Imagined Worlds Project: Life imitates art!

Over the past couple of days, I have been continuing to rig the models for our animation! With Lilith complete two days ago, I set off with my newfound rigging skills to attempt to speedily and efficiently rig Zach.

To be honest, I didn’t use any new techniques on this. I duplicated the skeleton that I made for Lilith, because when modelling the characters, I used the same body with the intention of making rigging easier to save as much time as possible. With the duplicated rig, I then skinned Zach’s character model to it. I attempted to use the interactive skin bind with capsuling like I did for Lilith, but for some reason it didn’t want to work, so I manually painted the skin weights for all of the muscles myseslf. This took quite a while, but turned out rewarding, because I’m happy with how he moves! I then decided to pose the models and get some renders of them in a pose inspired by some concept art created by Ebonny.

Rowdy_Kids

 

Bros_dabbin'Bros_dabbin'_zoom

Overall, I am over the moon with the progress that I have made in this project. This experience has been invaluable, because rigging is really difficult, and now I can rig two models in the space of a week! Now that the models are rigged, I can start animating! There isn’t much content in this post, but it felt worth blogging about because it’s progress!

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Imagined Worlds Project: Lilith rig

After a week of slow progress, Lilith finally has a rig! *Final Fantasy victory theme ensues*

It took a considerable amount of work, but boy has this been a learning experience! Rigging is a completely new thing for me, so rigging Lilith has had it’s tribulations. The first thing that I did was to ask Matt for help. He showed me the character rigging tool which generates a human skeleton, and then scaled it down to Lilith’s size. We moved the joints to where they should be on Lilith, then used the mirror function to make it symmetrical.

Lilith skelebob

I then used the interactive bind skin to capsule the areas of the model to the skeleton. This is where I got confused, because I couldn’t really work out what was happening, and everything just felt like it wasn’t working. I didn’t understand that areas that aren’t capsuled go crazy unless you cover them with a different capsule, so I thought that all of the parts that the capsules automatically cover would have to contain what they do as they first appear. This sounds confusing to read, but to give an example, when I loaded the interactive skin bind, the left arm capsule covered the entire head, ears, and torso of the model. When I tried to move it, the ears went crazy, so for about 6 days I thought that the left arm capsule would have to contain the ears to stop them from trailing along the ground. Only yesterday did I figure out that the head capsule could contain the ears, and that this would stop them from going crazy. After capsuling the model as good as possible, things still didn’t move right, so I had to ask for Matt’s help again.

Today, Matt showed me the paint skin weights tool. It took me a small while to figure out how it works and how to use it properly (because for some reason it just perplexed me and I couldn’t make it paint?), but eventually it worked! To try and make parts work better, I used a combination of copy and pasting vertex weights and painting on weight to make the muscles bend as close to humanly as possible! After testing the movements individually, I decided to test a whole body movement…

LilithDab

Overall, I am so happy with this! I’m slightly annoyed at myself for taking so long to rig her now that I know where I went wrong, but it’s a learning curve, and it’s something that was previously entirely new to me, so I can forgive myself for taking a while. I’m happy with how it looks and moves, so I think for now she is done! My next steps will be to rig Zach, then hopefully Ebonny will have put together the environment by tomorrow so that we can start animating on Thursday or Friday!

Creative and Technical Model: Planning

Today we discussed what we are going to make for our creative and technical model. Since we are making an animation, we decided it made more sense to make the characters as our creative and technical models so that they would be done sooner and available for the animation part quicker. We split the tasks of the models that needed making so that Ebonny is making most of the environment assets, and I am making the base character model. After the base character model is made, we are going to make both of the character models from that, so Ebonny is going to make Zach, and I will make Lilith. Here is a visual representation that I made to try and work out how to make it…

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The modelling pipeline consists of first doing the research, collecting reference images and/or concept art for the model, then working out design choices and concepts for the final sketches and annotating as necessary, then making the low poly model, then UV unwrapping so that the UVs are set, then making the high poly model, this point is a good time to work out naming conventions, then bake the model to get the normal map, then texturing, making sure to check that the model will work in the required destination, then exporting to the necessary engine.

My next steps for this model are to make the low poly base model so that I can then make the high poly one to distribute to Ebonny so that we can finish the characters as soon as possible.

 

Summer Project: Ballet movement animation part 1

Over the summer holidays, I decided to try and animate a ballet movement for my portfolio. I myself am a ballerina, so I filmed a movement and used that for reference. I then repeatedly watched the footage and looked for the main poses within the movement to use as the main keyframes. I made rough sketches of each keyframe poses, along with taking note of the time-stamp, and then worked out where this should be in frames.

These images will be replaced with proper scans later on…

I then took the time to keyframe and animation block the main poses of the movement. This took quite a long time because I was having some issues with actually getting the frames to save into the timeline, however I managed to sort it out through the graph editor. I made a quick playblast so that I can show what I have so far.

Unfortunately, this was as far as I managed to get with the project so far because I took quite a lot of time to make the hammer textures, however I plan to try and complete it as soon as possible so that I have something unique for my portfolio.

Imagined Worlds Project: Inital ideas and planning

This afternoon, we worked out most of the Trello planning for our project. We added in the deadlines and worked out when we need to have things done by and what to prioritise. We then got to brainstorming some ideas and planning what we are going to animate.

We considered making either a victory animation style dance sequence, a magician and assistant short, a general performer short, a cooking mishaps short, or a map reading mishaps short. We then discussed what we could do for each one, and looked up some inspiration to try and develop our ideas. Our strongest ideas were victory dance, cooking mishaps, and map reading, because we developed some good ideas for those right off the bat, and then we took to the internet to do some research and whittle down our ideas.

First, we wanted to research victory animations from various platformers, because those animations are good examples of cartoony, fun, and appealing dances. We looked up Jak and Daxter, the Overwatch character emotes, and Kirby to see what works and what doesn’t for their victory animations

Jak and Daxter – https://youtu.be/vuJPTUlVqIo

Kirby –   https://youtu.be/Eo4YRyugCMs

Overwatch dance emote – https://youtu.be/RoFLh5e3D7E

We then discussed what we could do for the cooking and map reading animations. We ended up having some great ideas about making the characters get lost and make something inspired by the animation from the Trail we Blaze from Road to El Dorado (https://youtu.be/DsWklwCFOoI).

We then talked about how we want to make the environment around them, and we considered making a 2D background so that we could have the characters scrambling through the foreground, mid-ground, and background to try and find their way. We then looked at the scenes from Miraculous Ladybug where Marinette is explaining things, and she is still a 3D animation, but the background is an animated 2D background, and we are hoping to take some inspiration from this.

Overall I feel like our planning today has gone much better, and I feel more optimistic about our project in general. We took some time to figure out how we are going to make and rig the models, and our next step is likely to be our concept sketches and planning related to that.

Imagined Worlds Project: The beginnings

Today we started off on our group project for the next few months. I decided to take the animated short project because I plan to specialise in animation this year, and the animated short project seemed like the most appealing choice.

Our team started off as a big team with 6 members, which from the start seemed like a big team that would be difficult to delegate jobs to. We brainstormed some ideas and split roles to people based on their strengths, and came up with some ideas, however after consideration we felt like the team was too big and that the overall product might not come together so well if too many people worked on the project. So after that talk, myself and another member of the group split into a duo and decided to work on a project on our own, because we had already worked out an idea before joining with the others.

We spent the rest of the lesson starting to set up the planning for the project as a board on Trello. The specifications require it to be an interaction between two characters, and so far we have decided to make a cartoony and stylised dance short inspired by victory animations from games such as Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank, and Kirby.

So far, I am feeling nervous about starting this project because this is a big task and we are a small group, but I’m feeling a small amount of optimism. We have a basic idea of what we want to make, and I’m sure that once we properly get started, everything will run smoothly.

Break the cycle: Walk cycle submission post

This is my submission post for my walk cycle.

 

 

To make this walk cycle, I made the pose to pose keyframes, then made it straight ahead between each pose. Links are below for all of my step by step posts on how I made this.

Overall I am moderately happy with this walk cycle. I feel like it need vast improvements but I’m not really sure how or where.


https://nextgenrachaelwingate.wordpress.com/2017/04/24/break-the-cycle-making-my-first-walk-cycle/

https://nextgenrachaelwingate.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/break-the-cycle-splining-my-walk-cycle/