Thursday, 17 December 2009

Infinite Zoom - Evaluation

DMD – Infinite Zoom – Evaluation

It seems as though it is no more than five minutes ago since I was writing the Rationale for this module. This is partly due to the fact that I have been working practically non-stop since the beginning of October; the other reason that the past 10 weeks has flown by is because I have thoroughly enjoyed the work I have been doing for this brief. This is most probably because of the nature of the project; I find that self-directed briefs make me more interested and enthusiastic in my approach to the project. The main worry for this project was one that has existed from day one, knowing that the brief I had set myself was a little over-ambitious, like much of the work I attempted in the foundation years of the course.

The best way of evaluating the outcome of this brief I have figured to be comparing the finished product to the original suggested idea, looking at how much they differ from each other and whether the outcomes have been met as suggested. However this is only a small part of the module, the other side draws upon a well documented body of work, which shows further development of skills learned in the previous two years of the course. I am fairly confident this project has been well researched and each stage of the development has been documented correctly. Personally I believe the finished piece could not have been finished to higher standard within the time constraints of this project. As for the research and development side of things, I feel a vast improvement has been made on previous years. This is an area of work that I have struggled with from the beginning of this course.

I was reminded the other day that this is a thirty credit module therefore around sixty hours of work should be put into it, this made me laugh as I can honestly say I have put at least double that amount of time in. I'm not sure whether I’ve been extremely dedicated to this project or a fool for putting too much effort in. I suppose we'll see when I get my grade for this.

I've chosen to specialize within visual effects for film, however this is still far too broad for industry. I need to decide whether I am looking at going into editing, compositing, modelling, texturing, lighting or render. Although I enjoyed playing all these roles as it gave me ultimate control of the content produced, on the other hand this limits the amount of work I am able to produce and to what level of quality is achievable.

Although I am fairly satisfied with the result of this project, the initial photo-realistic style I was originally aiming for was unachievable working as a one-man band. As Annabeth suggested in a recent Crit, this is a hundred and fifty-man job, or a two-year project working alone.
I think it goes without saying that in this area of work, a specialism is much needed.

The specialism’s in which I worked on this Infinite Zoom production are as follows;

Writer

Director

Producer

Director of Visual Effects

Producer of Visual Effects

Lighting Technician

Modeller

Story boarder

Animator

Render

Researcher

Editor

Track operator

Compositor

I think it's impossible to have a professional understanding of each of these individual areas as they are so vastly different but yet depend on each other so critically that if one of the jobs isn't done to perfection then the whole thing begins to fall apart and look shoddy.

I've decided from this project that I will never take on this many roles in a project again, it is far to stressful and tiresome and after all it much better to get someone who's exactly what they're to do it than trying to do everything at once and doing a crappy job of it just to get your name on the credits a few more times than anyone else.

Apart from struggling with the amount of roles I have taken on in this project, it has helped me gain a better understanding of how a film crew works, everyone does there own little bit to get the best results. It has also given me one last chance to explore some possible future career paths, so in that sense this project has been a vital step in me reaching a set career path.

During this project there are a few areas of which stuck out to me the most in terms of being a possible future career path. I enjoyed writing this possibly the most as I had a vision in my minds eye of how I wanted this to look and I felt that getting the idea down on paper was the biggest step in the whole project, from visualizing to realizing is the most satisfying thing.

From here I would prefer to work with a storyboard artist, it takes me a lifetime to draw anything at all and even when I do manage something my drawings are very stiff and rigid.

Converting the storyboard into an animatic, well that's easy enough however I would soon get board of doing that all the time.

Director or Producer; to be honest I can't organize myself nevermind others to which everyone relies on, not for me.

I decided last year that I am not cameraman, track operator or lighting technician.

I'm not much of a modeller, although I made some basic models for this project, I couldn't see myself getting into modelling.

I struggled with animating even simple camera paths for this project; this is not an area I would like to be in full-time employment.

I enjoyed producing visual effects both in Maya and After Effects, I guess it's a kind problem-solving thing combined with seeing the ideas materialize, which I like about this.

Director of visual effects, I enjoyed this quite a lot, having a shot or two which I didn't have time to produce, explaining it someone else who is more specialist in that particular area rather than struggling on with it myself. Ok so this is a senior position, I have decided to set it as my 10-year goal, after all what's the point in aiming if you don't aim high?

Finally, editing and compositing, these are two areas I got my kicks out of in the second year, editing is not particularly my cup of tea plus there is probably a million people out there who could do it better than me. As for compositing, well I can quite happily sit at computer for hours on end, editing frame until it's right. I really enjoy seeing the bits of a puzzle coming together especially when I'm doing it.

So from this project I learnt the importance of specialism, plus I have managed to narrow my possible career paths down to just a few;

Writing

Compositing

Visual Effects Production/Direction

By the end of the final major project I aim to choose one of the above as my career path, I have plans to write a short/feature length film in which I aim to involve much of the 3rd years, assigning them places according to there chosen specialist paths. I'm sick of being a jack-of-all-trades, master of none.

Infinite Zoom - Needs Polish - Development


This is the first cut for my Infinite Zoom project, as you can see it is a bit sketchy there are a few scenes which needs tidying up. Twixtor is needed to help give motion picture a smoother flow and more intersting flow.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Maya Atom Test - Development



This is a quick atom test, ok so it's a bit basic but that's what tests are for.

Space Travel and Earth Zoom Test - Development



This solar system motion camera path was render for last thursdays crit, the starry background has been poorly composited in After Effects. The motion tracking didn't work to good, as you will notice the sun seems to jerk about all over the place.

I render this in two parts as the motion path was too tight when paning around the Earth which looked rather shoddy so I made a seperate path for the Earth Pan.

The second part of this video is the Earth Zoom made a while back. As you can see the frames need to be blended much better as it is clear where the images have been stuck together

From the Eye to the Atom - Development



This short visual effects clip shows the retina, optic nerve, synapses, DNA and atom all edit together. All five scene have been created in Maya and composited in After Effects. This took around 20 hours to create a 20 second long clip, it looks pretty nifty but it's not exactly a James Cameron masterpiece.


I knew this project was a bit over ambitious from the start, as my tutor Annabeth said; this would be two year project to complete as I originally had in mind or I would require a crew of 150 people to achieve a photo-realistic look throughout.

I heard recently that it took 2000 man hours to produce a 1 sec clip for James Cameron's recent blockbuster 'Avatar.'

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

DNA - Maya - Development




Here you can see I've simply duplicated and rotate the poly cylinders and sphere to fit on the helix, once a semi-circular group has been made they can be grouped and duplicated then moved down the helix.





I've simply coloured my dna strand with a green/blue and applied a 3D bump map. I've made a similar shader for the spheres but added transparency.












And some directional lights

Monday, 14 December 2009

First Scene Visuals and Typing Fixed - Development



This is an update on the previous post, all the issues commented on in the previous post have been amended. Unfortunately I have noticed an inconsistency in the typing, the text has disappeared from the screen without the actor deleting it, this must also be amended for the final video.

First Scene Visuals and Typing Test - Development



This is the first scene of ny Infinite zoom video, it was filmed with a blank screen so the footage you see on the screen was captured using screenflow and composited in afterwards, this is why the footage on the screen doesn't apear attacted the screen, therefore when the screen shakes the fotage doesn't. This can be easily sorted out using motion tracking.

It also has the visuals from itunes edited on, I used the bezierwarp to give it perspective, a mask to soften the edges and hue and saturation to change the colours. The second to last shot jumps slightly, but this can be easily sorted out. The zoom into the eye isn't too smooth so i'll have to edit this also.

Is James Cameron's Avatar 'the future of movies'? - Research

James Cameron's Titanic was the biggest hit in history - but Avatar and its 3-D technology could be 'the future of the movies'. No pressure, then, says William Langley.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/6797862/Is-James-Camerons-Avatar-the-future-of-movies.html

DNA - Maya - Development



I create a helix duplicated it and moved it along. I then created a poly sphere and cylinder. I joined them together and put it on the helix




Sunday, 13 December 2009

The Importance of Not Becoming a Jack of All Trades

I think it goes without saying that in this area of work, a specialism is much needed. The has been outline no more so than in this project I am currently trying to fulfill.

My jobs in this Infinite Zoom production are as follows;

Writer

Director

Producer

Director of Visual Effects

Producer of Visual Effects

Lighting Technician

Modeler

Storyboarder

Animator

Render

Researcher

Editor

Track operator

Compositor

I think it's impossible to have a proffessional understanding of each of these individual areas as they are so vastly different but yet depend on each other so critically that if one of the jobs isn't done to perfection then the whole thing begins to fall apart and look shoddy.

I've decided from this project that I will never take on this many roles in a project again, it is far to stressful and tiresum and after all it much better to get someone who's exactly what they're to do it than trying to do everything at once and doing a crappy job of it just to get your name on the credits a few more times than anyone else.

Apart from getting blagged about the amount of roles I have taken on in this project, it has helped me gain a better understanding of how a film crew works, everyone does there own little bit to get the best results. It has also given me one last chance to explore some possible future career paths, so in that sense this project has been a vital step in me reaching a set career path.

During this project there are a few areas of which stuck out to me the most in terms of being a possible future career path. I enjoyed writing this possibly the most as I had a vision in my minds eye of how I wanted this to look and I felt that getting the idea down on paper was the biggest step in the whole project, from visualizing to realizing is the most satisfying thing.

From here I would prefer to work with a storyboard artist, it takes me a lifetime to draw anything at all and even when I do manage something my drawings are very stiff and rigid.

Converting the storyboard into an animatic, well that's easy enough however I would soon get board of doing that all the time.

Director or Producer; to be honest I can't organize myself nevermind others to which everyone relies on, not for me.

I decided last year that I am not camera man, track operator or lighting technician.

I'm not much of a modeler, although I made some basic models for this project, I couldn't see myself getting into modelling.

I struggled with animating even simple camera paths for this project, this is not an area I would like to be in full-time employment.

I enjoyed producing visual effects both in Maya and After Effects, I guess it's a kind problem solving thing combined with seeing the ideas materialize, which I like about this.

Director of visual effects, I enjoyed this quite a lot, having a shot or two which I didn't have time to produce, explaining it someone else who is more specialist in that particular area rather than struggling on with it myself. Ok so this is a senior position, I have decided to set it as my 10 year goal, after all what's the point in aiming if you don't aim high?

Finally, editing and compositing, these are two areas I got my kicks out of in the second year, editing is not particularly my cup of tea plus there is probably a million people out there who could do it better than me. As for compositing, well I can quite happily sit at computer for hours on end, editing frame frame until it's right. I really enjoy seeing the bits of a puzzle coming together especially when I'm doing it.

So from this project I learnt the importance of specialism, plus I have managed to narrow my possible career paths down to just a few;

Writing

Compositing

Visual Effects Production/Direction

By the end of the final major project I aim to choose one of the above as my career path, I have plans to write a short/feature length film in which I aim to involve much of the 3rd years, assiging them places according to there chosen specialist paths. I'm sick of being a jack of all trades, master of none.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Finished Synapses - Maya - Development



Alex Moody modelled these synapses for me, shortly after our tutor Matt introduced us both to mental ray skin textures adding a 3D bump map called a brownian and sss_script for the transparency helps make the models look more organic. I then duplicated these and created a camera path through the synapses.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Maya Galaxies - Development



These Galaxies were made in Maya, simply by aquiring a hi-res image of a Galaxy on line, taking it into Photoshop and creating a transparency map by converting a duplicate of the original image to grey scale. In these image are assigned to the colour and transparency nodes of a new lambert, then this lambert is assigned to a polyplane.

Once I was happy with one Galaxy I duplicated it six times, back in Photoshop I adjusted the Hue of the original and save it as something diferent, I did this a further 5 times. In Maya I duplicated the shader network 5 dimes and applied a different coloured galaxy to each polyplane before randomizing size and position.

I then duplicated my galaxies many times and made a motion path run through them, the above video is the result after rendering a Tiff sequence.

Maya - Optic Nerve - Development


This use the same mental ray shader network as the synapse but I've adjust the value of the 3D bump Map

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Audio Track - Done

We recorded the bassline this evening, despite a few set backs in the reoring studio we managed to find ways around them soon enough. Chris did an excellent job of writing a bassline for this piece, it fits the song perfectly and has filled it out nicely.

I we still have to inform royalty collection agencies and copyright the material it can not be posted on blogger straight away.

Thanks to everyone who's put time in to creating this track it sounds epic.

Inside the Retina - Maya - Development



This Retina was made in Maya by creating a polysphere deleting half of it and assigning an image of a hi-res retina to it. The I applied some basic camera movement and rendered it out. I'm going to ad some particle in After Effects so it looks more interesting

Screen Capture - Development



This footage was caputed using screenflow, it is the visualization from itunes which has been composited on to a blank screen of the footage filmed for the Infinite Zoom project. This was done by using the colour key in After Effects to remove the black background. The bezierwarp tool in an atempt to add perspective and masked with a high feather count to soften the edges.

By the way the video has a black screen for the first 2:41 mins so you might want to move it along to this point to view the footage.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Earth Animation Test Render - Development



This is another test render of my Maya Earth, this includes the Sun, the Moon and a satellite to make it more interesting. The camera animation doesn't run to smoothly and there are no stars in the background. Now it's time to do some After Effects work to get it look better.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Hubble Deep Field: The Most Imp. Image Ever Taken (Redux) - Research



This is apparently the most important image ever taken so I had to post something about it. It is rather interesting and some of the poorly composited nebula's show that can be achieved easily by even by amateurs.

Milky Way in 3D - Research



I have chosen to post this purely because it has nearly 840,000 views and a 4 out of 5 rating, people who rate stuff like this on YouTube are morons. Throughout my research I've come across loads of crap like this, it seems to be all over the Internet. It makes me wonder how this was made, by guess is celestialmotherlode had a part to play in supplying the entire project file.

Moody's Synapses - Development



video

I'm not much of a modeller myself, my freind Alex Moody knows what he's doing so I asked him to model some synapses for me as it would take me a long time. This video isn't tracked very well but you get the idea.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Development - Alpha Masks in Maya using Photoshop Texture

It's about 9 months ago that I last put this technique to use so it was a good idea to have a little refresher. This demo will show how to add an alpha channel onto an image in Photoshop to mask (remove) any unwanted area on a file texture.

This was the technique I used for the D&AD Black Hole Brief last year. I tried this but it didn't get the desired result, the image looked all scatty around the edges where the black fades into light.

I decided to make a transparency map by turning the image grey scale and mapping it to the transparency node in Maya. Apply the colour and transparency files to a new lambert the assigning the lambert materiel to a polyplane gave me a satisfiable result so I duplicated the polyplanes. Back in photoshop I varied the colour by adjusting the hue and saturation, saving several colour variants.

Assigning different coloured galaxies to polyplanes and randomizing the size and position made my galaxies look as though they are within a Universe. The bottom image shows the transparency against a white background.




Thursday, 3 December 2009

Research - Earth Zoom



There are several points in this visual effects piece that sell the photo-realism factor here, notice the birds a couple of seconds in, the cloud level, the camera tilt from vertical about 12 seconds in and the satellite. The sun doesn't look to great neither does the opening image, because of this I feel youtube viewers have been a bit too generous with the 5 out 5 rating.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Rymdreglage - 8-bit trip



This is completely irreleavent to the work I'm doing, I was just impressed that it took 1500 hours of moving legobricks and take photos of them to make this music video.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The universe - How big are you? - Research

This video is rather interesting, although the aesthetically value of this piece differs vastly from what I am trying to create, the relevance lies within gaining an understanding of the scale I will be working to when flying through the Universe.