Thursday, 14 December 2017

Collaboration/Hero's Journey Short/The Making of/Reflective Statement

Hero's Journey, final short animation

The Making of Hero's Journey document

Reflective Statement

I was quite anxious before the start of this collaboration project as everyone has different ways of working and expressing themselves. I've also never participated on a similar project before so I didn’t know what to expect, but after this experience, I think that the key factors to a successful collaboration are to be open-minded, reliable, listen to other people‘s opinions and to be willing to discuss any issues or problems. I was lucky enough to be put together into a group with hard-working and open-minded people with which we were able to successfully produce short animation.

We named our animation studio 'Twisted Turtle Studios' and my collaborative partners were Michael Brook and Douy Singsamran. After a first few weeks of coming up with initial ideas, we realized that we've been looking at the given theme, 'Forgotten/Failed Superheroes' from the wrong angle and those ideas don't have much of a potential. Therefore, we had some difficulties in the early stages of our collaboration but once we came up with a new concept and refined our new ideas, the collaboration started to be a fun and enjoyable project.

At the beginning of the project, we've been asked to allocate specific job roles for each member of the group. We split the tasks as follows: Michael - project director, Douy - art director, myself - producer. Our group was working democratically throughout the whole project and we've been trying to be helpful and supportive towards each other. As we've been working on this project democratically, listening to each other's opinions and asking for feedback, our group never experienced any arguments. Even if we had some differences in our opinions, we managed to resolve and find a solution in a calm and mature way.

This collaboration project was in some ways easier and in some ways harder than the previous ones when we all had to handle the projects individually. The easier part was that making the decisions and the variety of jobs needed for creating short animation were evenly distributed amongst three people. In my opinion, by focusing only on a few selected jobs and have always someone to ask for any advice, feedback or help to resolve some issue, we were able to increase the quality of our work. The harder part was the consciousness of someone else relying on my work or waiting for me to finish my part to be able to continue with his part. It definitely adds a lot more pressure but on the other hand, it also pushed me to get better with meeting deadlines and organising my time.

Even that this collaboration project taught me a lot and helped me to improve a whole range of skills, there are a few elements which I wish I have done better. Time management is a thing with which I've been struggling the most throughout the all previous projects. I think that during the collaboration project my time management skills got way much better. Although, I came across some errors which caused that I wasn't reliable and available all the times as I should or want to be for the rest of the group. I also feel that in later stages when we moved on to the production part, I've spent too much time on improving small unnecessary details which left me with not enough time to produce my part of animating the scenes with higher quality. Time management and organising the work better are two main elements I am aware of that I need to improve.

Overall I've enjoyed working on this project with other people and I find this collaboration experience very interesting and successful. I think that we've managed to communicate effectively inside of our group and come out with a solid piece of work which all three of us are happy with.

Collaboration/Ending Scene/Final Playblast & Rendered stills

Collaboration/Superman Scene/Final Playblasts & Rendered stills

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Collaboration/Superman Scene Animation - Progress 01

Collaboration/Scene Layout/Superman&Ending Scene

Superman/Ending scene was also quite a challenge for me. It is a fairly complecated scene including all of our superheroes and a few props. 

Probably the biggest problematic part of this scene was the grass. I was trying out a several grass paint effects with a different settings. However, all of the paint effects grasses were looking too realistic comparing to cartoonish look of the rest of the scene and it didn't fit in. Therefore, we decided to use a grass textured plane with simplistic modelled grass. 

There is still a few things to improve in this scene. As for example texture projection of bushes still doesn't have correct transparency settings and Superman is still missing his cape. The lighting is another issue which is needed to be improved as we want for this scene lighting which would simulate sunset. 

I'm currently moving onto the next stage which is animating the Superman and Ending scene and I'll come back to improve those small missing details in the scene later on. 

Final ending scene layout render test.

Final Superman scene layout render test. 

Grass tests

Collaboration/Scene Layout/Hulk Scene

As we've moved on to the production part of our collaboration project, I was also in charge of setting up the scene layout for two of ours scenes: Hulk scene and Superman/Ending Scene. 

I came across a few problems with lights and setting the right shader for car's windows whilst setting up Hulk scene. As we are currently working in Maya 2018 and using Arnold renderrer, I found it a bit more difficult to achieve the glass window effect than it was with Mental Ray. After a few render tests we decided to not include windows in our scene as we are going for an old school comic book style and the glass shader in new Maya was looking too realistic and was requiering several lights which was increasing the render time. 

The brid's eye view for Hulk scene required a lot of car models to simulate a busy traffic. Therefore, I decided to use StandIns for all of the cars appart from the main Hulk's car to be able to render a difficult scene with the quickest render time possible. 

After setting up both view for Hulk's scene I've handed over the scene to one of my collaborating partners, who fixed the problem with lights by using ony new Arnold SkyDome light with HDR image of sky applied onto it and is currently working on animating the scene. 

Test render of glass shader for front view mid shot scene. 

Another render test for front view scene.

One of the first render test for front view scene.

Render test of glass shader for front view scene.

Final birds eye view for Hulk scene using StanIns instead of car models int he scene. 

Render test of bird's eye view scene. 

Friday, 24 November 2017


Hulk's car rigging. Simple rig to simulate engine rumble. 

Batman's mobility scooter rigging. This was the first try of rigging the scooter. However, the handle was moving too far away from the seat so I needed to change and fix the rig. 

Playblast test of fixed mobility scooter rig and joining Batman to the scooter. 

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Maya Tutorial/Lighting & Rendering 2/Arnold Part 6: Light Filters

Gobo Filter (mix)

Gobo Filter (blend)

Gobo Filter with Barndoor and Light Decay Filters

Light Blocker

Maya Tutorials/Lighting & Rendering 2/Arnold Part 5: Maya Lights

Maya Lights

Point Light

Point Light Settings

Directional Light

Directional Light Settings

Area Light

Area Light Settings


Spotlight Settings

Arnold Light

Arnold Area Light (quad)

Arnold Area Light (disk)

Arnold Area Light Settings

Maya Tutorials/Lighting & Rendering 2/Arnold Part 3: Ray Depth

First Render

First Render Settings (render time 05:02)

Maya Tutorials/Lighting & Rendering 2/Arnold Part 2: Sampling & Noise Reduction

First Render (render time 00:50)

First Render Settings

Final Render (render time 05:20)

Final Render Settings