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Digital Media Design

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Maya Animation – Sweetman

Sunday 28th November 2010
Having designed the 3D character I set about keying in some basic animation sequences, walking, hand and head movements etc. and then rendered the sequences from different camera angles. This gave me a range of short animation sequences that could be edited together to form a story. The brief calls for a short animation of approx. 30 seconds delivering a message to children. Having considered a number of possibilities I’ve decided to deliver a safety message.

Progress update

[youtube.com/watch?v=-TRb0vnDLiU]
Each 3D sequence is between 2 and 3 seconds long. I had already changed the background in Maya to be the brightest Green available from the colour pallet as this would make keying out the background later much easier. I then exported each sequence as an AVI video to be imported into Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 for editing. It was at this point that a problem was identified. Maya has the means to export AVI files which it says is uncompressed but Premiere was unable to play these files. I suspected the problem was with CODECs and looked at alternatives, With the right CODECs installed the files were viewable again, but the quality of the image changed depending on which CODEC was used to compress the video.
Using the Chroma Key setting in Premiere I removed the backgrounds from the 3D images and then dropped them onto a video track to make up a longer sequence. Then using the Motion option I keyed in locations against a fixed background until the 3D character seemed to have walked from one side of the screen to the other. From a time estimate I worked out that each second of animation took just over an hour.
Although I added to my workload by taking time to produce Green Scene footage it does mean that I can change the video background for anything including moving video/live footage which means my Maya produced 3D character could interact with live images.
The next stage is to produce more 3D images using the character I designed and then adding them to the sequence. Then I need to work on a voiceover soundtrack to get my safety message across.
One thing that I have really learnt from all this work with Maya is that 3D Animation is not a career choice to be made lightly. You need to be enthusiastic about this subject with the patience of a saint to spend hours/days to produce just a few seconds of video.
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