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Thursday, 1 November 2012

Minor Project: Refining Character

So my character is finally getting somewhere and I am starting to feel much more happy about her. I decided to work on what my character would look like underneath to help me understand how the character would be able to move about. 

Here is the character put altogether, I still need to add a few more little details but I am starting to feel that my character is finally there 

Minor Project: More Development

After speaking with both Phil and Alan, my idea has change about how I want my character to look. My initial ideas where both realistic and stylised and were just not working because I was trying to make my character both human and doll like. So I have decided to go with the idea that my character is a wooden doll and all the detail will be carved into her or painted on to her. Now that I have made that decision I feel much more better about my character.  

Below are a few more developed faces and I think I am going to go with number 10 or 1.

So with that in mind I went back to my 2 favourite initial designs and started to think how they would look and work as wooden dolls. Both design have things that I like about them, so I am going to keep refining them, But at the moment I am a little bit drawn to the first design.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Minor Project: Character Design More Development

I have been designing the face of my character, at first I started to look at the shapes of children ballerinas for influence and started to draw some initial ideas below. But I just did not think that any of them where working. 

And then I remember my initial influences of painted peg dolls and started to use the idea of simple shapes and painted effect. I think that is the way to go, here are some initial designs.

Personally I think number 2 and 7 stick out for me because the fringes remind me of petals. So I took an initial design and put it together with with the rest of the character to see what it would look like altogether. I am not sure if it looks right, so any feedback would be helpful. But I am currently working on producing more head designs because I don't feel that I have found the right one yet. 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Minor Project : Character Development

I am still working on developing my character, here is my current designs I have been working on. Using the parts of my previous designs, that I thought worked the best. 

At the moment I am drawn to number four, and I think that this is the design that I am going to take on and refine by adding detail. Also next is to start thinking about designing the face of my character 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Minor Project: Character Development

I decided to take my favourite two body shapes from my last post and develop them further.
Here is what I have got so far, looking at adding details to her now. Still don't think I have found the right design yet so going to continue development until I do.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Minor Project: Very Rough Animatic

I thought that I would create a really rough animatic of my animation, just to  figure out  and experiment how my animation could play out. As you can see most of my animatic is combined of real life footage that I have come across, as this would help me with choreographing the dance part of my animation. I want it so it just starts of with the character being the only thing moving and the slowly the nature part of the painting starts to come alive and dance with her. And then around the 1.03 mark of the animatic, this is were I what the animation becomes more abstract, and all the logic has gone, something like The Pink Elephants on parade which is the example I gave in the animatic. Focusing on the line, shape and colour. 

As you can see this animatic is really, really rough, but I just want to get down how I see the animation playing out, in my own head. Now that I have got a bases to work from, I can start figure out the bits that I am still unsure about. 

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Minor Project: Character Design

Here are a few more character silhouettes combining the influence of spinning tops and ballerina's. One thing that I have figured out from these silhouettes is that I want my final character to have some type of flower incorporated into the design. So in the animation itself when the ballerina starts to move and spin the flower part of the design will be animated as well. 

At the moment I am drawn to number 10, but still unsure so I am going to continue developing, using number 10 as a bases to develop... 

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Minor Project: More Character Design Progress

Today I have took Phil's advise to work in solid colour and branding of shading. I think that this way of creating concepts for my character will give it a more stylised fill. The designs below are two different design that I took from my previous post and tested with this style. Just to see if this method would work. I am really liking this way of creating concepts and think that this is the way I should go for creating my final character. 

Next step is to go back and design each part of my character separately so that at the end I can put all the parts together at the end and have a finished character. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Minor Project: Character Development

Today I have spent looking and at different shapes of many influences to help with designing my character. In terms of my character, I know that I want my character to be very stylised, this was something I decided on, in my tutorial on Monday Phil. 

One of many things I took away from my tutorial was the suggestion to look at spinning tops for influence on shape. Here are a few initial silhouettes where I have tried to incorporate the shape of spinning top within the design. 

Also it was suggested that I should look into painted peg dolls, and at how all the detail is painted onto very simply shapes. Maybe this is a way I could go with my character. Here is a work in progress concept I am working on at the moment ....

I really like the idea of having my character made out of solid shapes and all the detail like hair, clothes etc being painted onto it. I think that this way of creating my character will really added to my chosen style I decided on.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Minor Project: Style Experiments

Today I have been experimenting with style, and taking Alan advise to take parts of the painting and design them separately. So that I can then build the scene out of all the objects, I have designed.  

Also I tried to through the logic out of the window, this is something I really struggled with, trying to forget about the details and just just focus on shapes. 

Still think that I need to play around with different brushes, softness, harshness, opacity, noise etc to define the style that I can then take to use to create my character. 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Minor Project: Update

There has been some development since my last post on my minor project:

  • First thing was I had to  decided how my painting would look like before it comes to life. So I have decided the painting would be set in a forest and this will be the only thing throughout that will stay still.  And the character and the nature (flowers, leafs, butterflies etc) will come to life and dance.
  • Also I will have to remember that the logic will be thrown out the window when the painting comes to life, so this will mean that the flowers (nature aspect) can be any size, shape , colour. 


In terms of creating an animatic/storyboard Alan and Phil have both suggested cutting footage together as this will make it easier for me to create a  dance routine for my character  instead of choreographing a whole routine from scratch by myself.   So over the past couple of days I have been going through and watching videos and clips of different ballets. Below are just a few that stuck out from the rest from me. 

Next step is to start cutting the footage together and experimenting along with an soundtrack. 


In terms of sound track choice, I have been listen to several tracks and think that I have narrow down my choice to a few. There are a few things that I have also will have to take into consideration when it comes to choosing  a soundtrack. It has to connect with the theme being portrayed and also it needs to be in synchronization with the movements and expression of the dancer. As my animation is mystical and has up beat message I have been looking at music that has an mystical effect but at the same time is humorous, bright and bouncy.

Also I have been looking at different type of music that you would associate ballet with. The music that you would traditionally hear when you watch ballet is classical music, this was because it was the music of the time when ballet was first being danced but also this type of music really connects with ballet. But occasionally a modern spin will be added, like the video below. I really like the music used in this video especially when it get to about 1:09 when it starts to become more up beat. 

So I thought I look at finding a more modern soundtrack, but honestly I don't think that it will work with the animation. 

So I think  at the moment I am drawn to the soundtrack 'Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy' as I believe that it ticks all the boxes I would like the soundtrack to be. 


In term of style I have been research several types and after talking to Alan I think that I finally settled on a style that I think will work as well as I am happy with. So the style will be a mix between Saul Bass simple shapes and hardness and the softness of Claude Monet and Edward Dagas. Also I have decided to stick to a pastel colour pallet though out as this will be a reference to ballet,  as most of the outfits I have seen are in pastel colours.  

So I decided to experiment with this style. I roughly created a simple petal like shape but at the same time manipulating the shape to so that it is stylized, in Maya and then took it into Photoshop

So in Photoshop I experimented with different brushes, opacity and noise to softened the edges but at the same time trying to keep the hardness of the shape and details like Saul Bass. Then I took this simple shape and duplicate the petal to produced a flower. 

I really like this style and I think that I am going to continue with some more experimenting.....

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Minor Project: Initial Character Silhouettes

When I was researching into ballet, I stumble across this image below of a Fuchsia flower nickname ballerina flower.  This is because if you look closely they kind of have characteristics of a ballerina. This gave my inspiration for my character design. 

As for my character I am going to design a ballerina, so I had the idea to instead of design a genetic ballerina to somehow incorporate flowers into the design. Below are some quick silhouettes I knock up to see if this idea work.....

 Below is the influence map I used of different flowers I played around with instead of just using the Fuchsia flower.

I think that some of the silhouettes work and some do not but I am going to keep pushing this idea and see what I come up with.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Minor Project: Idea Development

Since my last tutorial on Monday, my idea has developed from my initial idea. Originally I was going to create an animation based on the short story Annika's Dream. Instead I am going to focus on animating a certain part of this story. So I have decided to focus on animating one of the paintings that coming to life. 

Below are Abstracts of the Description of the paintings from the story: 

  • Since Annika was not able to dance any more  she started to paint her dreams, to make her wishes come true in this very special way instead. At first, she found it difficult to draw a ballet dancer. However, little by little, Annika’s drawing skills improved and it seemed  as if the ballerinas on her drawing paper came to life and were really dancing.
  • Once, on a beautiful summer’s day, she dared to take a few steps on her own to the meadow nearby. The wild flowers were waving gently and softly in the wind. Poppies,marguerites and even bellflower's all seemed to dance to the tender music of the wind, which only they could hear. Again,Annika tried to capture this enchanting mood on her drawing paper. She portrayed red poppies, white marguerites, and blue bellflower's  In the middle of the meadow, Annika was dancing with all the flowers, butterflies, birds, and bees.
  • Gradually she also ventured to other motifs.Cackling hens and a rooster swaggering around the house, and even the little white cat with silky fur were illustrated in her drawings. Jimbo was playing with a woollen yarn, lying in a basket.
  • Once, during their frequent outings, on a warm summer day,the girls came to some jolly bubbling water. It was a small brook, a beautiful one! Laura and Annika went nearby and watched the quick lively games of the fish in clear water! “Look, Laura,” said Annika, “how gracefully the fish are moving back and forth.” It looked like they were dancing in the water.Laura and Annika sat down and watched nature’s wonderful play  the rays of sunshine reflecting off the waves: the sparkling fish with their eager activities. Both girls seemed very happy as they listened to the murmur and the babble of the brook. Coming home, Annika recreated all her impressions on paper as she usually did. As if by magic, she portrayed the dancing fish in the bubbling brook. By doing so, she captured this beautiful day on her pad, so it would never vanish from her memory

The painting that I am going to animate is the one where Annika is dancing with all the flowers, butterflies, birds, and bees. How I tend to do this, is to use both 2D and 3D techniques together. So the only 3D part is going to be character itself (Annika), the rest of the animation will be in flat 2D, animated  with after effects. 

Here is a quick initial outline of how the animation could play out:

Starts by moving in and focusing onto one of Annika's paintings.The one where Annika is dancing with all the flowers, butterflies, birds, and bees. The music starts to play and Annika starts to come to life,  by popping out of the painting and beginning to dance. As Annika starts to dance and move around the painting the painting itself starts to transform into bright, vibrant colours. As if Annika herself is bring the painting to life as she pass by the shapes of the flowers, butterflies, birds, and bee. As Annika continues to dance the background painting starts to move and before long Annika is dance with the  flowers, butterflies, birds, and bees. As the music starts to come to the end the background painting of the  flowers, butterflies, birds, and bee goes back to normal. Annika stops dancing when she realise that she is dancing on her own. And walks back in the painting and positions herself in her originally pose, just as the music comes to the end, the camera fades out. 

Here are some initial style influences maps 

Character & Initial. painting (3D) Influence Map

This first influence map is to show how I want the original painting and character to look like. I want them to focus on line art and make them feel like them have been drawn. Especially the character, I want her to look as if she is 2D and belongs in a 2D animation put is actually CG. 

Painting (2D) Influence Map

This influence map show the style of the painting when it starts to come alive, bright vibrant colours, simplistic shapes and textures. 

The next step is to create a initial storyboard and start experimenting until I find how I want my animations and character to look like. 

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Style Research Part 2: Watercolour & Ink

Another style influences I have been looking into is watercolour and ink. The reason I decided this type of style is because I like how the way the images in animations morph into one another. And as my initial idea is to have paintings come alive I think that this style might be a way to go. 

My first example is a music video from French D Breakbots with his song Baby I', Yours, which uses over 2000 hand-painted watercolour images. The use of vibrant colours is why I like this  animation. 

Jeff Scher

In his animations Scher uses watercolour paintings and drawings, in which the colour varies wildly from frame to frame while the forms remain consistent, as well as the odd image from a news paper, adverts etc. Resulting in some quiet funky animations. 

L'eau Life shark ending 

Lost and Found 

Chinese Water Colour Animation 

When research, I noticed many Chinese watercolour animations and decided to look  further into this.

Feelings of Mountains and Water 

Is a Chinese animated short, originally released in 1988, and directed by Te Wei, one of China's most prominent animation directors. This film uses his distinct "brush painting" technique, which mimics traditional Chinese watercolour painting. This was the last film Te Wei made, and it has won numerous awards at film festivals around the world.

The Fight Between the Snipe and the Calm
Yu Bang Xiang Zheng 1983

The Mantis Stalks the Cicada, Unaware of the Oriole Behind 
Tang Lang Bu Chan (1988)

Le Papillon 
Antoine Antin & Jenny  Rakotomamonjy (2002)

One thing about choosing a watercolour & ink style, there might be trouble express the style with the use of 3D.  So if I was to go down this route I will need to think about how I would create my idea 3D, 2D or both, this is something to think about. 

Friday, 28 September 2012

Mudbox: First Lesson

Result of today's first Mudbox tutorial and here my first attempt .....

Style Research Part 1

As my project/animation is based on a children's book I have been researching and looking a different children books.I wanted my style choice to reflect this but at the same time finding a unique style  So the styles I have been looking in to are the types that children authors us for there images. After lots of research, I found two different styles that I would really like to use. The first  been a Illustration style, I found two animations from to different artist that I could use as influences if I choose to go this route for my style choice. 

Alberto Cerriteño 

Alberto Cerriteño is a Mexican illustrator & designer. Strongly inspired by urban vinyl toys, alternative cartoons, and the pop surrealism movement, Alberto Cerriteño has developed his own very personal technique and style, having always present a delicate hints of traditional Mexican artistic influences in his management of rich textures and decorative patterns. These contrast strikingly with the blending of desaturated colours and ink, sometimes featuring a vintage coffee finish. 

The image above is a collection of screen shots from Cerriteño animation Suicycle (2007) below. 

This short, designed to play as a never ending loop, is a look at what goes in, what goes out, and how everything we swallow gives the environment a case of indigestion. A stylised depiction of the way life, our over consuming system that destroys everything to keep itself alive. The reason this animation stood out for me was the  use of using one colour but different shades, the use of shapes and the use of multi-textures. Making this animation bold and very stylised. 

Jon Klassen 

Jon Klassen  is a children's book illustrator, whose work has gone on to be used on animations. In 2006, along with Dan Rodriguez  made an animated short called 'An Eye for Annai', Klassen has also worked on Neil Gaimans Coraline and King Fu Panda.

Animation screen shots RBC's Blue Water Project 

I really like the use of minimalistic shapes and simplistic colouring, creating a really nice effect for an  animation. 

RBC's Blue Water Project 

U2's animated video for I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight 

These animations above have gave me some nice ideas, of using simplistic shapes, bright colours and multi-textures for my own animation's style.  The other style influences is water colour and ink that will be coming in another post really soon ................

Monday, 28 May 2012

Maya Tutorials: Character Model Progress

Part 2: Upper Torso Blocking 

Maya Tutorials: Dynamics 3: Intro to Dynamic Bodies

Active/Passive Bodies: Stand in Object (Chain Links) 

NCloth Part 1: Flags (Ncloth, Collider & Nucleus)

Ncloth Part 2: Netting (Indirect Deformation) 

Ncloth Part 3: Bouncy Castle (Cache Blending)

NCloth Part 5: Custom Presets & Component to Component Constraint (Balloons)

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Maya Tutorials: Lighting & Rendering 3: Intro to Mental Ray Continued

Using Ambient Occlusion with Displacement Maps 

Beauty Pass

Ambient Occlusion Pass

Final Image 

Sub Surface Scattering Part1: Grapes 

Ambient Occlusion Lighting & Light Decay 

Lighting Profiles: IES Lighting Information Files 

Mental Ray: Using Maya Layered Shaders with Mental Ray Nodes 

Mental Ray: Round Corners Node 

Depth of Field: Using Luminance Depth 

Beauty Pass

Luminance Depth Pass

Cube Matte Pass

Final Image