Friday, 27 November 2009

The End of Unit405

Its the last day working on this project. The result..... I will write in detail after I catch up with some sleep.. its been a very long week..lack of sleep.. my brain has melted from the maya overload. =_=

Brief C: Character Design:
Aim: To design and animate a character for a potential animated advertisement for London Zoo.
Visual style should reflect traditional Claymation techniques but generated in CG process.

The character I chose to focus on was the silver back gorilla, Cornilius.
Cornilius - A middle aged silver back gorilla, the most civilised and sensible occupant of the zoo.

Processes I went through to achieve final:
-Research on silver back gorilla's - study of their body structure and movement.
-Watch gorilla documentaries.
-Comparisons of other developed cartoon monkeys/gorilla's.
-Design various drawing styles.
-Colour tests on one design.
-Produce a final character sheet, ready to model in maya.

-Study various modeling techniques online.
-Bought Rigging book
-Found working with NURB's were easier to modify into a gorilla structure using isoparms and lattice deformers.
-Practice modeling and deforming the model to capture detailed features.
-Practice RIGGING. + study controllers needed for my model.
-Start on final model.
-Study BlendShapes - facial expressions made easier to animate.
-Rig the final model
-Skin and paint weights - (so many problems painting weights)

This was the first time modeling my own character, alot of research was needed since Im not very fluent in using maya. But with good help from online tutorials and friends around me, I managed to model the final thing with ease. However, when things got a bit too technical, problems started blooming.

Problems I encountered during the first stages of modeling....
How to model using NURB's. Its not as hard as people say it is.^^ It really gives a more natural feel; working with curves rather then blocks of polygons. I've learnt how to set and use deformers to my advantage.
Firstly, using an EP curve to trace over HALF my character sheet, I made a NURB by revolving the curve. The first problem I encountered was the hole produce on the top and bottom of the model. To counter this, I fixed up the lines neatly and deleted unnecessary points around the edge closer to the inner point of the model where it would revolve around. I did a few tests to get this right, and found the points out of lined would revolve around itself and make another object INSIDE the original NURB particle I desired. Another problem I encountered was, the fact that a gorilla has a beard king of thing going on, with only their face and chest showing their actual skin. I couldnt get that effect on my model - I just didn't know how, after playing around with the maya controllers, I found something called "Hull" to fix the problem. So now, my model doesn't look like a chicken OR seamonster!

Things I enjoyed during modeling...
Lattice deformers! How I loved using them. By using a lattice deformers, I dont actually touch the actual mesh. Its kind of like scaffolding.. but instead of supporting the object, I can use lattice points to mould the mesh at ease. Then by deleting the history, it gets rid of the lattice deformer but leaves the result as it is! =) I like moving the vertices and using deformers instead of extruding polygons by a mile. extruding just hates me, never works out. So Im happy nurbs worked out.

BLENDSHAPES!^^ - Duplicating the mesh, then changing the facial expression using deformers, morphing targets and moving the vertices. After creating a blendshape, changing the facial expressions became so much easier then the older models we've been given to animate with.

Problems I encountered during skinning stages...
Surprisingly, I had no problems actually making the joints and controllers. Placing the joints in place, then mirroring them, and basically organising each part in the process. Parenting controllers to joints was also very enjoyable. Parenting the parts was such a simple job! =D

Skinning and painting weights onto the model was just a plain nightmare. I'm sure people spend months on painting weights alone. Its such a stressful job of fixing the influences as I move the different joints. At first, whenever I moved the arms, the force would bend the side of the head. I thought to myself, perhaps I made the head too big? I then found a tutorial online, explaining the theories of painting weights. Painting weights made more sense, but it just wouldn't work. If i had more time on the project, I might've had more time to experiment with weight painting. During first year at ravensbourne, we didn't have a lecture on painting weights in depth. So I learnt quite a lot from tutorials. After fixing the arm and head issue, the head became too heavy to move, then the spine went a bit deformed every time I tried to move them.
I failed to fix this issue, and found no tutors for advice. So I animated using blendshapes. It cant fully move, but the changing process as it moves seems much smoother.

From this result, I animated a turntable of my final model. and a short sequence showing how the blendshapes turned out. I'm not very satisfied with the result, too much research was needed, and I need to study harder on skinning especially. I'm probably going to continue working on this character since I worked so hard to get this look. Or maybe make an improved version.

I wasted time researching on different people's approaches to modeling and didnt take account of time.However, by doing this I made less mistakes, and approached the tools on maya with confidence;knowing the meaning of what I was doing as I went along made the process more meaningful. I may have spent too much time on character designing alone.

Must really get out of that habit, drowning in the moment when Im drawing - it really puts you in your own world. So there's nothing to regret,its been very intence and I've learnt too much from this project- especially from the errors. Its disappointing in a way I didn't get to animate this guy properly, but not in another way; after stressing over painting weights. Its taken alot of concentration to get this far.

Since we haven't had actual guidance this term and I've been ill most the time, its been kind of worrying, but the hard work paid off, and now I feel I have the confidence to challenge next terms briefs =D

Print screens of the results coming soon~~ (Its on another computer =P)

Wednesday, 25 November 2009



The best Kiddy animation everrr~~ xD

sooooO smooth, simple.. just the look Im looking for =)

Mega cute gestures, smoothly animated!!^^ It really captures peoples attention!! I found a whole CHANNEL on YouTube FULL of Pocoyo episodes!!^^ I think its official!! called..erm..PocoyoTV? I'll update this post later when I find it again =P

Modelling Process on the REAL thing

.......Yeah right xD

Back pains... clicky thumb/finger joints.. eye signt getting worse as the days go by..

3D modelling REALLY KILLS!!!

Just cant be healthy...But heyyy, its ok!! This will be my FIRST completed character I designed, modeled, Blendshaped and RIGGED myself!!^____^

Totally worth the stress.

Learnt so much about deformers especially.. they're just SOOOOO handy! O_O

Working in an organised manner? ..well.. kind of... I managed to save my completed model in the WRONG project folder... nearly gave myelf a heart attack in the morning..LOL..

Anyways.. since I've been lazy to blog yet again.. I'll jus post my process all in one =) Makes things so much easier!! xD Cant concentrate on actual work THEN break away from.. er.. what do you call it... WORK MODE.. LOL

Body Geo^^ Dont this look so nice? Smooth NURB's!!^^

Played around with the Lattice deformer and got a weird chicken head O_O

Mwuahahahahaha Mr. Cornilius The SeaMonster!! Has sucha Pedo smile.. But the vertexes were getting on my nerves.. so.. hes sticking with the pedo smile =_=""

Some how find this option called "Hulls" no idea what it is.. still played around with it and made him another layer!! =) nw he has his beardy thing^^ n.. around his belly too^^

Notice the plasters =O They cover a Gorilla's most.. ugly parts..LOL hes supposed to be the most "civilised and sensible" being at the zoo!! hes not showing does parts!! bad enought the zoo dont give him CLOTHES!! T____T

Meet, My army of Gorilla's!! mwuahahahahaha Fear me now! =P

playing with BlendShapes to make facial expressions easier to animate in the 'future" its actually enjoyable =O one problem.. I cant give him a NICEE smile.. they all come out looking so perverted =_= not a nice look on a "sensible" gorilla... Now im thinking.. maybe having sucha big mouth wasnt a good idea.....

Yeaaa... thats about it for now.. still have alot of theory to work, I dont believe in jus following the tutorials.. I like to know what the hell im doing to the character first =P

Friday, 20 November 2009

Bits of 3D work =O

Since this is a 3D project, I thought I'd PrintScreen a few bits I've been working on. Ive been teaching myself a new modelling technique - much easier then the way we were taught in FIRST year!!^^

Here's what I've learn from modelling the BASIC shape of my character:
-Using NURBS instead of Polygons
-Using the EP Curve Tool to trace other my character sheet. Then revolving it
-Creating deformers (Lattice)

-Inserting Isoparms
-Then adding the parts to the "geometry" layer!!^^
-And working in a more organised manner!! Like actually naming each part =P

I've learnt so much from online tutorials and this maya book =O Things are working out very smoothly. Anything the book is missing or Im wondering WHYY on earth is this computer messing up, I have trusted google to answer my questions^^

These are the more defined test of my character, compared to my tests before, this looks so good!! It isnt my actual charactersheet though. This is the character sheet i designed before.. Ive now extended Cornilius's body proportions to give him a more...APE - feel xD

Enough talk - Heres the images^^

Character Sheet in maya^^ All set up.. well.. actually.. in this image I havent moved the side view in place o.O
Using the EP Curve Tool I fixed up the vertexes, made a Lattice deformer and fixed it the the reference.
Inserted a NURB's cylinder and used the same processes as the body, then duplicated it =P

AND FINALLYY, I did the same thing for the arms!!^^ This time I had to work in top view too! working on 4 seperate screens is just so good =P

I'll upload on a different post on my tests on facial expressions later... too tired *yawns*

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

A few initial drawings from my sketchbook =D

TADA!!! Since Ive been too lazy to upload anything... heres most the sketches Ive done for the Industry Project!!^^

I picked the Character Design Brief, focusing only on Cornilius the gorilla. The most sensible, and civilized animal at London Zoo. =D

Our aim should be to design, model, and rig our chosen brief. With this we should animate a few seconds to show the quality of the rig^^ Im currently working on improving the current model, and the rig =)
Still not liking the idea of it having to look like claymation.. I've had to cut the fluffiness of Cornilius and simplify him so much =(

Ive left a few comments under each sketch too^^

Final Character Sheet FRONT: His arms are LOOONNNGGG! O_O
Final Character Sheet SIDE: He has a duck butt to make him THAT much "cuter" xD
Cornilius seems so short and chibi here.. not gooood....
Was mucking around with a perspective pose! AND IT WORKED OUT FINE! =O
Colour Testing in ROYAL BLUE^^
Colour testing in CYAN (blue)
Colour testing in PASTEL GREEN
Colour testing in LILAC
Colour testing in PASTEL BLUE
Cornulius's WALK pose^^ Him n his stubby legs xD
"CHEESEE!!" with "V" sign^^
Cornilius sitting in the zoo, giving a friendly wave with a book in his other hand^^ how civilized!
The whole page.
Don'nt mess with Cornilius when hes reading!! T_T
Corunilius happily reading^^
Front, Sidddee-ish...BACK view? o.O
First time drawing a gorilla with his butt off the ground =_= not goood..
Very deformed... but this will do for initial sketches =O
Head shape?? round? squared? triangular?? o.O so confuseddd
Stumpy Gorilla!! xD
This jus reminded me of the Grinch o.O why so?
This is what happens when you watch THE SIMPSON's while sketching..
AND THIS is what happens when you watch Dragonball GT while sketching...
Cornilius with a triangular head? I dont think so.. hes too angry!! T_T
HmmmMM a very stiff look...
GORILLA HUMAN FORM!! was thinking of a Digimon power pose.. =P
Drawn using a brush pen straight!! not bad =O since its a new pen xD
BEST character sketch^^ But hes soooOOO FURRY!! WHY must our Gorilla's be made of clayy!! sucha waste of a design =(
Possible Front and Side view.



Sadly, my Macbook Pro died. Apparently.. it had a timebomb inside, and so the Logicboard decided to kill itself off =(
So I decided to chuck it to AppleStore, then buy a new one for the time being =D

Heres a few images I used as reference ^^

Credit to: - for the image above. ^^