Junkyard Concept

Although environments are not not the main focus for this project, it would be ideal to have a concept piece to follow when constructing the scene. Thus, here is concept piece of the junkyard where the members of Tribe 17 will perform.

I am yet to fully determine the context within the animation, which I have had a number of talks with Alan. In general, the members of Tribe 17 are performing a ritual of sorts to make 'B' or perhaps 'C' happen. So in this idea, the Tribe's ritual movements involve operating a pile driver machine; by pounding the various bits of junk (in time with the drumming of the soundpiece) they create sparks to attract fireflies, which in turn they use to power and store within themselves. As such, I tried to capture a mystical tone to the piece above as it involves a circle/cycle with machine and nature. It may be a quirky premise and may need some tweaking to give me more opportunities to animate, but I'm eager to hear any thoughts or feedback on the idea.

Junk Character Designs

From my original silhouettes created from objects of junk, I have taken the more successful designs to flesh out. It has been tricky deciphering the insides of the silhouette, where many tweaks and experimentation was needed to refine the design as a whole. I've tried to place objects that would enable degrees of flexibility and movement such as ball joints, tubing or springs.

Although there are most likely areas subject to some further tweaking, I believe I can take these further to begin modelling where changes can be made in the production process.

Game Modelling - UVs

With our game model character completed, we have also laid out UVs with Game design principles in mind. Namely, the UVs are combined together on a single sheet where repeated parts such as hands and shoes are left overlapping to mirror, effectively maximising texture space.

Maya - Normal Maps

As part of our workshops concerning Game Modelling, we have begun to look at the potential of Normal Maps to significantly increase the level of detail with texturing. A flat plane with low geometry can give the impression of depth and detail with the use of normal maps. However, they lose their effectiveness when viewed at extreme angles.

Maya Dynamics #04

Delving further into Maya dynamics this week introducing soft/rigid bodies with particle systems.

Technical Troubles

I'm afraid to report some technical woes as my graphics card has seemed to have died on me tonight - it fails to startup with one long beep followed by three short beeps of death. I have an old graphics card in place which should suffice for now until I get a new replacement in, so hopefully it won't disrupt my work flow too much.

Fortunately, I have my work backed up on an external drive, so I can work on other computers if necessary. But yes - take this as another healthy reminder to backup your work!

Maya Dynamics #03

Our third week experimenting with Maya dynamics emitting from surfaces and other particles themselves. Here we created fireworks, an object dispersing, as well as object slowly catching fire with an example of a barrel.

Game Modelling - Body

With the head of the Games Model completed, we have moved on to create the body of the character following the same principles as before, where the model is not smoothed relying on the softening/hardening of normals. Additional faces are also given to areas of particular deformation.

Junk Silhouette Designs

With the world of my animation revolving around a junkyard, it makes natural sense that the design and aesthetic should similarly be inspired by junk. Thus, as suggested by tutor Alan, I have taken a range of reference images of junk and cutout individual parts/objects for a range of intriguing forms and shapes.

I've then combined the forms together to create silhouette designs of the possible type of characters in the animation.

This approach has produced some intriguing designs which is leading me to consider the possibility of having the characters be made entirely of objects of junk, rather than be human in form and figure. Where their construction would also affect their performance in the way they move.

Maya Dynamics #02

More experiments with Maya dynamics using Curve Emitters and Curve Flow to create a shockwave, fireworks, a particle trail following a motion path as well as intersecting surfaces to create a shore effect around an island. Even with these fairly straightforward effects, one can begin to see the potential of dynamics for further uses.

Game Modelling - Head #02

We have continued modelling the game model head adding the final details such as the ear and hair. With a low poly model, much of the detail will come from texturing and normal maps.


Some quick thumbnails envisioning the type of shots possible for my animated short. Namely, the figures will perform around a central idol made similarly from the junk, where there will be a main figure performing the majority of movements.

Tribe Silhouette Designs

With a concentrated character performance, the designs of my characters will have to work on a number of levels from visual appeal to practicality when animating. First however, I have experimented with a range of character shapes and proportions forming various silhouette designs.

The main feature in the designs is the mask which can be varied to give the illusion of several characters.

The designs with extraggerated proportions are notably working better, particularly the 2nd of 3rd designs of page 1, as well as the designs on the third page.

Alchemy - Tribe Masks

To help mix things up in my concepts, I have approached these designs differently using the software Alchemy - a drawing application designed to be widely experimental in nature. These tribe mask designs were made using loose abtract forms and shapes combined with the use of the mirror function.

I had some fun with these as I let go of concerns such as detail or line. While these are not final, they serve as initial musings that may have potential to be explored and developed further.

If you're interested in using Alchemy, you can download it here - its free and there's no need for installation as it runs independently.

Research Masks

My main concept is that the dehumanised population dancing to a ritual have also returned to the fashion of masks, made from various scraps and materials. Not only does this provide some interesting designs, but can also help economise my efforts as several masks can be modelled/textured differently to give the illusion of several different characters. As such, I've been gathering some visual reference material in the form of tribal masks for inspiration.