Nexus - Week 5

Last Friday was the end of my work experience at Nexus - and while I'm sad to go, I've had a fantastic time that has been very inspiring.

While I was unable to get stuck in on a live project in production, I still managed to learn lots about working in a professional studio environment. From the many creative group meetings to the dynamic between directors and studio members, the collaborative nature of working to form the best creative solutions was very inspiring. The projects that I did work on were predominantly in the pre-production stages, creating various props and environments for a number of pitches. This allowed me to work within the practices of the Nexus pipeline, such as ensuring naming conventions and file locations were consistent and ready for use for other members.

Becoming familiar with 3D Studio Max has also opened my eyes to some new approaches and ideas when it comes to working in CG. From modelling, animating and to the advantages of working with Linear Workflow - a process of working with gamma correction to achieve the best lighting and colouring results. Both Max and Maya have their ups and downs, and while I'm not championing one or the other, there's certainly things I'm trying to bring into Maya from Max and vice versa.

With animation exercises, I learned a lot with the process of animating with the help from Michael and Mark whose feedback and words of animating wisdom have proved invaluable to me. From the importance of animation curves with trajectories, to the effective use of the graph editor, I've certainly learned a few new tricks that have given me confidence to animating.

Overall, I had a great time with the whole experience being very enlightening and inspiring to say the least. I want to thank everyone at Nexus for helping me out and making me feel welcome, and of course to Phil and Alan for making this possible.

While I won't be able to upload everything I've done, I will be able to post some stuff including one of the main animation exercises I've been working on - so look out for that!

Hi-Res Model - Body

With the head complete, we have begun to model the body of the hi-res version of the character.

Front, Side, Back.

Hi-Res Model - Head

Remember this guy? Well, we've now got round to modelling a hi-res version of the character. Where there were limitations to the earlier games model, it is now a case of maximising detail when necessary, adding additional faces that will be eventually smoothed. Of course, the flow of geometry is still important and must be considered carefully.

Front, Side, Back.

Maya - Matchmoving #2 - 4

Continuing our matchmoving workshops, we've begun to track some live scenes using Autodesk's Matchmover. Essentially, the camera tracking data is translated from Matchmover to Maya, allowing one to construct proxy environment and place new objects into the scene with the confidence that it will appear correctly in shot.

We experimented with a number of methods from:

Autotracking (added sphere)

to manual tracking method known as Target Tracking (added sphere)

to a Masked Auto Tracking method, requiring one to maintain the mask throughout the scene (added wind-up Key).

Maya Dynamics #10 - 12

Been keeping up with some Maya tutorials in the background, starting with some dynamics!

Soft/Rigid Bodies
Some more dynamics with soft/rigid bodies, creating a number of interesting effects from deformations to organic type movements.

Dynamics Ncloth
Dynamics can also be applied to nurb objects, granting some advantages over polygon counterparts.

Nexus - Week 4

An update from my fourth week at Nexus!

As I have continued with my animation exercise earlier this week, I've been fortunate enough to be getting some great feedback from animator Michael Greenwood, giving me quick lessons and pointers that would have taken much longer for me to figure out myself. While I still have much to learn, I've certainly feel a lot more confident in approaching animation in a CG world. Its a challenging process that cannot be rushed, requiring much feedback and perseverance that will make the hours fly by, but its also one of the most rewarding experiences you could ever achieve once things fall in place.

Michael has worked on a variety of projects with some wonderful examples of animation, so be sure to check his work out on his site. Here is a commercial for 'TNT Post' that Michael was the lead on.

Another CG artist who I work with at the studio is Florian Caspar, who is working on a potential high-profile project that is also very exciting. Check out Florian's impressive showreel below, and also a fun twist to presenting a character turnaround.

This CG character didn’t anticipate his turn around!

Otherwise, I have also been working collaboratively for another upcoming pitch, building models and props to populate the environment. The project has an intriguing concept and art direction that brings a different approach to modelling - so some exciting stuff at it begins to gather pace into my fifth and final week here at Nexus.

Nexus - Week 3

This week at Nexus has been an interesting one as a variety of pitches have come and go. Its an interesting dynamic between directors and studio members, as while the directors lead the 'vision' so to speak, everything else is a constant collaboration between directors and studio members in order to create the best, creative designs and solutions possible.

While things are still a little quiet on the live project side of things, I've been spending most of my time with some animation exercises using some of the Nexus characters and rigs. Often I'll show my progress to some of the animators around the studio who are able to give me some invaluable feedback on my work. Its all very encouraging as I'm learning a lot of the process of animating which would have taken me a lot longer to learn otherwise. I can't quite post my progress on here yet as I'm using some Nexus characters, but hopefully there will be a workaround to this at a later point.

A group of us had a little field trip to a mo-cap studio this week, which unfortunately wasn't quite finish to say the least, but interesting nonetheless to see the potential workspace. I also met a bunch of people working in the industry as we went out for some drinks one evening. The people there came from a range of fields who had either worked at Nexus at some point or were simply friends of Nexus - so it was great making contacts with people and talking about their experiences in the industry.

The end of this week brings me past the mid-way point in my work experience, with 2 weeks left at Nexus!

Nexus - Day 6

Day 6 and I'm continuing to work on stuff for another upcoming pitch. Its exciting stuff as its got a neat concept going for it. I'm learning more and more on the collaborative side of things with group discussions, important feedback from the directors as well as the pipeline that ensures everyone can work together across multiple files with proper naming conventions etc. Hopefully, it will get the green light so we can continue to take it all the way.

In the mean time, I thought I share with you an animated short by Dara Cazamea, one of the guys at Nexus that I am fortunate to be working with. This was his graduation project co-directed by four other guys. Some really great stuff here so be sure to give it a watch when you have the time. It has a B-movie type plot so it rings a lot of bells from our own group projects earlier in the year.

Word of warning: contains a lot of blood and scenes not for the squeamish... but really its hilarious so don't let it put you off.

You may like having a good lunch in a quiet place as a park... But what if your lunch doesn't?
In the street everyone can hear you scream, but honestly who cares?

Try it out in stereoscopic 3D if you dare!

Hambuster is a graduation movie co-directed by five students from Supinfocom Arles. 
This production is a 6 min short film and it was all done in 3D stereoscopic.

I just realised Phil has already posted this on the group blog (2 days ago in fact!) but waargh I'll post it up here anyways.

Nexus - Day 4-5

With the beginning of the second week here at Nexus, I've been working on a few bits and bobs across a number of pitches. I've also got to meet a few of the directors who lead the majority of projects for Nexus, as well as participating in the creative group meetings where its fascinating to witness the creative decisions, solutions and ideas taking place.

Some of the work for a pitch is going through a redesign after feedback from the clients, so its fine for me to post one of the environments I put together. From a quick concept, to modelled set. Lighting is pretty basic at the moment, but I'm now learning to use the Vray lighting system (which is coming to Maya) and getting my head around the Linear Workflow theory with gamma correction... its a little bit tricky but I think I'm getting the hang of it.



That's all I can post for now!