Rendering, Post Production Final Thoughts

This week we have got all our animation approved and are in the process of rendering and post production. Unfortunately even after doing my best to optimize the scene it appears that the scene is still very heavy. There is an issue where the shirt of the mascot disappears every other frame so for short scene I’ve tried my best to watch when the scene ends and stop just in case the issue occurs. The solution seems to be rendering at a lower resolution (480 x 270) suggested to us by a senior so we are tried our best to make the commercial work despite this set back. The first scene I got back rendered was actually the last. here, I added a vignette and the slogan and used multiple passes to make the shot read as well as i could. It’s my first time using After Effects so I’m still learning the ropes but I can tell it’s definitely something I will continue to put more time into.captdddure-e1536755273200.jpg

Generally I’ve noticed the ‘screen’ blending mode is very effective in bring out several passes’ data but I always make sure to go through multiple modes before settling on one. I had three shots and have composited the different passes together before handing it to our team lead who stitch them all together.

Despite the rendering issues I’m proud of the work we managed to put together. A lot of the feedback we got was that some shots were a little fast so a little more attention needs to be given to the timing of the animation so it reads well. A lot of the feedback did mention the environment and props so I’m pleased people found my work something worth pointing out.

After Thoughts and Reflection

Overall, I’m so happy to be apart of this group and have learned so much over the course of this semester alone. I do however see room to improve when working in a team and in my own skills. I wish to learn more ways of modeling assets and to do so with thinking about good topology. I think I have improved considerably from the first KPI assessment in terms of communication. I focused on being prompt and coherent in my responses when directed a question and detailed when it comes to communicating important things such as render and lighting settings in case anyone missed out on that vital information. I have definitely been flexible this semester by working on all aspects of the production pipeline except for rigging and skinning. Lastly, when ever I have an issue on my own self directed learning, like with using cloth modifier I have found solutions quickly as to not waste time or hold us back from moving on to the next stage of this project.

Also, I’d like to take the time to thank my group for all the hard work and dedication they put into this project. The plan for now is I will continue to push myself to create better models and to work on 3D projects for myself over the break. Lastly, I feel that ‘Duo Delights’ was a true treat to have been apart of.

😉

 

 

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Week 9-11 animation and framing shots

It’s been an interesting process animating for a commercial because you need to make sure that every shot tells the audience something but also doesn’t distract from the main focus. Very early in the semester we were reminding of the importance of framing shots using the the rule of thirds. I’ve been reminded again how the focused objects need to lie on the lines that intersect each other in order create visually appealing shots. It also helps dynamic shots retain focus. Here the camera was place at a very low angle with all the focus going to the chef’s face.

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Comparing the older shot seen below, it’s clear the rules of thirds really helps make it feel like the chef is curious about the cookie.

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I’ve got a shot set up on the render farm and I’m confident all the animation will be approved in time to render the rest.

Week 8: Presentation feedback and shooting reference videos

The feedback from the presentation this week was that the kitchen and the chef need to be more cohesive in style. I’m working on adding more color to the scene by changing the dull muted green tiles I made with a shader into a vibrant blue and adding more colorful props such as multicolored measuring cups, a kitchen rag and texturing a bright apron made by another teammate. Below is how the kitchen looks like now.

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As for animation my shots involve a scene of the chef eating the cookie after the peanut butter had fallen on top of it, a quick glance shot as well as the end screen shot of the chef holding his fresh batch of ‘Duo Delights’. I have already shot reference videos based off the animatic, where I pickup a cookie and eat it and then one with me holding the tray so I think I’m on the right tracks as I continue animating.

Week 7: Production pipeline for ‘GANTZ’ and lighting research

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This week we watched a  Japanese CGI film called Gantz: 0. It was a sci-fi monster flick that was filled will flashy visual effect but want I think stood out the most was the the more somber moments in the film that were elevated with excellent uses of color grading.

Digital Frontier published an interview with the lead artists and director of the film and they shared they experiences as the looked back  on the film’s production pipeline. 

They placed importance on the color script in order to depict different regions of Japan as well as the internal turmoil the main character is feeling. For example, “At the beginning we use peaceful blues to express Kato’s anxiety.” (Digital Frontier) I feel like we can doing something similar with keeping tones muted during the beginning of the commercial and then bring in the warm tones of the cove lights at the end or add a filter that would defocus the background once the box packaging enters the scene.

During preproduction they also went location scouting, which in a way feels like all the times I’ve walked in a department store this semester and gone straight into the kitchen and home appliances aisle. Interior designing the kitchen had to be  done in a way that everyone’s assets could be seen and the mascot character wasn’t lost the the kitchen mess.

The director Mr. Kawamura also talks about how during the animation phase t”he color script and the color key were laid aside during animation and afterwards the camera and effects team used the color script and color key to bring the true, final vision to life.” So most of the work after that for the film was compositing in order to get back the visual style and from the concept art and color script. below is an example of the background and lighting being merged with the characters to make the final shot.gantz.PNG

Overall the the production team for the film talked about the difficulty managing so many artists so I feel like we’re doing pretty alright in a team of three.

What I’m Working On: lighting

This week I been have been given the task to finalize the lighting of the commercial as the character needs a little time for a re skinning after some feedback so I will take over. I am about to finish it this week in time to get some rendered shots for our week 8 presentation.  

For lighting we have been looking at references of interior lighting without a source of natural light. Vray can also use real kelvin temperature setting so we’ve decided to use that over the color option as the lights can look a little artificial. With a suggestion from the lecturer we are going to use vray plane lights with a warm temperature underneath the shelves to create a nice cove light effect so the kitchen doesn’t look too sterile like a hospital and then vray mesh lights attached to a bulb model for the main lights at a cool temperature setting. Below is the chart I’m using to create the right ambiance for the kitchen. It the lights are too warm it will like like the chef is in his home kitchen which we want to avoid.

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Here’s a light test with the cove lights

 

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There were initially several more lights in the scene but I’ve decided to reduce the lights after informing the team leader as I was worried too many lights means more calculation and thus a longer time to render.

References

Digital Frontier. (n.d.). CG MAKING | GANTZ:O. Retrieved August 31, 2018, from https://www.dfx.co.jp/en/cgmaking/gantz_O/page03.html
Gantz 0 compositing [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved August 31, 2018, from https://www.dfx.co.jp/en/cgmaking/gantz_O/page03.html
Gantz 0 Poster [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2018, from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5923962/

Week 6: texturing and learning shaders

This week we’ve had a bit of a set. The character model has been handed over to our team leader and in turn I am now in charge of texturing the environment. This set back has provided me a chance to look at creating realistic Vray shaders as we have just learned how to control gloss levels, create glass like shaders, messing with the IOR according to real world figure to get different types of glass and chrome metal.

Taking notes from this weeks’ lecture I’ve learned how to make variations of metal shaders to help with the stainless steel professional kitchen look we are going for such as chrome, copper and ‘brushed metal’. I did have issues making a copper material by myself but I realized that copper emits a reddish hue compared to other metals and changing the reflect color did the trick. The video below helped me understand shaders better.

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(click image for link)

I have also textured the cereal boxes, flour sack, floor tiles, rolling pin, among other assets. We have also decided to not use real work products in our commercial as it would distract the viewer from the animation so I have created fake generic brands that will make the kitchen feel more real.

Since we need to prioritize the character model I have offered to do some modeling and have been working on the character’s hands in a way that they can be reattached to the model so our team lead can continue working on it. This won’t affect my other responsibilities and I’m just glad to see the character coming together. I have taken pictures of my own hand but found using my own mirror works best. Additionally I’ve recorded a class lecture that goes over the process of modeling a hand and have used it with a couple of reference images. I also learned out to make nails on a character that give it a bit more depth to the model.

Hand

Graphics pixar has an article on good modeling tips such as creating ‘edge loop transitions’ and this will help reduce the number of vertices I have so the hand can be easily reattached as demonstrated below.

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References

Edge loop transitions [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://graphics.pixar.com/opensubdiv/docs/mod_notes.html

Week 4-5: Modeling and cloth modifier

This week I’m testing out my self directed learning by using cloth modifier. For now I’ve used it for the plastic garbage bag but later it will most likely be used for the chef’s uniform/apron. I started with a circular plain and increased the polygons to allow for some ruffles. I made the garbage bag slightly deep just in case there’s a change of camera angles that would peer into the bag.

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The modeling stage continues, below is a WIP of a stand mixer. I’ve taken accustom to keep old versions of a model to see how far they’ve come.

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A few other models include pots and pans, baking trays and other kitchen utensils.

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Not pictured about are things like the variations of pots and baking trays, a cereal box, an egg and broken egg shells.

Lastly, I have gotten some feed back on the model sheet I created and have made amendments to the side profile. Anatomy wise the character was missing his rib cage, and when modeling characters that structure is needed to help create believable movements. I also amended the calves of the character. After a lecturer pointed it out the calves are actually the furthest away from the body when standing up straight. I went back through some of the character design books we have at the library such as “How to Become a Video game artist” by Sam R. Kennedy and observed that even in stylized character models, designing with proper anatomy in mind is needed to create good topology which helps make the character model function better.

Week 3-4: Presentation Feedback and Production (modeling)

The feedback from our presentation was that we need to go into the direction of creating a commercial kitchen, instead of the chef’s home, so that part of the storyboard needs to be adapted. Also the chef appears too devious in the concept art. So I’m working on making the chef more likable and less likely to be accused of steeling from a baby and I thinks it’s going alright. Below are some sketches I’ve made and I will be expanding on. I actually wasn’t responsible for the chef design but I’m happy to have the opportunity to help create our mascot. As of now the middle design is the direction I should be taking according to a lecturer and I couldn’t agree more.

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It is also the first week of modeling and my responsibilities are to model assets for the kitchen. The commercial kitchen direction looks like a lot of stainless steel and chrome toned materials. it looks like I will be handling the majority of models as a teammate who was assigned to do the other half of props had to move to the other studio group to keep the teams even. I will be treating this project as if I were an interior designer and doing my best to lay out and place everyone’s props in a way that is visually pleasing but doesn’t distract from the animation.

 

Studio 2: Week 3 (Pre-Production)

This week is entirely dedicated to concept art and story boarding for the presentation. My contribution so far is a cookie design and a rough story board a wsell as some concept art for the chef. We ended up going with the chef mascot idea where a struggling chef accidentally creates a tasty unique treat. The commercial open up with a long pan of the chef’s awards and then rotates to him looking defeated.

Additional art work I’ve done this week is the certificates for his wall and cookie and packaging art. The packaging is going into the direction of involving the chef’s design in a practical way such as turning his hat into a handle or his mouth into a flap for the cookies to fall out from.

We are aiming to create an easily recognizable chef and below are some face variations.

Studio2_chef

For the faces I looked up reference of how weight sits on a human face. For example, the first face is an exaggerated almost caricature of the actor Philip Seymour Hoffman.  I feel like observing real figures and pushing facial features can create some really interesting results.

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It’s been fun designing all these different aspects of the commercial and I hope we are able to polish this idea for the group studio presentation.  

References

Philip Seymour Hoffman [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved June 17, 2018, from http://articles.latimes.com/2014/feb/04/entertainment/la-et-mn-backstage-philip-seymour-hoffman-20140204

Studio 2: Week 1-2 Production Pipeline

Studio 2 will consist of creating an advertisement for a product that has an identifiable mascot and tagline. So far brainstorming for ideas hasn’t been too fruitful but our team is confident we will be able to find something we all are interested in and so far appears to be chocolate chip cookies. The ideas we have so far are-

1)An alien mascot sharing our cookie product.

2)A chef mascot, creating the cookie product.

We were also informed that we would be using a new rendering software called ‘vray’.

Lastly, after considering our strengths in the group we have put together a rough GANTT chart to map out the production pipeline and to share responsibilities and we have also set up a google drive to share files.

Production Plan

A look at a general a 3D production pipeline

Every animation project has three major phases and first phase being pre-production.

During the pre-production stage an idea is pitched and when settled on it goes on to the story artist to visualize the timing, pacing and camera angles of the project in the form of a storyboard and animatic. Concept artists try to visualize what the project will look like by drawing props, environment concepts and character designs. The art work can even be in 3D using a sculpting programs such as Zbrush.

After that, model sheets are created so modelers can get to work and for those unfamiliar to 3D animation is “creating the mesh objects that are used to represent the physical elements in your 3D environment.” (Hix, 2006) When the objects are textured it is time for skinning/rigging process as your character need ‘bones’ to be pose-able to move.

Next is animation. Animators pose the characters and assets to tell stories. They pay attention to the principals of animation and try to stick with the animatic’s timing and pacing. Other roles are lighting artists and then compositing the animated sequences to make the final project.

My Role This Semester 

During the preproduction phase I am in charge of a some concept art like the cookie design as well as creating a rough story board for the commercial. When we reach the production phase I will be making half of the props in the kitchen along with another teammate and will be taking part in animation as well, as our team does not have a dedicated animator and I want to do as much as possible to help the team out so we can create something we can all be proud of by the end of the semester.

I think this semester I would like to improve my prop design as last semester I helped make a range of props for a cave environment for our game ‘Cenote’ however, I wasn’t satisfied with the placement of assets as they were used as a guide for the player to solve puzzles in a way that felt a little unnatural. So either direction we go alien or chef, I’m going to give it my all.

References

Hix, B. (2016, June 26). Making Sense of the 3d Production Pipeline. Retrieved from http://www.blenderunleashed.com/tutorials/making-sense-of-the-3d-production-pipeline/

ANI210: Showcase

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Some how with rapidly tweaking the game’s code we had a playable game. The general feedback we got throughout showcase was that they liked the story but wished they they had the option to jump on platforms, perhaps we didn’t success in creating something atmospheric or having a platforming puzzle confused the players.

I got some positive reactions towards the companion character, especially during it’s somersault animation, but unfortunately the companion does drag on the ground a bit because of how uneven the main area’s floor is. This issue isn’t seen in the third room as the ground is flat.

Overall I really enjoyed my first showcase experience and will continue to work on polishing my animation skills. It was definitely a challenge giving a character with no face emotions but I think with the audiences’ feedback, I did an alright job.

I found a couple of ways to speed up production during this trimester. Using Substance Painter I was able to quickly produce high quality textures and low ploy modeling was a lot of fun and made me think of how I can push the silhouette of an object with limited details to help readability.