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Reflection on Imaging and Data Visualisation

At the beginning of the second semester I could barely use Maya and this module was very useful for me to practise working in 3D. The lectures were very informative, giving me a basic knowledge that I could use while working on the projects, not just for this module. All the new tricks and shortcuts I learnt helped a lot to more or less figure out how Maya works.

During our first assignment for Imaging and Data Visualisation, the Floating City project I had a few setbacks I had to face but beside that I really enjoyed it and I learnt a lot. For our chosen city, Salem, Massachusetts, I had to do a lot of research on the history and culture to get the atmosphere right, but it was all worth it, because thanks to Maggie, our final piece looked really good.

For the second project, the head model, it was refreshing to work on my own. I had mostly negative experience in teamwork this semester, so I was glad when it turned out we didn’t need to work with others. After I had some time to do some research on retopologizing, and to figure out how Mudbox worked it still took a great amount of time to finish it right. I didn’t mind it, I learnt a lot about Maya and the anatomy of the face as well.

All in all I managed to get a better understanding on Maya during the lectures and while working on my own as well. I feel like this was a useful semester and Imaging and Data Visualization gave me a big push towards a better ability to work in 3D.

Final Retopology

After starting all over with the head model mostly knowing what I was supposed to do, I am satisfied with the outcome. It was hard work to keep an eye on not making any meshmistakes and creating a proper edgeflow.

I still have to practise a lot, but for my first try I think it turned out alright.

This project made me realize how important it is to know the anatomy properly whenever I sculpt something in 3D. This basic knowledge is necessary to create polygons that can be easily animated later on to create a realistic and natural movement. It was really useful to get a hang of working with Mudbox as well.

Reflection on New Narratives

Since the second semester started I have learnt a lot considering both Maya and film studies. The lectures were always very informative giving us a great opportunity to have a better understanding on film and the assignments we got helped in gaining knowledge on how Maya worked.

On film analysis I have learnt  way more than I have ever imagined I could. Not just during the lectures, but while reading some additional books as well such as The Filmmaker’s Eye, or The Cinema As Art. I’ve never thought before how much just the angle of the camera could mean to the narrative of a story. I have tried to apply this knowledge to the final project we got this year, the 30 second animation.

Our first assignment, the schematic and the artefact gave me a much deeper view into how a good film is built up. For the schematic we had to thing through Citizen Kane scene by scene, analysing every character and every action to find the connection between them. To come up with a good artefact we needed to understand the main meaning under the surface.

The next assignment, the animation, was really hard work considering the fact that there was only two of us working on it properly. Although looking back now I wouldn’t change teammembers, because I most definitely wouldn’t have learnt this much in Maya if I had the chance to let others do parts of the animation. We got a lot of help from members of other teams, but I had to figure out almost everything by myself.

I still have a lot to learn, but I feel like during this academic year I have improved a great amount.

References:

  • Citizen Kane (1941) Directed by Orson Welles.
  • Mercado, G. (2010). The Filmmaker’s Eye. 
  • Stephenson, R. and Phelps, G. (1989). The Cinema As Art.

Lights

I finally found the time to get back to the animation. We could only solve the lighting situation with one wall missing in our room. This gave a big limitation on the animation itself, so I wanted to figure out what went wrong the first time. I watched a few tutorial videos back then, but none of them could help, so I decided to just play around, and do a bit deeper research.

I started with an area light to try and lit the whole room. No matter what I tried it still remained too dark so I moved on to the desktop lamp. Here I used a spotlight. I played around with the intensity, the dropoff and the angle of the cone before trying out how it would look like in the renderview.

1

The spotligh itself is not too bad, I just increased the exposure on the renderview to get the whole scene a bit more lighter.

2

With this the only problem is that the spotlight area becomes way too bright while the room itself looks alright. So I just have to figure out the ‘light the whole room’ problem.

Using a spotlight for the ceiling light didn’t work either… I moved back to the area light to give it a try again.

areac

Somewhat better. The only thing I don’t like is that the nice shadow’s that the spotlight created almost disappeared because of the light coming from the ceiling. And the scene is a bit still too dark for me, on top of it the plane almost disappeares, so next to the area light I’m gonna use a spotlight as well to light the plane.

areaspotmax

The next step I changed the area light to a point light.

point

I liked this one way better than the area light. Mostly because the pointlight seemed to take away the harshness of the colors of the objects in the scene which is not a bad thing at all.

It seems this time I found the right sources to use. I had a lot of help from the Solid Angle website, and also a book I got from the final year’s Bake ‘n’ Book Sale, 3D Animation Essentials.

References:

Retopology part1

Before starting the retopology, I’ve made a bit of a research. I found a good tutorial on the 3DArtist website by Steve Holmes on the subject (in references). I also had a look at a few videos on the plurarsight website. I’ve seen everywhere that it is important to pay attention to how the muscles work on the face.

With my first try on retopologizing the done head model I made a few mistakes. First, I started out with too small polygons which made my work much harder. After a while because I made a lot of mistakes in the edgeflow as well I decided to start over.

re

This is my messed up mesh. I felt like I was starting to get the hang of it now, so I hope the second one will be better.

References:

Character Design and Principles

For the final assignment for life drawing we have to present four principles with our character. Since my last post on the subject I managed to came up with a design that I think is good for appeal. (The final designs are in my sketchbooks, the first one pg75-76, and the second one pg1-17.)

turn

Exif_JPEG_420

The second principle I wanted to show is solid drawing.  I think my sketches prove that I have a clear understanding on the character’s anatomy.

I had to pay attention to balance, that’s why at the end i chose him to have bug like legs and arms. Two legs were necessary, but I didn’t want to add more, the four arms could be very expressive.

5

The first pose I draw was – of course – Hamlet, just because Shakespeare is awesome. From this on I just grabbed random quotes from my favourite books for a few more sketches before moving on to the other principles.

1

At the end next to appeal and solid drawing I chose arcs, follow through and overlapping action, and squash and stretch.  (second sketchbook, pg11-15) (I already talked about the principles in my previous post.)

As for the articles we talked about at week 12… Only the second one, the one about gender representation influenced me somewhat while thinking about the character. First I didn’t even want to give a gender to it, it doesn’t really matter if it’s male or female, but considering the fact that it’s based on a moth I changed my mind. Altho I wouldn’t change the shape, just the color to keep it simple and real in this matter. I haven’t done a coloured version yet, but I imagine the male would be brownish, and the female would be a grayish colour just like in nature.

I really feel like this year’s life drawing helped me a lot. I pay more attention to perspective, anatomy and proportions than before, and altho I still struggle to get everything right I came a long way.