems, technical or personal, was pushing the project behind or a big part of it. While in the majority of time for the project I was a 3D generalist, I was also in “charge” to say so, well more like as part of a team member that I was, I was always collaboration with important decisions as well giving feedback to those in the team that need it.

Although one of the main issues going on was communication, reporting in time as we had agree with, we did that the main solution was that even when it was nothing done by that day, we should say it, and didn’t need a whole full explanation as why it was that, just let us know that at least you were planning to probably reschedule some tasks and finish in time as it was previously agree it and planned on the gantt chart created almost immediately when the project did.

This project, was divided, like any other project in pre-production, production and post-production. In each part of it, had their key creative processes that had helps us to do the right thing in the right time. For example, in the pre-production phrase, it was important to focus in some research as well as amount of proposes that would help the ideal image to say so, for the result. Each of us, were focus in main assets that were decided as team as an unit. So, like that each of us, had the responsibility of researching references (as always good references will lead a success on the project) and share it with the rest.

One of the main process steps that we did as a team, was also create a drive folder share it open for all of us, and in that way whatever that we find or do individually, it was incorporate. So, as well as in the pre-production it was used to register any kind of documentation, in the production phrase was used in an specific order, to save and share anything that we did, even if wasn’t include in the end.

In conclusion, I would say, that getting set a good communication method and good saving process of each part of it, it’s fundamental for any kind of project. Responsibilities has to be consider as serious as anything in our day by day live; and can be edited depending on what phrase of the project we were up to. My personal roles, when from generalys searcher to analyst and reporting feedback in the post-production but the main one, was to be part of the 3D generalist and create assets. Some of the assets that I did, didn’t end on the project, but that should bother any one, considering that we were talking and working mostly on feedback gain.

Specialisation Project- Research Post: Facial animation

Facial animation is one of the most important parts on a character animation, it’s the one that could give whole feeling of the character with the correct and appropriate expression. Applying correctly could and would help to also save some time with the animation, in the past I had touched some points on lip syncing, this time I had reseach more about general face animation expressions that could be use and interpret correctly especially when the character is a certain distance.

One of my results gave me the next list of tips for a better animation:

  • Referencing.
  • Prepare your shot properly.
  • Blocking.
  • Interpret the video reference: don’t just recreate it.
  • Get the order right when switching to spline interpolation.
  • Shark fin.
  • Avoid common timing traps for lip-synch.
  • Exaggerate your curves.
  • Add ambient movements.
  • Use onion skinning to check your arcs.

From that I had highlight the “Interpret the video reference: don’t just recreate it”, because that’s the main point in that list that I wanted to try more effectively, for that reason I’m quoting the next: “Most of the time you’re going to have to exaggerate the poses to add more energy to your animation. Hide everything that could be distracting, like clothing, to really focus on the motion of the character’s body.”

I’ll explain now, what I have interpreted from there in simple works and how that had been applied into the project.

  • Take as much as it can from the reference to interpret it.Do not copy the exact movement from the reference but know how to use it to give the enough “life” to the animated character.
  • Know how to exaggerate the poses to get it as we want it rather than just as how it is in the reference.
  • Take as much as it can from the reference to interpret it.

In more simple works I did my reference videos, I did analysed them and then, I did reevaluate my animation to interpret as much as possible without exactly copying the movements that I observed my classmates did by acting what they thought would work in the animation sequence that I was working on. I knew what poses what necessary to exaggerate, by convincing a few of those poses that they did in two o more videos when they were acting the same dialogue one and another time. And that’s how I took it as much as I could, and did the animation applying what I had learn with this research.

Resources:

*http://www.cgchannel.com/2015/09/10-killer-tips-for-better-character-animation/
*http://blog.animationmentor.com/how-to-get-great-expressions-and-animate-faces/
*http://blog.animationmentor.com/facial-animation-101/
*http://www.maacindia.com/blog/index.php/tips-for-facial-animation/