Friday, 31 December 2010

First Scene Modeled

Finished this one. Which scene do we want for what shot? Or shall I go through what I've been assigned and decide which shot takes place where? Because I'm seeing this set as the one where the astronauts climb down into the cave.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Martian Cave Update

Added in more detail to the columns and the side pits. They now look more organic rather than artificial. I plan to move the large central column so it goes diagonally across the scene as well as move the pit behind the column further into the other corner so it is seen more. Also do you want me to add in more detail as I have done in the 2nd image or leave the columns smoother like they are now in the 3rd one?

Calling Crew Members Scene

An update on one more of our scenes. This one's where the Astronaut fist noticed the cracked surface and summons the others over. Comment on possible improvements, you know the drill:


University officially starts on the 10th of January, and our deadline is on the 20th. I'm assuming the Uni will be open from the beginning of January so we can use the hardware.

That is 22 days from now, almost exactly 3 weeks. I'd like to know when you guys are back in Rochester so that we can start planning the post production process as effectively as possible.

I've been lurking other studio blogs and I think we have an advantage; we have a lot of renderable scenes good to go whereas others have half completed scenes littered around. This means that we can steal machines to render from over night while during the day we work in Maya and Premiere / After Effects. This way we'll be maximising the use of the time we have left as we'll effectively be making progress even as we sleep.

At the rate I'm working at the moment, I'm estimating that we can average 1 scene a day easily (each) - and while 2 of us work in Maya, the other could compile the rendered scenes and begin the editing process as we go along. Not only is this the best method regarding time management, but if we do it this way we can constantly assess quality and make improvements as opposed to editing it all in the last day before deadline with no time for polishing.

I hope you can see how beneficial this will be, it's going to be hard but I'm willing. If we don't get a head start, we'll lose the advantage as other studios begin to use the machines. I don't want to be the only one working hard over January; I won't be carrying this project by myself so it's up to all of us to get this done.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

'Making of' Documentary - Update

Hope everyone has had a good Christmas. I thought I'd get back in the working mood by creating some more pages for the making of publication. Here are the pages so far:

I'm trying to design it in the most logical order, something like this:

Introduction (2 pages)
Storyboard (4 pages)
Concept Art - 2D (4 Pages)
Concept Art - 3D (2 Pages)
Character Development - 2D (2 Pages)
Character Development - 3D (4 Pages)
Landscape Development - 3D (4 Pages)
Craft Development (2 Pages)
'Behind the Scenes' (Wireframes, camera positions etc) (6/8 Pages)
Final Renders (4 Pages)
Closing Comments (2 Pages)

I've made the images above big enough to read the text so If everyone could give them a brief skim and tell me if anything may need changing then that would be good. Also if anyone can think of anything else we could put in this book then give me some ideas. I will be making it simultaneously with the CG shots and updating it as I go along.

PS the concept art pages look awesome, nice to see all your work compiled like that.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Cracked Surface Update

It's pretty much done now I guess - here is a pre-vis and some more renders. I made the cracking animation slightly longer in case the first was too short for the audience to notice.

The walking animation is a bit wooden but hopefully the focus will be on the surface rather than the legs.


And not forgetting:

Monday, 20 December 2010

Animated Texture Example

I've been struggling to come up with a way to animate this cracked surface over the passed few days, and after dismissing blend shapes as an option I decided to experiment with an animated texture that could be used for the bump map.

Here's a playblast showing the scene as it is at the moment:


The animated bump-map:


And a rendered still:

With a bit of tweaking and improvement, this scene will be finished tomorrow. And just for encouragement, here's my progress sheet:

Hope everyone's having a good holiday so far.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Reflection Shot Revised

I changed the animation of the reflection scene a bit with the male in the background. here is an update - sorry for quality, it's just a quick pre-vis.


New Render:

Which do you think is better? This or the previous one?

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Christmas Progress Update 2

Shots 2 and 4 now complete:

Reflection Shot Pre-Vis

Sorry I didn't update with work yesterday - this scene's been causing me problems. Originally ray-tracing was used to reflect the physical environment but this was taxing on the hardware and rendering times were through the roof. Instead, I put together a panoramic image to be used as a reflection map, hopefully it will still look good in the animation. Here is a still render:

Here is the animated pre-vis:

Tell me what you think - mainly regarding the animation, like camera position, character prosition etc. If you guys like the scene then I'm happy to report that we have 4 shots ready to render :) But if you think it needs tweaking, say now.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

'Making of' Documentary

I've decided that for the making of publication that is required in the brief, we will use the 'BookSmart' software that some people on the course have been using. This means that after creating the pages we can get it professionally published, or in the unfortunate case that we won't have time, we can simply convert the pages to .pdf and submit a digital publication rather than a physical one. Here's what I've done so far.

After working out a neat and logical layout for the chapters it will simply be a case of putting the content in there from the blog, along with a short description and a few comments from us.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Landing Shot Pre-Vis

I've completed the animation of the second scene: our landing shot. A quick note about the colour - we can change it more easily in post-processing than in Maya, so if anyone has issues with the colour, it can be tweaked later.

Render (no post processing):


The bright green shapes are where the heat distortion will be applied. By rendering out our scene and then a separate alpha pass (the black and white .gif) we can use it to distort the area underneath the craft in post processing to make it look like the engines are giving off heat.

You may not be able to see in the animation due to quality, but the craft's landing gear unfolds as it gets near to the surface. I'll make a post later on with an example of this, as I plan to refine the craft a bit more for the close-up shot of the docking ramp opening.

Thoughts? Anything that might need changing? Otherwise we have 3 successfully completed scenes :)

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Landing Shot - Preview

For our second shot we have the transportation vehicle land on the surface - I've built a new set for the landscape. Comment on lighting, position, camera angle etc; anything that works and doesn't work.

I've also included the vehicle (currently untextured) and a proposed flight path (green line) to give a rough idea of what it might look like while animated. I thought it might look good if the craft flew horizontally from the distance into the foreground, then turns and lands vertically on the surface. Again, if there's anything you can see not working then say, or if you had your own ideas for the animation of the scene then say. We haven't really discussed the scene in detail so I kind of just made it up :)

(Note: the texture used for the bump map is low res, it is noticeable in the bottom right of the scene - this will be resolved)

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Christmas Progress Updates

Each of us have our delegated shots to complete over the holidays, and I thought the best way to update the rest of the group on my progress with these was to make a graphic progression sheet which shows the completion of individual shots (as well as side tasks: the Ident and Teasers)

Click for larger:

It looks a bit empty at the moment, but some of the shots take place in the same scene with simply a change in camera angle or character position, so often multiple shots will be completed simultaneously. As you can see, 2 of our scenes are already complete with modelling, lighting and animation and are ready to render out :D yay. I'll replace the 'Thumbnail Unavailable' images with small screen shots of the scenes as I build and animate them, to give a visual idea of where I'm at, in combination with the percentage progress which is just a sort of estimation of how far along I am with each shot.

Hope you guys like the idea :)

Friday, 10 December 2010

Matt - Meeting Monday

I propose that we have a meeting on Monday to give Matt the opportunity to get up to speed with the direction of the project. I've heard you've been absent for reasons outside of your control, hopefully you can be in on Monday so we can organise what everyone will be doing over the Christmas holidays in terms of the project, and also to discuss communication over the holiday.

Please comment ASAP whether you are free or not. We can discuss times in the comment thread.

...more Christmas responsibilities

'Making of...', do a powerpoint of all our work up to now showing our development.
Previs of the scenes we asked you to do from before.
Poster, Invisible Blob from Mars

Get everyones previs, and put it together with music.
Voiceover and finalise script (e.g what the astronauts say)

Ident: BOTH idents...

Viral marketing (video?)
Get everyones msn.
Budgetting (minor, addin up costs, poster print out etc)
Give out 'Making of...' slides
Upload own work to own blog

Animation and Modelling list


1: You see Mars. (Rotate around it)
2: Spacecraft lands.
3: Long shot of the crew walking across the surface of mars
4: Close up of one crew members visor which reflects more of the surface
5: We see the foot of one astronaut step on a crack in the surface, the crack then becomes bigger
6: He calls over the rest of the crew
7: Dialogue: Captain Shall we investigate further
8: They go back to the ship to get equipment
9: Close up of foot and ground giving way
10: The last guy to leave for the ship falls in to the hole, with the rest of the crew in the foreground
11: Guy struggles to get out of the hole, holding onto the sides, then suddenly disappears. (Maybe shouts out help?)
12: Wakes up in a daze. "Huston We have a problem" (first person view, need Charlotte’s vision)
13: Rest of the crew look over the hole (camera angle, over their shoulder looking into the hole?)
14: Looking up at the crew standing over the hole, from inside it.
15: The three remaining crew members argue about whether to save him or not (one doesn't want to help)
16: They scale down the hole (wide shot)
17: Over the shoulder shot with flashlight (Audience see the shadow of the blob, but the astronauts don't)
18: Invisible cut: Through the eyes of the blob, looking at the astronaut (straight after the flashlight scene)
19: Lucid Studios appears
20: Running heavy breathing (first person)
21: Swinging at blob and missing.
22. Hitting blob.
23: Flamethrower on blob.
24: Title shot
25:Blob attacking the screen

RED – Simon
BLUE – Charlotte
GREEN - Bharathi

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Longshot Update

I hope I've made the lighting as atmospheric as we wanted, the scene is set around dusk so the sun is at a low angle. After adding the other astronauts, the scene should be ready to render - if everyone is satisfied with the lighting and the example renders.

Animation showing camera movement:

Example Renders:

Personnel Carrier Update

I've tweaked the shape slightly so it's not as curvy, and added a few details like the engine sections on the underside and landing gear.


Landing Gear Example:

Engine Demonstration:

And Bharathi, for the opening, I think the screen will have a mechanism like this. The characters won't be shown walking out, it will just be implied.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Personnel Carrier

WIP so far. Design is based heavily on the concept for Honda, but I think it needs a revision or a complete overhaul. It still doesn't work for me.

Thoughts, suggestions?

Monday, 6 December 2010

Futuristic-retro Spacecraft development!

We decided that in terms of an overall look of the spacecraft, the Skylon looked the most suited, as it had a sleek contemporary look but also with some of the curves seen in retro space crafts:

We began looking for some other retro looking spacecrafts that we could implement design elements from:

Looking at some of the more modern ships, they came across as boxy and more technical, so we wanted to get the right balance between modern and retro ships:

However, we soon realised that the Skylon design was too long, and came across as more of a commercial people carrier, so we wanted to play with the size more to accommodate the 4 crew members, so as to make them look like they are part of a research mission and not on holiday. As a result, we decided to implement size restricting forms from space pod concepts such as this:

In the end, we decided that the balance lied in concepts such as these flying vehicles, where they could accommodate 4 crew members whilst maintaining a compact look, this would gel well with our contemporary spacecraft that pays homage to 50s retro designs: