Sunday, 24 February 2013

Infinitus Artificium: Maya to After Effects Workflow

Infinitus Artificium
Maya to After Effects Workflow

Maya Camera Animation Export
Maya Motion Vector Render
OBJ Sequence Animation Export
Trapcode Particular 2.2 OBJ Import?

OBJ Import Features:

How To Render Motion Vectors From Maya:

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 13.40.00

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 13.38.50

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Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 14.44.50

Here are two other tutorials on rendering motion vectors...
Maya Motion Vectors with Mental Ray's Production Library Shaders:

Once we have the motion vectors we can use these in After Effect plugin Particular 2.2 to drive the particle simulation. Unfortunately we do not have Trapcode Form that has the particles move along the vertices of the model (it has OBJ import option) so we will have to use motion vectors from Maya.

This is the type of thing we are aiming for:

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Animation Production: Project Updates

Infinitus Artificium:

Chris Rafferty Artwork

Lauren sent me a link to Chris Rafferty's artwork (above). This is pretty much how we would want the 3D ink and paint to look like. The thing is we would have to do this using animated textures.

Maya/ Mari Animated Texture Workflow

Ensure you have set a project directory in maya to make this easier.

Download ".OBJ" sequence exporter MEL script from Creative Crash here. Save in scripts folder of project directory.

Convert Maya model to smooth click "Modify" > "Convert" > "Smooth mesh preview to Polygons."
Maya will lag because it can't handle the poly count.


Ensure timeline only included the frames you want to export as this is what the MEL script is looking for.

Select mesh and run ExportOBJSequence.mel script from the MEL command line.
The MEL script will have exported a series of .OBJ files to your Scenes folder in your project directory.


Unfortunately I did have some issues 



+ find paint drip/ run footage/ hot glue
+ record own paint drip/ run footage
+ use this for reference when painting onto body

Open The Foundry's Mari. If there are issues with the dialogue box just press "Launch" and it should open.

Mari will handle
error at frame



Cope the saved texturer paitning from the Mari project file to the Maya project file in the "Source Images" folder.

Open the Maya file with the un-smoothed model we saved earlier. We do not need the smoothed model. 

Plug the texture texture painting you saves as a sequence into the color node in maya. Maya will recognise the TIFF alpha channel and take care of transparency for you. You will not be able to see the model and texture at the same time so it will appear in the viewport as below. If not press "6" on the keyboard to show the "textured" view.

When you scrub the timeline you will notice that the textures do not yet animate over time. To put this into effect check the __ option box.


IA To Do Lists:

Lauren, Megan, Rhys:
Finalize previz
2D Animation tests
2D Shots

Shot Schedule
Production Schedule
Contact ICT, sort product licenses

Adam Wint:
Maya (mesh) to After Effects workflow
Maya (camera) to After Effects workflow
Attach Emitter to mesh

Sean Bone:
After Effects; Trapcode Particular render tests

Ink & Charcoal in Trapcode Particular

Michael Top
Animated textures (use TIFF format, work best with alpha channel)

Ink simulation (Maya SoUP plugin)

Amber Hyde:
Live action ink in water/ milk (HD)

Monday, 11 February 2013

Animation Production: Project Updates

Hook, Line & Stinker:
I had a few problems with the production today. Both of these problems involved changed being made without me being informed as well as people not stepping up to put their foot down on throwaway comments.
The son rigg was completely re-modeled not retopologised. I feel this was a decision based on making a showreel at the end of the year and not what was best for the project. The problem with the new model is that is looks nothing like my one. I was then informed there were new character sheets but after seeing them these slightly new designs did not look anything like the model Dave had made from them.
It then came to my attention that the reason for all this change was a throwaway comment Dave made about my model looking to old then before we know it the team has Luke making tweaks to the character sheets in order to make the character look younger. The model Dave made did you look younger, yes, it also looked like a cold, hard CGI character. I could not quite explain why but his features seemed to rear towards realism rather than the exaggerated charichature we needed. My character model may have take to long but it sure as hell looked like the character sheet that everyone agreed on. Poison. That is all I have to say on it.

The second issue was the Fisherman character rigg. When I asked what could be done to smooth its movement though the pipeline from Maya to Motion Builder (to attach motion capture data) and back to Maya to be animated over. I was met with "the rigg was not built for motion capture. The rigg was built for  character animation." Apparently there was some kind of miscommunication regarding the use of character animation and motion capture. I am very sure I made it clear motion capture would be used during previz for this project that would evolved into finished shots.

Infinitus Artificium:
I have 2nd year Digital Animation student Connor McKee on particles in Maya. Have been having some issues getting the ink to look right in Maya using a plugin for particle effects called SoUP. Its super powerful but render times of insane and its fiddly. I remember talking to Will Oswald when he came to give us a lecture and he mentioned using After Effects to the the particle wok instead. I had considered this earlier but had not pushed it forward until now. 

The catch is off the shelf After Effects particle systems are not up the the task. There are however several particle plugins that do an amazing job. The other catch is that the are not cheap, free or directly available to students. Our senior lecturer Georg suggested I contact the software developer and inquire about getting a free software license. So late last night I emailed the powers that be at Red Giant software asking for a free license to Trapcode Particular 2.2. Just a few hours ago they emailed me back  with 

Tomorrow I will have Sean Bone and Alex Beadle testing the workflow for moving a mesh from Maya to After Effects as well as ink and dusts particle effects using the plugin. 

Out Choreographer Katie Dale Everett requested the previz of Inifinitus Artificium (IA) to play for her show in two weeks. I want to give her renders instead of an ugly play-blasts so I spent a few hours today lighting some the shots. It also allows me to practice my lighting which will come in handy on Hook, Line & Stinker when we start lighting later this week.








Monday, 4 February 2013

End Of Semester Update

Been supper busy so its been a while since I last posted. Here is an update.

I handed in my dissertation on Friday 25th January about 10 minutes before the deadline. I'm feeling confident about it but i'm just really happy to have it out the way. It slowed down production on all the third year projects. I wrote mine on the importane of social realism over visual realism in CGI computer animation. Its pretty strait forward really; in the film the world that you build, social hierarchies, systems, norms and values are more important that how realistic the CGI render looks. Nuff said. Post-dissertation this past week has been very slow. I feel like a lot of people see it as a week off but this is the week we need to get on with our work.

Will Oswald: Editing Lecture
On the same day as the dissertation deadline we had Will Oswald, editor of TV series Doctor Who and Torchwood. He is brilliant and really knows his stiff. Because of the time of the lecture not as many people turned up unfortunately both because of the deadline and because I dont think they see his value. He gave a very good lecture I took some notes;
  • Establish the geography and space of the scene
  • The moments before and after "the beat" are more important that the beat itself
  • if the "beat' does not work then there is something wrong with the buildup
  • exposition should be hidden in humor or emotion (this should be done in script stage)
  • characters should transform from one emotional beat to another. If they do not then its exposition.
  • Use rhythmic peaks and troughs to hide cuts.
  • Cut for the eye trace it will make it easier on the audience.
  • Failing that cut for the character eye line.
Dialogue Editing:
  • cut on soft words
  • cut between words to make cuts harder
  • For comedy always be on the person who is talking
Climax Editing:
camera moves, quick cuts, music/ SFX build

Climax Resolution:
still camera or slower, fewer cuts, no music/ SFX

Hook, Line & Stinker:
We had a great Mocap session on Friday 1st February from 4pm - 8pm. Freddy & Luke played the son and fisherman and did a great job. We had to do another mocap session because out story/ animatic had changed so much after the christmas break. Even though we have done this session we will have to do more. These extra sessions will be short as we came up with some ways to make scenes tighter. Also now that we have Ben Wdl's feedback we can make subtle changes.