Tuesday, 5 July 2011

So before I go

The Campanile bell tower.

Despite spending all summer in Cornwall (to enjoy the weather and get work done) I'm going home for a couple of weeks to go to Florence in Italy

The home of this guy:

This guy:

And this guy:

Those crazy Italians.

I'm only going to be there for a couple of days, so I'm going to try and make the most of it, sampling the museums and renaissance architecture etc. I still haven't made a list of places to go, so I'm going to work on that. That and my Italian - I should probably work on both of those.

So enough about the future, what about the present?
In the last week or so, I have gotten around to rigging this little dinosaur guy, and I'm very near completion.


It was not without error, however...

Here I was experimenting with the foot attributes, and seeing what happens when you turn the values right up. This happens. I'm impressed with myself for getting these done properly. I feel less impressed now that I know how simple it is to do, just group various IK handles in the foot bones and give each group a different pivot point. It is devilishly simple.

Because of that nature of birds' (and small theropods by extension) heads, I chose to give the neck an IK control, moving the head separately to the body, which will achieve the head-bobbing effect with which many birds walk. Also, I wanted to see how it deforms. I may have to put a limit on its translations.

If anyone's curious as to why birds do that with their heads, it's simple:
When we move our heads, our eyes lock-on to certain points in the environment, then quickly re-adjust to another as our view shifts. This gives us a smooth image without any motion blur. (sorry Olly)
Most birds don't do this, and so they have to use their heads instead, keeping it fixed as they walk in order to stabilize the image, then re-adjusting for the next step.

This video explains it quite well. And it's funny.

And yeah, I've done this with chickens at home. It's surprisingly fun.

Some guy saw that used some lateral thinking and came up with a use for this:


So yes, all that's really left is his hands. I'm also having some trouble with the Fk control objects, but I'm sure I can work around it.

or sneak around it.

Now back to play. Fentil play.

Recently the lovely chap, Gert van Dijk over at Planet Fuhara took an interest in my work, and wanted to feature Fentil on his blog HERE.
Which is pretty exciting.

Fuhara's logo gives the air of a science textbook

Now I've briefly talked about Fuhara before in this post, it's a similar project to Fentil, and artistic exercise in alien life. I said how I admire the project and how I love the designs and the art itself, so it was brilliant to know that this guy also liked my work.
So after an email back-and-forth I told him everything he needed to know for the post, which you should go read if you haven't already.
It made me feel like Fentil is getting somewhere, which is nice.

Also in Fentil news, Brian over at Squidgy Logic is has generously offered to help me construct a Fentil website.

This is just a mock-up of one page, but Brian has got some of the basic elements working already. This tree of life page is going to have an interactive taxonomic tree of all Fentil life on the left, which can be navigated by selecting the various nodes where groups split. On the right is where images/text appear based on what group you are looking at.
It's quite a hefty order, so I'm not expecting it to end up how I imagined, but I have faith -not my favourite of words- in Brian and he'll probably find a way to make it simpler and better.

Also, Adden Mesa is the name of a character in a short story I'm in the beginnings of writing (please withhold your laughter) which is set primarily on an old-established colony on Mars. I love Mars.

love it!

They're not the same person, but I just like the sound of the name.

This is the part where I'd show you some artwork I've been working on, but seeing as I am without scanner, I only have some crappy phone-camera photos to show some of it. I really should invest in one, or fix the one sitting under my bed. Whichever.

A drawing of a horse skull, and I added a neck. A meaty, meaty neck.

Here's just a page of random stuff I drew today. I used my Tria markers again, I forgot how smooth they are.

This is the possible new design for the Fentil dorsoplacates, a group of predatory hexapods. They have 8 eyes: 3 main and 5 simple ocelli . They have an arm-like projection on their heads, somewhat inspired by my own character, Mr Geraldine. The variety of these appendages is comparable to that of the beaks of birds. They have a separate, straw-like proboscis that hangs below the body and is used for drinking. They breathe through nostrils on their back.

Here is another EVA suit. I added some extra features, one obvious one is the red/green lights on the limbs. These are the same as those in planes, and help observers and activity coordinators establish the position and orientation of the astronauts. I imagine that naval/aeronautic conventions will carry on to space travel.

Once I get the basic design down, I'll add variations for different jobs, such as maintenance and extraterrestrial exploration.
I'm trying to avoid making them too DeadSpace-like, but one of the things I like most about the suits in the games is that, despite their visual diversity, they all have a RIG on the back.

It's that kind of consistency is what I want to achieve with these space suits. One of the prominent features I have on mine is the method of getting in/out of the suit. The chestplate is similar to the over-the-shoulder restraints in roller coasters, and when the astronaut wishes to exit the suit, they unlock it and pull the chestplate up in a series of cool-sounding hissing noises. The rim of the chestplate locks into the underside of the helmet and takes it off along with it. The astronaut can now slip out of the suit. I'm adding a few other features, such as all microgravity suits having built-in thrusters. I'm still working on helmets.

Watch things:

Please Say Something, by David O'Reilly is a wonderful short film, that is surreal in presentation and wonderfully made. The glitch-styled cuts and harsh audio can be grating at first, but it all works in the end to produce something really unique.

PRISM is a short film by Corridor Digital, two guys who are ridiculously good at post-production.

And nothing to do with animation, but I do love parrots, so here you go.

See you all in august.

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