Anm Weekly Blog Week 6

The past week we have continued work on the group project. I began some research into some dynamic water effects for us to implement into our piece. The two effects my attention is currently focused on is the wake in the water created by the characters flying over it and the water splashing as one of the characters drops below. So far my tests have been centered around using Maya’s Oceans and Ponds as well as a little bit of Bifrost. Primarily I’ve been trying to use Bifrost to achieve the splash effect and Oceans and Ponds to achieve the wake. Using Oceans and Ponds I was able to get a wake effect working however is wasn’t without its issues. When using the effect on a larger scale as we will need to for our Ocean I found I ran into issues in its results, particularly the need for the for a larger wake emitter to be used to actually generate any effect. The larger emitter meant it would create a strange effect directly where it was placed in the ocean as you could see the water directly displaced by it. I also attempted to use Oceans and Ponds to create the dropping through water effect but found that it didn’t work very well with the water surface not being able to break it looked like some kind of jelly.

Attempting to create the splash effect I used Bifrost and tested dropping a collider object into a container of water. This created a much more dramatic and dynamic effect but found issues in using this method as well. Bifrost takes a considerable amount of time to simulate even for an effect with as little water as my Test scene. For our piece the effect will require much more water so that the effect does not visibly end before it should, this will only increase the time it will take to simulate and render the effect. As I write this I am still searching for methods of achieving these effects and will hopefully be able to produce some effective results soon.

I have been unable to dedicate a lot of time to my research project this week but I was able to make a small amount of progress. Now attempting to render the scene using the EXR frame buffer passes I was able to get all the passes to work. However once I attempted to then render them as deep data I ran into the issue of them being tiled EXR not Scanline which is what Maya and Nuke both require if you wish to view it. So moving forward I will need to find a solution to this problem either using imf_copy to somehow convert the images from tiled to scanline or use a different renderer.

Anm Weekly Blog Week 6

ANM230 Weekly Blog 5

This past week for our group project I’ve really tried to step everyone into gear and get some more progress happening so the project may progress. Ben and I decided it would be greatly beneficial for us to have a discussion over Skype and work on creating a effective Gantt Chart, this was something that probably should have been organised earlier which is the fault of Ben and I. However I do think that now that the plan is in place we will be able to much more effectively work towards our goal. For the past few days I have personally been working on the 3D character models for the dream sequence. It took quite a few hours to get right and I got feedback on the topology quite a few times to ensure it would be suitable for rigging and animation. Steve and I were also able to get into contact with Dan and follow up on some stuff we needed to discuss but hadn’t yet got the chance because he hadn’t been able to make it too class. We were able to assign him work to be completed for this Tuesday and ensure he knew what we were after.

During the week I also worked a bit on my research project, however this work turned out to not of use to me as Maya now has new features I was unaware of. That work was setting up my render layers, separating them into a render layer for each object and pass on that object. This took quite a bit of time and I did run into a few issues with some of the layers. However the next day in class we were given a tutorial by Phil discussing Maya’s new (or at least new to me) render pass method. Now that I understand how to use this method it will be the technique I will use moving forward on the Project.

 

ANM230 Weekly Blog 5

Cultural Critique

Our creative piece, Daydreams, aims to discuss the idea of using ones imagination to escape a dull reality. We aim to portray this through an elderly male character who slips into a Daydream while travelling on a train. Its human nature to explore the worlds within our minds, creativity is a strong pillar at the foundations of what it means to be human. It is this need for imagination that we are discussing within our piece. The surreal Daydream will contrast heavily with the character’s dull reality in both visual style and feeling. We aim for the contrast itself between the two sequences to be the driving force of the idea of difference between reality and imagination.

 

Genre and Theme

The theme of using imagination to escape reality is a universal idea that can be expressed and understood worldwide. Art itself in all its forms is an expression of people’s desire across the world to explore their imagination and express it to other people. For this reason alone the theme discussed within Daydreams is largely accessible and relatable to all audiences across the globe. Everyone is able to identify with what the character is feeling and what the piece is discussing even if they aren’t able to identify with the character himself. Furthermore imagination is also seen very commonly seen as a means of escape, just as we are portraying within the film. Many people choose to use their imagination and artforms to escape from the world for a while, which can so often be disinteresting and miserable. The Genre of the film for these reasons can be said to be based on a surreal commentary of everyday life and the human condition.

However, although we are aiming for the short to be on the topic of imagination it is entirely possible that our audience has a different interpretation of the piece. The featuring of two characters within the dream instead of one may suggest that the dream is an expression of the longing of companionship whether in love or friendship, especially so when juxtaposed against the lone character within the reality scene. It may be viewed that this dream sequence is not a chaotic and surreal visual creation of the characters imagination but instead a moment of reflection and reminiscing on his past, to a companionship he once had but now has lost. An audience with this perspective of the piece has the potential to see it as a surreal love story.

 

Narrative

The narrative within Daydreams is largely expressive and will be based upon each individual’s interpretation of the piece. By putting forward an elderly character in a dull world and getting a glimpse into his lively and vivid mind, we gain a sense of understanding of how the character is feeling but not necessarily why. The aim with this approach is to in turn provoke emotional responses within the audience as they build their own perception of the short. There are however key elements we wished to express, this character is alone, bored and looking for something of interest. This escape from his reality is found by the character within his own mind which takes place in the second sequence.

The second sequence is set in a surreal world based very little of any part of the real world. The use of stars within the background is one of the few largely recognisable feature of the real world. The idea of space and the night sky are a visual element to which people across the world associate with wonder and the unknown, a feeling similar to what the dream is aiming to produce. These scenes offer even less to the audience in terms of their meaning, offering only dream like imagery of the imagination of the character. As afore mentioned this dream sequence is not without its concerns in terms of its narrative. I believe it is quite likely that the audience will find a love story within this sequence where we have intended none to be.

Aesthetics

It is important for the purpose of the short that the ‘real’ world and dream world contrast greatly but still fit together. Our choices when it came to the progression of colour in the piece will help to illustrate how the two worlds effect and feel to the character, which hopefully will be mirrored in the audience. Beginning in the first scene with dark and dull colours using minimal saturation it is our hope that nothing stands out in this scene, that everything feels ordinary and dull. This was a choice to put a filter over the audience’s eyes so we are able to see this world as our elderly character does. In great contrast to this scene the second sequence will make use of bright colours and dark backgrounds to give a surreal feeling to the environment. Interesting choices in the way Shaders are constructed and transitions flow, will go a long way to shape how the piece will feel to the audience. The camera movement and cuts we have chosen to implement will also add to this effect, we found when discussing the storyboard that the first sequence would make use of many cuts and still shots. In contrast the dream sequence will have more dynamic camera movement possibly all being one shot. The colour scheme and cinematography in combination suggest two extremely emotionally contrasting realities. One in which the audience feels constricted and the world feels dull and another in which the audience feels free to move and the world seems interesting and surreal.

Conclusion
There are many elements to consider in the development of this project and it is important that we weigh our options to ensure we are able to achieve the most positive outcome possible for the piece. After a group discussion reflecting upon each of our Cultural Critiques changes in the piece may occur but I believe the major theme discussed: Imagination as an escape, still remains strong in the short. However I do believe our major concern lies in the possible interpretation of a love story. I do not believe that the theme of a love story itself is necessarily a negative one that we should avoid, but so far it has not been the intention of the piece and it would be best to avoid allowing the room this misinterpretation.
References

Macdonald, G.M (1867). The Imagination: It’s Function and its Culture. The Golden Key. Retrieved from http://www.george-macdonald.com/etexts/the_imagination.html

Cultural Critique

ANM230 Weekly Blog Week 4

This past week work on the Daydreams has continued across the class and we have begun to finalize concepts. There was quite a lot of confusing and worry in the beginning of the week relation to the style of the piece and the settings involved. It seemed due to poor communication people were unsure of how the piece should be visually constructed. Steve and I decided it would be best to meet with the others on Skype to hopefully clear up the issue and move forward with the concepting. Quite a few issues were raised and we had to make a lot of decisions to come to a clear outcome which best suited the group. These issues are still not completely cleared up, all will hopefully be decided upon early next week. Steve and I have also been working on the Storyboarding process getting some frames together to decide how the short will flow. We asked those who could, to join us on Friday to discuss their thoughts on the progression of the scenes and for any feedback or suggestions. Daniel, Ben, Jacinta, Mitch via Skype as well as Steve and I had quite a long and productive session in which we were able to get a much clearer although still rough visual Story. We were also able to decide upon a design for the Dream Characters.

Progression on my research topic has slowed a bit due to the Cultural Critique, but I have made a bit of Progress in the project. I was part way through the reconstruction of a Rig for my alien figure when I decided my time would be better spent solely focusing on the principles involved in Deep Data Composting instead of things like rigging. So I have decided to construct a scene similar in nature to what Phil supplied for us in the Nuke Shuffle Node tutorials. A simple scene with primitive shapes that will act as representations of what could be elements in a final shot. This will allow me to focus on the theory the technicalities of the project as well as giving me the possibility to take on a second research topic if I can finish this one earlier.

ANM230 Weekly Blog Week 4

ANM230 Weekly Blog Week 3

Moving forward on the group project we decided that it was now very important for us to get a clear image of how the piece would look and flow. So with the Project Documentation and Art Bible due the next week we all jumped into creating some concept art. Steve was made Art Director by Phil which I believe will work well for us as he has a strong image in mind for the piece and I think it would help if he were to be the one approving the concept work. Ben and I assigned everyone an element of the project to make some concept work  for and begin putting it together throughout the week.

I was assigned concepting the Daydream scene above the surface of the water and with some direction from Steve I began the work. I put a fair amount of time into the concepts trying to get a visual idea of what Steve was imaging however I think due to a lack of ability for us to communicate the idea across well, Steve put together a piece that I believed would serve better as the concept art for the environment.

I also continued work on my research project finishing the the Digital Tutors tutorial now having a much greater understanding of deep data nodes and how they work. I believe I can soon begin work on my own Deep Composite and put some of the things I’ve learnt into practice.

ANM230 Weekly Blog Week 3

ANM230 Weekly Blog Week 2

This past week for ANM we have continued to develop our group project and finalize the structure of our group. Early in the week I continued to put some more time into my Deep Compositing research topic looking into how I might go about doing it and what kind of scene I should be looking at putting together. I’ve decided to revive some assets from previous Tris to save myself time on elements like Modelling and Rigging. I need to make sure my scene is also very busy with multiple elements and preferably some kind of fog effect to best showcase Deep Compositing’s abilities.

During the week in class I put my name forward as creative director a long with Mitch and Steve and ended up getting the vote. In class on Thursday we also had a look into setting up Toon Shaders in Maya as it is likely we will be using something similar in our project. Something that caught my eye when doing this tutorial was the Toon Outline feature especially with the neon blue effect, particularly for its possible use in the dream sequence.

For the group project I asked everyone to do some concept art over Thursday and Friday for how they were picturing the project to look. I myself worked out some quick concepts for the old man character, the train scene and the underwater scene. For the ‘reality’ elements I tried to stick with a dull colour scheme attempting to take on a style discussed at Uni.

Recently I have been continuing some more work on my research project finding a few different tutorials on Digital Tutors, downloading Nuke and Renderman. In order to get deep data to operate correctly in Nuke the pathing needs to be set manuely, having never done this before it caused me quite a bit of trouble and cost me sometime, but I was eventually able to get it working. Once it was working I continued with the tutorial.

ANM230 Weekly Blog Week 2

ANM230 Weekly Blog

During the first week of Trimester 5 we began work towards the Group Project that will become the bulk of our work throughout the Trimester. We each came to class with a few different concepts and ideas to pitch to everyone so we could decide upon one and move forward with it. By the end of Wednesdays class we had decided to move forward with Steve’s ‘Day Dreaming’ Concept. It was decided that Ben would be operating as our Producer while Mitch would be acting as Creative Director.

Throughout the rest of the week in preparation for our next class we were each required to begin a section of the project documentation, I was assigned the Project Overview. While working on the Project Overview it quickly became evident that the concept needed a lot more fleshing out before the Project Overview could be finalized. There were quite a few points I needed to address in the Project Overview which simply did not have an answer as of yet.

I also began looking into a possible topic for my research question. I began by having a look through at some of the articles featured on Fx Guide (https://www.fxguide.com/) a site which recently Phil recommended to us. On the site I had a read through the Captain America: Civil War Article, (https://www.fxguide.com/featured/captain-america-a-very-civil-war/) while reading through the article I stumbled across a term which caught my interest, ‘deep data’ and ‘deep compositing.’ The brief explanation of the technology/technique given on the article seemed really interesting and I decided to follow it up further. This then led me to another Article on Fx Guide discussing the development of the technology and techniques involved in the process. (https://www.fxguide.com/featured/the-art-of-deep-compositing/) Since my read through of the article and the watching of an included video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19w3vkFp5X0)  my interest  in the topic has grown. I think moving forward I am likely to use the concept of Deep Comp and Data in my research question likely posed as, ‘How can I use Deep Compositing Pipelines to improve my work?’ or simply ‘How does a Deep Composite Pipeline work?’

ANM230 Weekly Blog