Saturday, 20 June 2009

It is all over

It has been a weird end but it is over. It is a shame Anja’s film had to be rushed so much at the last minute but I guess experiencing productions like this and learning from it is what this is all about.

I had a good time working in Daryl’s group, it was quite an enjoyable experience being co-director of his film, and producer (for some of the last term at least). I was surprised at how good at producing Daryl’s film I was. Production schedules helped us a lot and I believe the film wouldn’t have been as good without them.

Admittedly I didn’t do a schedule for the last week or so as it was just too busy. Finding potential and ACTUAL problems wit members not working, or work not completed on time was all due to production scheduling so I’m glad I decided to fulfil this role when I did.

It is a shame I wasn’t given more work on Anja’s film though, especially more compositing and overall post production work as I this is what I have the most passion and enjoyment for.

I let her know halfway through that a lot of my time would be taken on Daryl’s film as it needed a lot more help with direction and general hard labour, especially considering as all his members were mainly working for other groups. I just hoped this didn’t put Anja off giving me work as, if asked more, I would have done a lot more work for her.

Oh well, it has been an experience and I have learnt a lot, and we got our films finished! Hoorah! I wish everyone the best from here on out. It has been a pleasure.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Yesterday, Anja rang me up at the end of the day to tell me that she wasnted the composition of the hospital Shot redone. Apparently, she wanted the girl to be running slower and from teh distance, teh crane should be smaller and have two of them, and also the abckground changing so that it is close up to begin with, then further away after the fade to white.

She also wanted the character at the window to be standing on the left side. I think this would kind of confuse things with teh character running on from the left also, you wouldn't be able to notice it as much.

Here is a video showing each layer that is used in the creation of the composition.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Anja rang me up today and asked me to composite the hospital window shot for her. It is a little bit unprofessional to ask me to start compositing now as it is getting so late but it isn't too bad, especially now that Daryl's film is practically complete.

She told me where the files were on the Public drive and i asked her whether all the files I need for the composite were already in the aftereffects file she set up for me. She assured me they were (apart from some animation that is still being worked on) and gave me a rough description accross the phone as to how to composite the scene.

I've said it before, but it is really hard to understand what someone wants from you when they aren' there to explain it to you. Or don't show you anything to help you understand exactly what they want.

Unfortunately all the files were not in the file. The AfterFX file only had the window and main character in it. Luckily Dan was around and found the rest of the files for me. Unfortunately not all the files I needed to complete the enitre composite were ready and she was still creating the crane animation. Apparently she tasked Tasha to finish the run sequenc
e too. It was a pain though as after completing as much as I could I then had to wait around for the rest of the files. It meant that because I had to wait for all the files it made it more difficult for me to get on with things. I had finished what I could without the run and crane by lunch and by 3-4 pm i received the crane sequence. this meant I could start knocking up a bit of lighting together with teh sun better and more in time with the crane animation. By 6pm I was tired of waiting for the files and went home. Just a I was leaving Dan leT me know that Anja had sent me the run sequence. I finished the rest at home and sent it to Anja that night.

This is what I ended up with.

Unfortunately, it took me a while to figure out why AfterFX wasn't working with teh scene very well. I noticed it was because Anja's pixel dimensions that she used for her animations were ridiculously high. They were set to 400 dpi also. I reduced it to 72 dpi and it made After FX a lot more user friendly.

This picture shows the shot ungraded.

This other shot is the graded version.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Tuesday 16th June

Today we went through btiw that needed to be completed in order to finalise the film. Daryl was putting together all the scenes he has redone tweaks to, for example the animation to the trophy at the beginning, a few RAM shots where his eyes texture was a little corrupted. We also lost a few files to the chair animation. I went in to Maya and have redone the chair animation again, this time with toon lines, which the previous version didn’t have. The old version was also the old version of the chair, so it was probably better that we couldn’t find the files.

Here is the animation..

Daryl helped me with this to ensure my timings went exactly in time with his 2D animation.

Today I also started creating the new intro sequence. I’ve said this before, but I left this to the last minute as we already had an intro complete by Sam Harvey. As we have just under a week left to finish off the film it gives me plenty of time to to it. In fact I finished it tonight.

During the day I re created the television model in Maya (i modelled it a week or so ago but completely lost the file). Luckily it looks identical to my previous model as I am using the same reference. I textured it and gave it blinn textures for subtle light shining. I then started texturing the wallpaper for the background. I went online looking for some nice old wallpaper textures and found this..

I played around with it in Photoshop to make it look better and suit our animation more.. I envisaged a nice green wallpaper with the similar pattern as this texture.

This is what i ended up with..

It is very similar but is of course the green colour I chose and also a hint of orange for the tiled pattern to fit in nicely with it. If I have more time again I may go over the pattern and make it look even more unique and possibly a brighter tine of orange/gold.

Daryl had also created a newer intro sequence with Sam’s logo. I liked it, but unfortunately It had low quality images blended into it again, I recreated it so the images on the background blended nicely with the white.

I then started compositing the intro together this evening. I put the wallpaper and television layers in After Effects first and put the original clips for our intro behind the television layer so it looked liked it was on the screen. I made sure my 3D model had a completely hollow screen so it would make this part of the compositing easier.

After putting all of the footage in, and tweaking the title sequence so that the logo masks out to show the main set, I started doing effects to make it look like a television screen.

I already learnt how to do television grain from the effects I’ve done previously. The same with the television lines so this didn’t take too long. I tinted the entire image black and white and animated it so that it became progressively full colour and scaled the entire composition in whilst it did this. I also gave it a high contrast as a television set of this nature would most likely give. I also experimented with a thick white scan line that goes down the screen a couple of times, again to show off this being an old television.

Lastly, to finish this scene off i scaled the background wallpaper at a different speed than the television to give the illusion that the television is in front of the wallpaper and blurred the wallpaper the more it zoomed in, so to focus the attention more to the television screen.

And finally I added lights to the scene, mainly the background wallpaper, but also some subtle light fluctuation coming from the television screen itself as it it were really projecting light. I then tinted the entire composition to make it look slightly dull. This not only made it slightly more realistic but also gave a nice tone difference compared to the film which is a light brighter and a lot more fun.

Here it is...

Here is a video showing short clips of some of the different types of layers used in the making of the shot...

Today I was finishing off final renders and collaborating them all together in premiere as a final edit. We finished it all by the end of the day and rendered out a rough .wmv but came up with an error at the end, probably due to memory issues of the PCs. It still plays, but has quite a few graphical glitches every now and again. We will render out a proper version later on.

I also spoke to Anja today. She made it clear that she needs me to work for her in the coming days as it is getting so close to deadline. She also clearly expressed and warned me that if I didn’t create work good enough for her standard then I will not be in the final credits for her film.

I thought this was completely unfair for her to decide this, considering I have worked for her all this time even alongside Daryl’s film. I thought this was really unprofessional although Anja didn’t think so. She told me that she doesn’t think I should go into the credits if none of my work will be shown in the final film.

Even though she acted in such an unprofessional and aggressive way I still agreed to work for her. I want her film to succeed regardless of emotions or stress. I just wished Anja was more organised and had given me more work earlier on. I imagine she will be expecting my help after the hand in, to finish off the film for the degree show and I will surely help her. It is just a shame because now most of this work will not get marked as it will be done after hand in.

Hopefully the film will shine at the degree show though.

After our discussion Anja went on to fix up the crane scene I was previously working on. She was making new render layers because I had not updated the old ones from the original file. The newest file has a lot more cranes in as Anja wanted, and I hadn't changed the render layers to compensate. She had previously created newer ones for all the new and old cranes but decided now that she didn’t like them. I asked her if there was more important work she needed to get finished by Friday. If there was then it would make sense to do that rather than fix up a scene that already has a finished version.

She told me she needs to finish off the 2D animation for the scene she was fixing up. This didn’t make any sense to me to leave the animation… one of the most important parts of the scene and told her this but she seemed adamant to continue anyway. I offered to complete what she was working at home tonight as it didn’t take me too long to do before and it makes more sense for her to work on her animation which I think is a lot more important.

She agreed and so I have to finish creating these render layers at home tonight.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Busy busy weekend

It has been a busy weekend. I have finished off a lot more renders of Daryl’s film and have put them all together in a final edit. There were a few files missing but Daryl's sent most of these straight away. Unfortunately there were few scenes that were either at college of have somehow been lost along the process. We have saved so many Public and Local folders we may have lost few files in the process.

This isn’t too bad as it is only a couple of scenes. I’m sure the files are lying around somewhere.

I was meant to be doing Anja’s work today although she didn’t send me over any files so I continued work for Daryl' instead.

This time meant I could do some nice effects on Daryl’s film.

One of the first changes I did was a test effect for the audience being lit up when RAM is using the randomizer on his screen to randomly select an audience member. On daryl's test the entire screen just kept flashing. This wasn't obvious at all what was meant to be going on and would probably be bad for photo-sensitive epileptics.

I did a simple test by lighting up random seats of the audience. I did this by creating a light in after effects and lighting the scene to incredible amounts so the seats of the audience were completely lit up. I then masked out areas to the shapes of spotlights and keyed the opacity of each mask so that the layers would only be on one at a time. of course behind all this I had the original background which is dark so all together it appears that spot lights are appearing all over the audience. There is a spotlight feature in afterFX but it wouldn't look as good as masks are needed to go around teh chairs in front of the area it is lighting up, to give ther illusion tha the lights arwe lighting up behind the chairs infront of its position.

The following pictures show the two images and how I masked them, along with the video showing it in action.

Alongside this scene is of course the randomizer on RAM itself. I was unhappy with Daryl's version from before. It served it's purpose I geuss but it just didn't look professional. I thought a lot more work was needed on the graphical element that would be passing through RAMS face. This is an example of Daryl's work from before.

I asked him to create almost a film strip of images which he has done and looks fine, but the pictures on each cell is pretty bad quality. There is also nothing behind the images, it just looks like images were shoved onto teh strip and I don't think this looks good enough.

I decided to go over and create higher quality dimenions of teh concept designs and mask them out and bring them back onto the strips. This time though, I repositioned them on the squares so they are no longer stretched or pixelated, but are nicely placed within the cell as if someone had taken a photo of them. I also made it longer so that the strip can properly loop n the animation now, before when the clip got near the end of the strip it would suddenly jump to a random part of the strip and continue liek that. Now the strip can animate down towards morts face and cut back to the first cells of the strip seamlessly without notice. I also decided to use a forest/swamp background behind them as that is really where the film's studio is meant ot be set.

For this i used a photo from the internet of a forest and livetraced it in illustrator to give it a cartoony look. I also used this same exact picture for a painting on the set previously.

Here is the original photo along with the live traced version.

After finishing this I then put it into the scene with RAMS face and completely redid the animation on his screen. I created a longer strip so it made Daryl's previous animated keyframes redundant. I kept his original idea of looping the strip. Here is the clip.

I have also done a nice camera zoom and fuzz for the banana shot to signify how the cameraman is quickly reacting. This would make sense in terms of filmic language and making sure the audience understands what is going on, but now also fits in with the theme of the film.

Another shot I did some effects for was when RAM carries Susie over from the side of the screen. After Susie jumps off from RAMS back she doesn’t really do much and it stands out. RAM also has some really nice animation and would be good for the audience to see. Instead of simply zooming in to RAM more I decided to use a similar technique that I used on the banana shot to make it look like the cameraman is reacting to what is going on in the set, just as if it were live and going wrong.

This is why I added the lens changing focus, the film grain going a little out of control and even loss of colour slightly. This all used to make it look like the cameraman is panicking behind the camera. Personally I think it works well, in both this respect and the fact it still keeps RAM central to the action until Susie is needed.

Lastly I also created the video being displayed on RAM’s screen of the teeth, gums and bacteria. Daryl previously got a photo of horrible looking teeth and roughly animated Bacteria on it. The photo was great and even gave a reaction to people who were looking over our shoulders whilst working, although the quality of the photo was horrible.

I went online and found a nice good quality photo of teeth and manipulated it so it was unrecognizable to the original photo. I also discoloured the teeth to make them look more gross. The original photo the teeth looked perfect. With more time i would like to come back to this and mix several photos of teeth to make it look really horrible and disgusting, but keeping to the quality.

Here is the first version of the animation I created. I also animated the bacteria a lot more and made a big piece jump out of the teeth in time with the sound effects.

I also added screen effects as if it was being displayed on a computer/television screen. This includes the pixel lines and a fuzzy look, with random

movements as if the original recording was done quite badly with an amateur camera and recording. This, i hope, made the video look more realistic to hopefully make it more uncomfortable to watch.

Sunday 14th June

There were/are many problems with toonlines. Harrison originally created the toonlines for the scene but since then me and Daryl have put our own toonlines on all of the newer scenes we have created.

I decided to make all the toonlines 0.02 width as it was quite subtle but suited everything.