Throughout this entire semester, I’ve been able to experience a variety of new things that I’d never really tried before, like digital art, animating in general and 3D modelling/animating! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of it, even working in teams and having to give presentations, and I can’t wait to continue developing all these new skills in the next few years of this course.
I do have to admit that I’ve been incredibly disorganised and have had more personal issues pop up in my life than I ever have had in a year before over this semester. I’ve had a few extensions that I’m desperately hoping I won’t need again. I will definitely not be moving house again next year, or any of the other stuff so hopefully, I can dedicate even more time to this course next year. As I would’ve loved to spend more time experimenting with the various new skills and things I’ve learned than I was, unfortunately, able to.
I loved the first half of the semester, as I was able to develop my art more and learn about the different aspects of animation or digital art that I’d never really learnt before, like colour theory and perspective! I was happy with my portion of the animation, although I know I can definitely improve and create much higher quality work if I continue trying to 2D animate!
I honestly think the second half of the semester may have been my favourite due to the 3D literacy module, as I think I am in love with 3D modelling. I love the details you can put into it and the work process is incredibly interesting to me. It’s definitely not a part of the animation that I thought I’d be interested in but I definitely am incredibly interested! I will definitely be looking into doing more 3D modelling independently as I want to get to a point where I can make incredible things with it! At the time of writing this for the Animated Narratives deadline, I haven’t done much in the blender due to moving house and time constraints. I have an extension for this assignment and will be moving on to work on it fully now for the next few weeks. From the small amount I have done, however, I think I will enjoy soft surface modelling/sculpting as well! 😀
I am a lot more confident in using Maya and 3D in general than I was at the beginning of this semester and module. I was able to transfer everything I learned during the 3D literacy first module into working on the models for this one quite well! Before completing this module I had never attempted to animate anything 3D before, and now I have an animation which is pretty impressive for me overall. It’s not perfect, and I’m sure I could’ve done a lot differently or better but I’m happy I’ve managed to create something!
I won’t lie, I was incredibly behind on this module for quite a while, due to working on the deadline for the other module and then moving house into a new build where we had to floor and paint the whole thing too. So I had a lot less time to dedicate to this module than I would’ve liked, as this meant I didn’t get to experiment a lot with some of the things like IK handles, rigging and animating itself. I will absolutely be doing more of this independently over the summer as I’m really interested in 3D animation and modelling! So I’d love to become more experienced and confident in doing it.
I was already a lot more confident in modelling than before, however, this module helped me learn how to pose the models properly for rigging and how to paint skin weights and more! I am definitely not confident in painting skin weights, mine are still pretty interesting but they work well enough for this animation and I’m impressed I managed to do that at all. Definitely wish I could’ve spent more time on rigging altogether, as I’m just not understanding it past the basics of joints and parenting. So this is definitely an area for improvement which I intend to follow up on.
I feel like I’ve come a long way in terms of my confidence in working with a team, as I was able to make myself more readily available and I provided my team with constant updates as to my progress, even when I was falling behind. My experience with this group was definitely not one of my favourites, as towards the end everything seemed to fall apart due to some unorganization. However, I did love working with these people (apart from the last minute panic, haha) as they were incredibly nice and generally really fun people to talk to! I enjoyed meeting up with them to do work and sometimes just to hang out a lot!
Overall I’m pleased with the results, although I can see areas I’d definitely have loved to refine if i had enough time.
I was worried that the rendering for my scenes would take way too long, especially with the incredibly short notice I was given, however, it didn’t seem to be that bad. Maybe my laptop was just handling it really well haha?
Party Scene attempt #1
I rendered out the ending party scene and then realised I had rendered the wrong one. The one without the leaves. Here is the wrong version anyway, since I did it. I won’t go into too many details of how I did it since it’s not the right one, but I used warm point lighting.
while I was rendering the last scene, Jack was editing sound into the after effects file. While he was doing this he discovered that our team members had completely replaced one of the scenes we had animated with a hastily done short shot of our characters shaking. Our teammates had done this last minute and hadn’t mentioned it or informed us about this change. It wasn’t necessary for timing or anything so I don’t know why they changed it.
When I asked why the only person who answered didn’t seem to genuinely know why either.
So we decided since we were in charge of the final editing of the short, that we would replace this scene with the one we had originally done, instead of just rendering it and putting it on our blogs alongside the final piece. So I started rendering out that scene, which I had absolutely no trouble doing.
I used directional lighting with high exposure for it, to try and make the characters look creepier, compared to the final scene with the soft lighting to make them look friendlier. I was trying to match the way they had rendered their scenes, and the scene right before it with little communication or explanation on how it was done. I think it worked out well enough, and I’m surprised any of this is going okay considering how rushed it is now.
Party Scene Attempt #2
I needed to redo the rendering of this scene because I rendered the unfinished one the first time, like an idiot.
I used directional lighting this time, as it had been so successful on my last render. I was going for something more warm and friendly than all the previous scenes, but I’m overall unsure of how well it turned out when put with the other scenes as the transition looks a little jarring to me.
Sign Scene 12
I was asked to render this scene out by my team who hadn’t had time to do it themselves, so I did. It took a while for me to get the textures I needed for it though because Charley didn’t send them through to me until like 3:30pm. However, I got them and managed to get them rendered.
I used directional lighting here too, as it seems to be my favourite one now haha.
I don’t think this shot made it into the final animation, however I did render it so I figured I may as well show it here.
We had arranged to meet up on Tuesday and Wednesday to start animating, so we could do it as a group instead of separately. Tuesday and Wednesday were the days Charley had booked off work to do this module, so they were the only days she was available. Although some people weren’t available on Tuesday, we had agreed they could come in on Wednesday just and start their part then.
However this didn’t really work as Charley ended up getting food poisoning on Tuesday and couldn’t come in, Alexander had already said he couldn’t do Tuesday and Charlotte had some family issues arise in the morning and couldn’t get the train up. All of this was okay, as we still had the Wednesday. I and Jack looked over our models and made some adjustments to the rigging as we couldn’t start animating due to the person who was responsible for making up the environment, not being there.
On Wednesday everyone except one group member showed up, and we decided to make up the environment as we didn’t feel we could wait any longer before starting to animate, and that group member hadn’t sent it in yet. We emailed our assets and stuff to Alexander who then set up a simple background that we felt would work well enough for the progression of our scenes.
Animating my scenes
After leaving on Wednesday, I and Jack decided to start animating our scenes, as our characters are always in the same scenes. So Jack animated his character and then sent the file to me, and I added mine in and animated it. I then was in charge of animating the leaves falling as confetti for the party scene too since Jack had modelled them. I animated each leaf separately as I felt like it made it look more realistic and better. I had wanted to paint the leaves different colours to make it look like the leaves had actually been painted as confetti by the plants but we didn’t have enough time left, and Jack had been in charge of texturing these leaves.
This is the playblast of the spook scene
This is the playblast of the final party scene
When it got to the end of the weekend, we decided to check up on the group. Apparently, nobody else had done any animating over this time and they wanted to meet up to try doing it again. We all agreed to go in on Wednesday to finish the animating, with two days for rendering then.
We got some animating done there, and Charley and Charlotte decided to stay at the uni overnight to try and get their parts finished and rendered. They said for everyone to send their scenes in and they could render them all together, as they decided to stay overnight the next day as well. I said I’d be happy to render my and Jack’s scenes since ours were already done but they said not to.
Then on the morning of the hand in, they informed me and Jack that our scenes hadn’t been rendered out and we would need to do them ourselves. I will admit I panicked a bit at that, as I was scared rendering would take way longer than I had left, and a little bit confused since I’d offered to render the scenes previously but they’d insisted for me not to.
I am so confused by rigging. I understand the basics of it, like the joints and parenting but when it comes to the more complicated parts I just don’t understand them. Like I had tried to make an IK handle so that if I moved the head then the stem would move automatically and I would’ve gone on to put one of the arms too. However, it just would not work at all for me.
So due to me being so far behind already I decided to just go with joints as my rigging, as it would work well enough for what i need to do, although I really wish I could’ve tried more on the rigging,
The controls make sense to me, as there aren’t that many complications with them. Although I’ll be honest and admit that it took me a few attempts to realise I needed to parent constraint them and not just parent.
So I decided to texture the model before attempting rigging or controls because I’m more confident in my ability to do this part than the others. Here’s the UV map for Snapdragon.
I then imported the model into substance painter and textured it, although I would’ve wanted to do a little more with the texturing I’m already so far behind that I can’t spend days on it. Additionally, only two of my group members have textured theirs so far, and they seem to have mostly gone for block colour and little texture, so I don’t want mine to look like it’s from an entirely different thing.
Then I brought it back into Maya and applied the textures. Although it looks so much darker and I’m not completely sure why,
I decided to spend quite a bit of time trying to improve the design for my character, as I agree that for the storyline and theme of our short, he is too off-putting and unfriendly looking. So I decided to be less literal about the design, so although snapdragon dead flowers look like that specific shape of skull, my character doesn’t have to look exactly like that. I looked up pictured of cute skull designs and decided to take inspiration from the chibi style skulls.
New 3D Model
So with this in mind, I started to try and model a skull that lines up with this new idea more.
It was definitely getting there, mostly through using the extrusion tools.
I eventually got it to where I was satisfied with what it looked like, and decided to try my hand at adding an outline on it due to one of my group members having an outline on their character.
I really like the way the outline looks with it!
I also changed the amount of petals on the design, as snapdragon flowers only have 3 or 4 petals on them. I was also smart enough to actually model the character in the correct pose for rigging this time haha.
Due to me being incredibly behind on everything, my group had decided to put me more on the animating and rendering side of the short production, as I was still working on my character model at this time, and they wanted to start making the assets. I was adamant that I would be able to make a few, which it turns out I would’ve been able to as I finished my model pretty quickly but I was happy enough with this as long as I was able to help more with the other parts as I didn’t want to leave all of the work on them.
Also because our entire group was a little behind, we had needed the pre-vis and animatic done for the second presentation, so that had been when I agreed to take on the animatic and Charley would do the Pre-vis for the presentation.
I suppose I’ll throw the animatic in here again along with the quick pre-vis Charley had made up for the presentation.