Post Mortem- Specialization project

This project did start as a 3D animation one, but it change based on feedback from facilitators to an after effect one.

https://lariasrhor.wordpress.com/2017/08/30/new-lightning-after-effects-project/

This is the result, now I going to reflect on it in the next parts.

Project management reflection

First when it was an animation project, I did had schedule by weeks in advance as how was supposed to be done progressively. Then when it change, I was worry that I didn’t have enough time to actually do something, but after being 100% focus and hard work I managed to have something finish in time.

This project by being an individual project I was only getting feedback from my facilitators. I had to work on my own, but even when it was the animation project, I knew what I should be doing and how I was suppose to do it. Although I do recognize that the feedback gave that made the project change, was fair I also know that indeed more practice and time was need to do it.

Once the idea of making the lightning project was made, I didn’t lose time and start as soon as possible, I knew that time was probably against me but again I did manage to to it.

Creative work and processes reflection

When I was doing the animation on maya, I do remember that I did start by selecting the sequence of actions by making a list of possibilities and reduce it to just 5 of those. I decide to go with the pose to pose process and choice the rig after texting all the free rigs that I could use on maya.

Later when I changed the project to and after effect one, after feedback from facilitators that established that my 3D fundamentals are holding me back from completing a complex animation, and need more time to work on these before returning to an animation project. Although, I know that if I keep practising and improving the basic 3D skills in time I would complete a complex animation, and maybe even do a dialogue animation.

Thanks to all the tutorials that I followed to learn and improve my very basic after effects skills, it allowed me to create 2D animation, I did learned that it was possible with the right graphics. It also gave me some really useful skills to help with presentation of my work.

The idea was to create titles or/and some other effects on my showreel. Once I add some effects in the first title of the showreel, I did manage to create a logo that goes through the whole showreel applying what I had learned.

The main part of making the last result of the new part of the project that was creating a new version of the lightning composition, was actually review the tutorial. Then as it was suggest, I did find and apply a new background to edit the effects and plan the animation of those effects to a 10 seconds long composition.

Mostly, I had to experiment the different option on the effects to obtain the last result on the project. For example, in this project the effect that I most used was the Advance lightning, and that had to be edited and more than once. By that, I mean that the glow, the decay, the forking and more propitiates of those layers with the effect on it had to be edited and even animated to have the result that I had. Also is better when the layer is duplicate it and change the valour of those once again for better results, some times even just chancing the colour of those could give a even better result.

Reflection on roles and transferable skills

How this is an individual project, I wasn’t on the need of sharing process of it. I was responsible for all of it. I had just to keep track and communicate with facilitators in question of feedback. I did even present my old research topics relate with the animation project; but also I did research by doing the tutorial on after effects.  I suppose, that just for the last bit of the project, I did manage correctly my time; because I did finish it in time .

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Specialisation Project-After Effects

New project, exploring the knowledge obtained by tutorials in after effects to create appropriate titles and effects for the showreel. This new project was bring after the low result of the animation process, although, I know that with more practice and time that could be done completely. I did not have enough time to complete this project but I manage to complete it in time, thanks to the hard work and help of the tutorials.

So, what were my skills before it? I would say that I did have the knowledge enough to do a simple showreel. While doing this project one of the objectives was to learn and apply all the knowledge onto it, I know it wouldn’t be possible do due to the short time and all the advance area that I had learned. All that what’s necessary to know to improve and do correctly this project was on those tutorials.

Reviewing again the main parts of those tutorials as well as analisanding those that were need, was the main processed used in this project. Most of the time, to save some it’s necessary to duplicate what it is already on the project, on the composition that we are working on. This tutorials were main focus on the different effects that can be apply for different occasions that can be manipulate more than once for one layer or more on the main composition.

To do a composition on after effects normally there should be an idea of what’s the objective to do, the whole image of it. Then made sure to have all the need files, such as images, pre render videos, audio or including pre-composition that it could include some effects. It’s going to depend on what’s the last image, to say so, that it want to be create as the result to know how all the files are going to be reorganised, adjust and modificated for it. Then, it mostly be question of know what’s the wish effect that what to be apply to it. To finally know how to import it correctly to render and compressed the file to have the last video (or the wish one) format of it.

Do you know that the best technique that I did discover by using this tutorials was actually experimenting with the properties that each of the effects has? I mean, each effect has their own properties, their own options and by those the amount or the how this effect would affect the layer that is working on. Some include can have a proper order that would change their timing of those or appearance randomisation depending of what was said. Just by adding some wiggle or time to certain command on the effect it could also change the result on the main last animation. (need to be talk through more)

This are some of the result that I obtain after making those tutorials:

I going to list the techniques I learned three of those:

Animated polygon Tutorial:

  • Radio waves and masks
  • Scale wipe
  • Duplicate layers and change properties (radio waves)

Spin Tutorial:

  • Audio Spectrum and masks
  • wiggle effect
  • Duplicate layers and change properties (audio spectrum)

Grid Tutorial:

  • Advance lightning  but change the type (bouncey)
  • Turbulent displace
  • Duplicate layers and change properties (Advance lightning)

And here is a small thing that I applying the knowledge obtained for all of those:

LAriasRhor Logo
I should point out that I did want it to be in the corner of the main source that in this case was the showreel.

I mostly just focus on the small flashing that the words and doing and how are interval in a way that the small logo create base on a square, doesn’t disappear at the same time as the word. It also contain a wiggle on the flashing to keep it happen on the whole composition and not for just two seconds long as it is original create as part of a pre composition. While working on after effect it’s necessary to understand that the result would contain more than one composition, and that’s what’s it would be call or know as pre composition. A pre composition can be also create to simplificare the main project, by selecting various layers that together can create one, and have in consideration that if one pre composition is edited that would be affect the main one automatically.

https://lariasrhor.wordpress.com/2017/08/30/new-lightning-after-effects-project/

Now to do that new project with lightning effects, I try to do it by recycling the previous tutorial, but of course that didn’t totally work. I did use one and another bit from the previous file but effect edited the properties of it. I also change the main length from like just 2 seconds to 10 seconds as well as the main background. The new background use give it more space to play around with the lightning effect. Also I manage to combine both parts of the tutorial that gave me two different result into just one. I didn’t just edit what I previously did, I did add more effects or well more variations of those as well combine everything that I did learn to obtain that result.

As before, I’m going to mention the basic effects that I used to do that new lightning after effects project:

  • Advance lightning
  • Advance lightning  but change the type (omni)
  • Turbulent displace
  • Duplicate layers and change properties (Advance lightning)

That just look like the Grid tutorial I mention before, but the different here is that to the advance lightning effect, it also has variations on the glow, the decay, the forking and more to made it look like a real lightning. All of that and so more that had be explore and texting in the way. Most of the time while doing this cases of projects to have more effective results is necessary some experimentation while doing it.

Specialisation Project-Timing

While talking about weighting, timing was mentioned, but what’s timing? first is one of the 12 principals of animation. Also it could be the weight of an object, as it was mentioned on the weighting entry, the different timing used in the same object would give different illusion of the weight of that object.

Timing as it is the speed of the action, refers as how long the action will take, would affect the personality and nature of the animation. It’s going to be affect by the number of frames between the two main poses on the animation. In simple, more frames it would made it slower, and less would result in a fast action.

That’s one on the main reason to also be the weight on an object, as how it was explained on my last entry. It could also work as scaling properties, as for example a tiny character would move faster than a large one therefor, a tiny one would have less frames. And lately, it could also use as to determining emotion; its different to show relaxing from nervous.

To apply a good timing, in the end would be hardly recommend to have a real time reference; because timing would help us to create something believable and realistic movements based off the real-world. A good real life reference would always help specially to have the correct timing on a animation piece.

Timing correctly something in an animation, would work correctly for any of the previous ways mentioned (such as weight, scaling and emotions) and will have positive results. As animators use the correct timing in the emotions for example would also give the though behind those actions.

In conclusion a correct timing would help to have a better understanding in things as weight (or the illusion of it), scaling (different velocities in the actions could varied in the size of the character) and emotions (it’s no the same show a relaxing movement rather than a nervous one). Timing is most common to be related to a real life action, so having good references always helps to give the believable and realistic need it.

References:

 

Specialisation Project-Weight

The specialisation project, varied from 2D to 3D options, including VFX. In my case, I working on a 3D character animation and as part of the tasks that we have to do to complete this project is have to some research. This entry will focus on weighting, and all related to moving weight. In my project the character that I had choice, will be lifting a heavy bag, for that reason I’m going to research for it and find all about for the project.

Now, to talk about weighting is necessary to understand about timing and spacing. That’s because weight nor force doesn’t really exist in animation, everything is part of the illusion of animation.

For an animator, weight is a visual presentation of opposing forces. When a character jumps up, it is actually driving down against the ground. The faster it can drive down the higher it will jump. The character can enhance the power of the jump by thrusting shoulders and arms in the direction of the jump. Study a high jumper or long jumper.
-Weight in Animation, Posted by Wayne http://www.anamie.com/weight-in-animation/

Animating a believable sense of weight and power is probably one of the most challenging tasks an animator will have. It takes a keen understanding of Timing and Spacing (one of 12 Animation Principles) to animate anything that should appear to be affected by a gravitational pull.
-Emphasizing Animation Timing to Convey Weight and Force, By Pluralsight on August 8, 2014, https://www.pluralsight.com/blog/film-games/emphasizing-animation-timing-to-convey-weight-and-force

I just quote two bits of different websites that certainly are saying the same with different approaches; there is also the constant mention of timing, that’s because the timing is what would give the impression of weight in the animated object.

Part of the research that I have done, also shows an example of how to animated weight correctly. As mentioned before, that would include has the correct timing in the movement of such asset.

For example, if someone animated the same object two times but give it different timing in each; the illusion of how heavy that object will varied. To be more specific, just let’s say that such object is a ball, if the animation has a fast timing the audience will conclude that it’s light, but if that has a slow timing, then the audience will conclude that it’s heavy.

That’s how weighting in animation works, or better say how the illusion of weight is created on an animation. So therefore having a great understanding of timing is the best way to make weighting works on the animation.

References:

 

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.

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/