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Gerry

Holiday animation

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Here's a quick still of my holiday animation so far; still working on the layout. It will all be "white" (or grayscale anyway), and the three candles shoot off like roman candles, then snow drifts down over everything. Hopefully it will go quick as I don't have a lot of time this year.

Holiday2012Stilltest13_90.jpg

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Lovely!

 

But no color... ever? How about if the snow brought the color back?

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At the end "Season's Greetings" will be writ across the screen,and that may be in red, don't know. I had a mental image of "all white" but as I work on this it just appears like grayscale. So now I'm not so sure on the minimalism.

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Thanks for the comments! I think what I had in mind for the overall appearance was Ambience Occlusion and I searched the forum for a some pointers or a tut of some kind, but nothing came up in a search. Can someone point me to a starting point?

 

EDIT: I was messing with the AO settings (and some of the other new stuff) and now I've got an effect turned on that I can't turn off. My renders are coming out like this...

Holiday2012Stilltest15_90.jpg

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Do you have the Fast/FakeAO Post Effect on your camera?

 

 

Very cool render! :)

Tint that with sepia and some mild Christmas colors and you'll have an old fashion Christmas card.

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I was going to suggest the sepia tint. Seconding the Rodster's suggestion.

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Hey, these are great ideas! I kept messing around with the settings but couldn't seem to get back to a normal render. As much as I like the effect, it's a problem if I can't control it. I finally just made a second camera and replaced the original. Seems to be working.

 

However I'm coming around to Robert's idea about having the color fade back in as the snow falls. And the snow test that Johnl3D put together is very helpful!

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However I'm coming around to Robert's idea about having the color fade back in as the snow falls.

Or...start with color and have the snowfall turn everything to a White Christmas?

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Here's a test where I've isolated the candles just to test their animation. Of course in the final they'll be spewing streaks but I've left the particles out on this one.

 

 

Ka-Blooey! That looks good.

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the fun/challenging part was animating the flames so they react to the movement of the candles. It's all hand-animated, no dynamic constraints or anything.

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Thanks for the comments. I'm rendering a half-size version with all the elements in, all the particles and snow. It's taking a few hours but if it comes out okay I'll post it tomorrow.

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Thanks folks! I finished that render with everything in it, but the snow is falling much too fast and looks more like hailstones. I may post it later but it will still need a few tweaks.

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turn down gravity and increase drag

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If I ever start a rock band, our first album is going to be called "Turn Down Gravity." :-)

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If that's a Sprite system there are two variations of the "Gravitational Affect" parameter in its properties.

 

And yes, that ought to be "Gravitational Effect"

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Thanks folks! I finished that render with everything in it, but the snow is falling much too fast and looks more like hailstones. I may post it later but it will still need a few tweaks.

 

For at least the foreground this might be an opportune time for compositing because you could retime the falling snow to fit whatever speed you need based on how you want to retime/animate it. If you were to render out three levels of snow falling and place those between three levels within your scene then it'd have all the more depth to it. Example:

 

Background (only a background element, that can easily be adjust to enhance the other elements in the scene. Generally this will be in opposition to the color of the primary elements for the purpose of contrast and clarity)

- Third level of falling snow (slowly falling, small, opaque and extensively covering backround)

Middle Ground (focus area that includes the primary tragets of attention)

- Second level of falling snow (drifting toward, through and perhaps even around the area of interest)

Foreground (Framing device to bring more focus toward the most important middleground element)

- First level of snow falling ( faster falling, larger, blurred, mostly transparent and otherwise minimalistic. Remove anything that interferes with focus of primary elements)

 

This is, in it's own way, a way of inbetweening animation in three dimensions... four if you count the actual timing but that is something of a given and works as the extremes that set the stage for the rest of the animation. As the computer doesn't know how to do this we have to step in and tell it what to inbetween.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

)

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For the time being I'm not going to post the render I did. It's an easy fix and I don't want to post stuff that needs such obvious work.

 

Rodney, if I'm understanding your comments, do you mean three snow emitters at varying distance from the camera? By coincidence, I did set up the scene with three snow emitters, although my only purpose was to vary the snowflakes' appearance. So, three emitters, and three different sprites, and currently they're all sitting in the same space.

 

But when you say "place those between three levels within your scene" you mean just placing them at different distances, right?

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Rodney, if I'm understanding your comments, do you mean three snow emitters at varying distance from the camera? By coincidence, I did set up the scene with three snow emitters, although my only purpose was to vary the snowflakes' appearance. So, three emitters, and three different sprites, and currently they're all sitting in the same space.

 

But when you say "place those between three levels within your scene" you mean just placing them at different distances, right?

 

If you are planning to render all in one rendering then yes, I mean to place them at different distances.

 

When compositing shots together it doesn't matter as much because the compositing will be (largely) faking the actual distances*. If compositing you could simply render the exact same emitter emitting snow but from a close up, mid and far away camera distance. Then you'd just place those into your composite appropriately and retime them to taste.

 

I am specifically talking about turning everything off except your emitters and then rendering those separately and then compositing them back in later. This gives you the ability to retime the snow falling as you see fit. My point is that using a composite layer of snow falling allows you to time their falling (and even their placement) separately from the main animation. It's treating them as an effects pass which is then composited in with the main animation.

 

 

*The main difference here is if you are using a multiplane effect which is optional and generally not necessary if not panning or tracking the camera into or out of the scene.

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D'oh, I completely overlooked the "compositing" part of your comments! Of course, that makes good sense and gives lots of flexibility.

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Here's a small wireframe just to show the correct speed for the falling snow. File's a little large because I left the music in. It's a nice clip we're getting from stockmusicsite.com. The objects will start changing from b&w to color about 8 secs. into this scene, then Seasons Greetings will write across the screen. The whole thing from beginning to end will be 1:27.

 

I did take Rodney's advice, rendering just some foreground snow with bigger flakes and an alpha channel for compositing, which will come in very handy.

 

I think I'm ready to move on to the color changing, which will be a challenge. There will be three methods for doing this and it will depend on how the objects themselves are colored. Methods are: Swap out model, animate materials, or fade in color decals. Then I may wrap up with something like that image above that had too much glow on it. I'm going to try for that with a sort-of sepia effect, with color as an accent.

SnowfallTest03_h264.mov

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Here's a partial render with some of the color changing in place. Still lots of tweaking to go, but in general it's working out just fine I think.

 

Render times are murder though, even on this half-size. I may need to get some rendering help.

WholethingTest_h264.mov

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Nicely done, Gerry. The snow looks great!

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I like that Gerry! Nicely done. When I get back I can render it for you on the farm?

 

 

Steve

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thanks guys. Steve, I may ask Jody (MMZ Timelord) as he's done some rendering for me before, but thanks, I'll let you know!

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That is looking nice! :)

 

I have a thought that might not be valid but I'll offer it up anyway...

 

It seems to me that the bursts of 'pre-snow' that the candles shoot up into the air could be brightly colored instead of white.

As it is I get a mild sense of 'I don't really know what is going on here.'

 

In this way you'd have a transition from colorless setting to colored candles to that of color being shot off screen. This might even result momentarily in people thinking, "Oh, cool. Neat sparklers," only to have the transformation of the snow occur off screen in the imagination of the viewer as the falling white snow enters the scene and transforms the whole world into a winter wonderland of color. I think you could do this with just simple tinting color (either as a patch or something of a post effect via after the Effects) place over the 'sparklers' as they shoot up into the air. What this would give would be a sense of celebration (at the candles) that changes/transforms as everything is transformed by the magic of the season. I'd leave a hint of white in the coloring prominent enough to maintain a solid link with the snow itself.

 

I don't know if you are planning any additional foley effects but a 'ding' as each of the objects transforms into their colorful personas might also strengthen the effect of change. It'd also be an echo to the general use of bells and chimes of the season.

 

All this just for what it's worth.

 

This is very creative stuff Gerry. Impressive work on display.

 

Edit: In rereading my post I see that I'm not entirely clear in my description. I think if you play 'track the color changes throughout the entire sequence' and how each element anticipates and motivates the next transformation it might be clearer what I am trying to say.

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No, that's clear Rodney, and all good points. Now that the "magic" is starting I want to punch it up still more! Lots of AfterEffects ideas come to mind.

 

Question though, is how I'm "coloring" the bells. I'm using an environment map, which has no settings for strength of the material, and the quick-and-dirty solution was to have the grayscale model fade out and the color model fade in, but it's not a very smooth transition if you watch it. Can the environment map be an animated decal? I should look into that, I need a smoother transition there.

 

EDIT:, Yep, the environment map can be animated. Works great.

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As I mentioned elsewhere I'll probably be needing some help rendering this. I'm currently rendering out each 50th frame for reference, then I'll post a link to the files and asking for some bids down in the "employment" section.

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I don't know what is up with this hair material. I've made the attached movie, it's only four frames (frames 10, 60, 110, 160) but the fir branch with the hair material is still wonky. I previously had brightness varying along hair length, then deleted keyframes and set it to 80%, then backed it off to 40%, and there are now no keyframes on its settings except for the color changes that happen around frame 1206. But it wants to do this change (looks like it's getting brighter and cruddier) and I can't track it down. it also comes and goes; somtimes when I render frame 110 it's fine; sometimes not.

 

These frames are just for rendering guidance but I sure would like to figure this out. I may strip out everything else and zip up the chor with just the fir branches if anyone else wants to take a look at. Maybe tomorrow.

Holiday2012_testframes.mov

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I just took out the dang branches! Problem solved.

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Gerry let me know i am back home now. If you need some one to render i am available

 

Steve

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Thanks Steve. I thought I would need some help but with those stupid branches out, I can render it just fine.

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I showed a first draft to my boss and she likes it, but asked about something that had got me wondering just the day before. So now when the snow starts falling, the gingerbread man...well, you'll see!

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Here's a test of the Gingerbread Man's moves. I've stripped out everything so you'll need to use your imaginin'.

 

He starts out on the base of the candelabra, and there will be lots of snow falling and pretty stuff in the background. It's not perfect, a little floaty, but I'm hoping it makes up in sheer happiness what it lacks in polish. I may still go in and tweak some keyframes, but I'm taking it home tonight and doing a final render of the whole thing. We'll see tomorrow!

GingermanBlockingTest_h264.mov

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That Gingerbread Man is quite a showman! :)

 

Looking forward to seeing him in the final presentation.

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Thats a nice gingerman Gerry and you done a graet job on that animation

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