We are going to visit Stuttgart and experience the
biggest animation and visual effects festival FMX in all its glory and
hopefully will have time to check out ITFS too, the Internationales Trickfilm
Festival Stuttgart, which is happening during the same time. I will write posts
about the trip whenever I can during the week but they will of course be posted
always in the end of the day as summaries.
Butthou shalt not fall into despair because if you'd
like to follow the events as they happen make sure to follow me on Twitter! I
will be tweeting pics and feelings as often I can. In the next post I will
speak about my expectations for the trip and write about the talks I'm most
excited about. Until then, stay tooned and I'll keep fixing my laptop. We fall to
So here is the final dragon flight cycle. I said it would take approximately another three hours or so to polish the animation but I think it took about four or five hours because of the tricky controls with the tail and the head as I explained earlier. I did a slight camera move in Maya for this video to test what it would look like with moving background and I think it works okey but for showreel purposes I will do a render with static camera so the clip loops nicely and is easily extended or shortened to fit the reel. Also the timing might need some adjusting even though I think it's the background that is making the dragon look small and thus the cycle a bit too slow. The trees are too big compared to the the dragon so the animation loses some of its weight and believability. All these aspects will be adjust for the very final render for my showreel but this shows how important it is to do test renders etc. The rig is from CreativeCrash and the backplate as well as the HDR are provided by NordicFX. I only rendered a beauty and an ambient occlusion pass for this and composited everything in After Effects. That's it for now, enjoy the vid and stay tooned!
The dragon animation is nearly completed so I decided to do a test render to see what still needs tweaking and I also wanted to see what kind of an environment will be the best for the fligh cycle. For the final render I'm planning to use either moving archive footage or use moving camera in Maya with a background suitable for that.
My experience with the rig has been rather good so far considering that more than often one shouldn't expect much from freely shared rigs. The wing setup is very robust in my opinion with all of the individual controls for each finger and different parts of the fingers too.
The head and the tail controls, however, both have their cons. The head doesn't have IK option which would make animating the head separately from the body very easy. The need of the control can be justified by the fact that most birds keep their heads steady and at the same place even when the rest of the body moves as this car advert prefectly demostrates.
The tail also has very awkward and stiff shape because it can only be manipulated with two conrollers in each end of the tail. With a flight cycle though, this doesn't become a problem because the tail shouldn't move too much to distract from the rest of the animation anyway but I can imagine with other/non-cyclic animation more control would be preferred and needed.
As reference for the flight cycle I've used the dragons in the Game of Thrones and How to Train Your Dragon and yet again real life reference such as eagles and other big birds to understand how something heavy as a dragon can fly and how its weight affects the flight cycle. My aim is to get the cycle finished and rendered by Sunday night and by the second episode of Game of Thrones of course. So, instead of a very low-res test video, there will be a high-res video for you to enjoy very soon!
So the animation for my coursemate Graham's short film The Legend of The First has begun and I am responsioble for four shots in total. They're going to be very nice bodymechanics pieces with animation Mentor's Stewart rig and I'm quite excited to do animation that has elements from both character and realistic creature animations for change.
Here are my very first blocks for three of my shots. These were done solely based on the initial brief and thus about to be changed quite a lot. I just felt I need to have little play around with the rig as I haven't used it before. I showed these blocks in our first animation meeting/briefing and next will go through all the notes from the meeting and adjust the blocks accordingly.
Please also check out Graham's blog for more info on the story and the project in general from the director's point of view. More about my animations for this project will follow rather soon even though during next week I will focus on putting together my character animation reel and updating my creature animation reel for FMX. Til next time, stay tooned and watch out for those Easter eggs!
In anticipation of the new Game of Thrones season I've been animating a flight cycle with this dragon rig I found. This piece will replace the eagle flight cycle I had planned to do for my 'Giraffe&Eagle' personal project. So far I've spent approximately three hours on this and it will probably take another three to get it polished and ready to render and comp.