After a few days of rendering, I finally put together a short flythrough of the environment of my animation, “A Day with George.”
I rendered this at a low resolution (640 x 360) due to feeling like I didn’t necessarily need this to be 1080p or 720p. It’s a test render of what I have so far, and part of the process on how the overall look of the animation will be.
*EDIT: The title “A Day with George” was temporarily changed to “A Day with Georgie” when this video was uploaded. As of September 2015, the production title “A Day with George” will remain.
There are a few textures that need to be edited (such as the bricks normal map, 2-sided texturing adjustments, smoothing, etc.) but I feel this is a great start on the environment of my animation.
You can check out screen shots in my previous post here.
I will continue updating this blog for the next semester, so until then!
After a lot of work into the environment, I decided to jump back into the main character, George. I had to tweak a bit of his rig because of inaccurate paint weights, and also I felt that his rig wasn’t the best.
After adjusting his weights for the first week of the semester, I wanted to jump right into facial expressions. George doesn’t speak, so building phonemes were not exactly needed, but that meant I had to strongly communicate George’s emotions through his face and his body movements. I referenced my storyboard animatic on what expressions I needed to build.
I am currently working with Autodesk 3dsMax, so I used the Morpher modifier and created various channels for each movement (blinking, eye brow movements, etc.). I applied separate morphs to George’s body, his snout, and his bandana.
The only downside I found is that I couldn’t find a way to save the attributes I applied to create a facial expression; that way I wouldn’t have to manually change George’s face when I needed to. I do have a document with the values of each morph channel, so I have to reference that. But unfortunately, that’s the way I’m probably going have to work for now.
But here are the facial expressions of George!
I personally love how they turned out! I tried to push the expressions to the point where his face would look broken; I felt that would help push the very animated expressions within frames (but that’s for trial and error at a later stage in this production).
Next update I am planning to put George in specific positions in correlation to the animatic, and have his facial expressions to go along with it.
I placed George in the first few main positions he would be in to test out his edited rig. So far everything is going smoothly; a few weird geometry and paint weights still need to be edited, but they are minor.
I don’t really gush about my characters, but HE’S SO CUTE. 😀
Next update, I’ll go ahead and put these positions into the environment I built and adjust them accordingly. That way I can begin setting up cameras and adjust lighting if needed.
After adjusting a few materials, I started to set up the first few cameras of the “A Day with George” animation. I still feel there needs to be some slight adjustment to camera angles, but I think it would be solved once I get George animated. But for now, I guess you can say I am creating a 3D storyboard animatic so I have a stronger reference than my 2D storyboard animatic.
I only provided three camera set ups because the others are still being adjusted as of now. Please keep in mind that the following screen shots are low resolution test renders.
This shot is one of the opening scenes to introduce our main protagonist, George. The scene pans along the garden windows with George sleeping on the couch.
In this shot, we see George peacefully sleeping as he leans his head on the couch pillows. I felt that if I utilized the items and environment around him, his world would seem more believable. Plus, everyone’s house isn’t neat and tidy.
After George wakes up, he jumps towards the living room window to see if he’s able to go outside for a walk. He becomes very excited due the clear skies and the pleasant weather.
Just a side note, while I was doing test renders of these camera shots, George was rendering very dark and was casting too much shadows on himself. I wasn’t sure how I should fix this, until I remembered a trick my instructor/mentor taught me a few years back. I applied an Omni light at a medium intensity in front of George and had that light (child) link to George’s master control (parent). I then applied all geometry except George’s geometry to be excluded from this light. Therefore, George lights up a bit more, and stands out from his environment. (Thanks Norm!)
I will continue to setting up cameras and provide test renders to share. I also have a few more assets to build and texture, so I’ll update about those as soon as I can.
For the past couple weeks or so, I’ve been building the extra 3D assets that I pushed aside since I had to focus on the exterior environment and the characters.
At the end of the short, we see George happily running on a treadmill to get the exercise he wanted despite not being able to go outside.
It took awhile to decide what color the storage room would be because I didn’t want it blue like the living room, but I didn’t want it to stand out too much with saturation or contrast in comparison to the assets. But after placing the items in the storage room, a light green/teal worked pretty well.
I also complied a small list of the assets I needed to build for that room:
Water & Dog Food Dishes
Here are some of the 3D assets with textures:
Fun fact! A few of the paintings in the picture frames are actually edited images of a few of my digital paintings on my main website! You can check them out here.
And after placing everything together, here’s the finished Storage Room!
Although some of the assets are not in the storyboard, I expected there would be slight changes. For example, the picture frames will be a substitute behind George to portray the illusion he is walking outside instead of the wallpaper originally.
I bet you’re wondering where George’s food and water bowls are. Well, they didn’t quite fit in the room so decided to move them to the living room:
Now with this fraction of the environment complete, I am going to jump back to the character aspect of things and build/rig the secondary characters of the animation. Until next time!
It completely slipped my mind earlier in the production that there were two other characters that required 3D building and rigging. And because I am not the best at rigging, I kind of dreaded this fact. But overall, the process went a lot smoother than I thought because of the various trial and errors earlier with George and the Owner in the “A Day with George” animated short.
These models may look familiar, because they are altered models from George and the Owner.
For the Canoe Man, I altered height and added a hat, overalls, and boots. I had to re-paint weights (a dreadful experience to be honest, my computer was not having it a few times), but the outcome was pleasant.
As for the Canoe Man’s Dog, I decided to take George’s model and alter colors. I also changed his bandana into a simple collar. I thought it would be cute to have a neighboring dog of the same breed.
Although I (kind of) find reusing characters a bad thing, I thought because their cameo was literally a few seconds (and not even a close up or medium shot to say the least) it wouldn’t hurt to reuse existing models. Plus, in the process of altering the characters, I thought of another story plot for George and the Canoe Man’s Dog. But that’s a whole other production later in the future. 🙂
There were a few pieces of the environment that I pushed to the side while I was building the storage room and the secondary characters. They are minor, but important nonetheless.
I finally got around to texturing the sidewalk and road area where the secondary characters walk upon. I’ll show you what it looks like rendered in a later update when I set up cameras.
In addition to texturing, I also adjusted the sky dome around the whole environment. In the animated short, the weather changes from a sunny day to a gloomy rainy mess. So I applied two separate textures to portray this weather change.
I set these domes to exclude shadows and light and also applied a self-illumination on the geometry. You can see this in the Environment Flythrough.
I’ll be tackling water and all of it’s wonders in the next update. Wish me luck!