Monday, 30 May 2011

Rigging Problems

Problem, after problem, after problem. Ever since my laptop broke everything has gone downhill. I know that the rigging was taking far longer than what it should have. Silly little things that Laura kept mentioning that Ryan and I had to fix was not really much of an issue as they did not take long to solve. Laura was going on as if they were a massive problem but i just did not see it that way, but as i have not tried rigging before i guess i do not know how the small things can effect the rig. Anyway, with them solved, i thought okay well they have been solved which will mean our rig will be to a higher quality than what it would have been before. Karl and i shall have to work extra hard for our animation to be completed but i am sure we can do it.

Once Laura had posted up the link for the finished rig of Summer, i was really excited to work on her. Karl said that he would do Pandy and for me to do Summer as i wanted to work more on facial animation. I started to quickly test Summer and tried to get used to the rig but was finding many many problems. Even placing Summer into basic positions was nearly impossible as the mesh was constantly tearing and deforming. As most of the animation on Summer was going to be through her facial expressions i thought that we still might be okay to do our animation. But once I started posing Summers face with the blendshapes I knew we were in trouble. The problem is that the blendshapes for her facial expressions look lumpy and distorted like they are incomplete, part of her fringe was even attached to the facial blendshape controls, meaning everytime we moved the mouth, the fringe would move up or down with it. This is distressing because we are running out of time to get any animation complete, and with the current condition of the Summer rig I feel there is no way we can create any acceptable animation for our film. This has been quite upsetting for me as i have been eagerly waiting all year to get to this stage so that I can see the character that I designed and made come to life, and now that is not going to happen. What makes it worse is that i previously suggested to Laura that we can find someone else to finish the rig and blendshapes for Summer so that Laura can focus on her own work, but she insisted that she would be able to get it done for us, and now I feel incredibly let down as we are not going to be able to get a single shot finished.

As animation was originally going to be my main folder, i am now lost in what i can place in my folder. I do not even want to do test animation on Summer as the animation may be seen as a bad reflection on me. After all the problems that have happened lately i really feel like giving up, i am finding it very hard to have any strength right now to continue with this project. I never saw this happening and i am gutted that we will not have any animation to show. I now need to try and speak to Dan to see what he thinks about the situation. Although i feel like i have no strength right now, i can not left this defeat me as i need to stay strong for my other team members and as i am also team leader i still need to be strong about our animation.

Friday, 27 May 2011

The stress

Okay, so this week has been the most stressful so far, without having my laptop i have felt quite lost about trying to get some work done. I borrowed a mac from Ravensbourne for the weekend but found out that Maya had a network license so i could only use Maya if i was in the building which is not what i needed. I had no idea how i was going to do any work whilst my laptop was in for repairs. Our group does not have the time for any time to be wasted let alone a whole week. Ryan said that he has a desk top which i can use if i wanted to. At first i was a little unsure as he lives 1 hour and 45 minutes away from me on trains, but i came to realise that i can not afford to waste anymore time. I started traveling to Ryan's everyday just so that i could get some work done, this was really draining as i had to do so much traveling back and forth. But i was able to get work done, so i guess that is all that matters at the end of it.

I got my laptop back one week later like they had said and i was so happy to get it back, i had never been so happy to see my laptop just so that i could get on with some work. From the Apple store i went straight to uni to see everyone so see how they were getting on. As i went to try and load up my work, my Maya was not opening, it said that the license has run out, and all i could think to myself was great, now what?? I started to ask everyone in our class to see if they had Maya 8.5 which no one did, i guess i can't blame them, it is an old programme, but i can not upgrade to a later version as my mac is to old. A guy at the I.T desk said that i can upgrade my mac if i know anyone who has the original desks from there Macs. So i tried doing that but that was no good, it did not work. I tried downloading it, but there was none, even through torrents. My last hope was through Dan Dali. He said that he may have it, but found out two days later that it was on for the PC. All my hopes were gone, out of all the programmes i needed to work, Maya was the only one which was affected. I have really started to lose hope, i really feel like everything is against me not to do any work. I don't see how all this could happen over such a short period of time and near the dead line. I am frustrated and feel like giving up. The only choice i have now is to go round Ryan's to try and do all that i can before deadline. I know we are not going to complete our film, which really upsets me, but i guess it is now time to focus on our folders.

Dan told me that i can be given a short extension from all the problems i have been having of an extra 4 days. But my aim is not to use it, although i have had so many problems this would not matter if i was in the industry and i want to push myself to get all that i can done. Although all hopes are low at the moment if i can push myself as hard as i can then i hope to get most of the work i was planning to get completed. I know i shall be unsuccessful in some of aims, but hopefully my teachers will understand and realise that i have still pushed myself to get all that i can done.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Laptop broken?

Okay so one of the worst things that could possibly happen to a animation group has happened to us. My laptop has broke, i have no idea why, what it is, or how it could have happened. I was doing work fine earlier and when i took a break for a while and returned the screen was not working. I could still hear my laptop running but i had no idea what had happened to the screen. I turned my laptop off and rebooted it but nothing. So i thought maybe my laptop has just over heated and that i need to leave it alone for a while. I returned a few hours later and there was still no response. I started to freak. Has all my work gone?? If it has then our group is really going to struggle, as if our group has not found it hard enough with only three people but for this now to happen, we just do not have any time to waste!! I have most of my work backed up, but the last week or so is not. What am i going to do?

I took my laptop to university the next day and i spoke to Dan Dali regarding the issue, he told me that it just sounds like the screen has gone and that i should be able to hook my laptop to a PC screen. Of course, i started to think of why i hadn't thought about that myself. With Dan calming me down a little i thought, well i still need to go to the Apple store and take it in for repairs. Repairs? Oh wait what about me having a laptop, i wont have one and what about the cost? I soon started to get worried again and felt like i was having the worst day. I booked an appointment with Apple to see them for 4pm today, just have to hope for the best with this. After a while i spoke to Dan and he was helping me the best he could. We were running around the university trying to find a cable to connect to my Mac as my Mac is now rather old and finding the cable started to be a bit of a mission. In the end we finally found one but there was nothing coming up on my screen. Dan then said that it might be the graphics card which has gone, and my jaw wanted to hit the floor, the day was just getting worse and i felt like i had no time to worry because i have to help Ryan, Karl and James with there work making sure everything is going on track. I felt like my head was going to fall off.

Well i guess i just need to wait and see what happens when i go down to the Apple store, wish me luck because i think i am going to need it.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Prop shaders

To help save Ryan time with texturing i thought it would be worth while for me do texturing using shaders as a lot of the toys should look as though they have been made from plastic.
For the Xylophone i wanted them to look as bright and eye catching as possible, as they always attract children. The bars have been textured to look as though they are not really made of plastic but of a metal as they are used more to create music. There is a slight reflection as i know that the metal with a paint coating would not really give off much reflection.
Here looks like a young child's plastic table. Childrens furniture can be made of many different types of plastic, was it was hard to know how to create the right look. A lot of it comes down to the reflection of the object, and you would not be able to get much from a table, so i made sure to keep that low.
I made the bowling pins have a higher reflection then the previous objects as i thought they would be made from a heavier plastic. Bowling pins are usually very shiny but i know that a child's toy version would be seen differently.
The tower of Hanoi has been made to look like it has been made of a very shiny plastic. On the base i have made the refection quite high so that you could see the rings.

Most toys are made from a PVC plastic but can be used in different ways, toys can be made using a soft PVC to a hard PVC. So i have tried to show this through my shaders. I do not know a lot about plastic so it is hard to get each toy spot on.

Sunday, 8 May 2011


James has been doing a great job on sorting out the lighting for our exterior shot but he is finding it rather hard as nothing has been textured as of yet. So i thought it was time for me to step in and try some colour shaders. At first i thought it would be a good idea for Ryan to texture the house, but after a while i thought to myself, there is not need. Ryan needs to focus on the objects that you will be seeing close up, not ones from far away. So i have now started to texture props. I thought i should start off with the house first so that it would help James to get the lighting right for the scene.

As you can see i have started texturing a few of the other props as well as the house as it is easier to just hand over the file to James once, instead of keep going back and forth. I was a little unsure on what the colour scheme should be for the house, but i thought as i have modeled a western house, i would be hot weather so i thought using a cream would be ideal. I tried having the tiles brown but they looked a little old so i used a brown/red which shows that the house is fairly new.

I selected the face of the window, attached a new material and went in the material attributes, then found the special effects window, and i adjusted the glow intensity. This was so that the window look as though there is a light on, without actually having to place in a light.

Here i have now coloured in some of the windows to show that the curtains have been pulled to. I have also played around with the glow intensity on different windows as different curtains and blinds would show different light coming out.

Here is the result of what i done with James lighting. He has also included a occlusion layer which really helps to see depth of the house. From how it looked with no lighting to now is a massive diffence, James has put in some really nice shadows from the slide which helps to give the impression that there is light from the house. I think the glow intensity needs to be raised up a little and once Ryan has textured the treehouse then this shot should be ready to go.

Please note that for this i have only placed in the old version of the slide and sandpit as this was a test to see how the layout and lighting looked, this is not how the final will be presented.

Friday, 6 May 2011


I was asked by James if i could place everything into the exterior scene so that he could start working on the lighting for us.
When i first tried to import the house, i was having many problems. If you look at the image you can see that many of the faces are missing. I tried importing the house a few times but the same thing was happening each time. I thought it might have been Maya playing about as i have known for that to happen before so i quit everything, reloaded and still no improvements. So the only thing i thought i could do was look at the house file scene and see if there was any problems there which i could figure out. Everything seemed fine, so i was starting to get a little confused, but i suddenly thought to myself, i haven't deleted any of the history since modelling. So i deleted the history and re-imported the house and everything was fine. What a relief, although i have not had to do this with any of prop i have modelled i think this is something i shall have to keep in mind from now on.
Here i have started to lay out the props for the scene. i duplicated Ryan's fence to create a square so that it would look more like a garden which was inclosed to the house. There was no other place i could really have the house as we wanted to make sure the light from the house would be looking onto the treehouse so that the audience would know that her parents are keeping an eye on Summer through the window.
I was unsure on where to place the slide and swing as i thought about what the audience would see. So at first i had the props facing me (or the audience) but after a while i knew that would not seem realistic, so i thought it was best if i rotated the props so that they were facing the house, which again would be easier for the parents to see. I do not think anyone would have the slide and swing facing a fence.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


As most of my modelling has now been completed and there is no animation that i can do as of yet, i thought i should try and learn some new skills so that i can help Ryan out. Although i will not be able to do texturing to a high standard i thought i could do some props which are not to important to the animation. This will help Ryan so that he can focus more on the important objects and take more time over them whilst i can learn the basics of how to texture.

So i have been given a few books to texture to see how i get on and i must say that it is not as hard as what i thought it would be although the texturing is only simple.

I placed the UV map into photoshop, i had to make sure that i would be colouring on a separate layer as to the UV map.
As these are childrens book, i used flat bold bright colours to make the books stand out more. Using tonal colours would have been a waste of time as they are not really going to be seen. I had to make a new layer so that i could place the writing on, i had to try and come with book titles that had not been used before as that may have been seen as copyright.

With my UV map coloured, I had to export the colour layer as a Targa file into Maya and then i just needed to apply it to the object. I had to make sure that i had turned off the UV map layer or that would have shown when applying the texture.

This was fairly simple to do although colouring the white for the pages was fairly difficult as i had to make sure that the white would not go onto the hardback of the book.

Here is what i have managed to do. I think they have turned out pretty well. I know this is only very simple texturing but this is still something i had no idea on how to do. I already feel more confident about being able to texture. If Ryan asks me to try and texture anything else then i shall happily help him.