Sunday, 28 February 2010

22nd - 28th Feb

Since the previous journal entry, I’ve spent a lot of very busy hectic days on this project! I successfully finished my texturing of the flowers;

But ran into problems trying to sort out the grass. The only available pre-set Maya grass that looked like our concept art was too small, and when resized gave a terrible effect. It also slowed down Maya considerably and eventually we decided to not include the grass after all.

(with the grass)

(without! much prettier and less lag time :D)
This does however mean that we will not be able to have any animation for this part of our environment. However, since our project is set in an underground cave, there would not be a lot of wind to animate the flowers and grass anyway so I guess it makes more sense like this. Instead we are going to put our animation efforts into rocks and boulders falling around the environment, a bin rolling over and perhaps some sparks coming out of the poles and generator.

I also tried working on the camera. This is the first time I have animated in Maya for a long time so I was very rusty. Karen and James suggested I create a motion path for the camera to run around the environment on, but after two hours trying to get it to work with little success I gave up and animated the camera manually.
On Thursday this week I showed my first camera attempt (which is too big to upload onto here) to Jared and he gave me some helpful suggestions;
-Allow room for pauses
-Research into existing first person camera works
-Imagine you’re the camera and its not just a ‘showcase’
-And finally to animate the camera with ‘aim’ rather than by itself.

Taking this into account I first searched google for first person camera films and found a site with a list;

Then set about incorporating it into my work. I have Blair Witch and managed to watch some of Cloverfield, but tbh they showed me more what not to do as if the camera is too jerky you feel sick! So I kept it as steady as I could and didnt move it excessively.

This time, I animated the camera going round the environment first and then concentrated on what it was aiming at. I think the final result is much improved from my last one! (but again the render time is too long and the file too big to post the test up here)

Monday, 22 February 2010


I textured the tree to make it look more like the concept art.. However I had some problems with the branch on the right as it kept looking 'detached' therefore I've made a version without the branch and then I'll ask my group and we'll decide which version should be kept.

And I added some rubble to the outside of the building to make it look as though it was destroyed and therefore more in keeping with why it isn't like the other houses..

I'm not sure if we will be using this model anymore though, since we've already got a lot of work to do and we're planning on beginning compositing tomorrow so that we can get the rendering done as soon as possible.

Ryan also gave me a tutorial on UV texturing last week that he found on this site; so if need be I can texture using the imported Photoshop method which will look better than the pre-made textures Maya has.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Formative Assessment

Well we had our formative with Jared last week Thursday, and man have we got a lot left to do! He was satisfied with the consistancy of our designs style, so at least now we know they work well together, but our blogs were a bit of a letdown as we need to show how our research got us to our concept pieces.

I've gone back over my blog since then and tried to make it clearer by posting reference pictures next to my concept art to show how they relate and written more about my opinion of my research and how it can/has helped us. I think we will need to finish up modelling this week or very soon, then we can begin compositing it (which I think will be a big part of my job...) and animate the parts we want as well as the camera. I have finished modelling most of my work now, and will post what I have done thus far;

Finished example of the bin.. am not sure if it actually needs to look that 'destroyed' as not everything in our cave is derelict and this is a very minor background detail.

The next two models were done with the help of my flower field concept art;

The shape of the tree and background buildings are taken directly from this image;

The only thing that needs improving is the house as I need to add some rubble around the outside to explain its derelict state, and why it doesn't look as whole as Karen's buildings!

I have also have an animation of what the grass can do on Maya... Our grass will be animated similar to this, but since it's in a cave, there will be less movement. I'll upload a better example of it soon, hopefully with the finished textured tree in the background (which I am going to try and attempt!)

Friday, 5 February 2010

This week's news...

We had a group meeting during lunch on our Wednesday lesson and showed each other what we had done. Everyone has made some very good progress and we are all pleased at how our project is progressing. I've given the flowers I modelled to Ryan to texture and I'm going to try and add the finishing touches to the bin and house and then they will be ready to texture too. The only outstanding modelling assignment I have is the tree which I will start today, then I'll see what else I can model.

Next, on Thursday we went to Chislehurst caves for cave research! Unfortunately Yuki couldn't accompany us but we took plenty of pictures for her to see later, they should be up on James and Karen's blogs sometime soon.
It was a really interesting experience, and we got a good feel for cave interiors, the floors and walls in particular which I think we hadn't thought about as much.

I think our research stage will continue a little longer as we discover more things we need to include in our cave but hopefully Jared will be able to tell us how we are doing properly during our formative next week. Will try and update again before then with the finished pieces of modelling.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

modelling update

just a short update on the modelling front...

I've remodelled and finished work on the flowers I think (still need to show them to my group)

I've done 5 different variations of the flower so they dont look the same in our enviornment by using deformers.

However, I've been having trouble modelling the tree for the flower field. For some reason I can't get Maya to go into 'component mode' so the concept art I imported into an image plane to help with modelling can't be seen.
I'm going to see if anyone can help me sort this out on wednesday but for now here is a very rushed and quick example of how we can create the flowers, trees and grass using Maya PaintFX (which I dont' want to go for in the final film as it seems like pure laziness).

I've also worked out how to animate the grass in the flower field but for that we will need to use Maya's pre-set grass.


Yuki has helpfully found me a tutorial that will be great for modelling a tree -

I will reference this over the next few days whilst working. It also seems like we will be going to visit Chislehurst Caves on Thursday for our research since there's no lesson due to the Barcelona trip.