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Ian Hunt Digital Media Designer

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3D Graphics – Sweetboy the 3D Animation.

Monday 13th December 2010

Computer Graphics for Animation and Film – 3D Animation, finishing touches

In reference to my previous blog entry, I thought that the animation quality could be significantly improved upon by firstly looking again at exporting the rendered video sequences exported from Maya. With new codecs installed on my computer I exported again each 3D Graphics sequence from Maya as uncompressed AVI clips. At the same time I took the opportunity to key in more animation sequences and improving on existing ones.

Another change to the first animation, this time I imported these clips into Adobe After Effects rather than Premiere Pro for post production. The key reasons for doing this was that after doing some research I learned that it was possible to use ‘Expressions’ to loop sequences. With this programming option I would be able to turn a short 2 second clip exported from Maya into a video sequence of a length I choose just by putting in a number for the number of loops.

In addition After Effects has a more effective Chroma Key function than Premiere Pro which completely removed the background from the character without leaving some of the background pixels or removing some of the characters pixels giving a smoother edge to the character.

I also took the opportunity to add a simulated water effect as the character plunges into the pond. Initially I filmed water and then an object dropping into a basin using my Flip camera which although was relatively easy to do and gave obviously a realistic effect I thought in fact it looked too real and would not fit in with the cartoon look I was after. I then decided to make my own water splash effect entirely from within After Effects by drawing a mask directly on the area of the screen where the character drops into the water and then using the effects, Fractal and CC Glass effects to create the initial splash and the ripples and then finished this off with a splashing water sound effect.

I then exported the completed sequence as an Quicktime .mov file. Which I then imported into Premiere Pro CS5 to add opening titles, end credit and a soundtrack.

As I mentioned previously the soundtrack is my own voice after being processed in Audacity varying pitch and speed to get the characters high pitched voice and the narrators lower pitched voice. I then added a short music track to finish off.

Finally in order to reduce the file size I exported the complete sequence as an MPEG2 formatted file as this seems to work the most efficiently with the online video services YouTube and Vimeo for both quality and upload times.

The Completed Animation.

The Flip Video  – Splash

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Computer Graphics for Animation and Film – Maya Introduction

Friday 15th October 2010

Introduction to Maya 3D Animation

[youtube.com/watch?v=hfHIpcWZeXQ]
Flying through the Wormhole

Had our first look at the Maya application and its workspace, the creation of basic objects, shading and keying for animation. Then a quick look at creating a camera and lighting effects.

In the latter half of the day the group were split into two and given the opportunity to explore and create their own design and produce an animation.

I had the idea to create a sequence representing space travel through a wormhole – not an original idea as this has been explored many times in sci-fi movies and TV productions.

How I did it

Using Polygons I created a Torus and a Sphere. I manipulated the Torus to create a cylindrical shape and then positioned the Sphere at one end of the cylinder. I then rendered these using the Lambert option. Following another session where we were introduced to adding a file and applying it to rendering I added a JPEG file of the earth and mapped this onto the Sphere giving the effect of the Earth spinning in space.

I then created a Camera which I then planned to animate so that it effectively flew through the cylinder and passed close to the orbit of the Sphere (Spinning Earth).

I keyed the first position of the camera to be right of the centre of the cylinder and the next to be central to the cylinders opening and the final key to be just passing the rotating Sphere.

To add to the final animation I used the paintbrush and the Galaxy selection to add stars in front off and behind the cylinder (Wormhole) and keyed in the rotation of the Sphere.

Finally I edited the exported AVI animation from Maya in Adobe Premiere Pro CS3, added a copyright free sound file some basic titles and uploaded the finished animation to YouTube.

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