Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chapter 4 - Experiment part 3

Week 4.
On my last post, I mentioned that i would changed my shot to Spline a week early. I really wish that i really did it. I can't changed what has happened though. So i would talk about my experience with plateau tangent. Before I start.. maybe this only occurs to me, not to anybody else.. and if you are a plateau tangent fan.. im sorry if i against you.

I have mentioned on my first post that at first, it seems that plateau tangent gave me a nice timing. However, i found out that the slow in-out and the even spacing in the middle really distract me. It was all right at first, but right after I playblast the shot, the shot would look very mechanical due to the constant slow in-out. The other problem happened when I refine my curve. The timing right after I refined the curve sometimes felt a little bit off. It probably because I really got used to see the animation played on plateau tangent and since it already has given me the in-between poses, i felt that the work is done. 
Again, i was Wrong! I think the slow in-out and the even spacing has really manipulated my eyes and i did not realize this until this week. So in this case, i would say that stepped mode is a better option. I feel that in stepped mode, I could really think about the approximate timing between one pose to the next ones without (obviously) looking at or worrying the in-between poses. I also miss one important part that i always do in stepped mode. Every time i use this approach, I put the in-between pose at the right timing. In plateau mode, I did not put my in-between poses at the right timing. - I hope this make sense - I was simply enjoy the in between poses that was given by the computer and i did not even think to place them at the right timing. So, the lesson from this are; do not be lazy, pose that in-between poses, and watch your timing.

I also thought that it was not necessary to change the tangents type when you refine your curve. It seems like i got this one wrong too. It probably better to change the whole tangent type beforehand. I encountered this weird behavior of this tangent type. It probably because i did not change the entire curve tangents type. So this is what happened, when i refined the curve, i always have them on weighted tangent, break them, and free the tangent weight. Normally, after I break the tangent, if I adjust one of the handle it wont effect any other curve shape beside the one at the side of the handle that I'm adjusting. Let's say i have an A key frame and a B key frame on A's right, and i would like to adjust B's curve using B's left tangent handle. Here I have all curve tangents broken down and they are all set to free tangent weight mode, and when I adjust the curve tangent, it seems that any movement that i do affects the shape of the curve shape on the Left side of the A key frame. I hope this make sense.. I'm not sure why this happened and i have not done any research to fix this. My suspicion says that this is because i just partly changed the curve tangent type on the one that i felt it need to be changed into spline. So I would say that next time around, it would be better to have everything on the same mode.. or in any mode but plateau (sorry plateau fan ^^'). The other thing that i found is, no matter i tried to refine the curve, it led me to a sort of plateau shape, uh well maybe that's why it is called plateau mode.

So this would be what i experienced this week and also the last couple weeks. The term is getting even more challenging and there is really no time to slack. I always treat my shot as one part of experiments and i regret nothing from this. I definitely learn and find new stuff even though my grade this week is going down drastically hehe.. It is sad but i feel that that's the mark that i should get. I'm honestly not too proud on how my shot turn out.. it obviously has tons of stuff that need to be fixed. But yeah, i think i will give myself a break from this shot and carry on with the next one, which would be Ballerina Stewie! :) Below is the latest playblast of my shot:


Monday, January 30, 2012

Chapter 3 - Experiment part 2

Week 3.
I had to make some changes for my shot. It was quite stressful because i tried out couple of solutions to finish off my shot but it seemed that each of my solutions were not too helpful because they exceeded the frame limit. I shot couple video references on the previous week and again this week to clarify the steps and timing. Video references are always helpful cause they really allow us to observe what is really happening on our body when we move. I also learnt that it is not simply about recording our actions, but it is also about trying to act out our action based on the timing of our shot. This method really helped me out and this worked really well for my Class 2 shots. I have to admit that i missed this part for my shot and yep, the outcome is quite obvious, i exceed the frame limit. Below is the clip of the actual shot and the alternative shot that i did:

If i could go back to week 3, I would change my entire shot into Spline. I will talk about this on the next post. During this week i felt that i was too caught up with how i should fix the ending. I had a hard time to decide which actions that would look better for my shot. Right now, i honestly feel that it is not necessary to think which one is cooler and which one is not. The most important thing is which one that makes more sense for the shot. I realize that no matter how cool the action look like, if the timing is not correct, the action will fail. Here is the shot that I submitted:

Beside of changing into Spline mode, i would also definitely add and refine the overlap on the body parts. I also struggled with the constraint system that I created. Both hands follow the shovel wherever it goes. This works very nicely for most of the digging part, but it does not really work for the throwing part. The problem was simply solved by using the visibility method that is shown on the training video. Ultimately, I should have done more work this week.

(go to part 3)

Chapter 2 - Experiment part 1

The past 3 weeks was indeed very super mega challenging..so, this is what happened..

Week 2 was the week when I transferred my sketches to Maya. I had to change my planning and make it simpler. It was so hard because this time around my mentor really taught me about story telling. It is not only about 'create a story' and the rest is history, but now it is about 'building a story'. It never really hits me that how our head moving, a quick look to the left, and other small, tiny detailed actions would affect our shot. Our body movement is part of the acting choices. It is easy when we talk about it, but in my case.. I definitely still have to learn a lot. Moving on to how i approached my shot. This time around, i was really impressed with the plateau workflow that was introduced on the lecture this week. I decided to try this workflow right away. During my planning and blocking pass, I felt that plateau workflow worked really well for me. This workflow helped me to figure out the timing faster and not to mention it created in between poses for me (me such a lazy **s.. tsk tsk tsk..). It pretty much made feel that i might have already done with my blocking. Below are 2 clips from week 2:

 Silhouette stewie, to see if the poses are readable

Original View

Looking back at my shot now, the main reason why i felt like i have finished with my blocking is mainly because the curves at plateau mode have an easing in and easing out. I was very please to see the outcome because i thought it was good enough and because it felt like all the poses are in the right place, right timing and looks like it has a quite all right spacing. Boy i was Wrong.. i guess there is not such thing as 'i have finished with my blocking' and when do we actually finish our blocking? I don't have a definite answer for that for now. I hope i would find the answer in the future. Anyway, i learnt that the easing in and easing out, they created this illusion of timing. I am not sure how i am going to explain this but in a nut shell, it felt pretty much very mechanical, very pose A to pose B kind of feeling. At that time, I of course did not realize this.

(go to part 2)


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Chapter 1 - Slap!

Class 3 Week 1. This term is my first term with different mentor. I was indeed anxious, especially last night when i received a notification email that my new mentor just gave me a critique. This time around, we really have to consider to add some kind of story in our shot and to give the character personality. My new mentor is Tim Crawfurd : he points out right away that my works on my first 2 term did not really have personality on it. So i think this time around, i need to bring this to my works. I have no time to freak out or anxious about getting new mentor or to have adjustment period. Below are my planning sketches. I feel that i have to take and analyse more video references since my shot is not too strong and still lack of personality. Another thing that i did differently is that i didn't do pencil test and i didn't really act out the action. I thought i was going to try different approach.. but yeah.. it didn't go too well o_o.. but at least now i know what works for me.. ^^