Here is the link to my final project, ready for the assessment!:
Here is the link to my final project, ready for the assessment!:
This is what I expect to do this month in Wales:
I haven’t got to much 3D rendering to do so I will render during the progress, I don’t need specific week for rendering.
Working here in Wales is going to decrease the quality of the project, in Spain I had several computers which are enough powerful to handle the project, also I had big screens to work properly. Here the computers are not enough powerful and almost all the time I have to work with my laptop, which isn’t powerful and has small screen and resolution.
I was working to much comfortably and flawlessly in Spain, but here no.
Definitely these aren’t the conditions to handle a project of this magnitude. I will try to do my best with the tools I have here.
Advanced Layout Finished
Here is my advanced layout finished. I’ve done all the drawings and all the editing. As you can see the drawings have flat colors and are a bit sketchy. Also some 3D scenarios need to improve.
Tomorrow I’m leaving to Glyndwr, so now I’m transferring all the files needed to work there. I’m doing all the 3D part of my short with Cinema 4D, and I don’t know what is going to happen because in Glyndwr there is no C4d. I have to do some work with C4d in order to finish my project, and my laptop is not powerful enough to handle this work flawlessly, so I don’t know what’s going to happen.
Transfer a great project such this when is in the final part of the development is really a huge mess. A big project It’s enough hard to do when all is ok, so with messes like this all the things gets quite harder.
Now I’m not really enthusiastic about all this because it’s going to represent lots of headaches in order to complete the project as I expected.
Here is a list of what I’ve got to do now in this last month in Wales:
Really helpful Book
I’ve bought this book on Christmas and It has helped me a lot for doing all the drawings of my project: specially with the walking animations and the information about the Horses and other animals. Horse poses are extremely difficult to do without reference (if you haven’t done it before) so it has been a great help.
It’s a really nice book and I’m sure I will continue using it lots of times in the future.
Working Really Hard
These weeks I’m being really busy working on my final project. It’s a non-stop working. As the animation in my project is based on 2d layer movements over 3D environments, my layout is becoming nearly in what will be the final animation.
I mean, when doing the layout, I realized that every scene was approaching to it’s final result. Except for the modelings (some things are definitive, but some things need to improve) and the characters (now they are sketches) every shot, animation and camera movements is almost definitive. That’s why I called “advanced layout”.
All the external modelings (referring to the kingdom) are done, and nearly definitive. I’ve also made some trimmings on the last part of the short, as the teachers in Glyndwr said to me last year. There’s no time to produce the whole original storyboard/animatic. Fortunately the plot isn’t being affected by this trim.
So, in summary, my advanced layout will only need an overall improvement over modelings and drawings, to become the final result. Also I expect to correct a few shots and movements when reviewing this advanced layout finished.
I expect to finish this advanced layout in a few days, but maybe it will take a bit longer.
Before continuing with the development of my project, there is a thing I had to research. My animated short is full of mountains, but I’ve never done mountains in 3D, so I’ve done lots of research in order to see how to do good 3D mountains and test which is the best style for the mountains of my short. At the beginning, I started doing some tutorials about realistic mountains.
This mountain is based on different layers of noises applied to a displacement map, it also have bump mapping and other effects. It includes some gradients in order to make the grass appear just in some areas of the mountain.
After learning the basics of doing mountains, I’ve created a basic scene for the castle surroundings in order to make different tests.
I applied the different materials to the scene, but the result was not the one I was expecting:
I started tweaking the parameters, but the result was too realistic for the cartoon style I am looking for:
Then, I started to test different artistic shaders, but with the basics I’ve learnt from the tutorials, this are the art shaders I’ve done and used:
I like much more this first results with the art shader combined with the basics of creating mountains. It matches a lot more the art and cel shader style I’m looking for my animated short. But it still need to improve. So I started tweaking with the art shader applied to a fractal modeling form:
After some tests, I’ve realized that displacement maps aren’t necessary for the style I’m looking for. Because increases the render time a lot, and it doesn’t make a real difference. So I’ve tried and applied different noises with bump mapping. This is the result after tweaking with the parameters, the noises, bumps, specular, etc.
That’s the style I was looking for my mountains, kind of cartoon but realistic at the same time, with brush style texture thanks to the art shader. It fits perfectly the general style of the short.
So I’ve remodeled the scenario, with more fractal mountains. This is a picture of the process:
And this is the result:
As the background of the physical sky was not to my liking, I’ve painted a background sky in ArtRage and I’ve applied it to a background object in C4D. With this sky the scene looks better and it fits better the style of the short. The castle is not textured yet.
Sometimes it’s good to stop a few days to research for the things I need to know in order to finish the project. Then, the workflow of the production is going to be tidy and efficient.
Setting the style/animation
Recently I’ve been doing some tests with 2D characters in order to see look how all works. After doing some tests I’ve concluded that my project is going to look better with 2D characters. I’ve got more experience designing 2D drawn characters, so I think with this technique I can focus a lot more on the expressions, the performance, the artistic aspect of the short, and the quality of it.
I prefer to achieve a quality product, rather than put a lot of effort into the technical part obtaining a poor result. I want an equilibrium between art and technique. So I think the combination of 3D scenarios and objects with 2D characters, with the form of a visual novel, is the perfect way to achieve that. Also it makes my project kind of singular.
This is the main test I’ve done. It’s the first scene of my short (after the book scene explaining the legend). As you can see, the drawings are so sketchy, is not the final look of the short but it’s a nice test to show the basics and the mechanics that my animated short will have from now on.
Today I had another meeting with David Minguillón, our animation teacher here in Spain. I’ve been showing him the test, and we’ve talked about the development of the short.
As I’ve concluded after the meeting, I’m going to do my animation based on the “main frames” of each movement, the keyframes of the movement. Just the same way I’ve done in the test. I’ve got to focus the animation only in the necessary elements. Not to put animation if it’s not necessary to the scene/element.
I have 3D scenarios, so I can take advantage of them. We have reviewed the entire animatic, and there are some scenes that would look great with camera movements through the 3D environments. I want to play with the 3D camera and the 2D characters in the most exciting scenes of the short in order to give life and movement to this characters with a little number of animated frames.
Also I can play a lot with layers, depth of field, as the basics of a visual novel/comic in movement.
Now I’ll be working on creating this same test scene with the final and definitive look for the short. After doing that, I will do the entire layout for the complete short with camera movements and definitive shots, that will be in 3D so I will use all this for the final production. Here is what I’ve got to do now:
I‘ve got the basic 3D forms of the scenarios, so that will be perfect for the layout. With all this planned all I’ve got to do is work a lot and do my best!