Final products:

Character Design Video (FP01):

Character Animation Video (FP02):

Pirate Character model:

Report (PDF):

Click here to download PDF

Introduction:

For this second portfolio assignment for the second semester of the course 3D Design and Animation our task is to combine the work we’ve done throughout the last semester. The foucs of this assignment is creating a good looking portfolio, presenting the work we’ve done this semester including character design and animations. Our task explains that we have to make two videos (FP01 and FP02) as our portfolio.

The video of the character should include our entire workflow from the first research and idea sketches to the final fully shaded and textured render. The start of the final product video should include description of the character, concept art, color schemes, sketches etc. Later in the video there should be a well-lit turntable animation showing checkermap, clay material with low-poly wire, hi-res clay without textures and final textured shaded character versions of the character. Each part should get 360 degree turnaround. There should also be a turnaround showing close up of the face highligting good topology and edgeflow (this should be clay material with low poly wireframe). At last the video should also include a texture sheet of all textures used.

For the second video (FP02) with character animation our task is to show our best work from cycles, body mechanics and acting. This video should have the duration between 20-30 seconds. It is sufficient to use playblasts in Maya as long as we present them well.

The duration of this portfolio assignment is 2 weeks in total, I have made a time schedule with 27 hours for these two weeks.

Time schedule:

30.05.2016 – 03.06.2016 – Week 22

2 hours – Planning and research (moodboard, references etc)

1 hour – Setup a time plan and todo list

12  hours – Improve previous character animations

06.06.2016 – 06.10.2016 – Week 23

3 hours – Improve character creation

1 hour – Make intro/outro and text/images.

3 hours – Edit final product video in Premiere/After Effects

2 hours – Combining workfiles for delivery

3 hours – Worklog

Total: 27 hours

Todo list/fixes:

Character Animation 1 – Walk cycles (7s)

STATUS: Done

Generic: Too much movement in shoulders, more movement in arms instead.  IK pops in knees, look into hip movement (move hip forward the same direction as the foot). Check general balance in body.

Zombie: Something is wrong with the framerate, the foot should hit the floor differently and support the movement.

https://andreasgames.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/character-animation-1-walk-cycles/

 

Character Animation 2 – Movement and weight (8s)

The character should keep the box closer to it’s body. Then lift it fast up in the beginning and move it faster towards the table in the end. Lift with feet/knees, not arms.

https://andreasgames.wordpress.com/2016/01/26/character-animation-2-movement-and-weight/

 

Character Animation 3 – Body Mechanics (5s)

STATUS: Done

Need to work on both intro and outro walkcycle. Maybe have one step in the walkcycles.

Cut down the animation by half.

https://andreasgames.wordpress.com/2016/04/19/character-animation-3-body-mechanics/

 

Character Animation 4 – Emotion and Thought (8s)

STATUS: Done

Too much movement and twinning in the knees/feet.

Keeps the controller too high up in the air, lower the elbows.

Use only the animation with face and body.

https://andreasgames.wordpress.com/2016/04/25/character-animation-4-emotion-and-thought/

 

Character Animation 5 – Acting drills (10s)

STATUS: Done

Fix where she raises her arm towards the face. Remove 1 second from the animation.

https://andreasgames.wordpress.com/2016/05/02/character-animation-5-acting-drills/

 

Character Animation – General:

Keep the same setting/scene/lighting for all the animations.

55 seconds total originally

Reduced to 30

 

Character Creation – General:

Turn the island not the camera.

Work on lighting.

Specular map for buttons and shinies.

Make a texture sheet.

Worklog:

I started this project by reading the assignment very thoroughly, then I made a time schedule for all the 2 weeks. I also made a list of things I needed to change, I mainly had to improve my character animations, the character design was pretty much set in stone before the two weeks for this portfolio. I got feedback from my classroom teacher early on which was very helpful for me in the process of making my portfolio. In the start of the research and planning process I started by looking on different ways to present my portfolio, I found some examples on Vimeo that I used as inspiration. Under the research and planning part of this report you can find 3 of the turntables/animation showreels I liked with an explanation of the parts that stood out for me.
I had to cut down the duration of some of the character animations. I also decided to not use the zombie walk and crate weight lifting since I think they were lacklustre and they were not criteria of this portfolio assignment. One thing I also had to change about the character animation was the scene and lighting setup. I made sure all of the scenes/clips had the same lighting to get a better overall feeling.
After fixing and improving my animations I used the Playblast function of Maya in order to quickly render out my animations. Playblast is a very handy tool in Maya, not only does it render out the video quick, it also saves it into a video file (like .avi) and you also get WYSIWYG.
For the character animation video I added text on the top of the video explaining what it focuses on. It ended up with a duration of 30 seconds, I made sure not to have any frames/titles between the clips to make most use of the time I had. I also used as little time as possible for the intro and outro.
Marmoset Toolbag 2 was my software of choice when it came to render out my character, the reason for choosing Marmoset Toolbag is its ease of use, from adding materials/shaders/textures to the fast turntable render function. There is a downside to using Toolbag 2 though, there is no option to render smoothed meshes, the way I got around this was to smooth my mesh before exporting it as an .OBJ before importing it into Toolbag. In the earlier stages of my character design render I had palm trees that were as tall as my pirate character, I had to get rid of these trees as they were stealing focus from the character.

I ended up by composing both of my final product videos in After Effects as I have earlier experience with this software and find it easier to use than for example NUKE. I had to make clever use of compositions which is the strong point of After Effects in my opinion, it also keeps the project cleaner and easier to “read”.

Test render #2 for Character Design (FP01):

Added the pose version of the pirate and the sword. Still need to make a specular map.

Test render #1 for Character Design (FP01):

I intend to replace the character here with the posed version where he holds his sword and add specular map to shiny parts like buttons.

Research and planning:

As you can see below in this blogpost/report I’ve included some videos that I found on vimeo that covers my inspiration for this portfolio assignments. These inspirational videos have been a great tool for me when it comes to the planning and research process that makes up for the final product video.

Inspiration:

 

I like how this character turntable focuses on the character in an enviornment while panning from bottom to top giving the viewer a closer look into the character design. The intro is also very appealing and simple just by adding motion to the text in the intro while keeping focus on the characters face in the background.

I really like this turntable, the way they did the water is astonishing. I would like to go for the same idea with the water for my pirate character turntable.

Very cool intro in this showreel, the 2d animation of the ball boucing and the text appearing when the ball hits the «floor» adds a lot of motion to an intro that would otherwise be static. I also think the lighting and background are very well done, the backgrounds are blurred and dark and the lighting helps to keep focus on the character instead of the enviornment.

Summary and self evaulation:

Since I finished all the weekly assignments this semester I had an advantage when it came to gathering required files for this portfolio. The character design part of this assignment was pretty much set in stone before the final two weeks. The only thing I had to modify was to add a specular map and set up my scene with the character in Marmoset Toolbag 2. For my character animation I even had to get rid of some of the clips and shorten some of the ones I used for this portfolio.
Overall I think this portfolio project went pretty well, I made good use of the time I had, tried my best to do as detailed planning as possible. I got feedback under way from my classroom teacher which was huge help for me. I am happy how the final product videos ended up, but of course there is always room for change, especially when it comes to animations.

References:

Disclaimer:
I do NOT take credit for any of the rigs and music used in the character animation video.
I do NOT take credit for the pirate map background, music, green eye and ocean texture in the character design video.

Rigs used:
Mery from: www.meryproject.com
Ultimate Bony from: www.creativecrash.com

Fonts used:
Vinque (Character Deisgn):
http://www.dafont.com/vinque.font
Blue Sheep (Character Animation):
http://www.dafont.com/dk-blue-sheep.font

Textures used:
Treasure Map (got license) from www.shutterstock.com
Green Eye texture by Alex Muller on www.deviantart.com
Ocean Texture from www.playgroundjs.com

Music used:
Funny Pirate Adventures:
http://audiojungle.net/item/funny-pirate-adventures/7772285
Funny Sitcom Theme:
http://audiojungle.net/item/funny-sitcom-theme/6988214

Software used:
Autodesk Maya (animation and character modelling/retopo)
ZBrush (highres model sculpt)
After Effects (composition)
Handbrake (compress video size)
Microsoft Word (report and notes)
Adobe Photoshop (Texturing)
Marmoset Toolbag 2 (turntable of character)