Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Visual Essay Complete!

At the start of this project I was rather skeptical regarding the necessity of doing it and wondering how it would benefit me, other than taking up a large chunk of my time, however with it now behind me I look back and can see how it has been helpful in improving my understanding of what I want to do.

Making me focus my attention on the specifics of my interest in 3D and animation I have gained a clearer idea of the area that appeals to me most as well as finding a large quantity of inspirational and high quality professional work in my attempts to find practitioners to discuss.

As well as gaining a better concept for a future goal on this project, I also took it upon myself to use the opportunity to advance my 3D and animation abilities and produce a piece of work I can honestly say I am proud of. I feel as though I have achieved this as, although my great schemes were foiled by the curse of extensively long rendering times, I still am happy with the result and was content with leaving it how it was, resisting the urge to reproduce the entire 3D section, incorporating steam, puddles and generally making the scene look much gloomier and dank as well as fixing those niggling things that only I notice.

Here it is, my complete visual essay

And now I hope with this project finished and my summer technically started I will be able to relax and work on some of my own ideas I have been brewing for a while.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Further Visual Essay Progress

With the deadline looming for this project I have made a lot of progress with my animation. Having been faced with dauntingly long rendering times for the 3D portion of the project, reaching close to 450 hours at its max, that section is now behind me, having produced a scene I am happy with to use at the backdrop for my animation.

Below are some screenshots showing the development of the 3D scene from modeling, to finished with textures.

One thing I am disappointed about is the noticeable difference between the above and below image in terms of having much stronger shadows in the above one. This is down to having to use lower settings for the shadow mapping to avoid extremely long rendering times, which I feel makes the scene lower quality, but still suitable for what is intended.

As well as the finishing of the 3D section I have begun work on the editing and compiling of video clips and voice-over that will make up the essay part of the project, explaining my decision for choosing virtual environments.

Last but not least I have also improved my intro scene, making it higher quality and smoothing out the timing issues to be added to the beginning of my animation once it is complete.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Visual Essay - Progress!

Over the past couple of weeks I have had minor developments on my visual essay project with a number of ideas being considered, reconsidered and then scrapped due to unimpressive results or the inability to achieve them at my skill level.

Even with this I have made some progress in refining my concept of how I want my animation to look. Firstly I know that I want to take the opportunity whilst working on this essay to improve my ability with 3Ds Max and gain a better understanding of the areas I haven't had much contact with.

I know for my animation I will have a single background scene following a steampunk theme as this will be very mobile and active, allowing me to experiment with animation and particle effects such as smoke/steam in 3Ds Max.
To implement a way of showing video and images in my animation that fits in with the whole theme and doesn't appear out of place I have designed and started modelling a small, flying robot that shall be attached to a TV monitor floating around the scene. This monitor shall take focus when necessary to display video footage and have also considered other mechanisms that can enter the scene to show images rather than overlaying them directly onto the screen.

                                                      Robot Untextured

                                                         Robot Textured

For my introduction I have looked at a couple of different possibilities involving animating the text in someway. My original intention was to have the text be formed from separate shapes, using the 'Morpher' tool, in a similar fashion to the Transformers title sequence, however I wasn't pleased with the finished result so, looking at other methods I could use, I followed a tutorial to produce an effective exploding text animation utilizing a number of different tools including particle effects and forces such as gravity. I am much happier with the end result and believe that this will be perfect for the introduction to my essay.

The only points I am still considering are musical accompaniments for the intro and other parts of my animation, as well as the level of texture detail I am going to attempt, as I want it to be a high quality scene with a number of animated parts.