Sunday, 19 February 2012

Yet another backlog


I really need to get into the habit of writing smaller posts more frequently.
This is going to be a long one.

First thing's first - Kernel

As semi-self appointed animation director, my job is to give Kernel it's animation style and direction. After consulting with Olly, the real director, we came upon the possibility of an almost stop-motion feel for the animation, especially after this first animated shot. With the amazing work that everyone has put into modeling, texturing, rigging and lighting, it certainly would be an interesting way to go.


The discussion also reminded me of how the Prawns were animated in District 9, with very little use of 'tweening' and lots of subtle keyframes. This apparently gives them a more organic look. See for yourself.

He also suggested films such as the Backwater Gospel:

How many times is this going to feature on my blog?

And Little Tombstone:

LITTLE TOMBSTONE - ESMA 2011 from Little Tombstone on Vimeo.

To use as inspiration.

I'll be compiling a little information package with this information and more for the future animators on this project in order to keep a consistent look throughout the film. I finally feel useful.

Now, H0le:

I haven't been working on H0le as much as I should be.
I have, however, finished the rough animation for that climbing shot:

This was my first real attempt at ToonBoom, and I feel that this slowed me right down. I've decided to do the rough animation in Flash. I am much more familiar with Flash and this rough animation can be exported as an image sequence that can then be imported into ToonBoom for the cleanup artists.

Now onto some personal business...

One of the regular podcasts that I listen to is Red Bar Radio. The host called out for fans to design a logo for a joke drink 'Mike's Ice Cold Diarrhea', which was to be put on t-shirts and other items. The 'brief' was simply to resemble old root beer labels.

Here's my attempt. Sadly I submitted the design a day too late and was not chosen, although I was given positive feedback by others of the Red Bar Radio community.
This is the first time I've ever worked on anything for t-shirts, and I had to learn a few things, such as having to use the half-tone dot effect for shadows. It was a fun experiment, even if I didn't get picked.

I've also been playing Zelda recently, and I noticed some cool effects.
The first from Skyward Sword is this cool diamond-shiny effect.

So I tried to emulate this effect thanks to ol' Leonard, here. It seemed to be simply the matter of plugging a rotated checker-board pattern into the eccentricity of the shader and boom!

Old Man Ghirahim.

In another attempt to copy something Zelda-y, I wanted to have a quick go at this effect in Twilight Princess:

here, the darkest areas and shadows are transparent, leaving only illuminated areas visible. This gives a lovely ghost effect, reminding me of the technique used for projecting ghosts on theater stages, known as "Pepper's Ghost".

The technique

The effect

So I had a little play around with Maya's nodes and did some connecting on the faithful Platehead model:

This one used the sampler.Info.node>Camera facing ratio (used to make simple rim lights)and connected it to the transparency.

Here I plugged Surface Luminance (duh) into transparency, which has a much better effect and is more physically resembling of the Pepper's ghost technique.

Some tweaking and different angles.

What I like about copying techniques used in Zelda games is that they're cheap. The Wii is a runt in terms of processing power, and so Nintendo can't afford to use fancy shaders for everything and have to find the effect another way.
I feel that it is always best to find the most economical solution, and being able to optimise your work can only be a good thing. Perhaps that's why I have so much love and respect for low poly games. It could just be nostalgia, but there seems to be a certain consciousness and deliberateness in the models. Every extra poly is expensive, and trying to keep to these limits turns it into a much more creative process. The same can be said for any other artistic medium.
Challenge fuels creativity, and without it, we'd still be a bunch of sponges and worms drifting in an ocean.

Finally, here's some drawings that I done do did:

Free Sword

Fi, from Skyward Sword talks a whole unskippable lot. She lives in your sword. That is the joke. Hilarious.

Breaching Octopus

This is from a dream I had a while ago. I was filming the giant swimming octopus in the background, when a pod of smaller octopus began swimming alongside my speedboat like dolphins.

Marker Madness

It's been a while since I've used my markers. It feels nice to shade stuff sometimes.

Now prepare for a WHOLE mess'a drawings!
In the next post. This one is already too long. Plus the drawings need cleaning up.

Be ready!

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