Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Cinema 4D Scenes

Expanding on from a tutorial I found that uses the hair tool in Cinema 4D to make blocky scenes I realise one of my favourite things about it is it seems much easier and fluid to produce visually impressive pieces in comparison to what I have found using Maya and other software.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Images and Idents - More Cinema 4D Experiments

Some more pieces made in Cinema 4D. Now I understand how the MoGraph elements and other tools work it is fun experimenting and seeing how I can make them interact with each other.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

More Cinema 4D Experiments

A few animated sequences made in Cinema 4D using a combination of different effectors as well and cloners and metaballs.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

More Cinema 4D

Experimenting with the 'Displacer' Deformer, 'Cloner' tools and Depth of Field in Cinema 4D with a bit of post production in After Effects. Think it looks pretty funky with kind of medical simulation look to it.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Jumping Into Cinema 4D

Having seen a few pieces made using it and watched a few tutorials I decided to dip my toe into Cinema 4D and found I instantly love it. In comparison to other software I have used I find it rewarding much quicker with simple effects or modifiers having a huge impact and producing something visually interesting within a short space of time.

Here's just a couple of simple images I made using the 'Explosion FX' deformer and messing with transparent textures:

And here's something else experimenting with the 'Emitter' and 'Rigid Body/ Collider' objects.

Monday, 30 June 2014

New Designers = New Showreel

In preparation for attending the New Designers exhibition next week I've re-edited my showreel, adding in some new scenes including my latest short animation I made following a blocked to spline process and a new flashy introduction.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Flashy Timing

For most of my projects I always try and work out a way of effectively planning timing and posing of a sequence. With my limited drawing abilities the poses are normally a very rough concept that is then reinforced using reference. To try and produce a better idea of how actions are going to work with key poses on exact frames, I've used my rough sketches and then pulled them into Adobe Flash, sequencing them with an approximation of the frame numbers. Doing this means I can test different timings for actions and its relatively quick to add and alter in flash.

The next thing I want to work on is producing stronger pose drawings that I can incorporate into this and use as better reference for when I jump into Maya.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Blocky Introductions

In preparation for New Designers 2014 in London in a few weeks I have been reworking my showreel. The first thing I have been working on is a new introduction scene. One major point about how I have done this is using blocking first prior to going into splined animation. In past work I have jumped straight into it and adjusted things as I have gone. This made the timeline very messy however and in some cases difficult to work with. Having just blocked out the key poses and added a second pass of extra detail I already feel that it will be a much smoother process to animate.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Research Project - Artefact 5

For my final artefact I wanted to explore the ability to convey character and emotion with a personified object. In the previous artefacts I had worked with humanoid characters that could closely replicate actions used by humans that convey certain emotions or characteristics. Having identified areas that seemed to be key for effective conveyance, I hoped to see whether testing the same methods on a character that lacked these areas would provide any new information.

Taking a simple cube rig I produced 3 short sequences of it feeling different emotions.

Showing these to the focus group it was clear that recognition of these was difficult and there was no conviction in the responses received.

To better understand why conveyance through this object was difficult I looked at a existing example of a personified object, Aladdin's magic carpet.

Taking 3 images of the carpet conveying emotion, I showed these to one group who were able to recognise what each emotion was with ease.

From past artefacts, hands had been a key signifier of a characters mood in several cases. The design of the carpet allowed the tassels at each corner to replicate hand gestures. Realising this I took these same images and, editing out the tassels showed them to a second focus group.

This group had much greater difficulty in identifying the emotions of the carpet, although had some inclination into the answer. This again seems to indicate that not hands, but appendages that can replicate hands are necessary in aiding emotion. Taking this further would be to research character design to see how it impacts the effectiveness of a characters ability to convey emotion and what existing methods are considered when developing a character.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Research Project - Artefact 4 Reflections

For my penultimate artefact I wanted to produce pieces that would begin to encompass the entirety of my initial research question - the effect of body mechanics in conveying a narrative. The clips I produced looked at showing a character in a situation that they were responding to.

The main key point of feedback from my focus group under consideration was that whilst the narrative was generally recognisable e.g. running from an overhead threat where staying low is safer, the specific details of the narrative weren't. This implies to me that body mechanics can be used to suggest a narrative, but without additional visual stimuli e.g. environments or props, the exact situation cannot be shown.
Other observations about the clips will provide other aspects to explore, one example being how one of the cycles featured the character hunched over. Rather than just implying emotional state as was intended it also had members of the focus group consider the environment as a confined indoors area. Another instance of this was the way in which a characters arms were spread whilst creeping. Due to them not being fully outstretched to aid will balance the assumption was made that what the character was walking on was not dangerously narrow, such as a tightrope, but still required them to be mindful of each of their steps. The fact that this minor alteration of the arms level of extension impacted the suggested environment in such a way gives light to the possibility that slight changes to a mere walk can have an impact on the overall narrative of the story, however without experimenting a comparison of a contextualised scene that utilises an environment and a non-contextualised scene, there is no clear way to determine the level of impact this has on the narrative.

Some final points related to the cyclic element of the clips was how in most cases, cycles of this fashion would be built for the purpose of conveying a particular story element within games or cartoons where they could be recycled when needed.

From the results I gathered from this artefact there are a number of other areas I could branch off into with further research. Looking more into the implications of altering a characters movement to imply an environment would be useful to gain an understanding into effectively showing a character within a specific landscape as well as the level at which how the character moves adds to the believability of a narrative situating them in a particular environment. Does this help aid an audiences understanding of the situation the character is in?

Monday, 17 March 2014

Client Project- Rigged and Walking

Client project character with his rig in. Still rough around the edges in some areas, but it moves.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Research Artefact 4

It is common knowledge that within a walk you can convey a character. Their posture alone can connote their mood or emotive state, age and self-esteem, along with other aspects of their character. The timing and pace at which they move can suggest a destination or importance of where they are going, but is it possible to convey more elements of a narrative within the confines of a cyclic walk animation?

Rather than focussing on telling the audience about the character, can you give them information into a narrative looking at the world or situation they are in, without the visual context of a scene.

To test this I have experimented with producing different walk cycles looking at aspects that could be conveyed such as age and intent of the character.

The final set I am working with (below) are a series of walk cycles featuring the character reacting to the world around them to see whether conclusions can be formed on the world itself and the characters situation.

Basic Sneak Cycle

Basic Run Cycle

Cycle 1

Cycle 2

Cycle 3

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Run & Walk Cycles

So many cycles...

Rigs :

Monday, 27 January 2014

Research Project - Artefact 3 Reflections

Having produced a third artefact and showing it to a small focus group, the feedback I received was generally negative or unsuitable for use in furthering my research. The main comment I got was just on the overall goal of the artefact - what it was aiming to explore.
Considering this and looking at the main my main project question, "In what way can the use of body mechanics in animation be used to enhance storytelling and can they effectively be used to communicate a story to an audience without the use of dialogue?", I realised that my focus had gone to far in the wrong direction, looking more at context than body dynamics effect on narrative.
With this in mind I intend to approach my fourth artefact differently, redirecting my focus back onto body dynamics and create a more relevant artefact that will hopefully gain beneficial results to continue with. 

The results themselves I gathered for the artefact, however had possible signs of meeting my intention, that of having context provide recognition to an action. The main issue I believe my artefact fell down on was the definition of context. When I produced my artefact I had some instances where context was the object/thing the character was interacting with, whilst in one scene, the one I feel was most successful, the environment was the contextual factor. This lack of continuity in terms of the context meant that so of the scenes of my artefact were in no way as effective as they could have been. Consideration into this during the development of my artefact would have led it to be more successful, however the key point gained from this was that context is able to in some way reinforce the understanding of an action, with it needing to have a more definitive identity within the confines of my artefact to be completely successful.

Research Project - Artefact 2 Reflections

Hypothesis -'I believe that if you give context to a characters emotional reaction the emotion will be easier to recognize than without it.

Looking at my hypothesis for this artefact I believe the results I got from the focus group were fairly successful.
With each set animations the answers for what emotion was being conveyed altered depending on contexts inclusion and in most cases became more affirmed in the latter scenes when context was added. The correct general emotion was recognised in all of the scenes however an interesting point I found was the specificity of said emotion changed depending on which context was applied. For instance, with the anger clips, the first featuring no context was read as being an internal conflict with building frustration. Adding the context of a falling ball gave a similar result of pent-up anger with the ball being suggested as the final straw in a string of angering occurrences. Finally, against the character based context clip, it was again read as pent-up anger, however now with the idea it was prior to a response or "release" of this anger, either directed at the other character or in some other manner.

The feedback I received on the format of my artefact is going to be very useful for the next ones as it gave some alternatives for how I could have utilised the different forms of context as well as a drawback to the three short clips way I presented it. The drawback, which also had a minor influence on the results, was how the responses for the third clip were "sullied" by the second, with people considering their answer for the second clip when answering for the third. This may have meant that the responses for the final clips of each section weren't completely unbiased, however I feel this is unlikely to have altered the results too much, having discussed each clip in turn as well.

A consideration for how to alter my artefact, which could both improve the results and avoid the drawback stated above, was to have the clips featuring the second character be effected by the inclusion of the second character. For example, by having the second character being the cause of the emotional reaction, the way it is conveyed will be different, with it being focused towards said character, rather than just being a general maintained action throughout all three clips. This would then feature the main character performing a different action, however still be conveying the same emotion just in a more suitable way for each form of context.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Research Artefact 3

For my 3rd research artefact I wanted to continue on from the context aspect of my 2nd, looking at how this can effect the overall narrative and inform the audience of events.


I think contextualization allows for more minor actions to inform the audience of the narrative and foreshadow its events.

To test this I have produced 4 small sequences featuring a character prepping to perform some recognisable actions, that has been slowed down to allow the audience time to consider what is happening in the sequence. 2 out of 4 of these sequences feature objects or environment set pieces that are key descriptors of what the character is about to do.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Research Project: Artefact 2

The four finished animation clips for my 2nd research artefacts looking at applying context to reinforce a characters conveyance of an emotion.

Clip 1

Clip 2

Clip 3

Clip 4