Monday, 22 June 2009

Modelling Reels

These are my two modelling reels for submission showing both my Character and Environment Modelling. This forms the main bulk of my artistic work whcih I have covered.

Animation Reel

This is my animation reel for submission which includes both character animation for the Prisoner characters and Train and Environment Animation. Some of the animating has been in collaboration with others in the group and this has been noted on the footers on each piece.

Technical Reel & Compositing Reel

These are my technical reel submissions for both my rigging sections of work and my compositing sections. My compositing reel is one of my stronger areas and I hope this will satisfy a large percentage of my technical folder as I have composited the entire film.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Final Changes and Alterations

After cutting it to the wire on Friday for the hand-in, we then sat down as a group and discussed all the shots we wanted to change and what we had time to achieve before Tuesday's grading session. We managed to re-render a total of 4 shots which we were not happy with and then highlighted a further 15 shots to iron out in After Effects. I have also taken a look at another 13 shots which I think would benefit from additional effects and finishing in order to get a more professional look and improve the standard of the shots. This will involve simulating more camera shake effects, post effects and motion blurs where necessary.

This will all be completed tomorrow (Monday) in time to cut into the film on Monday night before the grading session on Tuesday. Should be all good and then we can work on promotion and branding.

I will be working on the website in the coming week and I have also ordered the badges for the degree show. I will also be finalising a DVD case design to be sent to the DVD duplicators once the film is graded and finished.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Last Day of Rendering...Hopefully!

Hopefully tomorrow will be the last day of rendering shots. We have the following left to do tomorrow: -

Animate/Finalise: - 47 - Train, 22 - Marshals, 49 - Sheriff and Marshals
Render: - 22, 47, 45D, 45E, 49, 59, 60, 61A, 61B, 61C, 41 & 47 Smoke
Re-render: - RGB passes for Shot 09

Not too much to do although it will be tight. We could afford for a couple to slip into Thursday although we will be doing our best not to so I can spend all day compositing. Good times!

Lighting References

I gathered these some time ago however I thought they would be useful to post up here. These were some inspirational types of lighting I found that I wanted to try and mimic into the film. Although lighting has been one of our weaker areas, Sam has developed some really nice lighting sets and rigs to compliment his texturing and we have in some instances achieved results like in these images. The harsh lighting is something we have really liked about the desert environment although the colour will also really be brought alive by the grading as well as the lighting.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Shot 52B Smash Animation

This shot was animated quite a while ago but I have now gone back to it in order to animate the environment which explodes out into a mass of destruction. I feel this is animating quite well and again in After Effects I will be adding alot to this in the composite to bring it to life and make it seem more realistic. I think combined with the previous shot and especially the sound design this will be a very interesting and dynamic shot in the film.

Mines Train Shots Animation (41, 43 & 44)

These are a selection of train shot animations that are for inside the Mines. Alot of these shots inter-cut within the fight scenes to keep the pace and flow of the sequence. Sam and I have both been working on these to try and pull this set of shots together successfully. Some of these are working really nicely and with post-effects I think they will start looking very dynamic.

We have also worked on shots 38 & 39 where the train enters the Mines, flies off the tracks and then crashes down on the opposite side. We have also done another shot with the camera strapped to the side of the train as it exits the Mines and we will be working on when it leaves the Mines early next week.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Ending Shots - Changes and Alterations

As the ending has started to come together into a final animated form we have considered several changes to benefit both the story and visual look. There were two key decisions made for the better this week that we all discussed.

1) Shots 57 (Prisoner pulling pin out) and 58 (Split Screen of characters reaching for one another) will now be combined. It will be done in a way that the Prisoner is on screen as a full shot removing the pin and staring at it. The camera then moves to make the Prisoner appear in the left of the shot and the Bandit reaches out frantically and effectively tears away the screen like paper to reveal him holding out his arm to the Prisoner.

2) Shot 60 (Prisoners cheering and escaping) will now feature the Prisoner holding the pin in one hand and outstretching his other arm. Then to make his intentions appear more accidental he will simply shrug and throw the pin up in the air in a care-free manner. The Prisoner will then celebrate as before.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Outro Animation (Shot 63)

This is an 'almost' finalised version of the outro we have substituted in at the end. Basically the shot freezes and transitions out into this newspaper graphic for which Tony has kindly illustrated the Bandit with a bowed head. This then punches back out to the animation for the final flurry of action. Also our credits are sneakily placed into the newspaper design along with our sound designers and grader!

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Shot 59 Animation

This is the animation I have worked on for the shot of the Prisoners escaping. In the final version the train carriage will be pulling away from camera to show it slowing down from the front of the train. I have used the main Con centrally as he has just pulled out the pin; he then tosses this into the canyon before cheering and celebrating. The second Con waves goodbye to the Bandit out of the window and the final Con is hanging from the side of the carriage due to the issue of fitting him inside the constraints of the carriage. I felt this orangutan like action was quite fitting and it works well in framing the 3 of them as a team rather than having one of them tucked back inside the carriage.

Shot 54 Animation

Over the past couple of weeks we discussed alot of new ideas to make the ending more effective and to signify that the Prisoner's weren't intentionally leaving the Bandit behind. Now we have cut together the order of the shots better to make the Bandit's dash for escape seem more plausible and also so that the relationship between the Bandit and Cons is not bitter. Now when the Bandit awakes, he sees the Con going between the train carriages to remove the pin in a POV shot. This causes him to dash. Above is a playblast of that POV shot.

We then go into a sequence of shots where the Con removes the pin and the Bandit desperately holds out an arm and as the Con tries to help him it results in the carriages pulling apart and the Cons getting away and giving up on the unfortunate Bandit.

Shot 30 Train Animation

This is a simple shot of the train speeding up through the desert once the driver has been knocked out by the ricocheting bullet. It will be combined with the smoke and dust kicking up later on in After Effects to really emphasise the speed and a motion blur will bring this speed out also.

Shot 32C Animation

This piece of animation will be used in conjunction with Kanika's animation in a split screen type shot. I have used a screenshot of her animation as a guide, these will then be later combined in After Effects. This is feel will present the idea of a standoff in the best possible way showing a direct conflict between the two sets of characters.

Promotional Postcards for El Bandito

These are some postcard designs I have put together which we aim to distribute at the Degree Show and along with our DVD's which we will be sending to various festivals. The aim is to get these made up ASAP so we can apply for festivals at the nearest possible opportunity.

Schedule WC 08/06/09 - 2 weeks to go!

2 weeks to go, pressure's on!!!!! But Producer Harvey has planned out the days and worked out what needs rendering and when it needs rendering. Kaniks, Josh and Matt will be finishing off some animation while me and Sam concentrate on rendering and putting the scenes together while tweaking lighting in each scene. After the 19th the film will go for grading and final sound design before handing it to Dan Dalli for the show on 26th June.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Shot 59 - Prisoners Celebrating

This is the shot where the prisoners celebrate their escape after pulling the pin out of the train coupling, allowing their carriage to get away!

Shot 30 - Train Speeding Up

This is a quick playblast of the train speeding up after the driver is knocked unconcious. It gives a good idea of the pace we want to use later on. Also the low angle I feel makes the train look menacing and dangerous at high speed. We will add more foreground elements to emphasise the speed

Monday, 25 May 2009

Photoshop Elements for Textures

Here are some of the Photoshop elements that I have had to work on in order to use as textures in Maya and as layers in After Effects.

Tony has worked to design the map but to get it to work in Maya I have boosted up the colour by multiplying more textures and I have also given the map an edge so it seems like a worn piece of paper. This means we wont get perfectly square shapes for the map.

I have done the same for the Wanted Poster which the Sheriff displays. Using Tony's illustration I have created the typography on the poster in the style of the Wanted Poster Intro at the beginning.

Finally I have created this newspaper style graphic to be used in After Effects at the end. Obviously the image will change to an illustrated version by Tony of the Bandit behind bars which will transition effectively from the 3D to After Effects and then back again.

Compositing Process

Compositing is a really important process to bring the render passes together and then also add some finer details and effects which would be extremely complex to add in something like Maya. As you can see in the example above we have a number of layers brought together to form a shot. Here is a breakdown of the layers: -

- ZDepth - This is used in conjunction with a Lens Blur filter to each RGB layer and it creates the effect of Depth of Field, meaning the objects that are far away can be blurred out of focus while the foreground elements remain sharp and in focus.
- RGB Layers - These provide the colour and lighting and overall texturing.
- Occlusion layers - These work out where light should not pass in certain zones. By multiplying these layers onto the RGB, it then adds more shading and shadows.
- Smoke Pass - This is for the main dynamics in a scene, very important for our train shots but not used in most shots throughout the film.
- Train Effects - The train RGB layer, or any layer for that matter can be duplicated so that a particular area can be affected in a certain way. In this shot I have masked the pistons of the train and tracked the camera movement so that a directional blur can be applied to exaggerate the speed of the pistons.
- Effects layers - Lots of subtle effects are added in After Effects. In this scene I have added dust blowing down the side of the train to show the sand kicking up as the train speeds past. In other shots I will add dust blowing across the desert floor and things like bullet ricochets, sparks and dust crashes.

By adding all these elements together it adds to the realism of the shot and builds up the complexity of the motion, something much easier to do in post production than in Maya.

Dynamics and Smoke Rendering

Sam and I have also been working on the smoke passes to try and get these looking quite realistic. Getting the colouring and feel of the smoke is quite difficult in Maya alone so using After Effects also I have managed to manipulate the render to look good. Sam has created a basic smoke emitter in Maya and then parented this to the funnel which I have exported from the scene of the shot. This then ensures everything matches up, along with the camera angle also.

His final render then looks something like this, and then in After Effects we place this behind the train layer and composite it in. I have then added a number of effects to alter colour, tone, contrast and blur on this layer and then duplicated also to use two contrasting layers which multiply through one another. This gives us a final effect like in the example below.

Rendering Process

Sam And I have recently started rendering out the shots and this is the process we have started using to bring them together ready to composite. Rendering requires several passes in order to get a better look to each shot. Within Maya we set up different render layers which will all commence when we hit 'batch render'. This is what the layers look like in Maya.

Basically to create render layers we select the objects we need in that layer and then add them to the necessary layer. Below is what an RGB layer for the train looks like in the viewport.

The RGB pass provides the colour for the particular layer and this takes into account the lighting which must be added to the layer also. We then run an occlusion pass which simulates the way light would hit objects. For example it will add darkness to small crevices or areas where light would not emit or reflect so much. Again below is how this pass appears in the viewpoint, basically a black shape.

Once we run the render pass we then get the following kind of result outputted as a TIFF. This is the basic RGB.

And this is the Occlusion pass for the same object.

Obviously when rendering we render out sequences of TIFF's. The process of compositing then combines both the RGB and Occlusion layers along with the backgrounds which are done on separate passes along with things like Dynamics and Shadows. These are often done separate either to have more control or to try and reduce render times.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

FInal Intro (Shot 01)

Below is a final render of Shot 01 showing the graphics based intro which transitions into 3D. Obviously still needs grading.

Jail Cell Texturing - By Ajdin

Here are some screenshots of Ajdin's unrendered texturing for the Jail Cell. So far so good, very grimey as we wanted it and should act as a nice scene. Should have this supplied to us early next week so we can finalise animation and rendering.

Final Renders

Here are some sneak preview shots of the final renders we have been creating. I will be showing how we are compositing and rendering things fully later on. But hopefully this will get you excited about the film.

Schedule WC 25/05/09 - 4 weeks to go!

Crunch time now! 4 weeks until the film needs to be handed over to post guy for grading and also to give a few days for sound to be finalised at the same time. The good thing is that this ties in with our 304 hand-in and alot of our submission can be rendered final elements.

Here is what we have each to do: -

Matt - 14 Shots of animation, tweaking and finalising existing shots that are complete, exporting animation for rendering, putting final quicktimes into a finished HD Premiere file.
Josh - 2 Shots of animation, tweaking and finalising existing shots that are complete, completing NCloth on all Bandit bandana's and Sheriff waistcoats.
Kanika - 6 Shots of animation, tweaking and finalising existing shots that are complete
Tony - painting backgrounds and doing an illustration for the newspaper.
Sam - building final scenes together for rendering, render testing and settings, lighting adjustments, texture adjustments, dynamics.
Harv - 5 Shots of Animation, Train Animation in Mines, building scenes for rendering, render testing and settings, compositing, additional effects in After Effects, final renders.

This is then an additional schedule I have made to clearly lay out each days work as we can have a stronger shot by shot focus on what needs to be completed on certain days. This means that everyone will be animated on time and it is also important for making sure we reach our quota for renders being put on each night.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Another New Ending Concept

After discussing an idea last week, we chatted with Dan this week and came up with something even easier and simpler, cutting down on time and animation to be done.

Using the same kind of transition as the beginning of the film with the Wanted Poster going into the 3D media, we will go from the bars crashing down around the Bandit to a still freeze frame and as this pans out it will reveal a newspaper with something like 'El Bandito Behind Bars' as the headline and within the newspaper layout we will incorporate our credits into the text.

Then the image will punch back in quickly to show the Bandit grabbing the bars and yanking them frantically. We will need to edit this to see if it works but it should be successful and help us time-wise.

This also removes the following -
- Prison establishing shot
- Jail Cell Establishing Shots and Build-up Animation
- Credit and Logo Graphics

Shot 57A Animation

This shot is a combo of two pieces of animation. One is the prisoner removing the pin from the carriages and the other is the Bandit's gasping reaction. Above is the playblast of the animation which I am quite happy with. Also below I have done a comp test to show how the shots will fit together using an alpha of a ripped/torn piece of paper which fits in with the roughness of some of the elements.

The black region is where the Bandit will be positioned and Matt can use this as a guide for the animation. Also he will use my timings to judge the timing of the expression animation.

We may also use this device again in the film to make it not seem like a one off style as we want to incorporate a marshal close-up reaction during the fight scene.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Website Design

I've spent today working on the site for the film. Decided to have a main page for the film along with a links and credits page. Also going to have a Gallery section which will also double up as a kind of making of and show the key components of the production. Within each section of the gallery a different section will be covered using either a showreel or a selection of images. A showreel will allow up to demonstrate things such as rigging, animating, and compositing better.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

The Ending....Still An Issue....But Here's A New Plan!

Ok. The topic of the ending was raised again today as it still seemed to take the flow out of the shots and seem a little 'tatty' in terms of construction and editing. In light of this I gave it a thought with Josh and figured out why, as well as coming up with a solution.

The reason it doesn't flow is because the environments and styles constantly change in the matter of a few shots. You go like this Back of Train > Jail Interior > Jail Exterior > Graphic and Credits > Jail Interior. Basically its too much too quickly and it never lets the new environment at the end really have any establishment and therefore it lacks meaning, appeal and purpose.


Basically remove the graphics and integrate the credits and final logo within the jail cell environment. This could also mean that we remove the establishing shot of the prison exterior. This then means that once the jail cell crashes down around the Bandit, we are effectively trapped in there alongside him as the audience. We then have a couple more establishing shots with the Bandit in the Jail Cell and the credits will be scratched into the crumbling walls which means there is a mix of character animation and credits going on so the credits aren't so static and it also means the medium doesn't change drastically at the end by going to a 2D graphic, but maintains more shots which fit back-to-back. We'll knock it up in the coming week to see if it works!

First Renders

Finally Sam and I began some rendering this week. Here are two visuals showing the look and feel of the texturing and lighting in its final form. We will still have grading and effects to add to these as well as the wide establishing shot still needing Occlusion. Overall I think it has that soft shaded look like Team Fortress 2 while still taking on some more detailed texturing in the close-up's. We will continue rendering out the shots we can for now and this should start chipping away the time consuming process of rendering.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Shots 6, 8, 10, 12 - Train Animation

This shows the animatic with the train shots placed in. I think the first one could do with a little sideways movement as opposed to just being static. The second and third train shots I feel are working really well in terms of composition however the fourth needs smoothing out in terms of the pan round and also the composition. Possibly needs more of a 'handy-cam' feel to make it seem like it is a direct view from the eyes of the Bandit.

Schedule WC 11/05/09

Scheduling hasn't changed this week. We are all making progress with the animation. It seems Sam is tying up alot of loose ends in terms of texturing and I've moved on to start getting some of the train animations done. I will however go back to more character animation if we need to shift the workloads.

So as an overview,

Matt - Character Animation
Josh - Character Animation, nCloth, Dynamics
Kanika - Character Animation
Sam - Texturing, Lighting, Rendering, Dynamics
Tony - Background Painting
Harvey - Character and Train Animation, Compositing, Rendering, Post Effects, Dynamics

Friday, 8 May 2009

Shot 36 - Prisoner Bottle Throw

This shot worked really well going from stepped to splined. In terms of the animation I am pleased with the snap and the energy in the throw. I think I am really starting to get along with how the rig can bedst be used etc.

Matt and I made some key decisions on this shot. I felt the animation worked better by him throwing the bottle rather than it getting shot in his hand and him holding onto the smashed bottle neck.

In light of this I then also suggested that the shot order could be altered so that the previous shot of the Sheriff shotting would now come after this shot. This works really well and is more obvious in terms of telling the audience that the Prisoner is throwing a bottle and the Sheriff is shooting it out of the air rather than the Sheriff shooting randomly and then realising that the bullet is hitting the bottle he is throwing.

Shot 8 - Train Animation

This is a shot we have nailed down to establish the introduction of the train. Before this is a close up of the train pistons which I will be working on next. We discussed this shot at length and several of us decided this was a good balance between being high up enough to not seem like the Bandit's viewpoint but also far away enough from the train to contrast with the previous close-up. This shot also ditacts the pace of the train before it gets sped up in the fracas.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Shot 50 - Prisoners Think To Escape

This is quite a difficult shot as there is a lot of motion going on amongst all 3 characters in such a short space of time. I spent alot of time trying to get the first prisoner really well animated although I think this guy still needs alot more snap and punch to his movements. I am quite happy with the bounce and sudden jump up of the other 2 in the background however. Also combined with the audio this shot has greater appeal as the fast nature of the animation fits the audio's pace.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Schedule WC 04/05/09

This is an updated schedule brought into line with the new timescale for animation to be completed by the end of May, thus making more time for post-production. The remaining work is divided as follows: -

Matt - Bandit animation, placing in shots and organising sound designer
Josh - Prisoner and fight scene animation, nCloth shots and caching, prisoner deformers, dynamics
Sam - Remaining environment texturing, environment lighting, rendering, train animation, compositing
Kanika - Marshal and Sheriff animation
Tony - Painting background planes and landscape backgrounds, map illustration, website design
Harvey - Prisoner animation, train animation, rendering, compositing, After Effects shots, dynamics and effects, finalising intro sequence, website design, presentation boards for shows, branding and promotion

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Prisoner Rough Animation Shots

These shots haven't been finessed properly yet. They need alot of work but the timings are pretty much there to get an idea of pace. I will start finessing these and get this sequence of shots hopefully complete by end of next week. Matt has been helping me develop the key poses for these action shots. I am quite happy with the run cycle also having converted this straight to splined from stepped and it translating quite nicely. The shoulder charge will have alot more emphasis once i can animate the exploding carriage shell.

In terms of the narrative we divided the jump shot into two cuts in order to function better and speed it up slightly. You now see the prisoner from behind as he shoulder charges the wall before it cuts to the side profile of the carriages with the main explosion/jump out.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Credit Designs

These are the final frames will shall be using at the end of the film for the credits. We may animate these with page peels or possibly just a slight scale in as they are displayed.

These were original ideas to have two separate sets of credits but the group felt that the ending edited better by having all of these on one page as it would keep things quicker and get to the 'sting' of music faster and therefore not lose too much pace.

Recent Narrative Changes and Suggestions

These are some of the changes we have made which I felt it would be important to document as we have been doing a great deal of editing recently both for the narrative and for the audio syncing.

- Removed Sheriff badge close-up shot in favour of the Sheriff pulling out a Wanted Poster of the Bandit.
- Animation of Poster at the beginning goes straight into transition to Bandit's face.
- No flying poster at start.
- Bandit has an illustrative map in his hand at the start which he looks at and then tucks away before realising the sound of the train.
- Environment pan establishing shot at the start much more subtle panning in slightly.
- Adopted my test to have dangling on train shots as just two cuts - one on top of train and one at side of train.
- Establishing Shot of the Mines Entrance shows the train aswell as the entrance to give the audience a perception of the imminent danger, followed by Danger sign close-up.

New Shot Lists

In addition to our main schedules I have these animation shot lists. After I did the one for the entire film I made some changes based on some additional changes. Also each person now has their own PDF sheet as reference for just their shots and the timings etc.