Wednesday 31 May 2017

Animation : Red : Run + Jump Sample

A short snippet of Red running into the scene and trying to see past the crowd. It's a little clunky as it's not fully smoothed out yet and there are more jumps after this but they are only blocked out for the moment so I kept it to this segment. 
The run at the beginning will animate seamlessly with the run cycle posted up before so that can be added at a later date depending on the shot edit.

After Effects: Sign Text Experiments #3

After my previous test, I decided to render out a scene with more camera movements to see if exporting the locators and camera to a JSON file would continue to work. It appears that it works fine even with more camera movements, but I did notice a few things I had to go and fix manually.

As the video above shows, since the text is on layers above the footage - it does not overlap with the objects like they should (such the poles on the sign post). To fix this, I crated a mask and animated it so it'd cover up the parts of the text that should go behind objects. This was a bit fiddly at times, since the mask was also parented to the null object, but it wasn't too difficult to sort out. Another problem is when the the camera moves from the front of the sign post to the back, the text is mirrored on the opposite side. To fix this, I animated the appropriate scale attribute to -100 to flip the text into the correct orientation. I did this when the text was flat so the change could not be seen.

I also noticed that sometimes you get better results depending on which edges you use to place the locators in Maya. For some sign posts, I got better results when I selected an edge from the front, and one edge from the back of the sign. Other sign posts I had better luck with selecting two edges next to each other. I just continued to experiment until I got the results that I wanted.

I am still finding the font 'Noteworthy' the most useful so far for replacing text that does not agree with 'Grenouille'. I used the font 'Bradley Hand' for Bulgarian in this test. 

Tuesday 30 May 2017

Modelling: The Harp District #03

After Effects: Sign Text Experiments #2

I think I made some decent progress with changing the languages of the text on the signposts. After some suggestions, I decided to try out exporting locators, meshes, and cameras into a JSON file to then import into After Effects (I followed this article). Initially, I had some strange results with the locators (I used a Rivet script to get the locators where I wanted). I realised I needed to make the text into a 3D layer in AE then make sure I held down 'shift' as I parented the text to the null object to snap it into place. I also tried naming the locators 'textLocator' which automatically gets converted into a text layer rather than a null object in AE. However, this gave me less freedom to adjust and edit the text in comparison to having a text layer and a null object.

I then decided to try exporting the mesh of the sign posts rather than locators. Meshes are converted into solids rather than null objects. As I experimented with this I realised all I needed to do was adjust some of the rotation attributes. These attributes weren't automatically keyframed.

I decided to return to using the locators/null objects as they required less adjustments than the mesh/solids (the mesh/solid would mirror and flip the text when it was parented). For the most part, the only adjustments the locator/null method needs is -90 degrees in rotate x, and maybe a few minor adjustments in the other rotates on the null object or position attributes for the text layer.

I'm going to continue to experiment with this method after rendering out a scene with more complex camera movement to ensure this works correctly. I also have been trying to find some fonts for certain languages that are missing characters from the chosen font (hence why in German some words have a normal 'a' rather than an 'รค' at the moment). So far I think the font 'Noteworthy' has been the most successful for Bulgarian in comparison to the others that I've tried.

Modelling: The Oboe District, Gondola

The Gondola

Modelling: The Oboe District, Tunnel

The Oboe District's Exit Tunnel

Monday 29 May 2017

Animation - First Play with Red's Rig

Here's a glimpse at the first play with Red's rig. He's a fun little character to bring to life, Ethan's hard work pays off brilliantly here. 

For this first animation sample, I've animated Red into a normal walk cycle. He seems quite confident here so in the next cycles, I'll include a bit more of his personality as portrayed in the animatic. 

For this next sample I had the lovely, bearded Phil Gomm as my live action reference!

Friday 26 May 2017

Envionment/Asset Design- The Percussion District- Conveyors and Machines

A key scene in Reds journey through the Percussion District is his landing and subsequent ride on a suspiciously xylophone-like conveyor belt. 

I wanted to keep the graduated length of the bars as much as I could in the initial designs. As you can see I tried a graduating effect on 1, using wooden Xylophone for inspiration. Design 2 was a more direct copy of the metal bars and the way you'd expect to see them on the instrument.

Sadly those earlier designs would have been overly complicated, especially when adding the machinery for Reds moments of peril. Drawing on the metal version of 2 I simply levelled out the bars. I then created a sketch of the conveyor with some of its machines.

With all these design factors in mind I felt the need to sketch out a little concept of Red in situ.
Finally here are the designs for some additional machinery. The first being a crusher of sorts based on the Timpani drum turned upside down, mounted in a frame of chimes. The second is a system of rollers made out of drums and driven by Tambourine gears.

Character Design- Birds- Revisited

A short while ago I was tasked to create orthographies for bird number 6 ready for modelling.  It turned into more of a challenge than originally anticipated.

Below are the initial ortho's however I'd forgotten to show the bird with its wings outspread. This posed a challenge when accounting for toon line shaders on a set of functional wings that had to fold neatly back into place and somehow resemble the minimalist 2D design. 

After a discussion with Phil and Ethan about the technical aspects and what would work best we tried out a block colour bird option. But it was agreed the black lines were best kept and also the darker orange wing colours should be removed. 

A further discussion with Julien came to the conclusion the initial wing designs didn't look strong enough to carry our little bird and something more anatomically correct would be better. (Quite right, the initial designs look too leafy!) In the end wings similar to a Sparrow, Finch or Robin were agreed upon, leading us to the final ortho's below. The action plan is to juggle between two character models for the in-flight and grounded bird shots.

Modelling: The Percussion District, More Buildings

Thursday 25 May 2017

Modelling: The Percussion, Under Construction 2

Modelling: The Percussion District, Under Construction

Modelling: The Percussion District

Small Assets

Modelling: The Violin District, Signage

Modelling: The Viola District

 Building 1

  Building 2

  Building 3


Modelling: The Royal Palanquin

The Royal Palanquin

Modelling: The Violin District

 Bridge 1

  Bridge 2

  Bridge 3



Monday 22 May 2017

After Effects: Sign Text Experiments #1

I've been trying to work on how to add text to the different signs throughout the YPGTTO world. The goal is to find a way to easily swap out the text for different languages without impacting render time within Maya. To do this, I started out by experimenting with the 3D Tracker Camera in After Effects. While this worked well with a basic scene with a simple camera zoom, it did not work as well with a less flat sign and more complex camera movements. I also discovered that some languages, such as Bulgarian, will require their own font since the main font chosen isn't compatible with certain letters.

For the second test, I found out I had to render the sign again on a separate layer on its own, or else the tracker points would simply stick to the wall. Even then, there did not seem to be enough points to place the text exactly where it needed to go. This can mostly be seen for 'The Wind City' - there were very few points which caused the text to float and jerk around a lot. I have a few other ways of going about adding different languages, so I'm going to do some more research and experiment with a few other methods, but this is a start at least.

Friday 19 May 2017

Environment/Asset Design- Percussion District- Plot based Assets

More recently I have been tasked to create specific story elements as Red makes his way through the rather perilous percussion district.

Red's entry to the district is quite the terrifying scenic route as he's brought in caught on the end of a crane hook. Number 5 is the chosen hook style.

After landing on a girder Red finds himself dodging a swinging wrecking ball made to look like the end of a beater/drumstick. The chosen shape was 4 but needs modifying to have a more substantial cable than the feigned Piano wire I was going for.

After unsuccessfully dodging the wrecking ball Red is propelled into a new scene, landing dazed on a girder suspended rather precariously high up. I investigated different Percussion instrument formations. Including Glockenspiel Keys, Piano Keys and Xylophone keys. They need to be suspended by a single cable however to allow for Reds slapstick sliding off one end.

Here is the collection of smaller assets with modifications. The girder on a single suspension cable. The wrecking ball is now sitting on a musical note inspired chain (The little sketch to the side of the wrecking ball is what the single unit looks like)

The construction yard as a whole is a bit of a gauntlet. There is a conveyer belt on which Red finds himself dodging a sequence of Percussive hammers.  Below are some examples.

Environment/Asset Design- The Bassoon District- Signage and Doors

A while ago I created some Bassoon signage. The wall mounted version 3 seems to be the way to go. 

I also, more recently, explored the 'Ominous Door' Red goes through to arrive at the Bassoon District. There are so many lovely valves and shapes on the bassoon, they really lent themselves to giant ornate doors you'd expect in a more fantasy setting. 

1 was a large single door. 2 was a symmetrical gate and 3 was an asymmetrical gate, with a smaller door on the right side.