Reflective Blog Entry 3: Collaborating with Fans

The lecture “Collaborating with Fans” stuck out to me because it allows an alternative to working for a studio or company and lets you work directly with the consumers of the product you are trying to make. This provides more independence and ensures the consumers get what they want. Once the task of building a substantial following is complete, they can be utilised to fund current and future work. This can be done through crowdfunding, a method for fans to contribute financially to a creator to support them in a project or their career and, in turn, receive agreed upon benefits. Websites such as Kickstarter and Patreon and examples of crowdfunding platforms. An example of successful crowdfunding was the Kickstarter game “Planetary Annihilation” developed by Uber Entertainment. It had a strong promotional video and a fun and unique twist on the classic sci-fi game genre which contributed to its success. The company tried to use the same method for their next project, “Human Resources”, another promising sci-fi game but fell short considerably of their target and the game was never made. This example highlights the limits of crowdfunding and while, if you can build a large backing, there are few complications, the potential of not meeting the target leaves the project abandoned.

https://ksr-video.imgix.net/projects/270437/video-151103-h264_high.mp4

Link to promotional video of Planetary Annihilation

https://www.gamespot.com/articles/amazing-looking-rts-project-human-resources-cancel/1100-6423073/

Link to article based on Human Resources

References:

Planetary Annihilation – A Next Generation RTS. (2012). Kickstarter. Retrieved 18 August 2017, from https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/659943965/planetary-annihilation-a-next-generation-rts

Haywald, J. (2014). Amazing-Looking RTS Project Human Resources Canceled by Developers. GameSpot. Retrieved 18 August 2017, from https://www.gamespot.com/articles/amazing-looking-rts-project-human-resources-cancel/1100-6423073/

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Reflective Blog Entry 2: Inclusive Design

I enjoyed attending the “Inclusive Design” lecture as our lecturer was engaging and was passionate about the topic. Because of this, I reacted to that enthusiasm and she piqued my interest. In order to make a piece of media inclusive, the artist must think about target audience and how they can make the media accessible and more appealing to everyone, challenging audience beliefs. When thinking about inclusive design, some points to consider, to make a colourful cast of characters, are race, gender, class, age, religion, disability (mental/physical), sexuality and body types. To make the media accessible for people with disabilities, there are other things that need to be considered. Animation being a specifically audio-visual media, people with blindness or deafness of some kind are at the greatest disadvantage. Some solutions to these barriers are: altering the hue & contrast of the visuals for people with limited vision and adding audio descriptions for blindness and, for deafness, adding closed captioning. The virtual reality game, “Moss”, features a sanguine character, Quill, a mouse who is mute and uses sign language to communicate. This allows the character to ensnare a larger audience and makes the game more inclusive to deaf and hearing impaired players. As well as introducing people who would otherwise not be exposed to sign language and deaf people to the community. However, he only signs in ASL (American sign language), therefore deaf people who use another form of sign language would still be excluded.

https://vimeo.com/228262502

Link to promotional video of Moss

Reflective Blog Entry 1: Social Media & Your Career

The “Social Media & Your Career” lecture was particularly intriguing because this is where I am currently in my career. Social media has become a massive game changer for creatives to showcase their work and network with others from their field. There are currently many social media outlets available such as Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Youtube to name a few. As a student studying animation, it is important to start promoting myself and networking with people within the industry to enable opportunities to establish a positive reputation. Showcasing my work will allow interaction with my online audience and enable feedback to improve my practice. As more people discover my work on social media, they may be inclined to promote and share my work for me to increase my fan-base/subscribers. One way of using social media to promote one’s practice is to take part in art sharing groups or competitions. This can be a great opportunity to go outside of your comfort zone and experiment with new mediums or concepts as well as gaining feedback and presence. Realising that now is the start of my career, I need to utilise friends and family to use word of mouth to promote my practice. Although, since I have already gotten my name out through illustrating a children’s book, that may be enough to secure a position in a studio or within a company.b2b social media.jpg

:Image from http://www.generationnext.com.au/2015/05/finding-psychological-insights-through-social-media/

3D Production Pipeline: Pirates Gold

I modeled the chest using 3DS Max. I UV mapped the chest base and the side of the lid and did not complete the texturing so I used the colour palette as my texture. I used keyframes to animate the various components. I added lights and cameras to make the animation functional. I rendered the animation to jpgs and used Adobe Premier and added text.

pirates guld0283

3D Production Pipeline, Continued 2

Animation

The rigged 3D model is now brought to life. The most common method of animation is key-framing. This involves an action starting at key-frame A and ending at key-frame B using a timeline; for example, if you wanted to have a cloud move across the sky, key-frame A would be the cloud at its starting position and key-frame B would be the cloud at the end position. The animation software fills in the middle section, which can be edited such as the time taken for the cloud to move. This technique can be used for many different actions from facial expressions to explosions. Many individual key-frames can be used simultaneously to produce a complete scene by layering them together.

rabbit walk via 3d-animated-gif.com.au.gif

Rabbit Walk gif obtained 6/3/16, via http://3d-animated-gif.blogspot.com.au/2011_01_01_archive.html

References:

Boudon, Grant. “How Does A 3D Production Pipeline Work”. Digital-Tutors Blog. N.p., 2013. Web. 6 Mar. 2016.

Wiesen, G. “What Is 3D Computer Animation?” wiseGEEK. N.p., 2016. Web. 6 Mar. 2016.

 

Lighting

Lighting is crucial to create mood and realism within a digital 3D scene. It is implemented through various lights such as key light, point light, fill light, and rim light. Mood is created through the intensity, source and colours of the light, for example, a full moon dimly lights up a forest trail in a blue hue giving the scene an eerie feel. Lighting is also affected by the texture and material of the surfaces it interacts with.

watermarked-AV_3-300x222

Image accessed on 6/3/16 from: https://austinvisuals.com/how-2d-and-3d-animation-is-made-at-an-animation-studio-part-4/

References:

Franklin, Curt. “How 3-D Graphics Work”. HowStuffWorks. N.p., 2000. Web. 6 Mar. 2016.

“How 2D And 3D Animation Is Made At An Animation Studio – Part 4 | Austin Visuals”. Austinvisuals.com. N.p., 2013. Web. 6 Mar. 2016.

 

Rendering

 

Rendering is the translation of a shot from a mathematical model of vertices and polygons in a 3D space to a finalized 2D picture by the render engine. The incorporation of layout, shapes, textures, and lighting information establish the colour of each pixel in the final picture. This process can take an immense amount of time.

Best_3d_Architectural_Visualization_3.jpg

Image found on 6/3/16 from: http://www.archello.com/en/project/stunning-architectural-3d-rendering-predsolutions

Video link: http://www.digitaltutors.com/tutorial/718-CG101-Rendering

References:

Slick, Justin. “What Is Rendering?”. About.com Tech. N.p., 2014. Web. 6 Mar. 2016.

 

Compositing

This is the final stage of the 3D production pipeline where all the pieces are put together. This stage is crucial for modern CG animation combined with live action filming where the layers of animated objects and characters, lighting and visual effects, and film footage are fused to create the final picture. Types of compositing include node-based, layer-based and deep compositing

 

 

compositing.jpg

Video Link: https://www.fxguide.com/featured/the-art-of-deep-compositing/

References:

“The Foundry :: About Digital Compositing”. Thefoundry.co.uk. Web. 6 Mar. 2016.

3D Production Pipeline, Continued

UV Mapping

UV canvas is a 2D representation of a 3D model that projects textures on top of meshes. It uses U and V axes, equal to X and Y to plot where the pieces go. A 3D mesh is unwrapped to form a 2D net, then placed onto the UV canvas. UV mapping is like skinning the model and cutting it into pieces so that they can all be laid out on a flat surface, ready for texturing.

UV Mapping.jpg

Image accessed on 3/3/16, found at: http://www.renderspirit.com/wireframe-render-tutorial/

Video link: The Basics of UV Mapping

References:

YouTube,. “The Basics Of UV Mapping”. N.p., 2009. Web. 3 Mar. 2016.

Knowledge.autodesk.com,. “Introduction To UV Mapping | Maya | Autodesk Knowledge Network”. N.p., 2014. Web. 3 Mar. 2016.

 

Texturing and Shaders

Textures and shaders are 2D digital maps that make up how a digital 3D model looks. Textures are image files that cover a model’s surface to create colour, texture and patterns, using the UV map of the model. Textures can be created using digital painting software like Photoshop or by using photographs to fill the UV map. Roughness, highlights and translucent effects can be created using multiple texturing maps such as diffuse, specular and bump maps.

Shaders control how the surface of the model interacts with light, without which, the model would be nothing more than invisible points in a 3D plane. Different shaders can be used to allow different types of surfaces to appear realistic.UV Mapping httpwww.unwrap3d.com-u3d-index.aspx.jpg

Image from : http://www.unwrap3d.com/u3d/index.aspx

References:

 

Rigging

Rigging converts the 3D model for a stagnant statue into a maneuverable figure. The model is rigged with mechanisms that can be controlled and programmed to allow the model to perform actions. Rigging methods allowing the application of these actions include: joint rigging, facial rigging, forward and inverse kinematics, blend shapes, deformers, control curves, skinning, and weight painting. Joint rigging enables riggers to create a “skeleton” for the model, transforming it into a puppet.

References:
Masters, M. (2014). Key 3D Rigging Terminology to Get You Moving. Digital-Tutors Blog. Retrieved 3 March 2016, from http://blog.digitaltutors.com/key-rigging-terms-get-moving/
Slick, J. (2014). How Are 3D Models Prepared for Animation?. About.com Tech. Retrieved 3 March 2016, from http://3d.about.com/od/Creating-3D-The-CG-Pipeline/a/What-Is-Rigging.htm

3D Production Pipeline

The 3D production pipeline is a basic outline of the method used to produce a 3D animation.

It roughly consists of:

  • Pre-production
  • Modeling
  • UV Mapping
  • Texturing
  • Rigging
  • Animation
  • Scene Assembly
  • Lighting
  • Rendering
  • Compositioning
  • Editing

This is a basic outline can is not always set out exactly like this. Each of the elements will be explored in further detail in this blog.

Preproduction

During the pre-production stage, the direction of the plot is developed. All the major concepts and ideas for characters, storyboards, style, sets (backgrounds/environments), props, vehicles, scenes, scripts, etc. are all created and processed in the pre-production stage. These concepts are explored through sketching. When working in a team, discussion with partners is crucial in this stage.

Character design is an integral component of the pre-production stage, developing the appearance and features of the characters that will accurately convey the intentions of the animation. The characters then have to bee refined and simplified so that their purposes as characters are achieved while being easy to animate. Model Sheets and Expression Sheets of the characters are made to help the animators maintain  consistency and Character Line-up Sheets help compare the scale of the characters to each other. Expression Sheets help the animators convey emotions in characters.

character multi-views2
Character model sheet

Storyboards are the first opportunity for others to experience the overall impression of the progression of the animation before it enters the production stage. They help to visualize the animation and communicate ideas clearly to other members of the team. The panels of a storyboard are often accompanied by text notes describing the occurrences of the scene, i.e. mood and lighting and camera moves, etc. The storyboard is used as a blueprint to refer back to throughout the production stage.

Brave storyboard
Storyboard for the Disney PIXAR animation Brave

An animatic is like a storyboard slideshow, including the dialogue, sound effects and music. The duration matches that of the intended animation. Animatics demonstrate the intended timing, transitions and sound simultaneously.

References:

http://pixar-animation.weebly.com/storyboard.html

http://www.wideopenspace.co.uk/animation-tutorial/pre-production.html

http://blog.digitaltutors.com/understanding-a-3d-production-pipeline-learning-the-basics/

 

3D Modeling

3D modeling is a method for creating digital figures and graphics that seem to have 3 dimensions. This stage takes all of the concepts from pre-production and gives them substance and mass. It is used for creating assets such as: characters, environments, vehicles and props.

3D modeling xbox remote
Video game controller 3D model

There are four main methods of 3D modeling. The first, Primitive Modeling, is the simplest form and uses geometric basics to construct figures. Another method is Polygonal Modeling, which is more advanced. It involves joining lines through positions or vertices within a 3D space to create a flexible polygonal object, but exact curves are not possible. Non-Uniform Rational B-Spline Modeling, allows the user to bend space to create true curves, unlike the Polygonal method. Splines & Patches Modeling is the most advanced and time consuming method using curved lines to recognize and portray the visible surface.

3D modeling remote-controlled car
Remote controlled race car 3D model

There is a multitude of digital software available to chose from, eg. 3DS Max, Maya, Blender and many others. 3D Modeling is the foundation step in the Production phase of the pipeline because it involves creating the assets that all of the other steps in the 3D pipeline rely upon. Once the model is complete, it can be animated directly, without creating further models, unlike traditional 2D methods.

References:

http://blog.digitaltutors.com/understanding-a-3d-production-pipeline-learning-the-basics/

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-3d-modeling.htm

https://saebrah.wordpress.com/2015/06/16/3d-production-pipeline/

http://development.cbsystematics.com/Services/3DModeling