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pixelmech

My first animation project

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WOW! Tom, this is great! A flick well worthy of any animation studio! I must say, you've really done some great work ;)

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Tom,

 

I keep trying to figure out a way to cut your render time down. What type of computer do you have? The reason I ask is because for the variation in patches that you have it shouldn't be taking that long to render.

 

What size are your image maps?

 

As for the shadow be sure your sun is set to a higher intensity than the skylight. And, make sure you have dark shadows for the sun.

 

Finally--if you can do this I would render in stages. Render as a tga sequence. Once, for the robots on the hill with an alpha channel (by setting the other models inactive). Second for the back ground hill--because it shouldn't take that long to render considering there is no motion blur or anything and you should be able to just render from about 5 or so frames before the camera move and then through the entire camera move. Then the cloud with the lighting strike. Then put them into your composition software. Of course, the post production may take just as long (depending on your level in that arena) as rendering it full.

 

J

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Edit: MrJage - thanks for the compliment - I don't think the studios would agree with you though! ;)

 

I'm running WinXP Home, 1.7Ghz, 512 MB RAM, NVIDIA 64MB DDR GeForce3 Ti 200 Video Card. Should be plenty robust enough.

 

If by image maps you mean decals...they are all targas, most under 100k. And, you assume I have compo software - I don't :).

 

I wonder too about rendering a targa sequence and music - I am adding music (if I can ever get it to work.) Does music get rendered out that way? I would think not.

 

Anyway, it should be okay. I played around with some of the ToonNation metallic procedurals. Not quite where I want them to be but interesting. I did this full render in about 3 hours or so.

 

http://www.pixelmech.com/movies/rr46.mov

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I must say, that was 3 well spent hours! And the twitchy leg in the end... Details details details! I love sneaky little details like that!

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Thanks Joakim :) Here's an update of the point, I think its better. Have been stuck all weekend on getting the sound in and messing with materials. The lighting on this clip is bad, it's just temporary. I've given up on the sound. I may download a trial version of premiere and try and put it in at the end, who knows.

 

http://www.pixelmech.com/movies/point.mov

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The pointer: have you tried clunching his two "non-pointing" fingers more? I'm not sure if that would look better or worse...

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The point does seem to have more urgency--but I liked it when there was the exaggeration--but it's your call hoss. I liked the twitch at the end as well.

 

The shadow on the last "full" render is too fuzzy for the time of day. In the early morning shadows are not very dense--it's not bright enough--same with late at night. But, between the hours circa 11-3 the shadows are usually the sharpest--but hey at least they're there.

 

But, at some point you're going to have to stop tweaking and call this project done--gather what you've learned and move onto bigger and badder slaps. Granted it's the pot calling the kettle black--but I thought I'd give it a shot. B)

 

J

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Thanks guys. On the hand clench: The model is not set up very well. The more I close the fingers the worse they look - they get flat. So I kind of pushed it to where I could.

 

I'll be working on the lighting next and getting the shadows as good as I can.

 

I did lose some of the exaggeration - agreed. I may or may not tweak it one more time :) Right now I'm kind of with you that it's about time to quit messing with it and move on.

 

I tried putting smoke on him at the end - holy cow what a nightmare! I'm not quite ready to mess with particle systems just yet hehe.

 

I think what's left is maybe a couple very minor tweaks (if any) lighting and materials and then render it out for the contest.

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Love it! It has a great look to it and you should be proud. I agree that the leg twitching is a great final touch. I do miss your more cartoony cloud, but not enough to say change it back.

 

Scott

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Thanks Scott. Interesting you are the first to mention the cloud :) I'm not sure about it myself either - I have to think about it.

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Not sure how many more updates I'll post, I'm getting ready to get this finished up and I'd like to leave some mystery of the final product :) Here's my first test render that I will be working from to build the final piece.

 

I'm still going to try and add music somehow, if I can. Nothing in this render is final, but it is my starting point to move that way.

 

http://www.pixelmech.com/movies/testrender1.mov

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Tom,

Please don't hate me! I think that you should work out the problem you have with your characters fingers not curling up right. In doing so you should be able to curl the fingers for the point and also when the robots hands are at their sides you should be able to make their hands seem more relaxed. Also hwne the robot grabs his head it will look more natural if his fingers are bent slightly. Right now it looks like he doesn't want to touch his head with his fingers (maybe he doesn't!)

 

Maybe you should stop posting updates. Us armchair quarterbacks are too willing to comment rather than working on our own stuff!

Scott

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LOL Scott. I hate you! ;) No, seriously - I may try and do that. The sad story with the hands is this: I rigged him with TSM2. Then I added a "clench" pose so I could close his hands. After running the TSM2 rigger - the hand pose clench doesn't work :( Something conflicts with TSM and my pose, no idea why. It works in the action when I build it, but not after.

 

That means I have to animate each finger by hand (no pun intended) which is a pain. That is why I have not done a lot. But now that I am closer to the end - I agree it would make things better. It's the one glaring issue for sure. You've probably noticed the "bumps" around the knuckles too. That's another issue I'd like to fix.

 

So I will give that a shot before the final version, I still have what, 6 weeks til the due date - so plenty of time!

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There should be a longer pause between when he stops glowing and the leg twitch. Make people hold for it. Kind of like--wow that was....oh no he didn't. Possibly 1/2 to 3/4 of a second between the not glowing and the twitch. It's like the delivery of a punchline--you set them up--make them hold for it just long enough so you don't lose interest--and then BAM!! (as it were).

 

The shadows are bothering me more in this render. I should say this--the internal model shadows are fine--it's the thrown/ground cast shadows that are the problem. The direction they are cast is fine--however, the intersection you get from the skylight makes the full shadow disappear. Therefore, the shadows are incomplete--which would be fine--if they weren't angled--but then you would have floating models. I'm not sure how you've got it setup now so I can't really suggest too much (and I'm tired at present). Maybe tomorrow I can suggest something--or you can find a solution that will either give you a full shadow of your characters angled back and to the right--or a sun which is directly above the characters like you had in the previous one (where I said the shadows should be more intense). If you could find a midground--the solidity of the shadows in this version, but the shape of the previously mentioned one I think you would be good to go.

 

The hand clench doesn't bother me--too badly. A suggestion I have would be to overdo the action (rotate the fingers further than what you need) that way you've got some slack to play with--at least you should.

 

That's all I have for you right now.

 

J

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I adjusted the twitch, good point. The fingers... well suffice it to say that without going back and doing a lot of work on the model - the fingers are the way they are. I'd have to re-rig my model, which would mean re-decaling them and a couple other things. I'm not sure it's going to add that much. Really the splines aren't in good places either. The long and short of it is I rushed the models so I could get animating. I'll gladly take that shortcoming in light of the fact that all I have learned in the past few weeks!

 

Working on the skylight, Yves giving me some tips in that skylight thread. I did clench his fingers around his head a bit as the head stops turning.

 

I think I'm done tweaking, can't find much else to do. Time to start wrapping this up and get rendering the final piece!

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That better not be an update of a new render...?? :(

 

This looks too close to the original post decaling version to be new.

 

J

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ROTFL, well it is! Let me tell you what I did first:

 

- His point is very different, especially the end pose. Also, oranges reaction is different because he turns toward red first. Tweaked reds walk up again, not much tho. Adjusted reds stance all the way after the middle (he was too crouched) shortened the time to foot twitch. Added some little stuff during sleeping...u didn't notice? :)

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Dear Tom, :o

 

No really. The sequence for the link is as follows.

 

Original russian and toys decals, Red is till red--orange is white again. No twitch. No spread eagle. The matrix walkoff of white is back once again. The cloud is not a solid mesh. The hills in the background are gone. No afterglow. No spreadeagle. The point still doesn't clinch. The eyes no longer roll. The lights are off--nobody's home. And, the sequence is only 1045 frames. No shadows.

 

If this is a new render may I refer to the following--reread my post on page 4.

 

Now if it is supposed to point to rr54 not rr24 let me say the following: B)

 

Love the twitch on orange while he's sleeping--good secondary movement to keep the viewer interested.

 

Red's walkup is more solid and stern--good job.

 

There is a weird jump in orange's arms around frame 390 that jumps out at me.

 

Red's left arm is now floating back to his hip. It seems like you are wanting the arms to reach the hips at the same time--but this is causing the left arm to seem to drift for too long. You may want to substitute this concept for something like the left hand get on hip first then the right.

 

When red looks at the camera (609) it should be a couple of frames longer to truly break the camera dimnension.

 

The left hand on red floats again when he is pointing.

 

The startled jump is better seems faster.

 

Cut the twitch back--9-10 frames. Right now it's almost an entire second of wait time which IMO is too long.

 

J

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Comments on rr54:

 

I see a lot of good motion in this clip- I like the way wrists and forearms generally drive the hands, and the chest drives the arm, nice job for the most part throughout on that.

 

Some things that may improve it even more:

 

Don't show the hit frame when he slaps him. It weakens the "punch." Readjust so there's no keyframe there. A keyframe before the hit, and then one after it that shows the results- very close to the extremes. (straight out of the animators survival kit, pg. 280),

 

 

The overshoot when he points should involve some overshoot from his hand that is NOT in synch with his body, make sense? It's as if his arm is locked in position the entire time.

 

 

When he lowers his arm after the point, lead with his elbow, don't keep the arm so straight.

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First of all thanks for all the nice comments from you guys.

 

Now if it is supposed to point to rr54 not rr24 let me say the following:  B)

Dooooh! Sorry about that guys! Cut n' Paste dumbness.

 

There is a weird jump in orange's arms around frame 390 that jumps out at me.

 

Yeah, what I was trying to do there is have his hands react to his little sleep jerk there, but it's not right. I'll rework that - I may remove it now that I have the other stuff going on.

 

Red's left arm is now floating back to his hip. It seems like you are wanting the arms to reach the hips at the same time--but this is causing the left arm to seem to drift for too long. You may want to substitute this concept for something like the left hand get on hip first then the right.

 

I think I introduced the floaties making my changes. I probably will have the left hand get there first.

 

When red looks at the camera (609) it should be a couple of frames longer to truly break the camera dimnension.

 

I'll see if I can add some time there - he looks back at orange fairly quickly so I think I have some room to play there.

 

Cut the twitch back--9-10 frames. Right now it's almost an entire second of wait time which IMO is too long.

 

I assume you mean the hand twitch on orange in the beginning... it is a smidge long.

 

Comments on rr54:

 

Don't show the hit frame when he slaps him. It weakens the "punch." Readjust so there's no keyframe there. A keyframe before the hit, and then one after it that shows the results- very close to the extremes. (straight out of the animators survival kit, pg. 280),

 

Ah, good call! And I have, and have read, that book! (What a great book) and totally forgot about that. Can't wait to try it.

 

The overshoot when he points should involve some overshoot from his hand that is NOT in synch with his body, make sense? It's as if his arm is locked in position the entire time.

 

I lost my overshoot when I reworked him there - thanks for the reminder.

 

When he lowers his arm after the point, lead with his elbow, don't keep the arm so straight.

 

I knew something was odd about that..good pointer.

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:lol: The glow WILL be there hehe - this is only a SHADED render - glows only show up on FINAL renders :)

 

(A final render of this thing is going to literally take over 100 hours so...now you know why I'm posting shaded ones)

 

Trust me it is there - I don't want to be lightsabred! ;)

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Just another picky detail comment. The 3rd and 4th lightning flashes don't hit him quite right. The tip of the bolt shows behind him. Hopefully not a big problem to change, but it will help keep the overall quality top notch.

 

Scott

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I assume you mean the hand twitch on orange in the beginning... it is a smidge long.

 

I do apologize I should've specified. Red's twitch at the end. He falls--then we wait almost an entire second before he twitches--this is what I think should be cut back 9 or 10 frames. A full second is too much of a calm for the action that happened before.

 

Basically the first time he fell--a couple of frames passed and he twitched. Now he falls and there is a hold (which is good) but it is too long.

 

Also, in the final render I would turn the glow off after the fall. He falls--glow fades--twitch; that sort of action. If you want a c&c and that particular sequence (should you choose to take it) just render a final on those frames--shouldn't take too long--hopefully.

 

J

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AH the foot twitch. Gotcha - I had actually shortened already but yeah - it does need to be a bit shorter. I am taking off the glow after he falls... I should have it fade though but I'm not sure you can - its on or off, ya know. Will post a rendered ending when I get a chance.

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Ok, I worked on those things stated above. Here's an update. Each time I think I'm close to being done I do another round! Well hopefully I'm close. I want to start adding final touches to the scene, get lighting down and start rendering.

 

http://www.pixelmech.com/movies/rr55.mov

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Looks good to me. Nothing really jumped out and I watched 3 or 4 times.

 

J

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Here's a little light test - single frame only. Much thanks to Dearmad who helped me switch to a 3 light setup instead of the skylight which was going to take too long to render.

 

This may be my last post here - wanna save the rest for the final piece I think. (Assuming I can wait that long! )

post-7-1114303556.jpg

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Your project is looking GREAT!!! You are a good animator/story teller. It's getting better and better. I'll bet you are going to create a series from this or even possibly a longer short. It's very funny, I'd like to add, too.

 

Thumbs up!

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You are doing great. Better and better every time. Love the twitch he has in his sleep. I play it over an over, and it's just so darn well made :D

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Wow you guys, thanks a lot! I honestly can't tell you how much the compliments mean to me. Quite frankly, without all the help from everyone here, I could not have gotten it to where it is now - so kudos to a great community.

 

Funny you mention about a series, the robot was built for something else, and I think I will be either tweaking it or remaking it (it is not modelled well for rigging), and then re-rigging it to maybe work for that future project.

 

I feel like I have a long way to go - and I still see areas I'd like to wipe and redo :) But your comments make me feel a lot better about it. I've learned so much doing this, I'm anxious to get going on another project after this is done.

 

I'm actually rendering out targa sequences for the final project right now. Only through about 5 seconds though!!

 

Quick tip for anyone doing a movie no matter how long/short: QuickTime Pro will open up images sequences and make the movie for you (I've not been able to do it with A:M) - it's a good way to go. Render targa sequences as big as you can - then you can make and compress as many movies as you want from that sequence, in as many sizes and compressions and you never have to re-render!

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The "experiment" light looks kinda cool. A little more "metall glowy"-like. If I were the one to choose, I would've chosen that light setup, buuut, after all, it's your project ;P

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pixelmech- something I just noticed today---

The robots have rank stripes... the letters/numbers are appopriate. Sargent Forty-four and private six... is there a joke in there somewhere??

Age?? Model number?? amps/watts?? Tinsle strength?? :lol:

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The numbers have actually changed slightly. To be honest there wasn't much substance behind them other than design elements :) Although they do have some semblance of rank. The red guy is obviously some kind of "sarge" to the orange guy, and treats him poorly. You might notice that Red has a kind of 'tally' on his side....

 

Tensile strength..good one!

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YESSSSS! Haha! Neat, fun characters!

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