Saturday, 29 March 2014

Post-Production: Sculpting the Benjamin Model

Hello Everyone,

Now we would like to firstly say that this is in no way coming at the cost of our final animated short we are just looking to expand things beyond it a little by thinking about the marketing of the project beyond this short. Star wars has toy light sabres and a million miles of merchandising we would like a couple of little sculptures of our characters... This is something Polydoodles Stitch watched happen last week with his business partner Ross Castle May when he built the Benjamin model from scratch.

The video above shows the 5 day process of the Benjamin character being made in Magi-sculpt clay. While this was being shot Stitch was sitting down and fine tweaking a shot of the animated short but there was a few moments where he watched in awe. In a few weeks he goes back to record the painting of the Benjamin model while Ross makes some little fine tweaks. The video is almost an hour long but its a lot of days rolled in to one speed blast.

Video Logs: "& Son" Tutorials - Week 27

Hello Everyone,

We don't really like doing these audio logs in bulk like this but never the less its better now then never. Anyway Week 27 was another little sit down with team Polydoodle but we had a couple of tutorial based discussions with our lecturers Phil & Alan. Phil provided us advice on the plot of our story so the creative details. Alan provided us technical advice on how the performances of the characters should play out. It was quite cool to get a refresher on our short.

Video Logs: "& Son" Tutorials - Week 26

Hello Everyone,

Week 26 came and went as they all do but this was mainly discussions about how we devised our first pass animations. Everything is all go now until the end of the Major unit which is on the 2nd of May when we will all be taking some much needed R&R. In the meantime we have our work cut out for us as we move beyond week 26 into unknown territory. Chrissie's 2D segments are coming along excellently while Sammy and Stitch divide and conquer the 3D segments of the short... Its all very exciting!

Friday, 28 March 2014

Production: First Pass Blocking Scenes 4, 5 & 6

Hello Everyone,

This week once again Polydoodle are full on creating stream line animation from original blocking shots making refined stylised animated passes. Stitch's shots came a little late due to some questionable quick time import issues on the behalf of premiere pro but never the less better late then never. This post is about the missing 3D Scenes 4, 5 & 6 from the compiled First pass pre-viz below.

The video above is a little compilation Stitch made to help aid him in animating his allotted scenes. It contains a play-blasted pre-viz as its main feature with sample animatic and feature reference picture in picture boxes. This allows us to see each shot and contrast that with the animatic and live footage to create streamlined animation. This video only demonstrates Benjamin's live action.

First Draft Animation with Opening Sequence

Another edit of the first draft of animation with the opening the sequence (scene 1). If all is well with feedback for scene 1 we will be able to render it over the weekend!!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Animating Scene 1

As well as animating the 3D parts of our animation we also have a lot of 2D components to be working on. With the art work for the opening sequence completed we've started taking it into Maya and animation Scene 1. This is the opening shot where Barnabas is watching Gladys singing in a show just to demonstrate how the opening sequence is being animated.

The image planes are layered in a way that creates a parallax when the camera moves in the scene. The combination of 2D and 3D makes what would be still images much more interesting and sets the audience up to the unique style of our animation.

Rendered Still (not the final lighting)
Screenshot of Layering 1

Screenshot of Layering 2

First Draft Animation: Re-edit

Upon feedback suggestions I've made a few alterations, adjusted cameras, adding/taken out angles, and tightened the edit of scenes 2,3 and 7. Please watch it through and give any feedback you might have.

Monday, 24 March 2014

First Pass Animation

Polydoodle have all had their animator hats on these past few weeks. We're fully stuck in to bringing our story to the cameras. Our first pass animation is about blocking out everything. All the cameras are in place and the characters are roughly performing their actions. Now we have finished this stage we're making the alterations that this pass has revealed and starting our second pass which includes blinks and more fluid movement. Below is the playblasts from Scene 2, 3 and 7. Please give any feedback you might have about timing or shots or readability.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

2D characters - greenscreen :)

The 2D characters are taking shape.  Each character will have its own maya plane, running its own animated sequence.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Pre-Production: The Barnabas Shelfs Complete

Hello Everyone,

This will probably be our last pre-production post unless there's any time at the end for a couple of little extras. We still have a few surprises planned so keep your eyes peeled for those. In the meantime this will be the last look at the character rigs as we feel they have been kind of covered to death now. We just want to show you what will be achieved now that we have everything ready.
The Barnabas custom controls are mostly like Benjamin's with a couple of little extras which were not afforded to Benjamin at the time the shelves were built. The tail is controlled by 2 controls instead of one which was a way of keeping a less cluttered channel box. The big feature though is the RP button which wipes out all translate and rotate values to 0 not requiring the manual reset to t-pose.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Pre-Production: The Benjamin Shelfs Complete

Hello Everyone,

Winding down to the final post next and from there on we are full on our production schedule. This has been a bit of a time coming but we wanted it to be just right with some information as well as a nice breakdown of the Benjamin rig functionality. These icons will be used to help select controls of the character rig for animation, this saves us time having to select controls in the viewport.
The image above shows the shelf buttons with most objects conforming to a L (left) or R (right) ruling which correspond to sides of the body. Controls which do not follow these rules have different colour options. The controls within the yellow scheme mostly correspond to central areas for example the spine is in the middle of the body so it is yellow. Things like the jaw are ladled slightly different as they perform their own individual action.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Pre-Production: Badgersworth Group Pose Tests

Hello Everyone,

Another small update this time focusing on the rigging of the two finished characters in the same scene. To that end we thought we would compile a couple of test composites with poses lifted from the Mk2 Animatic. Each image below has a series of renders leading up to the final composite layer. For good measure we also created a little video of the development behind these poses...

The first composite test focuses on the opening scene of the short with Barnabas and Benjamin just after the whoopee cushion. If you haven't checked out the latest animatic you can find it here. The final composite is built from a standard Beauty and Occlusion pass with a Floor Occlusion pass to ground the characters... The snapshot was used to frame the characters for the final render passes.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

2D animation test footage

Interim Art Of & Personal Pipeline - Chrissie

A Third of And Son - Chrissie Peters by smallbrowndog

Interim Art of & Son and Personal Pipelines

The Polydoodle Pictures team are at their interim stage of the Major Project. We've been asked to submit an updated 'Art of' to the submission blog complete with mission statement of intent for a final outcome. We're also made individual documents that show our personal pipeline throughout our whole project.

Here's the all new, (updated) group 'Art of & Son' and our personal docs...

Group Interim Document

Stitch's Pipeline

Sammy's Pipeline

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Pre-Production: Rigging Barnabas Complete

Hello Everyone,

We are finally getting to a good place with all of this backlog, only being a couple of posts behind now. We thought it best to get the rigging post for Barnabas sorted as it hasn't been long since we got past Benjamin's. Once again we conducted a couple of pose tests to demonstrate the functionality of the rig. It is quite cool to be able to move the characters around more easily now.

The image above shows 5 basic poses from the standard T-pose. These were not decided in the heat of the moment but were in fact conceptualised a while back. The renders above are comprised of 2 beauty passes an occlusion pass and an occlusion plane pass to give floor shadow. We did this mainly because we wanted to see what could be achieved with the rig's functionality being able to achieve our initial ideas.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Pre-Production: Rigging Benjamin Complete

Hello Everyone,

These are a couple of weeks old as you know we are in a bit of a backlog with some posts but never the less we thought this would be best shared so people could experience a bit more development work. This post is about the rigging process of Benjamin in which we have created a couple of poses to show some of the functionality of the rig.

The image above shows a couple of test poses which were created based on the research conducted back in September of last year... Please check out the post here and you will see these poses in their reference and base forms. The renders above are comprised of Beauty and Occlusion passes so I hope you enjoy them... Just for clarity these are not Weta :)

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Pre-Production: Skinning Benjamin Complete

Hello Everyone,

Skinning Benjamin was a bit of a rigorous process as it was the first one. We had to skin weight the little tyke which was done with a combination of weight painting and the component editor. This post shows the functionality of the character at the joint level. At this point no controls have been added leaving functionality to the skeleton and the weight distribution between joints alone.
The panels above show the finger joint rotations, the chest joint rotations and the knee joint rotations. The key here is balancing the weight between joints to achieve half decent deformation.

A Change in the Story

The studio have been in talks recently about making a major alteration to our animation. While editing the second take of the animatic it became apparent that the flashback sequence at the end of '& Son' was perhaps not needed, however, we kept it in for the time being. Now we are ready to step into animating territory the issue has been raised again.

Here's the trouble we have with the flashback sequence... the flashback occurs just before Barnabas has a change of mind and decided to alter his business completely... the flashback suggests that this alteration comes from his own experience with his own father doing just the same to him in the past as he is doing to his son now. BUT with the addition of the stronger mother presence at the beginning it feels that the motivation needs to come from her. Gladys (the mother) at the opening is seen to be encouraging her husband and son to express themselves artistically... Barnabas stops this when she dies but Benji carries on as a way of keeping her alive... at the end this should be Barnabas' motivation, to keep his wife alive by living in the way she taught him. Thus, the flashback becomes unnecessary as well as confusing to introduce a character that has previously been absent and also it means that Barnabas' grief is never resolved.

We think that by simply removing the flashback and allowing the facial expressions during Barnabas' change to tell his thought process there is enough reference to the mother to suggest to the audience that she is why he changes.

It sounds a little complicated but please watch this altered animatic below to see how you now read the story and give us feedback on whether it works.

We're also sharing this video on our course blog to gather as wide an opinion as possible.