Monday, 2 May 2011

The Situation So Far

Things so far..... Unfortunately even though the team has worked there hardest it looks as though we will not be able to get all the renders out for hand-in on the 20th May. The compromise will be that we get every shot done with animation and as much done towards effects and environments as possible so we can render after the hand in date. At present I don't know how this will impact the marking. What is important however is that we strive to keep the story and animation intact, so even if we hand in play blasts, they will well done animated scenes and not half rushed versions that we were able to render in time.

I'd thought I'd change the subject of this blog a little and go over some of the other things im doing. I recently started on my innovations project. For those who don't know what the innovations project is, it's the assignment we have been given in relation to coming up with idea or objective in learning a particular area that we are unfamiliar with, which we can either add to and/or present some material to help others learn from. For me I've picked to focus on body mechanics involving human characters. The project will be split up into a range of different actions by the same rig, where the character will perform actions such as jumping, running, kicking a ball, etc.

Thats it for now, cheers

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Easter Studio Happenings

Updates so far!!! We took it upon are selves to work throughout the Easter break to make up the time in order to get the animation finished for rendering, so far we have managed to get allot of the animation done getting us closer to our goal. The only issue I fear though is that we aren't going fast enough. This of course was expected as it took us as a long time getting the rigs and environments done, which enviable pushed us back with our intended schedule.

For more examples of the animators work please take a look at Roy, Emma and Oddne's blogs:

Roy: blog

Emma: blog

Oddne: blog


I am the Texture Monkey

Things have been up and down this month with the looming dissertation hand in on its way, but good news is that geometry for the animation is completed and we are far into the texturing process, with me getting my hands dirty doing allot of texturing in the cabin and for the exterior blimp.

As for the actual animators doing any animation, we now have rigs for all three characters (excluding there face rigs of course). I have got the animators doing their assigned scenes and so far the only issue we have encountered is our characters have issues with skinning/weighting.


Things have been changing lately, since my last post a few issues have reared there ugly heads, which has forced us to re-structure our planes for the final animation. Essentially Tom Dowler and I had to make the difficult decision of cutting two scenes out of the animation due to time pressures.

What this has inevitably done is cut 30 seconds off the projected animation length, but has also saved valuable time that would have been spent creating two different and unique scenes which would have had their own selection of props, environmental lighting, textures and so on.

Another issue and reason for why the animation has been cut is down to the time it has taken to create our character rigs. By this stage it quite fair to say that our Achilles heel of this project has been the rigging process, but this was just a misfortunate occurrence due our limited knowledge in the area.
On the good side of things, allot of the geometry is almost finished, here's a few pictures of the hunters cabin, which has been a collaboration of mostly Matt Luxton, with parts from myself and Matt Butler.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Major Project, Major Job, Major busy January

Last time I posted the project was starting to progress into the actual production phase of the animation and I was presenting some of latest of the pre production work.

I would now like to bring everyone up to speed at the present state of the project as allot has happened since then and my roles in this project have shifted a considerable amount from doing design work to actually getting to grips with being the director of the project.
It might be worth mentioning that in my previous post I haven't really mentioned that I am the director and I suppose this is down to the fact that originally as we started this project we as the team didn't have one, and thought we could make the decisions amongst ourselves. we soon realised that this wasn't going to work as decisions amongst us began to clash and we weren't moving forward. It was therefor decided by the team that I take up the role as director as I was responsible for not only the storyboard but the visual development of the world and its characters. As far as me not mentioning my status as director however, this was due to the fact that it was never considered by either myself or the team as being my official status until only recently as all of our roles seem to still merge with others due to the nature of this being our first major project and a student project at that.

So as of this point I shall be trying my utmost to present news to you of not only the work I have personally doing for the project but also the directorial decisions I have and will be making during the production of this animation short.

Going back to what has happened since December however, over the Christmas break It was universally understood by all the team members that the holiday be used to get the course's dissertation out of the way, so not to eat up time into the winter term. Even so, most of the team members were able to achieve some project work, based on a personal decision to keep the project on schedule. Credit must be given to Matt B and Scott for spending time over the holiday to work on rigging for the characters. Further credit should also be given to the remaining team members who stayed on and worked at uni during the week before Christmas, as again a means to allow us to stay on schedule.

By the time everyone got back in early January, everyone found it hard to get back into the swing of the project, especially considering when people had to change from focusing on the dissertation for so long. The first major issue we faced was more a technical oversight more then anything else. We had naively forgotten or put off agreeing on a method for sharing files and using universal file naming conventions. Thankfully after the first week, we were back on track and after I had a talk with Tom we had an updated schedule of what had to be done and by when.

By mid January, things were getting underway again and major ground was made on the rigs for the characters. Further more we accumulated more people to the team, all which have filled the much needed gaps in our skills area. Firstly, we have a music composer, Rich, from Dartington college of arts, who Tom was able to convince to join our project and generously compose a score for us. Secondly we have Sophie, from film, who has also agreed to help us and use her skills to record the Foley work for us. And Thirdly, Tom was able to get the support from our 3 second year animation students, Olly, Scott and Brian, who in order of name will be doing lighting, rigging and modeling/texturing/post.

At present, we have finished rigging for 2 of our characters and skinning is underway. Environments, have been slow to create, but on a positive note, texturing is occurring along side the asset creation, so environments should reach a finalised stage at the same time originally estimated. As for me, I have been talking to Tutor/Lecturer Derrik and have many more changes to do to the storyboard/animation. Finally animation, has started, but is still limited due to the characters level of development, but Roy has began animation with the Blimp flyby and I'm optimistic that character animation can start next week.

This post was more a less a catch up post. I will present a more in depth post as soon as possible, to give you a better grasp into the current developments being made.

For now, for more details on the specfic progress of some of the team please take a look at:

Matt Butler Rigging/Modelling

Matt Luxton Modelling/Texturing

Roy Nottage Animation/Texturing

Tom Dowler Producer

Brian Williams Modelling/texturing/Post

Olly Skillman Wilson Lighting

Scott Cormier Rigging/handyman


Sunday, 12 December 2010

Game of Catch up

Been some time since last post, but here comes I with catch up news!!!

Recently the team just gave in the design bible for the project, which would include the environments, props, characters, etc. Most of the stuff I have already posted, but here's some of the overspill I haven't got around to posting:

Here's Some concepts for the Hunters Cabin:

Some sketches of the cabin as a whole, I wanted to convey more of a mood, for both how the props will be laid out but also what the lighting conditions would be like. How I thought about it, is that you wouldn't at first glance think you were on an airship rather that you were in a wealthy house's study or in some gentleman's club

on top of the concepts for the cabin, some props still were still not fleshed, for instance on of the chairs and desk lamp.

Camp and Jungle concepts:

Environments for the jungle and the camp, wanted to get a better understanding for the colours that will be used in the final animation. I was thinking vibrant and contrasting, colours that would counter the colour scheme of the blimp and the cabin. Having a clear distinction between both worlds so to speak.

Plant and creature designs that the main characters will encounter throughout the animation. The first two will be obstacles the hunter will encounter (gets eaten), which should make it clear that this jungle is a dangerous and alien place. The last two sketches are of rough plant concepts that will make of the fauna of the jungle.

That's it for now, but ill attempt to post some more soon.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Recent stuff

Hunter Character modeling developments

Been adding more details on and off and attempting to create good topology

More concept work

In other news I created some more concept work for the characters to give a better idea of what there clothing and general attire:

Air Ship (blimp)

I realised the other day that I hadn't covered the design of the airship in the animation on the blog so here are some concepts to take a gander at

For the airship found in the animation I wanted something that looked ominous but at the same time look as though it had been around for years without proper maintenance. Initially I was looking at existing airships, like zeppelins and blimps but found that they seemed to minimal in regards to detail and came across quite fragile, so for reference I ended up looking at old ships, in particular iron clad warships, submarines and steam boats, that felt while looking at them as though they were always fighting the elements and appeared rugged:

Some Reference:

Concept work

final design concept

For more recent updates on the the modeling progress of the airship (silver fox) please vist Matt Luxton's Blog

Finally I saw this today and found it inspiring:

Making of Burning Safari, Florent de La Taille from Florent de La Taille on Vimeo.

thats it for now, cheers

Monday, 1 November 2010

Bapping Animatic

Finally got an animatic off the ground, to show what the proposed finished story will be like.

Storyboards - Myself

Animatic - Roy Nottage

Tutor guidence/advice - Derek Hayes (cheers man)

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Apprentice And Creature Concepts

When we initially went about concepting the apprentice, we envisioned that he/she would be of a lower class and lower (smaller) stature to the hunter. In other words he/she would be more of a servant or slave to the hunters biddings, who would look frail and quite young. I had the idea in mind that he would act as the pack horse for all of the hunters gear and follow him out in the field, hoping to learn as much as he can to get higher up in life, but at the same time being fairly miserable doing it.

For most of the visual design of the apprentice, credit is given to Jake Jones for his development of this character

concept work

all concept work by Jake Jones

Some Concept Sculpts

colour concepts


For any information on the modeling stage of the apprentice please take a look at Matt Luxton's Blog

Creature (AKA BAP)

The creature has proven the most difficult character to convey in this project, as the animal must look and perform as both cute and comical. The setting for this project is in a an alien jungle and as such the creature is also alien, so anything goes, but for the sake of familiarity we have tried to come up with something that compares with agile creature you may find on earth. For instance we looked at squirrels, stoats, weasels and small monkeys and came up with some concepts:

credit is given to Emma Taylor and Tom Dowler for there designs and development of this character

Artwork by Tom Dowler

Artwork by Emma Taylor

creature sculpts

It came to the situation where the creature designs just weren't hitting the right note, it felt as though the creature was still too cute, too crafted for survival, I wanted to think in terms of, if were to come across it in the wild, you would wonder how it even lasted a day. I had a brain wave when I took a look at an image of Bobby Chiu's work:

The one in the middle stood out to me and made me think thats the guy, so with a lot of feedback from the team I came up with some ideas:

Some Colour Concepts

Turn Arounds


For updates on the modeling stage please look at Matt Butler's Blog