Saturday, 1 September 2012

Waverley : Degree Show Film


So this was the version of Waverley as it stood in the Masters Degree Show, from which I was awarded an Msc. in Animation & Visualisation with Distinction. Phew and big thanks to everyone who got involved/ supported me along the way.

Waverley: Making Of



This was a video created as a basic making of which was played on one of the imacs during the degree show. Time constraints and lack of memory coupled with the knowledge that this was an extra we were not getting assessed on meant that it is not a fully polished piece but hopefully gives some insight into how Waverley was created. 


MO from sarah dargie on Vimeo.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Final Blog Submission


Today is the final submission of the blog for our semester 2 assessment. I thought that it was worth explaining what would be the best way to find relevant information on the blog. I will be continuing to work on a making of to supplement the film and production bible prior to the presentation on Tuesday. 


Using this blog:

Under blog archive at the right each post is listed with the date and the title for reference. I have also arranged each post under different categories or Labels which can be accessed on the right hand side so that all posts pertaining to the relevant categories can be viewed chronologically in one page even if they are interspersed throughout my blog. I have put a guide to the labels below. Please note some posts will be shown under more than one label as they were appropriate in more than one category:

1. Experiments - Practical work completed or tested for the course, storyboards, program of study,
                          basic match moving/ film/ HDRI tests etc.

2. General - Posts like this which are less project/ module specific or ones which are related to my
                    attitude or opinion of animation in the broader sense

3. Inspirations - Critical reviews of films, artworks, buildings or photographs which I feel are useful
                          references or examples for my main Master's project

4. Leap Year - A side project carried over from last year which I will be using as a way of testing 2D
                        textures on 3D models

5. Presentations - Completed final presentations or assessment work which was required throughout the
                            semester to pass the modules

6. Research - Similar to inspirations research is more practical and reflective and contains analysis of
                      certain sources and exercises such as the extract which was required for Research and
                      Methods module.

7. Waverley - Everything which is directly related to the practical project has been given this label.

8. Collaborative Work  - Work I have done with or for other animation students.

I hope you enjoy my blog so far and thank you for the time to look through it!

FINAL Program of Study





H.264 FILM EXPORT TEST

Spoiler alert for degree show: finished film. (or almost, there was a glitch or two in this one which has been smoothed out for the handed-in version but nothing drastic enough to warrant the re-uploading time for this blog) Hooray! Just the making of to go!


Waverley : What Would Sant'Elia Do? from sarah dargie on Vimeo.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Opening Shot Update



Updated version of the opening shot, bar stabalising the camera and fixing the shader rebuild on the render I've done very little to this as I liked the feeling of it but felt it was too static. By rendering out the frames at an oversize format, I was able to extend the boundaries of the shot and add in a camera movement.

Current version:



Princes Street Update

With this one I have corrected the colour, realigned the frame composition, amended the rotoscope and added in a camera pan. The footage for this shot comes in at over 37 seconds, giving me a lot of scope for choice. I chose the below section (though the actual shot in the film will be less) because I liked the pacing of the arrival of the train. Overall I quite like this shot, more than any of the others it justifies the use of the site and is most like Sant'Elia's original drawing:


Current:
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Previous:

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Degree Show / Printing


So last week I got everything for the degree show printed including the finished production bible and post/ business cards, although not a requirement its useful and something to do while waiting for renders! Yesterday we began the degree show build and got everything in frames ready for mounting. Exciting times ahead. Excuse the blurriness of some of the photos, was borrowing Garry's phone. 






Window and Doorway

Updated versions of the window and doorway shot. I will probably go back and adjust the saturation of the doorway but only when I have it in sequence with the others so that I know how it is going to fit.

Current Versions:

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Older Versions:


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Birds-Eye

A big thanks to Garry Whitton who helped me out a lot with the compositing of this yesterday afternoon. This was by far the trickiest shot to create and one of the worst. By providing a fresh pair of eyes Garry was able to help me adjust the colour and shadows and took over for an hour at the end of a long studio day. Its far from perfect but in comparison to what it looked like before its much more effective and with a day to go and six shots left to edit it will be fine. Link and Jenny also helped out with this one and so thanks to them all.

Current Version: 

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Older Version:


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Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Window Shot


Edit time. I really wasn't happy with the way this was before. Really wasn't sure what was wrong with it either until Dylan came round and pointed out that the window was far too dark and rendered me out a new window matte pass so I could get a background image in. So after the addition of a lens blur with depth map attached, a background, some chromatic aberration (aka. the new lets-add-it-everywhere-like-we-used-to-use-lens-flare effect) using shift colour channels, tine and optics compensation in after effects and adjustments to each layers opacity here is the updated version. Not perfect but much better: 

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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Sound and Editing

Hooray, managed to get some sound in based on the leica reel I created early this morning. There are some glitches but this is just and edit to get how many frames of each shot I will be rendering. The changes will be:

- I will be changing around the title sequence and adding on Trainstations beneath power station
- I will be increasing the end forework shot by some frames to better fit the music. 

So happy that there is sound, it makes such a big difference. The music I don't own (but did purchase) but as its only for education and not commercial or even wide release it will be fine. The track is by Daft punk off their Tron:Legacy OST for Disney but for now it works fine . I've only had to edit the music a little and then added some basic firework noises for the credit. In the future I'd love to add more to it in terms of shots and sound but for now it will just have to do. Adding the sound allowed me to cut down the shots in the middle and improve the pacing, which in comparision to the leica it was edit form is much snappier. See below for comaprison. Now I just need to severely edit and finish the film (and create a making of)...actually looking forward to it, really enjoy editing things. 

Sound test edit:

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Original test edit:

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Leica 02

Current leica reel shot edit. This allows me to add some sound this morning and then fully edit what I have. Hoping (with all my fingers crossed to have a finished, modified, polished one with sound by 9am Thursday morning, his would allow me to have 1.5 days to export, ensure its working and throw together a making of before Friday afternoon. At present its really not great, really need to pull it together colour, timing and pacing wise and its ben uploaded in awful quality just so I can get it online quickly prior to meeting with Jeanette. At least having this allows me to edit the sound in real time and that will make a huge difference. The bad thing is theres a lot to do, the good thing is I know exactly what I want to change, and if it means the making of doesn't get completed until Saturday then I have a production bible completed and printed in the mean-time so be it. 


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Revised Title and Credits


Pretty happy with the credits, sure they go fast and the timings a bit off but there's 3.5 days to go and they only took 45 mins so that can go onto wish-list for future things to fix. Win. Also updated Title sequence with revised timing. I'm hoping to simplify it but for now here we go (I need to cut it at the end but this will be done in the final edit when I can throw sound Sound at it):

Credits:
video
Title: 


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Monday, 6 August 2012

Title/ Intro Sequence


Finally got the timing on this right. Last week after talking to Dylan and a few of the animators in my class it was decided that my film maybe needed a bit of explanation to the audience what it is they are looking at in my film. After spending longer on it that I wanted to and several revised timing, here is the intro as it stands....

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Birds-Eye Nightmare


The way that my film worked out I ended up having to do something which I normally hate doing; to leave the hardest shot until last. Clocking in at around 72 frames this shot seems deceptively manageable, however I would have to say that out of all of them this is the one which has caused the most strife. I got help from both Link and Jenny with this shot and still it was a nightmare. The initial shot was filmed from the to[p of the Walter Scott Monument through some railings on a windy, cold day in May. In order to get the shot at the angle I needed I had to film it by hand without a tripod so even from the beginning i knew there would be issues. Out of five different shots I took I chose this one and briefly experimented with colour correction in NUKE:


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I then passed the shot onto Link for him to match-move. From this we got a camera solve for Maya but Link had had a hard time doing it and we both expected that there would be further issues with it:





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I ended up resorting to 2D and stitched together some photographs which I then painted to create a clean background plate. Using Jenny's rotoscoping I was able to roto in a sense of the people on top of the background to re-gain some of the movement which was lost. I did attempt to add in some cars but the angle of the shot meant that it looked even messier:



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This shot is far from perfect but hopefully if I can add some grain and some glow etc and blur from the sky it will come together in a more polished form.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Friday Review


Although its nearing the end, throughout the course I have continued to watch architecturally based visualisations and have found both some lovely and awful examples out there. Curiously though unsurprisingly it remains that the projects undertaken by those with a CG/ Visual Effects background are infinitely more successful (in my opinion) than those created by companies with a strictly more architectural background, a difference which can be seen in the two examples below...

The Good...

This is a lovely little video about a Jewish memorial by award winning Russian compositer and 3D artist Efim Armand. Its a rather simple beautiful architectural piece created in 3Ds Max and Vray with lovely camera movements and pacing. Someday I would very much like to aspire to this level of 3D mastery or at least get a better understanding of cameras to get some more realistic effects in there. Its rather inspiring although makes going back to work on my own project slightly disheartening...


Memorial from Efim Armand on Vimeo.


The Bad and The Ugly

..or it did until my good friend and fellow animator Kieran Baxter brought this gem to my attention. This video is the actual 3D fly-though for the proposed V+A museum in Dundee. I understand that it is supposed to be an online interactive piece which would be fine but promoting it as an architectural visualisation film its a prime example of everything I'm trying not to do and what I think is wrong with architectural visualisations. From the insipid music to the unnecessary camera movements it feels dated and rather nauseating, removed and un-engaging. With exactly a week to go to this very hour I may not have a finished polished piece but at least it feels more creatively inspired than this. Enjoy? 


Peep Show


First version of the external shot looking in. Big thanks to Dylan who took the time to render this out for me after two weeks of momentous issues with final gathering and occlusion. I was originally thinking I wouldn't get this shot in the film at all however I'm glad to have it in some form as it shows that although incomplete I have indeed been working on developing the internal space. Even when it was rendered I had issues regarding a disappearing shadow pass and the files insistence of loading in the opposite order.

The final composition comprised of three different render layers: a foreground and background (which contained Depth, Ambient Occlusion, Diffuse, Indirect Lighting, Specular, Reflection and Refraction passes):




and a matte foreground layer for use as an alpha to control the transparency of the glass:


When it came to compositing the shot I've been debating whether to make the glass coloured/ stained or just grimy and slightly transparent. At present I'm leaning against the coloured glass. Coloured:


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Not coloured:

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And another version including enlarged stills. This is because the shadow pass didn't render out properly, I have used the Ambient Occlusion layer to bump it up but the results on the stone aren't as nice as I had hoped, by enlarging the shot there is less stone to worry about:

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Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Deadlines and Thanks



Two shots to go and today I got both the final renders from Dylan for the external/internal shot that was causing major issues on the render farm and beyond so a massive thank you for all his time and help. Also today I got the rotoscope for the tricky birds-eye shot from Jenny Gauci so within the next few days a more final film will be in existence. Potentially. Behind the scenes I have managed to get all the degree show printing and production bible complete so just the film, presentation and making of left. Below is a basic comp showing off Jenny's hard work now Its time to test that the camera solve for the renders I have is more successful than the original opening. 

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Saturday, 28 July 2012

Leica Reel 01


So as much as I have two weeks and only two shots left (one which is being kindly rotoscoped for me and another which Dylan is having to help me render as its proving to be an issue - 5 hours a frame is not good) and there is two weeks to go I have a lot of work ahead of me. I'm still battling through the production bible and stills (hopefully done by Monday/Tuesday) and on top of that I have to turn all the shots into a cohesive film. I really enjoy the editing process but this is going to be tricky. As step one I've compiled a basic leica without any edits of how the shots stand. Its rather static, disparate and jarring. I've made a list of what I would like to change which will be next weeks task and its going to be a tough one.  Good news is that I should be able to add sound!

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Fire and Brimstone

I've been in a world of pain trying to create this shot. Initially I was having issues with the shader rebuild in NUKE, I was getting the level of detail I wanted but adjusting the colours I required was proving to be really unbalanced due to the transparency of the glass material. I decided then to export the shader rebuild as a tiff sequence and adjust in after effects simply because I have a better working knowledge of the program. Very quickly I was able to get the colour results I wanted and took it back into NUKE for compositing.

Initial shader rebuild (image toned down as specular and reflectivity were more bleached in the original):


Initial after Effects Colour Correction, I really wanted it to have a warmer, modern, soft pink lighting to it: 

The next step was to add the fireworks. Initially I tried to mask out the glass using rotoscoping but it was a slow, unnecessary step and asked Dylan if there was a better way to approach it. There was and I ended up rendering out a new matte pass to use as a multiply mask for the reflections of the fireworks. As this image also contained a straight alpha I was then able to use that to create the mask for the fireworks in the sky. 

Composition with the ridiculous amounts of rotoscoping (green nodes):


The matte pass which I rendered out for use as a mask. It was really simple to set up, just created an extra render layer with a material override using two surface shaders. Its a pretty cool effect in itself and very much in the style of the French animated film renaissance. This way gave me an accurate cut out for the glazing:
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Sadly all this jumping between After effects and NUKE had created an issue with the alpha on the fireworks and initially I was having problems with NUKE exporting at 24fps despite setting the project values to 25. To overcome this I created a new scene and pasted the nodes in. After rendering out two sections of the fireworks sequence in After Effects I was able to put them together and after a bit of tweaking using the mix functions on the merge nodes I almost have the shot I want. I think overall its a little bit too reminiscent of "Disney" so I may return to the original shader rebuild but essentially the shot is there and its been fun. The end composition in NUKE seems deceptively simple. I do finally feel like I'm really starting to understand how to use NUKE efficiently and I'm really enjoying it, its like a giant puzzle:

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Thursday, 26 July 2012

Masked Explosions

I've spent a large portion of this afternoon trying to work out how to use matte images as alpha channels or masks in NUKE. Although I'm not quite there in getting it to do what I want yet but I've also been testing some possibilities for the end credit sequence while titles role and I'm currently thinking of something along these lines:

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