Monday, 9 April 2012

The Major Project - Special Holiday Post

Lots to show today! It may be the holidays, but the project is still moving forwards.

So first of all, both characters are completely rigged, and shaded. The Monk even has his interface, fully working.

I've done a final posed turnaround of the Monk, and there will be one for the kitten coming later.

Here are just a frame render of what it should look like.

I have started to model a few props too. The crate is the most finished, and all it needs is a final texture. (The current one is noticeably tiled!)

I've experimented with squashing and stretching the crates to an extreme (maybe just a tad too much), but is probably how I would like to have them in the final animation.

Ok, so going back to the rigging, I've made a video showing how the rig and it's interface works. It's similar but different. For starters, the whole interface was re written from scratch… but differently of course… and for the better.

So the interface improvements are:
- scalable interface (meaning it is not stuck at one size, like the last one was)
- takes namespaces into account (This is vital as the rig has a very large file size, and I will have no choice but to reference the rig into the scenes to animate)
- more organised tick boxes, and less of them
- generally, things have been moved about a bit to make it more accessible

I've split the interface into two sections; a lower and upper section.
The lower has the switches and the mesh visibility.
The upper has the main control buttons and sliders for the monk and his clothes, split over two tabs.

Now what you would have seen in the last post was that there were a lot of control dots around the clothes. Put simply, they allow you to re sculpt the overall shape of the clothes over time. It's not a replacement for a cloth sim of course, and there is nothing to stop me from cloth simming, but it does mean that I can animate the clothes, and even make a simmed version follow the animated version, to get a stylised simulation.

I don't have to worry about the ropes as they follow the clothes, but then again, they also have a few controls so I could animate them swinging.

Check out the extra controls on the hands and fingers too.

So here is the video.

The last thing to show is the introduction of the animation (as a previs) with a re-edited animatic of the whole animation.
My original intention was to use After Effects for the intro as it's meant to be good a motion graphic stuff, although, only if you know what you're doing. So I gave up on that and went to Maya… and used nurbs curves!
A valid alternative to the pen tool in AE, only I also know how to animate stuff quickly and am not dealing with lots of layers.

It is not very colourful and isn't perhaps as easy to look at as there are no fill colours, but you get an idea for the pace and feel of it.

Now I did find some music to animate to as it really needed it, and found that at AudioNetwork, which is where the music came from for the last project.
I have actually re-edited the animatic to include this music track throughout as I liked the style and tone of the piece.

So here's the new animatic with intro.

Now imagine that introduction, but with 2D graphics that could look something like this.

The only thing that will be different when I previs the main animation, will be the mood of the monk so those places where he currently appears sad or confused, will be happier and more determined; this will better fit the mood of the music without affecting the story and outcome.

More to come in the next few days.

A Flock of Pixels


  1. My goodness - the rig demonstration is probably the most technically impressive piece of work I've seen anyone on the course produce. Really outstanding stuff, Ethan.

  2. Hey Ethan - as you'll know I'm in no position to wax lyrically about your rig, but I'll take Tom's word for it when we says 'wow'. That said, I love the music, love the energy and I love your resolution of the 2d intro etc. It won't just be me who is excited to see this latest project of yours come to fruition. Well done - and keep chipping away at it - very exciting! :)

  3. Holidays? What holidays??! ;)
    I agree with all of the above... it is all looking mighty impressive! Can't wait to see some animation......:D

  4. Agreed Ethan. Produce a Hi-Res version of this for your reel.

  5. Thanks for all the positive feedback!