Unit 3 - Transcription

The last project for the second year is entitled Transcription, where we are challenged to create a transcribed piece or work of our own choosing, transforming an abstract source into a visual form. This can include an extract from a novel/poem, to a piece of music or artwork, fuelling our designs to create either an Animated Short, Digital Set or Character Design be it for a film or game. Essentially, one must identify the end goal of the project and shape the production pipeline accordingly.

Thus, with this project I intend to create an animated short with the aim to focus more specifically on environments. As I have focused pre-predominately on the character production pipeline with the recent narrative project of the Chainsaw Wielding Baby, as well as character designs with the previous character design project, it would be refreshing to turn my attention more towards environments and further refine my skills in these areas of my development.

The subject I'm intending to transcribe is an extract from Persian philosopher Omar Khayyám, where he questions the unknown of life after death.
'Strange is it not? that of the myriads who
Before us pass'd the Door of darkness through,
Not one returns to tell us of the Road,
Which to discover, we must travel too.'
(Lloyd, 2008:5-6)

With this, the main idea of my animated piece would begin with a calm, serene garden type environment, establishing an atmosphere of peace and harmony. From a first person perspective, the camera would travel through the garden environment to arrive at a small Church, where we are lead inside to find a open casket with a body inside. From here, the camera pulls away to reveal that the individual we have been following is actually the person inside the coffin, but in a spirit form visiting his body one last time before disappearing once more.

Effectively, the animation becomes my interpretation of Khayyám's words into a visual form. I do not intend to present a sombre or fearful portrayal of death, but rather a peaceful and perhaps comforting tone of the journey that not one can return to tell us, but a journey we too will travel and discover. Here the animation provides the opportunity to create two diverse environments of the calm, serene garden to the exterior and interior of the reverent man-made structure of a church. Along with the challenge to capture the right tonality and atmosphere of the piece with lighting and pacing. While the narrative contains a character, it will most likely be a model and not one that is fully animated as we move in a first person perspective.

With this idea in mind, hopefully it will be manageable to fit within the limited 10 week time frame, allowing for further development and refinement. Any thoughts and feedback on this idea will be most appreciated.

Lloyd, John. (2008). QI:Advanced Banter - The QI Book of Quotations. London. Faber and Faber.

KLED Animations Presents: 'Day of the Chainsaw Wielding Baby'

The studio group project came to a close last week, I'm proud to present my team's animation trailer: Day of the Chainsaw Wielding Baby.

‘Project 6’ – an experiment to create the perfect killing machine, goes astray when their latest subject escapes from a secret laboratory located in the depths of the Earth.
Alone and confused, Project 6 is out of control! Who can stop this ‘baby’ now?

This is actually version 2 of our trailer which I feel works better than our initial version, that featured a narrative trailer voice. You can view the original here.

For a little bit of fun, we actually included some small Easter eggs for the competing studios including Gremlin Box Productions, B3D Studios and Creature Studios and their respective animations - so see if you can spot them, and be sure to check out their respective trailers. Unfortunately, we were not able to fit in Void Canvas Studio, Inspire Studios and Lucid Studios (apologies!) but be sure to check out their works too!

The main share of my work in this project included Concept art, modelling, texturing and rigging our Baby character, creating the Laboratory scene as well as general compositing including small special effects such as bubbles and smoke. My apologies that I couldn't give more frequent updates to this side of the project, as things were pretty tight on schedule. Hopefully, the documented Making Of publication below will make up for this, providing a behind-the-scenes look into much of the process my group and I worked on.

The Making of Day of the Chainsaw Wielding Baby

Here is an additional walk cycle I attempted with the Baby model. I tried to capture the baby's walk cycle by making him a little off balance and slowing his movements.

Where I've also presented a Turnaround of our Baby character for your viewing pleasure.

Feel free to head over to the KLED Animations blog for more details on our progression throughout the weeks.

Otherwise, the next and final project for the second year is soon approaching, entitled Transcription. More on that in the coming days.

Maya Character Workshop #06 - Turnaround, Face Cam, Mouth, Eye Rig

Completed extra details to the character model adding a Mouth, Teeth, Tongue and a rig to control the Eyes, as well as a Face Camera that centres to the models face at all times. After which, we present a turnaround for the final character model.


Face Cam + Controls

Mouth, Teeth, Tongue

Eye Rig

Car Modelling - Mustang 09

Its been a while, but I've finally finished the car model adding the last few details and wheels. I've learnt a lot with this series of tutorials and although lengthy, were definitely worth it.

KLED Animations Update #3

Phew - its been a while since my last post as things have been busy over at KLED Animations, so forgive the lengthy post! We're nearing the end of the project as we the enter the final days so everyone's been working overtime to get things done. I've mainly posted my progress at the studio blog, but I also want to keep things updated here.

The baby is fully rigged and skinned, complete with controls. He actually has three forms with a a normal form, a single chainsaw form, to a finale of a double chainsaw form.

Normal form

Single Chainsaw

Double Chainsaw

Front, Side and Back.

Chainsaw Model

The chainsaw animation is made similarly to the process of tank traps by using a nurbs circle as a path for the teeth to follow. Initially, I tried using a wire deformer which did not want to work for some reason, but eventually found the solution with the use of a mel script. Here I made made a quick experiment speeding up and slowing down the chainsaw animation. When it comes to animating the chainsaw fully, I'm hoping we can add some vibration to the chainsaw and perhaps motion blur when compositing.

I've also added the mouth interior to the baby, with some teeth and tongue. UVs are also laid out ready for texturing.

Created an initial set of face blendshapes to convey the facial expressions of the baby.

Made a quick test just experimenting with the facial blendshapes, so no subtle eye movements or blinks in this one.

And lastly, here are my initial attempts at texturing the baby focusing on the texture maps.

Head UV

Back to work! Meanwhile, be sure to check out the KLED Animations blog for info on the project.