Messing about with the lights in maya.

My final Maya animation has come out quite dark…it looked fine when I checked the render in Maya but now it is rather dark. I do like it and I think it adds to the concept of it so it is all good.

In the actual interface of Maya, the lighting looked really dark so I had to work with just the hyper shades in view, this meant i was constantly checking the render preview. I think the darkness was from my choice of lights, I had area lights accompanying spot lights. The area lights were really bright when rendered so I had to lower them down to like 0.15, I think this was because it they aren’t designed for what I used them for.


Humans, Three Legged Legs.

This speaks for itself, I love Three Legged Legs work and this is a good example of the kind of animation I was watching before I started this brief. Hopefully my animation will incorporate some of he aspects that this does but hey I shall approach this brief with an open mind and hope for the best. The idea of animating does scare me a little =)

Mighty Antlers, The Animation Workshop

Really stylised animation about a man who performs a hit and run in the forest to severe repercussions. I like the use of shots within this piece, especially the shaky camera affect that adds to th adrenaline of the speed that the car is travelling at.Als, the way they show the anticipation of the coffee being spilt on the car seat is really nice. The camera is quite choppy and utilises the motion of the car to give feeling to the animation. I need to think how the camera will affect the mood of my Maya animation.

Simplicity can be the answer!

This is a follow on post from an earlier post about Goggle Chanel Japan’s 3D animation about street view privacy. The reason behind the previous post was that it showed a really simple way of creating a set an animating it, but I have actually found an even simpler stop-motion animation that still functions as an animation. It is called Ah, by Studio shelter.

As you can see the only thing used is Lego bricks, but as an animation it still holds fundamental principles. For instance the timing of the actions is perfect really, it has a comedy to the animation that links with the fact that people are being represented by tiny pieces of plastic. Also, there is some exaggeration shown through the sound of the piece. For my animations I have chosen to not add sound to them so this isn’t that helpful but hey. I love the Star Wars ref aswell, its funny because the animation gets serious with all the police etc but then the Deluxe AT-AT just cruises in! The loss of colour is really cool aswell, it makes you see the whole thing differently, like he colour is what led your focus and when its gone you are trying to look at everything at once.

Terminix Advertisement

I just found this really cool animation for a pest control company in the USA. It features massive flying creatures destroying homes whilst  narrator explains why homeowners should treat their termite infestation.

I don’t really have much to say about this other than it is really well made. I like the idea that the creatures are designed so big that they cause a lot of damage in comparison to the size of actual termites who cause as much damage. It really makes you think.

Production info found here.

A sigh of relief as the last frame of my maya animation renders.

Today is a good day. Finally finished my maya animation and managed to get it all rendered out =) (in one go I might add,  know some people have been having problems). I am actually really pleased with my outcome, I think the animation is a little stiff in parts especially her arm movements, but for a first try I think I did alright.

The overall outcome shows an accurate representation of my original storyboard. Obviously like I sad above the animating part went a tad awol, but this was probably because the fiddly side of it isn’t my cup of tea. Plus, I think I generally work better with stationary objects, after all I loved the modelling side of this project.

Originally the doll’s movement was going to be portrayed as very sooth and easy, but whilst animating it I discovered that it looked better if her movements matched her solid appearance. So, instead of being able to hop around easily, I made her movements seem slow and weighed down by adding in an impact bounce after each jump. The shuffle movement also looks like hard work for the doll.

Oh the camera – I love how easy the camera is to control in Maya! I think it took me like 3 minutes to get it right (thanks to pre-planning on the storyboard).

The beginning of Maya.

This is the first part of my Maya animation, I thought I would just do a quick playblast to make sure it looks ok so far. I am happy with the outcome, I realise now that my previous attempt was wrong. I had made the jump last 4 seconds in total, this was way too long, but I as simply following my animatic – seriously need to get better at those, none of them have been remotely on time! Anywhose, I re-did this part and it has allowed me to continue my animation following similar speed for the other jumps/hops of the doll. I am so glad I finally started the actual animation side of this project as I had been sat for an hour staring at the doll in Maya and my storyboard trying to figure out where to start with it. Once I had started the whole process was so speedy, I have don half of it in  half a day so, just the last 4 shots of my storyboard left to do, then the lights and the camera.

We have some lights =)

I have been working on my animation today and have got up to shot 8 on my storyboard, which is te part where the doll skids to a halt as she realises that she is confronted by clones of herself. Before I carry on with the animation, I thought the next best step would be to place the two spotlights. They both look very nice, but I cannot seem to figure out how to animate them to turn on. Plus, they have posed another problem – they only illuminate the top of the character, so I need to add a hell of a lot of other lights to illuminate the set and the doll.

Als in this shot you can see the blue infinity of Maya, so I will probably need to place a plane there in a random colour to block that out, this will make it seen like she jumps up into a box.

Something weird is going on.

When I zoom out from my character in Maya her skull shows through the hair giving it a really weird effect.

Hopefully this wont effect my actual animation much. It looks really spooky though! I don’t know why on earth it is doing this either but hey I’ll hope for the best.

P.s. it could be a nice effect on the clones, as it gives that artificially made look to the doll. Almost as if she isn’t real.

Also just saw this -> The UV map has a slight problem in it, the two sides of the bottom of the dress don’t match up. FAIL! At least it isn’t a massive mistake.

Making my set in Maya.

My set is pretty simple, all it is a cube extruded inwards like this –

In terms of movement this posed a problem, as I need to be able to move the camera freely around the set. So I have altered my set into this –

I figured that I didn’t need to have a roof on it because you will never see it, so the only things that I really need are the back wall and the floor. Seen as you don’t actually see the outside of the shelf I don’t need the shape I did before.

UV mapping!

Finally finished my UV map for my character in Maya. It kinda blew my mind at first but after making it I think it is a lot more clearer now, hopefully my map will work when I try it out tomorrow, but hey who knows. – If the outcome is drastic it may still look cool…hopefully…maybe not actually. Anyways, as a first attempt at UV mapping I think it has gone sucessful. I enjoyed the process as well, I love PS and have missed it thouroughly.

I know its abit messy but Matt assures me it doesn’t effect the map.

Finally put my map into Maya and it works. I am still thoroughly confused about how each part knew which part of the map to take for the hypershade, its confusing. Now all I have to do is animate my character.

Matatoro, directed by Mauro Carraro, Raphaël Calamote, and Jérémy Pasquet

Just found this lovely animation on motionographer, it shows a good example of 3d animation. The team behind this were studying at an animation school in France at the time. I especially admire the colours used within the animation because I think it gives the feeling of a 2 dimensional image. It strange, its like its an illustration in 3d form. Amazingly done, the model of the bull below is awesome.

Its the textures more than anything, I have never seen anything like this before. Its cool I found an interview with the guys who made it and they tryed various tests in photoshop to get the UV maps forthe characters but decided that the outcomeswhere too similar to what they had seen done before so they printed the UV maps out and drew over the tops of them in a traditional manner, which gave them the result you see.
The interview also gave an insight into a useful little tip – they used simple movements to put focus on the shot composition instead of the characters, so for y Maya aimation, I should use exaggerated animation to put focus on the character and narrative drive.
Also, a last point – The guys stated that the paid attention to the “flow” of pencil lines to give the character volume, because obviously they were working with 2D images and transforming them int 3D objects, but they also wanted to have the ‘vibrate’ effect which is seen within tradional 2D drawn animation. Maybe I should think about howmy UV map will effect the model? It seems like the artistic style of the UV map reflects withi the animation, so if I designed it in photoshop with crazy amounts of layers and texturing it may look. have a different effect as apposed to a perfectly shiny, straight edge design o the doll. Something to consider anyways.

Full article here.

A little inspiration for my Maya animation

Worldbuilder is a short VFX film made by Branit FX. It tells the story of a man who creates the perfect world for the woman he loves. The film is really beautiful and the story is lovely. In terms of how it has effected me, I suppose it gave me just enough inspiration to start my Maya animation. I have had some worries lately about it but this just threw them all out the window. Within the film how the male character uses the programme of World Builder is so similar to a programme like Maya, in a way when we are working with Maya the mouse is like this man inside the programme. He uses different gestures to alter different things just like how the alt key and mouse buttons do different things. Anyways, it’s a lovely film, even though it isn’t directly linked to what we are dong in Maya.

Branit FX
The facebook page has some awesome on-set photographs: Facebook page – World Builder

Maya Truck

I completely forgot about this, it was the first ting I ever made in Maya; a simple truck. We looked at hypershade’s in the session but mainly focused on the polygon make up of the truck.

As you can probably see the shape is very basic and simple but it does serve a purpose as we also looked at extruding, which has become very important with my chosen toy/object. Plus it was a good starter session as it helped me get to grips with the Maya interface.

A day working with maya

So far I have modeled the doll’s body and head, sort of. The screen shot below shows my first attempt(the one on the right) that took me all morning and it didn’t quite work, the top and bottom are edges are rough but the overall shape is there. The one on the left is my second attempt that I followed Matt’s advice on how to simplify my process. It works very nicely for the doll’s body though =)

I’m working on the head currently and it is going well =) I think I have finally figured out Maya. YAY! Good times forever.

We now have advanced to the hair, its still a little rough but it looks ok for the level i’m at =) YAY!

3 point lighting in maya

Just tried to remember everything about 3 point lighting from yesterday’s lesson with Matt. It has gone well, only forgot how to raytrace the shadows and had a few difficulties with the different lights. All in all though it worked out. I set up 3 different cameras withing my side, top and front view windows so that I could see exactly how each light would affect the composition from different angles.

A good note to self: the attribute editor lives in the right hand sidebar, haha I spent 30 minutes looking for it!

These are my 3 outcomes.

Good, good times, =) I’m looking forward to starting my proper animation now! Still think I have a long way to go to get the lighting perfect though!

Maya Dominoes

A really simple animation done in Maya, that shows a few dominoes falling over. The idea behind this session was to show how to batch render out of Maya and as you can see this worked perfectly =) YAY!!! I also learnt how to create camera’s and lights in the scene, and also how to use them effectively. The lights are a bit fiddly but I really enjoyed the process. I’m glad I had this session as I was a bit stressed about my idea beforehand ( all due to the shot where I need to separate the clones from the main character) but now all this is sorted because it is really, really, really easy!!!! =) Yay again!

The animation side of it could do with a bit of work, especially the easing in and out but for a quick little test I think it worked well enough =)

Maya Animation Presentation

I have been asked to produce a presentation for my Maya storyboard. I came to this outcome because I think it sums up the work I have produced so far and everything that I have been thinking of.

Animating in Maya

These two videos are from my first tests in Maya. I was asked to make a pendulum swing using the principle of easing in and out, and show contrast of a solid concrete ball and a light bouncy ball as they fall from the same height.


Ball Bounce

I found this session really useful, I had a few doubts about my motivation with the Maya section of this brief but this has set me back on track. I also understand how easy it is to animate aspects of a character from doing this exercise, for example my character’s hair needs to have a secondary action on it, this shouldn’t be that hard to do. The hard part will be the timing of the movement – I’m sure I will be staring at the graph editor for a long, long time.

Kaktus Film – Mega Robot

This is a video from a series of three, all on the character Mega Robot. As soon as I saw this I knew I had to write something about it. Mega Robot is a lovely developed character, who through the principles of animation is shown as an absebt minded robot, that walks the streets on a rampage, but always seems to end up worse off than when he started. All three clips are really short but they still get across a narrative. I think this is because of the bond between character and environment. Mega Robot is the only character in the clips, but his actions drive the story, his characteristics also play an influence.

In terms of my animations in maya, this is a really interesting thing to look at, I have been previously been thinking about how my character would interact with similar characters in regard to my storyline. Now, I feel that maybe I could use the environment to create a narrative. Hmm, alot to think about!

Google Channel Japan – ストリートビューのプライバシーについて

Found this little gem on the RVLT blog. It is a must watch, I love it. Really inspirational for my maya animation, because it uses really simple shapes (primitives) but has them in beautifully crafted hypershades! It has helped me to chill out abit about how good my final product is going to look, I was worried that it would be too simple and that I wouldn’t be able to pull it off. I like over complicated things!  =) The animation is from Google Channel Japan on youtube and it shows a little narrative about how street view privacy works. I love the idea behind this, you immediatly fall in love with the cute little camera and the story is so sweet. It’s the type of animation that makes you feel positive after watching it.