Monday, June 28, 2010


For this Summer's New Media project I'll be once again focusing on look development in computer animated graphics. Instead of experimenting with several looks as I did last quarter I'll be focusing on a single look for a short animation. The short will be a character driven animation with a bit of story. What I will be primarily focusing on is seamlessly integrating 2d backdrops with 3d animated scenes. For this I will be using locked off camera angles so that I can use painted scenes with the 3d elements. Additionally, if the story calls for it, I will use 3d projection techniques in Nuke to create parallax effects with the 2d painted backdrops.

Inspiration for this piece has come from a variety of places. A short animation created by students two years ago demonstrates a way of mixing 2d and 3d animation for a very attractive piece. In it they used painted backdrops and a cel shader similar to the one I used last term as my third look to get a painterly feel that is reminiscent of an older Disney or Miyazaki animation.

These Gobelins shorts are an inspiration as well for their detailed painterly look.

A short animation based on a children's book by Shaun Tan. Hints at a little bit of the painterly approach.

A music video of a Gorillaz song. Animation by Passion Pictures of Australia. Some nice matte paints for the backgrounds and one shot with the character inside the windmill as pieces are falling are especially notable.

Past projects I have worked on that I am building upon are a dynamics test and Flight, an animation from last quarter.

Bottle Toss was a quick dynamics test I completed at the end of last quarter. I didn't want to construct and render an entire outdoor scene so I kept the camera still and painted over the unrendered parts and added detail to others. Here are the layers that were composited together and the final piece. There are some issues with the perspective and I unfortunately didn't get to do a shadow pass which would have integrated the pieces a little better.

Animated Sequence

A rough cut of my animation final for last term. There are obvious rendering and animation issues with this piece as well but what I wanted to point out was the painterly effect I was trying to convey with the textures and background. While I am planning on polishing this piece I had hoped it would have more painted backdrops as well. Something I am incorporating into this quarter's short animation.

Flight rough cut

The story for this summer's animation is in the rough previs stage. I have the beginnings of storyboards and this t-pose for a main character. The old turtle creature is a wood carver and the animation opens with him sitting at his workbench carving a miniature unicorn or some other mythical creature. He finishes and turns away from his work. There is a sound and he turns back to his work and the statue is gone. Sounds keep drawing his attention around the workshop as if he is not alone. He finally corners the noise behind some objects (maybe a curtain) When he uncovers the source of the noise it turns out that it is the carving as a full size creature of light. As he looks at it in awe he reaches out to touch it. As his fingers make contact with the glowing essence of the creature it dissolves back into the miniature wood carved toy.

Project Timeline

Week 2 - Story outline and preparatory research presentation.
Week 3 - Full storyboards and begin character modeling.
Week 4 - Set designs, begin set modeling and effects R&D.
Week 5 - Finish Modeling, projection, and effects R&D.
Week 6 - Texturing and Lighting, camera previz.
Week 7 - Animation and effects.
Week 8 - Animation, effects, and rendering.
Week 9 - Rendering, matte painting, and compositing.
Week 10 - Compositing and re-renders.

It is important to note that my focus in this class is look development, art direction, and directing. I may combine new media projects with Dan for the main visual effect and potentially have an animator for the bulk of the character animation.

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