Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Model of Reflective Writing

In anticipation of our assignment for reflective practice this semester we were asked to create our own model of for reflective writing. Below is my current response. Less of a mind map more of a post-it arrangement it is based on both the Gibbs and the Atkins-Murphy model, information on which can be found at the useful websites below. . .


Playblasting Maps

Version 1.0 of the Uv Maps is complete. I have had fun doing it but really have no idea if its correct, i suspect it probably needs to be changed so watch this space. Excuse the playblast, Maya on my laptop was being temperamental...

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Gothic Edinburgh For Lucy - Variation 02

Next ones will be more townhouse/ tenements but a little bit of Baronial is always fine. Also I've spent some time setting up my line-weights/ CAD layers now which is a big but useful job and make it far easier and quicker to draw in the future. 

CAD Drawings For Fraser

Im in a collaborative CAD mode. First attempt at a series of what will eventually be six drawings for Fraser Murdoch to be used within his fourth year graduation animation My City. Its into the final months for them so good luck! To check out Fraser's project so far please go here:http://mycitydoj.blogspot.com/ 

Friday, 27 January 2012

Gothic Edinburgh For Lucy - Variation 01

Lucy Tiere a part time animator in my class has asked me to draw some CAD drawings for potential use as turnarounds for her film which will be modelled in Maya. Based on a more gothic version of Edinburgh the first plan is to make about 7 variations of different buildings whose features can be mixed and matched creating the illusion of more buildings. Lucy backgrounds are ultimately in black and white and will eventually be textured via Maya UV maps in a gothicy-watercolour way. This is my first attempt at drawing one on CAD so hopefully it will be of some use......

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Supervisor Meeting Jeanette 4

Jeannette's Comments:
You are continuing to make good, steady progress. Your blog updating your storyboard is much improved and the feedback from The Mill during their visit is really valuable in helping you to refine aspects of your animatic. The next stages are going to be more complex as you explained that you have not tackled UV maps, texturing etc. before. However, you are well on track and I am sure that, with some guidance from Chris, you will be able to manage these new technical skills. One of the first things you need to do though is start collecting and experimenting with sound so that you have a few experimental pieces to discuss with Dawn on her next visit. This could take a bit of time, so the earlier you can start this, the better.

Meeting Notes/ Conclusions

- Photo-storyboard is working. 
- Keep working on current aims.
- Test different inside views of the internal space, perhaps playing with the scale even further to get the desired effect.
- Good schedule and keeping on track so far.
- Consider involving Kareem in the lighting and Hai for UV Maps/ Matt Painting advice. 

Going Live

We have begun the 'Going Live' project in kind conjunction with The Mill from London and while none of the final work nor details can be put on this blog or anywhere near the public eye I can confirm that it is finally underway and our roles in the project have been decided. After completing an online Belbin work-personality test it was determined that my role is a Judge [combination of co-ordinator and monitor evaluator] and so amongst other 2D composition, concept and colour jobs I have become project manager / co-ordinator for the project. Exciting. We have a good team this year and although a bit nervous am excited to see what we can create. 

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Weekly Presentations Begin

Quick slides based on my existing presentation for the first of our Thursday peer reviews/ project update presentations.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Critical Reflection of Animation - She and Her Cat

She and Her Cat - Mokoto Shinkai (2009)  

Full Animation : 


Director Makoto Shinkai’s She and Her Cat is his first anime project that he directed. The short film has won Shinkai praise for his artistry, including that of winning the 2000 DoGA CG animation contest Grand Prix. This is a very personal piece created after he experienced some issues in his personal life whih inspired him to pursue his hobby of animation. Shinkai produced the film entirely himself, going as far as to personally voice the main character of the short feature. Shinkai is a personal hero of mine who focusing mainly on colour and backgrounds has gone on to create gorgeous visual albeit often slow paced films such as 5cms a Second and Voices from a Distant Star. 
She and Her Cat chronicles a male cat by the name of Chobi and his experience with his female human owner only known as “She”. The story is told through the perspective of Chobi, and we get to see how he lives out his days relaxing at home, venturing out into the world—where he meets his first girlfriend Mimi—and even sharing a depressing moment with his human companion. The story showcases the tender relationship than can form between a human and a cat, and conveys it in a way that is most certainly relatable to anyone who has ever owned an animal himself or herself. While Chobi doesn’t understand the emotional complexity of his human companion—which is understandable since he is an animal—his respect and admiration for his her transcends this understanding and presents a tale of true love; relying solely on the affixation of that companionship and nothing else. Shinkai displays supreme talent in this regard, and carefully envelops the viewer into a world emotional value and mutual companionship.
Visually, the film is entirely in monochrome, which I believe was done on purpose to showcase how Chobi views the world as a cat—essentially cats can view certain colors, but not to the extent that a human can. This lack of color usage goes to show that Shinkai adheres to showcasing such specific detail within his work. This is especially curious in comparison to his later work such as Voices from a distant star which uses a host of bright and luminous layers of bold colour to set the scene.                                                              
Environment Design:
Most of Shinkai's settings in She and Her Cat stem from digital photographs of real-life locations which have a personal meaning to him and are created by importing his own pictures into a photo editing software and creating layers of artwork over the original photographs. This lends the films a realistic look within the space of an animated work. The characters of Chobi—including his cat girlfriend Mimi—are presented differently from the rest of the film and are drawn in a cute and simplistic manner, utilized to perhaps reinforce the kawaii culture pertaining to animals, in this case the usage of cats, and it works out here effectively well.
Overall, She and Her Cat is an excellent short film that provides an interesting examination of our relationships with pets. It provides a creative and endearing experience with careful attention to detail and it’s this vision presented by Shinkai that would later be viewed in his future films that would establish him as a distinctive director. Given the talent shown with She and Her Cat Makoto Shinkai certainly utilizes his passion to create stories that one can relate too, no matter how short they may be.

UV Mapping Plan of Action

After watching and then doing many tutorials on digital tutors today on UV mapping I've tried to work out a logical series of commands for mapping Waverley. Below is my initial notes and plan of action. One on textures will follow soon. I have to say I do enjoy UV mapping its time-consuming and often tricky but logical. Roll on texturing...

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Script 2.0

Storyboard 2.0

Animatics and Mill Visits

New animatic. Still very rough around the edges but the feel for it is there. Some of the 3d shots were taken quickly in order to get them ready for presenting to the mill this morning but overall it feels like it is coming together slowly.

Presenting to members of the mill this morning was exciting, got some really useful feedback regarding which shots were the strongest/ weakest and advice on how to use textures and lighting to give the film a stronger feel. Really starting to get excited about this project and can't wait to begin the texture process...

Animatic 2.0 on Vimeo link here. 

Pointers from The Mill:
- Pare camera moves back, keep it simple
- After the train or curves shot go for the big reveal
- Strongest shot is the one looking through the window, Weakest is the initial pan up.
- Adding a balustrade or high level walkways and moving the camera to a high corner will help to achieve the sense of scale/ depth I'm looking for with regards to the Internal Shot
- Keep materials real and simple, use photographs as much as possible
- Consider carefully which rendering program to use, eg. Mental Ray or Vray will assist the rendering and lighting process a great deal for it seems light and texture should drive the project.

I wholeheartedly agree.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Supervisor Meeting Jeanette and Chris 3

This week I have had meeting number 03 with both Chris and Jeanette regarding the progress of my project. We discussed the work I had completed in the festive period and both were able to give me advice regarding different aspects of the project's development.

Jeanettes written comments:

You have managed to carry out a great deal of work over the Christmas vacation which has allowed you to develop your ideas further. I am keen to see you move on to the interior and start modelling that. Its also good to see that you are starting to consider depth of shadows and textures. I’m pleased that you are proposing a more abstract/ surreal sound track rather than one which is too realistic – this will add to the futurist quality and allow viewers to come up with their own mental images/ stories.

Chris meanwhile gave me some great advice on how to approach the UV mapping progress and we discussed some of the more technical aspects of the film and how I can and should optimise my Maya model/ approach to make the UV Map and Texturing process over the next few weeks quicker and more productive.

Meeting Notes/ Conclusions

- Photo-storyboard is creating a more coherent understanding of what I am trying to achieve
- When creating the next animatic use the Maya model and camera angles it provides to make the proposal more dynamic
- Consider taking the time to record specific mechanical sounds  to enhance the film piece and keep it more ambiguous before Dawn's second sound workshop in February
- Good idea to remove any excess complications and confusion created by voices / unnecessary manifesto references 
- Take the time to divide the Maya model into layers for easier rendering and general working of the model
- Where to look on digital tutors for some great UV tutorials regarding the building
- Discussed the different texture methods which can be applied once the UV's have been completed to create a layering of textures on the final model 
- Ensure the final uploaded storyboard is uniformly formatted 

Inside The Belly of The Beast

Internal model has been modelled out loosely. There will be twelve more units added to each side along the length of it, copied from the four which have been modelled but the model needs to be checked first before I go ahead copying corrupt geometry. Can't wait to get a camera moving through it when its done, plus once the train has been modelled the whole shot will be much more dynamic.

As the Futurists never built anything nor even sketch how their architectural visions would appear from the inside I had to draw on other sources: namely Richard Rogers Llyods Building London , The Museo d'Orsay Paris and the Trucco's Fiat Lingotto Factory. The results are a nostalgic take on modernism which I feel tie in with the external appearance,form and scale of the external train station itself. 

This current, basic model was created in Maya built up from 2D CAD drawings I designed based on the above references and the current external elevations...

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Test Photo-Animatic

This is the first animatic I created updated with the parts of the photo-storyboard and basic camera movements taken from the Maya model. The timing and the static-ness of some of the shots need to be improved as well as an improved sense of narrative throughout the piece. This will be worked on in the next few days with the intention of coming closer to a final storyboard by the start of next week..

Photo Storyboard

I'm in the process of updating the animatic with the Maya model and working out how to make the animatic more dynamic, show off the building details more and what kind of colours/ atmosphere will be used in the final piece. Below is the start of the photo storyboard which will be integrated into the next animatic produced.

Site Textures

With the model completed, its time for the UV and texturing elements to begin. As some basic research/ starter point for colours I have been taking photo samples of the materials present on the actual site itself.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Turnaround 1.0

Basic Turnaround of the Waverley Maya model as it currently stands..

Monday, 9 January 2012

Poster Test

For this last quick advertising exercise I dropped the model into an existing one advertising Edinburgh from the 1920s. The original is first, and my basic one is second.