Friday, 31 December 2010

Narrative: General's Desk Modelling

After all this festive period It was more than time to get back to work, so to update where I left you. I finished skinning the 4 character that were attributed to me, and also added muscle to the male characters, such as the Soldier and the General. With that process done I moved to my following task which is model the environments, and UV layout them.

Firstly taking on blocked out General's Office done by my Studio Colleague Shahbir, I added more objects, such as the lamp, the phone, and the chair. With everything modelled I began UV Map it and now the overall set is in a stage where It can get to the animation.

Today, I have also started to model the interior of the Spacestation, which will be uploaded when finished.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

INSiDE, 2002, Trevor Sands

INSiDE is a 2002 short animation directed by Trevor Sands, It has as subject a patient with multiple personality disorder, before evaluation is still fighting his demons, or better put his other personalities. The actor Jeremy Sisto ( know as Billy in Six Feet Under) is the 'host' of all this numerous personalities, that are  amazingly realised. Such opposite personalities co-exist inside the patient's head, though in order to pass the evaluation, they have to be extinguished. In this instance, another personality, a doctor helps him to extinguish the all other personalities and she takes over the body.

A really interesting short film associated with a subject that is presently visible more and more in mental institutions, The concept used to portray the numerous personality is genius, and how these personalities are stereotyped is one of the big achievements here, also the twist in the end is really unexpected.
This short film is a great example for any character designer and animator out there, to understand how to possibly design and animate differently with each character.

Hope you like it!

Until Next Time!

Coyote Falls, 2010, Matthew O' Callaghan

As I want to start post more curiosities, I found this one while browsing the Internet, a really fascinating animation which will be familiar to most of you even though it does come in a new format. Coyote Falls is a short animation by Warner Bros.with collaboration of Reel FX, it is based on the cartoons Road Runner, where Coyote tried forever to get Road Runner.As I mentioned this new short animations come in a new CGI look animation, rendering our beloved cartoon characters to 3D.

What I found most interesting was the way the animation only barely derives from the original Chuck Jones' ones, where the law of physics is broken for pure entertainment, this is still well captured in the new CG Version, which makes this animation in my opinion a big achievement.

Hope you enjoy it, and hopefully it brings some nostalgic memories in 3D ! 

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Welcome Back to the Blogosphere !!

After a few days sorting out my new ident and new blog template, it is finally done. So I can the blog it is once again a place to share my thoughts and work, but this time improved.

A few changes were done:

Template- the older template was a dark and minimalist black and white, which after sometime I found it quite depressing and empty, taking in consideration the minimalist approach, I aimed for a use of a certain number of colours, being all of them warmer therefore friendlier. I also added some other interesting features, such as the Galleries in different exterior websites, or the inspirational blogs one, where I share some of the most inspiring artists I follow.

Ident- this ident is shown on the banner of the blog, where the old one was a supposed logo of RM Design (an ident I have previously created for my work), I felt it was professional however too serious), for the new I had a completely different approach. Over the last few weeks, I have thinking what area I should follow in CG Arts and Animation, and after a lot of though, I decided that character design and their animation is definitely what I'd love to do. So the banner, and ident is a once again a more friendly approach to my blog.not only by adding some of my creations to it but also by using a slightly more appealing font. Finally the last addition to the banner was the specification of the area I want to follow, in this case, Character Artist and Animator.

Posting- Over the last few months I have found that posting on this blog has been decreasing, and only the posts added are university and project related, however to create a more interesting blog, that will appeal any reader, I will add curiosities that I will find over internet browsing.

So here are the main changes on the new blog, where a more friendly, specific, minimalist yet professional approach was taken to shape this new ident.

Hope you enjoy and keep tuned!

Monday, 20 December 2010

Unit 2.01- Maya: Assistant Skinning

Continuing on the Skinning task, the next character to be skinned was the assistant, which happens to be a character I have also modelled. Being the first female character to be skinned it was quite tricky at some points, but nothing some patience wont solve.

Assistant Head Skinning

Assistant Torso Skinning

Assistant Hand Skinning

Also according to Ethan to better pose the character, I have also added a basic binding onto the legs and shoes, just so the character will pose more convincingly even though no rig needs to be done. 

Assistant Legs Skinning (No Rig) 

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Maya Tutorials: Character Pipeline Rigging

After getting an insight about how to skin a character, and getting some experience by skinning already two characters of our narrative project, ' The Day of the Invisible Cannibals from Beyond the Stars"( as a matter of fact do not forget to check our progress on B3D Studios blog!). I continued the character pipeline Maya tutorial, in this time around rigging was the next task.
Rigging is a really important process, where you need to create controls for the body in order to facilitate animation process of the character. Also it is crucial if you want to pose your character. 

In this tutorial, we experiment a type of rigging different than I have done last year, I won't get into too much detail otherwise it may seem that i'm speaking Chinese. Put things straight it is two types of rigging, FK and IK, and in a character you can accommodate the one you prefer, as well choose what rig you want for each part of the body according to what the character will do. 
To facilitate your choices you can also create a switch where you will be able to get the two types of rigs in the same character working at different times. A more advanced technique which we will be using in our narrative project. 

So here is the tutorial, a difficult process which sometimes may confuse. However with a really good tutorial guide by Alan, easy to understand. 

As I said, after you rig a character posing him becomes easier so what about a photo shoot pose.

' Generic character to the rescue, to Infinity and Beyond!!'

Simon's Cat in 'Santa Claws'

To start this festive period I decided to post an animation from Simon Tofield. Simon Tofield is a British Animator, who does the Simon's Cat 2D short Animations that can be found on his Youtube Channel.
I firstly found these series while browsing Youtube for something else. However, I was drawn to them, because the 2D animation it is so effective, it seems so real and often I find me and my girlfriend associating the movements of the cartoon to of a real cat and laughing, because they are depicted perfectly. The series are based on the life of a Cat ( Simon's Cat) and his owner ( supposedly Simon), the short animations takes into the funny adventures of the cat who seems to have always strong appetite.

So once again to mark the commence of the Christmas Period here is the Christmas Special 'Santa Claws'.

Hope you like it ! and a Merry Christmas!!

Simon's Cat Website:
Simon's Cat Youtube Channel

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Unit 2.01- Maya: General Skinning

So the Skinning quest continues!

After getting the soldier up for the final touches of skinning I decided to take on the General and add the basic skinning, bind the skin and tweak the weights. 
Although for this character I bound the overall mesh, only the upper body was tweaked, as he will move and be seen from the pelvis upwards. this allows to save some time in this process. 

Now the only things to add are the muscles and some jiggle (if needed). 

General- Hand Skinning

General- Torso Skinning

General- Head Skinning


Once again for the purpose to pose the character more convincingly, I skinned the legs of the General.

General- Legs Skinning

Now onto the next 2 characters !

Book: Color and Light by James Gurney

After waiting a month for this book, as it was realesed in America that time, I finally received my copy of  Color and Light.
Color and Light is the second book by James Gurney, the first being Imaginative Realism, which emphasises the use of light in traditional painting as well as digital, and the overall idea of colour schemes, it not only mentions those topics but actually explains in-depth the same topics supported with great examples, from known old masters paintings or photographs.
In terms of light, he explains the different types of lighting,such as rim lighting and frontal lighting, etc. , and how to possibly achieve the same effect in painting, but also how to give form to objects. As colour goes, an extensive explanation of colour schemes, and how with colour we can direct eye through a composition is given, to explain that often colours in complete each other.

This book is truly an amazing source of knowledge of the given topics, and a must buy for everybody that is interested in traditional and digital painting, but also as a support to help lighting scenes in Maya, although it is not specified for that purpose, the book explains light in all artistic mediums.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Unit 2.01- Maya: Soldier Skinning

So after getting the models ready for the animation, my task laid in doing the skinning, which is a crucial process to get convincing animation, by creating muscles on a character or avoid the geometry to collide with itself. 

I can say here is the skinning for the soldier until certain extent where only the arms and legs muscles will be added. to create a rather more convincing motion in the character. Also the last thing to add will be the some jiggle deformers around the sleeves. This process will be carefully monitored when to render as the cache needs to be loaded just before the rendering starts.

Soldier Skinning- Arms & Hands

Soldier Skinning- Legs & Shoes

Soldier Skinning- Head

I have to say im loving to skin the characters, as I said a really straightforward project where logic is the main key.

Now onto the next character !!

Until next time.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Christmas is here ! Necronomicon by H P Lovecraft

I have received my first Christmas present this year, and guess what, I also had the chance to choose it. So I and my girlfriend Ivana went to buy my present (although it sounds selfish but I have already bought her a present) , once again, I opted for a book to add to my collection. However this time around is not related to visual arts.

The book is:

This book is nothing less than a thick fictional grimoire containing the best tales by H. P Lovecraft, one of the most inspiring horror writers of all times. As I said to you it is a present for Christmas so I still have to wait another week to begin to taste the weirdest tales by him ... ( I may find something interesting for transcription project).

Or shall I say that Christmas came early....

Maya Tutorials: Character Pipeline Skinning

Before I start to skin my own characters, I decided to understand better skinning so I did the skinning tutorial, after a few hours taken on the arm, the rest of the body was pretty simple. 
As I found, skinning is a pretty straight forward process, the only thing needed is logic, in where you are going to put the weights. 

So here is the tutorial, and now Im ready to apply on my characters ( precisely 4).

Skinned Joints

Front View

Back View

Alongside these pictures I have also took some playblasts of the process.


Face and Arms

Now skinning makes a little more sense, so Im ready to apply what I learnt on the other characters, however I will create a more believable skinning with muscles on the arms and such (rewinding to the 1st year tutorial.)

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Maya Tutorials: Character UV Mapping and Joint Placement

As promised on the previous post, here is the progress of the Character Pipeline Tutorial, After finishing the modelling stage, new and unfamiliar places appear, such as UV Mapping and Joint Placement as well as Skinning, however as time goes by and as I have to apply the same skills onto the narrative characters, and better enforce my knowledge on them.

So here is the UV Mapping:

UV Layouts

UV Map

The joints were placed: 

Joint Placement

Support: Joint Placement Guide Planes

And now onto the Skinning!!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Maya Tutorials: Character Modeling Body Finished

So after modelling the characters for my narrative project ( the 2 female characters), I went back on the original tutorial and finished the modelling task. with only few things to tweak on the head what was left to do was to connect the two models ( the head and the body).
in order to skin the characters for my project, I first have to get to the stage where I comfortable with skinning, which mean after I do the actual tutorial. So more tutorials will be done and posted here later today.

Final Model


Non Smooth                                          Smooth

Until next time !

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Unit 2.01- Maya: Generic Female Final model

At B3D Studios, we have been busy on our character modelling week, with all 7 characters modelled, now we are ready to take on the next challenge rigging and skinning. However before that time my generic female's character head was still missing.

After getting other projects out of the way I concentrate on creating the rest of the generic female character, having done the body the only thing missing was the head.So based on the ortographs I created the head for the character and with this the character modelling task is done now it is time for the rest.

Generic Female Close-up

Generic Female -Smooth


Not Smooth


Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Unit 2.01- Maya: Assistant Final Model

Last couple of days, I have been working on modelling the assistant's face. as it shows on my previous post. from that point I had to tweak some of the features and create the hair for her.

And so we arrive at the stage where she is ready for rigging/ skinning and texturing. however first she will need a UV layout treatment. 

Wireframes ( Not Smooth)

Wireframes (Smooth)

Monday, 6 December 2010

Postmodernism Essay Structure- Romeo + Juliet, 1996, Baz Luhrmann

After spending the last days, doing some research for my essay, understand it (what possible in such difficult subject), i'm ready to write the 2000 words. For that matter, I had to find the question, so the question I will be asking is: 

How is the Death of the Author Expressed in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet? 

and despite many topics I could go for I will concentrate my essay in 2 "heads" of Postmodernism, Death of the Author and Fragmentation.

So here is the structure for my essay. 

Introduction: 200 words

-Here I will introduce the essay, presenting and explaining my question, and also mention the sources i took most of the research from. 

Main Body: 1600 Words

-Introduce and put in context the cultural movement Postmodernism, historically and culturally, as well as presenting briefly some of the main thinkers of this movement(e.G Roland Barthes).

- Present the idea of death of the author as stated in the essay by Roland Barthes, explaining the theory and maybe give one example. 

Leads to:

- Fragmentation, where I will introduce the theory and therefore explain it in depth so I can apply to the film.

So having the theories explained I can now, present the the original play by William Shakespeare, to inform the reader, and then present the film, I will mention that the synopsis is similar to the play, and therefore deconstruct some individual elements from the film and play, compare them with the original play and realise where fragmentation has been used. [Verona Beach( Hispanic-American beach), crime and adolescence mischief , the abundant use of religious elements, the modernisation of the weapons from swords to guns, etc.] Connect them with real-life elements, which where the source of inspiration for the film.

Conclusion: 200 Words

Conclude my findings. That despite the author wrote the play,due to the new interpretation of writing 
(Death of the Author) individual interpretation and collaborative authorship have an importatn role nowadays. ' the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author.' (Barthes)

Source: Barthes R. ,1967,Death Of the Author. 
Found At:

Unit 2.01- Maya: Assistant Face Modelling Progress

After the final tweaks on the Assistant's body, I took the next step of modelling her face. Despite, having the head tutorial pretty much done, just some final tweaks. I decided to base my modelling ethic to the tutorial as I found really helpful in what model and ho the edges flow in the faces.
The first stage was to do the eye and the mouth.

1st Stage- Eye and Mouth Modelling 

Wireframe                             Smooth Model


2nd Stage- Nose Modelling

Wireframe (not Smooth)

Wireframe (Smooth)

And here is the model as it is now, where I added the ears and the neck, but also tweak some of cheek and the top of the head.



Now it's time to give her some hair and then connect her with the finished and already scaled to animation proportion scale.

EDIT: Here is the character after the tweak the lips and cheeks.

Unit 2.01- Maya: Assistant Body Modeling Final Body

So continuing to model the female character, finished the legs, shoes and added the extra details, the only thing need is the head which I will be concentrating from this time onwards. I also tweaked the leg proportions.
now it just needs to be scaled according to the other characters.

Wireframe ( Not Smooth)

Wireframe (Smooth)

Unit 2.01- Maya: Assistant Body Modeling Progress III

Last coupe of days, I have been working on the Assistant's Body, trying to finish it so I can concentrate on the head of both of the female characters. After having the torso pretty much done I started the skirt and her legs. 
Also the hands to complete the upper part.

Wireframe (Not Smooth)

Wireframe (Smooth)

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Film: Arachnophobia, 1990, Frank Marshall

Week 11 in the narrative project was marked by a lot of snow(that almost closed us inside the University) and a film that haunt my childhood. The film is Arachnophobia, and although I don't have a fear for spiders the toilet scene always marked my childhood in the creepiest of the ways. Enough of personal confessions for now.
Arachnophobia is a 1990's Comedy/ Sci-Fi film which was based on much earlier Sci-fi Insect films, however it did not scale them much bigger or made them hybrid with humans, it did indeed use them in the more uncanny form, just as they are but by the millions.

So the films commences when a expedition led by Doctor James Atherton ( Julian Sands), a specialist in insect wildlife,  to Venezuela in order to find new species of insects doesn't go quite the way it should. The photographer in the expedition is killed sneakily by a new species of terrifying and hostile spiders, which also embarks with the body back to a small town in California.
In this small town, a new-come family, who swaps the city life for a quiet rural life, does not find the place as quiet as they think. Firstly, the husband Dr. Ross Jenning, played by Jeff Daniels , before moving receives a job offer by Dr. Metcalf, to substitute him, however this same offer is later postponed, when Dr. Jennings is already settle in the small town.
On the way out of the meeting, Dr. Jennings meets Margaret, a neighbour,  and becomes her new doctor, advising her in her health life. However it also coincides with her death by the spider attack, and of other patients seen by Dr. Jennings. This makes Dr. Metcalf blame the young Dr. for what happened.
The last victim of the spider is Dr. Metcalf himself. though before he dies he gives the clue to solve this whole mystery, when he says that he was bitten by a spider.
Dr. Jennings determined to find what really happened to all the victims and their association with spider attacks, hire help by the Dr. Atherton to identify these species of spider, which poison is the most lethal ever seen.

Being a small town in America, everybody is there to help, from the Police Officer to the insect exterminator , played by the funny John Goodman. Jennings and Atherton's assistant
In order to resolve this problem they have to capture a specimen and study it. After the spider being caught, they study it and then they conclude where the spider nest will be, the place also coincides to where the Dr. Jennings lives with his family.
Hastily he goes to his house and save his family, Dr. Jennings is faced with an unusual scenario where thousands of spiders invade their house, they come from everywhere, from the ceiling from the floor from under the doors. Jennings, his family and the assistant run upstairs to the toiletand lock themselves in, and the Dr. is left behind. In an attempt to getaway of the house he tries to go through the front door, where hundreds of spider surveil the area.
Being an arachnophobe himself, he scarily tries to run but he falls from the first floor to the basement, there he has the final encounter with the queen spider who is solely guarding the eggs, as if with intelligence, the spider sneakily attacks him. he regains conscience and fights back. After experience something that he felt in his childhood with the spiders and led him to be an arachnophobe, he has the will to fight back with fire the spider and kill it alongside its eggs.
To finalise the film in a funny way, he is saved from the basement by the insect exterminator.

Arachnophobia is a film which marked my childhood in a creepy way, as it effectively puts her closer and closer to the insect world that always been there, despite how camouflage it may look. As mentioned before, he uses the same elements of the 1950's B-movie , an invasion by insects, however as different as it looks, it does not scale them or hybrid them, they remain the same and therefore create one of the most uncanny feelings.
With a rating of 85% on the review website Rotten Tomatoes, this film is reviewed by Erik Childress from the, as 'The creepiest most entertaining insect invasion I've ever seen', indeed this film connects two opposite genre, Sci-Fi and Comedy, well, where the viewer will not be very scared but also will not particularly enjoy the experience.
The success in the film is driven by a good cast of actors, such as Jeff Daniels, as the arachnophobe Dr Jennings and the hilarious insect exterminator played by John Goodman; but also the use of adequate special effects to drive the narrative, such as the beautifully yet disturbing shot of the spider webs in the wooden house. Which create really suspenseful moments, where the viewer often is jumping on his seat.

Finally, a film really interesting to remember from my childhood, however this time it seemed more funny than ever before!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Unit 2.01- Maya: Assistant Body Modeling Progress II

So as promise here the last update of the assistant, and the final for today. I have started to model the skirt, which is quite different from the Generic Female, but also tweaked the over body shape.
Tomorrow, I think I can start the head models.

Wireframes (Not Smooth)

Wireframes (Smooth)

Unit 2.01-Maya: Assistant Body Modeling Progress I

Alongside the generic female, I started to model the other female, the Scientist's Assistant, Having the ortographs with me, I set my mind to make her look slightly sexier than the generic female, so it imply the body shape would be curvier.

So here is the 1st progress, the last part will be poster just after this post.

Wireframes ( Not Smooth)

Wireframes ( Smooth)

Unit 2.01- Maya- Generic Female Modeling Progress IV

So today, I added the hands to the generic female,  over all is going the right way, however Im wondering if I should lower the skirt (in a good way).

Wireframe (not smooth)

Wireframe (Smooth)

Detail- Arm 

Detail- Hand

Good to mention that to speed up the modeling task of the 7 characters, We decided to get a basic hand model, which later is tweaked into many forms to better fit the character,  in my case I took ethan's manly hand and turned it into a feminine one.

Unit 2.01- Maya- Generic Female Modeling Progress III

So far this is what is done of the generic female, I have added the shoes, tweaked the over all body shape and and add some more details. However it is still far from finished. I still need to do a hand and her face, which although is not too iconic still has to have one :)

Alongside the Face another minor details have to be added.

Wireframes ( Not Smooth)

Wireframe (Smooth)