Monday, 30 May 2011

End of Project Evaluation

Our project was a massive learning curve in terms of our artistic skills in achieving the detail we wanted in our models, and organising a large group to create the film. I think the project has gone well, however, I think there are a lot of things we could of done differently to improve and make production more efficient.
In terms of my personal project, I think my assets that I created were successful, I learnt a lot about how to go about making certain objects and how I could make them quicker, sometimes finding this out after it’s too late. I learnt when using Mudbox the topology can be created after the detail using Topogun creating a much cleaner and truer model to the high poly model. I learnt that modelling and unwrapping should be thought about constantly otherwise you can make things a lot harder for yourself. The personal work went on longer than anticipated and caused us to fall behind by a few weeks but we were able to catch up.
Creating the film was a great experience and I really enjoyed it. I think that we ended up having a group too big for us to deal with. We both needed to create our CG assets as well as communicate with a large number of people causing us to fall behind on modelling and communicating. I think one of us needed to be fully committed to the organisation of the team and had no CG assets to create; this would have allowed the team to work more efficiently. I think our team was too large to handle and we had too many part time second years from motion design involved causing us to have to waste a lot of time waiting on certain things to be finished before we could carry one. We also had to wait for a lot of the motion design guys to finish their previous project which delayed the project slightly. I think I could now organise time much better now and overall we should of got everything started a lot sooner but issues such as weather, permission to film on location, the change over from Max to Maya, and moments when our project got bottle necked waiting for one person to finish some work so the rest of the project could continue caused delay. I think we should have stayed using max throughout the project rather than changing to Maya for the animation team. It took a bit of time to get used to the different program, and although I learnt a lot about rendering and lighting we would have saved time continuing in max.
This project has made me appreciate immensely the work that the motion design guys do, it has made me realise how rewarding it is to see your vision come to life on the screen. It has made me want to be part of something where I do have an input in its creation.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Website Complete

I have handed in my website today. I'm quite pleased with how it looks and I'm glad to get it out of the way to focus on the film. I tried to keep it to the same style as this blog.
My website is

I also thought I'd post the development of shot 08 with the planes exploding. Josh from motion design has done a really good job of making the explosion. Here is a still of it so far. Very exciting.

Aled and myself started work on shot 11 on wednesday. Its the most complicated shot in terms of animation, rendering, and comping due to the huge number of aliens. I think we have around 12+ in there so far. Rendering the passes how the motion design guys want is time consuming and I not experience enough with maya to know a quicker way, almost done though. I found that the SSS fast skin on my alien doesnt support passes very easily so I have had to change my alien textures back to standard ones which took up some time. I've just got to sort out the shadows of the aliens then i'm pretty much finished.

We've got one week left so we got tons of work to do to get something for the deadline. The motion design guys have given us deadlines for when they need certain shots in order to finish on friday. the deadlines are too far out of reach. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Shot 01 Completed

Shot 01 is completed! I had to re-render the foot as the diffuse had a shadow on it that was too sharp, also the reflection wasn't going to be needed as we were going to use Led's relfection as he ran over, but Josh, the motion design guy managed to get aled out of the shot and replace him with the alien shadow. I also rendered a shot of the spaceship as the reflection. I'm really pleased with the results.

Shot 08 Rendered

I have rendered out the planes exploding with a background to see how it looks. I used a backgorund from the poster i did just to get a feel for how it will look. I didn't add motion blur to the render pass as it would take considerably longer to render. I added a velocity pass in the hope that this could assist the motion design guy in making realistic motion blur. I'm really looking forward to seeing what motion design produce from this shot.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Shot 08 Explosion Test

Today I have been trying to sort out the jets exploding in shot 08. It went quite well. Now all i need to do is light and render the scene. I have posted to videos, One of the Jets and one of the jets with blue drawn on to illustrate the explosion. After talking to my lecturer Guy he discussed how it is a good idea to have an object get thrown into the camera in order to catch the eye and draw the attention from the explosion which is hard to pull off. So I have added a overall explosion of geometry on the planes but then added bigger shapes like the wings and engines and animated them to come more at the camera to add more appeal and a cinematic feel.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Ultimate Image

I made my final touches to my ultimate image today. I'm really pleased with the results. I decided to do a poster for the film for my ultimate image and composed it in the style of a traditional action film. I rendered out the Cg assest, keyed out the hero and created a background destroyed city. I actually really enjoyed making it and it was a good break from rendering. Its also got me more motivated for the film. Doing the background and the comping gave me a taste of what the motion design guys are doing which also helped.

I did a full page poster then I put in some white borders down the side with a texture to them which I think works well. I also added a checky title to see how it looked.

Rendering Shots

I have been rendering quite a few shots and more things are starting to come together. Yesturday I did a render of the space ship for the puddle shot and put it into photoshop to see how it would look. I'm really plaesed with the results for just spending 10 minutes in photoshop.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

1st Submittal

Today has been a busy day of getting renders together to hand in. We've managed to put together a rough film edit with a lot of the animation shown which is really promising. We had to get our model turnarounds together and do some nice close up still renders. I only managed to do some still renders of my alien rifle.
Due to uni beeing closed for a long weekend i have been focusing on my website which is going along quite well. I have been rendering out my work and composing it nicely to put up in the gallery on my website. Now easter is finished its time to work 'hardcore' and get the film rolling.

peaks and troughs

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Jet Trail Particles

We started rendering today. A slow start but we managed to get rolling which is great news. We finally got the textures for the medium alien which has pushed us behind somewhat. I have rendered the puddle shot today as well as the jet trails which are below. Im very pleased with the results, having not known much about maya particles I was able to develop on top of a particle effect found in the maya visor. I also did some lighting and texture tests with the medium alien.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Alien in Maya

With the small alien rig finished I set up the textures in maya which was a mission due to the amount of textures i used for the subsurface scattering as well as using a combination of normal maps and bump maps. The dirt of the textures actually came through a lot more than max. I'm pleased with the results and now the animators can start animating the small alien.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Filming and Rendering

This week we failed to film again due to matters out of our controll. I'm hoping not much more can go wrong with this project. We are hoping to film on monday but the weather keeps getting nicer (fingers crossed). I have been working on getting my textures correct in maya which has been a struggle due to the blinn in max being different to the blinn in maya. I think I mostly have it sorted now. I got my alien to put it which is going to be a little harder as I'm using SSS fast skin.

Our friend ryan from Dynamo came in on thursday to give us the basics of rendering. It fried our brains but for the better. I have done some practices with render passes and am going to create a render template in which to apply to all our scenes.

Unfortunatly the server room at uni is down due to over heating and means the renderfarm and all autodesk liscences are down for the entire weekend! but will hopefully be fixed by monday, as this is a great hinderence.

Monday, 11 April 2011


Recently we have been getting an edit for the film for timing and have been distributing the shots to people on the project. The medium alien has been rigged so the animators can begin animating, we are just waiting on some textures before we can begin to render. We have moved down to the media lab to harness the render farm. I have been moving the assests into maya and have set up the hdri which after a long time working out how to do it has come out quite successfully.
We were supposed to film on thursday but it was to sunny again, so we are hoping for a bit of bad weather to film on thursday. we will then have all the footage filmed.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Finally Filmed

This week we finally filmed in Treorchy a large majority of the film. After delays due to getting permission from the land owner and going to film on the sunniest day wales had seen causing us to call it off we finally filmed on tuesday. It went reasonably well, with the weather being miserable (perfect) and only a bit of rain which didn't delay us. We couldn't get all the cadets down but we did manage to get all the kit so we got a load of friends from uni to dress up and they did a fantastic job. The shoot only took around 5-6 hours which was pretty fast for the amount of shots. The footage has come out really nice and we can finally start seeing the finished piece.

Particle Tests

Last week i spent the large majority of the time experimenting with particles while trying to sort out filming in Treorchy. i was doing tests with plasma, Smoke, and the jets exploding. I learnt a lot and have a good basic knowledge of particles with max. I later learnt about particles with maya of a much higher standard however I find them a lot harder to get my head round. The test were to see if I could help the motion design guys with getting a good effect for the shots. Here are some of the tests...

Plasma Trail Test 03 from Joe O'Connor on Vimeo.

Plasma Test for Film

Plasma Missile Test 03 from Joe O'Connor on Vimeo.

Jet Explode Test 02 from Joe O'Connor on Vimeo.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Alien Weapon Texturing

I have begun texturing the alien weapon. I have almost finished the diffuse, just a few more details. I then need to do the specular and normal maps. I fairly pleased witht he results and hope that it will look good in the shots.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Rifle Model

Today i have done work on the medium alien's rifle. i have added more detail and unwrapped it. I want to get this done quickly as it is a small asset that won't be seen much. I also finished unwrapping the Big Alien Weapon and now need to begin texturing.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

I hate unwrapping ... (except for presents)

I wanted to get my alien weapon unwrapped as quickly as possible. However it is taking a lot longer than I anticipated. I have completed the Base which took 2 days hope fully the rest will be quick. I'm hoping to complete the rest in a day.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Medium Alien Weapon

Today, I started work on the weapon for the medium aliens to hold. I hope that it won't take very long. i messed about with the design using a previous human weapon design as a template. Im fairly pleased with the results, I've tried to keep it similar to the large alien weapon to give the feel that they are from the same universe and technology. I got the basic shape done and need to apply abit more detail.
I also looked at locations for the roof top shot and found a car park that was suitable. I am going to look into asking permission from some companies with buildings around the atrium. I'm hopeful that we will find something.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Alien Weapon Base

I began work on the Weapon base yesturday and I have almost finished today.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

The Alien Weapon Modelling Begins...

I started the Alien Weapon yesturday. The Turret part of the weapon is pretty much finished. I'm pleased at how quickly I'm modelling.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Small Alien almost done...

Finished my dissertation and now putting the final touches of texturing with the alien. taking a little longer as im messing about with SSS fast skin, but I've learnt alot. here are some renders of the alien.