• Charlotte Grant

Deadline #1 Complete

Hey everyone c: Yesterday was the hand in date for half of the work for this semester, which was kind of scary, but a huge relief at the same time ^_^

I'm going to split my work into two posts, as I have both work from the 'Adaption' project in both 2D and 3D to talk about, but also very different work from the background project and for the sake of ease, using my labels, it'd be easier to do them both separately c:

In this post, I'll be talking about the Adaption project, a project in which we had to take a page or scene from a story book/game/comic and re-create this in Photoshop, putting everything onto layers, then perform a camera move through it in both Toon Boom Harmony and Autodesk Maya.

As promised, below is my checklist, showing what I have and haven't completed for first year c: My next deadline is Friday the 31st and then first year ends on the 14th June and we get our results back on the 27th June :D So I've got some very exciting and scary times coming up o-o

Updated Checklist -

  • DGA130 Design for Animation Experimental - Handed In

  • DGA130 Design for Animation 3D Modelling Project 24th May Academic Office time by 2pm

  • DGA130 Design for Animation Background Project 24th May Academic Office time by 2pm + 12.00 hrs Online

  • DGA140 Digital Animation Practice 2 Individual Adaptation Project (layout test shot) 24th May Academic Office time by 2pm + 23.55hrs Online

  • DGA 120 Motion Studies Showreel 31st May 2pm in Academic Office + 23.55 hrs Online

  • DGA 120 Motion Studies Portfolio 31st May 2pm in Academic Office + 17.00 hrs Online

  • DGA130 Design for Animation Ident Project 31st May by 2pm in Academic Office + 23.55 hrs Online

  • DGA140 Digital Animation Practice 2 Group Project (Sea Tales) 31st May Academic Office time by 2pm + Presentation on 30th May 2013

  • DGA140 Digital Animation Practice 2 Blog 31/5/13 23.55 Online

I'll keep my blog going until the end c: and I've got two projects (a one 2D Game Design one with my friend Dan and a 3D cutscene/CGI film one with my friend Tristan) set for the holidays c: So the likelihood is that I'll continue updating my blog throughout the whole of the holidays with information on both those projects as well. In other news, Urashima Taro, the project I got to be a part of, a month or so ago has been officially completed and you can watch it below c:

Anyways, onto my adaption project c: We were set the project producing a 'test shot', opening scene of a story book, game or comic. This had to be done using the program Toon Boom and had to show depth and some sort of 'background animation'. For this project, I chose to adapt one of my favourite story books as a child. A book by Karen Hayles named The Star that fell. The book is done in a water colour style which I really like and I tried my best to re-create this in Paint Tool Sai, before importing it into Photoshop and then Toon Boom for use as part of this project.

We had to focus this project on the environment, not the narrative of the story, so I chose my background animation to be a horned owl taking off, rather than the star falling to earth (as seen in the book) as I felt the star was more of a narrative choice than a background one, and there were owls later on in the story, so it wouldn't be out of place to do something like that c: I created the opening of this animation using Toon Boom Harmony's perspective tool. This me to decide where each 2D piece was on a plain, giving the illusion that some parts of the scene were further away and some were nearer to the camera. The 'background' animation had to be something that wasn't too intrusive, so in the left hand corner, I animated a tiny owl that fly's off the screen after a couple of seconds in order not to destroy the effect of the background. I'm quite pleased with the outcome, however, I think I could've spent a little longer working on it, as it's not very smooth and looks quite rough. I intend to spend more time over the holidays analysing the movements of animals like reptiles and birds in order to learn to animate them better (and humans, because as you can see from my Ident, my human animation needs a lot of work c:) You can see my finished rendition of the Toon Boom Ident Below c:

For our second task it was required that we import this into Maya, model each piece of it and then perform a camera move through the scene. For starters, I really feel like this project helped me to improve my understanding of Maya, particularly in terms of projection mapping and using textures and I really enjoyed working on this piece, seeing how you can achieve different results with ‘2D style’ animation in 3D software packages.

This project was one I struggled with at first, but quickly began to get the hang of, as I imported more and more layers into the scene. The brief required that we give some sort of 3D sustenance to the work, so after projection mapping my layer onto a plain, getting my desired size and depth, I was able to build this up, stretching it out and giving it much more of a 3D feel (This would later allow me to give the Illusion of 3D when I performed my camera move)

I built the scene up using a variety of plane, situated different distances apart, and I used one image plane with the entire, completed background design projected on it. This enabled me to gauge where certain things had to be placed in the scene. I chose to leave the close up trees out of this scene as they caused a lot of problems for me in terms of the camera move (and they were something I added into the Toonboom scene as an after thought (they were not present in the book I was referencing the image from). I think maybe, if I was ever to try and re-do this project, I would work on finding more ways to incorporate these into the scene as I feel if would make the camera movement a lot more interesting.

As for the composition of the scene itself, I am quite pleased with how closely I matched the 3D scene to its original toonboom counterpart. I did however, find some parts of it very tricky to work with. When re-creating this, I found that the ‘hill’ or ‘ground’, which was previously of a good size to work with, became very hard to manage in a 3D environment. Framing the scene for render and positioning the camera in such a way that it showed all the parts of the scene it should, without showing the Maya grid or background (breaking the illusion) was also really tricky for me. I feel my scene could’ve looked a lot better and the camera move could’ve been improved dramatically if the hill for this environment was higher, allowing me to focus in more from the start.

Overall I am quite pleased with the modelling for each piece of land/layer in this scene. I think particularly the house, worked very well at keeping the ‘3D illusion’ and that the camera angle wasn’t so bad, considering what I was going for. My original idea was just to have the camera literally move in on the scene in kind of a zoom motion, but after consideration, I decided this was a little bit dull, for something I was making the effort to model into 3D and so I chose to make the camera move a little more interesting. The final move was more of a zoom and then a twist, showing the detail/3D effect I had on the house.

The only real thing I’m very unhappy about in this scene was the background, sky and stars. I think if anything was to break the ‘3D illusion’ on this scene it would be those two parts as I found it incredibly hard to make them work together in a way that didn’t make them seem flat. Putting the stars and background on a separate plain made them seem as though they weren’t part of the sky and were able to move around on their own. I felt this made the scene seem rather cluttered and busy, however, attaching them both on the same plain make them seem really static. For my final render, I chose to have them on the same plane, as I felt this was the least confusing out of the two options I had. I’m not sure if this was the best option to have taken, but I think it was alright considering the options I had available to me.

To conclude, I am reasonably happy with the final outcome of my 2D to 3D piece however, there is always room for improvement. I feel I have significantly improved my knowledge of Maya whilst working on this project and if I was to do a similar thing again in the future I believe I would be able to pull it off with slightly higher quality and standards due to what I have learned.

The final product for this can be seen below c:

The other project we were given for our 'Design for Animation" module went by the name of "The Devil is in the damaged detail and required us to model and texture something we've seen outside of campus, with some form of detail on, in the programs Maya, Mudbox and Photoshop.

It was suggested that people on the course not so familiar with Maya should model a wall or section of wall for this brief. I’m not very confident with Maya yet, so I took up this challenge and went about photographing a wall with some detail that I could work on modelling. The area we were modelling had to be off campus and so I took my camera with me to some volunteering I was doing at a community garden and photographed their shed. I think my photo’s for texturing were pretty clear although I could’ve taken them when it was lighter, as the area of wood I was photographing was in shadow and I feel this made it look quite dull.

I began this project by working with a plane in Maya, I tweaked the image I intended to use was a texture so that the wood planks were straight and then assigned the photograph as a lambert material. I then worked on the 3D effect the area using brushes and pulling or pushing in parts of the detail, for example, the darker parts of the photograph (like inbetween planks) I pushed in and the lighter parts (the planks themselves) I pulled out and empathised.

The final result was a section of wall that looked like it was in 3D. I then applied a simple camera move to this, to show it off from all angles.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the outcome of this piece, giving the limitations I set myself. However, I regret not choosing to model something more adventurous. If I were to give this another shot, I’d definitely work on UV unwrapping a cube and building a more 3D environment, instead of just texturing one side of a plane, I’d begin texturing all the sides of a cube, so it’d look better both in the 3D turnaround and as a whole. I do feel this has helped me somewhat, when it comes to improving my skills in Maya, even if I didn’t push myself as much as I could’ve The final piece for this project is below :3

But yush :D I'll see you in the next post, where I'll be talking a little about my 2D backgrounds project and some of my influences and inspiration behind it ^_^ Until Next Time ~Char