World builders project, team Zarkora. As part of the project we had to analyse a shot from a past film that explores similar thematic ideas, shot composition, lighting, etc to our own world builders shot. The team Zarkora is working with the book with the same name: “Zarkora: The Lost Kingdom”, second book of a four series books.
Each individual have to work on each shot, our team had decided that we want to tell the story with 4 shots that would be relate one with the other. In my case, I’m working on a shot base on the chapter 8, “The Gorkin Chase”. My shot describe the route that the characters took to run away for these creatures name Gorkin, for that reason I had decided in look after running scenes that could help me.
Here, I’m going to talk about for example the scene on the Harry Potter movie series, in the second one, “The Chamber of Secrets”, when Harry and Ron are running for the spiders in the magic flying car. In that shot it can be see how the car runs through the forest until it flies. From that scene it can be appreciate how the atmosphere it’s working nicely especially when focus on the middle of the dark forest. (2:40-2:45)
As it was mentioned, it can appreciate the atmosphere but also the good use of lighting that helps to guide the view of the spectator to the main focus. It can also shows how well framing it was in parts where the main focus is the car, the vehicle that realise the action.
This shot also shows a good reference to depth, it can be difference the front, middle and background of that shot. In that case the front it could be where the trees are, while the car acts on the middle, the main point of the light, and then is the dark part of the forest as background, again highlighting the car.
Now, this shot was important in that movie, because as any running scene that is important in a movie. Although in this shot it can appreciate the cars that runs through that forest out, it represent the character that need to from one point to another in seconds after according the story in the movie, those that had just obtain good information relate with what was happening.
One of the aspects that helps to give the character to run out of it is the dark atmosphere that its give. The effect that the dark colour lighting and some smoke that actually represent some fog, it helps even more.
For the shot that I had done, it was consider to do it without an actual character but rather use the environment of the forest and river that is mentioned in the book. For that reason I focus on making the trees and the river, specially the river that it was the main focus of that shot.
In comparison with Harry Potter one, and the one that I worked with, both had focus on just one object, on my shot it was the river; on the movie one, was the car. I had changed the lighting to give the depth as the forest on the background seems to disappear. In the middle I focus on the river and tried to frame it with the help of the trees that are around and in from of it.
Rule of thirds, it was had be added on the top of the Harry Potter shot.
In that particular scene, it can be observe that the car stays most of the time on the point were the right and top lines cross. Its move but stay in the line, it keeps the rule, giving the car the importance that it was needed it that shot. According to my knowledge and resources, the rule of thirds helps in photographic and film to composed nice shots and highlight what are the important asset on the with the correct framing as well.
By using the rule of third it can help to know better what’s the focal point on the shot, what had to be frame and how. I really believe that in the future for my own shots I’m going to start composing using this rule, because it would help me and save a lot of time, rather than just try to guess what could be the correct way to do it.
- Darren Rowse, Digital Photography School. ( 2006 – 2017). Rule of Thirds. Retrieved from https://digital-photography-school.com/rule-of-thirds/
The world builders project had reached an end. It have been 7 and half weeks of hard work to have it done.
That’s the end result, presented on week 8. Now its the time to do some reflection about the progress during the project and about the project in general in the next parts.
Project management reflection
To do the project was necessary to have good methods of communication, we did had our slack channel as well as any other team. We also have a drive share folder on our google drives. I remember the communication was solid at the beginning of it, when we were working together as a team.
Once it was decided, approved by our facilitators what scene each individual is working on, the communication lowered. We did consulted for feedback to the others members of the team as well as the facilitators every week, but mostly it was delivered just by them rather than the team.
The project felt a bit more like an individual project rather than a group one. The only part that seems to still group choice is the style that we had agreed. We did share some basic knowledge of how to do the chosen style but anything further went in our own.
I believe that because one it was clear we were working individually, the communication dropped to only when it’s necessary. As a team we should try a bit harder to actual communicate what were our advance and how we were dealing with it, to see the progress as a group rather than individually.
I suggest that to have better communication it could work that rather than communicate between two individuals do it to the group like asking questions. If you invite more individuals to communicate you could have more variations of solutions.
Creative work and processes reflection
Let’s start analysing the process choose to do the project. First, was documentation phrase to say so, when as a team by meetings agreement decided on what kind of final product we wanted to produce.
I remember when the project was explained and give the different options for it, I immediately knew that I was going to work in 3D, because that’s what I consider one of my stronger skills. Although the class being so big, the groups technically already determine, I ended working in a effects group; or that was the idea.
To do the project, we did some research, concepts arts, animatic, previs and implemented everything in order to obtain the last result in each scene. Like I said before, one the team had agreed and once the shot were approved, based on the concept arts, it was more individual work that later on will be put together as one solid piece.
For my part of it, I learned about Falloff Maps, that allows us to have different colour effect on a select asset or assets depending on the light on the scene. Using that process, it made it easy to texture without really unwrapping it, and that helps us to actually save a lot of time.
Apart of that technique, I learn a similar way to use a map texture to say so, for the river and give it a realist colour and effect. I did learned how to use a ripple to apply to a plane or box that later on will be the river in this case. Using the ripple and giving it an animation sequence, it gives the realism movement needed to the water effect.
I could just conclude that this project did have the main three steps on an animation project in general, the pre-production, production and post production. We did have on the pre-production all the documentation needed, agreements and more; on the production each of us individually work the best, the get the scene as much as possible similar to the animatic, created the assets, animation and effects needed; to finally on the post production, we did collect all the individual shots and put it all together adding some sounds effects and effects on the title and credits.
For my shot I applied feedback and edited it many times before I had the last result, that was even presented after week 8, and after the exhibition and I believe that if I try to bring it even further, I could keep working on it.
I ended editing my shot at least three times, after week 7, that was actually when it was due the project, but we always keep improving. This version is the one I presented on week 8 with the rule of third added on the top.
Although, I didn’t think about it when I was editing it, now that it has it I believe that it actually helps a lot to see where and how could be composed even better. I know that the focus point on a composition using the rule of third is actually where the lines cross. I didn’t know much about compositing and I know that’s of one of the reasons that I was still need to improve it.
This one is the edition I did for my showreel.
I applied feedback that was gave to me, but I knew that it was going to need even more work. I made it shorter and try to give depth by changing the light and I actually try to keep the river frame it by trees. I remember I did try to image the rule and try to have most part of the river in the centre of the composition to have a better result.
And this one is the last version so far. (Although, I believe this is going to be the last one).
For this version, I was suggested to have a stopping camera and low the angle a little bit more. I believe that when the camera stop for a bit it actually helps to maintain the focus point on the river as it should have from the begging. Considering that the main point on this shot was to reveal the river, the one that is only visual after a way in the story.
If I was going to take it even more further, I think that now that the rule of third is actually on the top I could maybe lower the camera a bit more to have the river align with the line of it; also made sure that the framing with trees on those seconds when the camera stop is very clear.
For future projects, to get better results, I believe that one of the techniques that I should use it could be the rule of third. Another technique that I know it can be use is framing. Framing consist in using elements that are on the shot to create a frame that will hold the main focus point on it, the object. For example, shot through a doorway, pulled back curtains, branches, fences, tunnels, or arches to highlight your subject.
Maybe I could also look on some more references on framing or how to apply the rule of third correctly, for the better shot in the future.
- Darren Rowse, Digital Photography School. ( 2006 – 2017). Rule of Thirds. Retrieved from https://digital-photography-school.com/rule-of-thirds/
- PhotographyVox. (2017). Photography Composition — Framing. Retrieved from http://www.photographyvox.com/a/photography-composition-framing/
- V Renée, No Film School. (2017). 9 Composition Techniques That Will Make Your Images Eye-Catching on a Biological Level. Retrieved from http://nofilmschool.com/2015/09/9-composition-techniques-make-images-eye-catching-biological-level
Reflection on roles and transferable skills
As part of the team, and part of my responsibilities was also to keep insisting on it and/or just communicate my part more frequently even when it wasn’t any real communicating (responses) frequently. Asking is also another factor that is was a bit weak, but not as weak as general communication. Sometimes, asking was the only way to know is what we were doing was the correct process and so and that’s was what seems to actual worked, specially with replies from our facilitators.
I like to believe that even it was seem it as a individual project while doing all the shots, it really shows how a team can work separately and at the same time together having a unique result, mostly because of the define concepts at the beginning and good stable communication at the start when all the main decisions were made.
One of the projects that I had been working on since the beginning of this term, is this one that consist in simple words to create a fake teaser based on a book. This is a group project, my group is formed by 4 members including myself. To do this project we do had only 6 weeks, considering that is due on week 7. The firsts 2-3 weeks had been used as pre production, documentation, while the rest of the time is required to do the production and left the post production for the last days, no even a week but days.
Up to now, as part of the documentation each student had to do some to some concept arts, as well some thumbnails and others to helps visualize the result of our individuals shots, that each of us had been assigned. In simple words, one the teams had been formed each of them had assigned to each member a shot that they are going to be responsible for it and it would depend on each student to made it posible to in the end create the teaser with all the shot edited and render together as one main masterpiece.
I remember that when I was working on this concepts I was more thinking that I should try to focus more in the environment that is describe on the book that the team had choice, rather than the characters that also appear there. My team and I are working on the “Zarkora” project, planning on doing our individual shots as a “VFX” shot – Matte Painting/Virtual Environment, which might use camera mapping techniques. It’s going to be based on the second book of the “Zarkora” series, “The lost Kingdom”.
My shot is specify based on the chapter VIII of the book named as “Gorkin Chase”; in which the main environment is the forest where the main characters are.
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.
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.