Thursday, 28 January 2010

Animation tests

I am going to be focused on the animation for our piece, for example the weather conditions and moving objects within the scene. I created this Flag using Maya nCloth, it took a while as Maya crashed and was very flow when the flag started moving. The first shows no wind or air pressure, so the flag just drops, which could be good for summery conditions.

The second one here shows the flag going crazy after applying a bit of pressure and wind. I am going to experiement more with this to get the right level for the different conditions, and try to make the flag rougher and it not a clean rectangular shape to show age and history. I am confident I can apply this to wall hangings within the Castle too.

I have also been looking at different water effects, the first here is using an animated texture. Im not completely convinced after comparing it to Softbodies, which I think would look better with better lighting and colouring. However, this may be better for the Star Wars Clone Wars style that we want to achieve, so I will ask my group about this at a later date when I have experimented some more.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Further Concepts

After our group discussion last week, here are my further concept art pieces:
Concept of the castle on an island: Closer up of the Boat:
Another view of a Castle on an Island, this time showing it is aged and nearly destroyed:

A Statue among the rubble, holding what could be a light or a prize for anyone who dare visit the Island:

Possible Floor Plan, showing the main features we discussed:

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Group Discussions

Today we had our first full group meeting, since my initial post Sam and Matt have joined the group. We have decided to include 2d characters in our 3d environment, which lead us to a sort of Lady of the Lake, so a sort of ghostly presence within the layout.

We are creating a Medieval environment with a slight fantasy theme to it so that it does not have to be specific to one sect of the time. I will be using the Knights Templar for inspiration, yet not sticking precisely to them.

The overall idea for our environment now is a castle on a small island surrounded by water. The castle is partly in ruins giving a idea of the overall structure yet with bits fallen apart. We are undecided on whether it will be raining or bright sunshine yet this can be decided during the concept stage.

We are also going to look into the artistic style of Star Wars The Clone Wars, where the CG almost looks painted, as this will fit in with the 2D characters that will populate the environment.

I will now continue to change my Concept Art to reflect the new ideas.


After discussing our project our group decided to create a change in weather and change in seasons, so started looking into weather effects as I want to animate the piece. Here is my final render of rain.

I am also going to learn how to create a flag and make it flutter as in the wind and may look into different particles such as creating snow.

London Photography Two

After initial research, I took some photographs of the Tower of London from different angles.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

London Photography

I took these photographs around London. Firstly the Tower of London obviously has the features of a castle with the turrets and I particularly like the rounded shape of this end, as it could have spiral stairs added to it or interesting features due to the rounded shape and we would have to think about how items would be placed within a rounded room. The windows are all quite small because castles are made to protect those inside and keep people out. These windows also have a rounded top which fits in the style of this part of the castle.
I took the next two photos to look at similar types of buildings, again with the spires. I like the rounded shape of the Westminster Abbey arches more than the bridge. The windows are again rounded at the top, and as they are quite long they will let plenty of light inside.

This figure is quite foreboding as it was part of the London Dungeon exterior, yet it fits in with the period and again has the rounded frame to it. I also like the lighting around the hood as it gives mystery to the figure.

Finally, this image was taken in Covent Garden at Christmas time when they had this light display. I really like this as it looks rather magical and would fit into the magical theme of a castle. The lights also moved so this could form part of the animation for my piece. I also like the way that it is lighter around the bottom by the normal lamps lighting the walkways and walls, yet the darker night sky is filled with the 'prettier' lights.

Images of London landmarks that could be used as inspiration to our project, more to come and my thoughts soon

Initial Concepts

The first drawing is based on part of Tutbury Castle and kind of combines both an interior and exterior due to the castle being mostly destoyed.

This image was just a quick sketch of a possible character as the animation could be part of a battle, the weapons and shields and even the bodies could be additional characters or props that characters interact with.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

'Destroyed Beauty'

After my initial research, I continued to look at the 'Destroyed Beauty' theme from the Gears of War scan. This made me think of two pieces in particular: the beginning of Wall-E and Bioshock.

The first scans are Wall-E concepts. I like the first scan due to the signage, although it would not be used as heavily in a castle setting it does show a sense of history and a sense that people have lived there even though it is not desolate and destoyed.

The second image shows how the rubbish has now become part of the architecture of the environment, and how the current affairs/ bad times have taken over the landscape. There is a sense of what there was before yet it is hidden in this new layer.

I then moved onto the internet to look for the Bioshock concepts. The idea behind the game is that Rapture was created to be a haven yet it has become bitter and twisted over time. The locations are grand to show an attempt at a luxurious lifestyle, yet it is crumbling away and falling apart.

Bioshock the game was reknowned for its level of detail where every poster, sign, placement of objects etc had a story and the history is prevelant throughout. I would love to achieve something similar to this and spend the time to make the textures and items within our environment very detailed so that we can tell a story throughout. These images also show the water coming into the building structure (as it is set underwater), which could be used to show changes over time or weather effects.

Research Scans: Architecture

I started my research looking at different books and magazines for inspiration. I would like to create quite an architectural piece as I have not tried anything like this before and we can make the rooms or even exterior quite atmospheric and foreboding. I like the manor/castle kind of style for this reason. These first few images are from a photography book, I like the amount of detail in the exterior and the sense of large scale and history that comes from this type of building.

I then started looking at my computer game design books for inspiration of style. This first image is from the PS2 game Primal, and shows how a building exterior could look and the kind of thing we could hope to achieve. It also shows textures we could use for the Medieval style that our group has spoken about.

The next few images are concept art from Gears of War and Prince of Persia. I chose these images as I like the idea of the 'Destroyed Beauty', as it shows grand architecture that would once of been magnificent that for some reason has had bad things happen to it. I like this idea as it gives more depth and a narrative to the environment, almost making it a character in itself. This idea could be used for the change over time in the project brief if our group decides to take this route, and we could show a before and after of the buildings/rooms.

The Prince of Persia images are also very dark and atmospheric, and we could experiement well with the lighting to achieve this kind of effect. There is also an element of setting here, combining some element of nature within the architecture to give it different feelings and a sense of place. For example the type of plant life we may place in the environment will give a clue to its location as well as the style of the buildings.

These last two images are from the game Fable. I believe they combine the above ideas, using a grand castle like structure that looks powerful, it is set on the hill giving a sense of place, and the first image shows foreboding atmosphere. This is done with a great level of detail, which I would like to create in the group environment.

Group Project

Hi there, this is my Blog for the group Environment Project. For this we will be working with IDEAS students who will be presenting their ideas to us tomorrow. I will do some initial research before this to get ideas to enhance my ideas while the other students present. I will be working with Lydia and Andi for this project, although more people may yet join.

I would ideally like to animate and model during this project as these are the areas I may move into when I have finished University, yet I am willing to learn about texturing and lighting as part of the process.

The brief is as follows:

Unit Introduction
This unit focuses on the development of students’ skills in environmental computer visualisation. Students begin to exploit the possibilities of animation within an environment to create a virtual setting to support dynamic character interaction.

Working in teams to simulate conventional animation industry workflow, students are introduced to the visualisation and creation of an environment in 3D using modelling, texturing and lighting techniques. They learn how to create and populate this environment with contextually appropriate assets, in a consistently defined and implemented visual aesthetic that is derived from their drawing and research into environments both actual and virtual.

The Unit aims:

To introduce industrial, team based, animation workflows;
To develop personal reflection upon individual contribution to group endeavour;
To develop UV mapping and texturing skills;
To develop the ability to generate considered and analytical visual responses to research.

Project Brief
For this project you will be working in teams of four or five students. You will all be working towards a final collaborative short film but will have the opportunity to fulfil clear and separate roles within the team.

You will be working to create an animated environment.
You will be collaborating not only with the other animators in your team, but also with designers from the environment design course.
Their designs will form the starting point for your work.

This environment will be modelled in 3D, UV mapped, textured and lit based upon the research of materials and environments as initially designed or propsed by IDEAS students. This research will consist of practical site visits (such as the trip to Barcelona and alternative London based venues) and associated drawing and photography, as well as academic research via the web and the LRC.

This environment must demonstrate integral animation, it could be mechanical such as machinery, doors, windows, windmills etc, or it could be more organic, and atmospheric, such as the effects of wind on plants, weather conditions etc. It could be a much more long term animation to show the effect of years passing, rather than minutes. For those of you who feel that you are more character animators than computer visualisers you can focus upon contextualising the designed environment by populating it with characters using that environment, it may be that the environment is being used in an unintended or unexpected way that has evolved through public interaction with the space. (Was the South Bank designed for skateboarding or parkour?).

It may be easier for you to think about defining the way in which you will approach this project by choosing one of the themes listed below.

a) Changes over time (historic).
b) Changes in weather or lighting (climatic).
c) Changes in use of the environment (contextual).

Although you will be working as part of a team towards your final animation, you will also be required to provide evidence of your individual contribution to the project via a blogged design journal where you will document your personal research, experimentation, and acquiring of new skills.


Week One:
• Gather team members so I know who I am working with
• Research different types of location that we could possibly create for our environment.

Week Two:
• Define topic of research for final ideas
• Do the actual research
• Concept stage for initial ideas

Week Three:
• Finalise concept
• Planning – where everything will be placed in the environment
• Begin modelling

Week Four:
• Modelling
• Begin to think about colour schemes/ palettes
• Storyboards

Week Five:
• Modelling
• Texturing
• Animation Tests
• Camera shots

Week Six
• Texturing
• Animation definition (which will be used and where)

Week Seven:
• Lighting
• Final bits of texturing
• Finalise animation
• Possibly start rendering

Week Eight:
• Rendering
• Compositing
• Add sound effects and music